March 2022               Foster Bitton

 

Kudos: The Air Gardens were dedicated in October. They look fabulous, and you played a big part in it. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you truly deserve it. Photos and information about the gardens can be found in both of the class websites. (HERE)

Accomplishments: Rick Townsend is claiming the title of “last to graduate.” He completed a PhD in History of Ideas from the University of Texas at Dallas in May of 2021. His dissertation was on William Jennings Bryan’s use of Declaration of Independence and First Amendment rights to argue for government and societal reforms over his 37-year public career. If you’re a knuckle dragger who’s content with having ideas in the here and now, you’re probably wondering what the History of Ideas is, and who the heck is William Jennings Bryan? As opposed to the History of Bad Ideas, which is sponsored by Budweiser, Rick explains, “History of Ideas is the study of the intersection of concepts and culture.” Now you know. If Rick has erroneously claimed the title of last to graduate, you can wrest the virtual cup from his hands in next quarter’s issue.

Keeping in Touch: This is part of the never-ending task of keeping tabs on guys who strolled across the terrazzo with their hands in their pockets, a fighter crush in their flight caps, and traces of Mitch’s Mountain on their A-jackets.

Scott and Cindy Hammond live outside of Beaufort, SC and are enjoying a tennis/boating/flying retired life. He teaches glider flying and occasionally tows gliders with the club’s Pawnee at Ridgeland Airport. He tried to provide a photo for publication, but the best he could come up with was a picture of Jimmy Buffett in a g-suit when he gave the Margaritaville legend a ride in an Eagle almost 35 years ago. It’s a good shot of Jimmy, but a no-no for Checkpoints since it doesn’t contain a picture of a graduate. Scott could have sent in a photo of his carcass in front of a Piper Pawnee, but then the justifiable complaints would have been, “Why’s Scotty obscuring the view of a classic airplane?”

Steve Duresky is still hanging out on the Emerald Coast in Florida. You probably already knew that, so this is just a reminder to watch out for alligators and Steve if you’re in that part of the country.

Class representation at the First Responder Bowl in Dallas on December 28 included Al Piotter, Larry Fariss, Dick Webber, Jim Dearien, and Mike Matte. Not only did they get to see Air Force beat Louisville, they also got sunburns free of charge.

Wandering Souls: After several cancellations due to the pandemic, Vito Goyden and his crew of 14 children and grandchildren finally made it to Disney World. Everyone in the clan was vaccinated and boosted, and they all returned from the vacation COVID free. Unfortunately, two weeks later, his 6-month-old and 2-year-old granddaughters got Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection along with his daughter and son-in-law, his wife Jan, and himself. Such is life. We seek invincibility, but we’re happy with survival.

Jeff Chappell has traded wings for wheels. Starting from Utah, he camped and mooched off classmates Foster Bitton, Duke Duhachek, and Mike Gudmundson on the way to four days at the AirVenture in Oshkosh. In October he went to his 50-year high school reunion in Washington DC, saw his eldest grandson play soccer for Southern Virginia University, and then meandered around North Carolina. He also spent a day with former roommate Dave Cunningham and his wife, Debbie, in Virginia Beach, where Dave is a tour guide at a nearby aviation museum. In early January Jeff departed Salt Lake City with his camper in tow. He’s calling his planned 4-month adventure Snowbird Odyssey 2022. Phoenix, San Antonio, and Lakeland, FL are all on the itinerary, which includes visits with Sandy Terry, Jeff Hackett, Jerry Cooke, and Bruce Hopkin. He’ll head back north in April, probably doing hospitality checks on more classmates along the way. Since this edition of Checkpoints will be published in March, this is a heads up to any classmates that live between Florida and Utah; Jeff is on the loose, and he’s loving it.

While we’re on the subject of hobophiles, Tony and Cyndy Mahoney were suffering cruise withdrawal, so they booked back-to-back European river cruises that kept them on the road/river for 29 days. Their route of travel included Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, one cruise up the Rhine and another one down it, and a couple of non-stop flights between two European cities and Los Angeles. The crew outnumbered the passengers on both cruises, which meant the service was outstanding.

Wayne and Amy Willis win the prize for traveling to the farthest destination from their home. They winged their way to Hong Kong where they will serve an 18-month mission for their church. Wayne reported that his SERE training is paying off since their mission started with a mandatory one-week quarantine, during which they ate rice…lots and lots of rice.

If you don’t see your photo submission here, it’s because your mug appeared in CP within the last year, the picture you provided was of low resolution, or your name is Larry Fariss. You might find your submission on 75bestalive.org.


Rick Townsend Enrobed

 


Al Piotter, Jim Dearien, & Mike Matte

 


Dave & Debbie Cunningham

 


 


Steve Duresky & Family

 


The Goyden Clan

 


Tony & Cindy Mahoney

 


Wayne & Amy Willis


Checkpoints+


From Denise (Dick) Dye: We travelled for the first time in a long time, going to East Aurora (southeast of Buffalo, NY) for Dick’s 50th high school reunion. Several of us gifted our swimming gold medals (first place in the medley relay for NY state in 1971) to the new swim coach and team. EAHS has an amazing swimming history; they won their 52nd consecutive Division title this year – it was our 1971 team that started the streak. It was fun to catch up with people we haven’t seen in 50 years. After 25 years, Dick retired from Lockheed Martin effective 1 July. He spent most of the last 15 months working from home. He has found that his “free-time” calendar is almost as full as his work calendar was. He did some volunteering at Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity in their new ReStore. He plans to try his hand at swinging a hammer at the build sites very soon. He’s also volunteering at Mountain Community Senior Services. They’re a handy-man organization that helps seniors with safety-related improvements around their homes. He’s added railings, shower grab bars, and new steps at a couple of houses. He also started swimming. After 50 years off, it was much more difficult than he expected.

From Becky (John) Gaughan: I was just perusing photos taken at the Air Force-Army game on 6 November, and thought this pic might be worthy of an appearance in Checkpoints. My husband, and your classmate, John Gaughan looked up the most recent message he had received from you on 28 September, requesting intel for the Class news. I realize we missed the 15 Oct deadline (by a lot!), but perhaps it can appear in the next CP. This pic was taken the night before the game, inside Globe Life Field, at the AF-Army boxing match...which the Falcons WON, by the way! Thanks for your efforts to get the word out for the Class of ’75! Cheers, Becky Burling Gaughan (Yep, Jim Burling from the Class is my brother.)


Front: Bill Murray, Jim Burling, John Gaughan; Rear: Leon Smith-Harrison, Larry Fariss, Wayne Willis, Mike Matte, Bill Hughes, Terry Young


Checkpoints Extras


North Gate Visitor Center Complex


 
 

The Air Force Academy and their partners have completed the financing for the TrueNorth Commons mixed-use development at the North Entrance of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This will include a 57-acre complex which reportedly includes the new USAFA visitor center, a hotel and conference center, as well as commercial retail and office space. The project is expected to be finished in 2024. (KKTV, February 2022)


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate        January 2022


 

Hope you are all well and thriving!

The AOG Class Advisory Senate met in regular session at Doolittle Hall on Tuesday 18 January. A total of 28 senators attended, either in person or via Zoom.

Here are the emphasis items that we can/should share with the class:

a. The AOG wants to get as many grads as possible to sign-up or "opt-in" as members (required by Colorado law, for non- profit incorporation and tax exemption purposes mostly I think), under the "all grads are members." This "opt-in" is only required for "non-life members" and is to be done on line...prominently available within www.usafa.org. Only 10% of grads have opted-in thusfar; they aim for 85% by Founder's Day (1 April). All grads will be contacted directly via various means to inform/motivate completion of this; "heritage life members" (x 30K) will also be contacted directly by mail to ensure they know their status and AOG gratitude for their support. The "schedule of costs" under the new "free membership" structure is still being finalized for things like Checkpoints magazine. More info to follow soon...
b. If any classmates want to submit their names as candidates for 2023 election to the AOG Board of Directors for the next election, the deadline is in September 2022 timeframe, so starting on application package soon would be a good idea. Interested grads are encouraged to apply.
c. All "all grads" survey will be conducted started in February to collect graduate inputs on a range of topics. All grads are asked to participate. The last time this was done was approx 20 years ago. (I did a study regarding graduate preferences for the CAS two years ago, and used this past/existing survey data...it was apparent an update was necessary.) The BOD has authorized/sponsored this. Presume it will be done on-line, but not certain.

Other information from the meeting:

a. Current USAFA grad demographics; 42,700 living grads.
b. We had a detailed brief about the relationship between USAFA and the Space Force, and regarding all the cadet activities in the space arena. Very interesting stuff. There is a new and very active Cadet Space Club, for example. More details from this briefing will be available with the official CAS minutes. Space Force Delta 13 actually has a detachment (3 officers) at USAFA for cadet liaison and space related activities and programming... and there is some amazing stuff going on to motivate/train/prepare cadets for space careers (approx. 100 from each class expected to be Space Force commissionings for the foreseeable future. The USAFA Astro department head just cross-commissioned to the SF.
c. The public bonds issuance to fund the Northgate PPP development is almost complete and ground should be moved in a couple of months. First to be built will be the hotel, and second the new visitor center.
d. The AOG/Foundation is almost finished with "merging" the staffs under the Single CEO and new AOG president Mark Hille briefed the new org chart. They are still working on the CFO (there remain two) part of the organization "he who has the gold makes the rules."
e. Next BOD meeting is 23 Feb; coincides (in part) with Character and Leadership Development symposium
f. I remain interested in finding a back-up representative for USAFA '75 to the CAS...if you know of someone who might be willing to do this, please let me know. I plan to hold onto this gig until our 50th reunion...then ask for a replacement.

Notice of formal CAS meeting minutes will follow. Please feel free to share this initial and follow-up information and to contact me if you have questions. Thanks.

Bruce Mitchell, your CAS Rep                                       Minutes HERE


March Album


CS-31 Grim Reapers Annual Ski Trip


 

Mike Dehart: CS-31 Grim Reapers celebrated our 7th annual ski trip March 2022 to Winter Park, Colorado. This was our largest gathering to date with 15 Grim Reapers (six new recruits) gathering for a week at Larry Colletti’s “Log Cabin Mansion” in Grand Lake, Colorado. Weather was sunny and great for skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. And considering our “advanced ages”, everyone survived unharmed, though a few were slightly embarrassed and mocked good-naturedly! We had great meals every day, red solo cup toasts, non-stop war stories of cadet life (most true and a few embellished, though believable) and commemorating the legendary Vandenberg Raid where Grim Reapers relocated the Commandant’s office to the terrazzo in front of the Wright Brothers. 

We paid special tribute to our squadron mate, Father Gary Oreshoski, who couldn’t make it, but inspired us so long ago with his purple Menominee T-shirts worn during the Vandenberg Raid. We rekindled old friendships, saw guys we hadn’t seen since graduation, and strengthened our USAFA bonds. The trip was great fun, but the comradery was priceless! We plan on continuing this ritual gathering for as long as we can and for as long as Larry will tolerate us! What a super bunch of squadron mates: Larry Colletti, Dave Ferguson, Mike DeHart, Jack Storer, Jim Burling, Steve Brown, Jim Foster, Otto Dieffenbach, Charlie Beam, Kevin Donovan, Gary Janelli, Dave Ehrhart, Brian Barnes, John Dailey, Rudy Roth. Special thanks to Larry for hosting us, Master Chef Dave and his sous chefs, Brian and Larry, Otto for commemorative coffee cups and Menominee t-shirts, and Mike DeHart for personalized red solo cups and Nikolashka drinks. See you all next year!

 

1. The Grim Reaper Gathering of 2022 (28 Feb - 5 Mar)  (Front): Dieffenbach, Ferguson, Roth, Donovan, Storer, DeHart. (Rear): Dailey, Beam, Janelli, Ehrhart, Foster, Burling, Brown, Colletti  (Barnes behind the camera).

2. Skiing Tuesday and Thursday: Storer, Barnes, Brown, Colletti, Dieffenbach, Roth, Beam, DeHart

3. Colletti’s Log Cabin Mansion: Colletti, Janelli, Ehrhart, Storer, Beam, DeHart, Dailey, Burling, Brown

4. Snowmobiling Wednesday: Janelli, DeHart, Ehrhart, Barnes, Dailey, Colletti, Storer, Burling, Beam (Brown behind the camera)


 
1. Dave & Janet Middleton Wallace at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area: Bluebird day to try new skinny boards. It's like skiing, but a lot more work. Still gonna count it! (January 2022)

2. Rick & Pauline Kim: Christmas Day was spent with the twins Sam & Brianna. (Jaunary 2022)

3. Band of Brothers: Jerry Cooke, Jeff Chappell, Jeff Hackett. 75 Best Alive! (Jeff Chappell, January 2022)

4. Willie & Cynthia Cosby: 25 years today. Lovers forever! (January 2022)

 


 

 

5. Steve Duresky: Rare post from me, but couldn't resist. Life is good on the Emerald Coast with our newest grandchild, Christopher Iverson Duresky. Sharon and I have our hands blissfully full here with Heidi Grace and him! (January 2022)

6. Michael DeHart enjoying dinner with friend Sunny. (Liz DeHart, January 2022)

7. Eric Rosborg: Birthday dinner. Matthew turned 26 and the old guy... (January 2022)

8. Mickey Clemons: First breakfast with Millie Marc. Thanks Micah for the invite. What a great time and continuing the breakfast tradition. Plus Millie is a cheap date. Love the hat. (January 2022)

 


 

 

9. John Kambourian: Great brisket at Smokin' Willy!! (January 2022)

10. Dave & Patti Ruddock celebrating grandson Ben's birthday, 8 years old. (January 2022)

11. Jim Schuman: On the road again. Stopped for a visit with Katie, Ben and the grandkids. I am still on cloud nine. I am currently visiting my cardiologist in Little Rock. Bruce and I have been friends since the Air Force Academy 50 years ago, now it’s his job to keep me alive. Headed for Texas next. (February 2022)

12. Mickey Clemons (February 2022)

 


 

 

13. Mark Risi: Being a papa is a tough job. (February 2022)

14. Don Byers with daughter Jennifer Lawton at Fresno State B-Ball. (Jennifer Lawton, February 2022)

15. Keith Workman: Birthday season – my girls are now a delightful 4 & 5. Though I am wearing another year too, it feels as though several more came in the same package. (February 2022)

16. Jim & Emily Marshall with a hanger-on. (Kelly Vannoy, February 2022)

 


 

 

17. Stan Jones on the slopes in Colorado. (March 2022)

18. Michael Lischak celebrating...something. (March 2022)

19. Vicki Kallman: Rod and Duke participated in Nevada Reading Week at several elementary schools here in Vegas. The kids loved Duke!! He came home every day exhausted!! Too many faces to lick and so little time!! (March 2022)

20. Oleh & Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk off on another excursion. (March 2022)

 


 

 

21. Pilot James Corrigan (Center) with friends Billy Cannon & Destry Everhart, upon return from the Warhawk Open IRT Tournament in Monroe, Louisiana. (Billy Cannon, March 2022)

22. Jim & Ardis Hartney at the Amalie Arena in Tampa: Picked a good game...OT with Bolts getting the W. (March 2022)

23. Some of the Paul Kent Clan: Son Sterling, wife Sheri, granddaughter Mikaela, daughter Victoria Kent Siebert, & and Paul. (March 2022)

24. Bob Hickcox & Marge Terhaar at Ha'ena State Park, Hawaii. (March 2022)

 


 

 

25. Gary Janelli showing his granddaughter how it's done. (Cynthia Leas, March 2022)

26. Barry Abbott piloting his school bus with his grandkids. (March 2022)

27. Michael Heil with friend Jonathan Yates about to go on stage at Krackpots Comedy Club (Jonathan, not Mike). (March 2022)

28. Carol Macha & Mike Marro in London Chinatown. (March 2022)

 


 

     
 

29. Gpapa Oleh Stefaniuk & Luke. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, March 2022)


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