Memories of...Non-Graduate Classmates

John Sims


To Our Non-Grad Classmates: It's been a long time. I have to admit, I haven't been a particularly sterling grad . . . I wasn't a particularly sterling cadet. I never went to a reunion until 2005 . . . and I would just drive by the Zoo on the interstate . . . until I took my second wife in to show her the place. I have to tell you, though, I felt I was in the right place at the reunion. I'm sure there are classmates who still think I'm a scumbag, but they couldn't interfere with my enjoyment of the few classmates that were there. To be honest, I think getting "killed" in Iraq gave me a whole new view of myself, and everybody else. It doesn't matter who you were, or how well you did. If you finished BCT, you're one of us. You're a member of the brotherhood (sisterhood, too, if you get a few years later). I'd just like to point out that it's good when we get together. If you're a grad of BCT, you belong at the reunions. You were in the unit, no matter when you got "killed." Spread the word. When we have a chance to get together, we want you. They're class and "college" reunions, and you're a member of both.


Steve Clark

I was enjoying a review of the Class of '75 pages and came upon the Non-grads page. Although I only stayed at USAFA for 25 months, I still have some of the fondest and deepest memories of those days. I graduated from SMU in ‘74 (due to the credit load we carried back then) and then received my Masters from the University of Texas (San Antonio) in ‘76. Spent a career in telecom and was blessed with a wonderful wife and six children. Business was good to me and I retired in January 2004, and now reside just east of Dallas. I have maintained political interests and am presently majority owner of NetPort USATM, a fixed wireless internet service provider. I dearly miss all my Doolie classmates of 1st Squadron and my 3rd Classmates of the 38th All Stars. Please forward/post my email address as appropriate and know that I am very proud of all of you that Graduated and Served. It is an honor to have known many of you. Keep up the good work as Class President, Jim.

Tom Whiteside

Jim (Carlson), I appreciate your efforts to get in touch with the guys who were in the Class of '75 at the Academy. Although I left to become a civilian again before my third academic year, I have great memories of the Academy and the many friends I made in the two years I was a cadet. Please keep me informed of any activities planned for the Class.

Richard Etter


From the one letter, it looks like my Basic Squadron was E. I didn't enter the fall class. They finally told me at one medical check that I was not pilot-qualified. The whole time at tech school, when they were trying to get me to go to the Academy, they kept telling me I was pilot qualified. That was really the deciding factor for me. I had been out of school and on my own for 2 years, so giving up my car and stuff was not easy. Plus taking everything home to store was kinda strange. Of course, my little brother loved having my '55 Chevy!

Richard Kennard

You know, the best ‘ring’ of remembrance I have is the 30 Year Reunion, where I got to see many of my old classmates, and where I experienced their graciousness to me. It really helped to heal some scars of self-inflicted wounds I've been carrying all these years. I left the Academy because of foolish arrogance rather than any outside compulsion. The day I left USAFA, on my way back to Houston, that layover in the Albuquerque airport was one of the loneliest, most mournful times of my life. Thanks to you all for your kindness!

Keith Workman

If I haven’t done so, I want to thank you for inviting me to attend the reunion. I am not overstating – I had the time of my life! I could have never imagined what I would feel seeing these people in person after over 30 years, hearing the unfolding of spectacular careers, admiring in men what I knew only as budding character in young men, walking on the Academy grounds again, spending an afternoon on the beautiful golf course where I used to ‘escape from it all on the hill’, being in the chapel, the stadium, the field house … it was overwhelming. I appreciated seeing the updated dorms. I spent some time in the main library as well as the AOG library in Doolittle. I wouldn’t do justice to attempt here to tell you the value or meaning for me in those few days. I am most grateful for the opportunity and enjoyment of a very well organized event that will live with me as a paramount experience.

As you know, having not graduated with the class, I didn’t expect more than to coordinate my visit to Denver that would coincide with the reunion, in the hope of making contact with a few old pals sometime during that week. I was most impressed by an invitation to attend the reunion events and welcomed the opportunity. I never suspected to find such a reciprocal welcome, in fact, far more. In more than one encounter, in more than one way, and from Superintendent to roommate to mere acquaintance friendships – I found a recurring theme that shook me into a most compelling awareness … brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie are deep and real among the members of our class. 

Moreover, the ‘class' is defined, by the graduates of 1975, as the 1400+ who entered that summer of 1971, including the record-breaking number of us who fell out of rank over the course of your four years there. I was astounded and humbled to find this sentiment and its universal support. I was moved profoundly by the real presence of this fact in the minds of graduates. My expectation of exclusion met in stark contrast with your high standard of inclusion – and served to quicken my understanding of the source of my respect for each of you and unify my own self-esteem with numerous examples of character and integrity that are the common thread between us, it appears.

I went with an attitude of congratulations and honor for a great group of impressive men who are deservedly accomplished. I returned with healing, perspective, resolution, understanding, self-respect, and a slew of friendships. Priceless. Thank you again, (Keith)


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