Checkpoints          June 2016              Foster Bitton

The Final Frontier.  Classmate and former NASA astronaut Brian Duffy will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 14 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. A public ceremony will be held under the display of the retired space shuttle Atlantis.

"Being selected to be in the Hall of Fame is just absolutely beyond belief," Brian said after being announced as one of this year's inductees. "I am so thankful for being honored for doing what I love, doing what I wanted to do. It is a surprise, but a very welcome surprise for me."

Brian, who was chosen with NASA's 11th astronaut group in 1985, logged more than 40 days in space in the course of flying four missions. On his first two shuttle flights, STS-45 in 1992 and STS-57 in 1993, he served as the pilot of Atlantis and Endeavour on missions to study the effects of the Sun on the Earth's atmosphere and to work on the first commercially-developed Spacelab module.

Brian commanded his second two flights. He led the STS-72 crew on Endeavour to retrieve a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft from orbit in 1996, and then four years later, helmed Discovery for the STS-92 mission to continue assembly of the International Space Station. The latter mission, which delivered and installed a docking port and a segment of the orbital outpost's backbone truss, marked the 100th flight of the shuttle out of the program's eventual 135 total.

Leaving NASA in 2001, Duffy, retired as a colonel, worked on space projects for Lockheed Martin before joining Orbital ATK, where he today serves as vice president and Johnson Space Center manager for exploration systems. He is also the executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, a collaboration between several U.S. aerospace companies.

"I'm very proud of having been part of the past, but it's also great looking forward. The space station is actually the first step in our journey to deep space exploration," said Brian.

To be eligible for consideration, astronauts had to have made their first flight 18 years ago (or earlier), be U.S. citizens trained by NASA for commander, pilot or mission specialist roles, and now be retired from the astronaut corps.

"I'm incredibly honored to be considered among those who inspired me as a child," remarked Brian. "I've watched the human space exploration program since I was seven years old and I remember Alan Shepard launching and thinking how cool it was to get on a rocket. Little did I know that I'd have the opportunity to do the same thing." (This write-up was liberally borrowed from an article published on, written by Robert Z. Pearlman on February 2, 2016.) (Photos 1-8 Below)

Fifteen Minutes of Fame.  Viewers of Bret Baer’s Special Report on April 11th were treated to a clip of Dale Meyerrose explaining that the nation’s system for classifying information is negotiable but not fungible. Many of us have walked on this planet for more than 60 years without using “fungible” in a coherent sentence; Dale used it twice in 20 seconds. That’s probably why he was on national television and we’re ecstatic if we can go more than one day without losing the remote. (Photo 9 Below)

Flying With the Jetstream.  Paul Kent is living the dream. His daughter, Victoria, got married Dec 12 in what he described as “a great affair” at the Maderas Golf Course in Poway, CA. There was no word on whether Paul and the groom got in a round before or after the ceremony, but it’s had to imagine it earning that lofty description if golf wasn’t involved. Paul noted that he was “allowed” to foot the bill for about 190 family and friends. It was largely a family of affair with his wife, Sheri, planning the event, his 94-year-old Mother was in attendance, and his youngest brother officiated the ceremony. Paul admitted to spending most of the time smiling and crying from happiness. He’s retiring from Delta Airlines on May 31 after almost 32 years of commercial flying, and he has a permit to hike the John Muir Trail starting August 12. His personal assessment is that he’s a very, very lucky person, and it’s hard to disagree with him.

Terrazzo Tracks.  Rod Hennek is supporting the AOG Board's Finance and Investment committee. The board often enlists graduate subject matter experts to support their work. Kudos to Rod for lending his expertise to the important job of managing the AOG portfolio.

Murray on the Move.  Bill Murray reported that he visited classmate, Bob Orwig. Bob was an All-State Champion wrestler in Atlanta, GA and then became an All-American Wrestler at USAFA, rising as high as fifth in the nation. He tried out for the 1976 Olympics and also competed in the CISM games in Baghdad in 1979 as the only Air Force competitor on the US military team, where he won two international medals, a gold in freestyle, and a silver in Greco. He claims it’s ancient history, but one man’s history is another man’s news. He also reports that his wife, Linda, is a saint, and that his three children are angels.  Riiight, and the Garden of Eden is just outside his back door. Bob is a PhD and teaches Business Management, Operations, Logistics, and Leadership at North Georgia University. Ergo, we’re talking about a wrestler with a PhD. Is that even legal? (Photos 10-12 Below)

The first ever Class of ‘75 Dark Ages Party in the Dallas metro area was held on February 13th at the Saltgrass Steakhouse in Grapevine, TX.  Attendees included Bill Ashcraft, Bruce Edstrom, Dave Ehrhart, Perry Lamy, Bill Murray, Charlie Simmons, and Jamie Blissit, and their much younger looking significant others. The steakhouse’s menu touted a true blue Texas theme, but it didn’t offer armadillo burritos so its authenticity is still up for debate. Regardless of the restaurant’s real roots, it’s apparent from the picture of the attendees that the Dark Ages are a lot brighter when viewed from a site more than 700 miles southeast of Fairchild Hall. (Photo Gallery Below)


1. YouTube Video of Brian Duffy's induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. 

2. Veteran space shuttle astronauts Brian Duffy and Scott Parazynski were enshrined as the 92nd and 93rd members of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida on Saturday, May 14, 2016. (  

3. 2016 Astronaut Hall of Fame inductee Brian Duffy stands with the plaque that will represent him in the Hall at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. (  

4. Brian Duffy smiles from inside the cockpit of his T-38 jet. (NASA)


5. STS-92 Commander Brian Duffy is helped with final suit check in the White Room before entering Discovery. (NASA)  

6. Astronaut Brian Duffy, STS-92 mission commander, checks his communications head gear during the suit-up phase of an emergency egress training session at the Johnson Space Center's Mission Simulations and Training Facility. (NASA)  

7. STS-92 commander Brian Duffy adds the patch for the 100th space shuttle mission to the International Space Station's wall in 2000. (NASA)  

8. A low-angle view on the aft flight deck of the Space Shuttle Discovery records three crew members and a window scene of the approaching International Space Station (ISS). Pictured are astronauts Brian Duffy (left), commander; Pamela Melroy, pilot; and Peter J.K. (Jeff) Wisoff, mission specialist. (NASA)






9. Dale Meyerrose on FNC Special Report.  

10. Bill Murray & Bob Orwig.  

11. Linda & Bob Orwig.  

12. Bill Murray & Bob Orwig. 

Dallas-Fort Worth Area Dark Ages Party


Perry Lamy: Bill Murray, Dave Ehrhart, and I hosted a DFW Dark Ages Party last weekend [14 February] at the Saltgrass Steak House near DFW airport. We had 7 classmates attend and 11 total. Bill Murray was so proud of the class guidon that he proudly mounted it to the wall. Bill is quite a cheerleader for our class and USAFA. He took all the photos.


1. Bill Ashcraft, Charlie Simmons, Dave Ehrhart, Bruce Edstrom, Perry Lamy, Bill Murray & Jim Blissit. 

2. Dave Ehrhart, Charlie Simmons, Bill Ashcraft, Jim & Olga Blissit, Julie Ashcraft, Sherry Simmons, Perry Lamy & Chris Ehrhart.

3. Dave Ehrhart & Bill Murray.     4. Bruce Edstrom & Perry Lamy.  


5. Dave & Chris Ehrhart.     6. Charlie & Sherry Simmons.     7. Bill & Julie Ashcraft.     8. Jim & Olga Blissit.  


9. Bruce Edstrom & Dave Ehrhart.    10. Charlie Simmons & Bill Ashcraft.     11. Perry Lamy & Chris Ehrhart.

12. Bruce Edstrom, Bill & Julie Ashcraft, Charlie & Sherry Simmons, Dave & Chris Ehrhart, Perry Lamy, Jim & Olga Blissit, with Bill Murray in between.

Checkpoints Extras

Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate          April 2016

Bruce Mitchell attended the AOG Class Advisory Senate Meeting on 11 April. Read the minutes of that meeting HERE

Memorial Day 2016

Larry Fariss: In recognition of Memorial Day, Bruce Mitchell and I will be placing class coins on the gravesites of our fallen classmates interred at the USAFA Cemetery this Friday, 27 May, at 1700 hours. Any of you that wish to participate are welcome to join us for this solemn occasion.


1. The team that placed the coins on the graves of fallen classmates: Bruce Fritzsche, Bentley Rayburn, Larry Fariss & Bruce Mitchell. (Bill Estelle)

4. Dale Meyerrose: As you can see in attached photo, it was a great sunrise. As usual, I had the entire place to myself for over an hour. The coins made it really easy to find everyone. Also visited some old bosses and chased a deer away from eating flowers on Tooey Spaatz' grave. Left by feeling melancholy but blessed by my connection to our former comrades and the life I leave. I've done this every year since we returned seven years ago and planned to do so for as long as I'm able. It's more than an obligation, it's my pleasure. Thanks for putting the coins out on Friday.

30 May 2016

Billy Stephan   Nicely done!

Bill Spencer   Well done. My thanks to all.

David Wallace   Thank you for this poignant Memorial Day post.

Mike DeHart Sr   Good job Dave.

Kurt Bock   Great to remember our own today. Thanks.

Steve Powers   Too many friends, left us far too early.

Mark Holmes   Our common home someday brothers. Appropriate with a view unequalled by any institution, and glad to have shared it with you, those gone and those yet to be interred together. Best Alive!

John Kambourian   Our Band of Brothers; we will never forget!!

Charles Floyd   May they rest in peace. USNA '75, high school classmate of Gary Wayne Whitfield.

Bob Feeney   May they rest in peace.

Donald Byers II   Thanks!!

41st Graduation Anniversary Get Together, 4 Jun 2016


Larry Bryant: On the 41st anniversary of our graduation day, 26 members of the Class of 75 (plus spouses) gathered at the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs to celebrate the memories. Great food and even better fellowship were shared by all. (Photos courtesy of Duane Jones; Complete gallery accessible via link, left)



1. Front Row: Bruce Mitchell, Rex Hoey, Mark Volcheff, Ralph Paul, Steve Morris, Jerry Batazzo, Duane Jones.  2nd Row: Larry Fariss, Bentley Rayburn, Gary Jewell.  3rd Row: Lee Colburn, Dave Haugen, John Traxler.  Back Row: Larry Bryant, Jim Eken, Bruce Fritzsche, JD Barrowclough, Joe Dowdy, Paul Williams, John Gaughan, Kent Traylor, Gary Shugart, Greg Black, Dale Meyerrose, Dave Sprenkle.

2. Linda & Dale Meyerrose, Jan & Duane Jones.  

3. Scott Hente, Larry Fariss & Bruce Fritzsche.  

4. Jerry Batazzo, Gary Jewell & Dave Sprenkle


5. John Traxler & Rex Hoey.  

6. Greg Black & Joe Dowdy.  

7. Bruce Mitchell, Lee Colburn & JD Barrowclough.  

8. Katey & Paul Williams, John Gaughan.

13 May 2016

Michael G. Anderson   May 13, 2016 near Kansas City, MO Take US75 south. Shout out to my USAFA '75 Classmates -- Best Alive!

Willie Cosby   Shouting back!

Mark Holmes   Best Alive, Indeed! Let's keep it that way as long as possible! Thanks, Michael!

Donald Byers II   75 Best Alive, Indeed!!!!

Zoe Dotes   I saw that sign about two weeks ago while visiting my brother. And yes, 75 Best Alive!

Jim Dill   Best Alive!!!

Bill Murray   75 Still Alive! Go Falcons! And go Falcon Lacrosse Team!

James Corrigan   Amen brothers! Take care...

Kurt Bock   Mike, back at ya! Best Alive!

Gary Exelby   Best Alive!

Scott Arnott   Best Alive!

Tom Calhoun   Better than the alternative

Jim Marshall   Most are 75 Best Alive

William Lyerly   For some of us, it is "75, Still Alive! (So Far...)".

Gary Exelby   Yeah, had to have an aortic valve replacement on 1 Dec

Zoe Dotes   Still alive far longer than I ever thought I would be!

Tim O'Connell   Here is a trivia question: Anyone remember the expression "Ralph's House and why we used it?"

Bill Murray   Not me.......Never heard that before!

Tim O'Connell   Cadre said we had to call all superiors by their title and last name. A chaplain said God would be our best friend during Beast. He said we could call him by his first name, Ralph.

Bill Murray   I never remembered funny!

June Album



1-2. Linnea McIntosh [On Mac's ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer]: Family (including Air Force family) and friend support is a huge part of keeping spirits up. We pray everyday for Mac to be with us as long as possible. We are 8 months into the 12-18 months they predicted. We have every intention to beat that. Prayers are always welcome. Even through all his chemo treatments and radiation he continued to coach our high school track team. They finished as league champions male and female and finished 3rd in State for the girls. Two state champions. He is already planning next season.  

1. Here's one of us on our boat yesterday [7 June]. We are so blessed to have been on this life journey together.  

2. Mac, Wiss [John Wissman] and Mac's best friend from high school, Wally Hazen. (Linnea McIntosh)

3. Bud Crist (Right) with his Team Roping Championship trophy buckle. (April 2016)

4. Steve & Carolyn Schiemann celebrating the news that Carolyn is now cancer free, after an extensive chemo and surgical regimen. (May 2016)  


5. Anonymous celebrity with his entourage (Some have suggested it may be Duane Jones & sons). (April 2016)  

6. Jim & Sarah Carlson, daughters Julianna & Annika. 

7. Ben Bosma: Square filled. Commercial Seaplane Rating. Now I can get a decent job hauling mail in Alaska. (April 2016)  

8. Mark Risi & his (for now) youngest grandson. (April 2016)


9-10. Paul & Sheri Kent celebrating Paul's final flight after 31 years with Delta Airlines. (May 2016)  

11. Chappie Hargrove & Leah-Patrice Hargrove. (May 2016)  

12. Mark & Bev Lenci toasting their anniversary. (May 2016)


13. Gary Held (during his dark period).  

14. Joe & Susan Kahiapo with grandson Max.  

15. Captain Scott Smith circa 2016.  

16. Michael Anderson at the Veterans Memorial for the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation, near Kansas City. (May 2016)


17. Bruce Hevey. (Catherine Hagerman, April 2016)

18. Jeff Hackett: Time for a nap! Having outpatient surgery this afternoon to repair Inguinal Hernia. My very sweet granddaughter, Taryn, thought it would be a good idea if Mr Bez (one of her most special Teddy Bears) came along to comfort me. (April 2016)

19. Larry Fariss with brothers, sisters and Mom. (Kim Harman, April 2016)

20. Rod & Vicki Kallman. (Vicki Kallman, April 2016)


21. Bob Hickcox just finishing up a tiered seating platform for his squadron TV room. (Jackie Henry, May 2016)

22. Rick & Gail Townsend with Jon & Katelyn Townsend. (Katelyn Townsend, May 2016)

23. Gary & Rebecca Janelli with Gary's ALPA Safety Council Distinguished Service Award.(June 2016)

24. Bob Oswalt. (June 2016)


25. Bentley Rayburn with the Pike's Peak Range Riders, celebrating the start of the annual Pike's Peak or Bust Rodeo. (June 2016)

26. Ollie Lorenz: First championship level competition in over 20 years. First senior single stack and 2nd unclassified single stack. (June 2016)

27. Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrere. El cumple de Lucía en el Golf, con Rodolfo y María (The Birthday of Lucia in golf, with Rodolfo and Maria.) (Cristina Renna, June 2016)

28. Walter Lee Burns with grandson Copeland. (Abel Christopher, May 2016)


29. Chris Fillar with grandson Jonathan. (Amy Fillar Ford, April 2016)

30. Ben Bosma: 41 years ago today I went on a casual blind date that forever changed my life. Happy Meetaversary, Ginny! (May 2, 2016)

31. Joe Rogers on an inspection tour in California (though displaying what appears to be a misguided endorsement). (June 2016)

32. Mike Dehart: In Amsterdam during business trip there last year. Ann Frank's house just across the canal. (May 2016)


33. Ken Finn with daughter Jennifer at Cielo at Castle Pines. (Dan Barrett, May 2016)

34. Dave Wallace with son Nate. (Nate Wallace, June 2016)

35. Hugo Posey: I had a great Father's Day weekend with two of my grandsons who flew down from the East Coast. Zachary (on my left) and Ben (on my right) have had a blast visiting their cousins and other extended family for the past week. (June 2016)

36. Jim Carlson & Sarah Gorter with the girls. (June 2016)


37. Wes Routh & grandsons. (June 2016, Marti Routh)

38. Hugo Gray: Picture is from a mini CS-15 '75 DC reunion on 21 May. Mark Howes (retired in Phoenix) was in town for new grandfather duty – my Wife Yvonne and I met him for dinner. Turned out it was his birthday, so an impromptu setting of birthday churros was set out. Mark did manage to blow out the candle!  

39. Carol Macha & Mike Marro near Brussels, Belgium. From Carol: Change is coming to the Macha Marro Family...we're headed to Europe. To live. I accepted an offer from NATO so we're headed to Mons, Belgium (about 50 km south of Brussels and about 2.5 hours from Paris). House is for sale, household goods are being downsized, told the VA I'm moving to a new position, paperwork being submitted for the school transfers, etc. Leaving Downers Grove is hard, very hard; we hope/trust/expect the opportunities will outweigh the costs. But in the end we regret the chances we didn't take, so here's to no regrets! (June 2016, Carol Macha)

40. David & Inga Hickman. (Michelle Fullerton, June 2016)


41. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons. (June 2016)


Comments powered by Disqus