June 2022               Foster Bitton

 

Where were you on December 28, 1969? Mark Wells remembers it well, since that was the day he was making his first solo in a Piper Super Cub owned by the Eglin AFB Aero Club. Academy classmates Butch Byrd and Dan Delaune were on hand to cut off his shirttail after he landed. Since that was more than 50 years ago, Mark recently received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the FAA. Mark, Butch, and Dan all went to Niceville Senior High and were in AF Junior ROTC. They and their wives still get together pretty regularly in the Florida panhandle. Receiving the Wright Brothers Award was impressive, but keeping in close touch with friends for that span of time is priceless.

Get-Togethers: Dale Waters, Ed Wilcock, and Lance Grace rejoined at Crested Butte in February for skiing and reliving their misspent youth—at least what they could remember of it. The photo they submitted was taken outside the Dive Pub just before they went inside to lubricate their throats to enable the telling and retelling of many old stories. They admitted that some were not worth retelling, but that didn’t deter them from retelling them anyway. 

Stan “Chumley” Collins hosted a CS-30 mini reunion in San Antonio in March, which included the likes of Rick “Duck” Layman, Scott Smith, Stan “Sluggo” Siefke and their wonderful, understanding, and long suffering wives. Chumley’s report on the event was: “I barely have the strength to tap these keys to tell of the pictured gathering. My bathroom scale screams that I’ve gained 7 unwanted pounds, my abdomen muscles are sore from belly laughing, and my liver cries ‘STOP & DETOX!’  A good time was had by all.”

This is the highbrow input for the quarter. Kurt and Carol Bock visited Bill and Cleo Dalson to hobnob with the crowds taking in the Spring Steeplechase races in Aiken, SC. Reports of them going to the opera that evening have not been confirmed. The Dalsons have two European cruises on the books for 2022, and the Bocks will spend a good bit of the year preparing for their daughter’s wedding in April, which will take place in their backyard, followed by a reception in August at the Duke Mansion in Charlotte, NC. Kurt says he’s been watching and re-watching Father of the Bride because now he can fully empathize with the father.

Dave McDaniel reported from Spain that he and Libby recently completed a three-week driving tour in France, and that with the pandemic seemingly in decline, the floodgates for visitors have opened. Between now and September they’ll be hosting lots of family and friends, including a bunch of F-4 guys and their wives that were stationed with them at Torrejon AB in the late 70s.

Remember the Snowbird Odyssey Jeff Chappell was about to embark on in January? He reported back that all is well, and he is still on the road. That means if you see a Toyota pickup with a small travel trailer pull up in front of your house, you should turn off the lights and not answer the door. There’s no guarantee he won’t spend the night in your driveway anyway, but at least you won’t have to feed him.

They’re At It Again: The CS-31 Grim Monks celebrated their 7th annual Grim Reaper ski trip, staying once again at Larry Colletti’s “Log Cabin Mansion” near Winter Park. This year 15 Reapers attended, which is so large a group it may not fit into the definition of a mini reunion. Nine of the attendees were from the original 14 Vandenberg Raiders who moved Vandenberg’s office to the terrazzo as 2-degrees. Now that the statute of limitations for moving government property has elapsed, they freely posed behind the original raider photo to recreate the event.  The photo can be found on 75bestalive.org. Grim Monks at the ski trip included Charlie Beam, Kevin Donovan, Dave Ehrhart, Mike DeHart, John Dailey, Otto Dieffenbach, Dave Ferguson, Larry Colletti, and Jack Storer

The 2022 Falcon Hacker Classic was staged in Tucson, AZ during the third week of February. The (anything but) normal cast of characters included Russ Trinter, Larry Fariss, Roy Rice, Tug McGraw, Tom Popp, Brian Duffy, Jim Corrigan, Dave Pratt, Bruce Fritzsche, and Rod Hennek, with Jeff Hackett, Jim Burling, and Rod Kallman filling the roles of “Guest IPs.” Apparently the regular players were un-incarcerated prior to the event, not on good behavior, but because they were all deemed to be bad influences on the rest of the prisoner population. The group of ne’er-do-wells gave major kudos to Russ and Susan Trinter (AZ Snowbirds) for the planning and hard work done to make the four rounds of golf and all the pre- and post-tournament experiences so enjoyable. The Hackers, in an uncharacteristic display of magnanimity, even absolved the Trinters of all blame for the gale force winds and sleeting conditions on Day 2.  As usual, Tom “Sandbagger” Popp was the Gross and Net-Score winner.

A lot of great photos were submitted this quarter, making it especially difficult to pick just three for this issue. The good news is that you can see the rest of them at 75bestalive.org.


The traditional post-solo removal
of the shirttail


(L to R) Dale Waters, Ed Wilcock,
& Lance Grace


(L to R) Hobnobbers Dawsons & Bocks


Mark Wells receiving the Wright Brothers
Master Pilot Award from the FAA


(L to R) Collins, Layman, Smith, & Siefke

Vandenberg Raiders,
aka Midnight Moving Company


Falcon Hacker Classic: (L to R) Hennek, Fritzsche, Burling, Rice, Kallman, Trinter, Fariss, Popp, McGraw, Pratt, Corrigan, Hackett, & Duffy


Rod Kallman & Roy Rice


Jeff Hackett posing with inanimate
(Falcon Stadium 2020 cutout) Russ Trinter


Checkpoints Plus


Foster Bitton: In the last edition of Checkpoints, Monk Hammond shared that he was giving the occasional soaring lesson in South Carolina, but he claimed his photo library was devoid of pictures that Checkpoints would accept. Fortunately, his brother, a monk from a later class, read Checkpoints and was able to provide the following picture of Scotty prior to giving his niece a ride in a sailplane. Note the bill on Scotty’s hat. He was a GPT for more than 210 dog years, and he made two stars in the Reserves before they discovered he was just in it for the free flying time, so the man has at least two reasonable retirement checks coming in every month. One would think he could afford a new hat. Some might say he's making a fashion misstatement, but in truth he's what's known as a cheapmonk.

Jeff Chappell: I started my Snowbird Odyssey a bit late, 6 January, and have had a great time, other than being ambushed by a little of the S word in El Paso in early Feb. My little Alto R1723, acquired last Sept, has been a great learning experience...but that’s all off-topic.
I visited with Sandy Terry, Jeff Hackett, and Jerry Cooke in Arizona. Then spent a few weeks in San Antonio but didn’t catch any classmates (too busy playing pickleball with old neighbors and attending rodeo concerts), then wandered on to Sun N Fun in Lakeland, Florida (bucket list item), where I bumped into Mark Modrich, who introduced me to Quiet Birdmen. (Don’t ask :). Spent a night with Ric and Alice Lewallen in Birmingham. It may stop snowing someday, so I’m wandering my way back home by end of April, visiting more relatives and friends along the way.


Wayne Willis: How could I not respond with at least a picture after that dissertation of an email I received? Here’s one of our “P-day” hikes around Hong Kong. Still a “Bolt Brother” even with the South China Sea in the background. Hong Kong still in Covid restrictions so what we can do is quite limited. Enjoying Hong Kong just the same.

Paul Kent: Attached is a recent photo of me and my family, which is hard for us to all be together; as my son-in- law is a hopeful commercial pilot building his hours in Western and Northern Alaska, and both my children live in the San Diego area while my wife and I still live in Washington state.

Scott Hammond & Niece

Jeff Chappell & Ric Lewallen

Al Nash & Jeff Chappell

Mark Modrich & Jeff Chappell

Wayne & Amy Willis in Hong Kong

Paul & Sheri Kent & Family


After this column went to press, the Association of Graduates learned of the death of Roy R. Sawyer, who passed away on 14 April 2022.


Checkpoints Extras


(Translated from the Old English)

Once upon a time, a monastery was built in the foothills of the Stoney Mountains in a land called Color-Red because its early settlers didn’t have a word for ocher. Each year aspiring young men would enter the monastery in search of truth and a healthy serving of Mitch’s Mountain. During their first year the young men would take a vow of silence and were called smackmonks.  They were allowed to break the silence to shout “No excuse, sir!” which they were told would come in handy long after they left the monastery. They were also taught new ways to eat meals, which had no applications in life other than to cause myopia and early onset of upper cervical spine disorders. The smackmonks endured these trials, partly because they had visions of being agents of peace and stability throughout the world, but mostly because each of them wanted to advance to the rank of upperclassmonk so he could stroll across the marbled-crossed courtyard and be a BMOM (Big Monk on Monastery).

After four years of intense study, the monks joined in the tossing-of-the-cowls-into-the-air ritual and then set out to make their marks in the world. Some became doctors, lawyers, and educators, and many became Grumpy People Transporters (GPTs). The GPTs would pick up grumpy people at Point A and fly them in metal cylinders to Point B, at which point they’d deposit the even grumpier people and start the process over again. While in the air many of the GPTs tried to put the people in a state of decreased animation by setting the cabin temperature at 40° F, which works on cold-blooded reptiles but only tended to give the grumpy people reasons to make the lives of their assigned flight attendants even more miserable.

After toiling for several decades in various fields, most monks found true enlightenment in the form of a social phenomenon called retirement. However, some chose to stay engaged in income-producing pursuits, which they felt would keep their minds and bodies at a sustained level of awareness and physical performance. That was fine with the retired monks, because it meant the delusional monks wouldn’t be vying for the same tee times, ski tickets, pickleball courts, restaurant seats, or cruise reservations. Enlightenment is a wonderful thing, and it graciously accepts the benefits provided by the practitioners of denial.

One thing all monks have in common is a bond formed with other monks at the monastery, and they like to hear how their fellow monks are doing. Checkpoints (CP), a set of ancient writings that has evolved into a slick-covered magazine, makes it possible for monks to get glimpses of what other monks in their class are doing.

 

 


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate        April 2022


Here is a recap of the CAS meeting from my notes; will follow-up with notice of the formal minutes which should also contain actual/exact briefing materials presented at the meeting.

a.  Attended by standard (average) group of roughly 30, in person at Doolittle Hall and via Zoom, Chaired by CAS President Randy Helms, '78.

b.  Guest speaker Col Kurt Wendt, USAFA '94 and new director of the CCLD spoke of current CCLD initiatives and gave a detailed report on the February 2022 NCLS which is organized by CCLD staff and sponsored by the AOG and several USAFA graduating classes.  Col Wendt summarized the status of the adjudication of the 2021 honor incident that tied to virtual academic work during the pandemic and involving approx 250 cadets.  The cadet honor board/system has addressed the cases of those involved.  Approx 220 cadets involved in this violation incident have completed the 6 month honor remediation process and kept their standing as cadets.  Approx two dozen were dismissed on honor grounds.  Many steps have been taken to strengthen honor education and emphasis across the wing and extending to USAFA permanent party staff, but especially with the new fourth classmen.

c.  AOG Board chair Bob Lowe '71 and AOG CEO Mark Hille '97 highlighted current AOG focus areas and programs.  Membership for all grads; Recently concluded AOG survey of graduates and the current capital campaign.  Approx 65% of grads have taken steps required to "opt in" to AOG membership thusfar.  The new recent grad survey has been completed with approx 7200 responses returned level of participation (maybe 7258?1!); survey results are still in analysis and will be released as soon as possible.  Endowment/AOG Capital Campaign has so far secured pledges or contributions of $220 million from $270 million goal.  Single staff consolidation for Endowment and AOG is progressing at pace and CEO Hille reported satisfaction at this level of efficiency reached so far with one staff serving both organizations.  Northgate visitor center is underway and more details will be briefed in near future.  Current visitor center West of Cadet Area will be repurposed to meet TBD facility needs of existing USAFA staff (possibly new home for the band).  Renovation of Falcon Stadium - design is at 50% completion level.  Project will be funded 33% by private donations, 66% from bonds sold against future profits from the stadium enterprise.  (new approach)  New Madera Cyber Center is slated to complete during 2024 to the east of Fairchild; $30M towards the total budget of $60M has been raised from donations.

Those are the meeting highlights; again will inform you when formal minutes are posted.  Please use and share this information as you see fit, and let me know if you have questions.

CAS Minutes April 2022

Will be back in touch in early May to inform the class (especially locals) of our traditional low-key remembrance of our fallen or deceased '75 classmates interred at the USAFA cemetery, by placing of class coins on their grave markers as we reflect upon our brothers.  Let me know if you are interested in participating during Memorial Day weekend.

Best Regards,

Bruce Mitchell, '75
Your CAS Rep


June Album


 
1. Eric Rosborg: A friend let me fly his Cirrus on the perfect Vermont day. Beautiful airplane!! I've got the bug again!!! (April 2022)

2. Dave Ruddock & one of his small charges. (April 2022)

3. Bill & Wendy Bishop Stephan with two of their small charges. (Maggie Knight Stephan, April 2022)

4. Mark Risi, with Melodee Risi: I am one lucky guy. (April 2022)

 


 

 

5. Jim & Emily Marshall, daughter Kelly, and one of their small charges. (Kelly Vannoy, April 2022)

6. John & Bernadette Charlton with three of their small charges. (Jenna Rehnstrom-Liberto, April 2022)

7. Mike Lischak: Happy Easter. (April 2022)

8. Jim Schuman: Wow, talk about memories. I recently drove down to Vegas to hang out with Cecil on his birthday. We decided to go back and visit Area 51 for the first time since we escaped 50 years ago. After crash landing our flying saucer near Roswell, New Mexico (Cecil was driving), they brought us here to “study us.” We got the hell out of there and have been living among you ever since. (April 2022)

 


 

 

9. Bruce Fritzsche: After the first of this year, I had the privilege of giving my son, Boyd, the oath of office when he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF. Two proud guys... good luck figuring out who was prouder!! It was a fun celebration with family and friends. (April 2022)

10. Michael Heil (Right): At the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA Fellows Dinner. (April 2022)

11. Dave Ehrhart in Sonoma with fellow Wolfhounds at Gloria Ferrer. (Andrea Anderson, April 2022)

12. Ben & Ginny Bosma at the Toto and Journey concert, the Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio. (April 2022)

 


 

 

13. Rick Kim: Aloha, 365 days ago, I announced my intention to hike a marathon in the Trailblaze Challenge on behalf of the Make-A-Wish (MAW) Foundation. In the year since, it’s estimated that another 27,000 children have been afflicted w/critical life-threatening conditions. MAW typically grants approximately 15,000 Wishes a year. These Wishes help affected kiddos better tolerate their conditions &/or treatments, while also providing their families a brief respite from all of the daily ancillary activities necessary for the kiddo’s welfare. To help make up for this shortfall one Wish at a time, let’s join together to do something bigger than any one of us, providing hope, love, & optimism to these kids & families by donating to MAW. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Mahalo! (April 2022)

14. John Kambourian: Pool and Spa open!! Enjoying country living!! (May 2022)

15. Dave & Patti Ruddock with two of their little ones. (May 2022)

16. Bill Murray & Friends at the National Bull Riding Finals, Fort Worth, Texas. (May 2022)

 


 

 

17. Ben Bosma at the entrance to the Národní Muzeum, Prague, Czech Republic. (May 2022)

18. Moses (or Obi-Wan), A.K.A David Beatty: In costume. (May 2022)

19. Steve & Jacquline Morris with grandson Ian and family, enroute to high school (post graduation). (May 2022)

20. A great morning of golf with friends Bob Peterson, Randy Rocha, Kent Traylor, and John Hyten, supporting the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo golf tournament. The Girls of the West, Rodeo ambassadors, joined them on the second hole on the Silver Course. (Bob Peterson, May 2022)

 


 

 

21. Frank Dressel and grandson Evan, celebrating Evan’s Dean’s List Finalist and Chairman’s Award for First in the regional robotics competition. (Colette Morton, May 2022)

22. Al Morrison enjoying his latest grandchild, supervised by another. (Lindsey McCannel Morrison, May 2022)

23. Paul Kent: Loved having my brothers (Kevin and Dana) staying with us last week. (May 2022)

24. Ralph Paul: Yesterday, Loretta and I attended the celebration of the 47th anniversary of the graduation of the United States Air Force Academy Class of '75. It is attended annually by Class of '75 graduates in the Colorado Springs/Denver area. It was great to see so many of my classmates. (June 2022)

 


 

 

25. Steve Duresky: Life just keeps getting better... (June 2022)

26. Bob Walden: 0430 wakeup to run a 5K race with my daughter Michelle and grandson Nathan at the Atlanta Braves ballpark along with 3,600 other baseball/running enthusiasts. Finish line was inside the ballpark circling the infield. Hey, we nailed the run.... finished in the top third. Well done, team. Nathan will play on that field some day. (June 2022)

27. Judy Traxler: Celebrating our 47th wedding anniversary with some of John's Academy friends. Steve Morris was in our wedding. (June 2022)

28. Bob Hickcox and Marge Terhaar with friends: Hiking fun on the Blue Ridge! (Marge Terhaar, June 2022)

 


 

 

29. Bob Akers: Jill and I celebrating our 47th anniversary (+6 years of dating) at the Conch Cafe in Surfside. Divine Guidance that I asked her to that junior year homecoming dance. (June 2022)

30. Ralph Paul: Monday was Loretta's Birthday. To celebrate, we spent Sunday and Monday at the historic Broadmoor Hotel. In addition, yesterday, I grilled Loretta's favorite meal, beef flank steak. It was a wonderful celebration for a wonderful lady! (June 2022)

31. Rod & Vicki Kallman with two of their grandchildren. (Erica Portillo Kallman, June 2022)

32. Bill Spencer: Cost of a cruise with a formal dinner evening = trying to forget. Cost of my military formal dinner uniform = can’t remember. Weight loss required to climb into said military mess dress = 17 pounds over 5.5 months. Having your granddaughters see you for the first time in uniform = priceless. (June 2022)

 


 

 
 

33. Paul Kent plus two friends asea, somewhere between Seattle and Tacoma. (Carol Fiala Hook, June 2022)

34. Bill Murray: I just love children! These are from my niece, Jackie, who is pregnant with #6 for December! They are little blessings! The little baby even warmed up to me by the end of the afternoon when I gave her sips of juice! (June 2022)

35. Old man (Jim) Schuman with two daughters. (June 2022)

 


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