Where were you on December 28, 1969? Mark Wells remembers it well, since that was the day he was making his first solo in a Piper Super Cub owned by the Eglin AFB Aero Club. Academy classmates Butch Byrd and Dan Delaune were on hand to cut off his shirttail after he landed. Since that was more than 50 years ago, Mark recently received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the FAA. Mark, Butch, and Dan all went to Niceville Senior High and were in AF Junior ROTC. They and their wives still get together pretty regularly in the Florida panhandle. Receiving the Wright Brothers Award was impressive, but keeping in close touch with friends for that span of time is priceless.
Get-Togethers: Dale Waters, Ed Wilcock, and Lance Grace rejoined at Crested Butte in February for skiing and reliving their misspent youth—at least what they could remember of it. The photo they submitted was taken outside the Dive Pub just before they went inside to lubricate their throats to enable the telling and retelling of many old stories. They admitted that some were not worth retelling, but that didn’t deter them from retelling them anyway.
Stan “Chumley” Collins hosted a CS-30 mini reunion in San Antonio in March, which included the likes of Rick “Duck” Layman, Scott Smith, Stan “Sluggo” Siefke and their wonderful, understanding, and long suffering wives. Chumley’s report on the event was: “I barely have the strength to tap these keys to tell of the pictured gathering. My bathroom scale screams that I’ve gained 7 unwanted pounds, my abdomen muscles are sore from belly laughing, and my liver cries ‘STOP & DETOX!’ A good time was had by all.”
This is the highbrow input for the quarter. Kurt and Carol Bock visited Bill and Cleo Dalson to hobnob with the crowds taking in the Spring Steeplechase races in Aiken, SC. Reports of them going to the opera that evening have not been confirmed. The Dalsons have two European cruises on the books for 2022, and the Bocks will spend a good bit of the year preparing for their daughter’s wedding in April, which will take place in their backyard, followed by a reception in August at the Duke Mansion in Charlotte, NC. Kurt says he’s been watching and re-watching Father of the Bride because now he can fully empathize with the father.
Dave McDaniel reported from Spain that he and Libby recently completed a three-week driving tour in France, and that with the pandemic seemingly in decline, the floodgates for visitors have opened. Between now and September they’ll be hosting lots of family and friends, including a bunch of F-4 guys and their wives that were stationed with them at Torrejon AB in the late 70s.
Remember the Snowbird Odyssey Jeff Chappell was about to embark on in January? He reported back that all is well, and he is still on the road. That means if you see a Toyota pickup with a small travel trailer pull up in front of your house, you should turn off the lights and not answer the door. There’s no guarantee he won’t spend the night in your driveway anyway, but at least you won’t have to feed him.
They’re At It Again: The CS-31 Grim Monks celebrated their 7th annual Grim Reaper ski trip, staying once again at Larry Colletti’s “Log Cabin Mansion” near Winter Park. This year 15 Reapers attended, which is so large a group it may not fit into the definition of a mini reunion. Nine of the attendees were from the original 14 Vandenberg Raiders who moved Vandenberg’s office to the terrazzo as 2-degrees. Now that the statute of limitations for moving government property has elapsed, they freely posed behind the original raider photo to recreate the event. The photo can be found on 75bestalive.org. Grim Monks at the ski trip included Charlie Beam, Kevin Donovan, Dave Ehrhart, Mike DeHart, John Dailey, Otto Dieffenbach, Dave Ferguson, Larry Colletti, and Jack Storer.
The 2022 Falcon Hacker Classic was staged in Tucson, AZ during the third week of February. The (anything but) normal cast of characters included Russ Trinter, Larry Fariss, Roy Rice, Tug McGraw, Tom Popp, Brian Duffy, Jim Corrigan, Dave Pratt, Bruce Fritzsche, and Rod Hennek, with Jeff Hackett, Jim Burling, and Rod Kallman filling the roles of “Guest IPs.” Apparently the regular players were un-incarcerated prior to the event, not on good behavior, but because they were all deemed to be bad influences on the rest of the prisoner population. The group of ne’er-do-wells gave major kudos to Russ and Susan Trinter (AZ Snowbirds) for the planning and hard work done to make the four rounds of golf and all the pre- and post-tournament experiences so enjoyable. The Hackers, in an uncharacteristicdisplay of magnanimity, even absolved the Trinters of all blame for the gale force winds and sleeting conditions on Day 2. As usual, Tom “Sandbagger” Popp was the Gross and Net-Score winner.
A lot of great photos were submitted this quarter, making it especially difficult to pick just three for this issue. The good news is that you can see the rest of them at 75bestalive.org.