September 2020          Foster Bitton

Class Reunion Update: Since the last edition of Checkpoints the date of the reunion has moved to 30 Sep – 3 Oct, which is on the Navy game weekend. However, at the time this article went to press the big question was whether or not the reunion would actually happen this year. Everyone is living in the same bowl of mush so there’s no sense in going into a discussion of the issues at hand. We’ll know when we know. Jeff Hackett has his finger on the pulse, and since you’ll be reading this in September he’s already passed the word through the Squadron POCs to crank up the defibrillator or pull the plug.

A Fred of All Trades:  Fred Weems, CS-12, checked in from Laramie, WY, where he’s going after a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics at the University of Wyoming. He uses a skateboard to transit between classes because, apparently, that’s normal behavior for someone who wants to regain years lost marching on the terrazzo. Fred skis in the winter and logs a few hours with a local flying club in his free time. In 2015 he earned a BA in music from Missouri Western State University and then put it to use as a playwright and composer of “Dark Fairy,” a ballet staged in the Missouri Theater in Saint Joseph, MO. In recognition of his eclectic approach to life after the grind, Fred wins this quarter’s Doing Retirement Right Award. If you haven’t heard of the DRR Award it’s because it was created by the Scribe’s keyboard a few minutes ago. No medals, plaques, or certificates, just what you see here. I envision an overwhelming response from classmates vying to claim the award in the future…or not.

Mini Reunions: Mike “Flash” DeHart, Steve “Bear” Brown, Charlie “Beamer” Beam, Dave “Bert” Ferguson, Larry Colletti, Otto Dieffenbach, Jim “Burr” Burling, and Jack Storer attended the 5th Annual Grim Reapers Ski and Snowmobiling Reunion last February in Colorado. There is no official report on the number of sitzmarks left on the slopes of Beaver Creek and Breckenridge during their raids on the resorts, but the photo they sent in shows no broken bones or open wounds. Larry gets kudos for honchoing the trip and Bert for his culinary skills. The pack, gaggle, pod, colony, conspiracy, band, or whatever one calls a collection of Grim Reapers, has vowed to continue meeting on the slopes as long as their knees hold out. Given the advances in artificial knees the limiting factor could be getting the ski racks that can hold their walkers.

Zooming: CS-23 held a reunion on Zoom on June 4th, and, as a participant, your barely literate Scribe highly recommends it as a way to reconnect with squadron mates. Virtual will never replace in-person reunions, but it was the largest gathering of ’75 Barnstormers in the last 45 years, and it was w-a-a-a-y better than watching classic football on the 70” flat-panel brain cell destroyer on the wall.

Class Trivia Challenge: Last quarter’s trivia question asked which three ‘75ers appeared in major Hollywood movies, and what movies did they appear in? The winner of the contest was…drumroll…no one…but Wayne Willis came the closest. He named two of the three actors and got one of the movies correct. The answer was: Mike Straight flew in “Top Gun” and made it into the credits; Mark D. Holmes was a pirate in “Hook,” sported his own beard and had lunch with Robin Williams; and Jeff Krumeich was an extra in a bar scene in “Fargo.”

Aspiring Extras: Although no one took the gold in the trivia challenge, some classmates sent in accounts of movies and magazines they were in, although they weren’t documented on so who would know? Ron Doeppner flew a helicopter in the 2002 version of “Mr. Deeds,” and John Saxman’s mug is in the background of some shots in “Red Flag: The Ultimate Game.” Gary Whitfield gets an honorable mention as one of the pilots in the T-38 formation on the cover of Air Force Magazine that may have ushered in the Aim High slogan, a slogan that was so good it was brought back a generation later. The picture was also featured in Air Force recruiting ads in Time and Flying magazines. Gary swears he wasn’t out of position.


Grim Reapers Ski Reunion
Mike DeHart, Steve Brown, Charlie Beam,
Dave Ferguson, Larry Colletti, Otto Dieffenbach,
Jim Burling, & Jack Storer

Checkpoints Extras

Our Scribe's Quarterly Creative Output

  I've Gotta Get Out of This Place 
(Sung to the tune of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" by The Animals)

I’m a ready to go to the city
Gonna get some milk and bread
Tired of watching old streams of The Walking Dead 
(I am, yes, I am) 

Before the ‘rona my wife was so caring
But one thing I know is true
She’s beginning to wish my time was through 
(oh she does, I know she does) 

Watch my skin turnin’ pale and ashy
Watch my hair keep turnin' gray
I’ve been quarantining my life away 
(I have, yes I have)

I’ve gotta get out of this place
If it's the last thing I ever do
Hand me my homemade face mask
And maybe, I’ll take along, some Clorox too 

In the city they’re so young and careless 
Damn Millennials runnin’ free   
Spreading germs, my old friend, to you, and me 
(they are, yes, they are, you know they are) 

A resurgence, it may be a comin’ 
If it does, I won’t see dawn 
‘Cuz my soul mate, her patience with me is gone 
(it is, oh yes, yes it is) 

I’ve gotta get out of this place
If it's the last thing I ever do
Hand me my homemade face mask
And maybe I’ll take along some Clorox too


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate          Bruce Mitchell



Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of '75 at the July 2020 CAS Meeting.



1. The Royal Air Force honoring the Class of '75 with a fly-by (although it's possible it was commemorating the anniversary of the end of World War II). (Photo by Bill Lyerly, July 2020)

2. Scott Hente: I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the attached photo is a perspective of USAFA you have never seen before: taken from the very top window of the north end of the chapel. A friend of mine works for the contractor doing the chapel renovation and he provided this unique perspective. (July 2020)

3. Otto Dieffenbach (showing off, we might add, to those more follicularly challenged): Thought I'd share my Covid 19 hair prior to pruning. Sort of liked the Nick Nolte look. Longest I've ever had it. May do it again. (July 2020)

4. Ralph Paul enjoying a King Crab dinner at the "Paul Restaurant." (July 2020)




5. Ben Bosma. (July 2020)

6. Sandy Terry visiting family in Kentucky. (Lauren Monnett, July 2020)

7. Jim Schuman plus one. (July 2020)

8. Paul Kent: Me and my two brothers (Kevin & Dana) in pensive thought. We have gathered to distribute belongings from our parent's and grandmother's home that has been part of our large family history since 1946. Happy and sad at the same time (August 2020).




9-10. Jim & Ardis Hartney: Needless to say, vacation in the Finger Lakes with kids and grandkids has been going swimmingly. (July 2020)

11. Mark & Eric Volcheff celebrating their birthday, with their respective (or not) wives. (Mary Dwyer Volcheff, August 2020).

12. John Kambourian: Lunch with my lovely daughter at Le Diplomate restaurant, Washington D.D. (August 2020)




13. Max Della Pia & Nancy. (Joan Davis, September 2020)

14. Bentley Rayburn & grandson Brennan. (Cassandra Connette, September 2020)

15. Kent Traylor stylin'...or something. (Tricia Rheinhold Barnes, September 2020)

16. Barry Abbott: Gladys & I enjoying Veteran's Tribute Day at Twelve Oaks Winery. Raising money for local Veteran's Memorial. (September 2020)




17. Dave Ruddock & grandson. (September 2020)

18. Michael Heil & friend Larry at the Vita Oktoberfest in Sandusky. (September 2020)

19. Paul Kent: It's late September at Cosco in Santee, California, and you know what that means. Christmas trees. Gonna be 102 on Tuesday and Wednesday. (September 2020)

20. Oleh Stefaniuk: Went fishing yesterday with Captain Johnny of Solo Charter, he was awesome. Had a great day and capped it with a pretty rare fish for the area, a cubera snapper (the one with the teeth)! (September 2020)







21. Dave & Janet Middleton Wallace: First time on a bike in 2 years. OK, a mountain bike on a fire road; what could possibly go wrong? (August 2020)



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