June 2020          Foster Bitton

GBNF: Gary W. Cox, CS-12, passed away on 12 Feb 2020 in Highlands Ranch, CO. 

Helpful Classmates: The request for inputs I sent out in early April contained the following: “If you've discovered a foolproof indoor training technique to lower your handicap, please, by all means, send that in…I'm willing to try anything to keep my handicap, upon which my self-worth is utterly and completely based, at a semi-respectable level.” In retrospect, I should have paid more heed to the adage, “be careful what you wish (ask) for…” Wayne Willis sent the first bit of advice in within three hours of the request going out. Three hours! I don’t think I’ve ever received a Checkpoints input within three days of the request. But Wayne and I played a round of golf together more than two years ago, and he undoubtedly adheres to the sacrosanct rule in golf to never offer unsolicited advice, so I can only surmise that he had been holding in what he saw in my swing for more than two years and was grateful for the opportunity to release that pent up advice before it caused permanent damage to his spleen. Wayne’s input: “swing easy and just live with the extra distance.” Oh sure, like that’s possible. Believe me, I’ve learned and relearned that lesson a thousand times in my golfing career, but the primordial man that lurks deep inside all of us doesn’t buy it. If you put a club in our hands and tell us to hit something far with it, we have a million years of DNA that says, “Ugggh, Zog want results, Zog swing hard.”

Bill Murray was the next one to offer help. He sent in clips of a Nike commercial with Tiger and Rory doing a faceoff and then added a video of a trick shot artist hitting shots after flipping the driving over his back and catching it in midair. Bill’s advice: “try these at home.” Gee, why hadn’t I thought of that? Probably for the same reason I don’t juggle steak knives in my spare time, or try to catch hornets by their wings. Hand-to-eye coordination…some have it, the rest of us buy slip-ons because we’re tired of tripping on the shoelaces.

Rich “Sandbagger” Chanick, focused on the “foolproof” and “lower handicap” aspects of my request and sent in a recommendation that fit both criteria. His answer: “turn in a 72 online three times a week and presto, you have a lower handicap!” Perhaps I should have specified a certain degree of legitimacy in attaining a lower handicap. Rich added that he puts 92 into the online handicap computer three times a week, and that it works like a charm. Hence, the Sandbagger call sign. I don’t know where Rich lives, but my guess is that he hangs out with a lot of politicians.

You can probably tell by the extended discussion of proffered golf advice above that there weren’t a lot of inputs for this quarter’s edition of Checkpoints. That wasn’t a big surprise given that everyone is huddling inside or painting lamb’s blood on their front doorframes. It’s here, we’re all dealing with it, so there’s no reason to dwell on it in Checkpoints.

Online Information: Bill Estelle, a closet historian, has been putting his at-home time to good use by adding a lot of interesting information to the 75bestalive website. If you have some free time on your hands, you owe it to yourself to pull up the website and see what’s available. The site is oozing with nostalgia and just plain fascinating facts. For example, there’s a page devoted to cadet squadron patch history, including original patches, patches that were there during our tour of duty, and changes that have occurred over the last 45 years. The page is fully in place, but there are still gaps in the knowledge, and Bill is continually searching for facts to fill in those gaps. If you have something, by all means, send it to him. He’s been able to put together what might be the most comprehensive history of cadet squadron patches anywhere, and with any luck, he’ll keep adding to it. When you go to the site, you’ll also find what is in all likelihood the largest collection of Dodos online. The collection dates all the way back to 1957, including the days before political correctness was a gleam in a censor’s eye.

Class Trivia: Three ‘75ers have appeared in major Hollywood movies. Can you name the classmates and the movies they appeared in? Hint: all three are mentioned in previous Checkpoints pages. Send your answer to your humble scribe. The answer, and the first five to respond with it, will be covered in the next issue of Checkpoints.

45th Reunion Status: At the time this column was going to press (mid Apr), Jeff Hackett confirmed that the Class Reunion Committee is continuing to plan for our 45th Reunion to be held the week of 9-12 September (home football game vs Boise State). Obviously, there is a great deal of uncertainty that may impact the planning. Jeff’s advice is for everyone to refrain from making any non-refundable travel plans and added that our host hotel, the Colorado Springs Marriott, is not yet ready to accept Class of ‘75 reservations (but we do have a significant number of rooms tentatively blocked). As the reunion committee moves forward with standard reunion events planning, it will be working in parallel with the AOG, the Marriott, and other key players to assess feasibility and make a final GO/NO-GO and/or “PLAN B” decision. That decision could come as late as the end of June. Whatever the decision is, it will be communicated through the Squadron POCs, and the Class and AOG websites. If you have questions or concerns that won’t wait, contact Jeff directly.

UPDATE: The 45th reunion has been cancelled.


Hoping for a repeat appearance in 2020

Checkpoints Extras

Hark Back...



Letter from CS-33 to the Class of 2020

Jim Carlson: I want to give a shout-out to our classmate (and my CS-33 squadron mate) Roy Rice. Because of the extraordinary times we are in, USAFA graduated its Firsties early on 18 April 2020. Roy reached out to the CS-33 AOC and forwarded him a letter that he wrote, with the blessings of our '75 squadron members. In response, the AOC, Major Louis Nolting, sent Roy a link to their commissioning ceremony, which was live-streamed. During the ceremony, Major Nolting read our letter (Link, Left) to the soon-to-be 2nd Lieutenants. In the letter, Roy mentions that our squadron would raise a toast to the class at 2033 hours (derived from the class of 2020 and Squadron 33). Roy, you done make me proud to be your classmate and squadron mate! (But you always did, from our time as 33rd Squadron Cellar Ratz).



Hugo Posey's Quarantine Quest


Hugo Posey: With the world going crazy, as Liberal Governors and Mayors surrender their communities to the mob, the Wuhan Flu becoming nothing more than another political battleground, and moronic white millennials apologizing for their “whiteness” – it was time to escape. I decided it was time to leave the confines of polite society and head for Mother Nature. With my youngest sister Carmen and her husband Sean; we took off on a 17 day; 4,350 mile round-trip through Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and back. It was WONDERFUL. We left the news, e-mail, social media and all that crap largely behind and went camping. The Chinese flu was a mixed blessing. On one hand, it was very difficult if not impossible to get information on the National Parks and campgrounds; on the other hand, once we got wherever we were heading, there were few people out making finding campsites easy and taking long hikes through beautiful country without anyone else around was a pleasure not normally possible. (June 2020)

1. Hugo enroute to Bridalveil Falls outside Telluride, Colorado.

2. Hugo at Arches National Park, Utah.

3. Sean, Carmen, & Hugo at Zion National Park, beginning their hike down the "Narrows."

4. Carmen & Hugo on the Devil's Bridge Trail, Sedona, Arizona.



1. Joe Rogers: How about something a little bit funny today. In February I was in Oregon inspecting at the University of Oregon and ran across the Oregon mascot. Not really – it was a cardboard cutout. But it did seem like a good time for a photo op, so we (John Holder and I) had our portraits made with the Duck. (April 2020)

2. Gerry & Judith Buckley-Conticchio. (Judith Buckley-Conticchio, April 2020)

3. Max Della Pia & brother Mike (Susan Koski (Sister), April 2020)

4. Chaplain Quentin Genke atop Eagle Peak saying a prayer for the health of the Academy on Easter Sunday. (U. S. Air Force Academy, Official, April 2020)




5 - 8. Who?*




9. Karen Exelby: Look who we found at Hays! First time to get to hold that great granddaughter! And yes...we usually practice social distancing so don't fuss. (Karen Exelby, May 2020)

10. The Class of '75 is officially "Vintage." (April 2020)

11. Jim Marshall with newest grandson Rex. (Kelly Vannoy, May 2020)

12. Eric Rosborg: Thank you to the government for letting me be on my boat today! (May 2020)




13. Dave & Patti Ruddock. From Patti: It was a wonderful birthday, Mother’s Day! (May 2020)

14. Don Byers hiking with family to Angel Falls, California. (Jennifer Lawton, May 2020)

15. Jeff & Christine Hackett at granddaughter Cadence's high school graduation. (May 2020)

16. Rick Kim with Pauline: Happy 97th birthday to my godmother Gladys, aka Popo! You’ve been an inspiration to many of us, setting an example of living life well, always giving to others, always generously sharing your aloha. Thank you for your love through the years, happy birthday, & many, many more! Love & aloha. (May 2020)




17. Eric & Elizabeth Rosborg at son Matt's graduation. (May 2020)

18. Barry & Gladys Abbott enjoying a bit of the fruit of the vine in Missouri. (June 2020)

19. Jim & Emily Marshall with with grandson Rex at his baptism. (Kelly Vannoy, June 2020)

20. Wes & Marti Routh: Yesterday, our son & daughter-in-law had a set of balloons made with Happy Anniversary & a 45 on top. They had us be home under the ruse of having a photographer come to take anniversary pictures. We had a couple looking to buy our 2008 350Z from 2-3 p.m. and the photographer was to be here from 3-5. I rushed to get cleaned up, set up the patio furniture with son Tim's help, and then at 4 p.m. they had us go outside. Then the honking started. With the help of friends Jo Ann Martin & Penny Robb, they planned an anniversary parade down our street with family, neighbors, friends, & Sunday School class members. It was a wonderful generous surprise getting to see many people we haven't seen in months. We are very thankful for their expressions of love, cards, and gifts. Thank you all. We love you all. Our actual anniversary date is Monday, the 15th. Our son Mike sent a video greeting, then we had a video chat with him this morning. We are blessed. (June 2020)




21. Mickey Clemons and son Micah, enjoying a proper "social distancing" Father's Day breakfast. (Kaylee Clemons, June 2020)

22. Buck Rogers enjoying a quiet moment with his granddaughter. (Megan Marie, June 2020)

23. Bill Lyerly: A Zoomie and Zoomie at our beach house. (June 2020)

24. Bill Spencer & son Tim, comparing beards? (That's Bill on the right). (Tim Spencer, June 2020)




25. Ken Finn on the New Santa Fe Trail, in Monument, Colorado, with two of his biggest fans. (June 2020)

26. Mark Risi stylin', or perhaps using a different strategy to ensure social distancing. (Jennifer Finn Barrett, June 2020)

27. Chappie Hargrove & a mystery woman. (June 2020)

28. Sandy Terry & Bristol. (June 2020)




29. Chris Soto surrounded by the many members of his family. (Jan Hobson Soto, June 2020)

30. Rick & Gail Townsend on the occasion of Gail's birthday. (June 2020)

31. Bob Hickcox: I have been so lucky in my life. Meeting and loving Jackie is without a doubt my biggest stroke of luck. The picture is not our home (you wish), but a symbol of all the fun and learning we enjoyed in the many travels of our lives. We spent our honeymoon on at tour of Paris and the northern coast of France. As we were settling into our seats on the plane home, Jackie said, "I want to return and spend a month, living in a Paris apartment like a true Parisian." We were able to do that in Spring 2018, a beautiful month, and visit here at Vaux le Vicomte, with members of our family joining us a few days to a week at a time. And that is what life is all about, making the dreams of people you love come true.

32. Dave Ruddock hosting an ice cream social. (June 2020)






33. John Kambourian. (June 2020)

34. Blair Thisted plus two generations. (Jennifer Blomquist, June 2020)



*WHO?:     5. Steve Morris.     6. Stan Jones.     7. Bob Hickcox.     8. Dave Beatty. 


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