Reunion Recap: Thanks to an incredible bunch of teamwork, over 230 classmates, Junior College alumni, and many other guests enjoyed a great weekend of camaraderie, war stories, reflection on our GBNF, and a victory over Colorado State. We should take this time to publicly thank the ReunionCommittee: Chairman Bruce Mitchell, registration honchos Mark Beesley and Bill Hughes, merchandise man Dean Cox, videographer Bill Estelle and chief assistant Larry Bryant (and too many contributors to mention, so just watch the DVD), banquet MC Bill “Still a Renegade” Murray (We hear Lieutenant General Gould ordered a special Goon Squad for insubordination. Interesting twist: But for his year at Prep School, the Superintendent would have been our classmate). I know there were others behind the scenes, including many at the Association of Graduates; please forgive me and know that we all appreciate your work. Thanks to all who contributed photos–it was tough whittling down to five–look for more on ZoomieNation; I’m sure most of you have shared them already.
Several squadrons held events of their own. A few highlights:
CS35: Appropriately for our 35-year reunion, the Party Squadron tied for the most attendees (15), and the current CS35 carried our Class Guidon during the march-on, the gold standing out among all the blue. Pictured are Mike Dennis, Tom Kemp, Randy Roberts, Gunnar Ohgren, Ted Thompson, Stan Schoener, Scott Swanson, Dan McCorry, Rich Wilson, Dick Duesing, Rex Hoey, Dave Dyche, Bill O’Keefe, Bob Hickcox, Paul Lotakis
CS-15 War Eagles tied with 15 alumni at a party hosted by Clint and Stephanie Waltman. John Kearns, Charlie Wintermeyer, Clint Waltman, Doug Fraser, Mike Crider, Mark Masters, John Venable, Dave Williamson, Hugo Gray, Terry Duncan, Mike Straight, Jim Eken, Jim Dill, Gary Whitfield, Tom Kocian.
CS20 Trolls: Of the 19 grads, ten made it over to Mike (Vito) and Jan Goyden's house on Sat night: Paul Kent, Brad Lindsey, Tom Peterson, Dave White, Steve Vargo, Steve Eickelman, Charlie Buck, Dave McDaniel, Mike Goyden, John Santner. Steve Keen canceled at the last minute due to medical reasons; his prognosis is good. Paul Kent had both his 19 and 16 year olds along; John Santner had his 16 and 13 year olds. Brad Lindsey had all four of his kids, aged 23, 3, and his 1 year old twins. Charlie Buck, widowed a few years back, brought his new bride. Dave McDaniel, wrapping up his PhD in History at Texas Tech, took the opportunity to visit the Academy History Department, where our own Mark Wells is the Head Professor. Follow-up from Dave White: Ronnie, my "current significant other" is now my fiance...asked her during the reunion, and she said yes! You guys must have really impressed her! Or maybe her standards are even lower than I thought..."
CS29: Tom Barbera reported on their squadron event, attended by Tim Wrighton, Tom Udall, Jack Huffman, Bill Ashcraft, Chris Fillar, Mark Wells, KC Schwarz, Bill Davis, Greg Berlan, as well as the women behind their successes.
Thirsty Third was represented by Mark Lenci, Ralph Paul, Jim Marburger, Don Lewis, Bob Awtrey, Tom McKee, and Mike Ruth. Nooky Niners (can I say that in a family magazine?) had a good showing, starring Dale Meyerrose, Jeff Hackett, Mike Buckley, Kent Traylor, Dave Haugen, Dave Commons, and Ollie Lorenz. Ric Lewallen, Don Byers, Rudy Roth, and Dean Cox had a mini-Baptist Student Union reunion. “The biggest downside of the reunion was not enough time to connect with everyone.”
Roy Rice: Debbie and I made the 30th and promised I’d never miss another. The experience was amazing. Debbie has now met all of my former roommates, including my first roommate in BCT, Mark Holmes, who hugs me and calls me “Brother! The opportunity to assemble with all of our friends/brothers (and their spouses) who shared those experiences from ‘71-’75 (and beyond graduation) made me realize how wonderfully fortunate we were to have lived, worked, played, succeeded, failed, accomplished together. Without sounding too “sappy,” every member of the Class of ’75 (especially CS-33) holds special meaning for me and I feel blessed to call you all my friends. Please, let’s gather again while we still can and renew those bonds we forged 35 years ago that are lasting a lifetime.
Larry Fariss: Our class dedicated a plaque in Falcon Stadium with the names of 30 of our football-playing classmates names engraved for posterity. Among those attending the dedication: Bo Montgomery, Rod Hennek, Bill Murray, Tug McGraw, Dick Webber, Terry Young, Julius Hargrove, Bob Thompson, Bruce Fritzsche, Russ Trinter.
Cheerleaders Russ Trinter and Ollie Lorenz could give remedial training to the current classes, who seem to underappreciate having a team that’s better than 6-4. Terry Young was selected from over 3,000 lettermen to be an honorary captain for the football game. TJ looked stunning in his class football jersey. “The class jerseys looked great from the field level at Falcon Stadium. Several folks commented on our obvious class unity during the game. The jerseys and reunion hats created a stir.” Thanks to Ben Bosma – we hope the exposure is good for business! Any other classes reading this, go to aerovation.com and try to look as good as us.
Doctors, lawyers, Indian Chiefs: Phil Saenger summarized the reunion best: “From talking to fellow ’75 grads I realized everyone follows a different path to success. Great stories. Great fellowship.” Lots of doctors, dentists, lawyers, generals, engineers, professors, visionary leaders, assorted government and industry big shots, elected officials at various levels, and of course all the worker bees who make the other guys look good by doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner. A few examples of the amazing things the members of our class, both graduates and junior college members, have accomplished personally and professionally: Maj. Gen. Dick Webber is the first commander of 24th Air Force, which provides combat-ready forces trained and equipped to conduct sustained cyber operations, integrated within air and space operations. Dave Shoup (USAFA JC) still gets to meet The Bad Guys on a personal level: “Making Afghanistan safe, one Taliban funeral at a time.” Lance Grace represented his company in receiving the Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA, for developing the cleanest wood burning fireplaces in the world: “...the amusing point is that the basis of the design comes from the defense world with work that I've done with IR signature control on land combat vehicles and naval combatants. A year and a half ago, I stated that I could figure out how to present our material in a fireplace if I had three things located in my outdoor kitchen (temporarily converted into my mad scientist lab). Those key items were an instrumented fireplace, a TV remote in one hand and a beer in the other. After three months, lots of fires and loads of beer, I figured it out. So for those of us who have always caught grief from our parents for being a firebug as a child and from our wives for drinking beer through the years, there really was a method to our madness.” I could go on for pages, but this gives a broad view of the range of talents in our class, truly the Best Alive!
Intrepid hikers Jeff Chappell, Chip Kerby, and Mark Schoning carried the Class Guidon to the top of Pike’s Peak in what we hope will be a continuing tradition. It would be fun to have more classmates join us, even just to Barr Camp or up to timberline (the easy part – the last three miles/2600 feet are pretty challenging). The experience and views are incredible, and the company makes it even better.
Too Close for Comfort: Kip Fong had a visit from the Big C and is now in remission; Dean Cox thought his heart attack was just heartburn; Doug Miller’s gall bladder decided to erupt just before the reunion; and Mark Holmes is getting really good at recovering from motorcycle accidents. We are glad you’re all still with us and wish each of you a speedy and complete recovery!
Future Reunion Planning: Records indicate that 10-year reunions are better attended than 5-year events, so let’s bang the drum really hard and get those who have yet to share a reunion with us to start planning now for the 40th. Everyone I’ve talked to who was hesitant about coming but finally attended enjoyed the experience far beyond their expectations. Paul Narzinski perhaps best reflects some feelings of those who have yet to share a reunion with us: “This reunion (my one and only) erased 35 years of pent-up resentment and bitterness towards the old Alma Mater...now I have nothing but fond memories of a group of Great Guys from a Great Class – 75 and Still Alive!” Bonus inducement: Mark Volcheff will release his secret to maintaining dark hair.
In closing, here’s a plug for our 40-year Legacy Program which has a goal of $50,000 that will connect the Best Alive with the Class of 2015. More news to follow from the Class Gift Committee.
The best to all the Best, until next quarter – keep those emails and pictures coming!