Summer Column–The Sequel. Those of you who came to this site based on directions in the less-than-half-baked column I wrote in the summer edition of Checkpoints, congratulations, you found me. For those mooches that don’t belong to the AOG (read “don’t pay dues”) and just stumbled across this – stop reading until you call in your credit card number and join (really, there’s an embedded virus in here that knows whether you’re a member or not)!
Note that my admonishment is only somewhat tongue-in-cheek; I do feel that membership in the AOG is important not because they provide a forum for my quarterly musings but because they do a lot of important work for the graduate community and for the Academy’s on-going programs. On the other hand I’m starting to wonder if Jim “Napster” Carlson hasn’t improved on the class news thing with his frequent and sometimes voluminous, near-real-time compilations of e-mail “shot-gunned” to everyone on his class e-mail lists. As Jim and I kick this around, would be nice to hear from you folks (the “consumers”) about one versus the other (Checkpoints columns/Jim’s mass e-mailings) or how we might make the two approaches more complimentary.
Hoping That No News is Good News. Haven’t seen any update since April so I’ll assume there’s good news in Bill Thompson’s battle with prostate and colon cancer. At that time he was in chemotherapy and very much focused on overcoming the challenges. A “winning” attitude? Yeah, I’d say so! When his doctor first gave Bill the diagnosis and said that there was probably only a 3% chance of survival, Bill responded that there was more than one “expert” who said he had about that chance of graduation from USAFA and he had proved all them wrong! Let’s all be sending our best wishes and prayers in Bill’s direction and look forward to his exceeding expectations again!
Ascensions and Exits. In the interest of keeping the Checkpoints cycle intact from the Scribe’s point of view, I’m going to ignore inputs that came after mid-June (the original magazine deadline for contributions) – I’m still overwhelmed with material. (Jim’s e-mails, cut and pasted in to a Word document comes to twenty-seven pages!). First the really newsworthy stuff (half of one page) – our class’s star power moved up with the latest BG and MG lists; my old roommate, Dale Meyerrose, has pinned on a second star in his job at USSPACECOM and Mark Beesley (at NORAD), Andy Dichter (at PACAF), Dick Webber (at AFSPACECOM) were all nominated for Brigadier General. Congratulations to all! And big time congratulations to Matt Fong on his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Army!
Not a change of rank but definitely qualifying as an ascension in lieu of an exit is Larry Fariss’ appointment as the new Commander of the Prep School there at USAFA. Larry said his retirement plans were pretty firmed up when the Superintendent gave him the proverbial offer that couldn’t be refused.
It seemed like twenty-five of the remaining twenty-six and a half pages from Jim had to do with retirements! Man, I’m too young to be writing about all these retirements! Names I picked up that I believe have recently stepped over the side: Jon Ball, Jack Barton, Greg Berlan, Bill Caskey (from USAFR), Randy Chapman, John Charlton, Jim Corrigan, Randy Davis, Jim Dill, Bob Dorsey, Jim Eken, Greg Frick, Jim Heald, Dave Hensley, Tom McClain, Rick Odegard, Bruce Patterson, Mark Risi, John Scherer, and Steve Weilbrenner. There were some snippets of data about where they were when they hung ‘em up and/or where they were going but I’m drawing an arbitrary line saying that if there isn’t a personal note to the Scribe, it didn’t happen (on the other hand, if you include a digital photo – you get a headline).
75 Best Aive–And Still Potent! In light of the following, it’s been suggested that we revise the class motto to add an appropriate warning to women of childbearing years. David Hickman saw third child into the world in early May (seventeen years after #2!) Gil Braun was expecting in June, Tom and Ruth Udall were looking forward to birth of a son in July. But the award for "most recent father" isn’t going to gather any dust – Steve Else and Dean Cox are expecting (with their respective wives of course!).
Got Close, Went Fast, Maybe Next Year. A public apology to Lamar Lewis who wrote me a wonderful e-mail from his home in Napa, CA that I got to read (I’ve been traveling a lot) the night before I left for an In-Line Skate Marathon in…. Napa, CA! I won’t try making a bunch of sniveling excuses (you're too tough an audience for that) not the least of which would be that I was very focused on the idea of staying vertical for 26+ miles but I didn’t get to see Lamar this trip. Lamar’s with Southwest and retired from the USAFR (couple of years back). He and Linda have five boys between them – sounds like all are very successful and the eldest made them Grandparents here recently. I hope to enter that race again next June and will hopefully be able to provide a picture of Lamar and Linda (maybe doing CPR on me!) but this year you’re stuck with just me. And for the second column in a row, I can tell you about an on-the-same-flight chance meeting with Jim Marburger; he was on the flight I took going to CA for the race. Jim was going on to Portland to watch some kind of auto race – he looks great and reports all is still well.
Other “Athletic” Endeavors. I think the Honor Code was held in abeyance during Golf Tournament held at Andrews AFB in late May; saw write-ups from several classmates and I think every one of them staked a claim to “Best” something or other. But the real distinction was that ’75 gathered up honors as Class with largest number of entrants! Roy Rice was most eloquent and I think captured the essence of the getting-together-with-classmates thing regardless of the setting:
“Spent 4 1/2 hours talking about careers, jobs, wives, kids… lost class/squadron-mates, BCT/SERE, future plans, nights in jail, women, how lousy we were playing, how close our squadron came to winning Honor Squadron when we were there, classes we tubed, favorite TDYs over our careers, most memorable Cadet memories, least memorable Cadet memories, the upcoming Navy Game tailgate, how lousy we were playing (did I mention that?), reunions, women at the Academy, Brian Duffy, Bentley Rayburn, Ben Martin, dinosaurs on the terrazzo, marching tours, ... typical old-grad-discussions. We could have used some more of you guys there to share in the memories and fun. A GREAT OUTING!!!”
Can't Say Much for Their Choice of Senators But… The state of New York can really pick ‘em when it comes to Air National Guard Commanders. Three of our classmates command flying units in NY (state with the greatest number of ANG Flying Units); Bob Knauff commands the 174th FW (F-16s at Syracuse), Max Della Pia commands the 109th (C-130's at Schenectady – the Antarctic rescue guys, (See Checkpoints Extra, Below) and Bob Marr commands the Northeast Air Defense Sector. Mike Crider is the OG/CC at the 107th (KC135's at Niagara Falls).
Bits and Pieces from Those Still Earning Our Tax Dollars. In no particular order here’s what’s happening with those who are still wearing blue suits; Pete and Eilene Losi are in training at Attaché School; headed to Hungary next summer, they're empty nesters now so they are really looking forward to going. Bill Dalson is by now back from Greece (Air Attaché) and going through language school (Spanish) before heading to the Embassy in Buenos Aires where he’ll be the Defense Attaché. Bill wondered if having a twin-engine Beech rating and fluency in Spanish mike have some applications for BIG money (albeit illegal) employment after retirement. David McDaniel is another Air Attaché guy making an embassy-to-embassy move; for him it’s from Rome to the Hague. Tim Murphy is on his way to be the Defense Attaché for Israel. BG Steve Redmann knows a good thing when he sees it – will be doing a PCA in Hawaii this Summer moving over to be the Commander for JTF-Full Accounting at Camp Smith. Perhaps some of you saw Steve on CNN when, as 15ABW/CC, he was one of the first to welcome the Navy P-3 crewmembers home from China. Our most junior ranking but possibly most persevering classmate Major Harry Mathis has just hit the seventeen year point in his interrupted but restarted career and is on his way to Offutt AFB this Summer. Steve Keen is a Colonel in the AF Reserves at March AFB. Perry Lamy has pinned on his Star and is now part of the HQ AFMC staff. Charlie Heald is at Norfolk in Joint Forces Command. Dave Kovach is on 9AF Staff and despite making 24 trips to the Persian Gulf in the past 23 months is planning to stay till the 30-year point. Terry Kemp is in OSD DOT&E for now – will be retiring next April and returning to Colorado Springs (rejoin wife and daughter). Mike Heil has been named Commandant at AFIT. Hope everyone had the chance to read the nice article on Mark Donnelly and Air Force One in AOPA Pilot magazine. Jim Fellows has departed Ramstein AB to take over as Vice Commander 62AW at McChordAFB.
Odds and Ends from The Jet-Setters. Many of the recently retired are beginning second careers with the airlines or cargo moving folks. Jack Barton was to start training with Fed Ex this Summer – was going to live with Rick Odegard during the training program. Rick (Tug) McGraw has moved to Cincinnati area to be closer to his new job with Delta. Same sort of story for Randy Mason although it’s Dallas and American Airlines. Jed and Cam Vandendries are still in Alaska, Jed retired last year and is flying for Southwest based out of Oakland; their son is a 2 degree.
Bob Heath wrote to say that all was well in Austin, Texas. He’s been retired from the AF Reserve for four years (“haven't looked back once!”) Now an MD-88 Captain for Delta. Kids are all off to college so he and Libby are enjoying some free time (Bob’s playing bagpipes with the Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums, tinkering on his 1940 J-3 Cub and restoring a 1947 Taylorcraft (boat?). I guess that means Libby’s spending all her time being a very tolerant lady!
Duke Buhyoff is with Northwest and relocating back from Hawaii to Marathon Key, FL. Jerry Wallace lives in Sacramento and flies for Northwest Airlines. Eddie Wall lives in Memphis, and flies for Fed Ex. Spence Roberts is also with Fed Ex.
Miscellany on the Rest of Us. Steve Else is Executive Director for his own Center For Public-Private Enterprise (CPPE) in Alexandria and is loving every bit of it (Steve – I have no idea what I just wrote, please provide details). Dennis and Leslie Brooks have moved to a town just outside of Knoxville, TN. Lee Cross retired late last year and returned to Colorado Springs where he’s working for Merrill Lynch. Jim McBride says he’s dabbled in a number of things since he left active duty 19 years ago; now working for a small company in Birmingham, MI. John Koelling is working at NASA Langley Research Center. Frank Christian is living in the Palm Springs area, three kids (two in college this Fall) – said he’s looking forward to seeing classmates at the USAFA – San Diego State game 29 Sep. Frank Garland was working on finishing up the apprentice program to become a PGA Golf Professional at a small course outside Sacramento - “It is a lot like all the AF PME put together, but you pay a total of $3500 for it, do it on your own, and if you fail any exams, they send you home...other than that, it's fun.” Phil Piontek is the Assistant Volleyball Coach for Central Missouri State University. Greg Landolt is retired and working as a contractor in Florida, somewhere around Eglin AFB.
My Conscience is Clear! (Well about writing the class column it is!) Will make every effort to get back into the normal publish-it-in-the-magazine thing for the fall issue. Primary obstacle to that pledge is this quarter’s example of how time flies – my daughter Tiffany, who graduated from Arizona State University earlier this month, is getting married at the end of September. Oh Yeah – It’s Later Than You Think!!!