September 2023          Foster Bitton

Nuptials: Bob Hickox and Marge Terhaar tied the knot in May. Is that even legal at our age? Surely there’s some diminished capacity when one can’t even remember if he washed his hair while he’s still standing in the shower. How can a person who wore paisley-patterned shirts and bellbottom pants in this lifetime be considered capable of making any kind of long-term commitment. Despite these glaring facts, it appears no states have put an age limit on marriage because Mike Rosebush and his partner Reginald (Reggie) also recently took their wedding vows in Monument, CO. So be it. Here’s a toast to a lifetime of happiness to these couples, and any other classmates who take holy vows at this unholy age.

The 2023 Hacker Classic: This year’s Hacker Classic was hosted by Brian Duffy in Houston, TX. You may have noticed the Classic never occurs in the same place twice. There’s a reason for that. Given the atrocities the group inflicts on the game of golf and humanity in general, the group is never invited to return. Some participants even have to wait until the statute of limitations on various crimes is up before they can return to a given state. This year Russ Trinter wrested the low net award from Tom “Sandbagger” Popp; Brian took low gross honors; and Rod “Is That OB?” Hennek positioned himself to take the “most improved” trophy at the next Classic. Dave Commons and Charlie Simmons were the guest IPs, although Roy Rice reported their presence didn’t reduce the need for adult leadership in the group. (Photos Below)

Ben Phillips, water poloist extraordinaire, was named in the 10th AF Athletics Hall of Fame class. Congratulations, Ben!

Mini-Reunions:The Chickenhawks from CS-16 got together in Las Vegas in May and swapped war stories in case anyone had forgotten them from the last reunion. On Cinco de Mayo they had pizza at an Italian eatery because there apparently wasn’t a historian or cultural expert in the group. They did, however, have a Seis de Mayo Mexican dinner at Frank Wyatt’s house the next day. They’re Chickenhawks. ‘Nuff said.

On the 48th anniversary of our liberation, about 30 classmates got together at the former Giuseppe’s and reminisced about the good old days when we could tie our shoes without risking back injury or sit in a chair without letting out an involuntary groan of relief. Kudos go to Mark Volcheff for honchoing the get together, which has earned him the honor of COS reunion organizer in perpetuity, whether he wants it or not.

Kevin Grady, his CS-16 roommate David Beeman, and their better halves met up at the Lions International Convention in Boston for a mini-mini-reunion. What do people do at mini-squared reunions? Same as at any other reunion, eat and swap stories that time and graying gray matter have appropriately modified.

Travel Notes: A lot of classmates traveled during the last few months for various reasons. Short summaries are included here. Any photos they or any other classmates sent, which didn’t survive the CP three-photo limit, can most likely be found at 75bestalive.org/checkpoints.

Dave Jannetta and his son, Ian, flew to Nepal, began trekking to the Everest Base Camp on 1 April, and reached the camp on 12 April. They also climbed to the Khumbu Ice Fall and reached an elevation of 18,020 feet. It was like a ride in the altitude chamber without the chamber.

Mike Coman, Bill Dalson, Kurt Bock, and their wives met up in Savannah, GA, for an excellent reason; because they could. They highly recommend the city as a gathering place and for its food and beverages.

Don Byers, Rudy Roth, Dean Cox, Ric Lewallen, and their spouses had their annual get-together in Orange Beach, AL this year, where they watched the Blue Angels practice and toured the Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola NAS. They strolled along the beach, ate seafood, and serenaded life, because that’s what mentally healthy retirees do.

Bob Thompson and Joe Debes celebrated their birthdays in the British Virgin Islands, and they invited Ed Zerambo, Jerry Wallace, Duke Buhyoff, Bill Taylor, Bud Calloway, and John Fritz, who all swapped the “6” as the first number of their age for a “7” this year, to join them. Anyone who knows Bob and Joe realizes they don’t have the management skills to organize anything greater than a shoe closet, so it comes as no surprise that their wives, Cheryl and Melissa, made it happen. They’re undoubtedly keepers, even if they have questionable tastes in husbands.

Overachieving Offspring: Tim and Jan Murphy flew to Kunsan in May to watch their son, Barry, take command of the 8th Fighter Wing. Also in attendance were their daughter, Megan, and her husband, Col Paul Davidson, who is the Vice Commander of the 51st FW at Osan. Need anything from Korea? Contact Tim.

Larry and Melinda Bryant were present when their son, Philip, took command of the 582nd Helicopter Group at FE Warren AFB. During the last few months, they also welcomed grandchild #10, attended their daughter’s wedding in Sisters, OR, and had a family reunion where all of their married and gainfully employed children, including one who runs an ethical sewing business in Kathmandu, Nepal, and their grandchildren, attended.

 

Chickenhawks' 2023 Las Vegas Reunion
Tim Turnbull, Larry Dowling, Joe Bryant,
Steve Watson, Rod Kallman, Bill Swiderek,
Frank Wyatt, & Charlie Beadling


COS 2023 Graduation Anniversary Reception


David Beeman & Kevin Grady


Dave Jannetta at Everest Base Camp


Mike Coman, Bill Dalson, & Kurt Bock


Don Byers to Dean Cox, “Go cold mike”


Septuagenarian Sellabration
Ed Zerambo, Bobby Thompson, Jerry Wallace,
Joe Debes, Eric "Duke" Buhyoff, Bill Taylor, Bud Calloway,
John Fritz, & photo bomber ‘74 grad Doug Frost


Tim & Jan Murphy, & Family


The Larry Bryant worldwide family reunion

 


Checkpoints Plus


Brian Duffy: I hosted the annual Hacker Classic in Houston recently and have included a couple of pics. The participants in the photo are me, Bo Montgomery, Russ Trinter, Tug McGraw, Tom Popp, Dave Commons, Roy Rice, Larry Fariss, Rod Hennek, Jim Corrigan, Charlie Simmons, and Dave Pratt. Great fun was had by all! Also attached is a pic of the '75 baseballers getting to see Coach Joe Robison who is nearby....lots of stories about days gone by! Best alive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Janetta: This picture is me with my son Ian at the famous Khumbu Ice Fall, the treacherous first leg to the summit. We're at 18,020 feet, and I couldn't help but remember the altitude chamber rides we did – especially the rapid decompression at 18K. Taking time to acclimate works! This was a profound and life-affirming experience for both of us.

 

 

Don Byers, Rudy & Virginia Roth, Dean & Sandra Cox, Alice & Ric Lewallen, at their annual get together at the Lewallen's Orange Beach, Alabama, condo.

 

 

 

 

Bob Thompson, Jerry Wallace, & Joe Debes at the British Virgin Islands Septuagenarian Sellabration and their Sellabration cake.

 


Checkpoints Extras


Forged in Blue          Melting of Rings Connects Classes Across Generations


 

By Sam Hastings, Association of Graduates

The Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation hosted the sixth annual Forged in Blue ring melting ceremony at Doolittle Hall on Aug. 8, 2023.

This tradition strengthened the relationship between the Air Force Academy Class of 2025 and its Legacy Class of 1975. Members of both classes attended the ceremony, where five rings were donated to be added to the rings that will be made for the second-class cadets.

The rings were melted down into two gold ingots. The first ingot becomes part of the Forever Ingot and is used at next year’s ceremony, while the second ingot is sent to Jostens to be included in the rings produced for the Class of 2025.

Each ring was treated with reverence as they were brought forward to be added to the crucible. Members of the Class of 2025 assisted in presenting the rings and witnessed the creation of the ingots. As each ring was given, comments were shared from the donors regarding their experience at the Academy and the personal significance of their class rings.

One of the five donated rings belonged to Col. (Ret.) Edward Kasl ’75, who sent written remarks emphasizing the pride he felt when he first received his ring and the honor of donating his ring nearly 50 years later.

“To the Class of ’25, it is an honor to donate a class ring to be melted down so that it can become a small portion of each of your class rings,” Kasl wrote. “I looked at mine with pride and the knowledge that it took hard work and determination to complete four years of academics and training to earn the right to wear it and call myself a graduate of one of the finest institutions in the world.”

Mr. Jim McBride ’75 wrote a letter highlighting the inclusion of gold from Legacy Class rings as a symbol of the unbroken bond among Academy graduates and the pride he now takes in donating his ring to the Class of 2025.

“As I reflect back on my time at the Academy, receiving my class ring was one of the highlights,” he wrote. “It symbolized not only my connection to my class, but also to the Long Blue Line of alumni who had preceded and who would follow me. I’m proud and honored to be able to contribute this ring to the Class of 25 as a reminder of our common heritage and as an inspiration to always do your best in every endeavor.”

Mr. John Koelling ’75 also sent written remarks stressing the rarity of the rings and how proud he was to donate his.

“When I think back on my time at the Academy, there were very few things I anticipated or was more excited about than getting my class ring,” Koelling wrote. “For a lot of reasons, the Class of ’75 had a huge attrition rate. As I recall, it was nearly 50%, so there aren’t a lot of rings available to be a part of yours. All that said, I am honored to present my ring as a small contribution.”

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bruce Mitchell ’75 was in attendance and spoke about the literal and symbolic meaning of the rings.

“Inside this smelting crucible today, the gold from these rings will separate from other physical components and embellishment compounds that went into the making of the rings and be available as raw material for your new class rings,” he said. “But also from this crucible, and I want you to at least figuratively imagine this and take this in … 50 years of residual blood, sweat and tears from the classmates who have preceded you are also going to evaporate into the atmosphere. So, try to seize a little of that because you might need it in the future.”

Mitchell also expressed the importance of the ceremony and how it formalizes the connection and continuation of the Long Blue Line.

“May the gold from these rings seal the relationship between our two classes from this day forward,” he said. “We trust that you will also make the rest of the nation and the rest of the Long Blue Line proud in your service to the country as you depart the Academy and defend our land for years to come.”

Mitchell also spoke on behalf of Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Dick Webber ’75.

Gen. Webber wrote a letter to the Class of 2025 noting the importance of relationships and the bond shared by Academy graduates.

“We were forged in fire and are still the closest of friends 50 (plus four) years later. Treasure that friendship — it is a very special relationship, and few people will ever experience that level of camaraderie and bonding,” he wrote. “My bride, Lt. Col. (Ret) Michele Golley, and my three sons are all on board with this donation. The idea that gold from my ring — at the atomic level — will be in your rings and every class ring from now on was the key factor in their support. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish all the best and success in the future to the Class of 2025. The baton is passed, and our nation is counting on you.”

As the ingots cooled, representatives from both classes shared a toast to the past, present and future of the Air Force and Space Force.

“This was not a tradition when we were here,” Col. (Ret.) Kent Traylor ’75 said. “This was started well after we left here. So, it’s great to see the Academy keeps old traditions, but they also bring in new traditions that have special meaning to all of us."

 

 

1-2. Cadets enjoying reviewing yearbook photos of the old guys. The old guys: Paul Williams, Jim Dearien, & Bruce Mitchell.

3. The rings contributed to the forge.

4. Paul Williams & Kent Traylor.

 


 

 

5. Jim Dearien.     6. Bruce Mitchell.     7. The ingots.     8. Kent Traylor.

 


 

 

9. A toast to the classes.     10. The toast: Kent Traylor & Paul Williams.     11. Bruce Mitchell.     12. Gary Shugart.

– Photos Courtesy of Ryan Hall, Association of Graduates


Class of 2025 Legacy Event: Commitment Dinner


Fifteen members of the Class of 1975 attended the Commitment Dinner with the Class of 2025, at Mitchell Hall on August 10th, 2023. From the Association of Graduates Website:

The Legacy Class program pairs the newest class with the class that had graduated 50 years before them. The Commitment Dinner for the second class takes place at the start of the fall semester. Once the cadets return to the Academy for their second class year, they incur the financial or active duty "commitment" for their education if they depart the Academy prior to graduation. Members of the Legacy Class are invited to attend the Commitment dinner to celebrate with the second-class cadets.


 

1. The Class of 1975 turns out in force as the legacy class to the Class of 2025, celebrating their commitment to the Long Blue Line and first day of academics as second-class cadets. (Photo Courtesy of Mark Volcheff)

2. Paul Williams     3. Dale Meyerrose      4. Larry Bryant     

 


 

 

5. Bruce Mitchell: I presented the ingot from '75 Best Alive in a classic "coin handshake" to 2025 Class president C2C Cavanaugh (who also emceed the dinner) in front of the assembled class. I also gave C2C Cavanaugh one of our '75 class coins.The new Commandant told me as I departed the stage that he really appreciated our class' support of the new 2 degrees and as demonstrated at this dinner. I told him we were proud and pleased to have the opportunity to support them.

6. Mike Matte making a point.

7. Mike Matte: Thrilled and extremely honored to represent the Air Force Academy Class of 1975 and deliver the commitment dinner keynote speech to the 1100 exceptionally talented future leaders of the class of 2025. Encouraged them to work on being “Marathon Fit”  (mentally focused forward, emotionally channeled, physically energized, and purposefully aligned) in their lives/careers. Also in attendance were 15 of my great classmates and another 100 or so distinguished grads/officers and airmen. Congratulations to the wonderful Class of 2025.

8. Jim Dearien & Brian Duffy.

 


 

 
 

9. Bruce Mitchell, KC Schwarz, & Mark Wells.

10. Duane Jones.

11. Commitment Dinner Class Coin

– Photos Courtesy of USAFA WebGuy


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate


 


Minutes


AOG Update


Prep School Brief

Just concluded the Summer CAS meeting. Here are summary notes; will advise you as soon as the official minutes and associated meeting briefing materials are posted.

a. Feature presentation was from the commander of the USAFA Prep School, Col Mike Cornelius, a prep school alum and USAFA '2000 grad. Great presentation on the overall program, prep school candidate demographic and performance data and future plans. Did you know that 3 new buildings are to be built at the Prep school to replace aging facilities, via MILCON construction funds to be completed (in toto) by 2026 (given availability of assumed federal funding)? All buildings will be just east of the current campus: 1) new dormitory first, 2) then Academics and HW office building, then indoor athletics/multi-purpose facility., The new buildings will be arranged in shape of a C, with the C facing south towards Colo Springs. Annual prep school operating budget is less than a million dollars. Prep school works with USAFA Supt to gain/use some donated funds from the Supt's controlled funds (e.g. from the USAFA foundation and other possible gifts. Current commander emphasis is upon "focusing on the basics" to get as many prep schoolers enrolled at USAFA as possible (current/recent stats 75% success rate, and then 75% of prep school entrants at USAFA end up graduating. Prep school has many physical needs, not the least of which is modern / current laptop computers for the students.

b. Navierre Walkowicz of AOG alumni programs briefed a number of near-term AOG sponsored activities including our '75-'25 commitment dinner for our legacy class on 9 August...please register for this dinner if it is at all possible for you to attend. And the upcoming 1Day1USAFA emphasis giving day, in which all grads are urged to make a donation of ANY VALUE. Goal is 2000 donations this year. CAS was challenged (and accepted) to participate 100% and to encourage our classmates to participate. All AOG members should have already received electronic and snail mail information about this.

c. There are 14 Class reunions scheduled for this fall, counting a "combined" reunion in Denver by the original 4 Classes of '59-'62 during Army weekend (football game to be played at Empower Field at Mile High, with other related / associated activities such as stadium tour, Army/AF boxing matches at central Denver venue on Friday night and pep rally, then tailgater at Empower Field on Saturday, all being arranged by the AOG. (Note: I spoke to A J Ranfft, '73 reunion committee chair, and AJ volunteered to be a pathfinder for '75 and to share all experiences and lessons learned with our '75 (to be) reunion chair...so let's work to get that liaison established as soon as possible. AJ told me that the "third party organization" now hired by the AOG to make reunion arrangements has so far been very good to work with so far.

d. AOG is working to establish a support network for families of deceased graduates, as these losses are becoming more and more frequent...and that trend will obviously continue. More details to follow on this new AOG program.

e. Next meeting we will hear from the Center for Character and Leadership Development (Oct) and in January we are slated to hear from the new Commandant, who just assumed his post.

Please let me know if you have questions or comments and I'll update you (and for relay to the class) when the formal meeting minutes are published on-line.

Bruce Mitchell your CAS rep

Attached are the July 2023 Class Advisory Senate minutes and associated documents.

 

Album


 

Ben Bosma's Egyptian Adventure


 

I’m back from a fairly long business trip to the Middle East… We a had a couple of extra days, so we got on a ferry and crossed over to Egypt where we got a private car to drive us to Giza. There we got rooms in a very small hotel overlooking the Giza plateau. There we hired a guide/driver to give us mobility for our short visit there. It was whirlwind. We were able to get inside the great pyramid, several tombs the bent pyramid and visit half a dozen other sites over the course of two days. The temperatures were blistering, and every crab walk in and out of these giant structures, was hard-core exercise It was worth it! Being able to go into the pyramids, and the underground tombs was a challenge at my age but I’m glad I was able to do it before I became even more feeble, lol. We saw temperatures reach upwards of 112°F but as they say it was a dry heat so it only felt like 108°F!  All in all, I’m glad I made this trip. I was able to fill one of my life‘s ambitions which was to visit probably one of the most enigmatic archaeological sites on the planet.

1. Ben on the tarmac.

2. Inside the initial passageway of the Great Pyramid.

3. Inside the Grand Gallery of the Great Pyramid.

4. Sizing up the Sphinx.

 


 

Bob Hickcox's Walk Across Scotland


 

1. Bob & brother Ray: On our way for an epic 150 mile hike!

2. July 3: Today we did the Dufton to Garrigal section of the Pennine Way. The guide says you should go to Alston, but that is 20+ miles, so we opted to stay here at the Eastview B&B. We walked 17.5 miles, over 3600 feet of climb and about 11.5 hours end to end. We had a mix of weather, with occasional glimpses of sun, lots of wind and, Little Dun Fell, wind, torrential rain and hail. We are safe and sound, thanks to extra layers and being prepared. Tomorrow is a short walk, just 9 miles.

3. July 9: Departing from Sally’s Pub this morning and heading East along Hadrian’s Wall we walked 13+ miles to our B&B at Hill on the Wall B&B. The walk changed will the terrain from relatively rolling hills to stepper ascents and descents. We clocked over 1200 feed of ascent. The highlights featured the highest point of the existing Roman Wall, many mile towers and some examples of the fortifications that predated the wall.

4. July 15: We finished! Lots of rain in the last half of today’s walk but here we are at Wallsend! Between our segment of the Coast to Coast, three segments of the Pennine Way and the entirety of Hadrian’s Wall Path, we have walked 165 miles. Not bad for two old guys.

 


 
1. John Stults with his granddaughters. (Lisa Stults, July 2023)

2. Stan Jones: Rode up a Colorado classic climb today: Lookout Mountain in Golden. 1500 feet gained in 5 miles. (July 2023)

3. Dave Ruddock with a bevy of young'uns at the Atlanta Zoo. (July 2023)

4. Paul Kent celebrating his 70th with one of his granddaughters. (Victoria Seibert, July 2023)

 


 

 

5. Jim Hartney: Started the 4th at our local flying club flipping pancakes at the annual fly-in. Finishing at our dock with our contribution to the Keuka Ring of Fire. Summer in the Finger Lakes is grand! (July 2023)

6. Bill & Lori Buchta commemorating their 40 years together. (Maggie Ann, July 2023)

7. Don Byers (Left): Had a great "cousins day" with my cousins!! (July 2023)

8. Bill Murray: Some of the Great Granchildren that came to Mother's 90th birthday yesterday! I love children! (July 2023)

 


 

 

9. Hugo Posey (At Lexington): I’ve been touring the country off and on since I retired from business seven years ago… This most recent trip was to finally explore the northeast corner of this great country… I headed to Plymouth to visit the spot where the pilgrims came ashore so many years ago. Plymouth proved to be a very pleasant little town full of shops and restaurants and the replica of the Mayflower is impressive to say the least. From Plymouth it was a short drive to downtown Boston and Bunker Hill. I climbed to the top of the monument there (284 steps) and just tried to imagine what a bunch of ragtag civilians could have been feeling facing off against the forces of that times' reigning superpower. This sense was exacerbated at the village green in Lexington just a few minutes away. How do these progressive yankees not understand what their forefathers fought and died for? (July 2023)

10. Hugo Posey: The next leg of my trip was comprised of driving to Acadia National Park, near Bar Harbor, Maine. I camped just outside the park and enjoyed three glorious days of camping and hiking before continuing on across the forests of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York, stopping for a night outside Lake Placid. Absolutely beautiful country. Forests, rivers, lakes, farmland - all stunning, though I have to admit I couldn't help but wonder "just what would it be like out here during the winter?" (July 2023)

11-12. Dave & Janey Middleton Wallace: Two Spring-like days in Dublin, beginning our Irish adventure. Saw local luminaries in bronze and stone, found The Book of Kells, drank the compulsory Guiness. Yes, it’s better here! (July 2023)

 


 

 

13. Chris & Dave Ehrhart celebrating...something. (Jenny Nguyen, July 2023)

14. Tim O'Connell: Beak to beak. (July 2023)

15. Bob Walden: Just returned from a fun three days flying aerobatics with famed airshow performer Greg Koontz in his Super Decathlon at his private estate near Gadson, Alabama. Greg and Cora were wonderful hosts at their Sky Country Lodge bed and breakfast. Highly recommended! (July 2023)

16. Dave Beatty: Long live the emperor! (July 2023)

 


 

 

17. Stan Jones: Hiked three 14ers today. Democrat, Cameron, & Lincoln. Nearby Bross is still closed for liability issues. (July 2023)

18. '75 reps at the Class of 2027 Jack's Valley March Back, stepping off the bus at the start of the march. (USAFA WebGuy, July 2023)

19. Bill Murray: Soaring...the MOST PURE form of flying! Like grandfather...like grandson! Cleared for takeoff!!! (August 2023)

20. Dave Beatty: This is our friend Nisia, the daughter of our Italian land lady from back in the 1990s when I was stationed with the Sixth Fleet on the USS Lasalle homeported in Gaeta, Italy. My wife took the photo in Sperlonga on our recent European trip. We rented a villa from them not far from where the picture was taken. Tough duty but somebody has to do it! (August 2023)

 


 

 

21. Otto Dieffenbach: At the Radio Controlled Pylon World Championships hosted in the Netherlands. Opening ceremonies yesterday in the rain. All practice is done and I'm flying well so I look to have a good meet. Great group of competitors and having a good time. Really challenging flying these 200 mph planes in traffic around the pylon course. A real rush! (August 2023)

22. Lee Colburn: The Grands at Elitches. (August 2023)

23. Steve Duresky: Nothing better than being their "Pa"! (August 2023)

24. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons: A great time with our family at Disneyland. Making memories. (Jeannine Clemons, August 2023)

 


 

 

25. Mark Volcheff & twin brother Eric celebrating birthdays in Twinsburg, Ohio. (Mary Dwyer Volcheff, August 2023)

26. Ben & Ginny bosma enjoying lunch under iconic yellow umbrellas on Mackinac Island, overlooking the bay from Fort Mackinac. (August 2023)

27. Don Byers (Left) & friend on the beach in Cayucos, California. (Tomio Cesar, August 2023)

28. Bentley & Debra Rayburn with family in Breckenridge, Colorado. (Crissa Ash, August 2023)

 


 

 

29. Rocky & her "Papa" (Bentley Rayburn). (Crissa Ash, August 2023)

30. Dave & Linda Beatty: Europe D+4. Matt and Vanessa took us to a Napoleonic reenactment at the Château du Plessis-Bourré. Great fun. They were basically reenacting the 1795 invasion of France by some Brits during the Vendee Revolt. So revolting peasants, cannon, cavalry, infantry, even the “official” Great Man himself put in an appearance… when I went to put my arm around ‘Napoleon’ his handler had the audacity to slap it down! (August 2023)

31. Dave & Linda Beatty at an undisclosed location. (August 2023)

32. Oleh Stefaniuk seemingly enjoying retirement in Florida. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, August 2023)

 


 

 

33. Ben & Ginny Bosma with their grandson on parent's day at Tecumseh High School. (Chris Bosma, September 2023)

34. Michael Heil: Happy Labor Day from the Cleveland Oktoberfest. (September 2023)

35. Kurt Bock & family. (Rebecca Lyon, September 2023)

36. Bill Bucta's grandson in stunned disbelief at his grandfather's antics. (Claire Buchta Rosean, September 2023)

 


 

     
 

37. Jeff Chappell & friend Jill on the Lake Blanche trail, Utah. (September 2023)

 

 


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