Memories of...The Prep School

Terry Duncan



Boy does that send shivers up my spine. I first saw those orders [for us to report to the Academy] at the 1000 break on a Tuesday morning in the mail room at Cannon AFB, NM.  

I was a two-striper and I had just been awarded my 5 skill level (fully qualified) as a bomb loader (46250). At that time, everyone got orders for Nam within 60 days after getting your 5 level. I had been turned down by the Academy twice before that due to my eye-sight (20-35) and was resigned to bombing what remained of Nam back into the Stone Age as a loader. To avoid that fate, I had decided to volunteer to be a gunner on AC-130’s; the only assignment that would get me out of stacking live bombs neatly in rows for 12 months, and getting rocketed every night.  

I already had an appointment for that Wednesday morning at CBPO to put in my volunteer orders for gunner when those Prep School orders arrived out of the blue. It took about three seconds…go to Nam as gunner…go to Academy and get and education….go to Nam….  TIMES-UP!  

I don’t know who put me in for the Prep School; I had never heard of it, or I certainly would have been trying to get there.  

I’ve always said it was the best year of my life. It set the stage for everything that followed the next 20 years. I was one of the guys who had the least amount of trouble deciding to stay at the Academy. I can honestly say I never thought once about leaving. Nam had that kind of effect on me.  

Thanks for the memories! (May 2008)

Gary Exelby

Did not know you were a bomb loader, Terry. I wound up in MMS at Myrtle Beach (76-77) and at Seymour (79-80).


Glen Freyermuth


I was at the Prep school until March of 1971 with this crazy bunch, and I had a great time there. I STILL brag today, that the academy was the single most amazing and positive institution I have ever been affiliated with (I know ... "with which I ..."). Bruce Hancock called me a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue. What a surprise! I hadn't spoken with anyone from the academy since I left. No email back then, and letters weren't my thing. Mom and girlfriend were all I could handle I guess. I do regret that. I recently had been thinking about some of the guys – and then the call. Weird! 

I am saddened to see the names of those who have left us. Bill Ellingsworth (GBNF) and Jed Vanden Dries (GBNF) and I were friends, although not really close. Both were such nice guys, and we laughed a lot together. Gus Mirich (GBNF) and I ran the various trails together quite a bit, but we weren't close socially. Jed seemed a little more serious, or distant maybe. I had asked Bruce if he knew what had happened with each of those listed, and he referred me to the "Gone But Not Forgotten" link from the class website. There is no information about Bill or Gus there . . . It just seems strange to know they're gone, and it leaves me with the nagging questions of why and when, etc. I have to smile when I think of Larry Ridge. He and I were buds, and played football together. I got the biggest hit of my football career on him one day at practice. He was dazed for a while, but we laughed about it after. He felt slighted that the coach had cheered, "YES! Now THAT'S the way I want you guys to hit!" He disagreed with the coach, and we ALL cracked up. (Shortly after that, I pulled my groin, was out for 2 weeks, then pulled it again REALLY badly – and the flight surgeon told me I was done for that year.) Boy, I hate thinking of these guys having passed on.

Gary Pangle

Jim (Carlson), Thanks for your effort including all of us (P-School/Grads/Non-Grads) who were members of USAFA '75. Please continue to include me in any updates, notes, reunion plans, etc. that you may send. Although I left USAFA in Jan 197373, the friendships and memories from those hilarious, crazy, exhilarating, and exhausting years will never be forgotten. 

The website and your e-mails are an excellent means to reconnect with the friends with whom we shared that time. I was absolutely floored when Bruce Hancock (my first roommate in August, 1970) called and requested my e-mail and explained the PS site. Its a bit eerie because the day before he called, a high school buddy (USAFA '74) had stopped by on a cycling trip to South Florida. We talked about our time at the Academy and he asked if I had ever stayed in touch with any classmates. Now that’s just too damn coincidental. When Bruce mentioned that you were helping him with contacts, the memory bank rolled and I recalled a Carlson from my doolie year in CS-35. I had to dig my yearbooks from the attic and saw that Dana J. Carlson was in CS-35 with me. At any rate, thanks again for your many efforts in keeping all connected. By the way, I was in CS-27 my 3rd class year.

Dave Herlong




This is about the four guys in the picture "prep schoolers at garden of the gods" in your 4/23/08 email. First, a little prep school indoctrination: there were three squadrons with three colors which we wore on ascots and ball caps: A Sqdn – Red; B Sqdn – Green and C Sqdn – Blue (my squadron, by the way). Far left, in blue (C-Sqdn) is Dennis B. Schmoeckel. Far right, in red (A-Sqdn) is Michael T. Greene. Obviously, the guy second from the left in Red, is someone named Rogers. And I'm no help (even at maximum magnification) with the 3rd guy from the left and the only B Sqdn (green) guy there. Isn't it odd how you remember zoomie classmates by visualizing them in their A-jackets with the patch? I also see some of my fellow prep schoolers in the same way (substitute caps and ascots).








28 August 1970

28 May 1971

Academy Appointment Orders
10 May 1971

28 May 1971


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