Checkpoints 2009               Paul Kent

March 2009

1975 Hours. Local Time. Dec 30, 2008. We toasted JT.  "Here’s a toast to our classmate JT Wolter, Gone But Not Forgotten. He is sorely missed. Until our Rejoin !! Here, Here !!!" JT Wolter was laid to rest Dec 30th. Bentley Rayburn notes JT had been in the hospital for a couple of days fighting a serious illness and it was just too much for him. He is survived by his wonderful wife, Meg, and their two great kids, David Wolter and Lindsey Wolter Elliot.

Larry Bryant, Mark Wells, and Mark Volcheff were able to attend JT’s graveside service at the USAFA cemetery. It was a very small gathering, since the memorial was later at the church. As the winds had been howling, most of the service was held in the new, glass-enclosed facility erected for just such occasions when the weather makes being outside miserable. Mark Wells presented the flag to Meg after the color-guard folded it with great care. Larry gave our Class condolences to Meg and told her about the toast at 8:15 pm (1975 hrs). She seemed touched and pleased that we plan to remember JT that way. For those who did not know JT well, he was a Christian man of great faith.

The 1975 Hours Toast elicited some email responses: Dean Spraggins, in the Black Hills: JT's memory is well served. from Bill Murray: At 8:15 PM tonight CST at the AOG Fund Raiser for the Armed Forces Bowl tomorrow, Terry Young, Jack Shine and I raised our glasses in memory of JT........He was a good man who had a good attitude and lived a memorable life. We will pray for Meg. From Dave Clough: Here’s a toast to our classmate JT Wolter, Gone But Not Forgotten. He is sorely missed. John Quattrocki To all: It is 1975 hrs in Falls Church, Va. to JT and every other member of the Class, who has left us too soon.

The Scribe also toasted JT, who was in my doolie squadron, RebEleven, with me. My wife and both kids were with me for the Toast, in Hawaii, at Bellows AFS, celebrating our 20th Anniversary. An interesting scenario developed for the scribe about 30 minutes before the appointed toast time. While putting on some water socks to take a walk on the beach, I felt a sharp pain in my toe. Quickly removing the shoe, a large centipede emerged. I'm assuming JT arranged that so I wouldn't forget to toast. Till we meet again, JT: Here, Here.

Per the request of our class president, and originally suggested by Fred Whitican: Wherever 2 or more classmates are gathered (in person or by phone), let us raise a toast to our fallen brother at an appointed time in the evening at 1975 hours (8:15 PM) your local time. Additional times suggested to toast – but for ALL our departed brothers: at our annual Dark Ages Party; 4 June every year; also on 5 July every year: “Here’s a toast to our classmates, Gone But Not Forgotten. They are sorely missed. Until our Rejoin!! Here, Here!!”

Classmates.  Jim Carlson met up with our contingent in the Houston area: Chuck Willis, Dan Woock, Mike Matte. JC was able to contact Ed McCollum, one of our long-lost and had a good catch-up chat. You might know that Ed went Navy right after graduation along with Mark Lenci, Jerry Manthei, and Al Nash. Jim Carlson also attended a mini-reunion in Phoenix on Election eve. Rich Chanick graciously invited classmates to a rooftop margarita-and-shrimp warm-up at his top story home in Phoenix (a home site he shares with John McCain down a common hallway). We had dinner at a nearby sports bar and had a great evening as the photo attests.

Our classmate Dennis Mellen had a very serious heart attack while mountain biking in the foothills east of Seattle. He was very fortunate in that he was aided by a good Samaritan. Dennis spent about a week in the hospital. Update from the scribe: I had lunch yesterday with Chris Glaeser and Denny. I grilled Denny about his "bike ride" probably more than he wanted to, but I found the details very interesting: a seemingly healthy and physically fit grad with low cholesterol, who has a heart attack on his regular bike ride. Denny also volunteered that he apparently holds some kind of record for the number of times being "paddled" with a defibrillator for a single event. We're glad he is still with us.

Jim Carlson had another mini-reunion in Ft. Lauderdale with Bill Caskey and Mark Modrich. Mark owns a DeLorean (one of 6,500 to still exist today). Mark drove it to the restaurant – and for a moment, Carlson was Marty McFly. Gary Oreshoski was reassigned to Rapid City. From John Venable in Australia: I have more time now than I've had in a while, as I've finished my job as Head of School a while back, have just finished my marking for the semester/year and have next semester off from teaching for a sabbatical. I'll be spending part of my sabbatical next year in the USA.

From Jim Carlson: I just got back last night from my Thanksgiving trip to Croatia and other Balkan countries. I took our 75 Class Guidon and displayed it in 4 of the 5 countries I visited. I’m planning to make a few more of the class guidons for you guys to take pictures of in each of the States, and overseas locations. I think we can get a good photo collection together by the time our 35th reunion rolls around in 2010. From Paul Lotakis in Seattle: I picked up Carlson at his hotel and after some admin duties, we arrived at RockBottom promptly at five. We knew there would be a latecomer or two, so we just took over the back bar area. Jim regaled me with stories of Croatia interspersed with Best Alive Lore. Tom Kemp and Denny Mellen showed up.

Dark Ages Party.  In what seems to be an escalating social occasion, as this column deadline approaches, the annual DC area Dark Ages Party is set for Feb 21st. We'll report fully next column. The DC contingent was joined last year by a good size group in Colorado Springs and a well-intentioned spontaneous group in Seattle. Expect the participation to grow. Possibly to Perth, Australia, where John Venable, our International POC, lives. (although only John will be present). Still!

June 2009

Dark Ages Parties. Feb 21. Around the World. True, the only known DAP outside the CONUS was the Perth, Australia Chapter with a membership of one, but John Venable called DC to say “Things are good here, nice summer day . . . thinking about our GBNF.” So next year will be the 2nd Annual International USAFA 75 Dark Ages Parties. Jim Carlson's DC Report: We had a fantastic turnout at the 9th Annual 75 DAP! Theme was Mardi Gras (with beads and masks on the tables). Apologies if I missed anybody in the list below – 52 attendees (31 classmates, 2 no-shows): Akers, Anderson, Awtrey, Braun, Bready, Burns, Carlson , Charlton, Colley, Cox, Davis, Ellis, Gray , Gunther, Hargrove, Henney, Manthei, Marino, May, McCorry, Miglin, Piotter, Rhoads, Saenger, Schmitt, Smith, Soto, Sullivan, Waters, Webber, Young. (Gallery Below)

Puget Sound: (five classmates and three spouses: Paul Kent, Mike Garrett, Paul and Michelle Lotakis, Chris and Karen Glaeser, Denny and Heidi Mellen) called in (to DC) to co-celebrate, but all they heard were loud, boisterous cheering (75 Best Alive) and some unintelligible shouts (just like last year!). The scribe notes: our event was organized by Chris Glaeser, and Paul Lotakis led us to toast our GBNF. BTW, Lotakis' new Alaska Airlines seniority number: 75. Cool. Jim Burling: The Colorado Springs DAP had a good turnout with great food, drinks, and camaraderie!

Rick Douglas sent a photo postcard in a misbegotten attempt to be recognized as an official class DAP in Hawaii. Jeff Chappell from Salt Lake City: Wayne and Amy Willis, Jeff and Theresa Chappell, and John and Nance Kearns. “We may not compete with the big boys in DC for size, but we had a good time anyway.”

Retirements. Two more USAF 1975 Flag Officers hang up the blue suit. Bill Schuessler and Bob Knauff. Our '75 Generals page is complete. Mike Crider sent in his photo and all is well. Charlie Beadling has outlived the career of the Minuteman III missile at the Academy! He hung up the uniform after a very distinguished career in military.

Classmates. Very sad news from Randy Powell: My son was killed in a single car auto accident. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery. Bill Murray: I was in Phoenix and hooked up with my old roommate, Jerry Cooke. He's a Capt for United Airways and has 5 Grandchildren with one on the way. I'm envious. John Sims: should be moving to live with my daughter in Vegas. Peter Blatchley: We've been here in Ramstein since January 07. I'm "back in the Air Force" as a Civilian Employee, and will return to Colorado in January 2012. Scott Smith: Our Class Flag made it to Jerusalem. What an experience. I fulfilled a lifelong dream. Happy to have the Class of '75 along with me.

Jim Eken: This week I received the '75 Guidon here at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. Will work a photo op with a camel or two! Best Alive. Mike Anderson: I signed on with Chugach Alaska Corporation. My last day on Capitol Hill was March 31st. Cars That Fly and Classmates that Fly (Drive) Them. You can check it out at: Phil Meteer is the test pilot.

Photo Requests and Responses from our Classmates Who Don't Think They Ever Went to the Zoo. To grant you relief from the "Carlson-Classmate-Harassment Program" with regard to photos, here is a note from Jim Burling with his own fervent appeal: I was talking to Mike Anderson the other day, and he said something to the effect that since he was in none of the pictures, it's hard for him to prove he was even there at the zoo at all! My response was, "Mike, these photos are a result of classmates sending them in to Bill Estelle when he called for them a few years ago (before the last reunion). So, if you didn't send in any photos of your smackwad self, of course no one is going to see any indication in this picture collection that you were ever at the Academy!"

Well, now is another chance for those who sluffed off the last call. Pack up those negatives, slides, and pictures and send them to Bill. Especially GBNF. He is putting together the FINAL DVD of our class commemorating our time there at the zoo. It's now or never. Then Gernot Pomrenke chimes in: I have the same comments as Mike Anderson. I do not know why I'm on your email list since there is no photo proof that I was ever at USAFA ... at least according to the class DVD. Carlson responds: Gernot, But since my visit to your office a few years back, at least I know you exist! You must've been one of those "terrain-following-low-profile cadets" LPTFC (like me). Back from Gernot: Actually I was a HIGH-profile cadet – I lived and slept on the TOP floor of the library (6th floor, I believe) when I was not in the gym fencing. Then Gil Braun: Some of us are not avoiding sending in pictures ... we simply don't have them. I doubt there are more than a handful of pictures ever taken of me while I was there at the zoo (other than my officer photo, for which Gen Vandenberg gave me "12 and 8" because my tie was crooked).

Admin and The 35th Reunion Coming Up in Fall 2010. All from Jim Carlson: Our reunion is about one year away. We won't actually even be able to fix the date until the Football schedule comes out (March 2010?). But we can start preparing all the other things that go into making a great reunion. Anyone with the desire, energy, and wherewithal should roger up. Submit your nominations to Dave Herlong, who has graciously accepted my request to tally your votes. Admin: We now have 402 classmates registered on ZoomieNation (Now Defunct). The nearest class in membership is '87 with 112 members. My goal as your class prez is to get 75% classmate profiles up and 75% of you old farts to show up at the 35th reunion. If that happens, the Class of 75 will be remembered for more than its historic and staggering 48% attrition! Dave Clough, CS-36 Pink Panthers POC: Pink Panthers have all 15 graduated classmates on ZoomieNation. Challenge from the scribe: The fifth person to read this column and respond correctly to the scribe: "Who is our oldest graduate?" will receive absolutely nothing material except a verification and a confirmation that somebody actually reads this column. Let me know. I'll get back to you.

DC Area Dark Ages Party          21 February 2009


16. Jim Carlson: The mouse pad presented to Joe May has his squadron patch temporarily superimposed in the photo. The mouse pad used for the photo op actually has a photo of your class president imbedded in it (and your president does NOT pass them out to everybody on the metro train to work, nasty rumors to the contrary!). 

17. It was later discovered that an interloper joined the class group photo. I find no classmates named Dover in my roster (see inset attached).

18. The thumbnail of Awtrey and Schmitt playing pool are from the 2006 DAP and coincidentally shows the once and future DAP commandants.  

19. Bill Davis had to depart before the class group photo, thus his head was added later to complete the set. The small placard your class president is holding (from Dean Cox) in the class group photo says, Illegitimi non Carborundum.  

Epilogue: Chappie Hargrove RON’d at the Carlson western Virginia outpost and bunkhouse. As when Marc Isabelle stayed overnight, Chappie and Carlson were up until 0300 regaling each other with stories of lives past. Marc claims to have had intense dreams of BCT and doolie year after his stay at Carlson’s outpost and fears recurring nightmares. I haven’t yet heard from Chappie about the after-effects of his ordeal.

September 2009

Classmate Updates.  From Bentley Rayburn: Great news for our country, for our Air Force and for the Class of 75! The Senate confirmed Lt Gen Douglas M. Fraser for appointment to the grade of General. From Gary Whitfield: Seven of us had the honor and pleasure of attending SOUTHCOM Change of Command for General Doug Fraser in Miami last week. And Major General Eric J. Rosborg retired.

From Chris Glaeser: Karen and I have recently decided to embark on another adventure. I accepted a position with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As a result, we have been very busy disengaging from our house in Renton, Washington and moving to Montreal in Quebec, Canada. From Jim Hartney: Am passing along a picture of the ever elusive Mark Gilliam and me. The pic is from the 10K in Richmond. We done good: 48 mins flat. He drug me through most of it, as he always did when running the Academy roads in our Converse basketball shoes! From Chuck Schmitz: I’m back [from Iraq]. I'm still in the Guard, at least 1 year to go. The scribe was flipping through his local newspaper when he saw a picture of Denny Mellen presenting a community award to the Good Samaritan who administered CPR to Denny while bike riding hillside trails last fall. The other biker most likely saved Denny from being a too-early GBNF.

From Phil Saenger: This is me, with my wife retired Col. (Dr.) Arleen Saenger, between us is our 2009 USAFA grad Samantha and on my left her older sister, Kristen. Kristen swore her in, Arleen and I pin on her new rank. Sam starts pilot training at Sheppard AFB after summer leave. (see the pic, with lots of others, online at ZoomieNation (Now Defunct) shortly after this printed version arrives). From Tom Fraley: I nearly choked on my little chocolate donuts at breakfast this morning when I was reading the Stars & Stripes newspaper. I see this gigantic picture of Dick Webber smiling at me. He's been appointed the USAF cyber commander. We all know Dick is a tremendously talented individual, and he also must have a great press agent as most general officer announcements only get a couple of paragraphs and no picture. From Dave Wallace: Had the pleasure of attending USAFA Change of Command. Lt Gen Mike Gould, '76, assumed command from John Regni, '73.

Wendell (Smokey) Bauman sent in a belated report of a very serious accident he had in February while attempting to dismantle a tree-stand chain mount after hunting season. His is recovering slowly, but he is very lucky to still be with us.

A lot of class pride is being focused on Steve Marino's rising PGA-star son. Considering the number of frustrated golfers (scribe included) in our class, the younger Steve’s accomplishments got our attention. From Ed Sienkiewicz: Congrats on young Steve's tie for 5th at the Zurich Classic. From Bill Murray: Just a note to tell you that I wondered over to the Bryon Nelson yesterday with one goal in mind: finding the son of our classmate Steve Marino! And I did it! I wandered up to Steve (6 ft 180lbs and bearded). I explain that I was a classmate of his Dads at USAFA and his eyes light up. He asks my name and we exchange casual conversation. I ask him if he wouldn’t mind signing my hat. He asked his caddy to grab the sharpie and signs right by Freddy Couples. I’m retiring the hat.

The June 4th Rolling Toast.  Jim Carlson Reports:  We had another first for an Academy class at our 34th anniversary since graduation. We had a 2 1/2 hour "rolling toast", care of classmate Bob Miglin. We raised a glass to our Gone But Not Forgotten classmates. Our C-Springs group came out en masse and showed amazing class spirit, 34 years on! To the best of my abilities (which means I'm going to leave out some names inadvertently)(left to right) Jeff Neumann, Jim Carlson, Scott Hente, Bruce Mitchell, Gary Jewell, Jim Burling, Gary Shugart, JD Barrowclough, Steve Morris, Mark Volcheff, Bill Spencer, Dale Meyerrose, Lee Colburn, Larry Bryant, Jim Eken, Mark Wells, John Loucks). Not pictured, but present at some point: Phil Pearce, Dan Chapman. Not pictured, but met up with: Bill Estelle (with whom I stayed), and Jerry Battazzo.

Other reports: From Duane Lodrige: Bud Calloway and I will be toasting from the cowboy bar in Jackson, Wyoming. From John Venable: Greetings and salutations '75 overseas classmates - from Finland! From Bill Lyerly: Greetings from Panama City, Panama. From Bill Davis: I'll be at 38,000 ft over West Virginia at 1975 hrs tomorrow (headed west towards San Diego). Note to self: remember to toast (with coffee).

Trivia and Our Oldest Grad.  The closing trivia from the last Checkpoints that enquired, "who is our oldest grad" did elicit some feedback, some correct, some close. First out of the gate, about the day the printed rag arrived, was from Rick Benbow: I think it is me sometimes. But my answer is John Cass. (note from scribe: Rick is correct). George Walrond got a little concerned: This is one I do not want to win, but may actually be in the running. I was the old man in our doolie squadron. Close behind me in age is my current boss Ken Schnell. The ZoomieNation electronic post started some conversation. From David Shields: I will guess that the oldest 75 grad is one of the prior enlisted P-school grads. Hard to say which one but I would go for George Cook, John Cass, Scott Arnott or my old p-school roomie, Mike Garrett. One of those should get me the prize. From Bruce Fritzsche: Our oldest classmate is John Cass. A great Math tutor, BTW. From Russell Trinter: My guess on the oldest classmate is George Walrond. From John Loucks: All I know is that Flamer (Dave Fleming) acted like he was the oldest. From Tony Mahoney: Haven't seen an "official" winner, so my money's on Mike Garrett. (Besides, he has a Harley just like mine! An excellent choice, BTW). John Cass verifies “I always thought I was the oldest. 12/23/49.” The oldest grad from USAFA 1975 will turn 60 this year. The rest of us are closing fast. Yikes!

More.  The scribe had to condense 6000 words and lots of pictures to the required 1200 and 3 pics for his July 15th deadline. For “Guidon Guidance from Jim Carlson”, info on the progress of our 35th in 2010, and much more, go to the ZoomieNation Edition of the column (Link Above).

December 2009

General. It may seem to some of us we that are either reminiscing about a previous reunion or planning the next one. By the time you read this, our 35th will be well less than a year away. See the info later in this column. I know Bruce Mitchell and his committee can always use some help, so please contact him if you feel the volunteer spirit.

Classmates. From Jim Carlson: I took the 5 July photos while I was in Anchorage. Hoss Erving, Gary Janelli, and Mark Risi and I had a mini-reunion to celebrate our 38-year friendships and to raise a toast to our GBNF. Mark still has his class bathrobe!

Small World Department: From Cos (Willie Cosby): On Thursday, July 8th, I am out buying milk in my neighborhood at a store I seldom go into. As I am paying I look up and in walks Rich Chanick. I shout his name and he tries to ignore me, but finally comes to his senses and realized someone had really called his name. I force him to our house for a quick glass of wine and then out to dinner with me and my wife, Cynthia. Of course he was buying. From Steve Powers: Last week, as I was about to leave my layover hotel in San Diego, I was surprised to see Captain Bob Farr come out of the hotel to get on the van too. It is indeed a small world.

From Ben Bosma: I attended Rick Townsend's retirement ceremony (Sep 25). Rick was one of only 46 people still in uniform from the 7,600 2nd Lts commissioned in 1975. His retirement was officiated by Mike McClendon, who's words were inspirational and informative. Also there were Lee Monroe, Eric Hoganson, and Fred Whitican. Standing in for Lance Grace was his 2Lt son, Clayton. In a bizarre twist, I've decided to accept a recall to active duty. I'm going to Las Vegas in February to fly Reapers for 48 months. Sometime in February I'm going to gather as many of our classmates together to swear me back in. I don't know if I'll be the "last man standing" in 2013 but I'll bet there won't be many. From Lance Grace: I talked my son into attending the ceremony as a next generation representative of the Class of ‘75. I swore him into the Air Force. I pulled out my uniform that I probably purchased as a Captain almost 30 years ago and hadn't touched for 14 years. They must have been well-built back then because I didn't pop any seams or buttons. Didn't pass out from constricting my breathing either. I changed outfits very quickly afterwards to help get my blood circulating again. Ed and Jan Kasl were there to help celebrate and laugh at the old man.

Mark Holmes is recovering from a broken neck that he can’t actually time stamp. The symptoms intensified in Nov 2008, when he was diagnosed. He’s pretty sure it involved motorcycles. Read his letter in the Unexpurgated Edition (Link Above). Harry Mathis moved to Ramstein last summer. From Max DellaPia (on his promotion): From my standpoint, my brevet [general] promotion was something I was not expecting, an honor that made my retirement a little more special. From Peter Blatchley: We've been here in Ramstein since Jan 07. I'm "back in the Air Force" as a Civilian Employee. From Bill Lyerly: Greetings from Ottawa. I have been TDY overseas and I will be TDY down at USSOUTHCOM next week where I also hope to see Gen. Doug Fraser.

From Bill Taylor: I accepted an offer for the new COO of Vortala. Also, on August 24th, my four kids start school at the same place and location (three in kindergarten, one in the second grade). It's Debbie's birthday, and she considers both events a good present. From Russ Trinter: I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for awhile but I got matched back up with Chumley Collins. I'll dust off the old cheerleading sweater and make sure I still fit into it and start practicing pushups for 2010!!

From Jim Carlson: We had a great ‘75 mini-reunion at the AF-Navy game Saturday (Oct 3rd). It was an edge-of-your-seat tie-breaker in OT. Not the ending we wanted, but what a game! ‘75ers got together at the Duane Lodrige’s tailgate and we were prominent as a class with our turnout. Dean Cox (our Reunion Merchandise chief) brought out the 75 Best Alive banner which he custom made for the class, and we gathered in front of it for the traditional event class photo. A few classmates missed First Call on the photo formation, but their pictures are added as disembodied heads at the foot of the group shot. This is not a complete listing of all ‘75ers there, but here are the ‘75ers present-and-accounted-for in the 75 Best Alive group photo: back row: Al Colley, Terry Young, Don Byers, Duane Lodrige, Willy Drow, Al Bready, Rick Rosborg, Al Piotter, Bob Akers, Mark Wells, Bill Lyerly. kneeling: John Charlton, Rudy Roth, Dean Cox, Mark Beesley, Jim Carlson. floating heads: Bill Dalson, Bruce Hopkin, Mike Heil, Hondo Hartney, Chip Kerby. As always, the most-electronically-and-personally-connected class

The USAFA Endowment, a charitable foundation supporting the United States Air Force Academy, is pleased to announce the latest appointment to its Board of Directors – Brigadier General (Ret) Mark G. Beesley. Just in from Jim Carlson as the scribe asked him for some guidance: “Currently en-route to the port of San Diego for a short cruise with my fiancé Sarah.” Congrats to you, Jim. We hope she is understanding of your true first love (and obligation for life): your dependent classmates. The scribe will print it for the class, even as you know how we already feel: “You deserve the best.”

Reunion 2010. From Bruce Mitchell: a. Our 35th class reunion is a year away! Our planning committee is functioning and preparations are being made for a "record-setting" reunion event (break our reunion attendance record at the 30th). b. Middle two weekends in October 2010 are the target dates, as a function of other reunions and the established protocols of scheduling; we won't know the reunion dates for certain until the 2010 Falcon football schedule is released (April 2010). c. Class web site, AOG web site (next year) and squadron reps chain will be used to disseminate reunion details over the coming months. Reunion registration and pre-event class merchandise orders will be handled via AOG website, ‘75 reunion page (should be active in early CY2010).

2009 Album


1. Jim Dearien and Family.  

2. Russ Snyder and Family: Ce-Ce, Russ, Nici (Cliff’s girlfriend), daughter Holly, Alex (Holly’s boyfriend), son Cliff.  

3. Ric Dahlstrom on the job. (March 2009)

4. Bill Carrothers on the job in Mosul, Iraq.


5. Phil Pearce in Garden of the Gods. (Bill Estelle, April 2009)  

6. Ben Bosma: Beer summit with Lance Grace. We flew F-4s together in NC in the 80s. What a great weekend! (August 2009)

7. Gil Braun & the three Braun boys. (July 2009)

8. Marc Isabelle at the Colleseum, Rome, before being fed to the lions. (October 2009)


9. Marc & Deborah Isabelle down main street in the Forum, Rome. (October 2009)

10. John Kambourian visitng his Alma Mater. (April 2009)

11. Dave Wallace & son Nate riding the rails. (Nate Wallace, August 2009)

12. Dale Meyerrose & Phil Pearce. (Chris Pearce, January 2009)


13. Phil Pearce. (Chris Pearce, November 2009)

14. Dave Wallace with sons Matt & Nate. (Nate Wallace, July 2009)

15. Dave Herlong: Showing Beth my new "office." November 2009