Memories of...Everything Else

Bob Dorsey


I was on weight tables doolie year after BCT, having had pneumonia. I was 6' tall and weighed in at 127 lbs. We were forced to eat Mitch's Mountains every day after every meal – I think they had us consume 16,000 calories a day (or perhaps that was the goal) – I don't remember and maybe this is just one more data point that's become embellished in my 2k buffer.

Jim Carlson

Once I discovered this oasis [Weight Tables], every time my squadron table was closed and I went “looking for a hole”, all 117 lbs of me would high-tail it to the weight tables. There, I could have milkshakes, and all the high-calorie, fattening food I wanted. Unfortunately, about 300 or so fellow wretched smacks would be looking for the same thing at the same time.

Jim Carlson

My favorite s*** screen during BCT and later in my doolie squadron was Bob Lyons. I don’t know how he managed to keep taking all the abuse, and still be easy-going and as friendly a classmate you can find anywhere. Bob seemed to attract upperclassmen like tours to Fred Weems. All during BCT, you’d hear Bob doing squat thrusts past counting or standing at attention at the tables during the entire meal. I know he would’ve starved if there wasn’t a rule (established for our class after some nutrition issues when ’74 were Basics) that we would have to have at least 1 bite out of each course. I can’t count the number of meals Bob attended and ONLY had the 1 bite. It’s a wonder he didn’t pass out for lack of nourishment. I feel bad about it now, but when we were smacks in 22, and I had to step out in the hall to either read the meal menu, find out if I was a minute-caller, or go to the latrine, I’d wait and wait until I heard Bob step out and draw upperclassmen into his orbit; or hear, “LYONS, drive on out here!” It was only when the yelling and Bob’s tormented responses reached a certain pitch that I knew it was safe to make it to the CQ board and back. If it weren’t for Bob, I would’ve had a more miserable existence in CS-22 as a wad. But I wish now that I could’ve helped him out more. Here’s to you, Bob Lyons, I’m glad you were in my BCT squadron (Guts) and in 22. You’re a decent guy, and one heck of a great classmate.

Scott Arnott

As a young avionics maintenance airman (before the zoo), I got to fly 2 combat missions in an AC-119 in SEA while there on TDY – testing an experimental AC-119 with new sensors and avionics.

Scott Skinner

We were members of the Class of 75 "Treadmill Team" – human guinea pigs at the mercy of firstie class pre-med students who (supposedly) measured our "biometrics." They were trying to see how squat-bodies from different altitudes adapted to the high altitude of USAFA. At any rate, we ran on the treadmill about a half-dozen times at USAFA (with face-mask attached so our oxygen intake and outtake could be measured – I guess), but then were taken on a trip to Los Angeles to run at sea level. Dubious enough on the surface, Larry Bryant told me years later that the flight surgeon who was head of the trip was court-martialed for misuse of funds. Could we have been the unknowing pawns? I know I was.

Larry Bryant

Scott is correct. Who else was in this program? I thought there were at least 5 of us. There were two Majors in charge of the project – Wat*** and Wal** – who were eventually court-marshaled for misuse of government resources. I think part of the charges were about the travel vouchers and some missing equipment, but I don't know any other details. We ran weekly to see how quickly we adjusted to the altitude. That Fall they took us to UC Davis, CA, and had us run at sea-level to compare results on a Saturday, but then we flew to LA and spent the night. Actually, they dumped us at the airport and left us to fend for ourselves. We got a hotel room near the airport by pooling our money.

Jim Carlson

Banned by AOC of CS-33, but done anyway [Attitude Cheers]– inspired by CS-40 (who also had their own Ali Baba cheer), and CS-32, I thinkOne cadet (usually Colt Mefford in our squadron) would yell out the attitude check, and the rest of the squadron would respond when falling outColt was the best – we’d tell him that, while he served his cons after being written up for it every single time.



“Attitude Check!” “This Place Sucks!”
“Positive Attitude Check!” “This Place Positively Sucks!”
“Dirty Attitude Check!” “This F***ing Place Sucks!”
“Mathematical Attitude Check!” “Given This Place, Prove That It Sucks!”
Challenge: “Existential Attitude Check!” “This Place Exists, Therefore It Sucks!”

Jim Carlson

Strange Nametags: Terry WADSACK, who didn’t graduate. He always got a kick out of planning to put an “M” in his name to see if any Basics would snicker when he introduced himself as cadre during BCT as “Cadet Wadsmack” . . .

Larry Bryant

Strange Nametags: Roger Olson wore his upside down one day (or more), which then read "NOSLO", so that's what we called him.

Otto Dieffenbach

I was mistaken for a porter at Stapleton.

Ralph Paul

I was mistaken as a waiter at my sister’s wedding.

Muddy Waters

I was mistaken for a bell hop in a nice hotel in Chicago . . . we had been at Tom Calhoun's wedding in white mess dress . . . a year or two after graduation.

Dan Chapman

I’ve never been mistaken for an airport porter – but Brad Shields and I went to the Washington DC Mardi Gras to escort the various Miss's (Miss Shrimp, Miss Gumbo, Miss Oil, and my personal favorite: the Hog Queen) at some big Louisiana Congressional ball. While there, I was presumed by one drunk congressman to be a waiter as he handed me his dirty plates and wineglasses and ordered me to get some wine refills over to his table. I did the first half without complaining.

Bill Lyerly

From Playboy Magazine's Miss July 1971:

Dear Cadet Bill Lyerly, Here's your written permission for you to have hot beverages with your meals. I hope this helps ease the strain of being a "Doolie." Good Luck, Heather, "Miss July"

Paul Kent

In the mid-1970’s, Ross Perot, a 1953 Naval Academy graduate and highly successful businessman, described as idiosyncratic and feisty, came to address the cadets at the US Air Force Academy. There was an upcoming football game between USAFA and USNA. Ross Perot offered a bet to any USAFA cadet willing to wager. If USAFA won, he would purchase a ticket to anywhere in the world the wagering cadet would like to go. If USNA won, we had to get a haircut like his (a buzz cut when every young man in the world had long hair). I met his challenge. USAFA won. But the higher-ups decided we cadets could not go anywhere in the world we wanted. Instead, we would receive a Naval Academy bathrobe. I still have mine. (July 2019)

Mark Volcheff

I actually read all these accounts with total amazement. Either I've left the majority of my brain memory cells on a barstool somewhere in my past, or I lived my Zoomie days with my head stuffed in my laundry bin oblivious to what was going on around me. I have no recollection of being involved in any crazy spirit rallies, never could find my way to the weight tables, didn't find my wife until 13 years after I graduated, wasn't maintaining an off campus apartment against the rules (???), don't have a clue even today how to get into the tunnels, never served a confinement, marched a tour – and truth be known, I don't recall ever getting a demerit, but as I recall, I was voted Second Group's “Squadron-Commander-most-likely-to-get-fired” (a certain cadet group commander didn't think my leadership style conformed to the norm). Oh yes, I certainly lived on the edge at USAFA! Boring cadet life I guess – but an incredible 32 year career afterwards serving my country. I salute ALL our classmates! ‘75 Best Alive!

Hoss Erving

A heads up to Mark "Chex" Volcheff - Hey, Room-O! Remember your date(s) with "Bubbles", the local gal who REALLY liked you (and Ted Parker, and Sam Ryals, and Dave Ruddock, and Greg Geiser, and . . . ) Yes, you were an honorable young man, but the real story is still out there...!

Rick Townsend

J. P. Waller, one of the greatest guys ever to walk the face of the terrazzo, used to tell the story of surprising our AOC doing a no-notice inspection of his (J.P.’s) laundry bin. J.P. returned from class to find our AOC, a squirrelly little dude named Captain Wells, as I recall, with his head deep in the bin, digging sort of like a dog looking for a bone. J. P., thinking quickly, exclaimed loudly, and with convincing surprise, “Oh!” At that point Captain Wells, startled, started to bolt upright to a more dignified posture, and slammed his head into the countertop as he extracted it from the bin. J.P. continued, without missing a beat, “Oh, Oh, its You, Sir – for a moment I thought it was the world’s largest weasel, digging through my laundry bin!” Captain Wells, struggling to regain his dignity, stammered, “No, no – no, it’s just me . . .” And the good Captain staggered back to the AOC office. I don’t believe he ever made Major, but wish him the best nonetheless if he is reading this. I am sure he turned out to be a great guy (benefit of the doubt and all that!). I will never know if it would have been funnier to see the event happen, or to hear J.P. tell the story.

John Koelling

OK . . . so here's the scenario. I'm in CS-25, which was, IMHO, one of the least jock-friendly squadrons in the Wing, though I don't suppose it had anything to do with my attitude . . . I remember hearing from my roommate about a Saturday morning lecture delivered by our AOC (I was on a hockey trip) who was up in arms over what he saw at the previous week's hockey game. It appears as though one of the players for AF (I wonder who that might be?) had been chewing gum during the national anthem . . . busted! Interestingly, he never approached me about it, just talked about it when I wasn't around . . . very strange.

That sets the stage for the infamous (at least in my mind) weekend. Our hockey games were typically played on Friday and Saturday nights, and when the game was late Friday night, we were excused from all the Saturday morning hoopla (though the room had to be in SAMI shape...except for the sleeping lump in one of the beds).

On the Saturday morning in question, I am sound asleep when my door is jerked open and in walks the Group AOC, Group Commander and an untold number of Dancing Bears. They appeared to be oblivious to the fact that I was sleeping in the top bunk since the first thing I heard (other than the pattering of little feet on a waxed floor) is, "We've got him now!" Someone in this entourage, points to a corner of the room near a window and directs one of the underlings to investigate . . . Freeze Frame.

A day or two before all this happened, I received a care package from my mother (I believe it was just before Christmas) that was essentially one of those huge Hickory Farms gift sets (Cheese, sausage, crackers, spread, etc). Well, being the gracious kind of guy that I am (not to mention having hoards of hungry friends), almost everything in the package got opened immediately, but very little was actually finished. Of course, all of this stuff was labeled "Refrigerate After Opening." which would present a problem to the average person, but not to a resourceful zoomie (I've always claimed that if you hand a Cadet an empty Coke Bottle, a piece of string and a Buffalo Chip he could at least make some fun game out of it). No fridge? Not a problem if it’s December in USAFA-ville and you have a spare laundry bag, along with a window that opens.

Back to the action . . . the posse member who had been directed to investigate, climbs on top of the desk, opens the window, and reels in a very suspicious looking laundry bag (cadet issue, size Small, 2 ea). He peers inside with what I'm guessing is a rather puzzled look but says nothing. "Well . . . what is it?" asks another member of the task force. "Sir . . . I think it's . . . cheese." is the reply. "CHEESE????" "Yes, Sir . . . Cheese . . . " Never in my life have I wanted to sit up in bed and shout, "GO PACKERS!" so badly . . . fortunately I thought better of it and continued to be "asleep", or "playing possum" as my mother used to put it.

After some mumbling (I was concentrating so hard on not laughing that I don't remember what else might have been said), they left, and didn't even bother to hang the cheese back out the window. I guess the good news is that at least I know who moved mine.

Jim Carlson

During one point in our Firstie year, many of us would gather in the SAR before the meal formations and kill a half hour or so in front of the communal TV by watching a game show or soap opera or news before heading out to the terrazzo. Many times, a popular program would have us all packed in there enthralled until the very last minute. It was one of those times when being a Firstie as a '75er was kind of pleasant. Until of course, we ran into the Wing or Group Staff bureaucracy.

One day, we formed up in our squadrons on the terrazzo as usual. After the normal milling around, we were all called to attention and got our lines dressed. After Roy Rice, 33rd Squadron Commander, had us all squared up and at attention, from the corner of my eye I noticed 4th Group Logistics Officer Al Bready march across the terrazzo over to our squadron. We had lost Al to 4th Group earlier that semester.

Al approached Roy and both spoke for a few minutes. An almost audible groan rose up from the ranks at this, because this was during a time of almost constant inspections of the squadrons, mostly for haircuts. No good news ever came of Group Staff talking to Squadron Commanders during formation.

After a few more minutes, Al sharply turned back and rejoined his position with 4th Group. Amazingly, we were not being inspected (or in equal probability, restricted for the weekend - or assigned some kind of training activity that would make our lives incrementally more dismal).

This had nothing to do with Al, who was probably the best thing that Group Staff had going in our 4 years there – it was simply the reflection of life at the Zoo when the pendulum swung back to conditions being relatively harder than our Doolie year.

After we marched into Mitchell Hall and got to our tables, I just had to find Roy and ask him what all that was about! Roy was his usual ebullient self (nothing fazed the guy, ever) and smiled when I asked him what he and Al talked about.

His response? "Jimmy, Al came over to tell me that he was held up at his staff meeting and missed today's episode of "All My Children." Roy added, "I told him Erika (played by the dazzling and popular Susan Lucci) was still jealous over Brad's affair with Nickie and had hired a detective to follow him around town." With that, Roy grinned even wider; and to this day, I tell and re-tell that story, to point out that not all of us were obsessed with rules and traditions back then, and that life at the Academy was a matter of attitude. Those are the times I miss most about the place. This is my favorite Al Bready story.

Gary Exelby

John Sims and I were roommates on Composite Group 1st-degree summer, awaiting an onerous SAMI one fine Saturday morning. Our room was in shape (not that hard, after three years at the game) and we were just marking time, waiting for Bentley Rayburn et. al., to end the wasting of our time so we could go do something productive (like sleep, go to town – whatever). As we shot the breeze, somehow the subject of cigars came up, and John produced a couple of stogies (don’t recall the brand, but it was unusual enough to pique my curiosity as a dilettante in cigar consumption). I asked to see one, and as I was looking it over, he and I got the same idea at the same time: “Let’s light ‘em up!”

So we did, and by the time Bentley and staff got down to us (all of five minutes), we had the room filled from ceiling down to about knee-level with glorious clouds of (choking grey to those not used to cigars) smoke. 

Anyway, the door flew open and out billowed the smoke, punctuated immediately by coughs and exclamations of shock by those who had come to inspect.

Dick Dye

It was Parent’s Weekend 1974. My future wife and I went to a movie at the Citadel Mall to a theater that no longer exists; the space at the west end of the mall has since been remodeled into multiple stores. As we walked down the hall to our theater, one of our classmates was pacing near the pay phone. We asked him what was going on and he told us his girlfriend was in labor, but her father wouldn’t allow him to be with her in the hospital. I suspect that is the oldest child of anyone in the Class of ’75. (June 2024)


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