December 2023          Foster Bitton

Trophy Finds Its Way Home: On 18 August, Brian Duffy, Mark Volcheff, Robert “Trayls” Traylor, and Mark “Tap” Tapper (’80) surveyed the hallowed grounds of the Eisenhower Blue Golf Course and vowed that before the sun set on the terrazzo that day, the coveted Colorado Tri-Service Academy Annual Golf Championship trophy would once again find itself in Air Force hands. The conditions were brutal. The temperature was in the mid-80s, the sun kept getting in the players’ eyes, and the wind took the day off; and yet the lads were undeterred. They weren’t playing for just a trophy; they were playing for truth and justice and the natural order of the universe. For despite the seemingly innocent designs of graduates of other institutions that proudly proclaim nearly two centuries of tradition unhampered by progress, the reality was that they were invaders on Air Force soil, intent on taking something which the gods overseeing the order of the heavens deemed long ago to belong to Air Force custodians. Mark ripped long drives, as he is wont to do, that players twice his size could only dream of. Brian and Tap tag teamed from the fairways and always gave the team a shot at birdie or better, and Trayls contributed as the clutch player with the crucial short game. When the smoke and dust settled, the team had shot 18 under par, and the prizes for lowest score by a pure all-grad team from a single academy, and for low net overall, were theirs. The trophy was once again firmly in Air Force hands. Well done, lads. We can all sleep well knowing stability has been returned to the cosmos for at least another year.

Ben Phillips was inducted into the AF Athletics Hall of Fame in September. After 50 years Ben still holds the USAFA water polo records for goals, assists and points. 

Scott and Cindy Hammond recently adopted Anne Bonny Pirate of the Carolinas. Bonny is an Australian Shepherd and will spend the next few months using her high dog IQ to train Scott and Cindy to meet her expectations. As all Aussie owners know, she will only shed twice a year, (January through June, and July through December) and she’ll be the star student in obedience school, immediately followed by uncanny displays of selective memory.

Kevin Burns has officially left the building. He retired from federal service on 30 Sep. It’s about time. Welcome to the land where pickleball rules, trips are unhurried, and naps are mandated.

Remember watching a documentary on baby sea turtles trying to make it from the nest to the sea before a horde of ravenous predators descended upon them and cut their journeys short? Do you also remember feeling helpless watching that documentary from your overstuffed recliner and wondering why someone with a heart bigger than your Grinch-sized unit wasn’t doing something to help the young turtles? Enter James and Lee Anne Foreman. They are volunteer members of the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST), which is dedicated to increasing the odds of survival for baby sea turtles near the Outer Banks. Even if the baby turtles make it to the ocean, the temperature of the water can be so cold that it stuns the hatchlings. James and Lee Anne and their fellow volunteers spend several nights of the hatching season to monitor the status of the turtles and ensure the ailing ones are taken to a rehabilitation center. As James wrote, “Loggerhead hatchlings making their way to the sea are more amazing than any noon meal formation!”

Marty Stytz recently gave a seminar on quantum computing in Adelaide, Australia. While he was there, he also visited Sydney where he dropped in on a sports bar by the Sydney Opera House and found an Air Force Academy pennant attached to the wall. Lesson learned: if you’re thinking of traveling across the world to leave a USAFA memo as evidence of the long reach of airpower, you can delete Australia from your list of places to conquer.

As the Class of 2025 nears graduation, we can expect more events to occur in which we, as members of their Legacy Class, will be invited to attend. So far we have an excellent track record in this regard. A member of the AOG staff recently wrote: “The Class of ’75 has the largest attendance at any milestone dinner since I’ve been at the AOG in four years. I am blown away by how many of you are attending such a momentous occasion. Thank you!” Come to think of it, “Most Support by a Legacy Class” would be a worthwhile title to carry around, and it would provide an accurate portrayal of the members of the class with the highest attrition rate. By the way, if you say “Class of 2025” within earshot of any of its members, you will be greeted with a healthy retort of “Psycho.” It’s (probably) not an indictment of you, it’s just the class nickname, and a catchy one at that.

GBNF: Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrere, CS-18. Ted Stallone, CS-11. Buck Rogers, CS-19.

More information about our GBNF classmates, and extended stories and photos can be found in Checkpoints Plus at 75bestalive.org.

 


Ben Phillips being inducted by LtGen Clark

 


Wayne Willis, Walt Pekarsky, Ben Phillips,
Tom Calhoun, & Larry Fariss
(Photo courtesy of Wayne Willis)

 


Scott & Cindy Hammond with Bonny

 


James & Lee Anne Foreman
standing guard near the Outer Banks

 


Marty Stytz's documentation of USAFA
in Australia



Checkpoints Plus


Jim Dearien: I was able, along with 13 or 14 others, to attend both the ring ingot meltdown ceremony and the commitment dinner for our legacy class of 2025, PSYCHO!!

Apparently each class now has a nickname, and that’s theirs, PSYCHO, which they yell out each time someone says, Class of 2025, much to the chagrin of ’75er Mike Matte, who gave the keynote address. At first it seemed to scare Mike,
as nobody told him about it. But then it just became normal, as normal as anything going on at USAFA

It would be nice if we could, as a class, be more involved in this process, but it seems that communications are difficult. Having said that, some of the AOG personnel, who organize a lot of these events, are amenable to giving us more timely information for those events that any of us may have an interest in.

The photo is of me, Mike Matte, keynote speaker, and a few 2025’ers. The tall one is a nephew of Steve Rodman from our class.



Jim Dearien, Mike Matte, & Class of '25 reps

Joe May: Hi Foster! First of all, thanks for being the class scribe, bestscribecalive. I had no idea what you have to put up with according to your article but I did enjoy reading it. Walt Burns, Jack Barton, me, and our spouses visited the American Cemetery in Normandy on September 17th while on a cruise of the Seine River. As you probably know it was quite an emotional event.



Walt Burns, Joe May, & Jack Barton

 

 

Kevin Burns: Foster, thanks for doing all you do for ’75. I retired from federal service to USAF on 30 Sep 2023, which between Active Duty, government support contractor, and Civil Service makes it just over 52 years from our start on 5 Jul 71. Randy Barrett and Stan Siefke were in attendance at the final Celebration and can vouch that I’m really gone. Dom Paparella was also there representing ’74.

The first photo is from a wing leadership afternoon ceremony and dinner get-together (riding in a limo no less) they threw for my wife and me on 27 September.

The other is from a Celebration Party my wife Debi and I threw for her 70th birthday and my retirement on 5 October.

My outgoing write-up to my friends and colleagues is below:

Esteemed colleagues and friends,

Friday will be my last day in service to this exceptional nation and, more specifically, to USAF. I did not want this week to completely get away from me, so I am sending this out a few days early.

My first day in service, seemingly more like “indentured servitude” at the time (lol), was when I walked up from the base of the Ramp at USAFA on 5 July 1971 as a basic cadet – yep, 52 years and a handful of months ago. It has been a rewarding, exciting, and at times, wild ride since then. Truth be told, I really wanted to be a pop music star (think John Denver...), but with no voice or musical skills to speak of, I have no regrets that I took this alternative path.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together, and it was your dedication, motivation, encouragement, humor, and enthusiasm for accomplishing a mission collectively larger than us all that got me through the tough times and helped me really savor the good times.

Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you in your future endeavors (yea, this Joint thing really matters).

And remember, of USAF’s three Core Values – Integrity, Service, Excellence – official USAF position aside, the greatest of these will always be Service.

With my greatest respect and admiration, Kevin.



Kevin & Debi Burns

 


Kevin & Debi

 


Kevin & Randy Barrett


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate


 


Minutes

 


Mortuary Affairs Briefing

CAS met tonight (17 October 2023) at Doolittle Hall; typical attendance of about half of the total grad class CAS rep membership.

a. We had a detailed briefing on services provided by USAFA Mortuary Affairs by Janet Edwards, who has been serving/working in this capacity at USAFA for 30 years! My take away, for classmates interested in or planning to be buried at USAFA cemetery...get all the information you can as soon as you can, because (while Janet's team handles most of the essentials), there are still choices to be made (best in advance) about burial arrangements, service options, and the like which should be discussed within our families, clarified with Janet's team and considered/decided. Overview briefing will be supplied with the CAS minutes. A website reminder will be published in the formal CAS minutes, where grads can get the details to apply to their own preferences/planning. There are some snares and traps along the way for certain things, and preparation is very important. Note: Janet is willing to try and schedule a briefing to our class during our 2025 reunion, if we are interested.

b. AOG board has decided to reduce in person meetings to 3 per year and to hold a fourth meeting strictly virtual. CAS has tentatively decided to continue to meet quarterly for the next year. Board continues to work towards improved engagement with as many grads as possible, under all grads are members arrangements.

c. Navierre Walkowicz of AOG staff and Sara Hannen of AOG staff briefed the new Long Blue Line Portal as a grad meeting and information exchange mechanism on the web. Many benefits to this; check it out (all members should have received notice of the stand-up of this site...I must admit I haven't had time to explore it yet, personally). Try it and let me (or AOG) know what you think! Bill and Marty, I'm going to talk more to Sara about possible ways to connect this portal to our class websites...to explore 'art of the possible' and potential benefits. Will keep you posted.

d. CAS discussed reunions. '73 (AJ Ranft, reunion chair is also their Senator) is doing de-brief on how the reunion went tomorrow; general reports were positive; they had 800 attend!!! AJ has offered lessons learned to us...and (again) will be passed on to our TBD 2025 reunion chair.

Those are the meeting high points. Per usual, let me know if you have quesitons/comments.

Bruce,
Your CAS Rep

 

Album


 

1. David Beatty: Watching the eclipse from my backyard! The clouds parted just long enough to see it! God is great! (October 2023)

2. Eric & Elizabeth Rosborg: Happy day Sunday at Matthew and Molly's wedding!! (October 2023)

3. Ben & Ginny Bosma: 48 years. (October 2023)

4. Jim Marshall with a little scholar. (Kelley Vannoy, October 2023)

 


 

 

5. Paul Kent: A chilly but pleasant Autumn hike near Mt. Ranie rwith good furry friends. (October 2023)

6. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons: Happy Halloween! With our sweet youngest grandkids. (October 2023)

7. Eric Rosborg: I was very happy this Veterans Day week to dedicate a memorial plaque at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School. The plaque honors Brigadier General Graham Shirley, the first Prep School graduate to become a USAF General Officer. General Shirley was a terrific mentor and friend to me. The group includes from left, the narrator, Cadet Candidate Granillo, Mr. Steve Sullivan, who was General Shirley's RF-4C back seater in Vietnam, Mrs. Shirley, me, Colonel Ted Schwarz, who worked for Gen Shirley at the Pentagon and as an F-4E Squadron Commander (my former commander) and the Commandant of the Prep School, Colonel Cornelius. (November 2023)

8. Charlie & Sherry Calender Simmons: Had a wonderful time relaxing at the Villa Del Palmar in Loreto, Mexico. The resort and surrounding area were so beautiful! Spending time with old, dear friends, Kim & Jim Corrigan, was just what the dr ordered! Our friendship goes back 50+ years, so we reminisced with big, belly laughs, & made some sweet, new memories. We loved every minute! (Sherry Calender Simmons, November 2023)

 


 

 

9. Dan & Elizabeth Burkett. (November 2023)

10. Ted & Nancy Thompson at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park. (November 2023)

11. Gerry & Judith Buckley-Conticchio celebrating Thanksgiving with family. (November 2023)

12. Bruce Hevey & family celebrating at daughter's cheer-leading competition. (Angela Dupont-Hevey, November 2023)

 


 

 

13. Brian Duffy & family celebrating...we think. (Julie Brown, November 2023)

14. Back-Seatter Steve Duresky: Nice of Santa to let us visit his Florida OL (Operating Location) with the grands! Warmer than that one up at the North Pole. (December 2023)

15. Jim Hartney: Dinner at our favorite local restaurant (Rose Tavern, Canadaigua, NY)…celebrating one week’s recovery from second back surgery. Maureen has been a huge help! (December 2023)

16. Don Byers & basketball-player grandson analyzing a recent game. (Jennifer Lawton, December 2023)

 


 

 

17. Mike Heil: I was pleased to join my friend Jim Christopher in a whirlwind tour of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force earlier this week. I had the honor of joining legendary fighter pilot and ace Robin Olds for an adult beverage at the Fly Wright WPAFB Officers Club annex back in the 80s. Glad to see his F-4 on display at the museum. (December 2023)

18. Bill Spencer: Train up a child in the way he should go, and then when he is older he can help you with the Christmas mice. (December 2023)

19. Charlie Simmons, Bill Murrary, & Ollie Lorenz at the North Texas Association of Graduates Christmas Party. (Bill Murray, December 2023)

20. John Kambourian: With my two beautiful darling daughters at Disney World. (December 2023)

 


 

 

21. Bob Hickcox & family, Thanksgiving. (Trish Bateman, December 2023)

22. Jim & Emily Marshall with one of their many grandchildren. (Kelly Vannoy, December 2023)

23-24. Bruce Fritzsche presiding over the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony at the USAFA cemetery. (Trevor Cokley, USAFA, December 2023)

 


 

 

25. Randy Caraway (Left) at a Christmas get together with friends and family. (Victoria Gallenberg Warner, December 2023)

26. Nana & Big Dog (Sandy Terry) at Ballet Arizona's Nutcracker. (Lauren Monnett, December 2023)

27. Dave & Patti Ruddock with family at Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. (Erin Collins, December 2023)

28. Bill Murrary, Larry Fariss, & Larry's son JD celebrating the Air Force victory over JMU at the Armed Forces Bowl. (Bill Murrary, December 2023)

 


 

 

29. The current state of the hotel and visitor's center under construction at the North Gate (USAFA AOG, December 2023)

30. Barry Abbott: Visiting our Marine, Clint, in 29 Palms, CA. Merry Christmas! Cheers! (December 2023)

31. Mike Matte & family. (Marty Dolan, December 2023)

32. Eric Rosborg: Merry Christmas from the Rosborg family at Birch Ridge Lodge!! (December 2023)

 


 

 

 

 

33. John MacDonnell and family. (Joanna Whitmarch MacDonnell, December 2023)

34. Rick & Pauline Kim: The twins were excited for their Pokémon toy. (December 2023)

 

 


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