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USAFA graduate helps guide Texas community’s recovery following direct hit from Hurricane Harvey




USAA Bank is proud to offer members ways to support organizations like the AOG. You can also benefit from great rewards, competitive rates, and USAA’s legendary customer service. Plus, now you can extend your support by redeeming your rewards points for a donation to the AOG.

APPLY TODAY. or 888-957-4232 USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. USAA products are available only in those jurisdictions where USAA is authorized to sell them. Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. The AOG receives financial support from USAA for this sponsorship. This credit card program is issued by USAA Savings Bank, Member FDIC. © 2017 USAA. 232407-0617



As future academy graduates prepare for their military careers and beyond, support and advocacy is essential for their long-term success. Boeing is proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis with the shared goals of leadership development and engineering excellence. Together, we’re helping shape leaders of character to better serve our nation and the world.

December 2017 FEATURES

Find the Falcon See details on p. 16


Dignity & Respect Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ‘85, the 20th superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, rises to the challenge of an early crisis to cast a strong vision for the institution’s future.


In Search of Brain Injury Answers Capt. Charles Cathlin ‘95 supports ongoing Department of Defense efforts to research and treat traumatic brain injuries among service members. He reports that progress is being made, even as many questions remain unanswered.


Leading Through Tragedy Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles “C.J” Wax ‘69 serves as mayor of Rockport, Texas, the epicenter for Hurricane Harvey’s destructive landfall. Checkpoints traveled there to see how the community is faring, and to find out how Wax is helping the community recover from the devastating blow.


Staff Directory Board Chair Journal The Hangar AOG updates, your feedback, news and fun. Letters, Check Ins, and more p. 8 News from USAFA and grads p. 12 Checkpoints Challenge p. 16 USAFA Endowment celebrates milestones in USAFA support p. 22 Chapter presidents, parents club leaders convene to share ideas p. 28 Foundation Primer: Who is helping and why? p. 36


Roll Call Heritage and graduate profiles. Hurricane Hunters help track unpredictable storms p. 48 Academy grads answer the call in times of crisis and tragedy p. 54 AFTAC leaders encounter a no-fail mission p. 60 Long Blue Lifestyle: Grads launch app to encourage fitness on the road p. 64 Academy Underground: Memories abound when it comes to Academy tunnels p. 68 Falcon vs. Tiger: A tale of the mascot selection process p. 74

72 The Terrazzo Cadet life and the latest from the Academy. Monument cousins share strong family, Air Force ties p. 78 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Miller ‘80 focuses attention on Profession of Arms p. 84 Cadet Drum & Bugle Corps enjoys support from above p. 88 Remembering Capt. Lance Sijan ‘65 p. 91 92 Gone But Not Forgotten 103 Class News 152 Final Approach

_____________________________________________________ On the Cover It was one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Wax ‘69 was a witness to it. Mayor Wax’s community was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey and recovery efforts will take years. (Photo by Ryan Hall) Checkpoints Online Memorial cabinet dedicated in Cadet Squadron 1; Gen. (Ret.) Holland ‘68 talks the future of cyber; Col. Fischer ‘96 recounts his eventful time in space; C-7 plaque added to Southeast Asia Pavilion wall; Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93, commandant of cadets at USAFA, briefs the graduate community and accepts constructive feedback. 2 ·







THE ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATES To email a staff member, use the first and last name. Example: Gary Howe | 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475, (719) 472-0300

AOG Executive Office President & CEO Marty R. Marcolongo ’88, ext. 146 Chief Operating Officer (Vacant) Executive Vice President Gary Howe ’69, ext. 107 Vice President of Academy & Non-Profit Relations Steve Simon ’77, ext. 166 History and Heritage Projects Officer Amanda Hess, ext. 103 Executive Assistant Emma Ross, ext. 106 Finance & Facility Management Sr. VP for Finance & Chief Financial Officer Alton Parrish, ext. 123 Accountant Joyce Love, ext. 110 Senior Accounting Clerk Janice Baca, ext. 111 Sr. Data Integrity Specialist John Rice, ext. 132 Data Integrity Specialist Murlea Vance, ext. 130 Facilities Superintendent Kenny D’Amico, ext. 155 Communications Sr. VP for Communications Bob McAllister, ext. 142 Creative Director Sarah Larrabee, ext. 144 Senior Editor Jeff Holmquist, ext. 143 Graphic Designer Eric Costello, ext. 149 Photography/Video Production Specialist Ryan Hall, ext. 140 Class News & Obituary Editor Tom Kroboth, ext. 133 Director of Web Communications Troy Surratt, ext. 125 Systems Administrator Albert Gilligan, ext. 124 Lead Programmer/Web Developer Toby Lortz, ext. 141 Senior Programmer/Systems Analyst Nick Johannsen, ext. 118 Help Desk Specialist Johnny Bollman, ext. 122 Assistant Editor Paul Henry ’67 Business Operations Sr. Vice President for Business Operations Corrie Grubbs, ext. 105 Director of Business Operations Beth Wade

Director of Advertising and Sponsorhip Jeff MacLean, ext. 167 Business Programs Coordinator Nina Johnson, ext. 168 Alumni Affairs Managing Director of Alumni Affairs Michele Bergeman, ext. 136 Director of Membership Megan Bollman, ext. 108 Parent Programs Coordinator Bill Preston Constituent Programs Specialist Kelsey Glenner, ext. 100 Graduate Programs Specialist M.J. Kellenbence ‘80, ext. 139 Director of Constituent Relations Karina Ross, ext. 100 Doolittle Hall Events/Special Functions Director of Event Planning Daisy Hall, ext. 147 Constituent Events Specialist Marcella Mills, ext. 148 Reunion Specialist Sherry Cooper, ext. 138 Events Assistant Carolyn Simon Customer Service and Merchandise Customer Service Supervisor Michele Cowan, ext. 151 Customer Service Representative Brandi Lortz, ext. 154 Merchandising Supervisor Jan Howard, ext. 153 Merchandising Representative Kristin Frederick, ext. 158

The Association of Graduates Board of Directors Board Chair Cathy McClain ’82 Frank Gorenc ‘79 Vice Chair Wally Moorhead ‘69 Will Gunn ’80 Treasurer Jack Fry ’67 Tamra Rank ’83 Secretary Virginia Caine Tonneson ‘80 Glenn Strebe ‘87 Hans Mueh ‘66 Kathleen Rock ’98 Bob Munson ‘73 Mark Rosenow ’03 Larry New ’76 Emma Przybyslawski ‘10 Stephen Mueller ’79 CAS President Garry Dudley ’68

THE USAFA ENDOWMENT To email a staff member, use the first and last name. Example: Gina Simler | President & CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould ‘76, ext. 201 Vice President, Development Jennifer Bateman, ext. 202 Executive Assistant Ruth Reichert, ext. 206 Chief Financial Officer Dennis Scruggs, ext. 203 Director of Accounting Susan Mackaman, ext. 204 HR Administrator Abigail Wentzel, ext. 221 Associate Vice President, Development Greg Knedler, ext. 224 Associate Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Donor Relations Jermaine Johnson, ext. 220 Assistant Director of Communications Steven Lincoln, 719-472-2041 Communications Specialist Gary Martyn, 719-472-2051 Director, Gift Planning Dale Zschoche, 719-238-7510 Director, Parent & Family Giving Jason Fox, 248-495-5162 Director, Stewardship and Donor Relations Diane McOmie, 713-702-4506 Director of Annual Giving Denise Walker, 719-472-2053

Director of Class Giving Randy Helms ‘79, 703-975-8782 Director of Research and Project Management Kate Sutterfield, 719-472-2052 Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Amy Kreidler, 719-472-2057 Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Alyson Barber, 719-472-2047 Major Gifts Officer Southeast Chris Brewer, 804-337-5767 Major Gifts Officer Northeast Vince Greco, 719-433-0230 Major Gifts Officer Northwest Matthew Hudson, 719-600-7655 Major Gifts Officer Southwest Jessica Kurrle, 949-395-3236 Major Gifts Officer Athletics Marc Nickell, 903-819-2827 Class Giving Officer Razelle Doherty, 719-472-2055 Director of Gift Processing and Data Integrity Blythe Manuel, ext. 222 Gift Processing Coordinator Kimberley Wilson, ext. 227 Donor Stewardship Communications & Events Officer Gina Simler, 719-472-2054 Funds Manager & Special Projects Officer Kate Hutchison, ext. 200 Administrative Assistant Kelsey Walsh, 719-472-2056

Volume 46, Number 3 Checkpoints (ISSN 0274-7391) USPS 898-080 is published quarterly in March, June, September and December by the Association of Graduates, U.S. Air Force Academy, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO, 80840-4475. (Phone: 719-472-0300, DSN: 333-2067. FAX: 719-333-4194, E-mail: A portion of your dues pays for your magazine subscription. Additional copies may be purchased for $2.50 each, plus $4.60 for shipping. Periodicals postage paid at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to Checkpoints, Association of Graduates, Doolittle Hall, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475. The Editorial Board serves the Checkpoints mission by providing a top quality magazine to the Air Force Academy’s broader community. Together, the editor, VP of Communications, Executive VP and the AOG CEO collaborate to ensure that all articles meet the standards of excellence readers have come to expect of Checkpoints. The AOG reserves the right to publish or omit submissions at its discretion. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, policy or attitude of the AOG, its officers or the editorial staff. The appearance of advertisements in this publication does not constitute an endorsement by the AOG of the products or services advertised. Copyright, Association of Graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy, December 2017.

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’d like to share a story with you — one in which the essence of our Long Blue Line enveloped me. It happened at a wedding a couple of months ago. But, let me back up. My Doolie roommate married an ’81 grad after she graduated. They have three beautiful daughters and their middle daughter, a 2015 grad, was now marrying her classmate. Her husband-to-be had crosscommissioned into the Marines, so the wedding party had a distinct Joint flavor with young lieutenants sporting their Air Force and Marine Corps dress uniforms. At the reception were graduates from years long past — friendships forged at the Academy that have stood the test of time. The reception was also teeming with recent graduates. I approached several groups of these young officers to hear about their Air Force adventures. Most had just graduated from follow-on training. Some grinned as they told me about their B-1, F-16 and Remotely Piloted Vehicle assignments. Others excitedly talked about their acquisition and intel positions. Many shared that they had been on the Wings of Blue with the bride and groom. I shared that I had flown the UV-18 Twin Otter for the parachute team and couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone would throw themselves out of a perfectly good airplane. I got eye-rolls, laughs and stories about their cadet days. Their energy was infectious. We moved to dinner, and my husband and I found ourselves seated with other grads from the 1980s. Needless to say, we launched into our own stories about our cadet

days and Air Force adventures. Our stories were non-stop and laughter rang around the table. As the evening progressed to dancing, I watched the bride and groom share their first dance as husband and wife. My heart swelled with happiness. Happiness for my Doolie roommate and her husband. Happiness for the newlyweds. And then I scanned the crowd. Grads from across the years were all beaming at the dancing couple. The music then took a decidedly beat-thumping turn — the Cupid Shuffle. A whoop went up and the crowd mobbed the floor! I grinned because my college-aged kids taught me this line dance years ago. To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right. To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left, Now kick, now kick… Well, you get the picture. With a smile on my face, I joined the crowd on the floor. A 2015 grad next to me grinned and motioned me over. And then I looked down the line. I saw grads spanning 35 years laughing together. I saw grads hailing from very different backgrounds celebrating together. I saw grads from all over the country bonding together. I saw our Long Blue Line and it filled me with pride. Very Respectfully,

Cathy C. McClain ’82

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Checkpoints · March 2016 · 7


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STATE OF MIND Feedback, insight and fun from Falcon Nation Strong Families Each Checkpoints issue has great stories of USAFA grads who have distinguished themselves with military, business, academic and civic accomplishments. Those accounts are important, because they relate the value of goal-setting, careful preparation and other critical skills. Hopefully, today’s cadets are reading those articles and even meeting the people involved. There is one aspect, though, that would be worth further development in future pieces. What did these champions do in the home? Or perhaps you could even feature other heroes who didn’t quite make the promotion list they had hoped for, but were able to raise five or six productive and healthy children? It is no secret that the enemy we now face on the battlefield is outpacing us at least three to one or more in fertility. Do the numbers. Who is going to win in four or five generations? We need leaders in America who cannot only succeed in the battlefield and marketplace, but also in the home. — Kirk W. Boyenga, Class of 1970

Classmate salute Your article “‘Mr. Son’ Returns to Vietnam” I found fascinating. Thanks for publishing it. I salute my classmate Chuck Jackson in his efforts to find peaceful exchange with his former captors. Please publish a follow-up when Chuck returns to Vietnam in the future. —JC John Miller, Class of 1969

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A. Jeff Parrish, DDS, ’68 is pictured — along with his copy of Checkpoints — working at Jerusalem 7, a post-earthquake settlement outside Port au Prince, Haiti. B. Brad Lee ’74 (right) traveled to Cuba with his copy of Checkpoints magazine and snapped this picture with the concierge at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba. C. Gregg A. Montijo ’81 took his March issue of Checkpoints magazine along on a “Tiger Cruise” on the USS Makin Island in May 2017. Montijo’s son is a first lieutenant in the USMC and part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) that had been deployed to Southwest Asia since October 2016. The MEU stopped at Pearl Harbor before returning to San Diego on May 13. Family members apply for the Tiger Cruise and then ride on the ship with their family members for the final part of the cruise. Montijo reports that he enjoyed his eight-day adventure with his son. “My shirt got a lot of attention on the ship — especially from the Naval Academy grads, usually with the comment that they’ll get the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back next year!” D. Relva Lilly ’63 (aka Lee Lilly) and his wife, Leslie, caught a great day with no crowds on the Great Wall of China on Jan, 1, 2017. They took Checkpoints magazine along for the adventure. (FYI: Leslie’s brother —James W. Wood (deceased) — was USAFA Class of 1965.) E. Heather Wilson ’82 and 32 of her USAFA Class of 1982 classmates celebrated on the day of Wilson’s swearing in as secretary of the Air Force on May 16, 2017. Checkpoints somehow snuck into the picture as well. F. Michael “Digger” Wells ’85 and his copy of Checkpoints magazine traveled to the equator just north of the city of Quito, Equador. “Having graduated with a degree in astronautical engineering, it was only fitting that I hold the Checkpoints edition entitled ‘Spacebound’ to emphasize the importance of understanding the laws of physics, Coriolis effect and importance of proximity to the equator as applied to planning space vehicle launches and how those laws are fundamental to our success in space,” he wrote.

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G. Steve Pruss ’76 (right) dropped by to visit John Hope ’76 (left) in Seattle and they took in some of the sights.They paused, with a copy of Checkpoints, for a photograph of downtown Seattle from Kerry Park with the needle and Mt. Rainier in the distance. H. (From left) Lt. Col. Eric Ecklund ’89, his son C3C Jared Ecklund ’20 and Lev Prichard ’89 traveled to Cat Island, Bahamas, in March 2017. The three were hanging out at Fernandez Bay Resort on Cat Island for spring break after flying in from the States in their own aircraft. I. Seven days after his 70th birthday, Mike “Whizzer” White ’70 was the oldest runner in the Mogollon Monster 5K obstacle course mud run in Payson, AZ. The picture shows him holding the Checkpoints cover and wearing runner number 70 just after finishing first for those 65 and older. J. In June, Steve Simon ’77 (right) was on a trip to Italy and overheard a member of the tour group talking about having attended the Air Force Academy. “For the first time in my life, I used the ‘Fast-Neat-Average’ call-and-response ... in front of Michelangelo’s statue of David, of all places,” he writes. “The grad, Mark Evans ’76 (left), properly answered ‘Friendly-Good-Good.’ Displaying more foresight and planning than I did, he brought a copy of Checkpoints on the trip. When we reached Pisa a few days later, we had our picture taken in front of the Leaning Tower.” K. John Davis and Pat Eastman (CS-13 Bulldawgs, Class of 1983), and Heather Wilson (Class of 1982 — well, at least her picture), checked in from downtown Nashville, Tennessee, where John hosted a tour of Southern hospitality for cowboy Pat, visiting from Wyoming. L. Frederick “Flick” Guerrina ’67 (center) and his wife, Linda, are pictured at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2017 celebrating the 70-year anniversary of the Air Force. They had a Checkpoints picture taken with “Bull Dog” Evans (right) ’12, CS 35, at his F-16 static display at RAF Fairford during the show. M. Five grads from five classes, five organizations, and two MAJCOMs: Supporting the Advanced Pilot Training “T-X” (T-38 replacement) Program at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. (From left) Tom “Trike” O’Berg ’85, Justin “Ringo” Fletcher ’95, Tim “Ivy” Spaulding ’01, Jonathan Bradley ’11 and Dan Neal ’13. N. Jim Gullo ’10 took Checkpoints magazine with him for a little barefoot water skiing in Winter, Wisconsin, during the summer of 2017. O. Paul Campbell ’90 and his daughter, Sydney, who started CBT at USMA with the Class of 2021, are pictured with Checkpoints. This photo was taken 31 years to the day from when Mighty 90 entered USAFA. We can at least agree on “Beat Navy!!” • Learn how to check in with Checkpoints at

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For more information visit our website at: at Checkpoints · March 2016 · 11

THE TRANSMISSON USAFA news from around the globe ... and beyond In 2008, Crawford distinguished himself with heroism while participating in aerial flight in Afghanistan. Crawford was performing embedded medical evacuation for deliberate operations as part of a multi-ship U.S. Army task force. Crawford’s actions directly enabled the success of a mission that captured 11 enemy prisoners of war, killed low-level insurgents and secured large stores of weapons and munitions.

Bock elected chair Kurt Bock ’75, CEO of COUNTRY Financial, has been elected chairman of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). He joined the Illinois Agriculture Association (IAA) family of companies in 2003 as chief executive officer of the IAA Credit Union. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association.

Jefson commands 325th Jones accepts trophy Maj. Chrystina Jones ’07, a KC-135 pilot at McConnell Air Force Base, was presented the National Aeronautic Association’s 2017 Katharine Wright Trophy, the highest honor for women in aviation. The trophy is named after Orville and Wilbur Wright’s sister and is awarded to a person who “has contributed to the success of others, or made a personal contribution to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation.”

Hastings heads state agency Brian Hastings ’90 is the new director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. Hastings recently retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel. Hastings’ last military assignment was as commandant of the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Spinelli takes command

Nelson gains command

Col. Christopher Spinelli ’96 is the new commander of the 412th Operations Group at Edwards AFB, California. Spinelli oversees the group that conducts developmental test and evaluation of nearly every aircraft in the Air Force inventory, associated weapons and several joint prototype aircraft.

Col. Jeffrey Nelson ’97 took command of Joint Base Charleston and the 628th Air Base Wing. Nelson formerly served as vice commander of the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston.

DeMaio appointed

Lt. Col. Matthew S. Cantore ’98 earned a first prize Gen. George C. Kennedy Writing Award at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. The writing award was for his paper, “The High Frontier in Dispute: China’s Challenge to U.S. Preeminence in Space.” His next assignment will be as airpower strategist, Checkmate Division, Directorate of Air, Space and Cyber Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Jerry DeMaio ’92 was appointed as an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Labor, sitting in Boston, Massachusetts. He started his new role on Oct. 30, 2017.

Cherry promoted Mark Cherry ’91 was named the head of Boeing’s Phantom Works business. Cherry has previously held leadership positions at United Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft, Teradyne and Boston Consulting Group.

Crawford heads to Hall Humansville High School (Humansville, Missouri) inducted Martin “Marty” Crawford ’98 into the local Hall of Fame. 12 ·

Col. Matthew Jefson ’94 assumed command of the 325th Mission Support Group at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The new commander oversees civil engineering, security, infrastructure and more.

Cantore honored for writing

Cheater gains assignment Col. Julian “Ghost” Cheater ’94 has assumed command of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech AFB. Cheater previously served as an MQ-9 Reaper instructor pilot and combat operations director for the 42nd Attack

Squadron at Creech Air Force Base. He also commanded the 432nd Expeditionary Operations Group.

Alves inducted as Fellow Jeffrey Alves ’70 was inducted as a Wilford L. White Fellow at the 62nd Annual International Council for Small Business (ICSB) Conference. Selection as a White Fellow is the highest recognition that ICSB gives to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the development, furtherance, and benefit of small- and medium-sized businesses. Dr. Alves was recognized for his commitment to entrepreneurship education; his advocacy for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); and his leadership in ICSB.

Cain heads to AEDC Col. Scott A. “Nova” Cain has assumed command of Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). Previously, Cain served as commander of the 412th Operations Group at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He also was an F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-117 Nighthawk pilot. As the AEDC commander, Cain leads the largest and most advanced complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world.

Lindsley heads T-100 program

Donald English, Jr., ’95 has joined Jackson Lewis P.S. in Baltimore — one of the country’s top workplace law firms — as an employment litigator. English has almost two decades of experience litigating a broad range of employment law matters.

Marc Lindsley ’77 has been named vice president of Leonardo DRS’s T-100 programs. He is responsible for leading the capture and execution of the Air Force T-X Advanced Pilot Training Systems program. The Leonardo DRS T-100 team, which includes Leonardo Aircraft, Honeywell and CAE USA, has submitted its proposal for the T-X Advanced Pilot Training System Program. The T-100 is a fifth-generation pilot training solution that currently is being used to train F-35 pilots in a number of allied countries.

McClure takes command

Deutscher leads wing

Lt. Col. Nathan A. McClure ’99 has become the commanding officer of the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron in Florida. An AC-130U “Spooky” gunship pilot, he previously worked at the Pentagon, where he completed the Air Force Intern Program-Strategic Policy Fellowship. He served in rotations on the secretary of the Air Force/chief of staff of the Air Force executive action group and U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation and International Affairs. He would then advance to the U.S. Special Operations Command, where he served as the Air Force liaison officer and special assistant to the vice commander.

Col. Johan A. Deutscher has assumed command of the 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild AFB. Previously, he was commander of the 194th Mission Support Group in the Washington Air National Guard at Camp Murray.

English joins firm

Almand chosen for honor Capt. Austin T. Almand ’09 was among the four airmen who won the 2016 Lance P. Sijan U.S. Air Force Leadership Award. Almand deployed as the deputy commander of a regional special operations joint task force where he coordinated, synchronized and led the dismantling of a persistent terrorist organization that had plagued a country for more than 20 years. The award was first presented in 1981 and named in honor of the only U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Today, the award recognizes the accomplishments of officers and enlisted leaders who demonstrate the highest qualities of leadership in the performance of their duties and conduct of their lives.

Cunningham heads to Kadena Brig. Gen. Case Cunningham ’94 took command of the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan. The force he leads includes nearly 18,000 Americans and more than 4,000 Japanese employees and contractors. Cunningham previously led the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Combat Command, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. He also has served as commander of the Thunderbirds — the Air Force’s air demonstration team.

Sheppard gains appointment Col. (Ret.) Paul Sheppard ’83 has been appointed as chief program officer within the Office of Polar Program’s Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics Section. Sheppard previously served as AIL’s systems manager for operations and logistics. He came to National Science Foundation in 2011, after 28 years of military service, and was responsible for executing all logistics operations for the NSF-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

Williams leads wing Col. Stephanie Williams ’91 has taken charge of the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale Air Force Base. The 940th is a reservist wing on the primarily active duty base. Williams has more than 4,000 hours logged, piloting primarily a C-130.

Blank ’92 joins builder Brett Blank joined GreenPointe Communities LLC as a development manager. He previously worked for national homebuilders completing infrastructure and packaging of lots at various single-family and multifamily communities in Denver.

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Argel joins Hall Derek Argel ’01 was inducted into the Cabrillo High School (California) Hall of Fame. Argel was an aquatics star, dominating in water polo and swimming. Argel served his country as a special tactics officer and was killed in a fatal aircraft crash in Iraq in May 2005. The Air Force Academy’s water polo program has honored his memory by instituting the Capt. Derek Argel Memorial Award, which is given annually to the athlete who demonstrates perseverance and an incredible work ethic.

Suplisson helps lead AFTC Col. Angela Suplisson ’91 is the new vice commander of the Air Force Test Center headquartered at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Suplisson led the department of aeronautics at the Air Force Academy from 2015-2016 and led the Unmanned Aerial Systems Center from 2015-2017, where she was responsible for all UAS research and UAS airmanship training at the Academy.

Parker takes command Col. Brandon D. Parker ’96 took command of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base. Col. Parker was previously vice commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Holmes hired at GW Nicki Holmes ’98 has joined George Washington University volleyball as an associate head coach. He spent last season on the sidelines as an assistant coach at North Carolina State, helping the Wolfpack to a 20-win season. Prior to that, Holmes spent two seasons as the head coach at North Carolina Central University, as well as a two-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida and a stop at Stetson University.

Thelen joins practice Family nurse practitioner Carol Thelen ’84 joined Mercy Personal Physicians in Lutherville, Maryland. She provides acute, chronic and preventive health care to patients of all ages. She has served as a family nurse practitioner in several outpatient settings in the Baltimore region.

Nichols leads wing Brig. Gen. John J. Nichols ’92 has assumed command of the 509th Bomb Wing in Missouri. He is responsible for the combat readiness of the Air Force’s only B-2 base, including development and employment of the B-2’s combat capability as part of Air Force Global Strike Command. Nichols is a command pilot with more than 2,270 flight hours, including 662 combat hours. Prior to his new assignment, Nichols served as the deputy director of operations at Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

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Reserve Program and Requirements and wing commander of the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base.

Jones takes command Col. Otis C. Jones ’95 is the new commander of the 19th Operations Group at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. A former basketball player for the Falcons, Jones has flown T37B, T-44A, C-130E, C-17A and C-130J aircraft throughout his career.

Horn leads state Guard Col. Jeremy Horn ’89 is the new commander of the Washington Air National Guard. Horn was previously director of the Joint Staff at the Washington National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters. He also was previously commander of the Washington Air Guard’s 194th Wing.

Jones honored Col. Scott Jones ’92 received the 2017 Gen. Larry D. Welch Officer Award from the Air Force Association. The award recognizes the individual who has had the most significant impact on the overall operations, safety, security and effectiveness of the Air Force’s nuclear mission. Jones is director of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate at Hill AFB.

Babcock heads to McChord Col. Anthony Babcock ’96 has assumed command of the 62nd Maintenance Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Babcock came to McChord from the Pentagon, where he worked for the Joint Staff. Babcock has previously served as squadron commander at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, and squadron commander at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Bell lands at Tinker Col. Kenyon K. Bell ’95 is the new 72nd Air Base Wing commander at Tinker Air Force Base. He leads nearly 3,000 airmen and is responsible for $5.4 billion in resources and a $311 million operating budget. As a career aircraft maintenance officer, Bell has commanded two operational squadrons to include serving as the first commander of the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Seibels hires Robinson Manny Robinson ’93 has been hired as vice president of IT operations for Seibels, a company providing technology solutions, business process and hosting services, and claims administration services to the property and casualty insurance industry. Robinson was previously director of Partner Sales, Partner Services and Business Development Manager for TSYS NetSpend Corporation & Skylight Financial in Austin, Texas.

Burger heads to March

Brackney joins Hall

Col. Matthew Burger ’90 took command of March Air Reserve Base, California. He was previously chief of Air Force

David Brackney ’95 was inducted into the Siuslaw High School (Oregon) Hall of Fame. He played football, basketball

and baseball while attending the school, and participated in track and field. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, playing football as an outside linebacker for three years before being injured.

71st IS where he led more than 60 personnel in ensuring the operational integration of trained and ready Reserve personnel into the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Geospatial and Signatures Intelligence Group.

Amin gains appointment

Johns elected to board

Dr. Dave Amin ’87 has been appointed as the chief health officer and medical director of the New Hampshire Rural Health System and ACO. He will be responsible for medical leadership and the implementation of population health strategies across the system.

Raymond E. Johns, Jr., ’77 has been elected to the Air Transport Services Group, Inc. Board of Directors. Johns led the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois until his retirement with the rank of general in January 2013, capping a 36-year military career. He was previously executive vice president of FlightSafety International Inc.

Hawkins takes command Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins ’91 has taken command of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB. Hawkins comes from Headquarters Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, where he served as director of logistics, engineering and force protection.

Belardo promoted

Smiley heads to Hall

Kilgore heads 109th

The Ashtabula/Harbor/Lakeside Alumni Association in Ohio inducted Floyd “Duff” Smiley ’70 into its Hall of Fame. Smiley was a three-year letterman in baseball and football while at Ashtabula High School. He was a pilot in a variety of aircraft and flew more than 4,000 hours, including combat missions in Southeast Asia, Panama and Saudi Arabia. He retired in 1991 as a lieutenant colonel and director of operations of a squadron of 300 aircrew members in Airborne Warning and Control. Following the Air Force, Smiley worked as an analyst and program manager at the General Motors Design Center. From 1999 through 2014, he and his wife, Diane, actively promoted foster care and adoption. They fostered more than 20 children and adopted three.

Col. Michele Kilgore ’92 took over command of the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in New York. Kilgore has more than 3,500 flight hours as a command pilot. During her career, she has flown combat support missions in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. The 109th flies ski-equipped C-130 cargo planes that support missions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Lt. Col. Michael D. Belardo ’00 has taken command of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Maintenance Group. He was previously the 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s commander.

Suermann joins Texas A&M Patrick Suermann ’97 is the new head of the Texas A&M Department of Construction Services. Suermann was previously an associate professor of civil engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has also served as chief of emergency services and engineering at an Air Force mission support center in San Antonio, where he coordinated more than 700 personnel while managing $16 billion in fire emergency services, emergency management and explosive ordnance disposal projects around the world.

Hill gains Patriot Award Mike Hill ’80, a former state representative from Florida, was presented with the Center for Security Policy’s 2017 Patriot Award. He was recognized for his commitment to the preservation of constitutional rights, American values and the safety and security of the citizens of Florida.

Bernkopf takes command Lt. Col. Eric Bernkopf ’02 took command of the 71st Intelligence Squadron, 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Bernkopf previously served as director of operations at the Checkpoints · December 2017 · 15


Find the Falcon Across 3. Southern USAFA drive 5. First general of AF 6. Commandant’s house 7. First superintendent 9. Men’s hoops coach 13. Falcon’s 1958 season bowl game 14. USAFA’s peak view 15 USAFA’s newest dorm 16. Superintendent’s residence 17. SECDEF 21. 20th superintendent 22. USAFA lodge 24. Falcon AD 25. Academy’s birdie and par place 27. CSAF 28. Legendary gridiron coach 29. Officer’s club at USAFA * See answer key, page 58

Down 1. American Kickoff headliner 2. Academy’s 28th Commandant 3. Five-time NBA championship coach 4. CCLD’s hall 5. USAFA Dean 8. SECAF 10. Second-largest university dorm in U.S. 11. USAFA’s athletic center 12. USAFA alumni house 15. Parade field 18. Grassy hill of Terrazzo 19. Academy’s academic hall 20. Valley of BCT 21. Academy’s canyon hike 23. Endowment leader 26. Chapel architect

And The Winner Is...

Locate the falcon hidden in the magazine and send its location — along with your name and contact information — directly to to be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card at the AOG Gift Shop. Deadline for entry is Nov. 3, 2017.

The winner of this quarter’s “Find the Falcon” contest is Thomas Baker, Class of 1989. He was one of just four Association of Graduates members who successfully found the Falcon, hidden stealthily in the trees on page 31 of Checkpoints’ September 2017 edition. The names were placed into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the AOG online and Doolittle Hall stores. Who will be this quarter’s winner? Find the Falcon and you, too, can be entered into the March 2018 Checkpoints drawing! 16 ·


Dignity Respect Initial institutional crisis helps superintendent cast his USAFA vision By Jeff Holmquist

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85 knew he was in for a professional challenge when he was named the 20th superintendent in USAFA’s history. But what he didn’t expect was to become a viral Internet sensation within weeks of arriving here. In late September, when racist messages were discovered outside the rooms of several African-American cadet candidates at the Prep School, Silveria was faced with the first major crisis of his tenure. He moved quickly to respond, assembling students, faculty and staff for an impassioned speech inside Mitchell Hall. “I knew I needed to come out nice and strong against what had happened,” Silveria recalls. “I wanted all of them to hear it from me, as opposed to hearing it from either a press release or hearing it secondhand.” Having two sons in their early 20s, Silveria understood that he needed to be clear and concise with his message to cadets and Prep School students. “I probably used my boys as a template for that,” he admits. “I had to leave no doubt about what was acceptable and what was unacceptable.” Silveria stepped up to the microphone in the staff tower with six bullet points written down on a piece of paper. He would go on to build a memorable fiveand-a-half-minute speech from those few talking points. 18 ·

“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” he told the assembled crowd. The speech would be featured on the network news later that night and in newspapers the next morning. Social media channels would almost immediately push Silveria’s message around the globe. His words ultimately were used as a rallying cry for opponents of racial injustice and proponents of national unity. “The reaction to that really surprised me afterwards, because I didn’t say anything that we didn’t already know or wasn’t already clear,” Silveria says. “The expectations of our values for people in our organization — and how we treat each other — wasn’t anything new or surprising or unexpected.” Following an internal investigation, the Academy disclosed that the racist messages were scrawled on message boards by one of the alleged victims of the harassment. Still, Silveria considers the incident a valuable teachable moment for everyone at the Academy. “Certainly it was a horrible crisis to have to deal with as an institution but, at the same time, it was pretty revealing,” he says. “It was an opportunity for me to learn about the team, and really see how we’re ready to take on the toughest issues. I was impressed.” Silveria says he was encouraged by the number of faculty members, staff

and coaches who crowded onto the staff tower to show their support. He also was thankful to the graduate community and friends of the Academy who offered words of encouragement following the incident and subsequent speech. “I received email after email, and letter after letter, thanking me for taking such a strong stand and thanking me for doing it right away,” he notes, “and for not equivocating.”

Settling in

With his first major public relations challenge behind him, Silveria says he’s beginning to settle in to his multi-faceted role as superintendent. In early November, he was attending a meeting for new university presidents and academy superintendents at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters to get up to speed on intercollegiate athletics regulations. During a phone call with Checkpoints, he suggests that leading an educational institution has involved a learning curve as well. “I feel like I’m catching on,” he notes. “But I’ve never worked in academia, and I’ve never been an intercollegiate athlete or worked in an athletic administration. All of those things are unfamiliar to me. “But I have great people around me, so I’m going to trust them and work on my own learning. I still have a lot to learn.”

Ryan Hall

What Makes You Tick?

“I love people, and by that I mean I love airmen,” Silveria admits. “I bleed blue. I really do love it.” Apart from his love of military service, Silveria is a baseball nut. He’s a long-suffering Los Angeles Dodgers fan who remains such even after the team lost in this year’s World Series. “I’m a huge baseball fan at all levels,” he chuckles. “I love the strategy of it, and I love the skill of it.”

As a cadet, Silveria worked hard to keep up with the demands of academics, military training and fitness. “It didn’t necessarily come super easy for me,” he says. “So I was usually square in the middle of the pack of most everything.” The work ethic he developed as a cadet has served him well throughout his career, he notes. Silveria’s experience with the Academy’s As superintendent, Silveria says his soaring program helped seal his desire to “We have to think about why we’re most important role is “synchronizing” become a pilot. here … to make lieutenants who are the academic, military and athletic ele“I was completely hooked on flying,” going to go into today’s complex battlements of the Academy’s mission — and field,” he says. “I’m quick to say that what he remembers. “I was a biology major, making sure to give equal weight to each got us here today is not going to get us because I really liked the life sciences and aspect of developing leaders of character there. We’re going to have to find ways to there may have been a hint about going for the Air Force. continue to be innovative in our delivery to medical school if pressed. But, the “I really feel like I’m just now getting truth was, I wanted to fly.” of education and the development of to the point where I’m getting out of After graduation, Silveria would spend cadets. And then teach them an innovathat initial fog to understand all of the a solid 12 years flying for the Air Force. tive style, because the complexity that aspects of the mission,” he says. “I’m chief they’re going to on the battlefield is really He would log nearly 4,000 hours of synchronizer and chief visionary. Like flight time in diverse aircraft — everyunprecedented.” anyone in charge of a large organization, Silveria says he has confidence that the thing from the F-35 Lightning II, F-15E Strike Eagle, HH-60 helicopter, T-37 and my responsibility is to give the vision and Cadet Wing is up to the challenges that get us pointed in the right direction.” lay ahead, calling the cadets “remarkable” T-38. He flew combat missions over Iraq and the Balkans. To help cast that vision, Silveria future leaders. surveyed the Academy’s permanent “It wasn’t until after that, in 1998, that “They are so sophisticated,” he party personnel to get their feedback on explains. “They have breadth and depth I took my first non-flying assignment,” he several questions: “What are we doing recalls. “It really opened up the next level that certainly I never had as a cadet.” well, and what are we doing poorly. of the Air Force to me.” What should we stop doing, and what A Diverse Career He would go on to serve as vice comshould we keep doing.” He also asked Silveria doubts he would be admitted to mander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. for any general advice his faculty and the Academy if he was graduating from His most recent assignments were as staff would like to offer. high school today. He barely made it in deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces Silveria and his staff are sorting the first time. Central Command and deputy comthrough the responses and discussing He grew up in an Air Force family — mander of the Combined Air Force Air various ideas. Once the vision is clear, his father retiring as a master sergeant. Component, U.S. Central Command, Silveria says he will work with his team to Graduating from Department of Defense Southwest Asia. implement needed changes. high school while overseas, Silveria would “It was very much a culmination of all “My responsibility is to make the apply to USAFA because he wanted to fly. of my Air Force experience,” he says. “I Academy better than when I arrived,” “I applied and didn’t get in,” he laughs. couldn’t have done the job without all of the building blocks that led to that.” he comments. As he started to make other post-highNow in his final military assignment, To make that happen, Silveria says he school plans, Silveria received a letter in Silveria says he hopes to call upon all his hopes to focus on three overarching goals: late May saying that he’d been accepted experience from the operational Air Force creating a culture of innovation; a culture into the Academy. He was thrilled to have to ensure that cadets are prepared for of assessment and feedback; and a culture the opportunity — even if it was a lastfuture leadership positions. minute appointment. of respect and dignity. 20 ·

Cue the Music!

United States Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps alums are planning a 50th anniversary reunion celebration for the fall of 2021. If you’re a former musician with the Corps, the “The Flight of Sound” wants to hear from you. The organization has very limited contact information for past members, so we’re reaching out to locate you and to get your feedback on potential reunion ideas. Email indicating your interest in attending and any suggestions you might have for reunion activities. Spread the word! The reunion will be here before we know it!

Milestones: The Way Forward A Q&A with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould ’76, the new president of the United States Air Force Academy Endowment.

You had a 38-year Air Force career, achieved the rank of lieutenant general and served as the 18th superintendent of the Air Force Academy (2009 – 2013). What drew you back to the Academy as a private citizen to serve as president and CEO of the USAFA Endowment? I retired in August 2013. After 38 years, that transition into a different lifestyle is something you have to work at. Paula and I had settled into a routine that was really fun and productive. I formed a consulting company and had several clients. I had a seat on several different boards, both nonprofit and corporate, and we had control of our schedule for the first time in our married lives. The transition went well and after four years of that we were quite happy. One day I got a call that there were some changes being made at the USAFA Endowment. The acting chairman and CEO asked if I’d be interested in coming back to the Academy for this job. Paula and I had to talk about it, of course, but it just made too much sense. Having served as superintendent, I got to know and appreciate the value of private donations to our Academy, but I was hamstrung in not being able to raise money. I relied heavily on the Endowment and saw firsthand how the organization provided an ability to raise the margin of excellence at the Academy. So now, to be able to come over to this side and help continue the Endowment’s mission is something that excites both 22 ·

“We want them to understand the value of investing in the future of America by investing in the Air Force Academy and its mission to develop leaders of character who are not only going to serve our Air Force well, but are going to serve America well in corporate, government and all types of important leadership roles.” years. Business leaders, prominent citizens, the general population — everybody in the state — took great pride in the fact that the Air Force The Endowment just celebrated its first Academy was here in Colorado Springs. 10 years as an Academy-affiliated founI’m told from some of the longdation, raising $128 million to support standing residents here that it was rare Academy projects and programs. to let a month or two go by when they What is your vision for the Endowment weren’t out here for one event or another. Over time, that’s just kind of fallen off. as it launches into its second decade? Unfortunately, security concerns after 9/11 had a big impact. The chapel had As we move into our second decade, I been the number one manmade tourist have some clear ideas on where I want this organization to go. Three important attraction in the state for many years. We enjoyed somewhere in the neighborhood goals immediately come to mind. of 900,000 visitors a year to the chapel, The first revolves around reigniting gift shop and visitor center. Post-9/11, the mutual love affair between the that number dropped off by two-thirds. Academy and the state of Colorado. Security is still a challenge, but we have If we could flash back to 1954 when the ability to get people back out here, Colorado won the Air Force Academy, let them appreciate the Academy and there was a celebration that lasted for Paula and me. I enthusiastically put my hand up and said we’d be glad to do it, and we’re having a ball.

let them take pride in what these cadets are doing for their country and the commitment they are making in a time of war. I know that love affair can and will be reignited. The second thing we want to do is capitalize on long-standing relationships that we have personally had over the years with friends and others around the country to bring in some new donors. The Endowment has a board of some of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and they have provided the lion’s share of the $128 million that the Endowment has raised, but now we owe it to them to reach beyond to find new supporters and educate them on USAFA’s needs. That education also extends to corporate America, executives, foundations and philanthropists across the board. We want them to understand the value of investing in the future of America by investing in the Air Force Academy and its mission to develop leaders of character who are not only going to serve our Air Force well, but are going to serve America well in corporate, government and all types of important leadership roles. When you can put that kind of value on a philanthropic contribution to help take the Academy up to that next level of excellence, there will be huge returns for our country. And then the final area we want to focus on is to appeal to our graduates’ sense of fanatical pride in this institution. When I talk about that pride, I don’t mean a boastful or selfish pride, but the pride that’s rooted in excellence and was formed from shared, challenging, common experiences. When grads start coming back for their 10- or 20-year reunions, we want to help that pride grow Checkpoints · December 2017 · 23

as they feel that unique sense of belonging and pride at having made it through this tremendous institution. Out of that, we want to stimulate the desire to give back. Between the people of Colorado, longstanding friends across the country, corporate America and our graduate community, we have tremendous potential to increase the level of philanthropic support for this great institution. Including the Endowment, there are currently seven foundations supporting the Air Force Academy. How are these foundations working together to serve the Academy?

scholarships to prepare qualified candidates for entrance to the Academy. Then you have ARDI, the Academy Research and Development Institute, that funds and manages academic chairs so we can bring in world-renowned, published, famous visiting professors to the Academy, which creates a huge advantage for our academic departments and builds the reputation of the Academy. And, of course, you have the Friends of the Library that supports the needs of the McDermott Library and enhances the preservation of Air Force Academy and Air Force history. The presidents and board chairs of these foundations are meeting regularly to discover new ways of developing closer working relationships with each other, for the mutual benefit of our Academy.

As I mentioned, Falcon Stadium, the Eisenhower Golf Course, Farish Memorial and the Holaday Athletic Center all came from private donations, largely from people right here in Colorado. Private funding also extends to a variety of important academic projects and programs that contribute to the first-class educational experience our cadets receive. How has cadet training changed since you were a cadet in early 1970s?

When graduates come back to the Academy for a visit or a class reunion, you’ll sometimes hear the comment, “Boy, it’s not like it was when I was a cadet.” I The Academy is blessed to have a family chuckle when I hear that. of seven supporting foundations that There is no question that training has exist for one purpose, and that is to make changed in many ways over the years. the Academy better. Each foundation The Academy needs to change in order to has a unique focus, but we all recognize The Air Force Academy is a government meet the challenges of modern warfare, each other’s value. We realize that, as we institution. Doesn’t the government pay led by men and women of character. work more closely together as opposed to for what the Academy needs? Why does One thing that’s really impressed competing against each other, the benefits the Academy need the Endowment? me is how the cadet cadre train the to the Academy increase. underclassmen. These upperclassmen Our family of foundations includes A lot of people assume that, because the now lead by example. You watch physical the Air Force Academy Foundation service academies are government institu- training and it’s not someone standing that represents those early donors who there with a whistle telling the Doolies tions, the government has money to pay contributed money for Falcon Stadium, for everything. However, there are chalto do up-downs or squat-thrusts and the the Eisenhower Golf Course and Farish lenges throughout government to have rest, they’re right down there doing the Memorial. Having an organization of training with them. adequate resources to get missions done, Character and leadership training civic leaders to do things like that for us and the same is true here. now isn’t done as an if-we-have-time, is phenomenal. The Academy receives money for haphazard type of event, it’s a well Likewise, having a robust fundraising conducting its primary mission of arm of professionals like you see in the educating and training 4,000 cadets. The thought out and dedicated four-year curriculum on how we’re going to develop USAFA Endowment is a huge benefit for government takes care of the basics, but leaders of character. In the academic a service academy. And to look across that when you talk about the need to elevate arena, you’re seeing learning occur with table to our very active and supporting the margin of excellence that makes the experiential and discovery learning, like alumni foundation — our Association Air Force Academy exceptional, it’s just we are seeing with cadets involved in of Graduates — can only benefit the a fact of life that we must rely on private Academy as we take care of our graduates. money to do that, as do our counterparts aeronautics research and in the Academy’s emerging CyberWorx program. The old Air Force Academy Athletic at West Point and Annapolis. The whole goal of this? All these Association is now replaced by a Take the Center for Character and changes are aimed exactly in the right private nonprofit — the Air Force Leadership Development, for example. Academy Athletic Corporation — that The Academy received about $27 million direction with the goal of educating and training cadets to be prepared to is doing an amazing job of monetizing in military construction dollars to build compete in a very complex and evolving the big business we call college an adequate building, but it was the modern battlefield. And I’m confident athletics these days. additional $22 million raised by the And then you look at the Falcon USAFA Endowment that has enabled the that the changes at the Academy are Foundation, a marvelous organization CCLD to become a truly iconic landmark doing just that. that provides life-changing prep school here at the Air Force Academy. 24 ·

Field of Dreams

The Academy provided a field and some shovels …

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 25

More than an aircraft. It’s putting America to work. As the only T-X team building a new U.S. manufacturing facility, Team T-100 by Leonardo DRS is furthering its commitment to America. With Leonardo’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Alabama, Honeywell’s engine factory in Arizona, and CAE’s training system facility in Florida, the T-100 will create high-tech jobs here at home for years to come.

Learn more at

You helped make the dream come true!

Standing six-and-one-half stories tall, the Holaday Athletic Center encompasses 92,000 square feet of playing space, including regulation size fields for football, soccer and lacrosse. Thanks to Academy graduates, families and friends, the $15.5 million project is the largest privately financed capital project in Academy history. Continue to make a lasting impact on the Academy and cadets through the USAFA Endowment. Visit our website at:

Celebrating 10 years of expanding excellence! Checkpoints · March 2016 · 27


AOG chapter presidents met for a two-day conference at Doolittle Hall Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Pictured (left to right, in front of the table) are Alex Granados ’04, Ryan Fitzgerald ’05, Guy Walsh ’79 and Mark Brown ’90. In the back row are Ted Kammire ’73, Mike Lambert ’70, Roy Kessell ’70, Keith Heien ’84, Chris Herrmann ’85, Kent Shin ’86, Bob Steigerwald ’81, Mike Rose ’69, Patrick Yanke ’93, Greg Shuey ’68, Bill Riley ’66, Jim Marshall ’75, Kirk Brown (Silver Falcons), Al Dunlap ’73, Elizabeth Granier ’00, Rich Wright ’74, Rick Knoll ’65, Greg Montijo ’81 and Tom Tomaras ’81.

Parent, chapter leaders gather at USAFA


or the first time in USAFA history, the Chapter Presidents’ Conference and Parents Club Presidents’ Conference were held jointly. The two organizations — which oversee graduate clubs and cadet parent chapters throughout the nation — met at Doolittle Hall on Aug. 31. The Chapter Presidents’ Conference was held a second day — Sept. 1 — as well. The Thursday morning joint session kicked off with a senior officer panel, including USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85, Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93, Dean of Faculty Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton, Prep School Commander 28 ·

Col. Jacqueline Breeden ’94, 10th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Shawn Campbell, Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Boyer and 306th Flying Training Group Commander Col. Dale Hetke ’94. Lt. Gen. Silveria welcomed the parents club leaders and various Association of Graduates chapter leaders and pledged to work with all of the organizations that seek to promote and strengthen USAFA. “Ultimately, the most important thing for us is that we produce a cadet who is a leader of character and who will be a leader of airmen,” he said. “That is why we’re here.” The superintendent provided updates concerning capital projects that are

underway or about to begin, including the planetarium renovation; Cadet Chapel renovation; a new visitor’s center in partnership with Colorado Springs; technology upgrades; a new, freestanding CyberWorx facility; and Sijan Hall renovation. Campbell noted that about $1 billion in capital projects are planned over the next decade. During a lengthy question-and-answer session, parents and chapter leaders urged leaders and the Association of Graduates to improve communication efforts. Too often, parents and chapter leaders suggested, their organizations are left in the dark when it comes to critical information related to the Academy.

Other questions from the crowd focused on USAFA curriculum changes, the Academy’s financial status, and changes in Basic Cadet Training. When the two organizations split into separate groups, several parent organizations offered “best practices” tips to inspire new leaders in other parts of the country. The Georgia Parents Club talked about its efforts to engage new members and retain them through the entire four years of their cadet’s USAFA experience. The club pays particular attention to inprocessing day and graduation, when most parents and cadets have questions about what’s about to happen. The Georgia club hosts conference calls leading up to both big events and invites everybody to dial in.

The club also works hard to stay connected with parents and cadets throughout the year. In addition, to make sure the organization remains strong, the club trains new leaders to take over for those who are leaving. The organization conducts monthly meetings via teleconference to keep people informed and to “transfer knowledge” to others. The five Texas parents’ clubs talked about their annual “Texas Night” meal served at the Academy. This year, the Texas-sized BBQ served 1,500 cadets and 250 parents who attended and volunteered. The Texas parents clubs challenged other states to host similar events. The AOG chapter leaders also offered a few tips about successful events and efforts, including the hosting of a leadership and

ethics conference at local high schools; movie nights for members; and mentoring assistance among fellow graduates. AOG Distinguished Chapter honors were presented at the conclusion of the gathering. The AOG’s top chapters included the Twin Cities Area Chapter; Las Vegas Chapter; Idaho Chapter; Granite State Chapter; Charleston Chapter; Alamo Chapter; Blue Chile Chapter; Baltimore Chapter; Air Force Academy Society of North Carolina; AFA Society of D.C.; Central Texas Chapter; North Texas Association; Kansas City Chapter; Sacramento Chapter; Abilene Chapter; South Arizona Chapter; Heartland-Lemay Chapter; St. Louis Gateway Chapter; Rampart Chapter; and Southwestern Ohio Chapter.


The Association of Graduates will be accepting nominations for the Young Alumni Excellence Award (YAEA) in November. The AOG is seeking nominations to identify young alumni candidates who: • Have distinguished themselves by obtaining a high level of professional accomplishment • Possess high standards of integrity/character that positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the United States Air Force Academy. • Are 15 years or less from graduation from the Air Force Academy. If you know a young alumni deserving of recognition of the YAEA, please submit a nomination form no later than January 19, 2018. For more details and to submit a nominee, visit



Checkpoints · December 2017 · 29

Mending minds Cathlin ’95 helps support important brain injury research for the military By Jeff Holmquist


uring a deployment to Afghanistan, Army Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Lee had a 7.62 mm round bounce off his helmet during an intense firefight. At the time, he didn’t think much about the impact his head had absorbed. But after returning home, Lee and his family noticed changes in the soldier’s behavior and mental sharpness. He suffered unexplained headaches and experienced troubling memory lapses. Lee’s wife alerted her husband’s superiors about the medical concerns and the soldier was immediately tested. He was eventually diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was aggressively treated. He has since recovered and returned to duty with the Army. Lee is just one of thousands of service members who have suffered traumatic brain injuries while on duty or off. He and other TBI patients are working with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) to raise awareness 30 ·

about such injuries and the need for early diagnosis and treatment among military personnel. A HELPING MISSION Over the past 25 years, DVBIC has collaborated with all branches of the military to conduct research, develop effective treatments and guide awareness campaigns surrounding TBIs. A key leader at DVBIC is the organization’s Chief of Staff Capt. Charles Cathlin ’95, a public health officer who has been involved in brain injury research efforts over the past four years. “It’s a fantastic mission,” he comments. “We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to get done to move the science forward.” Cathlin works from the DVBIC headquarters near Washington, D.C., but also helps coordinate with 22 research and treatment sites scattered throughout the nation and overseas. In 2017 alone,

DVBIC added three new partnership sites to its ever-expanding network — including a new collaborative effort with Special Forces. “Obviously, they’re at high risk of a traumatic brain injury, just by the nature of the work that they do,” he says. “We’re expecting this partnership to be a win-win.” According to Cathlin, the DVBIC network is working hard to advance the science surrounding the diagnosis of TBIs, the standardization of effective treatment options and the evaluation of the cost effectiveness of various programs. The organization also is in the midst of a congressionally mandated, 15-year longitudinal study to gauge the long-term impact of TBIs. “We work closely with our military partners, and the VA [Veterans Affairs] as well, so we can have a better understanding of the long-term outcomes of our service members,” he explains. “As a country, we’ve put the appropriate amount of resources into helping our service members recover from traumatic brain injuries, and also into the research as well. But we’re at the point where we want to have a much more quantitative analysis.” In August, DVBIC and its brain research partners reached an important milestone when they compiled and approved the first-ever TBI Consensus Statement. The document includes more than 80 executive statements designed to identify the agreed-upon science surrounding TBIs. “It establishes what we know now in terms of traumatic brain injury,” he explains. “But more importantly, it helps to identify the gaps we need to address in order to continue to improve our knowledge of TBI and our ability to treat service members.” The Consensus Statement should promote more collaboration among military and civilian partners, instead of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and everyone else operating in their own “silos” when it comes to TBI research and the sharing of best practices, Cathlin says. CIRCUITOUS CAREER PATH After graduating from the Academy with a degree in civil engineering and environmental engineering, Cathlin 32 ·

would follow an atypical USAFA alum path throughout his subsequent career, including public health assignments and humanitarian missions with the Air Force. His service time included deployments to Saudi Arabia; Tirana, Albania (for the Kosovo War); and Mozambique. In 2001, he separated from the service and took a job with the Office of Emergency Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “They said it was a pretty low-key job,” Cathlin recalls. A few weeks later, on Sept. 11, the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon occurred. “I had a friend who was a classmate at the Air Force Academy and he worked at the Pentagon at the time,” Cathlin recalls “While I was on the phone with him, the plane flew into the Pentagon where he was working. Fortunately he was able to get out.” Cathlin soon would be deployed to Ground Zero to help set up medical stations near the Twin Tower rubble piles. Cathlin admits to a feeling of regret for separating from the Air Force at a time

when the nation went to war, but he sees now that his job in the public health arena also was an important assignment. It was during his Ground Zero mission that Cathlin solidified his curiosity for trauma and its impact on humans. He recognized that, despite experiencing trauma on a daily basis, the public servants working at Ground Zero continued to do their jobs with little regard for their own health. “It was definitely a life-changing experience,” he notes. “I think that’s where my interest in things related to mental health, brain health, and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] issues came about.” Cathlin would later pursue his masters in public health. As a graduate student, he conducted research on the effectiveness of current military mental health treatment and resiliency programs. Through that research, Cathlin made connections with those in the traumatic brain injury field, which led to his current job with DVBIC. Now, as chief of staff of DVBIC, Cathlin handles budgeting, regulatory


Capt. Charles Cathlin serves as chief of staff at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.


Celebrating its 25th year in 2017, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center partners with 22 research and treatment sites to conduct its important military mission.

oversight, strategic planning and human resources matters for the organization. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with all these individuals who are doing some fantastic work — supporting the clinicians and conducting research,” he says. “My job is to make it easier for them to do their jobs.” Checkpoints · December 2017 · 33

BY THE NUMBERS CHALLENGING SCIENCE Dr. Saafan Malik, director of research at DVBIC, says he remains optimistic about the future of TBI research and treatment. “But the challenging piece is that the brain is more complex than other organs,” he admits. “It takes longer in research to understand. There is good progress, but obviously there’s no silver bullet yet for the treatment of TBI.” Malik’s department currently oversees 68 research projects covering all aspects of brain injury science, but DVBIC researchers are particularly interested in TBI occurrences among members of the military. “We’re trying to fill in the gaps in TBI research for the Department of Defense,” Malik says. “Neuroscience research has come a long way, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions.” The ultimate goal of DVBIC’s efforts is to accurately diagnose TBIs, quickly and effectively treat them, and then re-integrate service members — if possible. “I’m so happy that I’m able to contribute,” he says. “We know that we’re serving a bigger mission for DoD. It’s exciting and it’s cutting-edge.” DVBIC and its partners are inching closer to effective diagnostic tools for TBIs, Malik reports, including ocular motor devices that more accurately measure hidden brain injuries. “The goal for the DoD is to identify a tool or device that they can use out in the

Dr. Saafan Malik reports that TBI research has progressed in the past few years, but many questions still remain.

34 ·

Penetrating TBIS


Severe TBIS




Not Classifiable






field,” Malik says, “so they can identify people who may need to be evacuated sooner so we can save lives.” The organization also is making strides in identifying effective and cost-effective rehabilitation programs for service members with TBIs, Malik notes. In recent years, TBI diagnosis and research has been aided by military policies on incident-based reporting. Today, any military member who is in close proximity of a blast or concussive event is immediately tested for brain injuries. It’s no longer dependent on self-reporting. “The mantra for service members is they don’t want to leave their buddies behind,” Malik explains. “They will not complain and they will not come forward to say they have a concussion. With incident-based reporting, if people are within 50 meters of the blast … we assess them in a timely way.” Malik traveled to Colorado Springs in October — visiting Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy — to bring those organizations up to speed on current trends in TBI research and treatment. He says he hopes to encourage a stronger partnership between Fort Carson and

the Academy for future research projects related to brain injuries. “It was a very productive visit,” he says. “We had a lot of great ideas that we shared with USAFA.” SEEKING HELP Recent publicity surrounding brain injuries among National Football League players has led to more public awareness of the issue, Cathlin says. As military personnel understand more about TBIs and the need to seek treatment in a timely manner, DVBIC and its partner organizations inch closer to lasting solutions for patients, Cathlin says. “Anyone who feels they may have suffered a TBI, just seek some help,” he suggests. “Get evaluated. Go talk to your provider, and get the resources that you need to make a full recovery. “There’s a reason they call it the invisible wound of war. On the outside, you can’t see what the individual is dealing with. But the quicker you can get help, the quicker you can get to a full recovery … and the quicker you can get back to do your job and to serve.”

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Pulling Together for the Air Force Academy Seven foundations focus their efforts on supporting the Academy and cadets


rivate philanthropy has played a significant role in the growth and development of the United States Air Force Academy. In 1954 — the year the Academy was established — the Air Force Academy in Colorado Foundation, Inc. was formed to “assist and contribute to the establishment, maintenance, growth and development of the United States Air Force Academy.” As the Academy grew, the desire of private citizens to raise support for an increasing number of unique projects and programs also expanded. Today, seven foundations function within the realm of Academy-focused philanthropy: Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation, Air Force Academy Foundation, Inc., Association of Graduates, Academy Research and Development Institute (ARDI), Falcon Foundation, Friends of the Air Force Academy Library, and the United States Air Force Academy Endowment. Earlier in 2017, the presidents and chairs of the seven foundations began meeting together to forge a closer alliance as they work together on behalf of the Academy. The leaders’ summarized their united mission in a joint statement: “Our goal is simple: to solidify a team dedicated and positioned to best serve USAFA.” 36 ·

Following is a brief overview of each foundation highlighting its unique contribution to the Academy.

Academy Research and Development Institute

The Academy Research and Development Institute (ARDI) was established in 1984 to enhance academic excellence at the Air Force Academy by establishing and managing endowed chairs. ARDI fully endows eight chairs and partially endows two others, covering academic disciplines ranging from Arabic Studies and Economics to Professional Ethics and Space Systems Engineering. The endowed chair is a special symbol of excellence in education. For decades, endowed chairs have enhanced the faculty at many of America’s outstanding academic institutions. The Air Force Academy joins them by means of the ARDI endowment program, helping the Academy remain in the top tier of educational excellence.

Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation

When government sequestration threatened to cancel the 2013 Air Force vs. Navy football game in Annapolis, the newly-formed Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation (AFAAC) began raising

funds to keep the 41-year competition for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy alive. More than $230,000 was quickly raised, paying travel expenses for the Air Force Falcons and extending the historic rivalry among the Army, Navy and Air Force service academies. AFAAC helped save the 2013 football season for the Air Force Falcons, but the foundation’s mission was much broader than football. “We’re proud of the business model we’ve developed in four short years,” says AFAAC CEO Nancy Hixson. “AFAAC supports the Academy’s 27 intercollegiate programs, as well as boxing and spirit teams, by generating more than $25 million in annual revenue.”

Air Force Academy Foundation

Founded in 1954, the Air Force Academy Foundation, Inc. is the oldest Academyaffiliated foundation. From the beginning, the foundation has been raising private support for a variety of iconic projects. “In the early days of the Academy, before the alumni base grew in size and influence, the foundation provided capital funding in support of a variety of projects to enhance the Academy campus, including Falcon Stadium, the Academy golf course, Farish Recreation Area, and the

Goldwater Visitor Center,” says foundation President David Palenchar ’70. “In more recent years, as the other Academysupporting foundations have grown, the foundation has focused more on support for cadet programs.” The foundation recently provided opportunities for cadets to travel domestically and internationally to receive leadership training through experiences that include internships in Washington, D.C., and studying politics and economics in places like the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems in Prague, Czech Republic.

relaying timely news and insightful stories through Checkpoints magazine, honoring exceptional airmanship and service through the Jabara Award and Distinguished Graduate award programs, and remembering those who are gone, but not forgotten. Academy graduate Marty Marcolongo ’88 became the president and CEO of the AOG in 2017, following the retirement of William “T” Thompson ’73. “Thankfully, most cadets enter the Academy with a predisposition toward — or even an outright commitment to — servant leadership,” Marcolongo says. “During their four years at the Academy, cadets hone this commitment through education and practical experience. And once the ‘service-before-self’ switch is flipped on, it can never be turned off. For most, there is a lifetime drive to serve and give back to the Academy, the Air Force and the nation.”

Each year, as many as 12,000 young men and women apply for admission to the Academy, vying for just over 1,000 open positions. The Falcon Foundation provides an opportunity for up to 100 applicants who barely missed the cut for admission to attend one of six select prep schools where the students can strengthen their academic foundations, improve SAT and ACT scores, and then reapply for admission to the Academy. The foundation is more than pleased with the result, with more than 95 percent of it scholars gaining admission to the Academy. “Our primary mission is to help young people inspired to serve their Association of Graduates country gain entry to the United States The Association of Graduates (AOG) Air Force Academy by designing a has established an international network preparatory program that complements of Academy graduates, tracing the Long each individual young man or woman Blue Line back to the first graduating and makes them well prepared to enter class of 1959. Through the AOG, graduand succeed,” says Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay ates and friends remain engaged with the Kelley ’64, the president of the Falcon Academy, connected with each other, and Foundation. informed about current USAFA events Falcon Foundation Academy graduates who have foland future plans. The Falcon Foundation is preparing to lowed the prep school route have had The AOG also helps strengthen the celebrate 60 years of providing life-changgreat success as Air Force officers and graduate community by promoting ing second chances to Air Force Academy future leaders in the private sector. class reunions and projects, publicizcandidates who are willing to go the extra ing graduate achievements and awards, mile to gain entrance to the institution. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 37

“We have had five Academy graduates become chief of staff of the Air Force,” says Kelley, who is in his second five-year term as president of the foundation. “The last two have been Falcon Scholars — Gen. Mark Welsh and the current chief, Gen. [David] Goldfein.”

grow in stature, strengthening the Academy’s performance of its mission. Keeping pace with modern cataloging techniques, The Friends funded the digitization of more than 6,000 items in the Special Collections Branch of the library. The Friends staff also is working with the Academy to collect and catalog the Academy’s involvement in the history of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Former Academy superintendent, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould ’76, became president and CEO of the Endowment in 2017. Drawing from his unique Academy experience, Gould is leading the Endowment into its second decade of focused philanthropy on behalf of USAFA. “After serving as the superintendent Friends of the Air Force Acadfrom 2009-13, I am thrilled to return to emy Library the Academy as a private citizen for my The white marble steps of a spiral stairsecond tour of duty as the president and case rise to the sixth floor of McDermott USAFA Endowment Library, where a collection of antique Building upon a foundation of more than CEO of the Endowment,” he says. “The Endowment is dedicated to elevating the firearms points the way to the very heart 50 years of Academy-focused philanof the library where more than 1,500 thropy, the United States Air Force Acad- excellence of the Academy as it continues special collections are stored, some emy Endowment was established in 2007 to grow, adding new programs to enhance including artifacts that date back more to raise financial support and increase the the military and academic training of than 5,000 years. level of excellence of key Academy projects cadets. I see great opportunities for the Endowment and our unique family of The principal aim of the Friends of and programs. the Air Force Academy Library is to During its first decade (2007-2017), the foundations to enhance the impact we have on the Academy as we explore new enhance the quality of the McDermott Endowment raised over $128 million to levels of cooperation.” Library as an educational, research, enhance the Academy’s mission to build scientific and cultural institution. leaders of character for the Air Force and Ultimately, The Friends help the Library the nation.

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ENDOWMENT Checkpoints · March 2016 · 39 Looking Forward – Giving Back

of the

USAFA graduate helps guide Texas community’s recovery following direct hit from Hurricane Harvey By Jeff Holmquist / Photos: Ryan Hall


n the way to his office, Mayor Charles “C.J.” Wax ’69 drives past pile after pile of storm debris along the streets of Rockport, Texas. “This is an example of what Mother Nature can do when she’s angry,” Wax quips. Downed trees, splintered building materials and drenched household goods make up the majority of the rubble scattered about town by Hurricane Harvey’s landfall here on Aug. 25, 2017. “Sorry you came to our community under these circumstances,” Wax says. “My hope is that you can come back three years from now and see the city of Rockport better than it used to be.” Wax suggests that his previous experience as an Air Force wing commander helps him focus on the seemingly overwhelming task of recovery and the innumerable steps required to return the community to pre-hurricane condition. A month has passed since the Category 4 storm struck this Gulf Coast town with 130-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall, but any visitor would be shocked at how much work remains to be accomplished. It’s now mid-September and dozens of cleanup crews have removed nearly 350,000 cubic yards of debris from the city’s landscape, trucked to a central loca40 ·

tion affectionately called “Debris Mountain” on the outskirts of town. But officials estimate they haven’t even reached the halfway point of the mammoth debrisremoval process. When the storm clouds disappeared on Aug. 26, local officials discovered that more than a third of Rockport’s homes and businesses were completely swept away. Another third of the community’s structures were severely damaged and may have to be razed or significantly rebuilt. Every apartment complex in the city (population 10,000) was damaged to such an extent that people no longer are allowed to live in the units. Thousands of residents are homeless, and many have moved to other parts of Texas while assessing the next chapter in their lives. “We don’t know if they will ever return to our community,” Wax admits. “And I’m concerned about the number of businesses that are not going to return.” City Hall and the county courthouse are likely complete losses, and many city employees now have to work out of temporary office space. The school buildings all have significant damage, forcing students to temporarily attend classes in a neighboring community. Rockport’s five major tourist attractions (Rockport Center for the Arts, Texas Mari-

“This is an example of what Mother Nature can do when she’s angry ...”

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 41


Hurricane Harvey came ashore at Key Allegro, a Gulf Coast development with high-end properties. (Photos by Ryan Hall)


Boats, vehicles, household items, building materials and fallen trees make up much of the debris that is sitting along roadways waiting for pickup.


Hurricane relief came to Rockport in various ways, including donations of food, clothing, water and household goods.

time Museum, Bay Education Center, The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor and Fulton Mansion) are either completely destroyed or severely damaged. Wax is uncertain what the future holds for those important community assets. Most of the city’s major hotels, which sit along prime beachfront property, are closed down for needed repairs. Rockport Harbor, a key economic engine for the community, is cleaning up after many of its commercial boats were severely damaged or sunk. Despite these constant reminders of Harvey’s wrath, Wax appears undeterred and unfazed. He instead remains focused on two simple goals — 1) making steady, 42 ·

forward progress and 2) not looking back. “We’re getting a little bit better every day,” Wax proclaims. “We’ve had tremendous unity in the community to focus on the long-term goal of rebuilding this community and making it stronger than it was.” Getting Involved After a 33-year military career, Wax retired from the Air Force in 2002 as a major general — his last assignment as commander of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. A command pilot, with more than 4,600 hours of flight time, Wax enjoyed a variety of Air Force assignments through the years — from the Philippines to the Pentagon.

As a new civilian, Wax would return to the Pentagon as a senior executive for a three-year defense project. But as his public service commitment was winding down, Wax and his wife, Susan, began investigating their options for the next chapter of their life. They were interested in putting down roots somewhere in Texas but weren’t exactly sure where. San Antonio seemed like the best possible option, Wax recalls. But Wax’s aunt and uncle, who lived in Rockport, invited the couple to stay with them for a weekend. During that visit, Wax and his wife were introduced to a friend of their aunt and uncle, who also happened to be a real estate agent.

“We've had tremendous unity in the community to focus on the long-term goal of rebuilding this community and making it stronger than it was.” — Charles "C.J." Wax '69

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 43

“We got here on a Friday night, took a drive around this little town on Saturday, bought a condo on Sunday and went back to Washington on Monday,” he recalls. “We just loved the community. It’s got a great small-town feel.” In 2006, C.J. and Susan moved permanently to Rockport and began to settle into their new routine. “I got here and I sat on my front porch in a rocker for about 20 minutes,” he laughs. “Then I said, ‘Now what am I going to do?’” Wax would join local civic organizations and volunteer his time on various projects. He eventually became president of the Key Allegro Men’s Club and his local homeowner’s association. A short time later, he was appointed to the Rockport Planning and Zoning Commission. In 2010, Wax was elected as Rockport mayor when the previous mayor left office. “As the mayor was getting ready to leave office, he and a group of other people caught me at a weak moment and asked if I would run for mayor,” Wax says. “So I did.” He has since been re-elected three times and is serving his final mayoral 44 ·

the storm system, Wax recalls. Then, on the Tuesday before landfall, Harvey powered up to a Category 1 storm with a slight chance of heading toward the Texas coast. Just 30 hours later, Harvey strengthened to a Category 4 storm and was headed straight toward Rockport. “Our emergency management plan is based on a longer timeline — a timeline that the National Weather Service can normally give you,” Wax recounts. “We issued a mandatory evacuation notice on Wednesday morning and the storm hit on Friday.” Wax and his wife evacuated, even though officials estimate that between 30 and 40 percent of Rockport residents stayed behind to ride out the storm. Rockport’s Key Allegro, a spit of land along the coast that is home to dozens of The Big One high-end homes, took a direct hit from the When you live on the Gulf Coast, the threat of hurricanes is inevitable. But eye of the storm. (Weather experts note Rockport hadn’t dealt with a major that when the eye of a hurricane passes storm for 47 years and locals weren’t too directly over a location, the site actuconcerned about Hurricane Harvey when ally takes two direct hits as the powerful it first spun up in the Gulf of Mexico. eyewall passes by twice.) At the time, forecasters guessed that Harvey’s initial landfall brought strong Rockport might receive a little rain from winds and a storm surge from the south. term. He’s required to give up his post in May 2018 due to municipally-established term limits. Wax says it’s been an honor to serve the community over the past seven years, and he looks forward to being active throughout Rockport for many years to come. “We have all kinds of things that make this community something you want to be a part of,” he notes. “It’s very welcoming. We’ve got nature, we’ve got outdoor sports activities, and we’ve got history.” Unfortunately, the city’s history includes several brushes with major storms, including Hurricane Celia in 1970. And now Hurricane Harvey is part of that history as well.

When the calm eye passed and the second wall came ashore, winds shifted to the north and pummeled the community from a completely different direction. It was a worst-case scenario for many of the city’s homes and businesses, Wax notes. After Harvey finally moved away from Rockport, Wax returned home to assess the damage. He couldn’t believe his eyes. “You suddenly realize what a gut punch this was to the entire community,” he says. “Everyone took a major hit from this storm.” Rockport was without power and other essential services for 13 days, hampering the initial emergency response. As electricity, water and cell coverage were restored, Wax says the pace of the cleanup picked up. Two lives were lost as a result of the storm, Wax notes, but the loss of life could have been much worse. “Losing two lives in a Category 4 storm … we consider ourselves blessed,” he says. As for the ongoing recovery effort, Wax knows the process of rebuilding will take persistence and patience. “I have emphasized to the city staff, the city council and anybody else who will listen … this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” he says. “This is going to take a long time. I will not be surprised that — three years from now — we’re still not back up to 100 percent.”

distribute household essentials — water, clothing, food. Throughout the community, city and county employees are still on the job, doing what they can to help fellow citizens. Wax praises the efforts of his employees, who willingly work overtime despite some of them losing their own homes and possessions in the storm. “If I was to give out MVP awards, I’d have to own a trophy factory,” Wax says. Over the past month, Wax and his fellow city council members have been working diligently to coordinate relief and recovery efforts. There’s been no such thing as a normal work week since the storm. “The council’s pay is $100 per month,” Wax laughs. “I’m the one that’s in it for the money. I get $258 a month, which my wife continuously complains about. ‘Do you know what you work for per hour?’ she says. It’s not a lot.” Perhaps the biggest challenge facing elected officials is paying for the community’s recovery efforts. Upwards of 40 percent of Rockport’s existing tax base was blown away by Harvey, so tax collections will be impacted for years to come. Fortunately, the city has 147 days of reserves in its “rainy day” fund, but Wax admits more resources are needed to get the community back on its feet. “Sometime between now and the expiraThe Aftermath tion of that fund, I need to find some alterWax carries two cellphones in his pock- native sources of income, either in the form ets at all times, just in case the signal of loans or grants,” Wax says. “I cannot, in from one service provider is weak and good conscience, put a tax burden on my he can’t stay connected. citizens next year to compensate for a natu“On my left hand side is my Sprint ral disaster over which they had no control.” phone, the right hand side is the State and federal agencies have promised AT&T phone,” he smiles. “Depending to help. Singer Paul Simon recently visited on where you are in town, one may Rockport and has pledged to provide work and the other won’t.” financial assistance through a foundation he Since Harvey, cell coverage is spotty, helps operate. but it’s important for the mayor to But Wax is concerned, and perhaps stay in contact with his employees, justifiably, that too much attention is being city leaders, state officials and Fedpaid to other major disasters elsewhere — eral Emergency Management Agency Houston’s epic flooding and Puerto Rico’s (FEMA) personnel. devastating hurricane damage. He’s workIn the parking lot of a shuttered grocery ing hard to make sure government officials store, a multi-agency response center is and the public don’t forget about Rockport. helping victims of the storm recover. From The community has set up two temporary tents, FEMA officials screen GoFundMe pages to help raise the needed hundreds of applicants daily for poscapital for recovery. One page is desigsible federal relief. Nearby, the American nated for helping city employees (the total Red Cross and other relief organizations at $70,000 currently); a second is devoted

to Rockport’s overall recovery ($700,000 at present). Millions more in funding will be required over the next few years to help the community recover. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Wax admits. Lessons Learned Wax recognizes that he brings a unique set of skills to the job of mayor, and he’s willing to faithfully serve his fellow residents during this time of tragedy and restoration. Wax suggests the job of mayor is not unlike the job of a wing commander, a job he held three times during his Air Force career. “The principals are the same,” he explains. “You keep focused on the mission. What’s the mission, what are the resources necessary to complete that mission, and now let’s get after it. You just try to take the small steps toward the mission goal, and you do a little bit each day to improve the lives of your citizens — help remove debris, get rid of building materials, streamline the permitting process to begin the rebuilding, help your attractions and businesses to get reopened.” During his Air Force career, Wax also amassed considerable experience with global relief work. That background has helped him lead Rockport during this unfortunate chapter of its history. “I’ve had the opportunity, over the course of my career, to work with natural disasters — earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes,” he explains. “I’ve got a little bit of experience, unfortunately, doing this kind of work. “Everything you learn throughout your career prepares you for the next challenge. You always need to focus on the mission and never lose track of that. Don’t let the daily inbox get in your way, because the mission remains the mission.” The universal leadership lessons Wax learned during his United States Air Force Academy days and subsequent Air Force career have helped him set a path forward for this hurricane-ravaged community, he says. Wax’s ultimate goal is to help restore Rockport to its previous condition — or even better — by the city’s 150th birthday in three years. It’s a tall order, but Wax is convinced his fellow citizens can make it happen. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 45

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Checkpoints · March 2016 · 47

Hunting Hurricanes Academy grads collect essential weather data as dangerous storms spin up By Jeff Holmquist


hile most Americans flee approaching hurricanes, two USAFA alums head straight into the churning clouds. Lt. Col. Darryl Woods ’91 and Lt. Col. Brian Gwinnup ’96 are part of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron — also known as the “Hurricane Hunters” — that famously flies directly into storms. The squadron is part of the 403rd Wing at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. During the most recent hurricane season, the USAFA graduates and their fellow reservists flew missions to track and measure Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, among others. Woods reports it was the second busiest storm season he’s experienced — the worst year being 2005, when a record number of storms (including Hurricane Katrina) formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Woods has been a pilot and instructor pilot for the Hurricane Hunters for more than 16 years and he loves his whiteknuckle, Air Force Reserve assignment. 48 ·

“The job is a dream come true for me,” he admits. “I could do this job forever. It’s amazing.” Woods grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and recalls the seemingly constant threat of hurricanes that his hometown endured. As a youngster, Woods heard about the Hurricane Hunters based at the nearby Air Force base, and he thought it would be “an amazing job.” But he never expected to be part of the mission. “I ended up flying for that very unit that I looked up to as a child growing up in Mississippi,” he laughs. For the past 12 years, Gwinnup has been a navigator in the WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft that the Reserve unit uses for its hair-raising missions. Gwinnup’s uncle was a former pilot for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), so growing up he was always intrigued by both flying and weather.

“The mission has always been fascinating for me,” he admits. When Gwinnup separated from the Air Force as a KC-135 pilot, he immediately applied to the Hurricane Hunters and was hired. Woods was hired quickly, too. “When I left active duty to go to the airlines, it was literally me getting in the car, driving down the street, dropping a resume off at the squadron at 9 a.m. and at about 9:25 I had a patch on my shoulder,” he laughed. “They hired me on the spot.”

Into the Storm When hurricanes form over the Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, the Hurricane Hunters quickly spring into action. Three WC-130Js from the squadron are typically deployed to a forward operating base, closer to each storm. If storms form in the Atlantic, quite often that forward operating base has been St.

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 49

U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Chad Gibson


Lt. Col. Mark Carter views the sunset from a WC-130 cockpit after nine hours of flying into a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico. The Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force Reserve Command's 403rd Wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., fly 24-hours-a-day, collecting data inside the heart of Mother Nature's fury. The data collected by the Hurricane Hunters improve the National Hurricane Center forecast by 20 to 30 percent.

50 ·

Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but that island has been badly damaged in recent months. For Pacific storms, the crews often operate out of Hawaii. The squadron is capable of deploying to three locations simultaneously during a particularly busy storm season. When deployed for a mission, the Hurricane Hunters crews (made up of five people — two pilots, a navigator, a weather officer and a loadmaster) head into the clouds every 12 hours, gathering vital weather data for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. As a WC-130J gets within 105 miles of the eye of the storm, the specially equipped airplane flies low (usually at an altitude of 5,000 or 10,000 feet) to pierce the massive storms. Crew members then turn on their weather equipment, drop sensors into the storm, and immediately relay the data they collect.

“It violates every rule of navigation I ever learned about avoiding weather,” Gwinnup admits. “We’re going to fly through bad weather, because that’s what we do. But my job is to find the least bad weather — stuff that won’t damage the airplane or hurt us.” Flying at a lower altitude helps pilots avoid icing problems that can take down a plane. Following a flight path that avoids land helps crews dodge tornados that spin up within most hurricanes when they make landfall. Once inside the hurricane, the plane will fly the entire length of the storm, encountering driving rain, pounding hail and wind speeds upwards of 185 miles per hour when near the eyewall. “It is exhilarating but, at the same time, it’s nerve wracking,” Woods says. Woods is temporarily at a loss for words to describe a flight through a hur-

“It violates every rule of navigation I ever learned about avoiding weather.” - Lt. Col. Brian Gwinnup ’96 ricane. Then he suggests it is like driving your car through an extra-long automatic carwash at 200 miles per hour. Add in a bunch of lightning and hailstorms, and you get the picture. “You’re flying in the most dangerous weather on the planet,” Woods says. “It’s kind of nerve wracking the first time you go through a major storm,” Gwinnup adds. “We go right into the heart of it. And every storm is different — you never know what you’re going to experience out there. I’ve flown through cat 5s that are really clean, nothing to it. And I’ve flown through tropical storms that bang us around pretty good.” Both Woods and Gwinnup agree that, once the airplane breaches the eyewall, the whole experience changes. “When you get inside the eye itself, it is hands down the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen,” Woods reports. “If you don’t believe in God, flying into the eye of a storm … it will make you wonder what else is out there. It’s just a beautiful sight.” “We don’t like the devastation that the hurricane causes,” Gwinnup continues. “We love flying the big storms that spin off into the Atlantic and do nothing. That’s perfect for us.”

Pinpointing the Center Each mission into a hurricane includes four 90-minute trips through the storm. The crews are usually airborne from six to 12 hours, depending how far away the storm is located. According to Gwinnup, the ultimate goal of a Hurricane Hunters mission is to find the exact center of the storm. Then, every 12 hours, the coordinates for the center of the storm are determined yet again, giving forecasters an idea of where the hurricane is headed. The Hurricane Hunters also measure such important weather variables as

Staff Sgt. Heather Heiney

barometric pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction and more, feeding all that data to the meteorologists at National Hurricane Center. As storms strengthen and head toward land, the crews speed up their flight schedules and mark the center of the hurricane every six hours. When the storms get even closer to land and large population centers, the storm’s center is tracked every three hours. According to Woods, flights into the hurricane improve the accuracy of weather forecasts by 20 percent or more. “On average, they say it costs about a million dollars to evacuate one mile of coastline,” he explains. “If you had a storm, they might set a predicted path where the storm could hit 100 miles of shoreline. With us out gathering data, it might go from 100 down to 80 miles. So that’s 20 miles, or about $20 million less in costs to evacuate. That translates into fewer people who have to get on the roads and fewer resources used. That’s strictly

due to the data that we’re out there gathering. We can show those exact moments when a storm will turn.”

Year-Round Mission When the hurricane season subsides, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron remains pretty busy. Tracking winter storms approaching the U.S. from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans is an additional mission for the squadron. The crews also conduct cargo delivery and medevac missions. “A lot of people see the Hurricane Hunter patch and hurricane season is over, they think it’s time for us to kick our feet up on the couch and enjoy ourselves,” Woods says. “It’s actually just the opposite. Just because we have the Hurricane Hunter designation doesn’t mean that’s all we do. We’re basically jacks-of-all-trades.”

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 51

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RESPOND By Jeff Holmquist



arth and its inhabitants have suffered more than their fair share of disasters in recent months, and on the front lines of the emergency response are USAFA graduates deployed to assist victims. Whether responding to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes or extreme flooding, the graduate community always is prepared to help in a variety of ways. Lt. Col. Erik Fisher ’02, commander of the 21st Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, reports that his airmen have flown more than 50 humanitarian sorties over the past few months. “Generally, we depart home station with a clear itinerary and plan,” Fisher 54 ·

explains. “However, most of our humanitarian missions emerge at the 11th hour and our team is not afforded the normal time to prepare. Our team is ready each and every day to answer the call and we execute the mission safely and effectively every time.” The squadron has delivered over 2 million pounds of aid to Texas, Florida, Mexico, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The organization also transported more than 500 first responders to the various disaster zones. “Humanitarian missions are humbling experiences,” Fisher admits. “Defense Secretary [James] Mattis recently said the military is an instrument of intimidation

and inspiration. In the humanitarian role, we bring inspiration — we deliver hope to those in despair.” Fisher says humanitarian missions can be challenging, as runways and other infrastructure can be damaged due to weather and earthquakes. During the squadron’s Ixtepec, Mexico, mission following an 8.1 magnitude earthquake, the cargo planes had to divert to Mexico City when a powerful aftershock closed down the runway at Ixtepec while they were en route. “We train to be an agile force,” he says. “This agility allowed us to continue to Mexico City and deliver our aid to the people of Mexico.”


An assessment team, including Capt. Matthew Crowley '08, boards a Navy helicopter on the way to St. Thomas to assess the damage.


Lt. Col. Erik Fisher (third from left) and his crew are pictured with the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson (center), during a humanitarian mission following recent earthquakes.


An airman with the 821st Contingency Response Squadron unloads a shipment at the Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, airfield on Oct. 3. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks)

Fisher suggests that he and his fellow C-17 pilots — including Capt. Jaime Larivee ’11 and Capt. Whit Gremillion ’11 — are the cream of the crop when it comes to Air Force pilots. “Young pilots must graduate at or near the top of their pilot training class to have the opportunity to fly the C-17,” he notes. “Our mission is difficult and diverse. We execute missions in hostile combat environments, delivering combat power to combatant commanders. Yet, we also deliver aid to areas with little or no infrastructure. We land on immaculate 12,000-foot runways, but are also called to land on 3,500-foot dirt strips on night vision goggles.”

Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and Florida following Hurricane Irma. The 821st is part of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, comprised of 1,500 airmen assigned to three groups, 11 squadrons and more than 20 geographically separated operational locations. For two years, Green has been part of the 821st mission — responding at a moment’s notice to disasters around the globe. “Within 12 hours, we have all the people and equipment on a plane … ready to roll,” he explains. Last year, the 821st was in Iraq assisting with combat support. This year they’ve been part of the initial Air Force hurricane efforts. The squadron’s Irma response was a **** Capt. Aaron Green ’09, a logistics readi- typical deployment, according to Green. ness officer with the 821st Contingency The team landed in Florida, set up an Response Squadron at Travis Air Force emergency response airfield and left after Base, was part of a team that deployed to just five days. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 55

The Puerto Rico deployment was much more challenging, Green notes. “Because it’s an island, and the infrastructure is different from Florida … hitting the ground there was a little bit slower,” he explains. “We didn’t necessarily know who was in charge on the ground. We had a lot of players showing up — one after the other. Everybody was trying to help and do their part, but you’re kind of negotiating how you manage priorities and help everybody do their mission safely.” For a logistics and operations professional, Green says coordination of all the different relief partners — Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, FEMA, local police and firefighters — was impressive. 56 ·

“For me, that’s the awesome part,” he says. “I never thought I’d get to do stuff like this. The cool part is to be on the ground and working the pieces out … seeing it build up from zero. And then actually seeing the end result, which was handing out water to people.” Capt. Matthew Crowley ’08 shares that same passion for the work he’s doing with the 821st. He’s currently the squadron’s assistant director of operations. But while responding to disaster zones, Crowley serves as the assessment team lead, guiding an eight-person unit supporting aerial port operations, cargo movement, material handling equipment, communications support, air traffic control and runway structural evaluations.

During the 2017 hurricane season, his team landed in St. Thomas and St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma hit, and then St. Croix following Hurricane Maria. “I’d never seen that kind of devastation before,” he reports. “It was shocking to me. All the leaves were stripped, all the power lines were down, all the fencing was torn up, and all the paneling that came off the roofs was strewn about. It was a mess.” Crowley says his team worked quickly to assess runways, towers, ramps, security and other infrastructure before filing a report to U.S. Transportation Command. Then the team stuck around on the islands until eventually relieved by replacement organizations.


“All told, we were out there for 34 days,” he says. Crowley says he feels good about being part of the humanitarian mission and he also sees it as an opportunity to grow his leadership abilities. “In addition to it being such a unique mission, it helps broaden a skillset that I otherwise wouldn’t have as just a C-130J pilot,” he says. Col. Marlena Ventresca Parker ’90, a Reserve IMA (Individual Mobilization Augmentee) for the 621st Contingency Response Wing since 2016, is serving a six-month active duty assignment as vice wing commander for the CRW. The commander for the 621st Contingency Response Wing is Col. Charles Henderson ’92. The vice commander, who is currently deployed to the Middle East, is Col. Joel Safranek ’96. Before joining the wing, Parker says she had no idea that airmen were so involved in hands-on humanitarian efforts around the world. “It really has been eye-opening to me,” she admits. “I had no idea some of the types of events that Air Force members were a part of. You would think that these would be ground forces — whether they be Army or Marines. But our impact on the ground is unbelievable.” Since joining the wing, Parker says she has supported teams deployed to the Middle East as well as to recent hurricane disaster zones. “We launch sometimes in as quick as six hours,” she reports.

In the case of the hurricanes, the wing has delivered hundreds of skids of food and water to people impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. “Our airmen’s level of expertise have helped millions of Americans,” Parker suggests. Parker — who was a KC-10 refueling tanker pilot for many years and now flies for United Airlines — says she’s grateful for the opportunity that she’s had to be involved in the 621st mission. “It’s been an honor for me to be part of the unit and participate in this way,” she says.


Maj. Jacob Becker ’07, assistant director of operations at the 612th Theater Operations Group, Det. 2 for Forward Operating Locations Curacao and Aruba, arrived at his one-year assignment in May and has been busy ever since. Becker and his team helped support the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ (Royal Dutch military) and U.S. hurricane relief operations around the Caribbean and Leeward Islands following hurricanes Irma and Maria. “Our function was to provide logistical support and forward location basing of aircraft and aircrew,” he notes. “We provided logistical support for three NATO C-17s delivering 46 short tons of humanitarian aid cargo and assisted with transportation of 208 people affected by Hurricane Irma once they arrived on Curacao. These evacuees had a sense of relief once they safely arrived here as many had experienced extreme hardship and a devastating loss.”


Becker says he worked closely with Department of State and Department of Defense personnel to facilitate the movement of supplies and personnel to the affected areas. “I am very proud of what my unit accomplished and the amount of support we provided to those in affected locations,” Becker says. “It was humbling to be a part of such a large international response to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief [HA/DR]. “Hurricanes are a devastating force of nature that affect the lives of people for years to come. HA/DR missions are vital to those affected to ensure we can quickly assist in recovery efforts and bring a sense of normalcy back.”


March Air Reserve Base in California was called into action to help CALFIRE and Federal Emergency Management Agency during recent wildfires on the West Coast. According to Lt. Col. Matt Brancato ’99, commander of the 160th Attack Squadron with the California Air National Guard, his airmen had a busy couple weeks during the height of the tragic fires. In unprecedented fashion, the squadron received Secretary of Defense approval within 30 minutes of its request to fly a remotely piloted aircraft to conduct its Incident Assessment & Awareness mission. The base received a Certificate of Authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration within three hours, and RPAs were airborne within five hours of the initial notification on Oct. 10. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 57

“That first night, our MQ-9 mapped the perimeter of seven fires, and focused efforts on four major fires in northern California,” Brancato reports. “Our primary missions were to track fire perimeters and movement and assess burned structures.” The squadron supported the wildfire fight with 24/7 operations for 10 days, when weather permitted, according to Brancato. Two MQ-9s were in the air simultaneously throughout the operation. “The biggest challenge for the operations side of the support was limited crews,” he recalls. “In order to continue support to CALFIRE and FEMA, I reached out to all the other Air National Guard RPA units for help with crew manpower. Within 24 hours, we had more than 25 volunteers from North Dakota, Arizona and Ohio RPA units flying the California wildfire mission to help the 163rd Attack Wing manage all of its mission priorities.”


(Many more USAFA graduates have been part of the Air Force’s response to disasters around the world. The previous examples are just a snapshot of a few of our alums who are currently serving in that capacity.) Airmen from Travis Air Force Base “download” supplies at an airfield in Mexico following a devastating earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico.


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Across 3. Pine - Southern USAFA drive 5. Arnold - First general of AF 6. Otis - Commandant's house 7. Harmon - First superintendent 9. Pilipovich - Men's hoops coach 13. Cotton - Falcon's 1958 season bowl game 14. Eagles - USAFA's peak view 15 Sijan - USAFA's newest dorm 16. Carlton - Superintendent's residence 17. Mattis – SECDEF 21. Silveria - 20th superintendent 22. Rampart - USAFA lodge 24. Knowlton - Falcon AD 25. Eisenhower - Academy's birdie and par place 27. Goldfein - CSAF 28. DeBerry - Legendary gridiron coach 29. Falcon - Officer's club at USAFA

Down 1. Shelton - American Kickoff headliner 2. Goodwin - Academy's 28th Commandant 3. Popovich - Five-time NBA championship coach 4. Polaris - CCLD's hall 5. Armacost - USAFA Dean 8. Wilson - SECAF 10. Vandenberg - Second-largest university dorm in U.S. 11. Holaday - USAFA's athletic center 12. Doolittle - USAFA alumni house 15. Stillman - Parade field 18. Spirit - Grassy hill of Terrazzo 19. Fairchild - Academy's academic hall 20. Jacks - Valley of BCT 21. Stanley - Academy's canyon hike 23. Gould - Endowment leader 26. Netsch - Chapel architect


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Growing global nuclear threat elevates AFTAC’s important monitoring role By Jeff Holmquist


hen North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb underground on Sept. 3, 2017, the world appeared closer to a possible nuclear showdown than it has been in decades. The bomb, estimated to be seven times stronger than the one the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, sent seismic waves rippling across the Earth. Moments later, Air Force Technical Applications Center personnel at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, picked up the indications that a nuclear event had occurred and they sprang into action. Col. Steven Gorski ’96, commander of AFTAC, says his organization’s mission is to monitor the globe 24/7 to determine if a foreign power has tested or deployed a nuclear weapon underground, underwater, on the Earth’s surface or in space. When such an explosion takes place, AFTAC personnel are tasked with providing a speedy and accurate report to U.S. governmental leaders so those officials can make an informed decision about how to respond. To carry out its mission, AFTAC has an impressive 3,600 sensors worldwide — underground, in the atmosphere, underwater and in space — to keep an eye on existing and emerging nuclear powers. 60 ·

“There’s no corner of the globe that’s hidden from our view,” Gorski reports. More than 1,000 airmen and civilians, most of whom are stationed at its headquarters in Florida, are assigned to the AFTAC mission. A handful of additional personnel — assigned to nine detachments and four operating locations in various foreign locales — are sprinkled across the globe, tending to sensor sites and conducting the analysis necessary to inform political leaders back home about any detected nuclear activity. “There is no doubt that this is a nofail mission,” Gorski says. “We have to get it right.” Tracking the Threat

When the international nuclear arms race was first heating up, above-ground and underground testing of weapons was a relatively common occurrence. Such testing had declined over the last 30 years — that is until the past couple of years. North Korea’s nuclear activity — in defiance of United Nations resolutions and economic sanctions — has changed the nuclear monitoring landscape significantly in recent months. “In the last 18 months alone, we’ve worked on three North Korean reported

nuclear tests,” Gorski reports. “We haven’t seen that type of activity in nuclear tests since the early 1980s.” AFTAC personnel responded to each of those detonations, gathered information and provided the data necessary for military and diplomatic discussions. While North Korea is the most immediate threat on the global radar right now, AFTAC isn’t just focused on Kim Jong Un and his regime. The Air Force organization also monitors Iran’s compliance with the highly publicized International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear deal, among other nuclear treaties and agreements. “We see nations trying to either invent their own or buy technology to bring them nuclear capability,” Gorski says. “I certainly see various countries looking toward nuclear weapons to gain power in the global arena. Any time you have a nation that threatens its neighbors — and you add nuclear weapons into the mix — that becomes an existential threat to the United States. That is certainly something you need to be concerned about.” Fortunately, emerging technology is helping AFTAC do its job even better, Gorski reveals. “As potential adversaries grow, so does our mission to ensure we know exactly what’s


Col. Steven Gorski '96 (left), commander of AFTAC, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph (center), AFTAC's command chief, participate in a meeting, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma, to discuss steps necessary to safely evacuate the nuclear treaty monitoring center while ensuring the 24/7 mission continues uninterrupted. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)


Steam rises from the head of Lt. Col. Dennis Uyechi '97 as he takes a break from inspection duties while traveling by snowmobile around the Alaskan Seismic Array, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

going on,” he says, “so we can provide to our national command authority the right information and so they can make the right strategic decisions.” Gorski says the military and civilian personnel assigned to the task of monitoring the globe are well trained and highly professional. “I’ve got great confidence in the men and women who are working for us,” he boasts. Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph, AFTAC’s command chief and former Academy Military Training (AMT) noncommissioned officer at USAFA (20022005), assures that the nation’s interests are in good hands thanks to the noncommissioned airmen, officers and civilians who are part of the monitoring mission. “These are the folks who scored off the charts on their ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery] scores,” he notes. “They’re kind of the MacGyvers of the Air Force. At the end of the day, these are absolutely some of the best and brightest people in the Air Force.” About two dozen of the AFTAC officers are Academy graduates, Gorski notes. Upwards of 450 personnel are civilians

“We got to exercise all our response capability from the first detection, all the way through analysis, and then reporting to the president” (some of whom are Academy graduates as well), including scientists, nuclear physicists, space operators and engineers who conduct the tests and the analyses that are part of the mission. Remote Detachments

From 2015 through July 2017, Lt. Col. Dennis Uyechi ’97 served as commander of AFTAC’s newly established Technical Support Squadron. His squadron of 145 active duty airmen and 11 civilians operated and maintained the Atomic Energy Detection Systems spanning six continents. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 61


Col. Steven Gorski traveled to Colorado Springs in October to dedicate the Michael L. Harkins Laboratory Complex at the Cheyenne Mountain AFS. The lab conducts gas analysis research for the AFTAC mission. (Photo by Ryan Hall)

“The squadron, previously organized under the Distributed Mission Operations Division, encompassed every unit that was geographically dislocated from headquarters back at Patrick,” Uyechi explains. As a trained electrical engineer with a variety of acquisition experiences, Uyechi didn’t necessarily feel well prepared for his AFTAC job at first. “I had no prior knowledge of AFTAC or the extent of its highly technical mission,” he admits. “The learning curve was particularly steep in being able to rapidly integrate all the different elements of the mission, and then figuring out where we fit as a squadron. It required a lot of homework, loads of reading, tons of time learning from the experts … to figure out, as fast as I could, what I needed to do to get the job done.” During his two-year command, Uyechi travelled to all 14 of his squadron's detachments and got to know the talented airmen performing the AFTAC mission around the world. Uyechi recalls how rewarding it was building a new squadron from scratch and watching his airmen and civilians grow and thrive. Still, some of the daily challenges were difficult to overcome. “Communication across the squadron was particularly difficult,” he notes. “We were spread across eight different time zones, making a simple task like coordinating a staff meeting one of the more interesting things to deal with.” The recent North Korean nuclear tests certainly put the monitoring mission and its communications capabilities to the test, but Uyechi says AFTAC excelled under pressure. “We exercised the full range of our response capability from first detection, through collection and analysis, and ulti62 ·

“They understand the responsibility that they have,” Joseph says. “It’s extremely important. If anything goes on, it’s our job to see it … and then get the right answers to the right people at the right time.” Gorski adds that it’s critical for AFTAC to never take its eyes off the Joint Partners mission, even when a hurricane threatAs the only Department of Defense orgaens its Florida headquarters. nization with the mission of monitoring “As Hurricane Irma came, in addition nuclear events, AFTAC works closely with to doing our analysis of the North Korean many domestic and foreign partners during event, we had to ensure that we could conthe course of its work. tinue to watch the globe during that hurPartners include the U.S. Department ricane,” he recalls. “So we actually deployed of Energy, U.S. Department of State, a large team to an alternate site to guarantee the United Nations Comprehensive we had uninterrupted, persistent coverage Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization of the entire globe.” and the IAEA. “Then we have a homeland mission,” Leadership Lessons Gorski explains. “We coordinate with the Gorski and Uyechi both admit that their FBI and the Department of Homeland AFTAC assignments came as a bit of a Security. If there ever was a suspected surprise to them. Their Academy experience nuclear event on U.S. soil, we would be developed the necessary leadership attriresponsible for the nuclear forensics … to butes that helped them rise to the challenge figure out where that device came from.” when they took on their unexpected roles. To make sure AFTAC is prepared, “Every step of my career has surprised Gorski says the organization and all its part- me, but I think all along the Air Force ners practice often through various exercises has prepared us to do what we didn’t and scenarios. think we could do,” Gorski suggests. “We will practice many different ways Uyechi agrees, claiming his USAFA and quite often … to ensure that we can experience allowed him to develop his answer the call when this really hapleadership style through trial and error. pens,” he says. That focus on leadership development has served him well over the past two decades. A Big Responsibility “While I never envisioned this particular Joseph says everyone at AFTAC takes assignment,” Uyechi adds, “it was a great his or her individual job of monitoring privilege and honor to serve as a comthe globe seriously. mander of an Air Force squadron.” mately reporting to the president,” he notes. “It was impressive to watch the different elements of AFTAC working together. The entire wing, along with its mission partners, functioned as a seamless whole ... it was an exciting time to be there.”

LONG BLUE Our new Checkpoints feature — the Long Blue Lifestyle — highlights the individual efforts of United States Air Force Academy graduates to stay fit, eat healthy, enjoy hobbies, create balanced lives and challenge themselves. Each quarter, we will focus on a different topic and graduate/graduates.



Fitness app caters to pilots, deployed military personnel, business travelers By Jeff Holmquist


taying in shape while you’re deployed or on the road can be difficult. That’s why three Air Force officers have developed a new app that creates custom workout routines for individuals on the go. Lt. Col. Jeremy Gordon ’98, Maj. Brent Tittle ’05 and Maj. Josh Wilson launched KINETICOACH in April. “One of the biggest complaints I have heard from people over the years is that their fitness greatly falls off due to travel,” Tittle says. “We want people to go on a trip and be confident that they are going to be able to maintain and even increase their fitness regardless of where they are traveling and what they have available. We want to alleviate the stress and get people excited about working out while traveling.” The mobile travel trainer allows users to select what types of workout equipment are available to them, how much time they have for a workout, how they feel on that particular day and what their fitness goals are. Users also select from three different experience levels — beginner, intermediate or advanced. With the click of a button, the app then generates 10 suggested workouts. Each workout includes complete instructions on what exercises to do and for how

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long. Users can click on short videos that demonstrate how to properly execute each part of the workout. “I can't even tell you how many texts I've gotten that say, ‘I’m at a hotel with dumbbells and a treadmill. What should I do?’ We want to take any guesswork out of working out while on the road,” Tittle says. In addition to all being pilots, the trio has more than 30 years of personal trainer and fitness experience combined. Gordon has been a personal trainer and a gym owner for several years. Tittle has

been a gym owner and a CrossFit coach since 2009. “Staying fit is a big part of being a fighter pilot as the demand on the human body is tremendous at times,” Tittle explains. Wilson — also a fitness nut — is an airline pilot and Virginia Air National Guard member who understands about hotel gyms and the equipment available in many facilities. The app developers, who met while all were stationed together at Langley Air

KINETICOACH “We’re being extremely responsive to the feedback that we get,” he says. “If the feature is something we think is feasible, we’ll generally turn that around within about three months and add that to the app.” So far, most of KINETICOACH’s users are airline pilots and military personnel, but others also are catching on. “Kind of the burgeoning demographic is just people who go to their local YMCA or Gold’s Gym,” Gordon explains. “They walk into a sea of equipment and have no ACROSS guidance and they don’t want to pay for a The KINETICOACH app developers are (from left) personal trainer. They can pull out the app, Maj. Josh Wilson, Lt. Col. Jeremy Gordon ’98 and enter the equipment available to them … Maj. Brent Tittle ’05. They created the app to assist and it will build 10 workouts.” travelers and military personnel who are deployed. Both Gordon and Tittle are thrilled with the app’s progress so far, and they look forward to more users discovering the features available through KINETICOACH. app developers also are adding additional Force Base, have been working on the “I love the idea of helping others improve workouts on a daily basis. KINETICOACH concept since 2015. their own health and seeing them reach KINETICOACH has several addi“It’s been a much longer process than their goals,” Tittle says. tional features that make it a valuable we were planning,” Gordon admits. “It’s “But at this point, it’s a matter of getting fitness tool, Gordon notes, including easy to spitball ideas, but when we actuthe word out and publicizing the app,” an auto-programming timer; incentive ally put fingers to keyboards and start to Gordon adds. awards for individual fitness milestones; code stuff, work with graphic designers, The trio has been marketing the app to team competitions; individual fitness and videotape all the demo videos … it airline companies and hotel chains. They trackers; and a blog featuring various adds up to a lot of time and effort. But also hope to make inroads with the military. fitness topics. we didn’t want to rush it, so we were OK “It would be awesome if regularly Since launching the app last spring, taking our time.” deploying squadrons and groups would Gordon and Tittle say the feedback from At first, the group intended the app to license this app for their individuals,” early users has been extremely positive. help pilots as they fly around the globe. Gordon says, “so while they’re deployed “I love hearing things like … ‘I used But it quickly became apparent that they can stay fit on the road.” your app when I was traveling last weekthe app could help military personnel New users are welcome to use most of end. It was awesome!’” Tittle reports. on deployments or business people on the KINETICOACH features for free. “This seems to be the consensus among extended trips. The Daily challenge, videos and timer the users.” “And it works for people who just functions are always free. After a one“I think we’re coming close to 40 can’t afford to pay for a personal trainer,” month trial period, the unlimited custom reviews on the iTunes store and all of Gordon suggests. “It’s kind of a broad, workout service switches to a monthly them are five-star so far,” Gordon adds, general applicability.” subscription program. “so that’s good.” The app now features about 140 The app is available for download Gordon says the developers continue exercises, stretches and movements that through the iTunes store, at www.appstore. result in more than 1,000 custom workout to tweak the app as suggestions for com/KINETICOACH. combinations, according to Gordon. The improvements come in. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 65

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Checkpoints · March 2016 · 67

By Jeff Holmquist / Photos: Ryan Hall

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Academy Underground The Myth, The Reality, The Stories By Steve Simon ’77


erhaps no physical attribute of the Academy intrigues graduates and cadets more than the fabled tunnels that snake under the Cadet Area and several other buildings. They have been off limits to cadets in most situations since the beginning of time. That prohibition, of course, made the urge to explore the forbidden territory nearly irresistible. Many of us ventured into the dark recesses and lived to tell about it. For the Academy’s designers, builders, engineers and maintainers, however, the tunnels have no mystique. They are just a practical feature of the Academy complex that allows utilities to reach each building. This article will provide some of the facts and figures about the tunnels, their history and their functionality, and then allow graduates to recount their experiences in the legendary subterranean passageways. Duane Boyle, the Academy architect since 1983, is fully aware of the aura and mysteriousness surrounding the tunnels, but he finds the tunnels totally unremarkable. They merely serve a purpose. “The purpose of the tunnels is as a conveyance for high temperature piping that serves to heat and cool the buildings,” Boyle says. “The tunnels also provide for conveyance of electric service. From a maintenance perspective, repair-

ing the utilities in the tunnels is easier since we do not have to dig them up if something goes wrong.” Boyle said that the Academy heat plant, located southeast of the Cadet Area, provides water at 400 degrees. The water flows through pipes in the tunnels to mechanical rooms in each building, where it is cooled to 200 degrees and used to heat and cool the buildings. Why is it heated to 400 degrees if the Academy needs it at 200 degrees to heat and cool the buildings? “It is heated to 400 anticipating a temp drop before it reaches the mechanical rooms. It is quite a long way — 400 is the max temp during cold spells. Temp from the heat plant is usually a bit less,” he reports. “The concept of tunnels under buildings to a central heat plant is not unique,” Boyle continues. His alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, has a similar system. The method “is still a logical consideration” in similar situations where central heating serves multiple buildings. The tunnels exist only under the Academy’s original construction, according to Boyle. Sijan Hall, for example, has a basement rather than tunnels. He reports that tunnels go under all Cadet Area buildings (except Sijan, as noted above) and down to the gym and heat plant. They do not, Checkpoints · December 2017 · 69

despite urban legend to the contrary, extend to Falcon Stadium — nor to the Cheyenne Mountain complex south of Colorado Springs. Still, that tunnel system is quite extensive. The Academy’s civil engineering office used architectural drawings to estimate the length of tunnels for this article. They “measured the tunnels between the buildings; if it is part of a building’s basement, [they] did not measure it.” CE used drawings that predated the construction of the Falcon Athletic Center and the Holaday Athletic Center. Those tunnels measured more than 9,550 feet, or approximately 1.8 miles. The longest segment is the one from just south of the Consolidated Education and Training Facility (CETF) academic annex to the Heat Plant, which measures 2,295 feet, or .4 miles. Boyle says there are practical reasons why exploration of the tunnels would not 70 ·

be permitted. “There are a lot of dangers down there: low ceilings, dim lighting, the 400-degree water.” He does, however, remember having some shelter drills in the tunnels in the 1980s. I asked Boyle about the lone Academy tunnel that is regularly accessed — the one connecting the Cadet Gym and the Field House. Boyle allows that this pathway is “sort of” part of the tunnel system. He points out that it isn’t original construction. The Field House was completed in 1968, nearly a decade after the original construction. While that tunnel does have some of the hazards of the others (hot water, primarily), it is brighter, wider and flatter than most of the Academy tunnels. I also asked about a big panel of lights and dials I saw during one of my forays in the tunnels in the 1970s. Boyle figures

that was probably the mechanical room under Harmon Hall. “It had dials and switches like you would see in a submarine from a movie,” he says. But, alas, he also passed on the news that it isn’t there anymore. **** Despite all of that academic, antiseptic architectural/engineering mumbo jumbo, the tunnels are awesome! They are dark! They are dusty! They are dangerous! They are off limits! Who wouldn’t want to check them out? In soliciting graduates to submit stories for inclusion in this article, I declared — somewhat tongue-in-cheek — that I was pretty sure the statute of limitations for the “crime” of exploring the tunnels should have expired by the publication date. Helpfully, Dale Riedel, Class of 1996, weighed in: “As a JAG [Judge Advocate General], I can agree that the statute of limitations has run (five years for most offenses).” With that legal concern resolved, here, in their own words, are some of the best and most original (and, hopefully, fully factual) stories (edited for clarity and space): Bruce Buono ’68 – It was the great snowstorm of April 1967. The Academy lost power, as did much of Colorado Springs. We would be fed cold sandwiches in Mitch’s and, of course, classes were canceled. I joined up with a fellow “skulker,” Jerry Sullivan. We had already dined on our PB and J for dinner and most cadets were just wandering in the near darkness. We plunged into the black of the tunnels figuring no man had gone there before. Still, there were some navigational difficulties with no lights. We banged off the sides of the tunnel for about 10 minutes and then caught a glimpse of a beam of light from a flashlight sweeping from side to side heading toward us. We backed up against the wall in a small crevice and awaited capture. No sounds, no breathing, just a few footsteps. Then nothing. We peered around the edge of the crevice, but no one was in sight. There wasn't a nearby stairwell, so the disappearance of the figure was unexplained. We backtracked a short

distance and exited the nearest stairwell into another squadron area. We headed down the hallway, coming across a group of cadets seated on the floor surrounded by candles playing with a Ouija board. Spooky! Headed for sanity back in 13th Squadron and awaited the results of the “snow diving into the quads” contests. Ric Lewallen ’75 – In third-class year, I met up with the members of the KAFA radio station club. One of the things we had to do was occasionally string wire to an on-scene site through the tunnels. I abused that privilege to the max and was quite a tunnel rat. I got to know the janitors who worked in there, and was never questioned when found on the elevators going to/coming from the tunnel. One time, I was down there and took a classmate with me. We caught another couple of cadets down there and chased them out. I was in the drama club during practice when I told the story of chasing some other cadets. Suddenly, I had a hammerlock on me and this guy was yelling, "That was me, you SOB!!!" When he finally calmed down, he told me his side of the story. We had chased them near Arnold Hall. He popped out in that loading dock that faced the planetarium between Arnold and Harmon halls. When he came out, there was an AP car there with its lights on. Thinking “we” had alerted the APs, they thought they were total goners and walked to their doom. As it turns out, the AP had stopped someone for speeding on the road in front of Arnold Hall. They could not see the stopped car and just about passed out from relief that they were not the object of the AP’s attention. Joe Milner ’89 – As both an ’89 grad and a former 10th SFS/CC [commander of the Security Forces Squadron], I know

the tunnels from two angles — both as a cadet and later as a security forces officer charged with patrolling and securing them. The lore of the tunnels was greater in the days gone by than in recent history. When I was there as the SFS commander, they had some gang signs (MS13), some signs the cadets were still using them for initiations of Doolies (very limited) and only one source of the more physical cadet rendezvous (a mattress) to allude to the previous exploits of legend. “The Tunnel Master” ’63 – In my time, there were no barriers in the tunnels. One could take the elevator from Vandenberg Hall and there you were. I know from a nostalgic visit to the tunnels some 20 years later that iron barriers had been constructed sufficient to stop a gorilla. So the trick was not getting to the tunnels; the trick was what to do when you came out the other end. That required a car, which was impermissible, except for first-class cadets. But it seems the security was lax in the first-class parking area, so an impermissible car could be covertly stashed there. Change of clothes in the car, then off to the Navajo Hogan. Chip Wilde ’74 – While I wasn’t bold enough to wander around in the dark, I do have a semi-tragedy to relate — firstie spring break 1974. One of my former roommates decided to go camping. He and one of his group staff buddies wandered the tunnels in the dark and found a bunch of survival materials/consumables in the old civil defense storage bins under V-berg and took them camping. Upon return, they realize that what they liberated and ate could be considered stealing, so they self-reported to the honor system. It put the powers-that-be in a tough spot because these were two of our best and

brightest, but they were subsequently dismissed. I’ve never been able to find out what happened to them … most likely a couple years as A1C at Podunk AFB. I’ve always suspected the two guys cooked this scheme up to get a shorter commitment. Rob Cruz ’83 – I remember being led into the tunnels on a Spirit Mission by a two-degree shortly after my Doolie academic year started. It was a school night, and there were about five of us, all Doolies, plus our two-degree guide. We went into Mitchell Hall and our “guide” posed as a waiter and tried to get some food. Since it was a late hour, the waiters were setting the tables and there was no food to be had. We then set out for what turned out to be the Cadet Gymnasium, which is where the pool was. I don't remember wearing our swim trunks, but I remember all of us

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jumping off the 10-meter platform. That was the first time I had ever jumped into a body of water from so high. While in the air, I screamed at the top of my lungs. I remember thinking that someone might hear me and we would be in trouble. Needless to say, I survived the jump, and I felt on top of the world. I never went into the tunnels again; I don't even remember how or where we entered. Flash Wiley ’65 – The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day scare of nuclear war between the U.S. and the Russians in October 1962. To prepare us for a nuclear onslaught, we were introduced — as a safety measure — to the tunnels honeycombing the Academy as a place of refuge from the bombs. Right down the mountain chain from a likely primary target of a Soviet airstrike, where the North American Air Defense Command was housed, the Academy’s safety was a likely concern as well. Like we all had done since grade school in the 1950s, the entire Cadet Wing engaged in “nuclear attack drills” in and out of the tunnels as we went to our assigned squadron areas. Following our introduction to the tunnel network, we were instructed to stay out of the tunnels except for “official use,” like a nuclear war or a debilitating snowstorm. The fact is that our more daring and curious classmates made excursions into the tunnels as a rite of passage for those combatting the “system”, i.e. the regimentation of Academy life. Others of us discovered that the tunnels were a handy refuge from the constant scrutiny of nettlesome upperclassmen and AOCs. However, my own personal tunnel visits were solely limited to their use as dimly-lit, semi-private 72 ·

surroundings perfect for passionate trysts with adventurous young ladies. My favorite entrance was just off of the rec room in Arnold Hall, where one could easily disappear with his date. I believe that nowadays the entrance (a well-known loophole) may be permanently closed. Ah, but we still have our happy memories. Brad Moffett '76 – A firstie in May of 1976, I was working backstage with the Bluebards as we were preparing to perform the musical production of “1776” during June Week. One looong evening, we started exploring the backstage area in great detail. We found at the bottom of the stairwell to the back left of the stage an unlocked door. We faced a difficult choice — we could resume listening to the drone coming from the director and the cast, or we could do our duty to protect important Air Force resources by discovering what was now unprotected by the calamity of the door being unlocked. Being stout patriots, we did the latter. Once we opened the door, we knew that we were in “the tunnels.” Still, the stealth with which we proceeded had nothing to do with the possible fear of consequences and absolutely everything to do with possibly catching red handed an enemy invader inside the bowels of the Academy. After traversing a fairly short distance, we could see an open door ahead with a lighted room beyond. Using our impressive DR [dead reckoning] skills, we estimated that the room ahead was somewhere under Harmon Hall. Hearing nothing, we quietly entered the room where we found a massive console that was curved in an arc. With a captain's chair, we all immediately shared the same thought — it

was the deck of the starship USS Enterprise. We were all smiles as we had found the Holy Grail of the tunnels ... the command center. As we started to explore the console, a door behind us suddenly opened and, before we could react, the lights went out. We froze, not knowing what was happening, being able to only see dimly in the red glare of the emergency lights. I quickly realized that my fearless compatriots had vanished. Given as how I was to graduate in a few weeks, and not wanting to spend that time serving confinements, I decided that the lights out represented a good metaphor for our adventure and I started a slow, crouched walk back to the tunnels. I was as silent as a ghost until I stepped cruelly on the little finger of one of my cohorts, who had dropped to the floor when the door opened. His screech of pain and mine of surprise were almost simultaneous and galvanized us to immediate action. We both headed back through the dark the way we came, expecting almost any second that the lights would come on again. The two of us quickly reached the door at the base of the stairwell when we heard footsteps pounding up the tunnel behind us. Fearing the worst, we thankfully saw our third intrepid explorer emerge out of the darkness. He looked both anxious and excited. As we listened to the drone from the stage of actors trying to create drama, we realized we had created a satisfying, heart-pounding moment of our own below in the tunnels. Then we promised each other — same time, same place tomorrow, right? The door was locked. Special thanks to Bill Estelle and the 75bestalive. org website for photos and information.

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THE TIGER By Andi Biancur ’60 and Steve Simon ’77


s most Academy aficionados know, the falcon was selected as the Academy’s mascot by our first class, the Class of 1959. What is less well known is that the falcon, which now seems like the only obvious and natural option, won a hard-fought battle over another powerful, cunning and resourceful animal — the tiger. The story behind the story involves the selection of the falcon and a pivotal character named Quincy. In the early spring of 1955 (before the first cadets had arrived), Brig. Gen. Robert M. Stillman, the commandant of cadets, appointed an ad hoc committee of junior officers to recommend an appropriate Academy mascot. The committee, chaired by Capt. Harrison H. D. Heiberg, considered several animals, including the lion, bear, tiger and birds such as the eagle and falcon. Don Barrett, former assistant director of the Academy Library, was involved in the selection process. During an interview included in the 2005 Rocky Mountain PBS documentary “Jewel of the Rockies,” he recalled that all sorts of animals were nominated to be the mascot. “We had a letter from one gentleman,” Barrett recounted, “saying that the mascot should be the cow because the cow jumped over the moon, and we could look forward to space flight.” As the story goes, by June, the committee had narrowed the field to two finalists: the falcon and the tiger, as representative of the spirit of the American Volunteer Group – The Flying Tigers of World War II. The committee recommended the cadets be given the privilege of selecting the mascot, so that cadets would be participants in the establishment of Academy traditions. Over the summer months, the competition heated up as members of the Class of 1959 and their acting

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 75


Lt. Jerry Till (left) and Lt. Jake Jacobsen pictured with Quincy in Arnold Hall, circa 1959.


Mrs. Gail McComas, Cadet Wing hostess, is pictured giving Quincy a big hug in 1956.

upperclassmen — the Air Training Officers (ATOs) — as well as other Academy staff members, took sides and formed allegiances to either the falcon or the tiger. By September 1955, when the cadets had completed summer training and settled into residence at Lowry Air Force Base, the debate was in full swing. Based on accounts of several members of the Class of ’59, the first vote, taken sometime around Sept. 15, went overwhelmingly to the tiger. That decision was not accepted by those in command, who felt that the cadets were not fully aware of the skills and character of the falcon. To provide that awareness, on Sept. 23, Lt. Gen. Hubert Harmon, the superintendent, contacted a local falconer, Dr. Harold M. Webster (a Naval Academy graduate), and requested that Webster conduct a falcon flight demonstration. In “Jewel of the Rockies,” Webster spoke about the phone call he received from Gen. Harmon, who told him, “I’m having a little bit of trouble with my staff.” He quoted Gen. Harmon as saying, “somebody wants a rhino, and somebody wants an alligator, and somebody wants an elephant.” The Cadet Wing assembled on the Lowry Parade Ground the following day. Webster said he flew the falcon for a few minutes, repeatedly assuring cadets that the bird would return. He then tossed a pigeon out. The falcon struck it and Webster said he knew at that moment 76 ·

that the cadets would choose the falcon as the Academy’s mascot. Brock Strom, Class of ’59, attended the demonstration. Interviewed in “Jewel of the Rockies,” he said, “The ability to come in and swoop down and hit the prey was so much like the Air Force fighters that we had to pick it.” Following that demonstration of the falcon’s prowess, the issue went to a fairly informal show of hands at the noon meal on Sept. 25. The falcon gained the vast majority of votes from the class (it was nearly unanimous) and was duly installed as the “official” U.S. Air Force Academy mascot. Reading the words describing the USAFA mascot on the “Official Site of Air Force Athletics,” one would not see anything remarkable about the selection of the Falcon as the Academy mascot. Clearly the account of the process is perfectly logical and reasonable:

“Members of the Class of 1959, the first to enter the Academy, chose the falcon as the mascot of the Cadet Wing Sept. 25, 1955, feeling that it best characterized the combat role of the U.S. Air Force. They did not specify any particular species, thus, any falcon can serve as mascot. Some of the characteristics which led to its selection were speed, powerful and graceful flight, courage, keen eyesight, alertness, regal carriage, and noble tradition. The falcon exemplified the qualities sought in Air Force Academy cadets; courage, intelligence, love of the wild sky, ferocity in attack, but gentle in repose — and discipline.” The Class of ’59’s selection of the falcon is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning. Lt. J. Quincy Collins, an ATO, was working on a Christmas project during the late autumn of 1955. He acquired

a stuffed tiger as a symbol of thanks for his work on the charity “Christmas for Kids” in Denver. Upon completion of that project, Lt. Collins gifted the tiger to the Cadet Wing. It wound up atop the grand piano in the ballroom, under the care of the Cadet Wing Hostess, Mrs. Gail McComas. Over the next two years, the tiger acquired the name of its donor, “Quincy,” and remained a fixture on the piano until the Academy departed Lowry AFB for the permanent Colorado Springs site in August 1958. Quincy accompanied the Cadet Wing on its southward migration and assumed his rightful position on the piano in the new Arnold Hall. There he remained for nearly 20 years. In 1959, the Class of 1960 paid homage to Quincy and his role in the early days of the Academy by making him a key part of its class ring ceremonies. Small replicas of Quincy, with a silver bracelet around his neck carrying

their newly minted class crest, were presented by each class member to his date at their Ring Dance in Arnold Hall. Prior to her retirement as Cadet Wing Hostess in 1977, “Mrs. Mac” placed Quincy in the hands of a graduating cadet for safe keeping. The graduate and the tiger promptly disappeared. Quincy was not seen again until that graduate returned him years later during a class reunion at the Academy. Over the decades, Quincy’s origin became blurred, so that even early gradu-

ates erroneously mis-remembered that Quincy initially arrived at the Academy as the representative tiger during the mascot selection competition. A recent conversation with Col. (Ret.) J. Quincy Collins reconfirmed how the stuffed tiger first came to the Academy. Quincy the Tiger currently resides in the Association of Graduates CEO and president’s office in Doolittle Hall. He remains on duty there as an important and visible reminder of the rich heritage and traditions that make the Air Force Academy a special institution for every graduate and every man and woman lucky enough to attend. NOTE: After his Academy assignment, then-Lt. Quincy Collins went on to fly combat in Vietnam. In September 1965, he was shot down over North Vietnam and captured. He spent seven and a half years as a POW.

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 77

All in the

FAMILY Four cadets learn to appreciate lineage that winds throughout USAFA’s history By Jeff Holmquist | Photos by Ryan Hall

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ert Hull ’61 takes a sip of coffee and slowly leans back in his chair. “There’s a Proverb that says, ‘children’s children are the crown of the old men,’” he smiles. “I’ll tell you what, my crown is so heavy it’s bending my neck.” Hull talks lovingly about his 28 grandchildren — in addition to his six daughters and one son — who have enriched his life and make him proud each day. He’s quick to suggest that he’s blessed beyond measure, even as he and his wife Maxine scramble to attend many of their grandchildren’s sporting and school events that number in the hundreds each year. Just over Hull’s shoulder is a large picture window revealing sweeping views of the Front Range and 50 acres of idyllic Colorado ranch land nearby. A series of homes overlook the historic ranch within this Monument housing development, which sits just a stone’s throw away from the northern border of the Air Force Academy. Twelve years ago, Hull and his adult children decided to partner together to buy the Monument property and build homes.

“They wanted to get out of town with their kids, because they couldn’t even let the kids go to the park by themselves anymore,” Hull recalls. The family members didn’t intend to be so close to the Academy — it just happened that way. But it somehow seems appropriate, for a family with so many ties to the institution, that they’ve put down roots so close by.

Zoo Mates Four of Mert’s grandchildren — C1C John Sims, C2C David Louthan, C2C Austin Dewing and C2C James Sims — are current cadets at the Academy. “We have the title of cousin, but we’re all as close as brothers,” Austin Dewing says during an interview with Checkpoints. Not coincidentally, James Sims and David Louthan now room together (CS-18), and John Sims and Austin Dewing are roommates as well (CS-20). All four are just around the corner from each other in Vandenberg Hall. “It’s really cool to wake up in the morning and see these guys every day,” John Sims admits.

Us growing up together is going to help us going forward. We’ll have this to look back on, and fall back on, when we’re going through the pilot training or whatever it may be. — Austin Dewing

for the first time in their lives. “It’s going to be interesting not being with these guys day and night,” admits John Sims, who The cousin quartet has always been will head to pilot really close and developed their passion training after graduation in May. “It defifor service together in their rural Monu- nitely will be a change. We won’t have that ment neighborhood. support system so close by.” “It was a cool place to live,” David The cousins’ shared strong foundation, Louthan says, including a creek where however, will help them carry through the boys would play for hours and come whatever challenges lie ahead, Austin home sopping wet. Dewing adds. The cousins were all homeschooled “Us growing up together is going to help until their high school years, when they us going forward,” he says. “We’ll have this shifted to the public school system to to look back on, and fall back on, when we’re attend Air Academy High School. going through the pilot training or whatever The four cadets have always been sports it may be.” nuts, and all currently play on the Falcons James Sims says the quartet also knows soccer team — which was nationally that God is directing their current and future ranked and enjoyed one of its better paths, and that’s reassuring. seasons. All of their mothers (Mert and “The path the Lord has for us is going to Maxine’s girls) grew up playing soccer, be the best,” he explains. “So wherever He and they played on the Colorado College leads us — whether that’s in similar directeam while attending school there. tions or on opposite sides of the globe — it’s Growing up, the boys were almost for His benefit.” always playing some sort of sport together — soccer, basketball, football, gymnastics Family Ties and swimming, to name just a few. Aside from being Hull’s grandsons, the “There was a lot of competitiveness in four cadets share many additional linkages the neighborhood,” John Sims says. to the Academy and the Long Blue Line. The group also shares a common, Mert Hull’s sister, Clarice, was marstrong Christian faith, passed down ried to one of Mert’s USAFA classmates to them from generations of believers — Maj. Gen. Frank Willis ’61. They before them. had a son — Steven Willis ’87 — who “It’s been a huge part of our entire graduated from the Academy as well. family,” Austin Dewing explains. “That Austin Dewing’s fraternal grandfather keeps us even closer. We all get along great, — Richard Dewing ’65 — was a career Air Force officer who died in a car crash and really cherish and love each other.” in 1987 while on active duty in Europe. David Louthan believes God played a Austin’s father — Ted Dewing ’93 — role in orchestrating the cousins’ acceptance into the Academy. None of the cous- enjoyed an active duty career in acquisitions and contracts for the Air Force ins had an easy path to getting admitted. before transitioning to the Reserves. “I honestly think it’s a miracle — an David Louthan’s father — also maract of God — that we all ended up here,” ried to one of Hull’s daughters — is he laughs. “It’s just super cool.” none other than Marty Louthan ’84, the As they begin to contemplate life Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Famer after graduation from the Academy, and quarterback for the Falcons during the cousins admit to some trepidation some of the team’s most successful about heading in different directions

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seasons. Two of Marty’s brothers also attended the Academy, including one who graduated — Richard Louthan ’91. A brother-in-law also is a graduate. Mert Hull just shakes his head in disbelief when thinking about how his family and the Academy are so inextricably intertwined. “It’s all pretty amazing,” he smiles. “And we’ve still got 20 years of grandkids coming through.” Among the families who call the Monument neighborhood home are Marty and Brenda Louthan (five kids); Tim and Cheri Sims (five children); Ted and Annie Dewing (four children); Jamie and Lynette Hull (four children); and Justin and Sara Hotz (four children). The two other Hull siblings live elsewhere — Mike and Joanna Brown (three children) have a home near County Line Road; and Dr. Derek and Susan Leight (three children) are in Omaha, Nebraska.

Old Grads Sitting around the Louthan’s kitchen table, three alumni of the Academy laugh often when talking about their alma mater and the experiences they enjoyed/endured. Mert Hull grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and knew nothing about the Academy as a young man. A flight on a small, private airplane when he was a kid sealed his desire to fly. Later he found out about the relatively new USAFA and the flying opportunities available there. During his Air Force career, Mert Hull would go on to be an instructor pilot in the T-33, T-37 and new T-38. He would leave the military before the U.S. ramped up its involvement in the Vietnam War. Then Hull would move to Colorado Springs, become a real estate developer, raise a family and continue flying his own private planes. Marty Louthan’s path to USAFA was a little less conventional. He was raised a Quaker and his parents were pacifists. But a visit from one of his uncles, who was a


Fellow cadets, Falcons men's soccer teammates and cousins (from left) C2C James Sims, C2C Austin Dewing, C2C David Louthan and C1C John Sims enjoy a bond as future leaders of the Air Force and as lifelong friends. (Photos by Ryan Hall)


At home in the Monument, Colorado, neighborhood that they call homes are (from left) Ted Dewing '93, Mert Hull '61 and Marty Louthan '84. The development near the northern border of the Academy.

Checkpoints · December 2017 · 81

Naval Academy graduate, planted the seed of interest in service academies. “From ninth grade on, I decided I would at least shoot for it,” he recalls. Louthan was hoping to be a “blue chip” recruit for football, but was disappointed when his athletic stock was downgraded. Marty would attend the Academy Prep School for a year instead, better preparing him for the challenges of cadet life. He would go on to have two-and-a-half stellar seasons as the Falcon quarterback. “But I really came here to fly,” he says. After graduation, Marty Louthan would get a pilot slot and fly C-141s out of McChord Air Force Base in Washington. Later, he would return to the Academy as a T-41 instructor. “That’s when I actually met my wife at a Bible study on Saturday nights over at Mert’s house,” he laughs. Marty Louthan left the Air Force in 1991 and joined the Reserves, flying C-130s out of Colorado Springs. He is now a pilot with United Airlines. “I just hit 25 years with United,” he says. “I’m flying 787s out of San Francisco.”

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Ted Dewing also wanted to fly, but a heart murmur precluded him from pursuing that dream. He didn’t receive an immediate appointment to USAFA, so he attended Biola University in California to improve his chances for a spot in the future. But during the winter of his freshman year, Dewing’s parents were driving home from a Christmas party in Europe when their car was struck by a drunk driver. Ted’s father was killed and his mother seriously injured. While Ted was attending his father’s funeral at USAFA, a family friend arranged for a visit with the Admissions Department to talk about Dewing's application. That led to a spot at the Prep School, which eventually led to an Academy appointment. Dewing eventually went into the acquisition, comptroller and contracting fields with the Air Force. He remains a Reserve officer.

Give them Wings Marty Louthan admits the extended family doesn’t have a secret formula for

raising kids who want to serve their country and be military leaders. “We’re just flying by the seat of our pants,” he laughs. “We’re not perfect; they’re not perfect. A lot of mistakes happen. But we hope and pray for the best, and that’s really the key.” Ted Dewing agrees, but adds there has been plenty of parental secondguessing as their kids grow up. “You wonder if you’ve done all you can do to set them up for success,” he says. “We’re trying to let them choose their own paths. At some point you just have to let them go.” The older generations also admit it’s been a challenge surrendering their older children — or, in Mert’s case, grandchildren — to the Air Force. But they’re sure the young men are on a path to great success. “I think they all have good heads on their shoulders,” Ted Dewing suggests. “It’s fun to watch them develop. I think they all have outstanding potential to be Air Force leaders in whatever career field they go into. They are the kind of people that the Air Force is looking for.”

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Checkpoints · December 2017 · 83

A new definition for the profession of arms By Steven Lincoln − USAFA Endowment


etired Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller ’80 has questions — lots of them — about the profession of arms and its definition in the 21st century. And he’s allowed, because it’s part of his recent assignment at the Air Force Academy. Miller was appointed the inaugural Helen & Arthur E. Johnson Chair for the Study of the Profession of Arms this year. The endowed position was established by a $6 million legacy gift from the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation. It focuses on redefining the term “profession of arms” for the military of today and the future. Six months into his tenure, Miller knows there are so many questions to answer and people to discuss the topic with before he is ready to settle on a refined definition. He also can mine his experiences from a lengthy career in the Air Force. He has deep experience in training, education, personnel, politicalmilitary and joint staff leadership; he has commanded B-1, B-2 and deployed units in Operation Enduring Freedom; and he is a former Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs. He understands that the ethos of the profession of arms cannot be mandated or directed from the top down. A reflection written

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on a mobile whiteboard in his office in the new Center for Character and Leadership Development illustrates his approach to helping craft this new definition: “Culture forms like a web, not a pyramid.” While not the only source for a current definition, Samuel Huntington’s “The Soldier and the State” has long been read by Academy cadets. Widely held perceptions of the profession of arms from the late 1950s to the present have been strongly shaped by Huntington’s book, which focuses, in part, on the use of force to protect one’s own nation-state from others. Miller says today’s profession of arms is more nuanced, more inclusive and more complex. “We have seen a proliferation of adversaries and a proliferation of domains to contest them. We have seen a diversification of the kinds of actors in our society who contest in those domains, including DHS [Department of Homeland Security] and other three-letter agencies, the private sector, hackers,” he says. “The complexity of the warfare environment is far greater, and the complexion of the national response and organization is more complex. We’re really trying to update our conceptions of the profession of arms so we understand what truly constitutes the profession and how it should interact with civil authority.”

One only has to compare military conflicts of the 1950s with those of today to understand Miller’s point. The wars in the mid-20th century were contests of countries, fought with infantries, cavalries, artilleries, ships and airplanes. Today’s conflicts involve all of the traditional means, plus remotely piloted aircraft as well as cyber and space warriors, yet they are operating in a warfare system based on earlier definitions of war and warriors. “The question for the Academy is, given the very complex warfare environment — from invisible threats to thermonuclear war, all of which we need to successfully master — what do we need to do to think clearly about that environment and to prepare people to think about that environment?” Miller says. The creation of the Johnson Chair was the inspiration of Dr. Erv Rokke ’62. A retired lieutenant general who has served as president of National Defense University and Moravian College as well as dean of the faculty at the Air Force Academy, Rokke has a background in international relations and intelligence. He has most recently been working as part of the team at the Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development. He has forcefully argued that the Academy continues to do well at build-


I feel very strongly our national security depends on us getting this kind of thing right. We don’t need to take 20th century conception into the 21st century. We’re a target for many, many hostile players."

Ryan Hall

ing leaders who exemplify integrity and service, but that its leaders need to think deeply about what it takes to achieve excellence in an increasingly complex and non-linear world. A study of the modern profession of arms was first on his list of important explorations. As a starting point, Miller has drafted a paper titled “Examining the Profession of Arms,” which lays out areas that are ripe for clarification and interpretation, such as the notion of responsibility, corporateness, and a unifying competence. The paper ends with a compelling argument for the Johnson Chair’s work: “Without a robust, resonant and unifying modern concept of the profession of arms, it is harder for individuals to identify their work as a profession, and harder for the profession to maintain coherence and attract, develop and employ those most capable of defending society. It is also harder for the American military profession and its civilian masters to sustain an agile, durable relationship that merits trust from both partners and which consistently produces timely and effective national security decision-making in a dynamic and dangerous future.” Miller has wholeheartedly embraced his mission. “I feel very strongly our national security depends on us getting this kind of thing right. We don’t need to take 20th century conception into the 21st century. We’re a target for many, many hostile players. If we don’t organize ourselves properly and think of ourselves properly as we prepare for the inevitable and constant contests, we run the risk of losing some or all of our way of life,” Miller says. The study of the profession of arms can take many turns. Miller and other researchers can define shared sacrifice for airmen across all functions. They can attempt to show how cyber warfighters fit into the concept of wingmen when they may be working alone. To be sure, the topic of the profession of arms is studied at many other institutions. The New America Foundation, among its many programs, is studying the future of war. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 85

The Modern War Institute at West Point focuses on new knowledge for the profession of arms. There’s also the Institute for the Study of War, the Air Force’s Profession of Arms Center of Excellence, the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, and the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center. Miller’s — and the Air Force Academy’s — perspective is focused less on the future of the profession’s relationship with civil society and more on the essence of the profession and the outcomes it wishes to effect. “The wisdom of those who established this chair is in recognizing we need to look more inwardly, at who we are as a profession and what the right professional ethos looks like in this century. I’m taking the changes in the environment as the starting point and looking at the profession itself,” he says. “What can enhance or degrade cohesion? What can enhance or degrade esprit? What can enhance or degrade effectiveness in the national security competition with potentially serious consequences?” To fully define the profession of arms, Miller says he has been starting with books and casting a wide net. His focus is on

identifying the right questions to research and building bridges with other experts in the field. He has reached out to Air Force leaders as well as leaders in the other military branches. As his definition takes shape, he plans to write articles and a book that can shed new light on the ideas in Huntington’s “The Soldier and the State.” He plans lectures and seminars and other speaking engagements to spread the word. And he wants to spark a conversation among senior Department of Defense leaders and the civilians they work with and for in Washington, D.C., on the key issues that warrant their consideration. In all of his discussions about defining the professions of arms, Miller says not everything has changed. The fundamental concepts of service and sacrifice remain an important part of the definition. As he emphasizes, this is an “and” not an “or” challenge. “The willingness of airmen, Marines, soldiers and sailors to sacrifice time, life and other pursuits — and the importance of the burdens on their families in defending our nation — will not change,” Miller says. “Our core values don’t change. But their application may, and already does, look very different in some settings.

The heritage we have as defenders of our nation doesn’t change, it just gets richer.” To get to the end product — a definition of the profession of arms that aligns with the hard realities of our era, guides our thinking clearly, and strengthens the teams of teams needed to win complex conflicts — Miller has many more months of research, dialogue and refinement ahead of him. His work will inevitably focus on the effects the country needs to create as it opposes adversaries and defends its interests. “One of the concerns I have is that effects are inherently less tangible and more ephemeral than things,” he says. “It’s really easy to identify with your airplane, your carrier, your platoon, with your tank. To see the tool you use as kind of a part of your professional identity. To see and feel heroism in lethal combat and to appreciate it in those who sacrifice. It’s much harder to see the effects you create, as part of a very diverse team, as your purpose and inspiration to do what you do. “The ability of our nation to weave these things together in a sophisticated way to fight a complex set of adversaries, that’s what’s going to be important for the future.”


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• The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations,” Samuel Huntington, 1957

• “The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis,” Carl H. Builder, 1989

• “The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait,” Morris Janowitz, 1971

• “A Fierce Domain: Conflict in Cyberspace, 1986 to 2012,” Jason Healey, ed., 2013

• “Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military,” Kori Schake & Jim Mattis, eds., 2016

• “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu, Samuel B. Griffith, trans., 1961

• “America and the Future of War,” Williamson Murray, 2017

• “Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight and Civil-Military Relations,” Peter D. Feaver, 2003

• “American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era,” Suzanne Nielsen and Don M. Snider, eds., 2009

• “Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment,” Michael C. Desch, 1999




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303-956-5955 Checkpoints · December 2017 · 87

Cadet Drum & Bugle Corps enjoys moral (and financial) support from alumni, parents and friends By Jeff Holmquist


t’s game day at Falcon Stadium, and thousands of Air Force and Army fans file in to enjoy the patriotic pageantry of a service academy football contest. But before the Air Force faithful head to their seats, some of them make a beeline to the opening above the player tunnel on the north end of the stadium. Down below, the U.S. Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps has assembled for its always-enjoyable “Tunnel Show.” As music fans push in to catch a bird’seye view of the action, a few regulars pull out a roll of cash and clutch it in their hands. As the high-energy music begins to rise into the Colorado sky, devoted DnB supporters drop dollar bills into the tunnel below. A few select corps members scramble to pick up the cash and deposit it in plastic grocery bags. “It’s like a giant tip jar,” laughs Scott Crump, director of Cadet Drum & Bugle Corps for the past five years. “Except they’re throwing the tips into a tunnel.” The history behind the pre-game concerts is a bit hazy. Bill Smith, DnB director from 1993-2012, recalls that in the early 1990s the corps members started forming up in the tunnel to practice their halftime songs, never intending that their sessions would be a pre-game draw. But a short time later, Falcon fans started to gather and watch the group rehearse. For several years, the appreciative music lovers would throw down fun-

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sized candy bars to the corps members below. Smith recalls Academy leaders became worried that cadets might get poisoned by someone throwing down tainted candy, so a barrier was erected and the practice stopped. Then, around the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, a few fans started throwing cash into the tunnel. Smith says the generous tipping practice caught on and has taken off ever since. The Tunnel Show usually lasts between 15 to 30 minutes and is accented by pounding drums, blasting brass and cheering crowds. Crump says the pre-game concert is definitely a highlight of pre-game festivities at Falcon football home games. Head Drum Major Mary Vedra, Class of 2019, says the musicians all look forward to the tradition. “It’s definitely the best part of home games,” she smiles. “It really does amaze me,” Crump continues. “Every time I look around that tunnel it’s full, depending on the weather, of course.” The most popular (and thus lucrative) football game of the year always lands on Parents Weekend, when visiting relatives of the corps members crowd around the tunnel to catch the mini-concert and show a little “dollar downpour” love. The money collected during each Tunnel Show is deposited in the DnB

Booster Club account. Booster Club officers determine how the money is eventually spent. “They divvy up the money as they see fit,” Crump reports. Some previous uses for the money include the purchase of t-shirts and hats for corps members, in addition to paying expenses related to the year-end Drum & Bugle Corps banquet. “I’ve got a lot of colleagues in the college world who are really jealous of our Tunnel Show,” Crump admits. “They can’t believe that we don’t have to do anything but play music and people will contribute.” DnB Heritage The Drum & Bugle Corps’ history dates back to its roots at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. in 1948. Then known as the “Blue Eagles,” the Air Force Drum & Bugle Corps was made up entirely of enlisted personnel. (To this day, corps members are allowed to wear a Drum & Bugle Corps patch after performing with the group for two semesters. The centerpiece of the patch is a blue eagle, not a falcon.) The musical group was eventually turned over to the Air Force Academy in 1963, but staffed by enlisted Air Force members. Then, in 1971, the Drum & Bugle Corps was converted into a mission support club made up exclusively of cadets.

Ryan Hall

The early group took on the nickname “The Flight of Sound,” which has stuck through its nearly 50-year history. Among the founding members of the club were Chuck Ambrose ’73 and Al Howey ’73, who recall a meeting with then-Superintendent Lt. Gen. Albert Clark that led to the eventual formation of the club. The cadet corps formed in the fall of 1971, but the necessary musical instruments were late in arriving. According to Ambrose, the corps members were reduced to practicing without instruments for a while — which prompted a fair amount of laughter and heckling from the rest of the Cadet Wing. According to the Class of 1975 nostalgia webpage, the corps’ first NCOIn-Charge was Master Sgt. Greg Lykens. Non-commissioned officers led the cadet club until 1993, when the first civilian director was hired — Bill Smith. In 2012, Crump was hired. Throughout its history, the corps has performed at a variety of athletic and community events. The corps has had the privilege of performing at such venues as

Denver Broncos football games, presidential inauguration parades, Battle of Flowers Parades in San Antonio, Tournament of Roses Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Mardi Gras Parades.

The DnB organization is cadet-led, with a corps commander, a deputy commander and an executive officer among the appointed leadership positions. C1C Erin Fleet, this year’s corps commander, says she’s responsible for all the On the Practice Field logistics and scheduling for the DnB. “All The DnB season kicks off in August with the behind-the-scenes stuff,” she relates. auditions held immediately following Fleet says she relies on her leaderBasic Cadet Training. After some delibera- ship team to keep things running tion, a number of Doolies are selected to smoothly and to come up with new join the corps’ returning cadets. ideas for the group. Crump estimates that the corps C2C Mary Vedra, head drum major, fluctuates between 70 and 95 members calls the cadet-run organization “a big annually. By the middle of October, family,” noting that corps members usuwhen the first academic progress reports ally become fast friends. Some members come out, a few members are usually even help tutor fellow musicians who are removed from DnB due to poor classstruggling in various classes, she adds, room performance. giving them a better chance of remaining “Then they wait until the next with the club. semester, to see if they get their grades The fall is the busiest time of the year back up,” he says. “I always say it’s for the corps, practicing every weekday a privilege, not a right, to be on the afternoon for several hours. The new Drum & Bugle Corps.” corps members have to get up to speed in Corps members also have to measure a huge hurry. up in terms of fitness or they are dropped “We’re talking three weeks they have from the roster. to turn it around,” Crump explains. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 89

“They have to come up with a halftime show, they have to have stand music, they have to have the Tunnel Show. It’s pretty high pressure … and then they’re going to be busy every weekend all the way until Thanksgiving.” Apart from home and away football games, the corps performs at women’s and men’s basketball games, women’s volleyball games and men’s hockey games as well. “We appear at around 40 athletic events each year,” Crump estimates. “Then we have ceremonies on top of that — TAPS ceremonies, 9/11 ceremonies, noon meal formations — around 50 to 60 during the school year. It’s a really high-demand cadet club. It requires a lot of commitment on their part.” Despite the added stress of being involved with a busy club, the DnB members always seem to bring their “A” game to their public performances. “It’s funny, they sometimes can be a little grumpy about getting out there. But then they get out there and they’re jumping around and they’re smiling,” Crump says. “It’s an outlet for them from the daily grind of the Academy.” Reunion Planning The Drum & Bugle Corps is planning to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary as a cadet club in 2021. The plan is to invite as many former musicians as possible back for a weekend of festivities. “We’d like to know what alumni would like this reunion to look like,” Crump says. “We’re asking alumni for ideas. Do we want this during football season? Do we want to have it during basketball season? “I’m hoping they can all get together, socialize and tell old corps stories. And, who knows, maybe we can incorporate a halftime show with alumni.” To indicate your interest in attending a DnB reunion, or to offer ideas for that weekend’s schedule, contact the corp at

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Jeff Holmquist



t was 50 years ago — on Nov. 9, 1967 — that Capt. Lance P. Sijan ’65 was shot down over North Vietnam. Capt. Sijan, the United States Air Force Academy’s only Medal of Honor recipient, would evade capture over the next six weeks despite being seriously injured and having little access to food and water. After capture, Sijan would suffer severe torture at the hands of his captors while being held at the Hanoi Hilton prisoner of war camp. He would attempt to escape captivity on several occasions, only to be recaptured and tortured again. His fellow POWs would later report that Sijan was an example and inspiration to all who knew him. Sijan eventually passed away on Jan. 22, 1968 while still a POW. At the time of his shoot down and capture, Sijan — a 25-year-old pilot from Milwaukee, Wisconsin — was stationed at Da Nang with the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron and had already flown 66 combat missions. He

was the backseat pilot in the F-4C on that fateful Nov. 9 day. “As our Air Force Academy’s only Medal of Honor recipient, Lance P. Sijan commands the respect and admiration of his fellow graduates,” says Marty Marcolongo, president and CEO of the Association of Graduates. “On the 50th anniversary of his F-4 incident, our alumni organization and the Academy pause to commemorate the bravery and perseverance Sijan displayed throughout his military career and his captivity. He always has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to us all.” Sijan is memorialized at the Plaza of Heroes along the Heritage Trail adjacent to Doolittle Hall. Sijan’s statue, fashioned by sculptor Jim Nance ’71, is the centerpiece of the Association of Graduates’ heritage and history efforts. If you haven’t had a chance to experience the Heritage Trail, the Plaza of Heroes and the Southeast Asia Pavilion, schedule a time to visit. You’ll be glad you did. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 91

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Gary A. Theiler, ’61 Gary Albert “GAT” Theiler, aged 76, died June 1, 2016 at the VA Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., due to complications from pneumonia. He is survived by his daughter Krista Theiler, sister Theresa Theiler, niece Tracy Theiler Dunn and nephew Robert Theiler, Jr., along with other family members and friends who loved and admired him. Gary Theiler was born Oct. 5, 1939 in Sacramento, Calif., to Albert Joseph Theiler and Sue Weber Theiler. After graduating from Monrovia High School, he proudly attended the United States Air Force Academy where he graduated as a member of the Class of 1961. During pilot training he developed a severe form of arthritis which eventually, and to his great disappointment, led to a medical discharge from the Air Force. He then moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he worked for Lockheed as an engineer. Later he earned his real estate broker's license and worked in commercial property management for Morrison Knudsen in Atlanta, Ga., and later for Emkay Development Company in Irvine, Calif. After arriving in Atlanta, Gary met and married Katharine Emerson, who was attending Emory University. In 1966, Gary and Kathy welcomed the arrival of their daughter. Gary and Kathy divorced after 11 years of marriage but remained friends throughout Gary’s life. Gary stayed in Atlanta to be close to his daughter until 1981 when Kathy remarried and moved to Maryland with Krista, and Gary decided to return to southern California to be close to his parents and siblings. After moving back to California, Gary became an avid skier, traveling the West Coast from Mammoth to Banff in search of a good run, often with Krista or Robert Jr. in tow. He learned the hard way that “the mountain always wins,” which became his catch-phrase after he took a bad spill and broke his collar bone. He was doggedly determined to keep skiing and managed to do so for several more years. Gary had a strong sense of duty, especially to family. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, he organized reunions for the Theiler, Weber and Lysaght branches of the family. In those days, he meticulously compiled family trees and cataloged old photos. After his father passed away and his mother began to decline, Gary relocated from Tustin to San Clemente to watch over Sue and manage her care. Gary was a good, private man whose acts of kindness often flew under the radar. He was a loyal and generous friend to a lucky few, including his childhood friend Dennis Avery with whom he travelled to Ecuador for Dennis’ philanthropic endeavors; longtime friends Al and Becky Backer with whom he shared a penchant for DIY handyman projects; his younger brother Bobby with whom he shared a mischievous streak and who’s unexpected passing in 2014 hit Gary hard; Rafael Jimenez with whom Gary practiced Spanish, shared a love of horticulture and helped start a landscaping business; and cousin Larry Martinez, the Jack Lemmon to Gary’s Walter Matthau, to whom Gary provided a spare room over the years to make Larry’s Santa Barbara commute manageable while teaching at Cal State Fullerton. But best of all, Gary was my dad, who came to my 6th grade school play when I wasn’t expecting it; who taught me to respect the mountain and to read blueprints, setting me on the path to becoming an architect; who showed me the beauty of the desert and the constellations from Catalina Island; the fighter who loved life, telling me on his last day that “when” he got out of the hospital he was going to teach me to fly a plane. (Krista Theiler, Gary’s daughter)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

Michael G. Major, ’62 Michael G. Major, of Reno, Nev., passed away peacefully on Sept. 3, 2017, after a year-long fight with cancer. Mike was born in Ellensburg, Wash., on April 16, 1940 to the late Mickey and Ken Major. He attended Ellensburg High School (EHS) and was a standout student/athlete, remaining very close with his classmates in the EHS Class of 1958. He was an honor graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., in June 1962, and commissioned in the Regular Air Force and competitively selected to become a fighter pilot. In his 23-plus years of service, he flew 3,600 hours in the F-100, F-104, F-4 and F-16 aircraft. He served two combat tours in Vietnam and amassed 200-plus combat missions earning a Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor and 14 Air Medals. Additionally, he served two tours in South Korea and Europe, respectively, among numerous other stateside billets. He commanded at the squadron and wing levels, and was loved and respected by all with whom he served. He retired in 1985 as a colonel and was hired as a program manager at Northrop-Grumman Aerospace Company in Los Angeles, Calif., where he led numerous large-scale international military aircraft refurbishment and development programs. Upon his second retirement in 2000, he moved to Reno, Nev., where he enjoyed golf, snow skiing, fishing and a large group of friends. As a volunteer with the Reno Air Races for 15 years, he rose through the ranks becoming the air race president and also CEO for two years until he retired in 2015. Mike’s joyous spirit and love of life will be remembered forever by his beloved wife, Patti, of Reno, Nev.; daughter Dana Hyland and her husband, Kevin, of Fort Collins, Colo.; son Mike Major and his wife, Renee, of Louisville, Ky.; step-daughter Kim Sweazy of Tampa, Fla.; stepson Scott Riedenauer of Los Angeles, Calif.; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Additionally, he leaves behind countless friends from his youth in Ellensburg, USAFA classmates, all his assignments and his beloved Reno. His infectious smile, his quick wit and the twinkle in his eye will be missed by all he knew. Mike never met a stranger and lived his life with a heart of service, sacrifice and dedication to all he knew. A Celebration of Life was held at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Oct. 8. He was laid to rest in the U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery on Oct. 10. All friends of Mike and Patti were welcome to celebrate Mike’s life like he would want -- lots of laughs, lots of love and living life to the fullest! (Michael K. Major, Mike’s son)

Michael F. Gibbons,’63 Michael F. Gibbons, of Dallas, Texas, passed away Aug. 15, 2017, at the age of 75 years. That sounds way too cold for such a warm man. Gibber was my friend and classmate for the last 58 years. We shared many meals and hands of poker together and I will miss him. He knew how to be a true friend, never spoke badly about anyone, and always had something positive to say about everyone. He felt a strong duty to his family, to his country, and any obligation or organization that he agreed to represent.

If you know of a graduate’s death, please notify the Association of Graduates by emailing customerservice@aogusafa. org or by calling (719) 472-0300. The AOG will then contact the next of kin and provide information on how to submit a Gone But Not Forgotten obituary to Checkpoints magazine. Due to editorial and print deadlines, please visit for the most up to date information about graduate deaths. 92 ·

He was a key leader in launching of the North Texas Association of Air Force Academy Graduates in the early 1980s and served as its second president. He also served for 37 years on the nationally recognized Candidate Selection Board for the Service Academies of the 3rd Congressional District of Texas. He was appointed by Congressmen Jim Collins in 1980, by his successor, Steve Bartlett, in 1983, and then by Sam Johnson in 1992. He fulfilled his obligation to the board even though he was very ill, up until the day of his death. Gibber was born Dec. 31, 1941, in Warren, Ohio, to the late William and Mary Jane Gibbons. He grew up in Cleveland with his siblings, Holly Bednar, Walter Gibbons, Ellen Roth, Mark Gibbons, John Gibbons and Kevin Gibbons. After graduating from the Academy, Michael was stationed at Vance Air Force Base for six years where he was an instructor pilot in the T-38. One weekend, he went on a blind date with an Oklahoma State coed, Sharon Deffner, and that blind date turned into a 50 -year love affair and marriage. They had three wonderful children, Christopher, Brian, and Jason. When his six-year Air Force commitment ended in 1969, he moved to the Dallas area, attended SMU and earned an MBA. In 1977, he founded and became president of his own company, Architectural Systems, Inc. He was a successful businessman for the last 40 years and an active member in the Construction Specifications Institute from which he was honored with the designation of Fellow. He loved participating in and watching sporting events -- grandchildren’s football and basketball games were a favorite. “Texas Hold’em” is a sport in Texas and he loved and excelled at that game also. Above all, he cherished time spent with his family. Mike will be missed by his wife of 50 years, Sharon Deffner Gibbons; his children Christopher (Karen) Gibbons, Brian (Lacrecia) Gibbons, and Jason (Ashley) Gibbons; his grandchildren Taylor, Blake, Dylan, Madison, and Grayson; as well as all of his siblings, extended family, dear friends, and of course, us, his classmates. God speed, Gibber. (Jerry Ahmann, classmate and friend, with Mike’s friends and family)

David E. Ammerman, ’64 In his "My History" submission for our 50th reunion, Dave wrote that he was “born at an early age to a couple from Altoona, Pa.” This is your clue that Dave approached life with a lighthearted and immensely positive attitude and a wickedly sly sense of humor. His father was a career Air Force NCO, so Dave attended nine different schools all over the world for the first six grades. After his father retired as a master sergeant, Dave was able to complete high school at Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. He received a presidential appointment to USAFA, signed by his personal hero, Dwight David Eisenhower. Dave’s freshman year with the Class of ’63 was easy for him because he said it was “basically a repeat of my high school senior year,” and he made the Superintendent’s List. His sophomore year was more challenging and he became “one of the dean’s hand-picked men for the 5-year program;” he was turned back to the Class of ’64. He struggled with academics (he remarked that “Professor Archie Higdon and I became close buds”) but he managed to graduate and serve as first sergeant for 19th Squadron. While a cadet, Dave met the headmaster at the Rocky Mountain Rehabilitation Center on a trip to Colorado Springs. They shared their concern for handicapped children and their families and organized several squadron trips, starting with Halloween, to entertain the parents of handicapped kids while the children were treated to a Halloween party. This evolved into bringing the group to USAFA to celebrate Easter. It gained immediate popularity and the program was expanded from our squadron program to the whole wing and became “Operation Easter.” Kids were bused from Colorado Springs and Denver and points in between. Dave was very proud of the positive impact of the program he helped create. In his senior year, Dave was fortunate to win the Wing Open Heavyweight Boxing Championship, although the Academy records do not list his name. He retained the photograph of the athletic director presenting him with the award, and his fellow graduates remember the final match well. Pilot training at Moody AFB, Ga. was difficult for Dave since the rapid growth

of his bones created pockets of acid that made him consistently airsick. His flight instructor, flight surgeon and wing commander all gave him the chance to continue training and solo; he demonstrated the ability to control the aircraft in spite of his condition. The air sickness went away after the second month in T-38s when enough scar tissue was created to mute the problem. After pilot training, Dave was assigned to SAC and B-52s. He flew in Operation Arc Light in Vietnam, providing close air support to ground combat operations. Dave’s military career ended more quickly than he had intended. However, he took great pride in the Air Force Academy and the strong bonds of friendship among classmates. He said, “Being a cadet at USAFA was not just an education, but a life-changing experience and a tremendous honor.” Until his death, he shared his commitment to our nation and our democratic traditions through his correspondence with his classmates, especially the 19th Squadron Playboys. After leaving the USAF, Dave had a very successful career in the insurance industry. In retirement, he loved substitute teaching at both the middle and high school levels. The strength and brightness in his life were his children Dea, Mike and Ben; his stepdaughter Karyn; and his grandchildren. Dave was with the love of his life, Joni O’Hagan, when he passed away from cardiac arrest in Benicia, Calif. on Sept. 26, 2017. (Joni and Dave’s 19th Squadron Playboys)

James L. Graham, Jr., ’64 Jim was born April 8, 1942, in Radford, Va., the oldest of four sons of Odette and Lewis Graham. A wartime baby, he loved to recall a day near the end of the war when he and his parents watched as a long line of warplanes pass overhead in one single line formation. From that day on, he was looking at the sky, watching contrails, building models, borrowing binoculars -- anything he could do to look at more airplanes. He was fascinated with airplanes and flying throughout his entire life. Growing up in the little town of Fairlawn, he developed interests in the Boy Scouts, community service and the church. He remembered visiting both Langley AFB and Bolling AFB on Scout trips, and in the summer of 1957 traded $115 in buffalo nickels, money earned from his paper route, to the bank to finance a two-week trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He became an Eagle Scout, and was an Eagle Scout Mentor in the last decade of his life. In June 1960, Jim arrived at the Academy, was assigned to the 19th Squadron, and was the designer of the “Playboy Squadron” patch. He was deeply disappointed to be physically disqualified from pilot training due to color blindness. Following graduation, Jim had assignments to USC in AFIT Graduate School, Wright-Patterson, Wheeler, Vietnam, Air Logistics Center, DSMC, AFSCand ICAF. One of the highlights of his career was his four and a half years at NASA Headquarters, where he managed all aspects of the Space Shuttle and Space Transportation System logistics support. In 1983, he was assigned to Headquarters, Air Force Systems Command, building upon what he had done at NASA. Coincidentally, President Reagan announced the establishment of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), and in 1985, Jim proposed to General Abrahamson, the director, that logistics and supportability could ultimately be the enabler for technologies that made it from R&D into actual development and production; Jim played a major role in managing the SDI program. When he retired from the Air Force in September 1988, he left on a high note. After his Air Force retirement, Jim joined the Space Systems practice of Booz-Allen and Hamilton supporting Space Station Freedom, and in 1991 was the recipient of the Jack Williams Space Logistics Medal from the Society of Logistics Engineers. In 1996, he joined EDS as a principal in the Government Consulting Services Practice; and in 2003, joined the German enterprise software firm of SAP where he led the State and Local Government and Higher Education Practice areas. Jim got his private pilot’s license in 1998, became a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and joined with two friends to purchase and operate a light sport aircraft. In addition to flying, Jim loved genealogy, NASCAR racing, woodworking, his bright yellow F-150 truck, and his MAC Checkpoints · December · 93

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN computer, where he could perform magic. He selflessly volunteered in the Wounded Warrior Program. Jim died at home on July 19, 2017, after an heroic three-year battle with bladder cancer. Interment will be at Arlington Cemetery in the spring of 2018. He was variously described as kind, thoughtful, eloquent, artistic, supportive, “just a darn nice guy,” and a gentleman with a noble soul. His oncologist described him as “a gentleman among gentlemen.” He touched countless lives, rendered significant service to his country, and will forever be missed by many people. Jim is survived by his wife, Ann; children Matthew and Paige (Matt) Thacker; two granddaughters, Olivia and Samantha; his mother, Odette; and two brothers, Michael and Ted. (Written by Jim’s wife, Ann)

LeRoy C. "Duke" Nauton, ’64 On Aug. 7, 2017, members of the Class of 1964 from Third Squadron lost one of our most enthusiastic classmates. Duke Nauton passed away after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Duke was a treasure. Those of us who roomed with him can hardly forget how he struggled at the Academy with the sciences. That struggle did not dampen his spirit. He brought his unbounded energy and humor into any meeting, group or gathering he joined. His exuberance showed especially when the subject was literature or writing; there he was in his element. Duke served in the Air Force for 14 years in the field of munitions maintenance and as an AFROTC instructor. I remember Duke telling me about his experiences at USC as an AFROTC instructor during the Vietnam War. It was not easy considering all of the protests at USC at that time in our history. After leaving the Air Force, Duke found his niche at General Dynamics and General Dynamics Electronic Systems where he worked in marketing for 26 years; a job he truly loved. Duke was a loving and dedicated father who passed on his pride in his country and his Irish heritage. He considered himself the luckiest man in the world for having found and married the love of his life, Candy. After 52 years, the love was still there. Duke will be missed by his family and many others who were shaped and influenced by his boundless energy and selfless dedication. We who were his squadron mates last saw Duke at the Class of 1964 50-year reunion. Even though the edge of the disease had already started to affect him, he was still the same old Duke, ready with a quip or a laugh. We will miss you Duke. (Gary A. Matthes, classmate and friend)

Barry L. Cox, ’65 Barry L. Cox, a resident of Carmel, Calif., passed away on May 7, 2017, after a courageous battle with brain cancer. Barry was born in Kansas City, Mo. to George and Wilma Cox. As a recruited athlete, he played football at the Academy and in 1965 was in the seventh graduating class. He received a BS degree in engineering and in 1969 received an honorable discharge as a captain. He graduated that same year from Boston University with an MBA degree. He then began a successful 48-year career in executive leadership positions in the semiconductor industry, including positions of CEO and chairman of the board in publicly and privately held companies.

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

He joined Intel in marketing in 1975 and was promoted to president of Intel Europe, living in Belgium from 1980 to 1983. When he returned to the U.S., he worked with several companies in an executive position then moved on to helping start-up companies get established and grow. He joined QED in 1998 as chairman of the board until their successful public offering in 2000. His final role was with Adesto Technologies as chairman of the board. Barry married Marcia in 1984. Their life together was busy with worldwide travel, raising and racing horses, and growing Chardonnay grapes on their ranch in Santa Rosa, Calif. Barry is survived by his wife, Marcia, and his brother Dr. Kenneth Cox, DDS, in Mission Hills, Kans. Barry will be remembered as a man who met challenges head-on, was a mentor and a leader to many, and a man who lived life to the fullest. (Marcia Cox, Barry’s wife)

Edward A. "Gary" Fausti, ’65 Gary Fausti finished the journey that God gave him on July 6, 2017 at 73 years old. Gary grew up in Conway, Pa. From the beginning, Gary lived life to the fullest and loved every minute of it! He played football for Freedom High School, was honored to attend and play football for the Air Force Academy, and graduated from the Academy in 1965. (’65 Best Alive!) He flew many missions in Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Gary married Sandi Smith. Earlier this year, he and Sandi celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. They had three children – Cameron, Brandon and Heather – and subsequently became the proud grandparents of 10 grandkids. After the Air Force Academy, Gary earned his master’s degree in finance at UCLA and then a master’s degree in psychology at West Georgia. He moved to Atlanta in 1972 and, after a short career with Southern Air, Gary’s hobby of studying the stock pages became his career. With wisdom and revelation from God and good advice from mentors, he became a successful stockbroker. He loved going to work every day. In addition to his dedication at work, he also found time to do all the things he loved outside of his job. He always made time to spend with his family. He also found time to coach his kids’, and later his grandkids’, sports teams. He did this because he loved the game and he loved others. He gave generously of his time and talents. He had many passions, but the most important mission in his life was winning souls for God. He became an ordained minister. Gary spent many Friday nights preaching and praying with inmates at the Atlanta penitentiary. He also mentored countless middle and high schoolers. Gary gave as much of himself to others as he could. Deep down, he had a love and a message to share with everyone. He had the light and love of Jesus that freely flowed through him. He loved sharing his life and faith with everyone through giving of himself in every way possible. Gary enjoyed himself with total contentment wherever he was. He was truly magnificent. He loved his job, his co-workers, his family, beach trips, teaching Sunday School, coaching sports, leading a high school life group, sharing his faith with anyone and everyone, telling war stories, telling football stories, reading his Bible, and doing his own yard and pool work. He never spoke of the awards and honors he received in this life. He told great stories -- personal stories -- but never talked about the honors he received. He never mentioned the NCAA football scholarship, the Distinguished Flying Cross or the Broker of the Year award. He told about his testimony, sharing his faith with prisoners and winning souls for Jesus. These are the honors that Gary was most proud of. He is now receiving his rewards. His riches will not be eaten by moths or burnt by fire -- they are eternal and he is now crowned in glory.

If you know of a graduate’s death, please notify the Association of Graduates by emailing customerservice@aogusafa. org or by calling (719) 472-0300. The AOG will then contact the next of kin and provide information on how to submit a Gone But Not Forgotten obituary to Checkpoints magazine. Due to editorial and print deadlines, please visit for the most up-to-date information about graduate deaths. 94 ·

His presence and the peace and joy that he gave to those around him will be missed. Gary ran the race and fought the good fight. Gary has heard the words he devoted his entire life to hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Gary’s loving family)

Roger W. Mortensen, ’65 Roger W. Mortensen, 77, of Lacey, Wash., died of heart failure on July 21, 2017. Roger was born in Alhambra, Los Angeles County, Calif., on May 30, 1940, to Woodrow Elmo Mortensen and Margaret Florence Hawck. He grew up in southern California, graduating from South Pasadena High School in 1958. Roger enlisted in the United States Air Force July 14, 1958, and retired in the grade of lieutenant colonel on Aug. 1, 1989. He was a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Class of 1965. He served as a C-130 navigator in Vietnam between September 1967 and February 1969. His last assignment before retiring was as chief, Command and Control Division, 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ramstein AB, Germany. His decorations included two Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals and one Air Force Commendation Medal. He was also awarded the Navy Presidential Unit Citation for missions flown in support of the siege at Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, in 1968 Roger earned a master of business administration degree from the University of Wyoming in 1976, Air Command and Staff College in 1977 and a second bachelors degree in arts in history from Saint Martin’s College in 2000. He was employed by the state of Washington DSHS Division of Child Support from 1991 to 2008.  My father was the most principled and honorable man I will ever have the opportunity to know. Days before his passing, his two grandchildren and I had one of best visits with him I can remember. “What have I done for someone today” was not only his motto but it was what he did. He was loved and will be greatly missed by his friends and family. I found an old piece of folded paper in his wallet that I now keep in mine. It read: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while DARING GREATLY so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt. (Peter Mortensen, Roger’s son)

James L. Hess, ’66 Lt. Col. James Lawrence “Jim” Hess, USAF (Ret), Class of 1966, slipped the surly bonds of Earth and departed on his final flight on Sept. 17, 2017. Jim was born on June 26, 1944, in Springville, N.Y., to John and Loretta Kruse Hess. Jim grew up on a rural dairy farm south of Buffalo, N.Y. When Jim was 16 his father died and Jim was placed in charge of the dairy. Two years later, Jim’s mother sold the herd so Jim could accept his appointment to the Air Force Academy. Following graduation from high school, he entered the Air Force Academy on June 25, 1962, with the Class of 1966. Jim was a proud member of the Evil Eight Squadron Band of Brothers. Following graduation from the Air Force Academy, Jim avoided the lines at the Cadet Chapel and headed to St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Colorado Springs to marry the “Love of his Life,” Christine Matelich.

Following a honeymoon at Mather AFB, Calif., Jim and Chris reported to Castle AFB, Calif., where Jim trained to become a B-52 navigator. Numerous assignments in the Strategic Air Command took Jim and Chris to Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; Anderson AFB, Guam; Barksdale AFB, La.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; Ramstein AB, Germany; and Eaker (Blytheville) AFB, Ark. Jim deployed for more than 16 months on numerous Arc Light missions to Southeast Asia flying more than 100 combat missions. Along the way, they introduced daughters Toni and Cindy to Air Force life. Jim’s favorite Air Force assignment placed him in command of two radar bomb scoring sites near Ramstein AFB, Germany. It was a very professionally rewarding experience for Jim and a very special family adventure to explore the wonders of Europe. Following retirement from the Air Force, Jim went back to school at the University of Arkansas to earn an MS in education and became a high school math teacher at Elkins High School, Arkansas, for 14 years. Jim was the high school teacher every parent wants their children to have – he cared deeply about his students and taught them more than math. He taught them how to succeed in life, with Colonel Hess’s Rules for Success: – Be honorable. – Do what you ought to do; even if no one is watching. – In class, focus on learning. – If you have just realized that life is unfair; you have led a very sheltered life. – No whining. Following a Mass of Christian Burial, Jim was interred on Sept. 22 with full military honors in the Fayetteville National Cemetery, Ark. Jim’s brothers from the Evil Eight Squadron will always treasure the memories of him when he was among us and celebrate his presence in our hearts forever. (Jim’s Evil Eight Brothers)

Donald C. Shultis, Jr., ’66 Lt. Col. (Ret) Donald Charles Shultis, Jr., passed away on Aug. 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Chris; son David; daughter Missy; and grandchildren Cyna, Natalie and Lilly. Born on April 19, 1943, in Columbus, Ohio, Don was a humble patriot who lived by a simple code: do right by others and be faithful to family, friends and country. Don was a member of the very first USAFA prep school class in 1961 and graduated from the Academy in 1966. Long-time friend, Don Walker, remembers that Don “emerged as an early leader, helping many to get through Doolie summer and remained a reliable and trustworthy friend of his squadron classmates throughout their years at the Academy.” Another classmate, Steve Sollenberger, will always remember him as a superb athlete and key player on the 15th Squadron’s 1963 Wing Championships football team and recalls, “in boxing class, classmates learned firsthand that Don was a fighter. There was a simple strategy if you had to face Don in the ring—duck!” Upon graduation from the Academy, Don drove his 427 green Corvette, nicknamed “Honcho,” to Del Rio, Texas, to attend flight school and to be with his bride-to-be, Chris. Upon graduation, he immediately deployed to Vietnam with the 366th TFS and the 480th TFS at Da Nang. His tour spanned more than 2,000 hours of flight time, including 220 sorties as a first lieutenant over the skies of Vietnam. He logged more than 50,000 combat miles below 5,000 feet as a “Stormy” FAC pilot. After his tour in Vietnam, Don was stationed in Bitburg, Germany with the 22nd TFS from 1969-1973. He returned to the U.S. with a tour of duty at George AFB, Calif., with the 35th TFS and 20th TFTS from 1973 to 1975. During this time, he performed a tour of duty in Korea. In 1976, Don attended the United States Air Force Fighter Weapons School in Las Vegas, Nev., both as a student and then as an instructor. In 1981, Don became an air power analyst at the Pentagon, concurrently serving with the Air National Guard at Andrews AFB. After retiring from the Air Force in 1987, Don worked at the Office of Naval Intelligence and earned his M.S. at the National Defense University in The Industrial College of the Armed Checkpoints · December · 95

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Forces (ICAF) in 1997. His retirement in 2006 concluded more than 40 years of public service. Don received numerous military awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal with 1 silver and 3 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. We are proud of his service, but we will always remember the father, husband, and grandfather we loved -- humble to a fault, loyal to the end, full of passion for learning new things, and in love with his best friend and bride, Chrissy. Together they competed in Olympic Triathlons, skied, sailed, and played soccer and tennis until retiring to Lake Anna, Va., where he golfed, hunted with his brothers and boated with his granddaughters. But always there was his love of speed, and whether in a hydroplane, F-4, Honcho, or one of three Porsches he owned, Don would say, “I just need to be in a machine going fast.” Until the day he died, he was still pursuing this love -- racing around the track at 90 mph, 6 inches off the ground, in a little yellow Go Kart marked #66, grinning from ear to ear. He is deeply missed and will never be replaced. (Written by Don’s family)

Wayne B. Petersen, ’68 Wayne B. Petersen, age 70, passed away from cancer July 10, 2017, in Southlake, Texas. He was born July 12, 1946, in Logan, Utah, to Boyd LaRen and Idella Parker Petersen. Wayne’s early years were spent on the family farm in Caldwell, Idaho. In addition to farm chores, Wayne participated in 4H by raising prized animals to show at the local fair. Some of his fondest memories were of hunting and fishing in the Idaho hills. The farm was always a special place for family gatherings. The yearly visits to the farm with its wide-open fields, motor bikes, four wheelers, fishing trips and a loving family were always much anticipated events. After graduating with honors from Caldwell’s Vallivue High School in 1964, Wayne received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy where he majored in civil engineering. He graduated in June 1968. Immediately after graduation, Wayne and Jean Elizabeth McAskill were married in the Academy Chapel on June 7, 1968. In 1974, Wayne received his MS degree in systems management from the University of Southern California. Wayne’s amazing Air Force career began in 1968 with pilot training in Del Rio, Texas. It wasn’t his first choice, but it turned out to be one of our favorite assignments. We spent many weekends on Lake Amistad boating and fishing. After graduating pilot training in 1969, Wayne was assigned to the 76th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. He was an instructor pilot in the HC-130 and participated in the recovery and launch of the Apollo and Skylab missions. In 1974, Wayne was stationed at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, as chief of aircrew standardization and evaluation. He participated in the evacuations of Phnom Penh and Saigon. After a desk assignment at DavisMonthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz., and an assignment as the Base Civil Engineer at Indian Springs, an auxiliary base to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nev., Wayne returned to flying in 1983 and was assigned to the C-21 aircraft as the squadron operations officer at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, Texas. During his service, Wayne received various ribbons, commendations and medals including the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with Star, and the Republic of Vienam Gallantry Cross with Palm. Wayne retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in July, 1988. After retiring, he worked in commercial banking and lending in Dallas, Texas. Even though there were countless TDYs and a remote assignment, Wayne’s

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

heart was always in his home and his family. His faith was a principle of good works and action, and his strength was apparent in how he served his country and his family; he truly excelled at both. He was a willing and patient teacher, whether he was showing his sons, Douglas and Jayson, how to bait a fish hook or helping his daughter, Katie, with algebra. He once readily volunteered to coach a basketball team of energetic 5-year-olds; he happily served as Cub Scout Pack leader; and he reluctantly but willingly agreed to take on the school booster club as president. He had a kind and generous spirit and lived by his motto “always do your best.” Wayne is survived by his wife, Jean, and his three children: Douglas; Jayson and his wife, Jennifer; and Katie and her husband, Andy Lawson. He has four grandchildren: Sydney, Jakob, Audrey and Parker. Wayne was interred with military honors at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho, on Nov. 24, 2017. (Jeane Petersen, Wayne’s wife)

Scott M. Hoversten, ’70 Col. (Ret) Scott M. Hoversten passed away on June 5, 2017, at Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Mo., at age 69. He was born on Dec. 16, 1947, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Herman and Fonnie Hoversten, who preceded him in death. Scott had been Air Force his whole life. His dad was a World War II fighter pilot and he was raised as a “brat” as his dad served his 20 years. He then went to USAFA and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, followed by a Master of Science in chemistry from UCLA, and a Master of Science in computing and information systems from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. His 26-year military career included serving as a C-130 navigator in Southeast Asia, squadron and wing level standardization/evaluation navigator at Little Rock AFB, associate professor at USAFA, and aircraft maintenance supervisor at Travis AFB. He was past squadron commander of the 63rd OMS, Norton AFB, and the 603rd Consolidated AMS at Kadena AB. In 1991, he was assigned to HQ MAC, Scott AFB, where he served in various leadership positions, including wing director of staff, until his retirement in 1996. Colonel Hoversten was well respected for his military achievements, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Joint Services Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Legion of Merit, to cite a few. He had more than 3,600 flying hours with more than 800 hours of combat time. He had this to say upon his retirement: “…Serving in the Air Force has been rewarding for two reasons: First, defending this great country is so important that it justifies the sacrifices, big and small. I was proud to wear the uniform and salute the flag, and never minded a little bit of rain when retreat was played. In wartime, you pay your money, you take your chances, and most come home all right. "The other reason I’ve enjoyed the Air Force so much is that I was part of a world-class team, made up of the best people on E arth…” After his military retirement, he worked as a senior systems analyst for Sumaria Systems, Inc., and as a lead systems architect for MITRE Corp. Once fully retired, he so enjoyed it because every day was a Saturday. Scott was a loving and devoted husband, a doting father, and a mischievous granddad. He was a good listener and always kept a curious and open mind. His kindness, optimism, and dry and clever wit earned him the love and admiration of his family and friends. Scott truly embodied being an officer and a gentleman in his career and throughout his lifetime. He was a wonderful man who had a life very well-lived.

If you know of a graduate’s death, please notify the Association of Graduates by emailing customerservice@aogusafa. org or by calling (719) 472-0300. The AOG will then contact the next of kin and provide information on how to submit a Gone But Not Forgotten obituary to Checkpoints magazine. Due to editorial and print deadlines, please visit for the most up-to-date information about graduate deaths. 96 ·

Scott is survived by his loving wife, Yolanda; daughter Veronica, and husband Paul Washburn; grandkids Molly and Toby; brother Gregg Hoversten and wife, Kathy; nieces Danielle and Sara; sister-in-law Zenaida Branson; niece Kim, nephews James and Patrick, and grandniece, Anighya. Scott wrote in his 1970 USAFA yearbook: “...16 Dec 47- the beginning of my autobiography… i pass bewildered into the world of Light 27 June 66 - isolation… i pass bewildered into the world of Aluminum 3 Jun 70 - rebirth… i pass bewildered into the Real World Date Unknown-… i pass bewildered into that great sack in the Sky...” A memorial gathering was held on June 24, 2017, in O’Fallon, Ill. A private committal service will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be shared at (Yolanda Hoversten, Scott’s wife)

Dale K. Carter, ’72 Lt. Col. (Ret) Dale Kennedy Carter, 67, passed away June 22, 2017 at his home in West Richland, Wash., surrounded by his loving family. He was born Dec. 30, 1949, in Pullman, Wash., the fifth of eight children. Dale was a graduate of Prosser High School. He excelled in academics, played football and was a member of the band. He also served as senior class president and earned an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dale was assigned to CS-36 (Pink Panthers) at the beginning of his Third Class year where he again excelled in academics as well as leadership. Having declared a major in mechanical engineering, he was accepted into a co-op program where he began taking graduate level courses his Second Class year, and helped design the prototype gun mounts for the 105 mm howitzer on the AC-130 Gunship, still employed today. As a First Classman, he sponsored a French exchange cadet and was appointed squadron commander first semester. Upon graduating from the Academy and being commissioned, he completed a master’s degree in metallurgical engineering at the University of Arizona. During his spare time that year, he also attained another undergraduate degree in automotive engineering. Several years later he completed the course requirements for and was awarded an MS in business from Boston University. Dale’s distinguished Air Force career included a tour of duty teaching engineering at the Academy (he was a course director, associate professor and later assistant professor of mechanical engineering). During his career, he was also based in Germany, England, Georgia and California. Among his many accomplishments were assignments to design and replace the wings for the T-38, as well as to develop and install a 40,000-foot cable to tether a reconnaissance balloon. He retired as a lieutenant colonel with 20 years of service. He loved a game of Hearts, books, the news, jokes, limericks, and his dog, Sandy. One of his greatest loves was the wilderness. At once a simple and complicated man, he was a country boy who traveled and enjoyed the world, but always longed to return home to his childhood family farm. He fondly described his childhood as “free-range.” Dale loved his family very much, and had a special place in his heart for his brothers, sister and his CS-36 classmates. He cherished backpacking, camping trips and large family gatherings. His tales were larger than life but always contained a grain of truth. Dale is survived by his three children, Casey, Mugsy and Suzy; his former wife, Terri Bakken; and his siblings, Dennis, Darrel, Dwight and Debra. He was predeceased by his parents, George and Susan Carter, and his siblings, Dave, Don, and Duncan. Services for friends and family were held on Aug. 17 in Prosser, Wash. (Bill Emmer, classmate and friend)

Timothy T. Green, ’74 Timothy “Torb” Torbert Green passed away peacefully in Tucson, Ariz., surrounded by loved ones on July 20, 2017, at the age of 64 after a long, brave battle against cancer. He was the beloved husband of Luann Bestgen Green, loving father to Shawn Patrick Green and Erin Nichelle (Pehr) Lawson, and devoted grandfather to his three grandchildren, Ryne Michael (10), Emma Jean (4) and Beck Timothy (2) Lawson. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, on Aug. 6, 1952, to the late Robert McCay Green and Patricia Colton Fisher. He was a graduate of Fostoria High School in Ohio and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, proudly serving and flying for his country from 1974 until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1995. He was a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal and the AF Commendation Medal. He continued his work for the military as a civilian at the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) in Tucson, Ariz. until 2012. In his retirement, he worked passionately on researching and preserving his family history and genealogy. He was an avid sports watcher and a devoted fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Wildcats. In his passing, he leaves behind his wife; two children; son-in law; three grandchildren; two brothers, Bob (Marty) and Larry (Wendy) Green; sister-in-law Nancy Green; and many family and friends near and far. He is joined in eternity by his parents; brother, Christopher Green; and son, Patrick McCay Green. Memorial services and a military honors burial were held at the Evergreen Funeral Home/Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colo. on July 28, 2017. An informal celebration of life was to be held in Tucson, Ariz., at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bugles Across America or the Colon Cancer Alliance. (Tim’s loving family)

Neal T. Robinson, ’74 Brig. Gen. Neal T. Robinson, USAF (Ret), passed peacefully on the morning of May 27, 2017, with his loving wife, Patricia (Pat) Robinson (nee Mosley), at his side. General Robinson led a selfless life that put love and duty to country, family and God above all else. Born on April 2, 1952, in Bermuda to an Air Force family, he was truly a blended product of Bermuda and Kansas (where the family ultimately settled).  He was an academic and civic leader in his youth, which led to an appointment to the USAF Academy in 1970.  Following graduation, he became an intelligence officer, serving in assignments around the world: South Korea, Iran (where he was taken hostage during the 1979 crisis), Panama, Italy and Germany. He did multiple tours in the Pentagon, Texas and Maryland.  Neal was head of intelligence for European Command during the Kosovo War.  He approached every job with total dedication and always produced effective results. After retirement in 2005, he continued his service to country in industry, most recently with Oracle Corporation, which he saw as the best opportunity to help protect our nation.  Neal’s wisdom, grace and humor under pressure were attributes treasured by his family, friends and colleagues; he will be greatly missed. (For more on General Robinson’s military career see AF.Mil, Wikipedia on the Hostage Crisis, Wikipedia on Kosovo.) Neal deeply loved his family.  He was a pillar of strength for his family and late mother, Florence.  He was always a role model to his late younger brother (Zayd) and surviving sisters (Elaine, Denise and Florence), nephews (Daniel, Gino, Errol and Brandon) and godsons (Sam and Jack).  Neal also was a loyal son to Pat’s parents (Bill and Ann Mosley) and dear friend to his brother-in-law Bill and his wife, Janis; Elaine’s husband, Troy; and Denise’s husband, Andrew.   He met Pat in 1974 in Lubbock, Texas. They were married in 1979 in Maryland.  They handled multiple assignment-related separations with grace, and Checkpoints · December · 97

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN had a wonderful life together. Upon his military retirement, they made a home in the countryside outside Berryville, Va., where they, their dogs and cats, not to mention the deer, geese, bluebirds, opossums, raccoons and a ground hog were very happy under Neal’s special care. Perhaps above all, Neal Robinson was a servant of God.  He read scripture and prayed daily.  For Neal, the real world is where he abides now and we can be assured he is taking care of country and family from his new place. Neal spent his life in faith, love and dedicated service. Neal was interred with military funeral honors on Nov. 1, 2017, at Arlington Cemetery. Friends and family members donated to Neal’s chosen charities: Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, Md. 20850 or The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, 106 Island Farm, Boyce, Va. 22620. (Pat Robinson)

Dennis R. Forinash, ’75 Dennis “Denny” R. Forinash died tragically on July 7, 2017 when he was struck by a car while jogging across a road on an American Airlines layover in Chicago, Ill. Dennis was born in Bonne Terre, Mo., on Sept. 5, 1953, growing up in the home his parents built in his hometown, Irondale, Mo. Dennis was a 1975 United States Air Force Academy graduate. He married Carla on June 28, 1975, and is the father of a son, David, and a daughter, Erin. Dennis attended pilot training at Vance AFB, Enid, Okla. During his Air Force career, he flew the C-130 at McChord AFB, Wash., the C-9 medivac, Clark AFB, the Philippines, and the C-130, Little Rock AFB, Jacksonville, Ark. Dennis was hired by American Airlines in October 1988. During his time at American, he flew as a first officer on the 757, the 767 and eventually upgraded to captain on a S80 which was his position at the time of his death. His career at American Airlines spanned for nearly 29 years. In 1990, Dennis joined the 731st Airlift Squadron flying the C-130 at Peterson AFB. While in the Air Force Reserves, he was activated and participated in Desert Storm. He served in the 731st Airlift Squadron until his retirement from the Air Force Reserves in 1996. Dennis was a family man, a pilot, a traveler, a Colorado Rockies fan, a hiker, a business partner for a dance studio, a skier, a snowboarder, full of generosity and so much more. He had this contagious laugh, even if what he said wasn’t funny or didn’t make sense you would be laughing along with him without even knowing why. He would call you… not big into texting… he preferred to talk with you, even if for just a brief exchange. With that said, he also was the king of butt dialing. Many of those who knew Dennis would get messages of swishing pants and airport announcements in the background. Dennis was also a connoisseur of great food; he very much enjoyed recreating different food dishes from the meals that he had enjoyed on his trips, and of course enjoying a Tito’s on the rocks. He was always willing to give advice and guidance for family and friends; he knew the best way to get you on a flight whether it was for an emergency or just taking a vacation. Adventurous is another word to describe Dennis. To name a few adventures, he took on the challenge of climbing the Manitou Springs incline, zip-lining, hiking Hanging Lake and exploring multiple National Parks on his vacation travels. He was an avid skier starting from the time he was at the Air Force Academy as a cadet, and then taking on snowboarding in his late 50s. He would be smiling and laughing, but as soon as the camera came out this stoic look would appear on his face, so we had to catch him in those candid moments to get a really good smile. We will always remember his contagious laughter, silly “dad jokes”, unwavering support and love he had for his family. (Written by Dennis’ loving family)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

Richard A. McIntosh, ’75 Col. Richard Aris McIntosh, USAF (Ret.) passed away at his home in Lakeside, Ore. on Aug. 13, 2017. Known to most as “Mac” he leaves behind a lasting impact on his nation, community and family. Born on March 24, 1953, in Ashiya, Japan, the son of Master Sgt. Gale McIntosh, USAF (Ret) and Mrs. Sachiko (Uchida) McIntosh. When his father retired from a 23-year Air Force career in 1968, the family relocated to Coos Bay, Ore. He graduated from Marshfield High School in 1971 as the co-valedictorian and state champion hurdler. Mac graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1975 as an All-American and captain of the track & field team, and anchored a world and American record-setting 240-yard shuttle hurdle relay team. Following graduation, he married Linnea Wright, his high-school sweetheart, and then completed a master’s degree in history from Indiana University in 1976. Fighter aviation and command provided anchors for a 30-year career as an Air Force officer. He flew F-15 Eagles through skies over Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Saudi Arabia and Hawaii. Mac retired in 2005, and returned home to the Coos Bay, Ore. area – the last of 14 moves around the world. He and Linnea worked side by side to build their dream home on Lakeside, Ore., while Mac integrated into the community as a member of the local Rotary club and as head track & field coach for Marshfield High. At Marshfield, he built a world-class program around one team rule “Never let your teammates down” and three standards for excellence: Live with Integrity, Compete with Class, and Add to the Legacy. In 2015, Mac was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was given a one percent chance he would survive longer than five months. Mac fought his diagnosis for two years before the disease took his life. Of course no one was surprised that he was able to fight as long as he was. Whatever you knew Mac McIntosh to be, you also knew he was far from ordinary. Mac McIntosh was more than the high school valedictorian, track coach, or cancer patient. Mac McIntosh was my dad, and the greatest fighter pilot in the world. How do I know he was the greatest? He told me so. Being raised by a fighter pilot isn’t the same as being raised by any other mortal man. Being raised by a fighter pilot is like being raised by Zeus himself. Do you know the difference between a fairy tale and a fighter pilot’s story? A fairy tale begins “Once upon a time,” a fighter pilot’s story begins “No sh--, this really happened.” My dad could break an apple in half with his bare hands, juggle anything you threw at him, split logs with a single swing, turn any gathering into a dance party, and always, always, always, grill a steak to perfection. Dad would walk into a room and you could feel the air leave it as people caught their breath. He walked with the confidence of a man who could handle anything life threw at him. My dad was the strongest, handsomest, fastest man I knew. He could drive a car like a stunt man, surf like a local, water ski like a pro, and of course, fly a fighter jet like… the world’s greatest fighter pilot. Mac McIntosh was a lifelong learner and teacher. When he spoke with you, you felt as though you were the only one in the room. He was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. His loss is immense and felt on a daily basis. (Rachael McIntosh Tuller, daughter, USAFA Class of 2005)

If you know of a graduate’s death, please notify the Association of Graduates by emailing customerservice@aogusafa. org or by calling (719) 472-0300. The AOG will then contact the next of kin and provide information on how to submit a Gone But Not Forgotten obituary to Checkpoints magazine. Due to editorial and print deadlines, please visit for the most up-to-date information about graduate deaths. 98 ·

Ronald S. Hunt, ’79 Retired Maj. Ronald (Ron) Steven Hunt, 60, passed away on Aug. 10, 2017. Ron was born Jan. 13, 1957, in Lumberton, N.C., to the late Purcel and Arbiadella Sanderson Hunt. He was raised in a military family that was stationed in different locations during his childhood. Ron attended J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C., where he was a member of the baseball, football and wrestling teams. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy obtaining a bachelor of science degree in international affairs. He played on the baseball team at the Academy. He was commissioned in 1979. He also received a master of science degree in logistics management from AFIT and in operations research from the University of Arkansas. Ron started his military career at Little Rock AFB where he held positions as a Titan II deputy commander, a missile combat crew commander, an instructor commander and a missile maintenance officer. After completing a degree at AFIT, he was transferred to Grand Forks AFB where he served as a missile maintenance officer supporting Minuteman III Missiles. Ron cross-trained while at Grand Forks AFB into aircraft maintenance and became a maintenance supervisor supporting B-1, KC-135R, T-38 and HH-1H helicopters. He was assigned to Shemya AFB in 1992 as the chief of maintenance for RC-135S reconnaissance aircraft responsible for aerial reconnaissance of the Soviet ICBM missile program. After completing this assignment, Ron was transferred to Robins AFB. At Robins, he served as a KC-135R aircraft maintenance officer and as program manager in the F-15 System Program Office. Ron’s final active duty assignment took him back to AFIT where he was an instructor in logistics maintenance. While at AFIT, he served as course director for Industrial Maintenance Management and Applied Maintenance Management. Ron retired from active duty in 1999. After retirement from active duty, Ron continued to serve his country and the Air Force as a contractor up until his death. He worked with several companies supporting various Air Force missions primarily as a logistician, program manager and supervisor. He enjoyed being a part of the Air Force community. Ron was married to Angela McClard Hunt. They had two children, David Andrew Hunt (Kristie) of Grand Forks, N.D., and Hannah Alexis Hunt. Ron was a member of The Assembly of Warner Robins where he worshipped regularly. Ron enjoyed sports, music and travel. He was very proud of his children and their accomplishments and supported them in all of their endeavors and activities. Ron’s life was celebrated on Aug. 14, 2017, at the McCullough Funeral Home chapel in Warner Robins, Ga. The service was officiated by Dr. Mark Merrill of The Assembly at Warner Robins. Ron was laid to rest with military honors in Andersonville National Cemetery. Our family received cards and condolences from friends Ron had made over his career from all over the world. Although we did not know most of these people personally, the support from fellow graduates and from the Air Force community has been humbling, eye opening and greatly appreciated. (Angela Hunt, Ron’s wife)

Edward J. Trujillo, Sr., ’85 Edward Joseph Trujillo, Sr., courageously laid down his sword when his battle with cancer came to an end on June 30, 2017. He passed away in his Oklahoma home surrounded by family and friends. He was 53 years old. Ed was born on Sept. 24, 1963, in Mountain Home, Idaho, but grew up in Colorado Springs, Colo. He graduated from Harrison High School in 1981 as one of six valedictorians, and then graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1985. After completing Undergraduate Pilot Training, his first assignment was to the KC-135A in the 11th Air Refueling Squadron at Altus AFB, Okla. On Feb. 13, 1987, 2nd Lt. Edward Trujillo was flying as copilot returning to

Altus AFB following a routine air refueling when disaster struck. As his aircraft commander flared the aircraft following an approach, the approach controller directed the aircraft to contact the tower after landing. When Ed keyed the radio to respond, a spark in the radio wiring deep within the aircraft belly triggered an explosion on the plane’s aft body fuel tank due to an unknown internal fuel leak. The boom operator yelled “Fire!” Thick black smoke billowed forward and engulfed the cockpit. The pilot’s brakes were rendered ineffective. It was now up to Ed as the copilot to stop the aircraft. Another explosion sent a wave of heat toward Ed that motivated him to stop and egress the aircraft. All four crew members made it out. He embraced his duty to let other pilots know bad things can happen when you least expect it. Captain Trujillo was a decorated veteran of Desert Storm, flying 36 combat support sorties in the KC-135R. He left the Air Force in 1995, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in aviation/aerospace management. He was hired as a government contractor pilot instructor at the KC-135 Formal Training Unit in Altus AFB, OK, teaching ground academics and flight simulator training. Ed became an expert in imparting emergency procedures to unqualified and qualified KC-135 pilots, using his mishap experience to seize his students’ attention and motivate them to prepare for the unexpected. For 20 years, Ed taught thousands of KC-135 pilots. Being a huge part of his community meant a lot to him. He was an active member of Primera Iglesia Bautista of Altus, Okla., serving as treasurer and Sunday school teacher for 21 years. He later became a deacon in 2016. Ed married Sylvia in 1987. She was his wife for 30 years through his death. Together they raised three wonderful children. All three children have ties to the military. Oldest son, Eddie Jr., serves as a Civil Service employee for the Air Force; Nicole is an airman in the Air Force; and James is a petty officer in the Navy. Ed was blessed with four beautiful granddaughters who adored and loved their Papa. Ed was a humble, intelligent and compassionate person. He would often go out of his way to help those in need. There was always so much laughter when Ed was around; he had such a great sense of humor. He had a remarkable way of making someone feel like they were the most important person in a crowded room. His generosity with his time and patience for teaching will never be forgotten. He meant so much to so many. Ed’s spirit continues to live on through those who knew and, most of all, loved him. Not a moment goes by that someone, somewhere isn’t missing him. Ed remained brave through his last breath. (Written by MSgt Tina J. Schuman, USAF, Retired – Proud Little Sister)

Brendan P. Lewis, ’89 Brendan P. Lewis passed away at his home in Arlington, Va. on May 25, 2017. He was 49. A funeral mass was held on June 17, 2017, at St. Canice, Nevada City, Calif. Burial was shortly after in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. A rosary service was held the night before in St. Canice. Funeral arrangements were handled by Hooper and Weaver Mortuary. Brendan was born in Grass Valley, Calif. An Eagle Scout, he was raised with his two brothers, Brian and Dan, in Nevada City.  Brendan attended Nevada City Elementary, Seven Hills, and Nevada Union (Class of 1985). He attended the United States Air Force Academy (Class of 1989, Cadet Squadron-02). Brendan retired from the Air Force in 2014 as a colonel, after tours at Williams AFB (Phoenix, Ariz.) as a T-38 Talon instructor pilot; C-12 pilot in Osan AB, Korea (55th ALF); C-141 Starlifter pilot at McChord AFB, Wash. (4th then 62nd AS); double master’s degree in astronautical and electrical engineering from the Navy Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif.; National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Va.; group exec at Travis AFB, Calif. (349th OG and 312th AS); chief of Logistics, Jerusalem Consulate, Kennedy School of Government Fellowship at Harvard University, Mass.; the office of the Joint Chief of Staff, Legislative Liaison, Pentagon, Va.; and finally in the office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Va. After the Air Force, he worked for Budget and Appropriations Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense, Pentagon, Va. Checkpoints · December · 99

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Brendan was a devoted son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend. He was a man of faith. His generosity was boundless, his devotion to country expansive, his morals and virtues resolute. He was intelligent, hardworking, and always there for those in need.  He will be sorely missed. Brendan is lovingly remembered by his grandmother, Helen Kelley; his father, William (Rose) Lewis; his brothers Brian (Patty) and Dan (Lynn); his nephews and nieces Olivia, Sean, Aidan, Therese, Aran, and Elsa; uncles Bob (Jeanne) Kelley, Kevin (Katie) Kelley; Aunt Anne (Gary) Kelley; and many cousins. Brendan is preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Wentworth (previously Lewis), and his uncle Gary Kelley. (Brian Lewis, Brendan’s brother, Class of 1988)

Joseph H. Schulz, ’89 Joseph H. Schulz, devoted husband, loving father and retired Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot and United Airlines and JetBlue commercial pilot, passed away at his home in Toano, Va., on Aug. 4, 2017, at the age of 50 after a long battle with cancer. Joe was born July 25, 1967, in Waterbury, Conn., and raised in Colorado Springs, Colo. He attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned a degree in engineering in 1989 before going on to earn his master’s in business administration from Colorado State University in 2008. Serving both active duty Air Force and as a Guardsman, Joe was a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the T-38, A-10A and A-10C aircraft and flew 250 combat missions in support of Operations Provide Comfort, Deny Flight, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He earned the rank of colonel in 2011. Joe also flew for both United and JetBlue airlines logging more than 3,500 miles combined. Despite his successful military and commercial pilot career, Joe was most proud and devoted to his loving wife, Jennifer (Sutherland), of almost 22 years and their children Hayley, Olivia and Jack. He was a devout Catholic and an active member of St. Olaf Catholic Church in Toano where he faithfully served on the Parish Council while battling cancer. Joe will be remembered as an exceedingly modest, compassionate and loving man; his physical, emotional and spiritual strength was an inspiration to all around him and was present until the very end. Even then, when others might have given up or shown a darker side, Joe radiated a warm smile and offered eloquent words of faith until even that was too much for him; he then flashed a firm “thumbs up” as a reassuring and powerful gesture to acknowledge his preparedness for his final earthly challenge. He treasured watching his children compete in their various athletic endeavors. He enjoyed family dinners, the outdoors, taking long walks, watching movies with Jennifer and the kids and cheering on his beloved Boston Red Sox and Denver Broncos. Joe will be sorely missed by all those he touched and inspired, especially his close family. His daughter Hayley wrote this in the hours soon after his passing and it is a warm and touching tribute to the great man whot all loved so much: A fighter pilot, a hero of his country, a king of bad dad jokes, a terrible soft toss pitcher, the fastest boy in Colorado Springs, a colonel, an incredible son, an amazing big brother, a caring friend, a lover of sunsets and mountains and storms and Colorado and America and grilling and the changing of the leaves and travel and memories; a father beyond compare, an adoring husband, a man who constantly told us that he was the “luckiest man in the world”, and most of all, a lover of his Lord – gone too soon, but the good ones never get to stay. I love you more than words can say and will never be able to thank you enough for a life full of love and laughter and joy. They didn’t think that you’d get to fly again, but, as always, you proved them wrong. Fly high, dad. (The Schulz Family)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

Ida Lee Widmann, ’91 Lt. Col. Ida Lee Widmann, USAF (Ret) passed away Aug. 20, 2017, after a long battle with cancer. A celebration of life service was held at the Polaris Hall Forum on the United States Air Force Academy Saturday, Sept. 9, attended by nearly 200 family, friends, classmates and coworkers. Ida Lee made a lasting impact on the United States Air Force from her entry to the USAFA Prep School in 1986 until her passing when she worked in USAFA’s Office of Admissions. She excelled at USAFA as the 3rd Group sergeant major, the 22nd Cadet Squadron commander, and the 2nd BCT deputy group commander ultimately graduating as one of the top 10 military graduates of the Class of 1991. Ida served as an Air Force civil engineer for 15 years before returning to USAFA for her dream job as an air officer commanding and finally the USAFA Preparatory School Military Training Group commander. Since 2005, she motivated hundreds of cadets as a commander, mentor and as a sponsor mom. To honor and continue her legacy of service her family established the Lt. Col. Ida Lee Widmann Endowed Fund for Admissions through the USAFA Endowment. Donations in memory of Lt. Col. Ida Lee Widmann may be made through the USAFA Endowment website at widmannendowment. (Col. Rob Widmann, ’90, husband)

Terry S Duncan, ’92 Terry Scott Duncan of Cadiz, Ky., and the Class of 1992, passed away on June 17, 2017, following a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Of all the many titles Terry earned, he was most proud to be the beloved husband of Mrs. Mary Jo Duncan, the devoted father of Katy, Grace, Michael and Joseph Duncan, the adored son of Mr. Terry D. Duncan and Mrs. Dean L. Duncan; and cherished brother of Mr. Jim Duncan. Terry and Mary Jo are distinguished graduates of the Air Force Academy, and majored together in electrical engineering. In fact, Terry and his then-fiancé Mary Jo graduated as number thirteen and fourteen in their class and actually sat next to each other during graduation. Terry and Mary Jo then attended the same fellowship program where they earned a Masters in Computer Science from George Washington University. Graduating with distinction again, Terry and Mary Jo were assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base. At the rank of captain, both Terry and Mary Jo separated from the Air Force, but continued to proudly serve out of uniform. Terry was hired back into his position as a civilian at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and was subsequently promoted each year, achieving GS-15 at the remarkably young age of 30. As the system engineer for a top-priority effort directed by the Secretary of the Air Force, Terry led the development of a state-of-the-art classified system. During Terry’s nine-year tenure with AFRL he presented his unit’s results to bi-annual reviews by the AFRL Scientific Advisory Board. In his final review while at AFRL, the board applauded his team stating “World Class understates recent results…” and honored his team with a record sixth ‘world-class’ rating. Additionally, Terry was presented the Arthur S. Flemming Award in Applied Science, which is awarded to only 12 federal government leaders annually

If you know of a graduate’s death, please notify the Association of Graduates by emailing customerservice@aogusafa. org or by calling (719) 472-0300. The AOG will then contact the next of kin and provide information on how to submit a Gone But Not Forgotten obituary to Checkpoints magazine. Due to editorial and print deadlines, please visit for the most up-to-date information about graduate deaths. 100 ·

and is recognized by the President of the United States, agency heads and the private sector. As a testament to his success, Terry was selected to the Senior Executive Service, a one-star equivalent civilian grade, and was assigned to lead the DoD CIO Budget Review Team in the Pentagon. During this period, Terry’s team developed, assessed and matured plans to meet military priorities. In addition, his team provided governance, oversight and direction to support the nation’s highest military acquisition decision forum, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, which is chaired by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During this assignment, Terry led corrective actions that ended multibillion-dollar investments in poorly performing acquisitions and directed realignment of funds to systems with the highest benefit for warfighters. Following his assignment to the Pentagon, Terry was promoted to a two-star equivalent grade, and was selected as one of the youngest senior leaders at the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia. At the NRO, Terry led more than 3,000 personnel as the director of the NRO Communications Systems Directorate and concurrently as the NRO CIO. Simultaneously, Terry led acquisition oversight as a deputy program executive officer for Navy Space Systems, effectively endowing him the responsibility of three full-time flag officer positions. Nonetheless, Terry continued to excel, pioneering efforts that transformed the NRO’s space-based communications and terrestrial information technology capabilities while saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. In recognition of his strategic leadership and accomplishments, Terry was named one of FCW’s "Federal 100" and was bestowed the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award by President Obama. Terry was an exceptionally intelligent, dedicated and moral leader who is sorely missed by all who had the great honor to serve with him. Terry will be laid to rest this winter in Arlington National Cemetery. (Capt. Daniel J. O’Sullivan, USAFA, ’09)

Richard Cuervo, ’93 “Don’t sweat the little stuff.” Knowing Rich Cuervo, you knew he took a big picture look on life. To Rich, life is meant to be enjoyed and his time with us was spent caring for, laughing with and supporting others. On the afternoon of June 7, 2017, Rich left us, but his example of his care for others, his priority on the joy of life lives with us. Rich grew up in Queens, N. Y. When he was 7, his father, Ricardo, “caught a bad fare” as he described it, and Rich had to grow up quickly. He also learned strength and resilience from his mother, Jenny, as she raised the two boys alone. Challenges did not deter Rich and he succeeded in school and joined the Class of ’93 just before his 18th birthday. At the Academy, Rich was the person you wanted to be around because he was the one who lifted the spirit of others and reduced the stress of almost any situation by seeing the humor there. Rich was the guy who loved to join in the joke or whatever fun activity was happening, but he was also the guy with the courage to speak up if something was about to go too far. Rich was in Hellcats as a basic, Grim Reapers and then RATZ. Timing precluded Rich from attending flight training as the Air Force cut their pilot slots in ’93 and he started his career as the officer in charge of the command post at Howard AFB in Panama. Rich made every situation a positive one and with a little help from fate (and the fact that they both liked Saturns that happened to need service at the same time), Rich met Sonya. Three years later, Ricardo “Ricky,” joined the family. At the same time, Rich also made it into pilot training through hard work and dedication to that goal. During that time, he saw how the stress of flight school was compounding challenges at home. He wanted to fly, but had a stronger desire to place the long-term interest of his family first. As he did many times in his life, he put his care, his love, his support to others before himself. A few years later, it was time to separate from the Air Force and plant some roots. He worked for a time for the Boy Scouts. Fundamentally, he lived by the Boy Scout slogan “Do a Good Turn Daily.” Later, when Ricky joined scouting, Rich volunteered his time to ensure not just Ricky, but many others had his support to grow and advance (many, including Ricky, made it to the milestone of Eagle Scout).

Rich also volunteered his time as a soccer coach as Ricky was growing up. He maintained his positive spirit and motivation to all the kids who were fortunate to play on his team. Rich did not want to leave us so soon. He didn’t want to leave because he had more people to touch, more joy to share, more laughter to be heard. Rich, you are at peace and with us in our hearts. Know that your example of love, kindness, humor, caring and humility lives on in every person you touched and we are smiling in your memory. Rich is survived by his wife of more than 21 years, Sonya; his son Ricardo; his mother, Jenny; and his brother Roland. In addition, he is survived by his in-laws, Joyce Lavender, Danny Turley and Annette and John Dowdle as well as numerous loving extended family members around the world and his many good friends. (Hans Miller, Class of ’93)

Jason L. Hicks, ’98 Jason Lawrence Hicks, 41, of Bentonville, Ark., passed away suddenly, Aug. 9, 2017, at his residence. He was born May 7, 1976, in Tulsa, Okla., to Roy Manford Hicks and Saralou Flanigan Hicks. He was a graduate of Metro Christian Academy in Tulsa, was a member of the National Honor Society and an Eagle Scout. At the age of 12, he saw a sign that explained how to prepare to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and he immediately decided he wanted to do just that.  Upon graduation from high school, he applied and was accepted in both the Naval and Air Force academies.  He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1998 and went on to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the Pentagon.  Jason was a follower of Jesus Christ and was always prepared to defend the faith with gentleness and respect. Jason’s light burned bright; he was always eager to accomplish each new task (a zest for life). His greatest happiness was his love for the Lord and the joy of being a husband and father. He often said he had been richly blessed. He possessed a quick smile and genuine desire to share with everyone he met the “good news of Christ’s love and salvation.” He was a strong, passionate, generous and kind human being; always quick to give a winning smile.  Jason married the love of his life, Anya Hicks, and together they had two beautiful sons.  He valued being a husband and father more than any other title he could have ever held.  They moved to Bentonville five years ago where he joined the security team at Walmart. He was highly respected by his colleagues. He was preceded in death by his father, Roy Manford Hicks; adored second father, Buryl J. Williams; and his grandfather, Everett M. Hicks.  He is survived by his lovely wife, Anya Hicks; two beautiful sons, Daniel (age 4) and Stephen (age 2); his mother, Saralou Hicks Williams of Disney, Okla.; grandmother, Pat Lee of Dewey, Okla.; and many extended family and friends.  He will be missed by everyone who ever had the opportunity to get to know him.  (Jason’s loving family)

John R. "Bob" Englehart, ATO Maj. (USAF, Ret) John Robert “Bob” Englehart, Air Training Officer, passed away on Sept. 12, 2017, at the age of 87 after complications from a fall, enduring dementia for several years. Born in 1930 in Morgantown, W.V., he grew up in Kingwood where Bob’s family ran the Englehart Woolen Mill in Albright in the late 1800s through WWII.  He completed high school at Augusta Military Academy, Fort Defiance, Va., and earned an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Bob failed out his freshman year but then earned the coveted “five year man” distinction, graduating in 1953, Checkpoints · December · 101

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN commissioning as a second lieutenant in the USAF so he could fly jets. On completion of F-86 training at Nellis AFB, Nev., with Buzz Aldrin as his IP, he was selected by Gen. Robert Stillman as an Air Training Officer for the first class at the new Air Force Academy. Part of the initial cadre at Lowry AFB, Bob served in all three USAFA departments: Athletics, Commandant, and Faculty.  Bob was proud to have been the OIC for the first USAFA class to attend airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga.  Always “Lead by Example”, Bob jumped first!  Mentoring the Classes of 1959 and 1960, Bob served “Up Front” with his “Duty, Honor, Country” foundation given to him by West Point.  He set a standard that was difficult to match!  He did find time to marry Ellen Hardesty Englehart in 1958, a Western Airlines stewardess, whom he met while in Aurora, Colo.  Service would be their life. Major Englehart flew the RF-101 in Vietnam (1967-1968) earning multiple Distinguished Flying Crosses and Air Medals.  His last assignment was at Security Service Command, Kelly AFB, and he remained in San Antonio after retirement.  Major Englehart was proud to say he had a security clearance status equal to the president of the United States and that he had photographed Mig-21s lined up at Kep Airfield, North Vietnam, while flying North to South!  He was a Mach buster indeed! Passionate about education, Bob obtained two master’s degrees, and had an extensive home library covering military history.  He counseled many young students on the benefits of a military career and helped sponsor future cadets.  “Man’s flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge,” and Bob Englehart believed that.  He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ellen; son Robert and his wife, Edith Englehart; daughter Karen Pizano; and granddaughters Kristin (Cody) Johnson, Alyssa (John) Baumann and Eden Pizano; and great-granddaughter Finley Johnson. A memorial service and visitation were held in San Antonio, Texas, with interment at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Sept. 25, 2017.  (Robert S. Englehart, Lt Col, USAF Retired, USAFA 1983)

First Vice Commandant, Ben Cassiday, Jr., Dies in Hawaii at 95 Benjamin Buckles Cassiday, Jr., 95, passed away peacefully at his home in Niu Valley, Hawaii, on Sept. 21, 2017. Ben was born in Honolulu on July 25, 1922, the son of Col. Benjamin Buckles Cassiday and Harriet Lucas Cassiday. Ben received his early schooling at Punahou, Hawaii, and graduated from Culver Military Academy, Ind., in 1940 as regimental commander. He went on to West Point, graduating in 1943, where he earned his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant. Ben and his former wife, Barbara Dennison from Honolulu, married in 1949, and had three beautiful children. Ben went on to have an honored military career in the United States Air Force. He was a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, including more than 290 combat hours. Highlights of his career included being a World War II fighter pilot in France and Italy, an exchange pilot with the U.S. Navy in 1950, the first vice commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1955, and commandant of Air Force ROTC in 1972. His decorations and awards included the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier’s Medal, Air Medal, two Navy Gold Stars, Presidential Unit Citation Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Navy Outstanding Service Medal, and the British Distinguished Flying Cross. He retired as a brigadier general in November 1972. Upon retirement, he returned to his beloved Hawaiian Islands. In 1983, Ben married Suzanne Baldwin from Honolulu. They traveled the world and doted on their families. Suzie died peacefully in March 2002. Ben was past chairman of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, past president of the Outrigger Canoe Club, past board member of the Pacific Air Museum, past board member of the War Hawk Museum, past trustee of the Falcon Foundation, honorary member of the American Fighter Aces Assoc., 102 ·

past member of the Rod & Gun Club and an active member of the Quiet Birdmen. Ben was not only known for his athleticism in the air as a fighter pilot, but also on the ground. He competed in the 1948 Olympic trials in the 400-meter hurdles, ran in the Penn Relays, and was an avid skier. Most important to Ben were his friends and family. He will be remembered for being a loyal, caring and generous friend. Ben was a true gentleman. He was the best father and grandfather any child could ask for. He spent all holidays, birthdays and free time traveling the country to be with his family. Whether it was cheering for his kids and grandkids on the field, skiing with them or teaching them their ABC’s, Ben was always there. Ben is survived by his daughter Carol Orr of Washington, D.C., and her husband, Steve; his grandchildren Stephen, Jr., Casey and CJ; his great grandchildren Benjamin and Grace; his step-daughters Christy Foytich and her husband, Dick; Nancy Arnott and her husband, Tom; and Gail Alger and her husband, Doug; his step-grandchildren Heather, Lauren, Megan, Alicia, Parker, Lani and Duncan; his five great step-grandchildren, Malia, Kalia, Harper, Kaitlyn and Eli; his brother Paul; his nephew, nieces and cousins; his former wife, Barbara; and many, many friends including Harriet Wedeman. Waiting for him in heaven and at the “pool” in Niu are his beloved sons Jimmy and Ben, III (“Trip”) and his wife Suzanne (“Suzie.”) A service was held on Nov. 2 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Character & Leadership Fund:, denoting i/m/o Gen. Ben Cassiday. (Written by Ben’s loving family)

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

At press time we learned of the deaths of the following graduates. Mr. Eric H. Vettergren, Jr., Class of 1961, who died on Dec. 16, 2016, in Kennewick, Wash. Col. (Ret) Roger J. Hegstrom, Class of 1963, who died on Oct. 19, 2017. Lt. Col. (Ret) Jon E. Medina, Class of 1963, who died on Oct. 5, 2017, in Rocklin, Calif. Mr. Robert L. Parlette, Class of 1963, who died on Sept. 26, 2017, in Wenatchee, Wash. Maj. (Ret) Wayne C. Spelius, Class of 1964, who died on Oct. 1, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Maj. (Ret) Maurice E. Underwood, Class of 1964, who died on Aug. 23, 2017, in Alamogordo, N.M. Lt. Col. (Ret) Larry K. Ratliff, Class of 1967, who died on Oct. 10, 2017, in Farmersville, Texas. Lt. Col. (Ret) Raymond K. Watts, Class of 1967, who died on Jan. 5, 2017. Mr. William W. Rowell, Class of 1968, who died on Oct. 12, 2017, in Waco, Texas. Mr. Harrold K. "H" Ownby, Class of 1969, who died on Sept. 19, 2017, in Plano, Texas. Lt. Col. (Ret) Russell A. Northrop, Class of 1970, who died on Sept. 25, 2017, in Durham, N.H. Lt. Col. (Ret) John R. Bugner, Class of 1971, who died on Oct. 10, 2017, in Bellville, Ill. Mr. Dennis V. Greene, Class of 1972, who died on July 13, 2017. Col. (Ret) Mark P. Meyer, Class of 1972, who died on Oct. 22, 2017, in Evergreen, Colo. Mr. Raymond I. Rucker, Class of 1972, who died on Feb. 15, 2016. Maj. (Ret) Bradley W. Mandeville, Class of 1975, who died on Oct. 9, 2017, in Belfair, Wash. Mr. Gary P. Wetterau, Class of 1977, who died on Sept. 15, 2015, in New Jersey. Capt. (Ret) Thomas L. Claypool, Class of 1980, who died on Oct. 9, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Maj. (Ret) William C. Brown, Class of 1985, who died on Oct. 2, 2017, in Charleston, S.C. Lt. Col. (Ret) Daniel J. Hoadley, Class of 1986, who died on Aug. 20, 2017, in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kreg A. Palko, Class of 1988, who died on Oct. 6, 2017, in Barrington, R.I. Maj. Michael A. Mosley, Class of 1998, who died on Sept. 18, 2017, in Ojai, Calif.

Our sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of these graduates.

CLASS NEWS Once again, the Morgans planned a weekend extravaganza for ’59ers in Annapolis before the Air Force - Navy football game. This included a fun-filled party at their home on Friday night, an elaborate tailgate before the game and a dinner at the Naval Academy Officer's Club afterwards. The only item they failed to provide was four more points for the Falcons to win the very exciting game. In attendance at the various events were: Jan and Joe Morgan with many family members, Arohanui and Mike Bender, Greg Boyington and June, Jim Connally and Elizabeth, Jo and Joe DeSantis, Vera and Dick Goetze, Bonnie and Wayne Jefferson, Ann and HT Johnson, Ron Lanman and son, Don Livingston, Bobbie and Charlie May, Trix and Max Miller, Fredda and Kent Montavon, Trude and Dennis See and Claire and Brock Strom with family members.


From left are Charlie May, Don Livingston, Ron Lanman and Joe DeSantis at the Navy tailgate. A sign of the times was that four of our classmates were forced to cancel their plans to attend due to family medical issues. Joe Morgan says that this is the last time they will be able to plan and execute this event, but we have not yet voted to determine if we will let them off the hook. Many thanks to the Morgans for the truly first-class functions provided to us for many years. The USAFA Homecoming weekend was held in September. As a part of the activities, a memorial service was held during which each squadron reports the graduates who died in the previous year as “absent.” Eugenia Penn and Judy Josephson were here for this ceremony to honor RL and Ed. The night before, Cullen and Larry Fortner graciously hosted a dinner at their home on the hill. Others present from out of town were: Zita and Brad Hosmer, HT Johnson, Don Livings-

ton and the honorees, Eugenia and Judy. Also in attendance were the usual suspects from the local area: TI Anderson, Roxann and Bob Browning, Avis and Curt Cook, Linda Ferrari, Kennetha Gaebler, Trix and Max Miller, Ed Montgomery and June and ATO Gus Freyer. All were pleased to enjoy the company of the Fortner’s granddaughter, Madeline, who provided a wonderful smile and a modicum of youth to the group as well as seeing that everyone had drinks and food. Since this was Brock Strom’s 83rd birthday, we called him in Annapolis to sing “Happy Birthday.” Thanks to the Fortner’s for their generous hospitality and a great view of Colorado Springs. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) (Scribe’s humble thanks to Members Max Miller for submitting the 85% above two activities!) Roger Counts reports on the Sept. 27 - 30 reunion of F-105 Vietnam-era combat fighter pilots that was held in Lexington, KY, home of the Kentucky Horse Park. There Sabre Society Donors were more than 160 attendees, 23 including spouses, and war stories were being repeated profusely. (Where they could still be remembered!) The USAFA Class of ‘59 was represented by David Groark and Roger Counts and their wives. It was agreed ahead of time that, due to the advanced age of the attendees, there would be no “Dead-Bug” calls tolerated. I suppose they didn’t want to hear any “Thuds.” As a follow-up on General Cassiday, his funeral will be over when this goes to press. To anyone interested, Ben gave an interview in October of 2014 about his life. Bob Blake, Jim Brown or I can pass the URL for the interview if anyone would like to watch it. Paul Lasen reports that his Thunderbird pilot, Eric Gonsalves, whose F-16 flipped after landing at Wright-Pat AFB, is on the road to recovery from two broken legs and shrapnel injuries. He had four surgeries in the first few days after the accident. Also, Paul flew his (ex) Bonanza four and one-half hours to Alliance, NE, for the total eclipse of the sun – a two and one-half minute event! He took a great picture; look for it in a different place in Checkpoints. On the health front – we have seen the passing of Brenda, Fred Wynn’s wife, and John Englehart,

'59er gathering during Homecoming at the Fortners.

ATO (USMA 1953). Our thoughts are with their families. Also, Louise, Mel Pollard’s wife, has been placed into hospice care and Bill Toney reports that his wife, Betty, is doing well after receiving a heart assist pump in Mayo, Phoenix. For contact information, email Jim Brown or Max Miller. ’59ers are still traveling. Judy and Andy Richers have just returned from an enjoyable month in Europe. Ed and Pat Lankenau sent greetings from Dunkirk as they head to the WWI battlefields. Don and Jin Hee Brooks have been to South Korea, France and Italy. Please don’t forget to share your experiences with Don or we shall next read, “How I founded the Short Blue Line,” by Don Brooks. On a personal note, we had to postpone our Silk Road trip for a year due to my hip replacement. (All is coming along nicely; thanks for your many notes). Our “Iron man,” Mike Bender, is traveling the hard way and driving his doctors to distraction. Against their wishes he completed a 103-mile bike trip on a tandem bike to Loveland, CO. 100 degrees, over 5,000 feet elevation and many hills make for a tough ride. It is an annual ride to raise funds to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Their son, Matthew, a physician at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, VA, was stricken with it at age 17. Arohanui also rode the trip, her first 100+ mile ride! Matthew flew all night to surprise them at the finish line. A very emotional finish with Matthew plus the other 400 riders knowing of Mike’s condition! On Monday after the ride, Max Miller, Curt and Avis Cook, Ed Montgomery and Art Elser met Mike in Castle Rock to have lunch and celebrate.

His friend, Dick, also a Type 1 diabetic, and Mike riding as “stoker;” think GIB. First hurricanes in a while visited in 2017. The Carrs were on the “weak” side of Irma and had no damage, Jim Reed is still moving a large number of downed trees from his area but his home was OK despite being on the “strong” side. Tom Stack had nearby water rise into his back yard in Savannah due to storm surge. Jim Reed has offered to make pens from leftover stock (about $40) and a plaque like the one we gave to Ben Cassiday with all our names and an insert containing the names of all honorary grads (about $225). Please let him know your desires on the ’59 Facebook page (1st choice) or at and he will bring your order to the 59th reunion. Don’t forget our 59th reunion at the AF Museum in Dayton. Make your hotel reservations now! As an aside, please note my new cell phone number below. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 103

CLASS NEWS Thought for the quarter: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts”. – Bertrand Russell –Dick Carr, 3612 San Sebastian Court, Punta Gorda, FL 33950; H: (941) 637-8272; Cell: (941) 763-9235;; FB: USAFA Class of 1959.


By now, all classmates should know that Brig. Gen. Ben Cassiday took his final flight on Sept. 21 from his home in Hawaii, yet his spirit remains with us forever. (See his obituary at the end of Gone But Not Forgotten.) Deep down, he was a father figure to us all -- he represented the best the Air Force had to offer. Speaking for the Class, Andi Biancur said: “Ben was -- and remains -- a role model for most of the early graduates of the Academy. Throughout our cadetship, active careers, and present life we found in him the personal goals we strove to achieve. He will be missed, but always remembered, as the man we most wished to emulate.”

This grainy picture from our sophomore European trip captures Ben’s relationship with our class. You may recognize many of the faces. The class website has our best guess as to who they might be. In late September, Ben Furuta sent an open letter to our class and the Academy applauding the vigorous response of Superintendent Lt. Gen. Silvera to the racial slurs on dormitory message boards at the prep school. Ben was most likely the first member of a minority group in the cadet wing, and he tells us that “I never personally experienced any sort of racism either at the Academy or while on active duty, and it severely disappoints me that such events are happening today at USAFA... There is no question in my mind that the Academy needs to actively foster a climate and belief system that ensures that all graduates of the Academy experience the same kind of acceptance that I and other members of my class had.” (See website: Racism at USAFA.) It appears that our class collectively dodged a bullet when the late summer spate of water, wind and fire disasters failed to cause any significant harm to our classmates across the country. In Florida, most of our classmates decided to ride out Hurricane Irma where they lived. Rosie Cler and Karen had no damage or power outages at their home in Sarasota and were quickly able to continue their work with Meals on Wheels. Bob Weinaug’s home near Daytona was above the 104 ·

water level and suffered no serious problems. Jerry Daley rode the storm out in Wisconsin and luckily sustained relatively minor damage to his place in Bonita Springs. Dale Mayo takes hurricanes seriously, so he and Idee decamped to New York while their home easily rode out the storm. They were not so lucky the last time they fled to New York where they ran head-on into Hurricane Sandy. The Gurleys also sheltered in place, secure in the knowledge that their Vero Beach condo has its own buil-in hurricane defenses and sanctuary. Clark Walker and Shirley got out early and steadily made their way to Tennessee and North Carolina and suffered minimum damage to their Members home in The Villages. Jerry Far89% quhar’s address is Okeechobee, FL and one would expect him to have been in a heap of trouble, but Jerry lives on a hummock 65’ above the lake and sustained no significant damage. Jerry also tells us that Sabre Society Donors his boat, Matecumber, is now ready to take on passengers, 13 especially classmates, either from its mooring in Pompano, FL, or in conjunction with Jerry’s next trip to Nassau. Just call him. At the farthest extreme, Jerry and Hildburg Stack rode out the storm in a beer hall in Munich, Germany! This trip followed a previous 36-day South American cruise during which they spent the final week cruising the Antarctic Sound, which gave them a strong, lasting memory of Antarctica’s topography and wildlife.

In Texas, as far as can be determined, Harvey did not impact any of our classmates living there. George Elsea and Evelyn live in Lampasas, just north of San Antonio. George’s problem, along with other classmates north and west of the Houston delta, is lack of water. The storms that stalled over Houston sucked up all the moisture that normally would have moved on into the state and everything is various shades of brown. Les Hobgood, living in San Antonio, had no issues with Hugo -- but earlier in the year his house got clobbered by a tornado, causing $40K in damage. Fortunately, his two Corvettes survived. In Kansas City, Bill Kornitzer dodged the weather, but collectively he and Linda encountered a storm of medical issues last fall and winter: Linda,

rotary cuff repair; Bill, back surgery; Linda, retina repair; Bill, aneurysm and blocked artery. They are now out of the woods and looking forward to a Rhine cruise this October. Bill’s brother-in-law, Mike Loh, wrote a commentary article in the July 31, 2017 issue of Defense News entitled “Defense acquisition: Focus on the requirement document, not the process” in which he argued for restoration of the operational requirements document (ORD) to its previous primacy in the defense acquisition process, “making the ORD the foundation document and driving force in acquisition programs.” Mike’s suggestion is well in line with former AF Secretary James’ concept of the future of acquisitions: “fast, competitiveand affordable.” The one bullet we cannot dodge is the obvious fact that we are all pushing 80; so, I asked two of our medical docs in the class for advice from here on out. Dave Reed: “Be grateful for our USAFA and USAF experiences and look forward to the next 20 years in a health-preserving mellow frame of mind.” Wayne Kendall: “I have no medical advice other than to avoid falls (leave ladders to others and get night lights for the bedroom and bath), and to not convince yourself that your chest symptoms are only severe indigestion. Since we are tying up the bows on our life stories, share them with family, friends and classmates. Finally, each day recognize the miracle of life.” One of the major events that affected almost all of us this fall was the Ken Burns series on the Vietnam War. Watching the infantry struggle through rice paddies and thick jungles to initiate fire fights with North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong guerrillas reminded me how different the war was for those of us who flew combat missions from the comfort of usually secure bases, with clean sheets, hooch bars and “carrier landings” -- except, perhaps, for the FACs and ALOs and others working hand and glove with the ground forces. We encountered danger, of course, and lost many mates to accident, enemy fire or capture, yet we enjoyed a rather unique, albeit fatalistic, lifestyle. However, I did not really grasp how much our families suffered every day, waiting in fear that a blue AF sedan might pull up in front of their door... Conversations with the Class of '60 wives at Les Query’s roasting, convinced me that that the greater courage may have been found in the brave women and children who watched with bated breath for the mailman and that letter from dad. Sadly, one of those wives was Hope Schwank, who passed away 16 Sept 2017. Hope was a gifted artist who will be remembered by the COS crowd for her welcoming personality and famous “elf” parties. Votes are in: See you at the 60-year reunion. –Ken Alnwick, 2403 Arrow Park Drive, Alexandria, VA 22306; (703) 768-8280;; Class Website :

Erik Vettergren left our midst on 16 Dec 2016, in Kennewick, WA, (where his son’s family resides) following a brief illness. After graduating, Erik had several close calls while flying AC-47s in Vietnam. Later he flew for American Airlines for 33 years, retiring in 1999. Erik’s “Darn near perfect” response when asked, “How are you today?” was infectious. He lived in his hometown of Ludington, MI, and wintered in Fort Myers, FL. Erik was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Mark Anderson’s newest endeavor is tutoring a 4th grade boy in an after-school program. It’s very gratifying, but he had to “brush-up” on math — they teach it differently now!   Bob Best said that his “new” orthopedic surgeon said that he must have a total revision of the knee that was replaced in 2014.  Bob has suffered the entire time since that operation.  Turns out that the prosthesis was faulty from the start. Stu Boyd, with some help Members from Mark Anderson, was able 90% to establish a partnership between Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and USAFA’s Center for Character and Leadership Development to develop a new character development program for CAP.  This will replace an outdated Sabre Society Donors program that does not encompass today’s teaching meth12 odologies as well as address today’s ethical challenges.  As a CAP chaplain, Stu will be working with a team from CAP’s National Headquarters to field this new effort.  Pat and Marilyn Buckley were in England to help Marilyn’s 97-year-old mother recover from a fall, get through weeks of hospital adventures and transition into a quality care home.  The good news is she has recovered her health and her house sold at a price that will guarantee her care home costs for life.  They had no damage from the hurricanes, and they continued working with Gene Davis on preparations for our 3 – 6 November ’61 Space Coast Reunion event.  Gene Davis said that he and Judy are very proud of their grandson, who recently became an Army Ranger. Anne Eller is continuing to progress well on the two-chemo maintenance for her multiple myeloma. She and Tom continue monthly trips to Denver and other trips to Colorado Springs for appointments and treatments. For Tom’s 80th birthday, Anne arranged for all of their family (save one) to come to Colorado Springs for a celebration. Barrett, their grandson USAF Osprey pilot stationed in the UK, could not come. Richard “Dick” Fairlamb said that the Order of Daedalians, Flight #23/DFW put six young men through ground and flying training to initial solo the summer of 2017.  They finished up with a recognition night at their September dinner meet-


ing.  This training encouraged all six to become rated military aviators.   Richard runs the program for 23rd Flight/DFW. On another topic, if anybody else is having “issues” trying to figure out the best way to age gracefully -- where and how -- he sure would love to discuss it with you!   As usual, Bill and Theda Foster hosted a great party in their home after the Air Force/Navy football game. Those attending included Jerry and Sue Lefton, Charley Dixon, Gene and Judy Davis, John Kohout, Hector and Joan Negroni, Lowell Jones, John Sullivan, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse and Jack and Diane McDonough. Dean and Wayne Jones enjoyed their 16-day cruise from Amsterdam to Rome on Holland America’s new Koningsdam ship (17 September to 3 October, “The Iberian Experience”).  They visited the Netherlands, England, Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain (including Mallorca), Corsica and Italy.   It was a super trip, with good weather, wonderful excursions, and great food and entertainment, not to mention the wines.  On 18 September, they talked the ship’s dining room into celebrating the Air Force’s 70th birthday with a cake and song for them.  Going to Lisbon and Gibraltar were bucket list items, but it was all fabulous.  Lowell Jones said that Class of '61 classmates and wives John and Joan Kohout, Bill and Theda Foster, Pat and Marilyn Buckley, Spike and Becky Nunn, Jack McDonough, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, and John Sullivan attended Sandy’s service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery and the reception afterwards at the Ft. Myer Officers’ Club on Sept. 14, 2017.  Terry Jorris visited his daughter, Teresa, and her husband, Grant, in Casper, WY, for several days over the period of the total eclipse of 21 August. Teresa is a mechanical engineer in a power plant there, and Grant is a logistician with the same company. Casper’s population of 55,000 grew to about three times that size for a few days because it was in the path of the total eclipse. They blocked off several downtown streets for a well-attended festival. The eclipse was quite an experience. Maybe Bob Best and he can catch the next one in Arkansas in 2024. Jerry Mason returned to Ann Arbor to visit his youngest son Jeff and family. They enjoyed the USAFA/Michigan football game in the Big House. The next day was spent at the Michigan Renaissance Faire, where the kids had fun throwing spears and knives, shooting crossbows, fencing, and watching the jousts. Jeff, a graduate of the UM Executive MBA program, had recently followed his entrepreneur brothers by launching a new and wildly suc(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

cessful business ( catering to international insurance carriers.  John and Sherry Moore had the pleasure of attending a reunion of some of the engineering officers they served with at Tyndall AFB in the early 1970s.  It has become an annual event, and this October they met in Charleston, SC, where they stuffed themselves on seaood, told war stories, and toured the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, including the carrier Yorktown.  Charlie and Lynda Neel enjoyed two weeks in Oahu and Maui before attending November’s minireunion on the Florida coast. Hector Negroni recently lost vision in his remaining “good” eye, leaving him able to discern only between it being light or dark. He said that Joan has been a huge help, and that he is not sure how he could have gotten along without her. They have sold their Virginia home and moved permanently to their Bonita Springs, FL, home. John Payne came across the following attempt at documenting some of the “fighter pilot” songs that we have enjoyed. We are not sure of its authenticity, but it WAS on the Internet! Either way, we think you will enjoy reading it at: https:// Tom and Judy Wilson tried their best to enjoy the fall colors of Minnesota, knowing what follows. They are making tentative plans for a possible getaway in February/March, but will see how things go between now and then.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, look for the Vikings to host the Super Bowl come February? Nelson and Teri O’Rear continue to enjoy Granger, IN. He played golf, usually twice a week, until the end of October when weather intervened. They often attend their local son’s tailgates before the Notre Dame football games but return home to watch the games in a more comfortable environment. The fall weather there made it quite pleasant. Thanks to all who shared this quarter. We would sure like to hear from you others, too. –Earl N. “Nelson” O’Rear, 50582 Stonington Drive, Granger, IN 46530-8243; (574) 273-2597; Email:


Hi Redtags, I still feel upbeat from the reunion. Don Shepperd summarizes the reunion succinctly. “A GREAT time was had by all. We owe our thanks to: the Macks, Larsons, Rokkes, Smiths, Gilmartins, Robinsons, McNaughtons, Blaisdells, Holts and Lyddanes, our famed RTB reunion committee. A great game (bummer loss, but exciting end); a terrific venue (USAFA press box); good hotel and food; enjoyable CCLD tour and Academy brief; Open House at Vandenberg Hall; hikes with the Ripper; moving memorial service by Tim Gilmartin; superb invocation by Bob Staib; epic dinner speech by Butch Viccellio; filling farewell breakfast. Memorial for Mike Major at the Checkpoints · December 2017 · 105

CLASS NEWS Golf Club and interment were well-attended and appreciated by the family; even a traditional Academy October snow storm; camaraderie abounded -- Onward and upward to the 60th! May we all still be standing – Shep” Thanks for that stirring summary, Shep. This from Tom Young: “I stand in awe at the way things went off. Many months of hard work went into making this event a well-planned and coordinated happening. My first-time class reunion has me wondering “Why so long?” EsMembers pecially encouraging was hav80% ing the honor of Jerry Singleton spending time to tell me his story. Jerry, you encouraged me beyond belief -- I’m still in awe of your spirit and your faith. Bill Browning, Vern Wood and I had a grand reunion of our time Sabre Society Donors together as Doolie summer roomies. Tom Rausch, your 14 hard work and determination as a fledgling gymnast gave me the encouragement and inspiration to be the best I could be. Tom” I think Tom’s thoughts sum up great feelings we all had at the reunion. The leadership, hard work and dedication of Jim and Penny Mack in putting together a great team to plan this event deserve ten times more than a “FAST, NEAT, AVERAGE, FRIENDLY, GOOD, GOOD. " And this from Jim D’Entrtemont: “Had a great time at the reunion. Much thanks to the team that made it all happen. A wonderful experience for all. Frenchy.”

Butch Viccellio, Charlie Hale and Rip Blaisdell pause at a great viewpoint during the Thursday morning hike. The weather was gorgeous during the reunion. Many took advantage of that to take some excursions and relive Doolie marches. Bob Staib added his thoughts about the successful reunion, “Great results required great people doing hard work. Thanks to all.” Don Shepperd emailed or called some Redtags who had not responded. His efforts helped to speed up their participation. Several others volunteered to help with the contact efforts. George Thompson was here from Russia on his annual summer break. He was able to stay here for an extended period to visit relatives and attend 106 ·

our reunion. He was going through some Russian administrative requirements to get back into their country. An interesting fact was that he doesn’t speak Russian fluently. Since his position is to teach the students to speak, read and write English, he speaks English almost all the time. This came from Deke Dinsmore, “To Jim and Penny Mack and all the reunion committee. Thank you for a fantastic reunion experience. I know there was much more activity on your part before, during and after the event than most of us realize."

From left are Bob and Christi Staib, Chuck Cheeseman, Deke Dinsmore, Jerry and Geri Singleton, Danny Donovan and Larry Gooch. On a sad note, we learned that Mike Major had recently passed away. After services in Reno, the family flew to USAFA for interment. Full military honors were rendered with Jerry Singleton performing the committal services on 10 October. Rest in peace, Mike. From Fred Fiedler: “I sure hated to miss this one—enjoy seeing the pics posted… have tests and doctor appointments this week. In any case felt terrible to cancel.  Hoping for better luck in five years." Hang in there, Fred. Our prayers are with you. From Bob Felts: “Great seeing all of you at the reunion! Everyone looks good considering our age. Wish I could have talked more with each of you, but seems we were all spread thin at times. If there’s a 60th and I’m still around, maybe I’ll be there; but then again, maybe not. So, until then, wishing all of you and your wives the best of health and life. Cheers, Bob.” This is a good place to give a “shoutout” to the Embassy Suites in Colorado Springs for hosting our reunion. They had excellent rooms, great meeting places and great food. Their staff provided superior service for our party functions and in their restaurant.

Enjoying themselves, standing from left, are Dave Whitman, Stan Patrie, Charlie Hale, and Bo Ohman. Seated are Jack Jamba and son Steve.

Ed Spicer sent a picture showing him holding his first newborn son with his wife. (No space for his picture. Sorry.) “Hi Jack. Here’s a photo taken in July 1968 at Seymour-Johnson AFB upon our immediate return from the USS Pueblo Mission at Kunsan AB, ROK. Since I was the only crew member in the 4th TFW to have a newborn during our six-month deployment, I was allowed to land first to greet my first-born son, Robert Morris Spicer, and wife, Judy.  I think #2 engine was still winding down when I hit the tarmac.  This photo made the front page of several national newspapers. I’m sorry I cannot make our reunion next month as I have prior unbreakable commitments.  I’m planning on the 60th as a priority. I hope you all are able to share many Vietnam stories in light of the current Ken Burns series.  What a time we had!! From the chatter online it sounds like the RTBs supported that conflict big time. Best wishes, Ed Spicer.” Thanks for the email Ed.

This photo shows Jim Mack presenting trophies to Tuck McAtee, Cliff Fallon, Bob Keighery and Jack Swonson at the golf tournament. They had to get up at Oh Dark Thirty to hit a defenseless little ball all over the terrain. Next is a copy of an exchange of emails before the reunion between Don Shepperd and Gail Peck. From Don: “Hey, Evil. I hope you and Carol are attending the 55th RTB reunion 4-8 October in C-Springs. We (your classmates) would like to see both of you and relive old times. I tell people I know this really rich, famous aviation author with a good-looking travel agent wife. The good news is we’ll all be able to watch the Navy game on a large TV in warmth from the USAFA press box. Really hope to see you and thanks again for your help with the Super Sabre Society reunion arrangements at Nellis -- a great success - Shep." Reply from ‘Evil’: “Shep. Thanks. We plan to come. Just haven’t gotten signed up yet. Complicated a bit by timing uncertainty due to a speaking invite at Eielson for the Aggressors 10th reunion there. That is on the 29th of September last I heard. Either way we plan to be there at AFA for our 55th. Glad SS came off so well. Happy to have helped a little and to have had some brief moments with you during Saber." Mike Butler wrote: “Don... great to hear from you. Unfortunately Dianne and I can’t make the 55th... I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and I’m uncomfortable being out in crowds... please give my regards to all the folks who make it back to C Springs... warmest regards and best wishes to you and Rose... Mike.” Don replied, “Mike -- sorry to hear all -- hope you are doing OK as they have made some great advances with Parkinson’s. Best to you and Diane -- hang in there. Shep and Rose."

Some of us were able to just stand around and talk, laugh and be sociable. Like this group.

Tom Rausch, Ann and Logan Babin, Don Shepperd, Ming Mangold and Otis Dinning. The group in the photo developed some solutions to some of the current crises with other countries, came up with a method to reduce the national deficit and lost weight while increasing their food intake. (If you believe that, I have an underground house in the Rocky Mountains I want to sell you.) And a reply from Tom Keaney: “Thanks for the note, Don, but we won’t be able to make it this time. Mary Beth has had a recurrence of cancer, is back on chemotherapy, and will be through at least September.  We’re sorry to miss this one; the first one we’ve missed in a long time. Please give our regards to all the Redtags and I hope we can make the next one. Our best regards to you and Rose. Tom” And a reply from Gary Baughman: “Thanks, Shep, for the personal invitation. We are going to have to pass this time. Jeannie is recovering from an operation from breast cancer found a couple of years ago. She is in a lot of pain and traveling is almost a thing of the past. She had a heart attack in June and has recovered nicely from that. Perhaps things will change by the 60th reunion. Care-giving is not one of my fortes, but it’s the ‘in sickness and in health’ vow in real time. The health part was really easy. Thank you for your kind compliments regarding my artistic abilities. I couldn’t hold one of Rembrandt’s brushes or grind his pigments. I would have been relegated to cleaning up paint dropped on the studio floor." Cheers, Gary.” And that about wraps it up. Once again, thank you to Jim and Penny Mack for chairing the event and to the rest of the committee that made the reunion such a great event. Based on the health and mobility of many of the Redtags, some of them think we should consider holding the 60th at a sealevel retirement community, a medical care facility or another suitable venue. Some classmates told me they would look into holding it at the Air Force Museum in Ohio. But then again, a Redtag reunion wouldn’t be the same without the USAFA campus nearby, Decisions, decisions, decisions. Caroline and I, and son Stephen and daughter Lisa, enjoyed the entire event. Looking forward to the next one. Keep the letters and photos and canes coming. Cheers, Jack.

–John W. “Jack” Jamba, 4 Judy Court, Satellite Beach, FL 32937; Home: (321) 777-5520; Office: (321) 861-6279; Cell: (321) 432-1370; Email:

The Association of Graduates recently learned of the death of three of our classmates: Mike Gibbons, CS-20; Bob Parlette, CS-21; and John Medina, CS-11. Michael F. “Gibber” Gibbons passed away on Aug. 15, 2017 in Dallas, TX, after a long illness. A service was held on 25 Sept 2017 at the USAFA Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Sharon: Mrs. Sharon Gibbons; 7824 El Pensador Dr.; Dallas, TX 75248-4312. Robert L. Parlette passed away on Sept. 26, 2017, in Wenatchee, WA, after battling acute myeloid leukemia. His family suggests that memorial donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Complete the Loop Coalition; P.O. Box 1192; Wenatchee, WA 98807 or to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance; 25 N Wenatchee Ave., Members Wenatchee, WA 98801; www. 83%  Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Linda: Mrs. Linda Parlette; 661 Wheeler Hill Rd. #15; Wenatchee, WA 98801-9703 Lt. Col. (Ret) Jon E. Medina Sabre Society Donors passed away on Oct. 4, 2017 25 in Rocklin, CA.  A graveside service was held Oct. 17 at the USAFA Cemetery.  His family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project; PO Box 758517; Topeka, KS 66675; (877) 448-3997;; or the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation; Gift Processing Administrator; 18251 Quantico Gateway Dr.; Triangle, VA 22172;  Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Renodia:  Mrs. Renodia Medina; 2520 Ruby Ct.; Rocklin, CA 95677-2226 Mini Reunion 23 Sep 2017: This year’s minireunion was well attended. In addition to our regular activities, two memorial services were conducted at the Academy Cemetery: one for Grant Bornzin on Friday and one for Mike Gibbons on Monday. The Friday night social was held at a new place; this time Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse


and Tavern just outside the North Gate. Bob Hayes reported more than 70 for dinner and about 90 for the tailgate buffet and cup turning ceremony on Saturday at the Eisenhower Golf Course. A number of the family members of our honorees were in attendance. We got started early with some arriving shortly after 11 a.m. to enjoy bloody Mary’s and mimosas. After the cup turning, the Mexican Buffet provided plenty of food to go around. The party began to wind down around 3:30 to allow those attending the game to make their way to the stadium. The game itself is another story. Jimmie Butler described the ceremony as very well done and as usual allowed us to learn many things about our departed classmates. Those whose cups we turned were Klem Kalberer, Barry Wetherington, Bill Keenan, Bill Hentges, Grant Bornzin and Mike Gibbons. I especially liked Jimmie’s comments and Mike Christy’s final toast. One of the things really worth attending minireunions for is the cup turning ceremonies which remind you once again of what an extraordinary group of young men came together on 26 June 1959 to become the USAF Academy Class of 1963. Truly a cherished brotherhood. The rain started slowly at game time but the sky was menacing. Midway through the first quarter, the winds and showers picked up, soon followed by thunderstorms. Cold winds and rain roared through the stadium. The game was stopped for an hour and a half and the stadium emptied due to lightning. By the time the game resumed almost everyone, including Linda and yours truly, were sitting in a warm place, watching it on television and enjoying a nice glass of wine and a good plate of pasta. A group picture was impossible. Jimmie did forward a large number of snapshots. Space limitations preclude including many photos, but they will be on the class website version of this article in December. At the Mike Gibbons memorial ceremony on Monday, Jimmie did find 14 classmates who stayed over to attend. His after-ceremony picture is included here. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) Ed Pickens wrote about his trip to Oslo and time spent with our classmate Joe Hans R. Wilson. Joe was last seen by his classmates of 15th Squadron at graduation, June 1963, when he went into the U.S. Army. Skip Lee and Dave Nuss found Joe via the Internet in Norway several years ago. I (Ed Pickens) told Skip at that time that if I got to Norway

From left are Bill Ball, Jerry Ahmann, Barry Bielinski, Bob Donovan, Mike Christy, Jim Kuhn, Pres Davis, Jimmie Butler, John Edwards, Bill Mitchell, John Haluska, Larry Hoffman, Drue DeBerry and Lucky Ekman. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 107

CLASS NEWS that I would try to meet up with Joe. On 24 July 2017, on our trip to Norway, Caroline and I arranged to meet Joe for lunch in Oslo.  Five hours later, we were still talking at the lunch table. Old friends, despite 54 years apart, melded back together quickly. After graduation, Joe went into the infantry; found the Love of His Life in 1965 on a visit back to Moss, Norway, where his grandmother lived; spent seven years in the infantry with a tour in Vietnam; in 1970 got the Army to pay for a master’s in social work; spent the next 12 years at Brooks Army Hospital in Social Services; and retired in 1983 as department head of Social Services at Brooks. Joe and Berit immediately moved back to Moss, Norway. It took Joe six months to learn how to read and write Norwegian, upon which he took a job in social services in Moss. Joe ultimately became head of the Moss department. After retiring from his job at Moss, Joe became a sculptor of small, whimsical figures and is now a regionallyknown sculptor in Norway. Our five-hour lunch with Joe was the highlight of my trip to Norway.

Joe Hans and Ed Randy Reynolds has a new book you can find on Amazon: Rouge Pilot and Other Stories About Aviators. The collection of stories is about individuals who have been connected with aviation and flying. Jim Hannam wrote about the AFA’s black tie celebration for the AF’s 70th birthday, Sept. 18, 2017, when the AFA presented Ron Fogelman with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron gave a superb acceptance speech at the event.  Jim was also honored at the same event as AFA Member of the Year! Congratulations to both Ron and Jim. I just have to show a picture sent by Dave Nuss from his home away from home in South Africa. If you can believe this: he has purchased an airplane (pictured) and is determined to not only fly the plane but also earn his pilot’s license! After all these years, there is one thing I know and admire about David: when he says he is going to do something, he does it!

David’s new ride. 108 ·

Latest news from the 55th Reunion Team; the chapel will be available for our cup turning ceremony! Expect to hear more in the spring. Don’t forget to update your profile with the AOG! Note to JJ: According to Linda, JJ Kennedy was right on: the Shrimp Paesano was the best. – Norman I. “Skip” Lee, 63119 E. Cat Claw Lane, Tucson, AZ 85739-2058; Home: (520) 825-7980; Cell: (520) 241-3498;; Class Web Site: Gone But Not Forgotten: It was a bad quarter for Blue Tags. The AOG sent out notices of the deaths of Dave Ammerman, Ed Underwood, and Wayne Spelius. Facebook Things: Denny Montgomery posted a picture on Facebook in August as he waited in the ER after a bike fall on the Ogden Parkway Bike Trail. Of course, the fall had nothing to do with reactions slowing down due to age. Denny claimed, “A sneaky tree root threw me. Diagnosis: cracked pelvis and probable concussion; 6-8 weeks with no weight bearing. Thank goodness the hip replacement was not damaged and a special thanks to my now cracked helmet for keeping my head in one piece.” Bill Skaer also posted on Facebook that his daughter, Malia Skaer Morales, was just featured in Working Mother magazine as one of the top wealth advisors in the country – this after making two Forbes lists already this year. Bill says, “With a 2-year-old son and a baby girl due in a few weeks, we couldn’t be more proud!” Old Crow News: Doug Jenkins does a great job of keeping the Colorado contingent up to date on all the news – and well fed, also. He wrote, “Thanks to those of you who were able to join us at the


Old Trolls: Jim Hermanson, Jim Johnson, Tom Morris, Doug Jenkins, Rod Wells and Claude Billings trading stories at the Viewhouse Centennial. (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

Viewhouse Centennial! We talked of many things, including grandchildren, trips taken, ailments endured, the upcoming Ken Burns Vietnam War documentary and early discussions on our 55th reunion. Meanwhile, as Chief Crow, he received the following news from Fred Malmstrom: “I’m apologizing for my long delay Members in maintaining contact with 80% Trolls and wannabes. After three weeks in the hospital, another six in the rehab center, I’ve finally been released to home convalescence and expect to be up and walking around like a real person in about a month. Sabre Society Donors For those unaware, I’ve had an ascending aorta replacement/ 40 patch job on a potentially serious aneurysm. Fortunately, I’m recovering toward normal, but my recovery has been both monotonously slow and boring. Most of all I want to thank all of you for your cards, visits and prayers. At long last, I finally have access to my laptop and the endurance to answer emails and other questions.” Mini-Reunion: Third Annual CS-15, Class of ‘64 Reunion, in Newberg, OR – Jerry Butler wrote that the very successful but somewhat small CS-15 mini-reunion took place in Oregon, and noted, “There’s no one else (from 15th) in this neck of the woods (kind of including me – I winter in Arizona), but us. Well, Flechsig is in Reno, but we haven’t been able to get him up here yet.”

From left, Jerry Butler, Hal Gunn and Dan Fink take over Newberg, Oregon, in what looks like a very raucous reunion! Iceland is for sunny vacations? Norma (Ray) Longo wrote that she and Ray “had a fabulous tour of 10 days with one of my favorite geologists, Wayne Ranney, through Smithsonian Journeys. Being in geology myself, that trip was just amazing. We met some great folks and enjoyed lots of waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon, the geology, more geology, gourmet meals, and so forth. And, yes, we did try the fermented shark -- followed, of course, by the Black Death (Brennivin, a type of schnapps). Aside from the taste of ammonia in the shark, well, a small chunk of it wasn’t unbearable. The entire tour was interesting, but to me, walking in the mid-Atlantic rift, even in the rain, was very neat. So much to see; we hope to go back again.”

After his lung problems from the gas attack increased, Lacey was sent from occupation duty in Germany to France for treatment. Records of his heroism never caught up with him. He arrived home in 1919 with no medals on his chest. The legacy of heroism stayed hidden until recently when some of Sergeant Lacey’s 92 descendants in the Pikes Peak region pulled the sergeant’s military records and found records of the medals he had never received.

Ray and Norma Longo sunning on the basalt columns in Reynisfjora, Iceland. Sgt. Lacy’s Silver Star: Our classmate, Nick Lacey, enabled the award of the Silver Star to his father for action 100 years ago, in WWI. Nick did some extraordinary work in researching the details resulting in the award and the Army rectified the century-old mistake. Army Secretary Eric Fanning signed paperwork awarding Lacey the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for wounds. There was a great write-up in the local Colorado Springs paper, The Gazette. The Army sent a colonel from the 1st Infantry Division to hand the medals to Lacey’s descendants at a Fort Carson ceremony packed with Lacey’s kin. Nick said, “We grew up with an American hero, but we did not recognize it at the time.” The medal recognizes the 222 days Lacey spent in combat and how he overcame injuries suffered in a gas attack to lead his rifle squad against German enemies. Lacey signed up shortly after America joined Britain and France in the war in 1917. He was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, America’s first division-sized unit and the first large American formation to deploy to war. He served with the 16th Infantry Regiment, an outfit that had fought in the Philippine insurrection and later battled Pancho Villa along the Mexican border. Though he was surrounded by veteran troops, leaders still saw something special in him, rapidly promoting him and putting him atop a squad of riflemen. The 16th’s arrival in France during the summer of 1917 was celebrated by beleaguered Parisians, who turned out in droves to cheer the regiment as it marched through the city on July 4. The regiment was in the trenches in the spring of 1918 when they repulsed a German offensive. On May 3, 1918, Lacey and the rest of his squad were hit with mustard gas shells. Nick Lacey said his father suffered lung injuries from inhaled gas that would haunt him for the rest of his life, but Sgt. Lacey refused medical attention and stayed in the fight until the end of the war. At one point in the battles that followed, Lacey wrote a letter home marveling at his survival in the hell World War I soldiers called “no-man’s land” where machine gun bullets and shrapnel mowed down men like a bloody harvesting machine. “All of my squad was wounded,” he wrote his sister. Officers marveled at Lacey’s determination to stay in the trenches despite his gas injuries and wrote him up for a medal he never received. Lacey was promoted to sergeant and fought on through the war’s end on Nov. 11, 1918. His division suffered 5,000 soldiers killed and another 17,000 injured.

me, his grandmother Pat (Colorado Woman’s College attendee), his father, Chris, and brother Luke. The Academy conducts an outstanding camp for a multitude of sports between graduation and the arrival of the basics. While Nolan was at camp (living in Vandenberg Hall and eating at Mitch’s), we spent one evening with my 17th Squadron roommate Errol Reiner ’65, his lovely wife, Donna, and their daughter Lori. Errol gave us a personal tour of the Air Defense Museum located on Peterson AFB."

–Bob Hovde, 206 Walker Ave., Huntsville, AL 35801; Home: (256) 532-3923; Mobile: (256) 3489794;


Al Sweeny and Doug McGrath attended the Moody AFB Change of Command ceremony on 10 July where Mike Short’s daughter, Jennifer, assumed command of the 23rd Wing the Flying Tigers. They also attended a BBQ get-together the night previous as well as the Monday morning ceremony.

Jini and Mike Short with Col. Jennifer M Short, her husband, Scott Evens, Brig. Gen. Chris Short ‘89 and his wife, Brooke. John and Brenda Blaha wanted to share a 50th wedding anniversary picture on a Disney cruise. Their kids and grandchildren joined them.

John and Brenda George Stetz reports, "During June our 14-yearold grandson, Nolan Stetz, attended the USAFA Baseball Camp for one week. It was a wonderful and beneficial experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in baseball and having a desire to learn about Academy life. Coach Kazlausky and his staff were great with the boys making it a positive learning endeavor. Nolan was accompanied on our trip from Paso Robles, CA, by

George, Coach Kaz, and Nolan From Tom Browder, "Scott Schafer and I were able to have lunch together, along with my brother Ed, while I was visiting Ed in June. Ed and Scott live fairly close together so we met at a local pizza joint (Lelo’s Pizza at Zion Crossroads, VA)." Scott Schafer adds: "Tom was a gracious host for lunch, and his brother is a fellow biker. I see no significant change in us. Same height differential, same smiles, and clothing hides the waistline but I’m sure we haven’t added an inch there!" On Oct. 7, 2017, the AOG dedicated a plaque in the SEA Pavilion at the Academy commemorating USAF graduates Members who were killed in SEA while 77% flying the F-4. There were two plaques, one describing the F-4 and its accomplishments during the war, and a second plaque listing graduates who died and their respective classes. Of the 52 graduates Sabre Society Donors who died flying the F-4 in SEA, 17 were from '65. As part of 29 the ceremony, representatives from each class read the names. Jim McGorry, Mike Manley and Frank McCann read the names of the ’65 grads. The following is a list of our ’65 classmates whose names were read: Stanley L. Adams, Tommy L. Callies, James A. Crew, Thomas C. Daffron, Robert D. Davenport, Harley B. Hackett, Peter D. Hesford, Earl P. Hopper, George R. Keller, Albin E. Lucki, Steven B. Melnick, James V. Newendorp, Paul D. Raymond, Lance P. Sijan, Victor A. Smith, Gray D. Warren and James W. Wood. It was an emotional ceremony and we appreciated the opportunity to represent our class. Joe Koenig was in Colorado for a couple of weeks in early September. While there, he had lunch with Dennis Valentine (9th Squadron-mate) Checkpoints · December 2017 · 109

CLASS NEWS He and Cindy had just moved from Castle Rock to Castle Pines. Fortunately (except when the bear gets into the bird feeder) the same wildlife visitors frequent their backyard, even if the new one is only five foot deep. Joe was able to spend five days backpacking the Continental Divide trail in the Collegiate Peaks area; and later climbed his first Fourteener, Mt. Sherman. He visited the Academy Cemetery and wasn’t aware three years ago that you can include a photo and personal remarks to go along with the burial location information. Word to the wise; check the info in your relative’s kiosk information. Jack Murphy reports that he and his wife Terry recently returned from a trip to Normandy that included three days in Bayeux, home of the Bayeux Tapestry and the town closest to the D-Day beaches. The tapestry, which records the story of William crossing the channel to engage and defeat Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is worth seeing. For me, however, the reason for the trip was D-Day. We spent a day touring sites that included Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, SteMere-Eglise, and the American Cemetery. Each site was memorable, from the impressive German defenses at Pointe du Hoc to “Bloody Omaha” where troops landed on a miles-wide beach and had to run 500 yards from the water to the shoreline to find protection from German machine guns. The day was an unforgettable experience, and if a visit to Normandy is still on your bucket list, you might consider a trip in May 2018 that the AOG is sponsoring. Or you can do what we did and rent a car in Paris for an easy drive to Bayeux. If anyone has questions about visiting Normandy, send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer them. Six of the Travelin’ Grey Tags (and their better halves) of Tranquil Twelve got together the first week in October for a cruise on the Regal Princess from New York City to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and back. With stops in Newport, RI; Boston, MA; Bar Harbor, ME; St John, New Brunswick and Halifax, a good time was had by all. We ate and drank well, saw some great sights, learned some new things, and remembered old times and old friends. The participants were Barry Blackman, Jack Ferguson, Tony Mras, Davy Bass, Steve Icardi and Al Grieshaber. We all resolved to get together again, hoping that more Tranquil Twelvers can join us. Tom Murawski writes, “After Bart Raspotnik and Joe LeMire lost their wives to illness a year ago, CS-5 decided not to wait until 2020 for our next reunion. Fully 16 of us -- grads, near-grad, wives, widows, and longtime squadron friends -- gathered for three marvelous October days in Santa Fe, NM. Formal tourist activities were limited to a tram ride around Santa Fe plus a full day in Los Alamos and nearby Bandelier National Monument. The rest of the time, everyone was free to explore a city whose Spanish history and adobe architecture give Santa Fe a special charm. We all met each day for breakfast at our hotel and for dinner at restaurants in this foodie’s paradise. We stayed in the heart of Santa Fe at the excellent Drury Plaza Hotel, which put us in easy walking distance of restaurants, shops, museums and 110 ·

galleries. The Drury’s deep discount covered sleeping rooms with walk-in showers, free generous breakfasts in a private room, and free happy hours that included enough appetizers to make a meal. All seven grads have retired from careers since their Air Force days: Larry McCracken (CA) from Boeing communications, Tom Murawski (CO) from writing seminars, Ted Olson (AZ) from FedEx flying, Bart Raspotnik (AZ) from flight simulators, Terry Schilling (FL) from satellite sales, Charlie Thomas (DC) from college teaching, and Whitey Thompson (OR) from high-school teaching. We’re looking for a city to hold our second-ever reunion next fall (Washington, D.C.?) and welcome any suggestions.”

As for the river cruises, in our last article, we mentioned that Al “Stretch” Strzemieczny, and his wife, Shirley, celebrated their 50th anniversary with a Viking Rhine River cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. That is the way to relax—you don’t have to cook, a guide tells you the stories, and you can enjoy the river without feeling obligated to fish in it. There wasn’t room in that article for Stretch’s picture, so here it is this time!

–Bill Roberts, 9870 E. Golden Currant Drive, Tucson, AZ 85748-7897; (520) 342-8002; scribe@;; https:// Greetings, Redtags! As I look through the class mail for the last few months, I can see that most of us appear to be enjoying the retired life—fishing trips, river cruises, and leisurely bike rides. Let’s start with the relaxing fishing trip that a group of our classmates (plus a few others) manage to take every year to Yellowstone Park. Rusty Gideon writes that they did it again this year—another great week of terrorizing the Yellowstone trout! He says that two or three of them (the guys—not the trout) cook each night, which has turned into a competition of sorts to see who can out-do the others with the menu, preparation and presentation. (Could you imagine guys from our class not being competitive?) Rusty says that the fishing is OK, but the food, drink and tall tales (both flying and fishing) are really outstanding. He says that now they can tell the same stories and jokes year after year and they always seem new. They are just having a little trouble remembering which ones start with “Once upon a time” and “No sh--, this really happened”. Dan Radke joined the group this year and he still maintains that the USAFA-CSU 69-0 extra point was not intentionally missed—and they all still believed him. The group has booked the lodge for next year and welcomes any like-minded fly fishers, cooks and tellers of tall tales to join them.


Stretch on the Rhine, strategically hidden behind some beautiful women—daughter-in-law Carolyn, wife, Shirley, and granddaughters Liah (14) and Zoe (16). For a leisurely bike ride, Jim Parsons and his wife, Celeste, just rode their tandem bicycle on a 1,700mile adventure from Eugene, OR, to San Diego, CA, and then on to Phoenix, AZ. (If you look at a map, it is mostly downhill…). Jim says that they left Eugene on 2 Sept and arrived in Phoenix on 5 Oct. (Yes, that’s more than a month on the road.) Although they used bike routes recomMembers mended by the Adventure 81% Cycling Association, they rode by themselves, instead of with a group from that organization. In southern Oregon, they had to ride through all of the smoke caused by the major fires in that area; and in California, they had Sabre Society Donors to take a lengthy detour around the Big Sur section of the Pacific 26 Coast Highway that was closed because of the landslides this spring. Now for the “leisurely” part of the trip—Jim says that instead of camping out each night, they stayed in motels and

The fearless Yellowstone fishermen: Tip Galer, Hans Mueh, Tom Brandon, Dick Borowski, Roger Carleton (’67), Rusty Gideon, John Marshall, Dan Radke, Marty Daack, Vic Andrews, Art Suro, Steve Amdor ('65) and Hugh Gommel.

B&Bs, and ate in restaurants instead of cooking meals on a campfire. Now there’s a trip to brag to your grandkids about!

Jim and Celeste Parsons at a rest stop during their bike ride down the West Coast. Some sad news to report on the death of two of our classmates. Don Shultis (15th Sq.) passed away on 22 Aug in Bumpass, VA; and Jim Hess (8th Sq.) passed away on 17 Sept in Fayetteville, AR. More details on these fallen comrades will be in the “Gone But Not Forgotten” section of Checkpoints and on the AOG website. That’s all the news for now. Keep those pictures and emails coming, and even send me a copy of this year’s Christmas card. Until next time… Happy Landings! –Ryan Denny, 1635 Mary Todd Lane, O’Fallon, IL 62269; Cell: (618) 670-2298; Wow. That seems to me to pretty much summarize our reunion. What a time. I suspect many of you share my thoughts, that it is hard to believe that it has been 54-plus years since we were warmly welcomed by the Academy band members who took us through the baby steps of our entry into BCT, had our heads shaved for that first time and were issued socks, jocks and everything we would need to survive and thrive that summer; then were handed over to the cuddly training detail of the Class of ’64, and were gently (ha ha ha) educated in the ways of USAFA: square corners on beds, blankets tucked tight enough to bounce coins, leather combat boots and shoes spit shined to mirror Members gloss, chins rammed back and 76% bellies sucked in; cardboard in the top layer of socks and underwear in our dressers, shower formations, sitting at attention and eating at right angles in Mitchell Hall, wearing untailored 1505s with shirt garters, Sabre Society Donors double-timing with M1s at high port, memorizing and regurgi23 tating the contents of our gold Contrails, spouting poop from the front leaning rest position, etc. Precious memories! Then, in four short years, having survived and thrived on the


meaningful lessons of those early days and oh so many more —we were the guys who were throwing our hats into the air at Falcon Stadium, and stepping out smartly into the Real Air Force. So in early October, we — well, many of us — came together again, to greet friends and comrades, some of whom returned to USAFA for the first time since graduation, to refresh and/or embellish memories, to catch up the evolution of the Academy and the cadets, to relive some of those fun times, and to pay our respects to fallen comrades. Some looked incredibly fit and healthy; for others, the years had been less kind. Many had a bit more forehead and scalp than in the past, a few had longer hair, one sported a braided pony tail and one acknowledged he had lopped his off just for the reunion. Some used mobility assistive devices, many used hearing aids, some were packing a few more pounds and inches, while Len Vernamonti wore his class shirt and it still fit well. Some looked quite like their grad pics on their name tags, others… not so much. The war memorial and chapel ceremonies touched us all and were a reunion high point. On game day, instead of sitting or standing in Falcon Stadium, in the ballroom of Arnold Hall we groaned through the first half and watched the Falcon comeback. (No doubt due to the classic cheers and exhortations of Flick Guerrina in his vintage cheerleader sweater.) Unfortunately, Navy was resurgent and the middies prevailed in the final seconds. Damn. The attendance prize goes to CS-07. Pete Milne’s note describes Seagram’s Seven’s activities: “All 19 remaining members of 7th Squadron attended the 50th Class Reunion… and all spouses except one were able to attend. Helen, the widow of Ron Rounce, joined us, and we also reconnected with Dave Deboe and Jim Durbin.  Beginning with the Wednesday cocktail party to the dinner dance with our four tables in a prime location, and with several of us staying for the last dance, the preparation and planning had everything unfolding perfectly.  The football game, followed by Al and Kathy Daines’ super dinner at their home, and Tom and Beth Griesser’s outstanding brunch on Sunday

All living members of CS 07: In the bottom row are Jerry Wenner, Tom Griesser, Bill Hall, Ken Sproul, Bruce McDonald and Al Daines. Row 2: Bill Gerber, Rick Rodriguez, Pat Badell, John Hollstein, Chris Dysart and George Frushour. Row 3: Pete Milne, Ven Hammonds, and Joe Holbrook. Row 4: Rick Bebee, Al Rowe, Len Vernamonti and Rick Weizenegger.

where we held our regular ceremony for those who have gone before us, completed our truly wonderful 50th reunion. We hope all of the squadrons had an equally wonderful 50th Reunion.”

CS-07 toasting the Gone But Not Forgotten. From Billy Lowe: “…the reunion was a great success. The tours were very well orchestrated although the final score of the game was a downer. The best part of the reunion festivities were the three get-togethers: GUTS party Thursday night, formal dance Friday night, and Blackjack gettogether Saturday night…  Of course the Muldrows were superb hosts Saturday night… the stories get better with age.  Being a naive member of C Flight, I wasn’t aware of all the stuff that went on on the other side of the quadrangle. "For those of you who didn’t make it this time, I hope you will consider coming to our next gettogether whether it will be in five years for the 55th or sooner as a squadron.”

Blackjack guys, with the overhead lights turned off “to reduce the head glare.” The Sexy Sixth gang relived some great times and retold some tales, all true.

CS-06 attendees: Smoky Greene, Lloyd Duncan, Les Jensen, Harvey Vance, Larry Wilson, Gary Fedel, Ted Legasey, and Glenn Howerton. Some of our class did not make the reunion due to serious health reasons. This just after the reunion from Bob Muldrow: “…Larry Ratliff passed away… It was a beautiful thing that he and his wife celebrated their 50th on a cruise.  Toward the end of the cruise, he developed some severe pain.  They went to the doctor where he learned he had stage-four pancreatic cancer.  The first batch of chemo almost killed him. So much so that they determined not to give him another dose and to place Checkpoints · December 2017 · 111

CLASS NEWS him in the hands of hospice… Michael Moore has been battling leukemia for a year or two.  They recently discovered that his brother was a perfect match… the word I heard was that his body was responding well to that treatment… things look very positive at this juncture.” Gary Green pulled out just a few weeks before the reunion due to some health issues. He had reached out to the 15 living members of the OSI Class 67-G training group and had done all the heavy lifting setting up a reunion of the USAFA grads who were members of that group. Gary arranged for a room for the OSI gathering, where current OSI agents stationed at the Academy and in the area were happy to share their OSI experiences and the organization’s current operations; and they were interested to hear from the old-timers what OSI life was like in the era of 67-G. An example that made the ’67 guys laugh: the current agents did not even know that in ’67 the OSI headquarters and training center were housed in Tempo E, a World War II wooden barracks-type building that had occupied the mall in WWII, and Tempo E was the last of those; for perspective, it was located about where the Air and Space Museum now sits. ’67 attendees/former OSI agents at the gathering included Em Monda, Rich McGill, Mike Leonard, Abner Haynes, Greg Harris, Bryan Donavan, Lex Page and Larry Wilson. A few more reunion vignettes: --Ray Leopold is a failure at retirement and now serves as an expert witness/consultant in multinational legal matters involving computers. --Like monarch butterflies, whooping cranes and migratory species, Lloyd Duncan is preparing to head south for the winter. --Barry LaForgia continues his very full-time work as CEO of International Relief Teams. --The pics from the very popular slide show presented at the dinner dance can be viewed at This is password protected and squadron reps have more info on the site Sincere thanks again to all members of the ’67 Reunion Committee and other contributors for all their hard work: the list includes reunion committee chair Roger Carleton, Paul Henry, Bob Muldrow, Patrick Finnegan, Tom Griesser, Jack Fry, Art Tait, Joe Burke, Gary Koldyke, Tom Harp, Art Leach, Chuck Heffron, Frank Chuba, Buddy Sams, Pete Knepell, Jeff Schofield, John Pletcher, Craig Hendrickson, Doc Halliday and Bill Geohegan. A couple of other inputs. From Doc Halliday: “I seem to be failing retirement as I still work some for the Rand Corp.  My sole project involves supporting OSD’s Defense Institution Building program.  Specifically, my project involves trying to assist the Kenyan Defense Forces in improving their logistics processes as they take the fight to Al Shabab in Somalia.  I’ve made two trips to Kenya this year and we have hosted Kenyan officers in the U.S. twice.  Photo shows Kenyans and U.S. team members at Ft. Lee, the Army’s primary logistics training location, last month.  That’s me holding the flag out for the photo op.  Oh yeah, after USAF retirement, I’ve been doing mostly Army work for the last quarter century.” 112 ·

Doc Halliday with Kenyan and U.S. team members. Beau Crosby weighed in on thr recent NFL issue: “…I am nauseated by the USAA ads supporting the NFL. I plan on writing snail mail, email, text and voice to protest my money being spent for the NFL to take a knee and disrespect the flag that covers the coffins of patriots.  Listen to God Bless America.  And if you feel strongly enough, and if you have coverage with USAA, think about lending your support to un-funding USAA’s support of the NFL.”  With that — my word and photo quotas have been expended. These are trying times. God bless the troops and their families, and God bless the United States of America!

ghanistan, commanded the 21st Space Operations Squadron, was vice commander of the 45th Space Wing, and was a National Security Fellow at the JFK School of Government at Harvard. I couldn’t be prouder of both of them!” To the Pavelko family: A spirited ’68 congratulations! ’68ER’S MINISTRY THRIVES IN ASIA: I received a great update from Geoff Members Gorsuch, who has undergone 74% some life-changing events in the last few years—to include the loss of his wife, Diane, and his personal battle with cancer. Based on his most recent letter, his faith is sustaining him and he has a positive outlook on Sabre Society the future. Among the positive Donors events this year were trips to 41 Malaysia and Myanmar, where he met with Christian delegates from more than eight nations, and news of his marriage to Teresa this summer after she lost her husband five years ago. To Geoff and Teresa: Congratulations on your marriage and best wishes for God’s blessings on your ministry in Asia.

–Larry Wilson, 13100 Pinehurst Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111; Home: (505) 291-8949;


HELLO ’68! Season’s greetings and best wishes for a joyous and healthy 2018! The countdown to our 50th reunion is down to a matter of months. It’s time to clear your dance cards and make your travel plans accordingly. Our 50th won’t be the same without you!

“Gathering of Eagles.” From left are colonels Jeff, Bob and Bob Pavelko. PROUD ’68ER PROMOTES SON TO COLONEL: Bob Pavelko traveled to USSOCOM HQ at MacDill AFB in August 2017 for the promotion of his son, Jeff, to colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. Bob writes, “Jeff is currently serving as the deputy director of Operations, Joint Collective Training, and is slated to become commodore of Training Wing 5 in Milton, FL."  He is a Cobra (AH-1W) helicopter pilot with four tours in Iraq and an Air War College graduate. “Bob, my oldest son, is a USAF colonel assigned to HQ Air Force Space Command as chief of the Space Operations Division. He served a tour in Af-

“Trolls Tee Off.” From left are Dick Ewers, Steve Marlier, Pat Hurley and Steve McPhail. ’68ERS DO “OCEAN COURSE” IN SOUTH CAROLINA: In a note from Dick Ewers, Dick writes, “Four 20th Squadron Troll classmates (Steve Marlier, Pat Hurley, Steve McPhail, and I) and our wives met for a week of fun on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, from 4-11 May. Some 70th birthdays were celebrated, a lot of wine and scotch were consumed and some questionable golf was played.

On our last day, we ponied up the bucks to play one of the best courses in America—the Pete Dyedesigned “Ocean Course,” which was the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and the 2012 PGA Championship. Of note, for this esteem group, we are still married to the same ladies we were each dating during our 1st Class year. It boggles my mind that they are still putting up with us after all these years. We had a great week together, enjoyed near perfect weather and relived some 50-year-old memories of days gone by. Semper Fi!” ’68ER ADDRESSES OPIOID EPIDEMIC: Our classmate, John Vandekamp, serves as contributing editorial reporter for the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD. In the 19 Sept 17 edition of the newspaper, his column titled, “On Opioids, Let’s Not Be Derelict in Our Duty,” John stated, “The opioid epidemic is pervasive. It’s killing our friends and our children, and we’ve got to stop it—parent and grandparent to child. We’ve got to defeat pushers and hackers!” To read the full column, go to: SABERS FOR 2018 LEGACY CLASS: Darrel Knudsen is initiating a class project to pass along sabers from our class to members of the Class of 2018. The concept is that we will get our sabers engraved with our name, our highest rank, and Class of 1968 on them. Darrel will serve as the class project coordinator and can engrave the sabers using Quelab’s, our maker space, laser cutter. If classmates are interested in donating their sabers, Darrel is requesting that these classmates provide a one-page biography of themselves to provide the graduate from 2018 with some history about his ’68 legacy officer. Darrel’s contact info: Cell: 505-6009082; E-mail:; P.O. Box 16778, Albuquerque, NM 87191. Darrel noted that new sabers are available at the USAFA Gift Shop for $355 in case someone wishes to participate but does not have his original sabre.

3rd Squadron roommates Jim Reese and Paul McKlendin met in Atlanta for dinner. Paul is now retired and Jim and Marcia Reese are headed to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, for Jim’s new job as director of Flight Operations for Somon Air. I had a mini-reunion in Honolulu in August with Mark Torreano, Don Motz, and Vic Bonfiglio while visiting my son at Fort Shafter. Ed Leonard, Bob Denny, Tom McCloy, Jack Hannig, Garry Dudley, Denny Chrismer, and Bruce Buono attended the C-7A Caribou Dedication Ceremony at the USAFA SEA Memorial Pavilion on 5 Oct 17. Of the 100 grads who flew the aircraft, 28 were from our class. I hosted a dinner at Chez Davidson on 5 Oct 17 prior to the Navy game and had a great time with guests Bob and Thuy Johnston, Brooke and Cathy Bailey, and Bob and Cathy Durham. THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: We are deeply saddened by the loss of two of our classmates— Wayne Petersen and Danny James. Lt. Col. Wayne Petersen, USAF (Ret) passed away on 10 July 2017 in Trophy Club, TX, after a battle with cancer. Wayne was a combat rescue pilot and staff officer. His civilian career was in the banking industry. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife: Mrs. Jean Petersen; 28 Meadowbrook Lane; Trophy Club, TX 76262-5636. Lt. Gen. Danny James, USAF (Ret), died on 1 August 2017 in Washington, D.C. He was our classmate during Doolie year and then went to the University of Arizona to complete his college education and receive his commission through Air Force ROTC. His last military assignment was director of the Air National Guard. Please remember his wife, Dana, and his son Daniel Steven in your prayers. THAT’S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep ’em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Photos for the Potpourri portion of my column may be found at our class website under Scribe’s Page. Ciao for now. Tim –Tim Davidson, 9712 Hidden Valley Road, Vienna, VA 22181-6094; Home: (703) 255-5313; Mobile: (703) 772-6052;; Class Website:


"A Distinguished Gentlemen Pose.” From left are J Ferron, Mike Morrison, Clark Gerhardt, Rhip Worrell and Mike “Tex” Burgamy. ’68ER MINI-REUNION IN COLORADO: Clark Gerhardt sent a photo and a short note about his mini-reunion in August 2017 with classmates at “Base Camp Worrell” in Silverthorne, CO. He said that J, Mike, Rhip, and Tex attacked the local links while Clark reached the summit of one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. All are doing well and are looking forward to our 50th. ’68 POTPOURI: With word count limitations on my column, here are some brief headlines of other class activities. Mike and Nancie Freeborn and grandson Drew attended a Sijan memorial dedication in Milwaukee in May 2017. My former

Can it really be another year coming to a close, with most, but not all of us (how about Guy Gardner, Steve Kirby, and maybe others, still holding fast at the magical 69!) in our 70s? May this find you with grand plans for the holidays and the Football Falcons positioned for an exciting bowl outing. On with some news. (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

Spent some time with Ron McCracken at the Texas micro-reunion, and learned that he is a modeler of singular accomplishment and renown in and around Austin and its Scale Modeler’s Society and beyond. Sparked by a kit of a Grumman F-4F he picked up at the C-Store after Christmas finals, Ron developed his skills and enjoyed an ongoing rivalry with Mark Scyocurka throughout our days at the Zoo. He still enters a handful of contests a year, winning some and losing some, and is much in demand as a contest judge. With multiple models of many aircraft, he has begun specializing in researching and replicating lesser-known U.S. military aircraft. Ron also works as a computer systems engineer at Home Depot, a natural follow-on to his former career jobs in software programming that took him from working on the Space Shuttle and Space Station Members projects to a globe-trotting stint 71% as a software troubleshooter. Another ’69er hardly through, and giving back in important ways. Salute. Youngsters Steve and Carla Kirby are continuing to win accolades (“Retail Product of Sabre Society Donors the Year” at the largest home 46 medical equipment trade show in the country) and expand the route to market to more than 500 stores nationwide. The TidyTop, designed originally to provide an elegant alternative to “bibs” that many of the elderly and temporarily incapacitated use while dining, offers a wide array of design choices. Steve, true to his Jack’s Valley roots, will soon be introducing a camouflage version! Not bad for three years in business. Congrats to Team Kirby. Charity golf tournaments are always big hits, and here are three of our biggest hitters at Flying Horse for Operation Homecoming, which raised some $21K for our returning veterans. Brian Nelson, Mike Goode and Tim Courington played with ’62 grad Bob McNaughton, came in at a handy 11 under, but failed to place. Good on them. Good time, good cause. And up at Pumpkin Ridge, the annual fundraising tournament Roy Coppinger initiated years ago is now netting over $100K for veteran assistance.

Bri, Mike and Tim at Flying Horse. Our biking brothers are still at it, and looking for more. You have read here the hardcore, multi-day Checkpoints · December 2017 · 113

CLASS NEWS exploits of Rick Olafson, Dennis Ryll, John Buckner, Jim Hansen and Jim Downey, and others. Many, like Jeff Stephenson and Blair Stephenson, ride grueling 150-mile benefit races for charity and to help combat crippling diseases like MS. In the spring of ’17, Jim (Hansen) rode the USA Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine, and is now organizing a cross-country charity bicycle tour along the same route, beginning in October 2018, that benefits “Train a Dog Save a Warrior” (TADSAW). The tour is recruiting 22 riders to symbolize the 22 daily suicides of military veterans, raise awareness of the problem, and raise funds to provide TADSAW service dogs for vets with PTSD and TBI. Jim would love to have some ’69ers among the 22 riders in support of this cause. See http:// One other Class “Stephenson,” Pastor Ken, has great news to celebrate. Most of you know of his long-term pioneering research on the Shroud of Turin while an original member of the team given access under the Shroud of Turin Research Project. Ken has published three treatises on the subject, but his latest account, titled Nazah: White Linen and the Blood of Sprinkling, due for release by Amazon in April 2018, is said to offer new perspectives of the shroud’s historical and spiritual meaning. Huge congrats to Ken for his perseverance and willingness to share the insights of his longtime research. Props, hand salute. In other outdoors athletics, a merry group of ’69 revelers rafted the mighty currents of Oregon’s Rogue River, one of the nation’s most scenic, as an alternative to the Middle Fork of the Salmon (easy winner of class vote for favorite wilderness river), which was overwhelmed with the abnormally heavy early season snowmelt. Pictured are some of the large cast of usual suspects (Randy Percy, John Buckner, Craig Collins, Brian Nelson, Steve Cherry and Randy Percy) celebrating the moment and each other.

Crack team demonstrating “Paddling’s Manual of Arms.” In Colorado, although the allure of USAFA’s prospective (but unrealized) victory over Navy was strong, the chance to honor USAFA grads who died flying the F-4 in SEA was stronger, and Flip Keck, Glenn Schlabs, Darrel Whitcomb, Mike Goode and Brian Nelson attended the dedication ceremony at Doolittle Hall in honor of those fallen warriors. In Los Angeles, Ed Weise sported his Greytag bathrobe to the L.A. AOG Chapter’s game day event. Tom Oliver says the bathrobe became the discussion center of gravity for the gathering, 114 ·

Holy Falcon feathers! It is 29 October—the day after the Falcons upset CSU at their brand new stadium. The boys were 12-point underdogs, but ran the option to perfection and won 45-28. The win gives us a shot at a bowl game if we can win two more games. I trust many of you remember when we went up to dedicate Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins and beat the Rams 31-0. I think it was the 1968 season. But what will live in infamy is the Great Ram Caper. Some men (wish I knew who) stole the CSU mascot and hauled it back to the Academy. As they tried to push it up the Staff Tower stairs, the ram slipped and broke its leg—it had to be put to sleep. So when we entered the stadium, not only were we baby killers, but mascot murderers as well. Ouch! As I recall, we all had to pay $10 to buy a new ram. The San Diego State game saw Falcon Stadium hit with cold, wind and the worst rain in my 50 plus years of going to games. While in the restroom seeking shelter, I ran into Spider Baxter relieving himself. Suffice it to say we were both suffering from extreme George Members Constanza shrinkage. We both 74% left, drenched, early in the second quarter. I see a lot of men at games—Mick Davey, John Watson, Dave Gaw, Jim Mulford, Bob McKinney, Mark Ewig, Roger Hill, George Rayl, John Gallegher, Cook Villareal Sabre Society Donors and Henry Mitchell to name a 50 few that I remember seeing. A few weeks ago, the Class of 1967 had its reunion. Mike Torreano, Gary Dahlen, Tooey Emery and I gave tours of the SEA Memorial Pavilion and Plaza of Heroes to the ’67 men and their families. Who would have thought that was going to happen more than 50 years ago?! I saw many of my tormentors. Time heals all wounds. Well—most wounds. Terry and Sharon Dessert met with Dusty and Rose Ann Swanson in Gulfport, MS. Good to see Dusty up and about. He has had three years of hell, and life for Rose Ann has been difficult due to her own health issues. We had several plaque dedications at the pavilion and plaza the last few months. The C-7 dedication saw Rod Horner, Tom Smith and BJ Spitzer in attendance. We also dedicated two F-4 plaques. General Fogleman ('63) gave great remarks. As you can tell, our class gifts -- the plaza and pavilion -are continuing to draw attention from other classes and visitors. In an effort to get more cadets to see their heritage, I continue to try and get copies of the SEA map and interactive screens in the cadet area. Now that we have a more visionary Supt, I am hoping for success. A chunk of this project has been paid for by one of our classmates, but donations to our class fund are still needed for this project and updating our website (70SEAPavilion.


Graytags forever! Ed and Tom in L.A. Last summer, Bill and Sharon Osthoff crossed off a bucket list item by visiting Sheboygan County’s (WI) four-star and eponymous Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake, said to be one of the nation’s 15 clearest bodies of water. Bill found the resort to far exceed his expectations—dining diversity, quaintness, pristine lake—and recommends it… unfortunately, they could not find a serious family connection, so he can’t get you the family discount. Both Bill and Sharon are retired and reside in Niceville on the Florida Panhandle, near Eglin AFB. Sadly, we note the recent passing of H Ownby—classmate, warrior, Raven and lawyer. Tom Solomon was able to shepherd a number of ’69ers to the Dallas farewell to our dear friend; Darrel Whitcomb and Phil DelVecchio shared reminiscences and eulogies. It seems there is seldom adequate opportunity to spend the time we’d love to spend with those with whom we share the closest of ties. No more apropos time than now to recite the lament which the Ravens took as their own: “I would have been a better friend, but I trusted to time.” RIP, H. USAFA 1969 humbly renders a tearful hand salute to you and shares its deepest condolences with Lisa and Clan Ownby.

Darrrel Whitcomb, Phil DelVecchio, Rick Grandjean, Blair Stephenson, Bill Haney, Ralph Paglia, Tom Solomon, Bob Payne and Craig Collins honor the memory of H Ownby. Meetings still progressing in regards to the 50th. We’ll have another phone conference at the end of November, and Glenn and Company will have additional information and preference solicitations in your hands, perhaps before you read this. Be well classmates and families. A happy, blessed holiday to you all, each and every one. Lindsey –Lindsey Parris, 616 King’s Cloister Circle, Alexandria, VA 22302; Home: (703) 836-3604;

org). I also need stories about your SEA experience and memories -- whether you served there or not.

Intrepid Seventy men who flew the C-7 in SEA. From left are Tom Smith, BJ Spitzer and Rod Horner. Dave Sterling sent me a very nice pin that honored the Air Force’s 70th Anniversary. There was big 70 on it—pretty neat! Lots of classmates and spouses attended the Navy game: Mick Davey, Wild Bill Stealey, Dave Sterling, Yogi Royce, Mick Rosenblatt, Angus McDonald, Tony DeSantis and Darryl Lundgren.

Seventy men and spouses are heartbroken at Navy loss. Falcon Hall of Fame cheerleaders Kevin Duffy, Chip Terrill and Greg Woodhead journeyed to Michigan to root on the Falcons. Saw the Gunyous visited wine country on the West Coast. Andrews and Spitzers enjoyed a Peruvian dinner in Ft. Myers. Tim Kinnan and Bill Bader teed it up in a charity golf tournament in Georgia. Greg Gilles abandoned me in the Member-Member Golf Tournament where we have cashed in many times. Seems he opted to play St. Andrews—go figure! Bob Welbaum did some amazing charity work in Kenya and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Bob and Diana Chambers visited Grenada and hooked up with Gary Bagliepter on their return. Larry Tieman continues working out for triathlons. Dahlens are completely remodeling their house. Torreanos are off to Arizona for most of the winter. The Three Amigos—Pete Peterson, Darrel Massey and Jerry McKee—trekked through New Mexico and Arizona. They sent me a picture in front of the World’s Largest Pistachio. Hope you see it elsewhere in this issue of Checkpoints. The boys slept under the stars and consumed lots of adult beverages—sort of like Jacks Valley. Emerys and Lamberts were playing tourist in Santa Fe. Just heard Ken and Patti Greene are moving back to DC for a great job for Patti. Terry Silvester was reported practicing survival

skills in New York while deer hunting. The deer are all safe, but Terry enjoyed some dandelion soup. George Crow and Lance Ammond hooked up in Ft. Walton Beach. Ron and Pam Kelley enjoyed a lunch at my brother’s restaurant in Seaside, FL. Mike and Caryn Kelly treated Marilyn and I to a great dinner on their visit to the Springs for the Army game. George Rayl’s son, a USNA grad, is the CAG for one of our carrier battle groups. He has set Roger Hill up for a ride on a carrier from Hawaii to the West Coast. Now that sounds like something George should do for me after I dragged him through BCT when we were roomies. Speaking of roomies, I got to see Charlie Huber at the 20th reunion of the Class of 1997. Mike Huber and I were roomies senior year and I had the great honor of commissioning Charlie. Both Mike and Charlie were CS-15 squadron commanders. Charlie was the outstanding squadron commander in the wing. Mike went on to pursue subversive activities linked to someone called The Phantom. On a sad note, we lost another good classmate. Russ Northrup recently passed away. He was one of the good guys. I was also saddened to learn of the passing of Nancy Woodhead. By all accounts she was a remarkable woman. George Keys, Chip Terrill, Rik Mann, Ken Greene, Angus MacDonald, Doug Norton, John Pomeroy, Dave Sterling, Kevin Duffy, Oker O’Connor and Ron Kelley attended a Celebration of Life for Nancy.


This column was going to go another direction, but life had other plans. John Bugner passed away in early October. He will be interred at the Academy Cemetery in the near future. John and Linda were just leaving Spangdahlem as I was coming in. Our family was able to move in to their house and spent some wonderful time there. Cas Casada updated us on the Legacy Class’s BCT acceptance ceremony: “This morning Dave Keith and I had the honor of representing our Class of ’71, as Legacy Class for 2021, at the first ever BCT completion coin ceremony, where the new class of basics were each presented with an Airman’s Coin. The military ceremony Members took place on the terrazzo in 59% front of the Class Crest Wall just below the chapel, as the new class completed its march in from Jacks Valley. We had front row VIP seats beside the senior staff at the Academy, and were introduced by name Sabre Society right after the Comm, Dean, Donors AD, etc. It was quite impressive 39 to be a part of a new tradition at USAFA.” Andrea’s high school class from Lakenheath American High School in England had their 50th graduation anniversary in Tulsa, OK, recently. Nobody really wants to go back there, so they meet wherever they wish. Bob and Dusty Bennett attended as well, so they and their schoolmates relived old memories and brought each other up to date on families and lives lived. The event organizers and the Hyatt staff combined to make this quite a special occasion.

CS-14 Men attend Celebration of Life for Nancy Woodhead. From left are Oker O’Connor, George Keys, Greg Woodhead and Rik Mann. Kudos to the class for once again coming in first in the Endowment’s class competition for giving. We gave the most and had the highest participation rate. Get on Facebook and join our class website and Gary Bagliepter’s Red Tag Roundtable. Great way to stay up to date with classmates. As the holidays approach, Marilyn and I want to wish you all the best for a great holiday season and healthy and happy New Year. We are blessed to have so many great friends as a result of being in the great Class of 1970. Thoughts and prayers for our troops. –Dick Rauschkolb, Cell: (719) 310-6928;

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CLASS NEWS –Paul D. Knott, 5565 Lantana Drive, Colorado springs, CO 80915; Home: (719) 570-9162; As I begin this column, a happy post-reunion hello goes out to all in the Class of ’72. My plan is to share notes and photos from our 45th Class Reunion along with other tidbits received since the last issue. Not having been able to attend with you, I really appreciate the help of “Mush” Brower, Harvey LeCato and several others who sent direct inputs as well as Facebook entries on our class website, “72 – Best In Blue.” By all accounts, a great time was had by all. More will follow on the event as I first go through the rest of the news in the order it was received. Our first email came from “Drew” Riolo showing him with 4th classman son Manny along with our Roger Nash at the USAFA Acceptance Day parade. Manny now embarks on the path to his 2021 graduation following the stellar example of dad, a mere 49 years later!

ships seem more important. (Missing from the photo is RK Schlaefer.)


“Bobbie” Bob Bennett and Dusty A wet and dreary day at the local VA center brightened up considerably when we ran into Tom Berry. He isn’t quite as “retired” as Jackie might have hoped. He had spent that morning back at the Center for Character and Leadership Development visiting with a member of the McDonnell family; their foundation made important contributions to the completion of the CCLD. Bob and Debra Peterman recently hosted a mini CS-11 reunion at their home in Haymarket, VA. Reb-Eleven attendees were John and Joyce Wahlquist, Eric and Melissa Howell, Art Simms and Rick and Joanie Sullivan.  Along with classmate Bruce and Jan Crimin (not pictured here) they toured Harpers Ferry, Blumont Vineyard, Arlington National Cemetery, the Capitol and the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian extension of the Air and Space Museum.  They extend a virtual “left handed” salute with their fellow “Reb-Eleven” classmates, just as they did at graduation!

RebEleven: Bob, John, Eric, Art and Rick. Deb Lackey (Mike) has extended herself as a sponsor for our Legacy Class. “I was out of town when the bed and breakfast was happening but I participated in the Doolie Day Out. I have 'adopted' two young ladies from the Class of 2021 and I am so excited. I met their families during Parents Weekend and they have been with me several Sundays this month. They are incredible and I love every minute I share with them.” Thank you for extending your home and time to our future leaders. The Falcons are not doing quite as well as we’d hoped. Winning against Michigan would have been nice, as would have been a victory over San Diego State. They dug themselves big holes against both New Mexico State and Navy. At least they led the Midshipmen in the fourth quarter, but lost in the last 15 seconds. As of this column’s submission, they’ve won two games in a row, with CSU and a chance to salvage the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by winning against Army. Now it’s time to see if they can take on the rest of the season and be consistently as good as they had been at times. GBA 116 ·

Drew Riolo, Manny Riolo and Roger Nash Dr. Allen Parmet writes to report on the recent retirement of Howard Balentine from ENSR Corporation on 1 August. He and wife, Debbie, then spent several weeks with Al and wife, Debra, in Kansas City, traveling around the region and seeing the sights, including the eclipse on 21August, hence the fancy eyewear in the photo. Al plans to retire from clinical practice at the end of the year, moving to France to join his cousin in Tours.

Al Parmet and Debra with Debbie and Howard Balentine. Next in the queue of emails is Jim Livingston sharing the news that he and eight other guys get together each year. Most are from 40th Squadron, some not having graduated, but all of them keeping in touch and getting together for about the last 20 years. Jim opines that it’s always been a great time as getting older highlights the fact that friend-

Scott Sturman, Jim Livingston, Dan Ripple, Don Rousseau, Joe Sullivan, Dan O’Donnell, Doug Goodman and Mark Kuno. Mere days before the start of the 45th reunion, Bob Brichta wrote in to say he would miss the event, but wanted to report on a recent “minireunion.” He retired from his dermatology practice in 2011 and lives in Richmond, VA. Also residing there is his roommate from CS-26, Dave Hindelang, who Bob sees regularly. Dave is battling Parkinson’s disease with the help of his wife, Tyann. It really is tough for them. Recently, Bob spent a week on Hilton Head, SC, and was joined by Clark Knutson and Merrell McIlwain. Clark retired Members from his pediatric practice in Plattsburgh, NY, at the begin58% ning of the year and now lives in Tullahoma, TN, with his wife, Marilyn. He came for the first part of the week. Merrell is an attorney who retired from the law years ago Sabre Society and has devoted himself to a Donors variety of pursuits. Currently, 37 he is involved with “Possibilities Africa” of which he is a founding member. It is a Christian ministry which provides training and loans to startup businesses in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. He lives in Charlotte, NC, when he is not travelling to Africa or crossing the country to raise donations for Possibilities Africa. He and his wife, Cheri, joined in for the end of the week. All had a great time – playing tennis, riding bikes, and catching up, not believing it has been 45 years since graduation – until they tried to get up in the morning! Bob “Rakman” Rakitis sent his regrets at missing the reunion via email, with a pretty reason to go along with his message. He tore a hip labrum (Rakman says Dan Skotte would know what that is) and he’s in pretty painful condition. He missed a step coming off a ladder, fell, and now it hurts a lot (more colorful words to that effect?). His surgery consult was the 18th, and as of the reunion weekend, shots were the order of the day with surgery down the road. Rak (and I as well) extend our best wishes especially to the guys from CS-24 with hopes that it was a great time for all. We (both) missed seeing you guys! Now I am pleased to relay the “after reunion” summary compiled by my intrepid (secret) source,

Harvey LeCato, who along with the usual list of illustrious suspects on the reunion committee, was instrumental in making things great for all of the nearly 200 classmates and another 100 guests in attendance. A whole lot of work had to go into an event of such dimensions and I salute each of the members of the committee who made it happen! The Great Wolf Lodge as a brand new venue, provided for ease of access to USAFA in a superb location – just across I-25 from Falcon Stadium. Starting with the traditional welcome reception on Thursday night, classmates were able to renew years-old (even decades-old) friendships. Friday morning featured golf at the Eisenhower course. A new event also was held that morning at brand new Polaris Hall which houses the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD). A special spell-binding presentation by “General Billy Mitchell,” aka “Skip” Morgan, was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The venue of Polaris Hall was spectacular. Following that was lunch at either Mitch’s or Doolittle Hall. In spite of some high winds, the paver ceremony honoring our 55 deceased classmates went off flawlessly followed by a tour of the adjacent Heritage Trail and the SEA Pavilion. Friday evening’s class dinner was superb, and not a single negative comment was voiced to any committee member. Actually, the whole weekend was wonderful, except for the football game -- and the (brutal) weather -- rain squalls, and somewhere around a 90-minute delay due to lightning. However, the AOG tailgate was excellent – great beer and excellent barbeque. In closing, Harvey “chastised” me and by extension all of the rest of us who missed out, saying YOU SHOULD’VE BEEN THERE! So that being said, let’s all start now by marking the calendar for 2022 and the BIG 50th, especially any of you who may have NEVER been back to see the good old alma mater. By missing just this one, I know that a lot of would-be memories are forever lost. Let’s not miss any more – God willing. Next comes the email from David Klein in which he confesses to having actually shown his face in a classroom after all these years. This occurred while Ken Engebretson and Marty Amelung accompanied him on a visit to the calculus class being taught by Dave’s own daughter, Lt. Col. Karin McWhorter, Class of ’98. Yes, it’s true, Dave

Ken Engebretson, Marty Amelung, Karin McWhorter and Dave Klein.

Klein’s daughter teaches math at USAFA, and now he’s said it! Adding that it would be shocking to any who know his academic history at USAFA, Dave is considering enrollment in several 12-step programs to deal with it. Seriously, the old guys had a great visit with Karin’s class and she didn’t even make them “take boards.” Dad claims she was a lot more gracious – and better looking – than any math professors he had as a student, and he obviously could not be prouder! After all the good news stories have been recorded, it comes to the sad time for this edition when I must report our latest friends who are “gone but not forgotten.” We were notified that Dennis V. Greene was lost to us on 13 July 17, mere months before the reunion gathering, sadly allowing his name to be included in the Class Paver Ceremony during the reunion. Nothing further regarding services for Dennis came with the notification. Very late notification of the passing of Raymond I. Rucker came just a week after the class reunion. Ray reportedly passed away on 15 Feb 06, just over 11 years ago, yet we did not know until now. Services at that time included his burial in Dayton National Cemetery, Dayton, OH. Only one month after attending his 45th reunion, classmate Mark P. Meyer passed away 22 Oct 17 in Evergreen, CO. A memorial service was held in Denver, CO, followed by a graveside service and inurnment at the USAFA Cemetery. May each of these dear friends of ours rest in peace, and may that peace extend to their families and all who knew them. Gentlemen, this completes your class news after a special gathering once again as friends and brothers-in-arms. Future editions will include any further items you send me. F.P.A. –Bob Bell, 13 Pacific Ave., Sinking Spring, PA 19608; Cell: (302) 399-3240; reservist777@


Greetings, Illustrious Class of 1973! Bruce Bennett, CS-11, retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency on 31 January, but it sounds like he’s keeping just as busy. He and Nancy moved to Chambersburg, PA, in August and celebrated their 44th anniversary with a cruise to Alaska. Then he and daughter Keri spent a week in October scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta and swam with the dolphins. He’ll be in Colorado for three weeks of skiing the end of November, attending the PSIA National Adaptive Academy with Keri, taking some training classes, and volunteering as a lead adaptive instructor for disabled athletes including wounded warriors. This will be his ninth Ski Spectacular. Good on ya, Bruce! Tim Long, CS-14, says not much is happening around town… now—he lives in Charlottesville, VA. He was on a long bike ride west of town on the day of the protest, and the whole hubbub caught him by surprise. He’s really into model trains, working

part time at a local hobby shop and installing and testing digital command controller decoders in customers’ older locomotives on his home layout. John and Suzy Wigington, CS-14, hosted Paul and Renae Guttman, CS-15, at their home in Crossville, TN, to view the eclipse on Aug. 21. They were near the centerline of the ground track and got 2 minutes and 20 seconds of totality.  John said it brought back memories of watching the moon landing during Doolie summer.  The day before the eclipse, John and Paul played a round of golf with Paul (Jane) Freund, CS-15.  John’s comment on the eclipse makes me wonder how many of us saw it from the totality zone. Please let me know if you did and if you traveled or were able to see it from home. Send stories. To celebrate Gene Cuomo’s 70th [!] birthday on 28 Aug, his wife, Kenna, threw him a party and invited a bunch of classmates. He says it was a great day all around. Gene’s the first classmate I’ve heard of who has hit 70. Anyone else?

From left are Joel Allen, CS-22; Bart Barton, CS23; Gene Cuomo, CS-22; Rich Eilers, CS-22; Dave Gessert, CS-12; and Rich Leeman, CS-26, celebrating Gene’s 70th birthday. Stalker Reed, CS-07, sent info about a number of guys from Seagram’s 7. The squadron has three guys still working in aviation jobs: Tom Grayson and Al Nacke are sim instructors at American and Delta, respectively; and Al Kinback is flying cargo in Beech 1900s throughout the U.S. Glen Johnston has completely recovered from his stroke early this year and has again opened his Pine Valley (USAFA) home for all classmates.  Speaking of Seagram’s 7, Members Joe Kahoe found out in late 53% September that he had Stage 2 cancer. He had a high grade/ fast-growing sarcoma in his left hamstring. The hamstring was removed intact with the softball-sized tumor on Wednesday, 18 Oct. Radiation Sabre Society Donors will follow some 5-6 weeks after surgery. Not sure about chemo 30 yet. Prognosis is good—he hopes to be “golf-ready” by spring. Keep praying! Chip Frazier, CS-02, is living in Bellevue, NE, just south of Offutt, but he’s not doing anything related to the Air Force.  After working almost 10 years for someone else, he started his own company, Railroad Safety Training Solutions, LLC, developing course materials for live and online safety training for railroad contractors and conducting live Checkpoints · December 2017 · 117

CLASS NEWS –Mike Arnett, 5285 Copper Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80918; (719) 310-8100;; Hello Classmates! Stories I like to pass on to the class are classmate reunions. At the 2014 class reunion in COS, Roy Lower and Russ Patterson talked about a 65th birthday party and reunion for CS-14 classmates. Roy started contacting classmates in the summer of 2016. (Roy had some difficulty with correct emails and phone numbers.) He was able to get a group out to Whidbey Island for the three-day event. Besides a tour of their home and island, they attended the Fly Day activities as VIPs at Paul Allen’s Flying History Museum. Paul has dozens of WWII aircraft in flying condition. World-class pilots fly them once a month. USAFA 1970 grad John Penny gave them a personal tour of all the aircraft flying that day, including the Hawker Hurricane (Penny flying that day), P-51D, de Haviland Mosquito, Bf-109E, Hurricane, Spitfire and the P-47D. They left their VIP seats after the air show and Roy and Ann relocated the party to their daughter’s lakeside home for a cookout. The story sounds like they all had a wonderful mini-reunion! (See photo at the top of the next page.) From left in the photo are Roy and Ann Lower, Linda and Colin Scheidt, Steven and Laurie Weiss, Candy and Russ Patterson, Pam and Lance Lane, Phil and Diane Irish, Jana and Roger Neddo and Marcia and Paul Rogers. Tom and Lisa Ruhsam with their son made it to the festivities, but were not able to make it into the photo. Roy thinks Russ and Candy travelled the farthest, from Florida. Others came from New Mexico, Colorado, California, Minnesota and other places in the Midwest. For history buffs, that’s the Fort Casey Lighthouse in the background. It sits on a high promontory overlooking Puget Sound. This is an August 2017 photo at Fort Casey, a WWI and WWI Coastal Artillery fort. Another picture to pass on comes in from Brad Lee. Presently, he lives in Reno now for about 14 years after Air Force. Ten years ago, Brad was in Cuba. Earlier this year, he was on a cultural exchange visit to Cuba, and wanted to see what


Frat Five Reunion: In the top row from left are Al Phillips, Mick Davis, Scott McLaughlin, Herb Huber, Roy Pence, Dave Thomas, George Kehias and Karlon Young. Bottom row: Pete Cooper, Jeff Knight, Monnie Gore, Robert Marsh and Greg Beyer. Not shown: Larry Faber. training in roadway worker protection and railroad bridge safety. Frat Five held their fifth “annual reunion” the weekend of the UNLV game (14 Oct 17) at Monnie and Theresa Gore’s home in Manitou Springs. Fourteen grads and 12 wives made it this year. Monnie says their “perseverance during the UNLV game brought the Zooms back for a second half rally and victory... we’re getting too old for games that close!” (See photo at the top of the page.) Eric Lenz, CS-36, reports he had a busy year. In addition to continuing to finish his log cabin on the Klamath River, he became a resident of Oregon with the purchase of a townhouse in Medford. To say he is busy with his local Klamath River Volunteer Fire Company is an understatement. Space prevents me from elaborating, so check out all he’s been doing at the class website. In September, Ernie Maravilla, CS-11/15, and wife, Kathy, took some time away from the Land of Enchantment to enjoy a two-week vacation touring the coastal areas of Oregon and Washington.  They were able to meet up with Dan O’Hollaren, CS-11, and wife Diane to savor a wonderful dinner while in Portland, OR. 

Ernie Maravilla and Dan O’Hollaren Bill Ritter, CS-17, has retired from the AF, teaching high school science, and his own videography business, and is now flying a DJI Mavic Pro Drone for fun and to get cool video. Wife, Margaret, is involved with WPAFB’s Miami Valley Military Affairs Assoc. as their representative to the Fisher Nightin118 ·

gale Houses, Inc. (FNHI). More on the website. Dave Brown, CS-19, retired from his general surgery practice in Colorado Springs 1 Oct after 40 years as a physician.  His wife, Karen, threw a celebration attended by three squadronmates: Leo Aguinaldo and his wife, Rosie; AJ Briding and Sam Grier with his wife, Veronica. Bob Smith, CS-31, continues to volunteer as a guardian ad litem for the Gaston, North Carolina, County Court and has moved from Gastonia to nearby Shelby.  Smaller home, less cleaning, less yard work, more relaxed lifestyle in Shelby. Don Ramm, CS-19, is living the dream: flying for fun. He and wife, Tracy, also a pilot, were part owners of a T-34 Mentor for 10 years. They sold out of that a few years ago, but Don is still flying via the March ARB Aero Club and teaching formation flying in T-34s. He’ll have some in-cockpit videos available in a few weeks. We’ll get them posted to the class website when he forwards them. Don posed an interesting question: How many of our classmates fly for fun. He was surprised by how few do. Those who do, send me your stories. Charlie and Sharon Clatterbaugh, CS-32, met up with fellow Roadrunners Frank Sanchez, Pat Jordan, Stu Willis and Bill Drury and their wives. The weather, beautiful; the snorkeling, the finest; the food (prepared each day by a chef), exceptional. The comaraderie of reuniting with 32nd Squadron classmates again: priceless. Charlie and Sharon now own and operate C&S Global Travel in Huntersville, NC. More info on the website. Charlie has an interesting suggestion—a cruise for our big 50th Class Reunion in 2023, perhaps a chartered ship of our own, with an exclusive itinerary that we could design.  I’ll be glad to pass comments on to the class officers. Rich Fazio, CS-16 sent info about the various class gatherings/activities we’ve had here in the Pikes Peak Region over the past several months. Due to space limitations, I’ve put the descriptions and pix on the website. “Here’s a toast… to the host… of the men we boast… the U.S. Air Force!”

Brad in Cuba.

records, too! Keep the ’74 scribe updated of your new home/contact numbers? Our reunion is coming soon, and we’d like to contact every classmate alive. May you live long and prosper. –Joe Brezovic, 228 Senior Circle, Lompoc, CA 93436; (832) 285-4179; GBNF: Richard “Mac” McIntosh passed away at home on 14 August 2017 following a long fight with pancreatic cancer. He spent the last month of his life surrounded by family. Throughout his final challenge, he had the steadfast support of Linnea, his wife of more than 40 years. Bradley W. Mandeville passed away on 9 October 2017 from complications following a heart attack. Brad retired from the Air Force in 1995 and served as a deputy sheriff with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office in Shelton, WA, for more than 17 years.   Obituaries for these classmates can be found at Awards and Decorations: While most of us have been finding new places to take naps around the house, some of our classmates have continued to find new ways to excel. Shame on the following classmates for making us look like five-toed sloths. Gernot Pomrenke was selected as a 2018 Fellow of The Optical Society for “outstanding technical leadership in formulating and advancing the areas of optical materials characterization, opto-electronics, integrated photonics, silicon photonics, nano-photonics, metamaterials, metasurfaces and plasmonics.” Scott Hammond received a presidential citation from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for “outstanding work on behalf of the association Members and its members.” The citation 49% noted, “Capt. Hammond’s dedication… is a stellar example of how one individual can impact an entire industry. Through his efforts on ALPA’s Safety Council, Capt. Hammond has promoted a safer environment for pilots Sabre Society Donors around the globe.” Hopefully Scott will be able to use this 33 recognition as a springboard to become a productive member of society. (Preceding comment added by the Humblest of Scribes who knew Scott as a pilot-aspirant in UPT.) Retiring Sorts: Kevin Smith retired in September as manager in the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection in Hanford, WA. He credited “the leadership and management skills and principles infused in (graduates’) DNA at the Academy” for his success in DOE.  Jim “Tony” Mahoney, CS-22, made his fini-flight for Southwest Airlines in mid-November. Tony described his career as “15 years flying fighters and 26 in the slow lane.”


The CS-16 mini-reunion at the Lowers. has changed. Brad confessed he spent a lot of time rum and cigar tasting as well. Now he is semiretired as the medical director for the local EMS agency and as an occasional ringside physician for the Nevada Athletic Commission. As I travelled by airplanes over the years, I always looked at the pilots, and the waiting lounges, hoping to recognize a classmate by face or by the ring on the finger. But that hasn’t happened. And the odds of recognizing anyone are quickly decreasing. The last time (2015) I recognized Members anyone on-the-street was Don 54% McMonagle coming out of Costco in Santa Maria, CA, when he was setting up his Raytheon office at Vandenberg AFB. I even looked around on a Viking Cruise down the Rhine River Sabre Society that my wife and I were on this Donors past summer – hoping to find a 38 classmate. Cruise was wonderful. We got "visiting Swiss Alps" off the bucket list. During the cruise… no classmates found. However, I do have a short story: The email Brad Lee sent me had another picture as part of the usual outgoing mail. You know the business format some use in this day of contacting clients. This raised my curiosity to do a bit more research, which I pass on to you. Brad has served as the ships’ doctor on the Holland America cruise line since 1991! Twice a week, on each cruise, he wore the dress whites to "host" a table. We had a real-life Doc Bricker of Love Boat!

Doctor Lee of Holland America. Other newsbytes: Rick Bates recently moved to just north of Castle Rock, CO. But this isn’t

permanent because he is thinking of moving to COS for a house… better defined as “with not so many stairs.” They have three grandsons who are not local: two in Bozeman (6 and 4 years) and one in Lafayette. John Voss lives in San Antonio and considers himself semi-retired. Seems the regular work week is reduced, by his choice of only three days a week at flight school. Jim Maples recently retired after 35-plus years with American Airlines. Jim is moving from North Carolina to the Corsicana, TX, area. That’s the plan that is in works. He’s renovating a house and barn there. I hope to learn more about his interesting plans! John and Pauline Verling, at last note, are in Collinsville, IL. Recently, he changed workplaces from Engility to Paragon Technology Group. Doug Walker is alive and well. Doug is still serving as an administrative law judge. He started in that career in 2004 and has heard over 10,000 cases in the Social Security Administration. Doug enjoys the challenges and has no immediate plans to retire! Another thought to ruin someone’s golf game. From your early days of military training, whenever you step off, do you automatically step off with your left foot? When training for my last half- marathon, I noticed that I started counting on my left foot. Sometimes 100 steps run, 100 steps jog. As for the half-marathon, our daughter got me into a vacation race program. They host half-marathons at National Parks. Good way to see areas for fun. Last one was at Lake Powell in Page, AZ. I earned (lucked out) fourth in my age bracket! I did check to see if there were any ’74 classmates. Not this race. Next one is in Yosemite, May 12. I’ve signed up. I want to draw your attention to other parts of the Checkpoints magazine. I do check the Gone But Not Forgotten for classmates and friends that have gone to sleep. At this point, thankfully, ’74 has not lost any classmates. There is another section up front of the magazine titled: "The Transmission: USAFA News from around the globe – and beyond." The last two issues have had several classmates’ events presented. I encourage you to check that section out as well as this column. Checkpoints is electronic now, so you can look it up if your own issue is unavailable. As scribe, I don’t catch as much as I’d like of the ’74 news, but do print what I learn from classmates or research. Perhaps I’ll learn more from tailgates, mini-reunions of two or more, Christmas cards, or emails. I hope your holiday seasons go well. Last point: I see that the AOG is updating their

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CLASS NEWS After Retirement: Paul Kent backpacked a 71-mile section of the Pacific Coast Trail in Washington, chartered a 45-foot catamaran in French Polynesia with his wife and two other couples, and whitewater rafted the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. His near-term plans are to watch the rain fall in Washington during the next several months while his body pushes the reset button. Two Generations of Thieves. Chuck Hippler, CS-40, and wife, Rose-Marie, joined their son, Chase, CS-40 Class of 2019, at the 2017 Parents Weekend tailgate. Chuck noted, “The Warhawks mascot and squadron patch are different, but still pay homage to the old Ali Baba patch, and Chase has been briefed on the infamous squadron cheer.”

From left are Chuck, Chase and Rose-Marie Hippler at the 2017 Parents Weekend tailgate. Classmate Mini-Reunions. Karl Gabrys and Bob Akers performed a rejoin midway between Detroit and Cincinnati at Wapakoneta, OH, for a visit to the Neil Armstrong Museum and two days of catching up. They trained for this venture the year before when Al Van Epps, Karl, and Bob dragged their wives to the AF Museum at Wright-Patterson. They adhered to tradition and celebrated the “post knowledge test” with beverages at an appropriate venue. Bull Sixers Peter Marcuzzo and “long time ago roommate” Michael Marro held a Bull Six minireunion in Brussels, Belgium. Michael’s wife, Carol, is the assistant IT director for NATO and they live near Mons, Belgium. Peter and his wife, Jean, also took the opportunity to drop in to see their daughter who lives in London.

Bull Sixers Michael Marro, left, and Peter Marcuzzo in Brussels. 120 ·

Ted Hilbun and Jeff Chappell took a guided hiking tour of the Grand Canyon 7-8 September. It was Ted’s eighth trip on the trail. Jeff provided details of the hike, but suffice it to say, it was long and grueling for people who have seen more than 750 full moons in their lifetime. Saturday, 9 September, was a planned rest day, which included “geology and history presentations, and excellent meals while we licked our wounds and downed some Ranger Candy/Vitamin M (Motrin).” Classmates who want to embark on a similar expedition should schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health provider as soon as possible. Hente on Heritage: Scott Hente has been part of the briefing team for an AOG-sponsored Heritage Presentation to the incoming basics for the last two years. The purpose of the briefings is to introduce the new cadets to the heritage and traditions of the Academy and the graduate community. The AOG provides broad guidelines on subjects to discuss but gives free rein to the briefers to answer any questions candidly and to express their own views. This year Scott addressed the entire Class of 2021, addressing between 25 and 50 Basics per session. He recounted, “I would always start my talk by introducing myself and saying that I am a proud graduate of the Class of 1975, the GREATEST CLASS THAT EVER GRADUATED FROM THE ACADEMY! The other graduates who would be with me would invariably make snide comments, to which I would reply that ‘If you ever meet a graduate who doesn’t tell you that his or her class is the best, then you should feel sorry for them, because class pride is an important part of our heritage. But my class is still the best!’” Truer words were never spoken. Scott added, “After meeting so many of these bright, motivated and promising young men and women, I have no worries about the future of our Academy and the Air Force.” Under the “it’s-a-small-world” category, he reported, “While addressing one of the groups of new basics this year, a young man in the back of the group raised his hand and said, ‘Sir, my dad is a 1975 graduate.’ I stopped in mid-sentence and immediately walked back to him and saw his name tag: PECK.  I looked at him and said ‘You’re Al’s kid?’ And I got a crisp, ‘YES SIR!’” Check back at this site in about 30 years to see if the Peck presence in the Air Force general officer ranks continues into a third generation. Class Honors WWII Medal of Honor Recipient: A small group from Palmer Lake, CO, built a memorial to commemorate MSgt William J. Crawford, WWII Medal of Honor recipient, and a CS-22 custodian. MSgt Crawford was a truly great and humble warrior and the only non-U.S. Air Force enlisted person buried at the USAFA Cemetery. Larry Bryant, CS-22, was deeply involved in the effort to raise funds to cover non-donated materials for the memorial, and as a result ’75 as a class, and the ’75 members in CS-22 jointly contributed almost 50 percent of the cost of non-donated materials. Good show ’75; it was a class act in every sense of the term! The dedication of the memorial was aptly held on 11 November, Veterans Day. More informa-

tion about the memorial can be found at: http://

Larry Bryant, left, delivers ’75 Best Alive donation for the MSgt William J. Crawford Memorial.

–Foster Bitton,


Fellow ’76ers, By the time you get this, the USAFA – USMA game is history and the holidays will be close upon us… and cadets’ thoughts turn to… finals! Moving up/moving on: Mike Gould has been appointed president and CEO of the Endowment, Ed Morley now retired from State Dept., Cal Allen to retire from Delta in November and Craig Kinney to retire from Delta soon. Congrats Mike, Ed, Cal and Craig! General Class Stuff: Tom Bowie is recovering from a kidney transplant and healing well. John Andrew recoverMembers ing from arm surgery. Heal 54% well and quickly classmates. Doug Fry’s daughter, Lt. Col. Kasey Stramblad, is the lead on revamping USAF military training and has briefed all the way up to SECAF. Here’s a link if you’re interested in her Sabre Society Donors efforts: News/Article/1275470/educa54 tion-training-experience-thecontinuum-of-learning/.

Jim and Lee Ann Porter attended the Michigan game; their son is a 2015 Michigan grad. Jim also followed up on info in one of my earlier articles and asked for contact info for Dave Clary’s son, re: his business. Jim reports he checked it out and says it is a sound endeavor. If you want to contact Jim about his thoughts, let me know and I can hook you up. Dave Clary sent a fun one. He connected with a ’78 grad, Matt VanSteenwyk, whose sister was Miss Minnesota and won the 1976 Miss USA contest. The Cadet Chorale escorted the ladies at the event that evening and the former Miss USA was interested in clarifying who her escort was. We were able to determine Chuck McHenry was the one and were able to link Chuck with Matt. Have asked them to keep me in the loop and will provide “the rest of the story” if any comes my way. Lance Kjeldgaard inquired about tickets for USAFA – San Diego State game. Speaking of games, Jack and Jan Catton sent this pic of ’76er’s at the USAFA – USNA game.

The Cattons hosted a get-together for the Navy game with several ’76ers attending. They had some help with organizing and setting up for the event but I missed the names of those who pitched in. Thanks to you all classmates! Good game but disappointing final score. Del Cornali sent a short note from Greece while touring. Joe “Puck” Wysocki sent this pic of himself, Kevin ‘Chili’ Chilton and Win Macklin at Breckenridge Oktoberfest.

All three are still working. Said the gal in the photo didn’t have much to say. Am sure she was overwhelmed in the presence of three greats! Dan and Montana McKenzie are enjoying retired life and flying his homebuilt SeaRey amphibian. Ed Morley reports no significant damage from Hurricane Irma but they were without power for several days. Mike and Judy Eyolfson and Marv and Jeanine Van Every enjoyed wine with Jay Wilderotter’s at his vineyard.

–Dan Beatty, 12196 Stanley Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80921; Home: (719) 488-1962; Cell: (719) 338-0276; On Watch: Greetings and salutations from the Mile High City. I want to talk a little bit about the 40th reunion and its smashing success but first a sad note on the passing of two of our classmates. Gary Wetterau (Linda) passed away on Sept. 15, 2015. At the time of his death Gary was a senior management official with Mutual of America Capital Management, where he worked for 20 years. Well liked and appreciated by his colleagues, he was an avid and active supporter of the Boy Scouts. I extend the condolences of the class to Linda and their children and extended family. Alex Schramm (Jeanette) passed away on Aug. 6, 2017 after a battle with cancer. A telecommunications officer on active duty, Alex worked at Union Switch and Signal in Pittsburgh where he was a director of Signals Engineering. He is described as loving “dogs, reading, movies, his family, and Pittsburgh.” Members I would like to take this op55% portunity to address an issue that has come up recently. The AOG maintains a database of deceased graduates that also includes the place and cause of death. This information comes from the family, but if no one Sabre Society Donors provides it, the AOG simply 31 lists place and cause of death as “unknown”. For all of our most recent losses, dating back to 2011, the AOG has no information as to location or cause of death. For those of you reading this who can provide that information, or can encourage a family member to do so, please do. I was queried at the reunion memorial service about the circumstances surrounding the loss of a number of people. Many thanks. 40th Reunion notes: This was easily the best reunion that I’ve had the pleasure to attend. It certainly was the most varied group of classmates I’ve seen since graduation day on June 1, 1977. There were more than 400 of us, the largest reunion we’ve had, and the largest gathering of graduates the AOG saw this year. A lot of the credit for that goes to Judy Welde and Tom Toole, who put in tireless work upfront to have class representatives get in contact with almost every one of our classmates and make an effort to get them to come. That effort paid off in spades. When Tom was unable to continue as the reunion chair, John Buckley stepped up and, along with several other folks, pushed the ball across the goal line and orchestrated a tremendously successful gathering of the class. There were innumerable highlights, but I would like to mention a few that I considered particularly noteworthy:


Charley Allen is back in COS, has been texting with Kupe Kupersmith about his home built. Got a license plate input from Marc Felman. His reads “ZOOMIE.” Mike Layman joined the MTANG five years ago to finish his flight surgeon career, deployed to Al Udeid in June, flew 14 combat missions and got promoted to 0-6 in July. Congrats Mike! Gary Kyle recently returned from visiting grandkiddos in L.A. Craig and Mary Kinney moved to Kansas City, says Mike and Diane Woodman going to Israel in November. Norm Weinberg rode the TransAmerican bike route from coast to coast and also volunteered in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Rich and Kaylene Kohl did some R&R trout fishing. Gary Turnipseed sent a long note about John Dunstan’s ACSC pic in my last article. Says he is not in the pic but Rich Walton is. I was able to assist Gary contacting Chili Chilton; also Chuck McHenry contacting Rich Walsbusser, Steve Hogan, (Steve is a self-employed small business development/proposal development consultant and has grandkiddos in San Antonio and Albuquerque) and Jim Turner, and Geoff Lawrence contacting Randy Spetman. Got contact updates from Robert Wagner, Denny Rea, Bill Lanning, Jerry and Jane Salazar, Jeff Steig, Patrick O’Brien, Stan Correia, Dan Price, Jim Turner, Larry Lindsay, Mark Schwing, Brad Moffett, Tom Hancock and Dave McAlister. Thanks to you all for the updates. NSTR: Charlie Vono, Scott Gough, Mike Walsh, Mike Blythe, Michael Reames, Jesse Huerta, Greg Boomgaard and Tom Rew. On a personal note, Martha and I will be grandparents again in December (girl), February (boy), and May (TBD). That’ll be 10 grandkiddos for us. The Beatty mafia is growing! My next article won’t publish until after the New Year so we wish all of you a bountiful Thanksgiving, best wishes for a joyful and safe Christmas season, and a prosperous and blessed New Year. I am extremely thankful to be a member of our class and a classmate to you all. Well classmates, again time to stick a fork in it. If you haven’t received an email from me in the past 3-6 months, I do not have your current email address. Please update me and the AOG with current data. Send your notes, inputs, address updates, suggestions, junk mail, etc. I will do my best to keep all of you in the loop. As always, if you are headed to the Springs, let me and the other locals know. Keep flying your flags and let our deployed troops know you have them in your thoughts and prayers. The Spirit of ’76 is STILL alive and well! Until next time… Beatty.

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CLASS NEWS --A stirring rendition of “Lord, Guard and Guide the Men Who Fly,” led by Tony Grady (Donna) and featuring Paul Pirog (Mary), John Buckley (Melinda), Mike Ard (Donna), Chuck Curran (Claudia) and Dave Kissinger (Lauren). This was one of the true highlights of the weekend and my thanks go out to these gentlemen for their terrific performance on relatively short notice. --The evening cocktail party in advance of events on Friday -- one giant sea of noise and friendship and good feeling. It was literally impossible to walk more than 15 feet in any direction without being tagged by somebody you knew, most likely someone you hadn’t seen in 20 years at least, and someone you really wanted to talk to. --The football game itself. After what I could only call a lackluster first half, with the Falcons getting the stuffing beaten out of them, Air Force came on strong in the second half and prevailed. A thrilling comeback win that kept everybody in the stadium right up until the end. --The defection of the demonstration falcon at halftime. True to 1970s form, the halftime falconry demonstration went awry when the bird was literally blown south out of the stadium and decided that it was too much work to get back to its handler. This brought back a lot of memories for everyone and was the subject of laughing references at the squadron rejoins later that afternoon and evening. --Speaking of which, the individual squadron get-togethers were a marvelous time for everyone who was able to attend. I want to personally thank the Chicken Hawks of 16th Squadron who made their way over to a local bar for drinks and food and some fairly hilarious reminiscences after the football game. Thank you, gentlemen, for a marvelous time. --The memorial service was something of a logistical marvel. We had more than 700 people inside the chapel for the event, which made it all the more meaningful for everyone. Well done, gentlemen. --The publication of a work of historical fiction (and I’m being charitable here, guys) by Pat Burke (Denise) that relates a variety of different war stories from our classmates both during and after our time at Aluminum U. Pat sold out of books, but you can reach him through the class Facebook page to pick up a pdf copy. It was an absolutely brilliant idea, and incredibly valuable for those of us who value class lore and history. Well done Pat.

Photos in this column will be reunion related. Here’s the first one, of the entire class on the chapel steps. (See photo at the bottom of this page.) From the left front row we have… yeah, just kidding. This was a humongous group for the photographer to corral and somehow we managed to get a picture taken, get everyone inside the chapel for the memorial service and back out again in time to meet our commitments for dinner. The only glitch was that I’m pretty sure that 100 or so of our folks are now memorialized as Class of 1987 members in their photograph, which occurred as we were exiting the chapel. There was a get-together of prep schoolers throughout the weekend, and Jeff Lewis (Linda) sent this picture on of one of the gatherings.

–John “Lou” Michels, Jr., 4107 Harvey Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558; (312) 463-3412;; loumichels55@gmail. com Prep School 44th Reunion From the left we have Jim McReynolds (Dorothy), Greg Robinson (Mary), Norm Riegsecker (Shirley), Carlos Cruz (Mildred), Ben Maltz, Ted Shropshire (Lydia), Wally Zane (Renee), Jeff Lewis and Frank Wallace (Jaqueline). Also in the Prep School group were Dan Van Alstine and Dave Vanorsow (Sharon). I spent a few minutes talking with Jeff and Linda and thoroughly enjoyed myself. These folks are looking terrific for being a year older than the rest of us (snark!) and it was especially neat to see the camaraderie that ties them together as well as the link with the rest of the class. And finally, a shot of my squadron mates from CS-16.The crew from the left: Tom Wailes, Pat McVay (Cyndee), Ron Ladnier (Pam), Pat Burke (Denise), Gene Bodenheimer (Theresa), Bob Guillory, Roger Paulson (Tomiko) and Russ Finney (Kathy). In a move of genius designed to greatly enhance the quality of the photo, I was excluded from this picture. I wholeheartedly concur with the decision. It was wonderful to see you gentlemen.

The Gathering 122 ·

CS-16 Chicken Hawks en masse. I will get back to a more regular state of writing when the next column is due. Again, my thanks to Tom, John, Judy, Paul, Dan, Pat and everyone else who browbeat their friends and classmates into attending, and who showed up for three sun-splashed days at our alma mater. Those of you who were unable to attend, my consolations. I look forward to seeing everyone, again, at the next reunion in five years. Be seeing you.

Greetings ’78ers… We start with more very sad news this quarter with Phil McBride’s passing in August. His son Matt (2005 USAFA grad) contacted the AOG and called to inform people of the sad event. Phil was a Delta captain on the A320 (had been with the company since 1998 after retiring from Travis in the KC-10) and had just finished a trip when he had a massive heart attack… he wasn’t able to be revived. He met Anne, his bride of 37 years, in France during his cadet exchange and they had two kids, Matt and Clare. The memorial was soon thereafter in Peachtree City, GA, with a great group of ’78ers in attendance. Our class means a great deal to Matt personally. If you knew Phil and would like to share some of those memories with Matt, please email him Members at matthewamcbride@gmail. 46% com. Our sincere condolences to Anne and her family. Another Delta A-320 captain in the class is Art Harrison who shared about a recent Alaskan fishing trip he took with former CS-30 squadron mate RD Sabre Society Donors Johnson. RD is a 737 IP/check airman with American (has 37 been with them for quite some time and is very senior). Art, bride Polly, RD and his bride, Beth Ann, took the trip and are exhibiting one day’s catch below. Art says they limited out both days with he and Polly taking 78 pounds (of course!) of salmon back home after cleaning the


catch... great way to spend the summer. From left are their guide, Beth Ann, Polly, RD and Art. Great job, Art, and thanks for the news.

Received a very touching message from John “Klaxon” Sviba’s widow, Susie. After John’s tragic passing in 1999, Susie concentrated on raising their two sons, Cody and Colton. She did a tremendous job with both proudly serving in the military following their dad’s footsteps. Below is a very cool shot of the brothers, both currently attending flight training, at the Pensacola O Club. Colton on the left is a NROTC grad while Cody is currently in the Marines. Cody was originally in AFROTC but there was a question of him meeting weight standards. The Marines allowed him to fly and the rest is history. Thank you Susie for bringing up such fine young men!

Colton and Cody RB Gibbons sent some great info/pix on what he’s been up to lately. In his words: “Since I retired in 2004, I worked at Shaw AFB for five years for a company called Alion in the Air Operation Center and spent a bit of time back in the desert. Built an RV-8 airplane and have been flying airshows for the last few years with Team RV and Team AeroDynamix.  I’ve flown Sun N Fun and Oshkosh, airshows in Mexico, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and China.  Currently my airplane is in China.  Flew two shows there last year, two so far this year, and at least two more this season.   Flying shows in China is different to say the least.” He sent some great shots with the coolest (in my humble opinion) being this one working on his RV-8 in China with “observers.” I went to the AeroDynamix website (https://www.teamaerodynamix. com/pilots.html) and this was RB’s bio: “Gibbons retired from the USAF in 2004 after 26 years as a fighter pilot and forward air controller with 3,700 hours in the O-2, A-10 and F-16. He holds commercial, instrument and sea plane ratings. Bob took 13 years to build his RV-8 that in 2010 won a Bronze

Lindy award for workmanship at EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh. He lives in Sumter, SC, with his wife, Stephanie, who is also a pilot, and daughter.” Well done RB… thanks for taking the time to write!

RB and his Steed. Larry Krauser updated his goings on: he’s still living in Tampa to take advantage of the ballroom dancing opportunities (in which he’s most involved with his bride). He is a cancer survivor (go Larry!) and he and his bride are celebrating by going on as many Caribbean cruises as they can fit in. He loves retirement in Florida, especially with a Minot tour in his past (says he will NEVER complain that Florida is too hot). In the scary, small-world department, after he retired and entered teaching, he did his student teaching at my old high school in Reseda, CA. (Tom Petty mentioned that L.A. suburb in his song “Free Falling”…. our only claim to fame.) Thanks Larry… see you next year at the 40th. Speaking of medical miracles, you most likely remember the ordeal that Frank Gahren experienced a few years back. After his recovery, he returned to teaching at USAFA and retired last year after 25 years on the faculty! He remarked how on our graduation day he took the obligatory picture on I-25 next to the “Leaving USAF Academy” sign (been there) with no idea what the future had in store. He was truly blessed as he and bride, Patti, saw many of the cadets they sponsored over the years make the ceremony. Frank was also a French exchange cadet with Phil and was naturally saddened to hear of Phil’s passing. He reports enjoying retirement to the fullest but wisely spending his time taking several on-line courses with Dallas Theological Seminary, learning calligraphy at the local arts college, Tai Chi… basically things he’s wanted to do for many years. Patti is due to also retire soon and they look forward to having more time together. A life well lived Frank… thanks for sharing and congrats on your retirement. Finally, heard from Bulldawg roomie and longtime oncologist Dr. Dan Garner who shared about a recent mission trip he went on in September. (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

Dan and Tami relocated to the Springs last year as he sets up retirement. They attend Academy Christian Church in the north Springs area with the church financially supporting a local Myanmar ministry. The church sent a four-man ministry team of which Dan was a member. Their plan was to provide three, two-day leadership seminars to help equip local pastors as well as church members. He created an intricately-written journal of his trip along with some great pictures (getting his input last and article space limitations prohibit me from posting any in this quarter’s article unfortunately). Dan felt that the trip truly cleansed his soul (“pressure washing” were his exact words) and was a phenomenally humbling experience. Bless you, Dan, for your work. Unfortunately, that’s a wrap for this quarter and I can’t include all the info you guys kindly provided due to space limitations so will put in next quarter’s edition. My apologies after you took the time to send it in… I usually don’t have this problem! Many thanks for that and I hope this doesn’t dissuade the rest of you from contributing! Speaking of the reunion, Bees Kellenbence is having a committee update meeting in a couple of weeks that he’ll report on to those who are AOG members. If you aren’t (and reading this on the class website) we’ll keep said website updated as well as the LinkedIn group (why not sign up for that?) so stay tuned! Hope everyone has a blessed fall… until next time. ’78 IS GREAT! –Bob Kay, 40411 Tesoro Lane, Palmdale, CA 93551; Home: (661) 274-2201; Cell: (661) 9741417; I did not get benched after my first “at bat,” and you guys are even giving me another trip to the plate. Thanks to everyone who sent me updates. Keep ’em coming. Apologies to those who sent material I could not squeeze into this 1,200-word article. Tim “Fido” Fyda flew Founding Father Howard “Scrappy” Johnson, up for the River Rats 50th Anniversary reunion in Louisville, KY, from Scrappy’s home in Florida. Fido had a great time getting Scrappy to tell flying stories the whole way. Also present Members were classmates Wade “Lefty” 47% Leatham, Mike “Leggs” Leggett and Keith “Beast” Trouwborst. I officially took the reins as the new River Rats executive director and look forward to seeing more ’79ers at the next reunion in Sacramento, CA, in April. Sabre Society Donors While attending a Roll Call 32 ceremony at Memorial Park on Shaw AFB during the Society of Wild Weasels (SoWW) reunion, I saluted our fallen classmate Paul “PJ” Weaver for the class


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CLASS NEWS and snapped this photo of his brass plate on the DESERT STORM wall. Throw a Nickel on the Grass for PJ as we approach the 27th year after Spirit-03’s final flight.

The brass plate on the DESERT STORM wall at Memorial Park on Shaw AFB. Classmate Ronald S. Hunt (CS-31) flew into the sunset on Aug. 10, 2017 in Warner Robbins, GA and was interred at Georgia’s Andersonville National Cemetery. Save a spot behind the Pearly Gates for those of us that can manage to sneak our way past heaven’s gate guards someday, Ron. Steve “Sasquatch” King was struck by a semi truck this summer while on a 3,800-mile crosscountry bicycle fund-raiser ride. After fighting for his life in the days and weeks immediately after the accident, Steve was transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, CO, for extensive rehabilitation therapy. The good news is that, as you read this, Steve will likely already be back home in Florida to continue his recovery. Larry Fariss (USAFA ’75) rode the last 79 miles of Steve’s trip wearing Steve’s bike jersey to spearhead the effort to meet Steve’s goal of raising $10,000. Steve is happy to report that Larry and the Class of ’79 helped him reach that fundraising goal. It is a special kind of warrior that continues to think of others and work for them while pushing past the pain life can present on a personal front. Keep up with Steve’s current progress and send a word of encouragement at: supportsteveking.

At the Michigan football game tailgate: Mike Beil, Scott Hay, Kurt Todoroff and Chris Austin. Scott Hay hooked up with Mike Beil for the weekend of the Michigan football game. Scott flew buffs and bones while Mike flew tankers when they were both stationed at Grand Forks, ND. They both teamed up to finish solidly in the middle of the 124 ·

pack during the AOG golf scramble but well ahead of the field in the “fun” category. They then hooked up with Chris Austin and Kurt Todoroff at the tailgate party long enough to snap a photo. Kurt attended the game with his father who is a former Air Force navigator and a loyal Michigan football fan. Kurt’s father had only missed two Michigan football games over a span of 50 years. Kurt and Scott were in the same UPT class at Vance AFB and now live close enough to get together on occasion. Kurt and Chris first met at the Michigan USAFA banquet two weeks before starting Doolie year at the Academy. It is a small, small USAFA world up there in Michigan. Congratulations to Bill “WT” Jackson who just got married to Debbie and is living the good life in Lakewood, IL, with two great teenagers and two Great Danes. At 210 pounds and 140 pounds, I bet the dogs are more expensive to feed than the teenagers. WT is a partner and COO for Oakwood Equities, investing in small- to medium-sized businesses (and evidently also large to massive-sized dogs). Tru Eyre hooks up with Mike Watson, Jon Fago, and Mark Stearns a few times every year to play golf in each others’ homes states. John “JR” Dallas met up with Steve Mathews during a Chicago layover. JR will soon be walking his baby daughter, Drennan, down the aisle with a wedding planned for September 2018. JR, you better start practicing for the father-daughter postwedding dance now! Retired class scribe Bud Vazquez has evidently found enough free time to go elk hunting the past two years in Colorado with Burt Waibel. After getting skunked last year, Bud filled his tag this year with a nice looking bull elk, praising Burt for putting him in the right place at the right time to take the perfect shot. Bud has a grandson, Levi, and Burt is also a new grandfather to twin granddaughters. Isn’t there some joke about two grandfathers hunting elk? Ernie Haendschke and Mark Lane (both from CS-20) got together in July for their sixth annual backpacking trip. During the 12-day trip they backpacked more than 100 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland Trail, climbed over 20,000 feet, and took more than 2,000 photos.

FROGS (Four Really Old Guys Sailing): Scott Cummings, John Piribek, Grant Bruckmeier and Ted Dudley. Ted Dudley took the helm and made Scott Cummings, John Piribek and Grant Bruckmeier scrub the decks and scrape the barnacles as they all celebrated turning 60 with a seven-day working cruise

in Belize. They christened themselves FROGS (Four Really Old Guys Sailing) and even wore T-shirt uniforms to prove it. Ahoy mates – what is on the calendar when you all turn 70? Jon Sercel just completed a BMW R 1200 GS bike solo ride from Colorado Springs to Cleveland and back. Jon is also finishing a canoe and will soon have a christening party. Jeff McChesney has started flying Schweitzer 2-33 gliders in New York, just like the ones Uncle Sugar let us cut our teeth on in the USAFA soaring program. Jim White is working on an RV 10. Colors will be USAFA blue and silver, with a yellow checkerboard tail and reserved FAA registration N979WB. How cool is that? Jeff Jackson is completing two years as an economic officer in the U.S. Embassy at Kuwait City. Next stops for Jeff are Arlington, VA, for consular officer training; home leave over the holidays in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and D.C. (with a 10-day Mexico excursion just for something new); then mid-January he arrives at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai, India, for another two-year adventure. Chuck Franceschi is now a project manager for the Cisco Global Service Logistics & Operations (GSLO). Mike VanLaan is at UPS with me, but planning to retire in 2018. We think Boeing’s Mark Hargrove, who is also in the Washington state legislature, delivered UPS’s first 747-800. We were both busy making money for the company, so can’t confirm. Until we meet again, and in the spirit of that famous movie we all know and love (Animal House), remember what Bluto said after the food fight scene… “Lunch comes with Brewskis!” Send updates and photos for the next Checkpoints to Geoff Mulligan: -Jeff Moore, 321 Persimmon Ridge Drive, Louisville, KY 40245; (502) 386-7958; Bandit292@msn. com From Don, regarding our Guest Scribe, Dan Williams: I asked Dan to give us a few words about himself, since the idea of having different folks write this is to get fresh stuff. “After just more than 2,000 sorties in the F-4, I opted into the VSI (early out), offered after the first Persian Gulf War, and settled the family here in Raleigh, NC. My wife of 37 years (Robin, aka high school sweetheart) and I have three married children and are enjoying the role of grandparents. A few years ago, we made the move out to our lake house full time while still working. I’m the county tax assessor and Robin is consulting as a clinical informaticist. We don’t miss the traffic or crowds in Raleigh, but it’s close if we want it. Travel is next on our agenda for 'bucket-listing.’” Read more on such lists below! The rest is all Dan’s. Enjoy—and feel free to step-up to the plate. Sadly, just before deadline, we learned of the final flight of Thomas L. Claypool after battling end stage renal disease.  dm As summer fades to fall in North Carolina, the daily highs are no longer in the 90s but comfortably


into the 70s and 80s. This reminds us that football and reunion season is upon us. Although there isn’t an official Class of ’80 reunion, some of the ladies had a spontaneous gathering. We hear from MJ (Van Valkenburg) (Wayne ’78) Kellenbence, who is currently working with the AOG Graduate Programs entailing legacy class events, graduate and cadet rings, graduate Terrazzo tours, and even Colorado license plates for grads. “Three days a week is perfect. Leaves time to visit the grandbabies. July 29th, Tanya (Senz) Regan hosted a get-together at her house. Linda (Garcia) Cubero was visiting her dad in COS and Diane Moyer was showing her niece USAFA. Tanya threw out the invite and as you can see, 10 ladies made the event. In the back row from left are Betsy (Joviak) (Mark ’79) Pimentel, Linda, Diane, Karen (Cole) (Mike ’77) Selva, and MJ. Front row: Karen (Barland) Lucas, Peggy (Davis) (Eric ’81) Hillebrandt, Tanya, Sue Helms, and Allene (Dowden) (Steve ’80) Saleck.

A spontaneous gathering. In the category of bucket list accomplishments, Mike Opatwosky forwarded this note: “So, what is it that you do when your family drags you off for a week-long ‘vacation’ in Orlando in August? Well, you protest, you complain, you sweat and you melt, and then. . . you revolt. I revolted by going to Stallion 51, in neighboring Kissimmee, to fulfill a dream—stick time in a P-51! An hour-long flight that I flew 90% of—wisely, minus the landing and takeoff. Wow, what an experience for a landlocked medical doctor. By my parent’s report, I have been familiar with the P-51 since age 2 and built my first model of it at age 3. It’s been a love affair ever since. An amazing experience—highly recommended!”

The doctor is In! For some, travel it is, and we catch up with Janet Therianos on location from the Kenai and Denali

in Alaska. “Jim and I live in Northern Virginia. I retired in 2009 and stay home to help care for some family members. Jim and I love to travel when we can. I started a clothing outreach about a year ago called clothes4kidsva, which has taken off—there is so much need out there. God has blessed our efforts and we’ve provided a couple thousand bags of clothes to help others in just the short 18 months since we started. It’s a very rewarding effort. Jim works for a very small company that provides aviation program management services to U.S. government clients. He stays very busy and I get to hear shop-talk every day!” Alvin Sears was spotted along the Appian Way in Italy. “Friends, couldn’t resist to take a short vacation to Rome to help celebrate Allison’s upcomMembers ing birthday. A whirlwind trip, 52% but cool stuff, staying flexible as travelers should.” When queried as to why the photo of the Colosseum (with Alvin in the foreground) had so many small holes, our own Mike Pampush provided the answer, Sabre Society Donors detailing the salvaging of metal from the structure. 38 Round about to Atlanta and on the Delta employee bus, Don Myers spots a familiar face: Hank Wiley. As the conversation began, Don notices a “Navy” lanyard around Hank’s neck. When asked, Hank displays the photo of a newly-commissioned Navy lieutenant (O-3) that shares his last name. Seems Hank’s daughter, Alice, just entered active duty as a new dentist. She had recently finished the intense, five-week, Naval Officer Development School in Newport and was assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes, outside of Chicago. Oh, she was accepted to five dental schools and, with the Navy scholarship, chose the most prestigious, Columbia. Wife, Jamie, is a wealth manger with USAA, and son, Jimmy, is a double-major in math and physics at CU Boulder.

Proud parents of a new naval officer. We have experienced many events this past quarter both terrestrial and celestial. In worldly news, Air Force Maj. Gen.l James C. Witham, the National Guard Bureau’s director of domestic operations, was pictured briefing reporters on Hurricane Harvey response and relief efforts from the Pentagon briefing room. As if one hurricane isn’t enough, Jack Barker, PhD, decides to ride out Hurricane Irma at home in Miami, following a family sojourn to Ireland.

Finally, for those celestially minded—a solar eclipse. Respondents varied. Dave Anderson chose to do yard work with 85 percent totality. Luke Howard planned a golf outing in Charleston, SC, only to be rained out. Sharon Boyd claimed an 83 percent from northern Virginia. Fritz Wiegman sent photos from work. Dan Gill also went to South Carolina, where the clouds parted for a mere 10 seconds of corona viewing. Mike Carlson spent the weekend at Chilhowee Gliderport, TN, and launched 10 minutes before totality, touching down following the sun’s reappearance. Bud Uyeda drove to Lenoir City, near Knoxville, to get two minutes of totality. And Holly (Emrick) Svetz sent photos of a science experiment to view the 93 percent coverage in Parker/Aurora, CO. To be sure, all were not serious, with Brad Higginbottom responding, “Used a colander to view the eclipse; it strained my eyes.” Or maybe he was . . . . To end with some really good news from Diana (Green) Francois, “My health is getting back on track. I had a stem cell transplant with high dose chemotherapy the end of March. The result is the multiple myeloma cancer is in remission! Yeah!” Keep those cards and letters coming. –Don Myers, P.O. Box 153, Tyrone, GA 302900153; (770) 631-1429; DMyers80@hotmail. com; FB group: “USAFA Class of 1980”; Class Website: Hope all of our Texas and Florida ’81ers are recovering from an unusually overactive (and very destructive) hurricane season. This will be the holiday edition of Checkpoints for your reading pleasure. Our Falcons are having a transitional year with the loss of 32 seniors, but are certainly exciting to watch. Unfortunately, we lost to Navy in one of the most exciting games ever. The Falcons, as shown in that game, and again against UNLV and Nevada, are never out of any game. Class News: Cliff Perrenod was at USAFA in May for Col. Ben Pollard’s (Prep School commander from our era) funeral. Cliff said they had a nice flyover of a C-130 and two Members Canadian Snowbirds. Cliff is 51% still supporting SMC as a test and evaluation engineer at Los Angeles AFB. He sees Steve Thalmann and Bill Kaneshiro. I ran into Marty France in the Blue Silver club before our big win over UNLV. Marty is still Sabre Society Donors passionately leading the Astro Department to new levels. I 20 expect to see him more often as basketball season begins soon. I caught up with Jim Kilty at our 40-year high school reunion in Bellevue, NE. Jim is still busy with his three sons and flying for the airlines. It is always great to catch-up


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CLASS NEWS with Jim at high school and AFA reunions! Michelle Johnson is off to exciting new work for the NBA as a senior VP and head of Referee Operations. She was back at Harmon Hall for her superintendent portrait unveiling.

Michelle Johnson’s superintendent portrait In a great story of ’81 unity and support, Roshayl Santiago, who lost her husband (our classmate, Rigo Santiago) to cancer earlier this year, also was greatly impacted by Hurricane Harvey – losing cars and extreme damage to their house. Fortythree families from USAFA (CS-04 and 81) and IAI contributed to get Roshayl a new car. Darren McKnight flew to Hunstville, AL, to pick it up and deliver the car to her. (Thanks, Randy Worrall, for Delta flights!) Bob Bledsoe also helped find additional support resources for the family. It shows the tremendous class unity, love and support that exists within our class! We have some amazing

classmates. Darren McKnight with Roshayl Santiago '81 Class Endowment update: The selection committee has selected Uganda for the 2018 cadet cultural immersion trip. Consider a contribution: I wish all of you a great, relaxing holiday season of visiting friends and family! Please drop me an email with an update and picture (or give me a call to catch-up). Also, our Facebook page (USAFA Class of 1981) is very active. Go Falcons! –Rich Trentman, 17223 Carriage Horse Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921; Work: (719) 4527708; Cell: (719) 640-9586; Facebook: USAFA Class of 1981; rtrentman@falconbroadband. net; Class Website:

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Hey Redtags, Wow, did we have a good time at the 35th! We certainly missed all those who couldn’t make it, but the 355 or so who were there had 4-5 days of non-stop visiting and reminiscing. AND, we won the game! Of course, the team did their best to help us nostalgically recall our cadet days by quickly working themselves into a 27-0 deficit against UNLV. But the second half was decidedly better, netting a 34-30 victory with about a minute left to play. The weather all weekend was fabulous. Always a crapshoot in October; but we lucked out. The Memorial Ceremony was very moving. The whole thing was done with class and respect, yet avoided being stuffy. We hosted visiting GBNF families as special guests and they were universally appreciative of the recognition. Members of the following GBNF families Members attended: Jane Mengel, Andy 49% LaMar, Tony DiPietro and Gordon Garlock. Preacher Bones (Darryl Jones) did a fantastic job reminding us of the importance of our earthly relationships and how they transcend this life. Tom Sabre Society Donors Sylvester did his usual superb job putting together a GBNF 29 tribute video. The Cadet Chorale set a fitting mood by singing High Flight, Lord Guard and Guide, and the third verse of the Air Force Song (A Toast to the Host...”). A very talented bugler honored our fallen classmates with what I believe is the most perfect rendition of “Taps” I’ve ever heard. Tom Sylvester kindly took the time to compile a video of the entire service that you can watch here: Allin-all, a first-class affair. The banquet was another highlight. Although none of our “famous” classmates (SecAF Heather Wilson, CSAF Dave Goldfein, and CINC USAFE Tod Wolters) could make it in person, each sent a short video clip. Class President Jim Demarest provided a very amusing version of how he “invited” each to participate, and Kate Smith delivered some hilarious impromptu entertainment by humorously detailing her four-year quest/saga to pass freshman swimming. Kate has a definite knack for storytelling!


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

Greg Tate led an informative tour of the new Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), USAFA’s newest facility. Funded by both government money and private/corporate donations, it’s located between Arnold and Harmon Halls and is used for a variety of training events, seminars and group study projects. It also serves as the administrative HQ for the Cadet Honor Committee, and is where honor boards are held. The accused sits in a chair that has a perfect view of Polaris through a ceiling portal. It’s a humbling experience to sit in that chair and gaze upward at “true north.” The women of our class had two special gatherings, a mixer on Thursday evening and another at breakfast on Saturday. Here’s a picture of the group:

’82 Women’s Gathering Another high point for a subset of us was a gathering of Catholic Choir members for Mass on Sunday morning. Always a special time, this has become a tradition for our reunions. Hats off to Kay Grosinske for organizing. Although Mr. “L” (Ed Ladouceur) was not able to join us this year, we still had a wonderful time recalling past choir trips and the unique experiences we shared during our tenure. All agreed that we probably wouldn’t have graduated without the respite that choir provided. Here’s a picture of the assembled group.

Catholic Choir Reunion As you can see, we outnumbered the current choir members! As great as it was to get back together, it was bittersweet to see how much the choirs and chorale have atrophied over the past several years. Individual Doolie and grad squadron reunions were spotty, mostly due to lack of volunteers to host. But Steve Toldy stepped up and hosted both the 30th (my Doolie) and 13th (grad) reunions at his and Peggy’s (Turek, ’83) lovely home just outside the north gate. Here’s a picture of the 30th gang:

30th Doolie Squadron Reunion. From left are Tony Mahoney, Cliff Hindman, Dolores Bubier, Steve Vogt, Steve Toldy, Mike Eayrs, Gail Allen, Martha Jones, Mike Allen, Jim Ratti and Russ Collins. Despite an early start on Friday morning, a sizeable number of folks began the day with a tour of the Aero Lab organized by Eddie McAllister. All (even non-aero majors!) agreed it was an informative and interesting tour. It was fun to see what’s changed as well as what hasn’t. Friday was also “open house” day in the Cadet Area, so the dorms, athletic facilities, library, classrooms and labs were all open. However, there were no classes that day because of the “Commandant’s Challenge,” a relatively new fall semester military training event for cadets. The multi-day affair tests cadet teamwork, training, discipline, physical stamina, skills and knowledge. So, there was no noon meal formation, no lunch with cadets at Mitch’s (they enjoyed box lunches in the SARs instead!) and no one except a few instructors in Fairchild Hall. Cadet interaction was limited, as many squadrons were off site performing local community service projects. Nonetheless, it was nostalgic getting back in the dorms, exploring the labs in Fairchild, cruising the library, visiting the athletic facilities and seeing what’s changed. The planetarium is undergoing a total inside/out renovation, so it was closed. We learned that the Cadet Chapel will be closing early next year for a two-year makeover. It’s on the National Register, so they’ve got to preserve the architecture as built. That means (among other things) cataloging the (literally) myriad individual pieces of stained glass so that each can be reinstalled in its original location. No word on how or where they’ll hold worship services in the interim. Many of us are betting it’ll take much more than the planned two years! So, all in all it was a fabulous reunion. Thanks to all the committee members who volunteered time and talent to pull it all together. Special recognition to Honorary Class of ’82 member Miles Kirkhuff, husband of Deb (Mullen) Kirkhuff, who graciously strapped on the responsibility of chairing the reunion committee. We wouldn’t have pulled things off so smoothly without his diligent cat herding. And yes, planning for the 40th is already underway, based on lessons learned from this one! I also have tidbits apart from reunion news. Sue Grant had another book reach the USA Today bestseller list back in October. It’s called “Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2” and is available through all the online retailers. Sue’s daughter Samantha (’13) is a military information support operations (MISO) officer (psychological warfare) and had been in a major’s billet for a while because of understaffing. Sue’s son was sworn into the Navy as a Petty Officer 2nd class (E-5) back in October.

Next stop is OCS for 12 weeks, then hopefully flight school. Sue says she’ll have split loyalties for AF/ Navy games from now on! Peggy Ball wrote to say she wouldn’t be able to make the 35th reunion and has been living near Ramstein AB since 2002, with no idea when they might return to the States. Her husband, David, has been the pastor at Calvary Chapel Kaiserslautern since they moved there. Mike Ryan has a new job as the managing director of the Carrolltown Monastery in western Pennsylvania after retiring from the Senior Executive Service earlier this year. Built in 1865, the former Benedictine Monastery in Carrolltown is undergoing a transformation to preserve its historic structure for posterity, to contribute to the economic revitalization of the town, and to “quench the ever-abundant thirst of the residents”. Mike is working alongside a group of family members, hoping to turn the aging monastery into a brewery and craft beer destination. “We’re smack dab in the middle of a craft beer desert,” he said. You can read more here: Sounds like the perfect job…

Harry, Cassy, Darleen and Mark Darleen (Avery) Sobota sent a picture of herself, husband, Mark, Cassy Saltus and boyfriend Harry. Cassy and Harry were visiting Darleen and Mark in Dayton earlier this year, seen here exploring the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Cassy and Darleen were roommates during their first assignment to Wright-Pat after graduation, and Cassy was Darleen’s maid of honor at her wedding back in 1984. Kevin Smith sent this picture of the Redtags working at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility.

The New Fighter Mafiosi From left are Dr. Mike Skaff, LM aero senior tech fellow; Robbie Maize, F-35 site activation lead; Kevin Smith, F-35A USAF program manager; Brett Haswell, F-22 sustainment and depot lead; John Cottam, F-22 deputy program manager; and Al Norman (Dr.), LM aero chief pilot. All are doing

great work and still giving back to our USAF and allied Air Forces. So that’s it! Like I said at the Memorial Ceremony, send me inputs, or I’ll make it up! Until next time, Ratman. –Jim Ratti, 2860 Arbor Pointe Drive, Middletown, OH 45042; (937)760-2333; rattijm@mindspring. com Another year has passed. We are that much closer to our 35th Reunion. Mark your calendars, plan to be there. The date for our reunion will not be set until March 2018; they have to set the football schedule first. Darn those athletic directors! They know when graduation will be years in advance, but can’t set a few little football games! Well, back when I was a cadet, things were really tough. Cheryl Newhouse-Phillips and her husband, TC, held another wonderful ’83 reunion lake party this summer. Check out the ’83 Facebook page to see photos of the event. I did manage to get Cheryl and TC to bring their daughters to my beach house for a visit. They had a Members very relaxing time. We have 49% decided a fall ’83 beach party at the outer banks may become an additional annual event. If Mike Edwards doesn’t make an appearance on the outer banks soon, it may be held at his house in Duck! Sabre Society Donors Cherri and I spent two weeks on Big Pine Key in Florida 26 supporting the North Carolina Baptist Men who were running a food kitchen in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Lunch and dinner meals were prepared and distributed throughout the Keys in neighborhoods hit very hard by Hurricane Matthew. Many areas I drove through looked like a bomb had been dropped. We served thousands at each meal. Here is a photo of our food kitchen after a brief rain shower.


I have asked Chris Manion to be co-author of this Checkpoints article. I am also designating his wife, Felicia, Class of ’83, Angel for the Year, for her loving support of Chris and exceptional support and information flow to us during Chris’ wild ride during this last year. He will explain in his article. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 127

CLASS NEWS And here is Chris: Might as well begin our class news right at the very top with Ken Tingman; no, Kenny isn’t at the top of our class, but reports while flying from Pohnpei to Chuuk (Micronesia) he was thumbing through his complimentary copy of United Airlines Hemispheres magazine, and stumbled across news of our own Bebe (Cronin) O’Neill, recently selected as United’s chief pilot. One of the perks of the job: Bebe has her own column in Hemispheres called “Ask the Pilot, with Captain Bebe O’Neill” and questions may be submitted to Bebe via Congratulations Bebe! While organizing our class gift (more about that in 2018) I was able to dine with fellow-Preppy Dan Schnepf (wife, Lorraine), founder of Matrix Design Group Inc. and Matrix Environmental Science LLC. Dan’s company was instrumental in redeveloping the old Lowry AFB and Stapleton Airport. Dan is authoring a proposal for the development of 60 acres at the USAFA North Gate, to include a new USAFA Visitors Center, two hotels, three restaurants… and an "IFly" indoor skydiving facility (Dan never got to do AM 490 when he was a cadet). Dan and Lorraine have been grandparents for two years already! (Libby). And although he shows no remorse, Francis Chun is busy inflicting pain upon cadets as an associate professor of physics at USAFA. Recently, Francis attended the wedding of perennial bachelor Gary Hopper. Also in attendance on this happy occasion: Norm Brozenick, Marcus Miller, Errol Lewis and (this time not pretending to be Alonzo Babers) Chuck Jones.

While at Annapolis for the AF-Navy game, I ran into Jeff Ingalls and Matt McKeon. They both looked in excellent shape… Apparently Matt and Jeff do a lot of cycling. Matt talked me into riding the “longest, steepest paved road on the planet” next summer in the Cycle to the Sun race up Kaleakala Crater, Maui (36 miles, 10,000-foot climb). Jeff bravely offered to meet us at the top and ride downhill. While on our redeye flight back to Denver, Felicia and I ran into none other than Erwin “Silky” Washington… still looking “basketball fit” and flying for United. As for yours truly, I’ve been recovering from a “close encounter of the lousy kind” (i.e., a hit-andrun) while on my bicycle doing a training ride last July. I sustained a TBI and spinal injuries, but the paramedics took care to keep my spine immobile while loading me aboard Life Flight, so today I’m walking and using my upper extremities just fine! The head injury is causing some short-term memory loss, but should resolve over the next year. While hospitalized, I received a huge outpouring of support from many of our classmates… it was truly 128 ·

heartwarming! Mike Croy was a frequent visitor and I was just on the cusp of persuading him to score a bottle of Remy and a nice cigar (for pain control of course), when I was discharged home. I ran out of sick leave and was debating when to return to work, when Felicia said “you big dummy, just retire.” So I did, after 32 mostly enjoyable years with the VA. Ah… retirement… images of playing bass guitar in an “old-guy” band and doing woodwork in the garage filled my mind. Speaking of woodwork… guess who crawled out to pay a visit while I was recuperating?  None other than ex-roomie Larry Coccia… alive and well, living in Pennsylvania. (CS-24, had not seen him in 32 years.) Alas, Felicia disabused me of my fantasy and brought me back to reality: I’m in semi-retirement. After the first of the New Year, I am going solo under “CPM-Law, LLC” with a law practice limited to veterans benefits law and appellate practice. Hate the VA? Email me at theclaimwhisperer@ Larry Coccia Wait… remind me what was I talking about? Oh yeah: always wear a helmet and tell your grandkids to wear their helmets, too. Cheers… Wade back: Brian Losey is settling into retired life by working in San Diego and D.C. while Ivey holds down the house in Hampton, VA, works her business, and cycles regularly – they have slowed down! Paul Dimech is making all our mouths water and most of us can’t believe he stays thin cooking all those wonderful Paella. Paul plans to feed us at Cheryl’s lake reunion in 2018! Thanks to Ray Blust for many years writing Checkpoints articles! Chris Austin has volunteered to be our next spring scribe. Welcome him aboard. Send him a Christmas card at 603 Embassy Court, Peachtree City, GA. 30269. Call him at 678-416-2890 or email him at How about that Air Force football team… nearly came back to beat Navy. I may try and go to the Army/Navy game with Admiral Losey -- Go Army, beat Air Force and Navy! -W. Wade Wheeler, 64 Hickory Train, Southern Shores, NC 27949; (252) 207-4776; wwade83@

I failed to mention in our last issue, the retirement of one of our very own, Lt. Gen. Sam Cox. Sam and Tammy had a distinguished 38-year career. (That is not a slight to anyone else.) Sam commanded at the squadron, wing, and operations center levels. During his tenure as the 436th Airlift Wing commander at Dover Air Force Base, DE, he deployed to Southwest Asia as deputy director of Mobility Forces supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Shortly after, General Cox was the commandant of cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, responsible for cadet military training and airmanship education, supervising cadet life activities, and providing support to facilities and logistics for more than 4,000 Members cadets and 300 Air Force and 42% civilian personnel. General Cox was the commander, 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center), Scott Air Force Base, IL. He served as the director, Strategy, Policy, Programs, and Logistics Sabre Society Donors (TCJ5/4), USTRANSCOM, Scott AFB, Ill. Prior to his current 25 assignment, he was the director, Operations and Plans (TCJ3), USTRANSCOM, Scott AFB, IL. Still serving in his distinguished career is Lt. Gen. Jeff Lofgren. The Lofgrens are still at HQ Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, VA -the NATO HQ in the U.S. They have been extended for another year and Jeff and his staff are busy trying to reform NATO command structure. He was able to meet with current superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, for 30 minutes with his nephew, who is considering serving. He also ran into John “Oldman” Sieverling in Bass Pro shop that weekend,


At the retirement ceremony of Lt. Gen. Sam Cox are Joe Calderon, John Almind, Victor Haynes, Chris Troiano, Sam, Cindy Dominguez and Jerry O’Hara. Roger Deemer had the youngest of his three children graduate from high school this past June just before he and wife (Amanda) celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary. Ray Meinhart came out for the Army game and was able to visit family. He witnessed the great game plan of the Army team versus our Falcons, a 21-0 thrashing. Scott (Der Kaiser) Wilhelm was named Federal Aviation Manager of the Year for 2017 by ICAP

(Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy). Congrats to Kaiser! Rich Call is still living in Anchorage and flying for UPS. He has spent the last three years as a sim instructor as well as flying the line, but now has gone back to just flying. They, too, have a granddaughter so they spend as much time visiting her down in Homer, as they can. It’s a five-hour drive or 1:10 in our 172, so that’s a no brainer. Rich has also issued an invitation for any ’84 to come up and say “hello!” Thanks, Rich Daryl “Sky” Smith got to hang out with Maj. Gen. Dondi Costin (USAFA 86). Dondi is the Air Force Chief of Chaplains. Dondi and Daryl were in BSU together at the Zoo. Dondi is doing a great job of caring for the spiritual needs of our troops and showing the importance of spiritual values in forming the character of our force. He also saw Jeff Wesley (fellow Ali Baba 40 Thief). Jeff is a 737 pilot for Southwest (lives in Tucson), and was staying over at one of Southwest’s newest airports, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. Check out Daryl’s online aviation website, www.DoctorAviation. com. He also wrote a blog about our entering USAFA 37 years ago. https://www.doctoraviation. com/air-force-academy-class-of-1984-entersjune-23-1980/. I also hear that Casa Bonita is still looking for him and a few more, like John Yelle, for cliff jumping into the pool below even though it was about 35 years ago.

Gandpa Andy Klein relaxing with granddaughter, Magnolia, with a couple of watch dogs. Andy Klein is an international 737 pilot for American at DFW. He became a grandpa for the first time on Aug. 11! His oldest daughter, Jessica, had Magnolia Lynn Beach (Maggie). Also back flying is the aviator herself, Barb Huggett Walker, who is with United. (See photo at the top of the next column.) When she is not golfing or doing acro yoga with me, she works and had a layover in Dallas with Linda Wittman Green (American Airlines) and stayed at her newly-built luxury yurt. (Yes, yurt.) Also in the 737 with United and living here in the COS is Bill Anonsen. Our own Jeff Burum is running for Congress in CA 26, Ventura County. He is still fighting off Gulf War Illness from the chemical and biological weapons with pain management, phlebotomies monthly, and nerve pain blockers. You can support him at Scott Welker is making an interesting transi-

Greetings ’85ers!! It has been an exciting few months, starting off with the change of command and swearing in of Lt. Gen. Jay “Tonto” Silveria as the new superintendent of USAFA. I had to laugh when I re-read the last Checkpoints edition at my seemingly satirical and rhetorical question about whether or not spirit cheese at the ceremony would be a breach of protocol. Apparently it was not, because by all accounts, the cheese was flying high. Even the AF Chief of Staff, General Goldfein ’83, got a chuckle out of it. According to Mark “Digger” Wells, the ceremonies had a lot of USAFA firsts: Largest attendance (in excess of 85 classmates), presence of our signature spirit cheese, a keg party at Carlton House (the superintendent’s residence), and legacy cadets crashing the party using spirit cheese to gain admission. I had hoped to include a picture of the “Spirit Cheese in Flight” but the resolution/magnification was not high enough for the cheese to be visible in reprint. To view pictures of all the events, please visit the class Facebook page, USAFA - Class of 1985.


Captain Barb Walker back flying the line. tion. He is the new surgeon for the Bosley center in San Francisco. Yes, he is making a living doing hair restoration surgery. I hear Matt Johnson has him on retainer, just in case, and asked that the Zoomie discounts be in force. Scott says his wife is still tolerating him after 31 years. Their son, Bennett, is a mech engineer at the Holley Corp. (the carburetor people) in Bowling Green, KY, and daughter Olivia is in her second year at Scott’s other alma mater, USUHS Med School, and an ensign in the USN. Dan Morgan went from nearly eight years at Boeing Seattle (2006-2014) conducting intensive flight test on the 787 and flight deck design work for the KC-46 replacement tanker to taking a little well-deserved break. And it is with deepest sadness that I must inform you that the beautiful, strong wife of Ron Beck, Janice Susan (McKay) Beck, passed away 2 Aug 17. Janice had been battling an illness for many months, but passed suddenly and expectedly that day. Janice was an active duty USAF flight nurse stationed at Osan AB, ROK, where Ron was flying the OV-10A when they met in 1988. They were married in her hometown of Salem, MA, on 14 July 1990. She was the youngest of nine children. She left the AF when they could not get a joint assignment at McChord AFB, WA. They then went to Moody AFB, GA, and Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, where their first child, Eric, was born in 1999. They left active duty and moved to her home town. Ron entered the AF Reserves at the 706th Fighter Squadron, NAS JRB New Orleans. Ron then entered training for Southwest Airlines in March 2000, and they eventually moved to their current home near Patrick AFB, FL, in 2001. At her urging, they adopted their second son, Alex, from the Ukraine in 2004, completing their family. Ron, on behalf of the Class of 1984, our best wishes for sustained strength, to you and your family. Thanks for all the support. Don’t forget to send in your updates for next issue. If you don’t see your name in here, it’s your turn! JENS –Mike Jensen, 6547 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80918; (719) 338-3570; Web Page:; Email: USAFA1984@gmail. com; Facebook: USAF Academy 1984; Twitter: @ USAFA84

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria “high fiving” classmates after the change of command ceremony. As most of you have already heard, during September the Academy had incidents of both a suspected sniper (thankfully a false alarm), as well as racial slurs being hand written outside the rooms of African-American prep school cadet candidates. Jay’s prompt, decisive and very public rebuke of the incident left no doubt that he was the right officer for the job. In short, Jay stated, “...if you can’t treat someone from another race, Members or a different color skin, with dignity and respect, then you 45% need to get out.” His words made me proud to be his classmate, and give me confidence in the wisdom being imparted on the future leaders of OUR Air Force. Sabre Society In other general officer Donors news, Lt. Gen. Thomas “Guns” 15 Bergeson, and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey “Cobra” Harrigian both appeared as military commentators for multiple major news networks on the topics of Korea and Checkpoints · December 2017 · 129

CLASS NEWS ISIS. Both generals brilliantly articulated USAF strategies and missions while seemingly effortlessly sidestepping attempts by the hosts to elicit political commentary from them. The speeches of all three generals are posted on the class FB page as well as YouTube. These three great leaders represented the Academy and the Air Force with great distinction. John Shinnick made the prediction that one of the three is going to be running the whole shooting match before long. I have to agree. Ladies and gentlemen... coming from your right... former Thunderbird, and class double-centurion, is Costa “Chachi” Tzavaras. Chachi reports, “I just cracked 14,000 total hours of flying. Yes, that is my real hair (no grey ones yet) and no cavities yet either. Don’t ask me why... I think avoiding the staff, and doing my PME by correspondence was key.” He has not been out of landing currency since 1985, and retired in 2005 with more than 3,500 hours in fighters (F-16). Currently, Chachi is a captain with Southwest Airlines and resides in Phoenix, AZ. He continues to run into fellow fighter pilots and class derelicts, Joe Sepessy and Dave Willigrod. Both are also captains with Southwest and residing in Phoenix. Chachi has added seaplanes to his flying resume, and enjoys fine dining with his wife, Koko, and spending time with his three grandchildren.

Chachi Tzavaras with two of his grandchildren, Cora and Jack. Take special note of that head of hair he is sporting. Wish he could loan me some! Can anyone top Chachi’s flying stats or “Dick Clark” agelessness? If so, please let me know so we can share it with the class. I would also have to put up Mike Black as a nominee for most miles logged by a non-rated classmate. I don’t know what his responsibilities include as COO of JMA Solutions out of Washington D.C., but Mike travels everywhere and knows everyone. During a recent Redskins game, he just “happened” to run into SecAF Wilson, CSAF Goldfein, and CMSAF Wright. If there is an event attended by the movers and shakers, then Mike is probably in attendance as well. I enjoy following the travels he graciously shares with the class on our FB page. So how many miles do you log annually, Mike? How about sharing some of those frequent flyer miles? Mike Challman reported that his son James just completed basic training at Lackland. According to the proud papa, James is attending tech school at 130 ·

Vandenberg AFB to study space operations. From there, James will be heading to Shriever AFB in the Springs. Best of luck to James as he starts his Air Force career.

Airman James Challman and Mike Challman Mike isn’t the only proud parent this edition. Sandy (Brothers) Holub’s son Vance just completed BCT, and is now a member of the Proud Panthers of CS-36 (Sandy’s graduating squadron). Good luck to Vance as his journey begins. Eileen Isola is a CFI (certified flight instructor) and commercial instrument pilot operating out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. During Hurricane Harvey, she initiated and flew relief flights to affected areas delivering water, food and other greatly needed supplies. Great work, Eileen! Thanks for sharing you time and skills in support of humanitarian efforts. You represented our class and the Air Force well. Mark Deysher and his wife are shipping off with Cure International, where Mark will serve as hospital executive director; assisting with handicapped children in Malawi. Our thoughts and prayers go with them as they continue the tradition of “service before self.” Beth (Wright) Dunn, Quintel Williams and Tommy Herndon recently attended the Air Force Night at the Nationals game, where the Class of ’85 won the participation trophy for attendance. The more of our class that joins our FB page, the fewer inputs there are that are sent to me directly for inclusion in Checkpoints. However, inputs are always welcomed and appreciated! For FB page members, class news is “real time” and often outdated and “repeated” by the time the quarterly Checkpoints is published. Class articles are restricted both in word count (1,200) and number of pictures (3) by the editorial staff. I had several additional inputs that did not make their way to print as a result of these restrictions. Marilyn (Garcia) Kott put it best in a recent e-mail she sent me when she indicated she used the class FB page to keep track of classmates, and Checkpoints to follow friends and alumni from other classes. She makes an excellent point. Have a terrific holiday season and stay safe. It is this time of year when I most envy Char (Jardin) Harding enjoying life in fabulous Manhattan Beach, CA. How I do miss Los Angeles AFB! Catch you all in 2018. ’85... Best Alive! Scott

-W. Scott Carney, P.O. Box 5, Pembroke, ME 04666; (207) 214-4836; Greetings ‘86ers, I want to start off with an update on Yolandea Wood’s adventure that the Class Scribe, Bob Colella, mentioned last issue. Yolandea recently completed a two-month kayaking trip down the Mississippi River to raise awareness for clean water around the world. She and two friends traveled with everything they could possibly need packed in their kayaks — toilet paper, food, tents and clothes. Eating primarily non-perishable packaged foods like tuna, rice and crackers, the three women sustained themselves with weekly supply packages delivered by family and friends to them at various landing points on the river. For 64 days, Yolandea endured the elements and challenges of the river while she paddled to pursue her mission: raising money for various clean water projects. So far, she raised more than $3,800 for projects in Malawi and Nicaragua and says she will continue fundraising until the end of the year.


Yolandea Wood on the Mississippi River. I really like this quote from her: “There are so many things we can do, but we just have to move — we have to just start... If someone says they’re going to paddle 2,100 miles, it seems daunting; however, if you just do a little bit every day, it’s surprising how much you can Members do.” Yolandea kayaked 2,120 49% miles in a solo kayak from Lake Itasca (headwaters of the Mississippi) to Morgan City, LA. Now for a small update from me, Lawrence Cooper, your assistant scribe who is not the assistant to the scribe, no Sabre Society Donors matter how much the scribe may wish it to be so. I’ve gotten 13 a new assignment that starts soon -- I’m finally moving out of the Pentagon and across the Potomac back to HQ DIA. I’ll be managing development of tradecraft and training for the DoD Open Source Enterprise -- data collected from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. This is looking like it will be one of the most engaging jobs I’ve had in over a decade

From left are Dondi Costin, Rich Clark, Dave Allvin, John Horner, Jim LaFavor, Steve Parker, Mark Crosby, Rich Scobee, TJ O’Shaughnessy, Jon Norman, Stan Sheley and Steve Kwast. and the first one with thea largest travel budget spent the time talking to two ’89 grads (Joe and Leslie since I was a lieutenant! Saleck) who I used to work with here in D.C.  Also a Read more here: great ’92 grad (Bob Seifert) who is down at Langley magazine/article173297966.html#storylink=cp. AFB and is interested in setting up a Band of Brothers I found an update on the class Facebook page tour of European battlefields with the AOG.”  from Mark Crosby, who provided this photo of Frank “Boom Boom” Rossi also has an update: several of our classmates still serving -- it’s an enor- “As I told some at the reunion, due to significant mous constellation of the Class of 1986. They all family challenges, I retired in December 2015 to be look good, but everyone who has seen this photo a full-time, stay-at-home dad.  I had been the Det/ has asked me, what is Jon Norman looking at.  (See CC for Notre Dame’s AFROTC (did it for my wife, photo at the top of this page.) she’s an Notre Dame AFROTC grad), and despite my Don Raines is becoming a prolific contribufondness for warmer weather, decided to stick it out tor. Don writes, “Tiny picture attached of my BCT here until my two younger boys finish high school.  roomie Jon Putney and me in Baltimore posing While the challenges continue and I feel like I’ve with a great pic of Arnold.  I treated his family to an been living in the “Twilight Zone” the last two years, evening of Cirque De Soleil – always love getting there have been several blessings; namely, being together with classmates and hearing their stories more involved with my sons.  In January 2017, their of their careers and their lives.  The weekend we high school asked me to start up a track and field went to Cirque we were celebrating Jon’s son program and made me the head coach (they were Daniel Putney (USAFA 2015) getting his wings and desperate).  I said yes because both my sons wanted his aircraft assignment – F-16s!  Hard to believe it’s to run track.  One of many highlights was at the last been 30 years since learning about what planes our meet of the season, where both ran on the 4 x 800 classmates received as they graduated UPT – and meter relay team.  My then-freshman son Peter now their kids are doing it!” handed off the baton to his then-junior brother Frank Jr, the anchor leg, in third place, who was able to surge ahead and hold off the field for the win.  My son Peter also joined Boy Scouts and I’ve been very involved with the troop.  This past summer we spent a week canoeing through Quetico Provincial Park, the Canadian half of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  This fall, Peter is a patrol leader and I volunteered to mentor the troop’s Patrol Leadership Council.  I get to go on most of their activities; the troop does something every month.  I’m not sure who is enjoying scouting more, Peter or me.  If you’re ever in South Bend, look me up.”

Don Raines, at left, and Jon Putney “Busy as usual here in the D.C. area. My 11th year serving on the Service Academy Advisory Board for Virginia's 10th District (Congresswoman Comstock).  125 applicants this year for West Point, Annapolis, USAFA and Merchant Marine Class of 2021.  Since we don’t get a lot out here applying for USAFA, I also sit on panels for USMA and USNA.  It’s incredible to see the talent that’s in this district – so glad I didn’t live here when I was applying!  “Flew out to USAFA for the VMI game – easily the biggest blowout in USAFA football history.  Was privileged to meet the new superintendent, spent some time with Lt. Gen. Gould (Endowment CEO) and also a great talk with the dean. Went to the Navy game this year but didn’t see any classmates –

Peter Rossi, at left, and Frank Rossi

And with that our quarterly update comes to an end. I want to thank everyone who helped me with this update. We have more than 386 members on our Facebook page and the postings provide a continuous update on how our classmates are doing. If you have not joined (and there are a lot of you), please visit the USAFA Class of 1986 Facebook page -- we’d love to hear from you. Very respectfully, your assistant class scribe, Lawrence Cooper. -Lawrence Cooper, 2806 Erics Court, Crofton, MD 21114;


Well ’87, our 30th reunion is now past; still hard to believe there wasn’t even a class for a 30th when we graduated, and a great time was had by all! Saw and spoke to many folks over the weekend; it was a great turnout with more than 600 attendees and a thrilling football victory. If you couldn’t make it, hopefully we’ll see you in five years for our 35th! We tried to take as many notes as possible, and with the beauty of Facebook and the Internet, here is our summary. Right before the reunion, I got an email update from Dave Amin who reported, “Randy Zuehlke just retired from the FBI and now runs his own cybersecurity business out of sunny Florida. The California kid finally got out of Detroit. Murf Clark just hired on with United Airlines and lives (for now) in Wichita, KS.  He has four kids and two are Dartmouth graduates and Members one works for McKinsey and 52% Company in Boston.  Makes you wonder where they got their academic genes – clearly not their English literature major dad. Chuck Ciuzio flies for NetJets to parts unknown -never sure where exactly he is.  Sabre Society He has the jet-setting playboy Donors lifestyle we all dreamed we 20 would have one day. As for me, I recently graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management (when you don’t know what to do, go back to school) and am now the chief health officer for the New Hampshire Rural Health System and have my own health care consulting firm, Palmetto Health Solutions.  My wife, Kristine, and I are now empty nesters (all three kids out the door) and pretty much run around the house naked all the time just because we can. See you at the reunion! Dave.” Great update Dave! Some of us started reunion weekend at the prep school, while a bunch of others hit the links—I know Jeff Cliatt was part of the winning foursome as expected. We heard an update on prep school happenings by the commander, and then had a fabulous lunch at the dining hall, delaying the current preppies as they were wondering who Checkpoints · December 2017 · 131

CLASS NEWS were all the old folks delaying their own lunch. The highlights also included seeing Carolyn (Moore) Benyshek’s plaque on the wall in the Prep School Hall of Fame, and a visit inside B Squadron dorm where we reminisced about the infamous “pizza party” night!

Inside the prep school. Kenny and Cathy Wessels, scribes, Brad Bartels, Andy and Melodie Garrobo, Tim and Cindy Paige and Carolyn (Moore) Benyshek.

More preppies at Tuscan night: Kevin “Kmart” Martin, “Smokin” Joe Holmes, Jamie Whitley, BJ Shwedo, Tyrone Jeffcoat, Cathy Wessels, Carolyn (Moore) Benyshek and Howard Huerta. Other folks who we gathered “G2” on included Juan Leoncio, living in a resort in Lake Tahoe and still flying for FedEex; Pat Vetter, living in Dallas and still working in the world of security, and congratulations on the adoption of your son Pat! Jim Wisnowski, running his own data analytics company out of Denver, although I think he lives in San Antonio? Alex Giczy; Chris “Cheeks” Simpson still working in the CE squadron at USAFA trying to rebuild the infrastructure after 60-plus Colorado winters; Tim Paige working at NAVAIR in Pax River, MD, doing cool R&D “stuff;” Andy Garrobo working in Denver working space for a contractor; Bill Page who retired in Los Angeles and still working out there as a contractor; Steve Turner living in Colorado Springs and coaching wrestling at a very high level and turning out some Olympic hopefuls Also, Scott Savoie working in contracts for a contractor in Summerville, SC; Dan Hancock, living in Charleston, SC, and flying for JetBlue; Rhett Butler working as a contractor in Colorado Springs, as is JT Taylor, Steve Dufaud and Harper Johnson, who all reside in the Springs also; Nate Lyden working as a contractor in Tennessee; Lucy (Brown) 132 ·

Meagher who owns her own food safety company and living in Fayetteville, GA; Howard Huerta and Tyrone Jeffcoat, both living in the Atlanta area; Joe Holmes lives in New Jersey and recently became a captain at United; Terri Travis who lives in St. Augustine, FL; Jamie Whitley living in Northern Virginia, working for the government; Kenny Wessels living in the same area and still flying for FedEx, and trying to grow great lacrosse players; and Marc Grassie, who still lives in the Dallas area and also flying for FedEx. John Harris is still living in Virginia and working as a realtor; Jerry Duhovic lives in Los Angeles, saw Chris Forseth and Scott Haines but didn’t get a chance to talk. My squadron wasn’t well represented but Charly (Brooks) aka Robin Hardy, Jeff Lamb (working for I think Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, AL), Tom Feldhausen, who actually lives near us in Warrenton, VA, and working as a contractor, and Dan Phillips, working security near Shaw AFB, SC., all managed to make it out and we got to talk. Others that showed up were Hal McAlduff, who I work with at Defense Acquisition University, John Steimle (we relived some Doolie year memories), Tim Sipes, Floyd Dunstan, Carlos Honesty, Brian Zembraski (all lacrosse buddies) and Carlos trying to convince us to play in the over50 league. I say no thanks! John Klimek was also there, saying he still wants to run marathons after completing one with his daughter last year; he lives in Minnesota. Tim Applegate is the head of contracting at DARPA, living in Northern Virginia also. There was also a ladies event at Lynda (Merryman) Baldauff and Regis Baldauff’s house. Thank you so much for hosting us again Lynda! Regis commutes to Denver since the work in the Springs is not as robust as in the past. See photo. And please excuse if we did not know your married names.

Barnstomers James McGoo McGovern, John Kafer, Ed Krafft, Sarah Zabel, Bob Morse, Kim Northrup, Dale Holland, Keith Fletcher, Jaime Whitley, Danny Hancock, Craig Wilson,  Wayne Pieringer and Scott Haverkate. Japan for a job as chief of Training for the Army— good turnout, saw Alain Jones, Brou Gautier, Ron Porte, scribes, Cindy (Staples) Hart and Andy (’86) Hart sharing drinks and laughs in Occoquan, VA. At the reunion, Bruce McClintock briefed that the class gift committee announced plans to raise funds in support of CyberWorx -- a modern program designed to train the next generation of American warfighters.  '87 is the first class to formally select CyberWorx for a class gift and our donation will help fund a cyber security lab and provide an endowment for a CyberWorx Lecture Series.  More details will be provided in the new year by classmates. Overall the reunion ran really well and Patti (Michalcik) Stuart and SueLing Cho were recognized for their outstanding efforts to make it so. Lynda (Merryman) Baldauff and Carolyn (Moore) Benyshek volunteered to take the lead for our 35th. Thank you for that. That’s it for now ’87. We will be adding more photos from the reunion in the next few issues. Please send more photos and stories! Fly safe… –John and Carolyn Sammartino, 3107 Woods Cove Lane, Woodbridge, VA 22192; Home (703) 492-5492; Cell: (703) 220-1372; jsammar99@ Greetings best to date ’88! As I write this input, we are one year from our 30th class reunion. If you haven’t been following the news on the class’ Facebook page, Michael Miller has offered to sacrifice himself by leading the 30th reunion committee. Mike writes: “Brian Bell, Tina Erzen, and I (supported by lessons learned/sage advice from Stacy McNutt) have volunteered to coordinate our MILESTONE REUNION event!! Planning activities just got underway. We are in the assess/definition phase -- trying to understand the AOG process and their level of support. Suffice it to say, at this point we have lots of questions that require answers, and realize you will too. WE NEED YOUR HELP CREATING AWARENESS... WE’D LOVE THIS TO BE THE BESTATTENDED AND MOST MEMORABLE REUNION TO DATE!


From front left are Leah Travis, Lynda (Davis) Myers, Gemma Wilmarth, Lynda Merryman Baldauff, Carolyn (Moore) Benyshek, Shirley Clinton, Sueling Cho, Lucy (Limjoco) Jones, Jennifer Helland, Tracey Meck, Leslie Howell, Kim Northrop, Brig. Gen. Laurie (McLean) Farris, Cholene “Chuck” Espinoza, Nicole Berry, Jami (Van de Grift) Rotello, Jenny (Warder) Migdal, Shelley (Zuehlke) Chandler, Julie (Joyce) Walker, Kimberli Johnson, Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, Anne BenovilMurphy, Shirrel (Cain) Medara and Patti (Michalcik) Stuart. Great Barnstormin’ photo at the top of the next column! Had to post it. Right before press time, we had the pleasure of saying farewell to Wayne Fisher as he heads off to

1. REUNION DATE TBD. 2. Need helpers to lead sub-committees such as the following: — Communications/rally leader to classmates, room drops night upon arrival, get squadron leaders organized; — Hotel/dinner -menu, seating, entertainment (chorales)/welcome reception; — Memorial service (Note from another Facebook post: We must remember, recognize, and take care of our classmates’ widows/widowers/ families during the reunion.); — Academy Day/get more time with cadets (M5 Periods); — Classmate leadership panel (hotel); — Nametags; — Merchandise; — Record keeping/secretary; -- Entertainment (possible) -- DJ/band after dinner; — Football (tailgate/Wings of Blue coordination); — Photos (real-time, class photo, etc.). Other: -- Greeters as people come to hotel (first night), even a “question table” parked in lobby that is staffed throughout reunion (AOG?); -- Picture person (coordinating photos -- during event and after, including class picture). 3. Reach out to Brian, Tina or me if interested in helping as a committee Leader.” Additionally, Emily Whittaker Buckman posted: “Fellow female ’88 cadets and female spouses who are interested in a spa afternoon at the Broadmoor on the Wednesday before the formal 30th reunion events begin. Stacy McNutt and I will plan if there is interest. If interested, please message me or Stacy McNutt.” Richard Sweeten provided the following post on Facebook: “Hey Class of 1988. I’ve created a dedicated page to share ideas for the Bremont USAFA Blue Graduate Watch. I sent an invite to those I’m connected with on FB. I hope I got everyone! If not, my apologies. You can click to it here: https://www.facebook. com/BremontUSAFABlueWatch/. “Again, the watch will be exclusive to graduates (sales Members subject to verification) and will 48% start with the Class of 1988. If the project is successful, we can open it to all graduates who can choose class color elements and class year engraving to make it more personal. This new version shows black DLC Sabre Society and a cleaner face with the Donors prop and wings on the back. It 26 also features a cool “AF” pattern on the face. We have done something similar for the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and it looks really cool. “We can then take initial orders to get the project started. We will need around 50 orders to put the watch into production with all the listed elements. Bremont gives a very generous subsidized military price putting it at close to 50 percent off the civilian equivalent. It’s a great deal in the luxury watch world and will become a family heirloom for sure. The plan is to have them in time for our 30th reunion! I’ll get exact pricing details out soon. If you are interested, please email me at and I’ll put you on the list.

No commitment is required yet. Again, currently only 1988 graduates are eligible to order.”

There is no good way to pass on the following information… Jim Tamallo posted on 6 October: “Kreg (Palko) is as good as it gets. He suffered a lot this last year. Keep him and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. He will be missed!” Kreg passed away on 6 Oct 2017 with his family by his side. Kreg had been fighting ALS. Until next time, here’s a toast to the Host… –Tom Sadlo, thomas.sadlo@gmail; (240) 427-8453

’88 had a good showing at the USAFA vs Navy football game. Carol Yanerella hosts a “girls night out” for our classmates in the D.C. area. The next photo provides proof that two of our male classmates, Mike Miller and Chris “Mookie” Walker crashed the “girls” night out after Mookie’s promotion ceremony to brigadier general in the West Virginia Air National Guard. Way to go Mookie!

With Michelle Clays are Christopher “Mookie” Walker, hockey parent, Gretchen Larsen Idsinga, Deanna Won and Michael Miller. Brief updates from Craig Goodrich ( on him and Paul Pokorny (since Checkpoints has never heard from either of them…). Craig’s been with FedEx for 18 years, lives in Rapid City, SD, with his wife and daughters. His middle of three daughters was married in May and lives in Rapid City, too. Craig is very involved with Civil Air Patrol and is the South Dakota Wing director of Operations, an IC, and instructor/check pilot. Paul made a nine-year stop at ATA before FedEx and, after having a bone-marrow transplant to beat leukemia, has been cancer free for three years now. Paul lives in Memphis with his wife and 11-year-old son. 

Craig Goodrich, at left, and Paul Pokorny in a FedEx MD-10.

Classmates, it is with a sad heart I pass on the loss of one of our own, Joseph Schulz. Joe, devoted husband, loving father and retired Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot and United Airlines pilot, passed away at his home in Toano, VA, on Aug. 4, 2017, at the age of 50 after a long battle with cancer. In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome a donation to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, P.O. Box 5028, Hagerstown, MD 21741; (866) 815-9501; Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his wife, Jennifer: Mrs. Jennifer Schulz, 9109 Whispering Dr., Toana, VA 23168. Joe was a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the T-38, A-10A and A-10C aircraft and flew 250 combat missions in support of operations Provide Comfort, Deny Flight, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Despite his successful military and Members commercial pilot career, Joe 52% was most proud and devoted to his loving wife of almost 22 years, Jennifer, and their children Hayley, Olivia and Jack.   He was a devout Catholic and an active member of St. Olaf Catholic Church in Norge, Sabre Society Donors VA, where he faithfully served 15 on the parish council while battling cancer. Joe will be remembered as an exceedingly humble, compassionate and loving man who had a profound impact on all who he encountered.  His physical, emotional and spiritual strength was an inspiration to all around him and was present until the very end.  He lived a life full of love, laughter and joy.  Joe’s passions were his family, friends and faith.  He treasured watching his children compete in their various athletic endeavors.  He enjoyed the outdoors, flying airplanes, taking long walks, spending quality time with his family watching movies and sharing meals, and cheering on his beloved Boston Red Sox and Denver Broncos. Here’s a toast… I recently heard from Jeff Cashman, a fellow CS39er! From Jeff: In review, I left active duty in 1999 and joined the Vermont Air National Guard and American Airlines.  After one three-day trip as a 727 flight engineer, I began military leave from that air-


Checkpoints · December 2017 · 133

CLASS NEWS line job to learn how to fly the F-16. I was preparing to return to American Airlines on Oct. 1, 2001 when 9/11 began a series of consecutive unanticipated events that culminated 16 years later with my retirement from full-time military service as the Air Guard’s director of personnel.  Many (most?) of our classmates have taken unconventional paths in their airline careers, but I appear to hold the record for the longest consecutive period of military leave: 17 years, 9 months.  Since my return to American Airlines this past summer, I’ve discovered that the airline flying business has changed considerably in that time. I feel like an “unfrozen caveman pilot” and find myself thinking “...your scientists found me frozen in ice and your iPads and aircraft automation confuse and frighten me…”  That said, I stand today as the planet’s newest FAA type rated Airbus 320 first officer and from here forward will fly trips out of Washington, DC, in between attending kids sporting events and catching up on long deferred maintenance projects at our home in suburban Virginia. Thanks Cash!

Jeff Taliaferro and Cash enjoying the Falcon’s come-from-behind victory over UNLV! Next update comes from Scott Shinberg. July was a month of mini-reunions for him. Scott and the family had the pleasure of having lunch with his CS-28 Academy roommate, Kevin Brown, and his family early in July while they were in the D.C. area for the weekend. Later in the month, Scott ran into several other grads at their annual Jacobs Engineering key manager’s meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Mini USAFA reunion in Georgia! From left are Kevin Basik (’93), Scott, Darren Kraabel (’93), Dan Pierre (’73), David Langhauser (’88), Brendan Harris (’93) and Robert “Hoot” Gibson (’88). Kevin was this year’s guest speaker on leadership and gave a very engaging presentation. A version of his seminar is on YouTube, and he covers a lot of great information on the topics of leadership and character. Scott says “highly recommended” to all! 134 ·

Appreciate the update! From CS-19, Jeff Bendoski dropped us a line to say hi and pass on that he and the family left their home in Burlington, VT, and biked across Spain to complete an El Camino de Compestla pilgrimage. Awesome! Thanks for writing, Leo!

Jeff, Luke (13), Grace (15), Seth (17) and wife, Margie, enjoy the 800km (480-mile) Camino bike trek over 12 days! Quick hits: another CS-39er and good friend, Tony Pollizzi, retired 1 June this year! Tony is working on his Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII) and plans to stay in Northern California indefinitely. Our class treasurer, Stephen Whiting, will take command of 14th Air Force in the coming months. 14 AF is responsible for the organization, training, equipping, command and control, and employment of Air Force space forces to support operational plans and missions for U.S. combatant commanders and their subordinate components, reporting directly to U.S. Strategic Command for space operations. Congrats to both of you! That’s a wrap for this quarter. Keep those cards and letters coming. Take care and God bless! –Paul W. Tibbets IV, 204 Spaatz Ave., Barksdale AFB, La. 71110; (318) 426-6532; Email p2a2@ or; Class Facebook Group: groups/43101356987 Hello ’90! I’m sure several of you are turning the half century mark this year and we would love to hear the stories. Mike Wahler is one of us hitting the mark! “No photos, but I will turn 50 this coming May. I also heard that Dan Yenchesky was selected for BG in the Wisconsin ANG. Most importantly to me, I just celebrated five years brain tumor free!” Congratulations Mike and keep fighting the good fight. Thomas Koss is also aging like a fine wine. “Hey Flash, Turned 50 on 11 Oct and spent it in Vegas at the NBAA conference, partied it up at the Hofbrauhaus. My son Tyler’s doing great. Track getting ready to start and got his pilot slot... and think his AOC is putting him on for Euro NATO. I’m heading out to see him and Stefan (at the Prep School) for the Army game.” Tom’s sons are carrying on the tradition for three generations; Tom’s dad was a member of “Evil” Eight, Class of 1965!


Tom Koss (center) with, from left, son Stefan (USAFA Prep School), Tyler’s mom, Debbie’s parents, bride Debbie and son Tyler (USAFA 2018). Tim Kane saw the request for updates: “It might be worth mentioning that I published a book over the summer titled Total Volunteer Force with an introduction by Secretary of State George Shultz. I had a chance to visit USAFA last week to discuss it at the Academy Assembly in the Members renovated library. The library 48% looks great, but sadly the big black chairs are no more! They added some new furniture that I can only describe as a bear cave: two facing couches encircled by high padded walls that wrap 90 percent around Sabre Society Donors the cadets.” Doolies hiding in the library even more—say it 9 isn’t so! Andre Briere sent a short note: “We’re on our fini assignment in the Russian Federation. Nothing much going on here!” We look forward to welcoming you home soon! This may be our shortest update, but I’m sure there still are stories to tell out there. Send me a note—whether it is spirit cheese, a new Zoomie offspring, birthday celebrations or some other grandiose tale, I am all ears and we’d love to share your experiences! Go Air Force and Mighty 90! – Flash. –Mike Shepherd, 3801 Derby Circle, Quartz Hill, CA 93536; Bold Gold, With great sadness I report the untimely death of Ida (Lee) Members Widmann, 53% a classmate who exuded charisma, passion and excitement for the people around her and those she led with servant leadership. Ida’s battle with cancer was not Sabre Society Donors well known among our class, so this news may come as a 10 surprise or shock to some.  Her association with the Prep School in particular was


strong and her courageous battle with the illness was an inspiration to many. A Celebration of Life service was held at the Air Force Academy Polaris Hall Forum on Sept. 9.   A memorial fund has been established in her name within the USAFA Endowment to support leadership development and diversity recruiting for the Air Force Academy. Donations in memory of Ida may be made to the USAFA Endowment, 3116 Academy Drive, Suite 200, USAF Academy, CO 80840. Checks should be payable to The Air Force Academy Fund.  Mail may be sent to: The Widmann Family c/o USAFA Admissions, 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 2400, USAFA, CO 80840 There has also been a tremendously huge amount of good news, but at this time I do not feel like producing any more announcements than this; I look forward to communicating with you all again soon.  Blessings, friends. Tav –Carson Tavenner, 7912 Carlisle Place, Arlington, WA 98223; (301) 367-8969; Tavenner@hotmail. com Awesome! So I was prophetic in that the reunion was going to be awesome—no one else would have guessed that, right? It is always a unique feeling returning to USAFA, one that only those who have attended can understand. However, after 25 years things are certainly different and, yet, the same. It was great to see so many of you who made it out. I was disappointed I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to each and every one of you. I have to be honest, I didn’t know all of you when we were there and I don’t know all of you now, but I’m trying. The number of us remaining on active duty is dwindling fast and by the 30th, with few exceptions, only those who are GOs will remain. What this really means, beyond that we’re getting older, is that the rest of us have to figure out what to do now that we’ve finally grown up and join those of you who have already moved Members on to other adventures. Thank you. I really appreci50% ate so many of you who came up to me at the reunion and said hello and thanked me for writing this column for all these years. In some cases, you knew me as the “Checkpoints guy” even when I didn’t know Sabre Society Donors or recognize you. And, in other 15 cases, I got to meet your spouses who have been reading the column right along with you and “knew” me, too. It is good to know that so many of you still read the column and enjoy it even with all the social media options. Despite always procrastinating, I do enjoy writing it and having the interaction with all of you. It seems I am always traveling when I need to write


this and this time is no different. I’m not actually on a plane this time—I’m sitting in a hotel in Philadelphia trying to finish before I continue TDY to Korea and then to Taiwan. Reunion. On to the reunion, which is what you’re really interested in this time. First, let me thank Rod Stephan and his team for all the hard work they put into planning, organizing, and “running” the reunion. I know Rod put in countless hours before and I saw him working endlessly during the reunion. He enlisted help from his girlfriend Belinda and even the Class of 1993. Thank you Rod and everyone who helped organize all the great events! Here are some estimates of participation from the weekend: about 200 attended the registration reception on the first night at the hotel; 275ish took the opportunity to visit the cadet area; 325 or so attended the Friday night dinner, including spouses, so definitely more than 200 classmates; and 300-plus attended the tailgate with more than 400 football tickets purchased. Note on the football game, I said “tickets purchased.” This is because the Class of ’92 has a unique history with Falcon Stadium. It seems we are doomed for bad weather during big events there, and I’m sure many of those ticket holders never made it into the stadium. If you watched the game on TV or were there in person, you know the weather for the football game against the San Diego State Aztecs was even worse than at our graduation. While it was certainly not as cold, the rain was heavier and coming in sideways. And, when the thunder and lightning caused a 90-minute delay in the middle of the 2nd quarter, the stadium was cleared and basically everyone went home. When the game resumed, there were only about 20 fans in the stands. Of course, Terry “Goof” Gostomski (more on Goof later) sent me a photo of him sitting in the Blue and Silver Club or the press box enjoying the game with all the creature comforts. I never even made it out of the tailgate tent where we stayed relatively dry and watched the first part of the game on the new video screen in the south end zone. Thunderbirds jinx. I have to mention the ’92 Thunderbird jinx. Of course we all know that the Thunderbirds flyby at graduation was cancelled because of the “beautiful” weather on 27 May 92.

Well, I was told at the tailgate that the Thunderbirds had been performing somewhere in Colorado that weekend and Jeremy “Kid” Sloane (that’s Brigadier General Sloane now!), former Thunderbird #7, had arranged for the Thunderbirds to do an unscheduled flyover at the game for True Blue ’92. But since the weather was horrible, alas, the Thunderbird flyover was once again cancelled for ’92… maybe at our 30th, 35th, or even 50th it will finally happen. I saw several classmates who had pinned on their first star. I’m not sure if I saw all of our newest generals who attended, but I saw Sloaner, Mark Slocum and Rob “Blender” Novotny. Since we were at the reunion, it was an appropriate time to remember all of us as cadets and how far everyone’s come. I was most interested to hear the stories of those who have started on other careers or endeavors. Being active duty for so many years, it’s hard to picture doing anything else. I talked to classmates who left the AF after finishing their five -year commitment who have been working in industry or other careers for many years. There are many who have retired more recently after reaching 20 years. Of course, with so many pilots in our class, there are a lot who are now flying for the airlines or shipping companies. I would have to say that commercial pilot was the most common answer for those no longer in the AF. I always try to peek in the cockpit when I travel commercially to see if I recognize the pilots, but have yet to run into a True Blue ’92 in the cockpit. It was great to talk to JJ Menozzi and Kelly (Kirkpatrick) Menozzi who have followed their dream to start a winery in Washington State after AF retirement. Perhaps we should have the next reunion at the winery. I met others who had packed up their belongings and have been on the road RVing with the family and exploring our nation’s roads and national parks. Or others, like Andy Elbert, who live and work in Europe. Regardless, where everyone is and what they are doing today, it was great to see everyone back in Colorado at the Zoo. I have to say that everyone looked pretty good after 25 years, especially our female classmates. They have aged more gracefully than us guys. So, for the first reunion photo, here’s a great shot of the True Blue women so you can see for yourself.

The Women of 1992! Checkpoints · December 2017 · 135

CLASS NEWS The next photo I thought appropriate to include is the one of our Preppie classmates.

The Preppies of 1992! After all of their hard work, here’s a photo of Rod and his girlfriend, Belinda Shirk, in front of one of the cool 1992 reunion banners. Rod is planning to keep the website running so check in there from time to time.

Rod and Belinda Shirk That about covers the reunion. There is no way for me to capture all who attended and I had a great weekend visiting and sharing our new and old experiences. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend, I hope you’ll try to attend in five years. Now, let me get back to “Goof” Gostomski. Goof was very prominent in the reunion. He flew in the missing man formation over the Cadet Area at the Friday Memorial Service on the Terrazzo. And, he was supposed to do the fly-by to start the game,

but was weathered out. Being Goof, he was also prominent at the social gatherings throughout the weekend. It was great to see him and have him remind Mark Slocum, Stephanie Yarl (’93)and me of the strange prep school (Northwestern Prep School) that we attended together before USAFA. Here’s a hero shot of Goof before his fini-flight in the A-10 just short of 4,000 hours. He retired on the tarmac next to the jet. Other news. I mentioned a few from the reunion that pinned on brigadier general. Dave “Kumo” Kumashiro was not able to attend, but also just had his promotion ceremony. In true Kumo style, he captured it best with a selfie. I think he’s the king of selfies. General Selva, VCJCS, officiated and many family and friends attended the ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. Last spring I printed a photo from Joe DeLapp’s retirement ceremony which included the three Colonels DeLapp (Joe and two brothers). If I remember correctly, Joe’s dad is also a retired colonel, but wasn’t in the photo. Well, here are the four Colonels Kumashiro—Dave, brother Pat (Ret), sister-in-law Susie (Ret), and dad (Ret) in the selfie with General Selva and many family, friends and colleagues in the background taken just before the promotion. Since Kumo was promoted, this is the last photo of the four Kumashiro colonels. Pretty cool!

Four Kumashiro colonels with General Selva. Well, I’m out of space, even the extra space the AOG gives for reunion columns, so I’ll wrap it up here. It was another great reunion which always makes me miss so many of you. I’m looking forward to the next one, but in the meantime drop me a note. God bless, TB92, James. –James S. Mehta, 117 Julian Ave., Honolulu, HI 96818; (571) 830-7095; jamesmehta@earthlink. net;


Goof’s fini flight. 136 ·

have a great core group, but would love more helping hands. On to the news… Randy Koenig checks in from Breckenridge, CO, where last year he retired from the Reserves. He hung up his silver oak leaves to work for FedEx on the Boeing 777. In true blue family fashion, Randy’s son flies in the Peterson C-130 unit as a loadmaster. Randy’s other son just graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. Congrats to the Koenigs! Many of our classmates have children who have either just finished with college, who are in college or who are about to Members go through the college process. 88% We are no different. Our son has taken us on some great adventures over the last year searching for the perfect spot for the next four years. Unfortunately, the Air Force Academy is not in the cards for the Sabre Society Donors younger Sundsted. However, he has some great schools on 14 his list, one of which is not too far from Alexandria… the University of Virginia. The Kosefeskis and the Sundsteds journeyed to the Charlottesville, VA, campus and walked to all four corner’s culminating in a great football game. I am sure many of you can empathize/appreciate our journey having gone down the same collegesearch road. Kevin works for the Danaher Corporation and travels a decent amount, almost as much as he did when he was flying! His wife, Kelly, works as an elite teacher at the St. Anne’s Belfield in Charlottesville. It was great to spend part of a weekend with the Kosefeskis!

Greetings Nonus Superato! Hope all is great in your world and that you are gearing up for our 25th reunion next year. I, for one, am very excited to see everyone. While we are in the early planning stages; it looks as though this reunion will top the 10- and 20-year reunions! Please let me know if you are interested in the planning or execution of the reunion soonest so we can incorporate you into the planning process. We already

Your scribe, Kevin Kosefeski, Matthew and Collin at the UVA game. After 24 years of silence and in perfect time for next year’s reunion, Gaelle Glickfield sends a great update from California! Gaelle works at the USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) in San Francisco. She works on evaluating the contamination at and clean-up of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. Gaelle admits the work is challenging, but worth it. Her significant other, Ricky, and her 15-year-old son, Benjamin, enjoy living in San Fran. A couple of days prior to her email, Gaelle got Benjamin an orientation ride in a Cessna-172 as a birthday gift. Although he had a great time flying, he wants to be

a doctor and not a pilot! Thanks for the awesome update Gaelle!

year’s reunion! Have a great winter everyone! Respectfully, Mike. –Michael D. Sundsted, 1805 Macadams Place, Alexandria, VA 22308; (703) 307-0903; mdsunsted@ We’re just getting into fall weather here in Texas. The temperatures have dipped all the way into the 60s. It could be a cold winter. It’s now October and I’ve heard they’re already skiing out West. It’s been a great month so far. Colleen and I are about to take a flight over to Germany to visit Tony “Fargo” Retka and his wife, Stephanie. Fargo sent us a message recently saying we needed to visit them there. So we said, OK, how about right now? They are stationed at Spangdahlem. We’ll be there just in time for the local town’s Oktoberfest, which is nice. I got to visit another '94 grad on a recent overnight I had at LAX. Our layover hotel is right on the water in Redondo Beach, close to where Todd Kusserow lives in El Segundo. I called up Kuss and we were able to hang out on a glorious Sunday in Southern California. He drove us around in his BMW that he said was his work car. Kuss grew up in Santa Monica, was stationed Members at L.A. AFB, then worked for 80% the FBI in L.A. (yes, exactly like Agent Utah in Point Break) and as an officer in the Hawthorne PD (right next to El Segundo). Needless to say, he knows everything about SoCal. So, I got the full-up tour of the area Sabre Society Donors around Redondo and Palos Verdes (or PV as Kuss calls it). 13 This included lunch at an awesome spot called Nelson’s above the water in PV. He is retired from his law enforcement career and is now in commercial real estate. Kuss and his wife are doing great raising their two kids in El Segundo. It was great to catch up. Thanks again, Kuss! I’ve received several updates recently of other Red Hot gatherings. Doug Pratt sent me an email titled, "Red Tags in Colorado Springs," with this picture. In attendance, from left, are Matt Glover, Zach Zeiner, Dave Meggett, Doug Pratt, Dave Brynteson, Chris Kornmesser and Steve Goodman. Quick updates from Doug were that he is at

Delta, Dave Meggett is at United and Dave Brynteson is the vice at Mountain Home. I asked Doug what the occasion was and he said it was just beers and catching up. Good to see you all together. Thanks for the update.


Gaelle Glickfield and her son, Benjamin, at his bar-mitzvah. Jade and Erin Beam provided an update from Alaska. Erin works as a business manager for the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and Jade retired from the Alaska Air National Guard back in 2013. Jade is in his 12th year with FedEx and from the looks of the picture loves the outdoors and his sea plane! The Beams stay busy with kids, sports and family outdoor experiences. Their kids are a freshman and sophomore in high school. Great update!

The Beam’s on a family outdoor fishing experience. Julia (Anderson) Yates writes with a quick update. She lives in Denver with her husband, Shanon Yates ’92, and their two boys, aged 8 and 12. Julia and Shanon work for the airlines and have tons of fun raising their boys. Joe Santos informs us that he is headed to Brazil as the new air attaché. He just finished up Brazilian Portuguese language training in Washington, D.C. Prior to training, Joe was the director of Current Operations in the 618 AOC (Tanker Airlift Control Center – TACC) at Scott AFB, IL. His wife, Lisa, and he are definitely looking forward to a great assignment in Brazil, where he will get to fly the mighty C-12 and get back in the cockpit. Their oldest daughter, Bianca (a USAFA 2015 grad – woohoo!), is now a 1st lieutenant finishing up her KC-135R initial qualification at Altus AFB before she goes to her first assignment at MacDill AFB. Their youngest daughter, Selena, will join them in Brazil after she graduates from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.  Best wishes in Brazil! Thanks for all the great updates this quarter. If you haven’t updated your email or contact information with the AOG, please do so as soon as possible so we can contact you regarding next

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

Red Tags in Colorado Springs. As mentioned last time, '94 is in complete control of the F-16 operation at Shaw AFB and now I have the photo evidence to prove it. From left in the next picture are John “Boz” Bosone (20 FW/CV), Dan “Ship” Lasica (20 FW/CC) and Brian “Hack” Jackson (20 OG/CC). I wonder if they ever let these O-6’s fly BFM against each other? Probably lots of Red Air sorties. Looking good guys!

Shaw AFB Viper dudes. Nick Kozdras is at the Pentagon as the chief of Cyberspace Requirements Division. He recently managed to find the '94 grads at the Pentagon and arranged a photo shoot. Nick sent me an email

In the back row from left are Nick Kozdras, Steve Jost, Tom Falzarano, Jeff Krusinski, Victor Moncrieffe and Jeffrey Clark. Front row, from left: Leland Bohannon, Laura Regan, Brian Freiburger, Sean McLay, Eric Grace and Freeman Holifield. Also part of the '94 Pentagon contingent are Joe Torres, Evangelina (Doyle) Duman and Wes Palmer. Checkpoints · December 2017 · 137

CLASS NEWS called, Pentagon Class Photo. Apparently, we have no fewer than 15 Red Hots battling swamp creatures at the Pentagon in D.C. Nick sent me two photos, from the same day, but with a few different people in each due to meetings. So, I’ll use what he sent as “Photo 1” below. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to coordinate this gathering. Thanks a lot, Nick! That’s all I’ve got this time. I hope your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas season were and are nice. Have an awesome New Years and send me those updates and pics -- Kegger. –Craig Allen, (660) 864-5374; kegsdoolittle@ Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great summer! Lots going on in the world – hope all of you are staying safe and everyone is doing well. Let’s get to the inputs! Mike Lyons dropped me a note to say hello and updated that he had retired from active duty in 2015 and is now living in Murrieta, CA, and is serving as the Northrup Grumman global strategy lead for the Global Hawk family of systems. He is living in sunny southern California with his clan which includes his beautiful wife, four kiddos, three dogs, a cat and a horse! Great to hear from you, Mike. Rolf Lundmark checked in quickly after a great weekend of dad fun camping with his little girls to say hi and sent this picture of him and his wife, Jennifer, at the AF/Michigan game. I’m sure many of you were supporting our home team. Thank you for checking in, Rolf!


And now for the Guido (aka Jon Cory) portion of the update... Get-togethers with classmates are one of the best reasons to live so close to your alma

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mater, and many of us had the opportunity to hang with NASA astronaut and fellow KTPer Kjell Lingren including Jon Cory, Andy Leong, Jason Lamb, Julie Price, Kjell, Liz (May) Meggett, Jaime Dahlgren Glover, James McLarty, Karen Slocum, Douglas Cameron, Don Rhymer and Rob Black. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) The other nice thing about being close to the Zoo is that you can sponsor cadets! The Cory family adopted Prince Njoku (2021) of Cadet Squadron 18. Our first weekend with him was also when Papa and Nana Guido were in town, and the whole family went to Seven Falls Members at the Broadmoor. My sons, 76% Justice and Greyson, get along with Prince as if they’ve always been brothers and we’re all happy to host him every weekend he’s not on restriction. All joking aside, Prince is an outstanding young man, and Sabre Society Donors it renews our faith in the future of the Air Force and America 7 to have such fine cadets carrying on the proud traditions and standards of the world’s greatest military academy! Last note. The other great thing about living here is the fact that it’s a military town and classmates are often popping in for a quick TDY. It was such a pleasure to get a last-minute kitchen pass to go share a drink with classmate and fellow alum Rhet Turnbull.

I’m so proud that my squadron-mate is a successful father, full-bird colonel, and all-around beer and whiskey aficionado. Just like with Rhet, if you’re in the Springs -- even just for a day -- please don’t hesitate to contact me! I’m always down for a mini-reunion! As always- thank you for the full update, Guido! Always appreciated!

I know there are always a lot of updates and information flowing on the two closed Facebook pages that have been established for our class… so if you’re on the site, please feel free to request access and get into the fray: “USAFA Class of 1995 – 20 Year Reunion” and “USAFA Class of 95.” And if not, then I’ll do my best to post inputs I receive here for those of you who continue to read. You can also send me updates at the newly established Checkpoints email address: And finally, you can always send me a message via Facebook (I am listed under Becky Mason Fox). Or you can always mail me via the grand ol’ USPS at the mailing address below as well. I would love to hear from you via any of these methods. All the best to everyone – have a safe and wonderful holiday season – and as always KTP95! Becky. Becky Fox, 646 SE 37th Ave., Homestead, FL 33033;;;; cell: (928) 302-8989


As I type, this we know that we will not keep the Commander In Chiefs trophy, our 25th reunion is just four short years away, and Jack Fischer has safely returned from the International Space Station—he’s been enjoying time with family and friends to include a recent welcome home party hosted by Reid and Lori (Ediger)

Rasmussen. Lori works at the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Andrews AFB in A1 and Reid is working at the Pentagon. They recently transitioned to the East Coast from Alabama and are enjoying being close to family and friends. Jack returned in September and his wife, Elizabeth, gave him a warm welcome complete with a long “honey-do” list courtesy of Hurricane Members Harvey. Jack and Elizabeth 69% have two daughters: Sariah is a sophomore at George Washington University and Bethany is enjoying her high school experience. Other Bricks who joined in on the fun include Tracy (DuSabre Society Donors pree) Coyne and her son, Con9 ner. Tracy is currently an IMA for Air University and works at the Pentagon while Erik Coyne is enjoying the world of academia at National War College. The TAB National Guard Bureau was fully represented by Matt “Astro” Wenthe (A3) with his wife Jamie and their two kids, and Dan Begin (A5)—it was great to see him as he’s TDY most of the time managing the Air National Guard acquisition resources. Newly retired CJ McCarthy and his wife, Candace, looked the most relaxed of all and excited about the new job with Northrop Grumman. Paul Birch is at SAF/IA and wife, Mandy, has two very successful jobs, one civilian and one Reserve. There were a

few laughs about the “good ole days” at grad school with Jack.

A few other grads in the DC area: Steve Fino recently celebrated his MIT PhD dissertation “Tiger Check” was published and is available on Amazon. Kathy (Hayden) Linton works with Lori in the A1 and Adi (Flemming) Williams is the chief of staff for DoD SAPR which is keeping her more than a little busy. Patrick Obruba recently started a new job in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the deputy director of Basing (i.e. the BRAC office—if it makes the 2018 NDAA). He and his family are looking forward to a couple of years of stability in the D.C. area. Also in D.C. is Jenn (Graving) Maceda, who provided updates for Tiaa (MacDonald) Henderson, now an O-6 and squadron commander at Maxwell AFB. Tammy (Smith) Schultz recently retired and is headed to Florida with her family. Amy Graveley is a civilian at the Pentagon and recently promoted to GS-15. Jenn is also becoming quite the potter and created some beautiful pieces in recent months. Karrina (Coleman) DeGarmo has been retired over a year and is loving it, mainly due to no more moves and allowing her 10th, 8th, and 6th grader to finish up in Oklahoma. Check out her new face painting business on FB at K Sparkles. Kelly (Gargac) Aldrich retired from the Air Force Reserves in June with a ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial. She also surprised her husband (VMI ’93) with his retirement certificates since he did not have a ceremony. She and Joe live outside of Albuquerque and have two girls, 9 and 5. While Kelly’s primary job is mom she owns Kelly Aldrich Photography and recently started Tang Soo Do.

Tom and Geny (Iglesias ’97) Ste. Marie packed up the kids, dog, and cats in an RV this summer and moved 2,560 miles from Patrick AFB to Los Angeles AFB by way of Pennsylvania to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Tom pinned

on O-6 and became the deputy director of Spacelift for the National Reconnaissance Office. Also with a recent move is Mark Garnet. Mark and Christina moved from Oman to Dubai. He is instructing the UAE Air Force in the Lomax A-660 Archangel. Yiotula (Chiligiris) Shilland sent an update from the Air Force Global Strike Command Senior Leader Conference… great group of Bricks with Brandon Parker and his wife, Ali, Dyess wing commander; Matt and Deb Brooks, Minot wing commander; and Yiotula’s husband, Glen, is the 608th Air Operations Center commander. Glen and Yiotula are headed to D.C. in June 2018 for state department language training and will eventually transition to the Republic of Korea Air Attaché in Seoul.

In other news… Kara (Parks) Fontenot has a daughter at the prep school. Natalie successfully completed basic and is on her way to becoming part of USAFA ’22. Ellen (Miller) Orr was recently married to Brian—exciting to an extremely happy couple! If you haven’t had a chance to read John Mangan’s book, "Into a Dark Frontier," it’s worth a read—exciting page turner. There are also lots of lists for the folks in the Air Force floating around with lots of great kudos for the TABs… promotion, command, school, etc. Congrats to all of you. –Andi Vinyard,; andrea. Greetings ‘97! As always, hope this update finds you well. The Class of ’97 20year reunion is in the books and from what I remember -- it was awesome! It was wonderful seeing so many classmates -- many of whom I hadn’t seen since graduation and many who I’d need to call “sir” or “ma’am” in another environment. Special thanks to Mark Hadley who led the charge in putting the reunion together. Photo credit for class photo to Jason Aguilera.


Class of 97 Reunion Photo

So, here are some quick updates from a few classmates who didn’t make the reunion. Gil Acosta seems to be doing well for himself. After 19 years flying F-15Cs and T-38s, Gil retired and made a drastic career change to put his lost and nearly forgotten USAFA engineering skills to use. Gil has been working with the General Motors Corvette team just outside of Detroit, MI, for about a year and a half. Gil sent in the selfie below with the noted car enthusiast, comedian and former Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, who dropped by to talk shop.

Gil Acosta and Jay Leno I got a note from Ryan Campbell back in August who knew he wasn’t going to make the reunion due to a deployment. Ryan is deployed as the senior defense official/defense attaché (principal DoD official) at the U.S. embassy in Niger. Ryan and classmate Christina (MisegaMembers dis) Campbell are divorced and 76% have one daughter. From the it’s- a-small -world category... Mike Higgins was in Colorado a few weeks after the reunion. Traveling with his son on a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Milwaukee, Sabre Society Donors Mike found none other than 12 his college roommate Chris Barrett as the captain for the flight. Mike is a commercial loan officer at a local bank in Wisconsin. He and his wife have three kids.

Chris Barrett gives Mike Higgins a lift. I’ll close with a couple mentions. I was down at Sheppard AFB for a senior logistics leader summit in October and got to spend a few minutes with Sarah (Williams) Franklin, who is working in the Joint Staff in Suffolk, VA. Sarah is also the treasurer for the National Logistics Officer Association and Checkpoints · December 2017 · 139

CLASS NEWS was at Sheppard for the Maintenance Man Statue dedication in honor of Gen. Leo Marquez.

Sarah (Williams) Franklin with the Logistics Officer Association Maintenance Man. Cathy (Blake) Barrington and Sloan Hollis are both at Minot. Sloan is the vice wing commander of the 5th Bomb Wing and Cathy is the 91st Operations Group commander. With reunion weekend, it was great seeing classmates and their vintage USAFA swag from robes, to USAFA Ts, to A-Jackets to parkas. Cathy promised a picture with Sloan in their USAFA parkas once the snow shoveling commences this winter. That’s all I have for this round. Until next time… Mel. –Melvin E. Maxwell, Jr., 4660 4th St. South, Arlington, VA 22204; mel_maxwell97@hotmail. com; Dominators, great to hear from so many after the last (lack of an) update. First up, Beth (Zeman) Stohlmann sent in this update. Beth and Andy Stohlmann are living in beautiful Bozeman, MT, with their three children (Chase-14, Maiya-12 and Wade-9). Andy just transitioned from flying C-130s with the MTANG to becoming the Montana State University AF ROTC Detachment CC. Beth is teaching economics and American government at the classical school their kids attend. When the day is done, they still turn the beer light on in style. They opened up a taproom – the Bunkhouse Brewery. Their best seller is their Red Ale (gold, grey and blue ales just don’t cut it). Mark Members Emiley was a huge help in 70% getting the beer recipes scaled up and established. Mark is an accomplished brewer and beer judge; his day job is working as an engineer at Boeing in Seattle. Beth also hooked me up with many of the swimmers Sabre Society Donors from the class of ’98. They 11 returned to Colorado Springs in April for the retirement of swim coach KC Converse as well as to be inducted into the USAFA Athletic Hall of Fame. They met up


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with Lauren (Eckert) Myers. (Side note: Lauren, I can’t help it. People keep sending in updates because they are seeing you everywhere.) Lauren and Rob Myers are living in California with their two daughters and Lauren is killing it as a consultant for Rodan & Fields. Connor (Wyatt) Herman and her husband live in the D.C. area with their four beautiful children. Connor is the co-founder and CEO of Dream Team Baby, consulting with and coaching families to help their young children love to sleep. Beth (Haynes) Stargardt lives in Florida with her husband and two kids and continues to work part time as an AF reservist. Rachel (Tukey) Metzgar is also a reservist, flying C-17s with the 97th ARS out of McChord. Her husband Chuck Metzgar (’96) is wrapping up his tour as the commander of the 313th ARS and also flies for Alaska Airlines. Chuck and Rachel have two great kids, Samuel (9) and Annabelle (6). Jenna (Tukey) Flynt and her husband, Jack Flynt, live in the D.C. area where Jack is serving at the Pentagon and Jenna is an engineer with Boeing; they have two children, Natalie (12) and Trevor (8). Krista Steenbergen was unable to attend the ceremony as she’s living in Auckland, New Zealand. She completed her PhD in computational physics at Victoria University and is currently a post-doctorate student at the Massey University Center for Theoretical Chemistry and Physics. Lisa (Book) Doyle was also unable to attend the ceremony. She and her husband Shannon Doyle (’97) live in Salt Lake City with their two boys, where Lisa is a physician and Shannon flies for Delta Air Lines. The swim team was unable to track down Alyssa Cowden (’98), so if you’re reading this – you were missed!

From left are Lauren (Eckert) Myers, Connor (Wyatt) Herman, Beth (Zeman) Stohlmann, Beth (Haynes) Stargardt, coach Converse, Rachel (Tukey) Metzgar and Jenna (Tukey) Flynt. Kevin Divers also checked in with a report from his Parents Weekend trip to the Academy. Kevin’s son Zach is in the Class of 2021 (let that sink in for a moment). Karl Falk is Zach’s sponsor, which enables him to stay involved in spirit mission planning. Kevin also met OT Benson (Tough As Bricks 96 turned Dominator) there. OT also has a son, Benny, showing No Doubt and No Fear with the Class of 2021. (Side note: That class motto makes me think of Gwen Stefani and Motocross.)

From left are Benny Benson (2021), OT Benson, Kevin Divers and Zach Divers (2021). Kevin ran into a number of other Dominators, including Roy Recker and Felicia (Thompson) Recker. Roy is the Fourth Group AOC, so his name can occasionally be heard shouted by a quarter of the Cadet Wing. Maria (Gallei) Roberts is also a Group AOC, so that has half the Cadet Wing Dominated at the group level. Doug Howe works in the library yberWorx office on the 4th floor of the library just past the sleeping Doolies.  Karin (Klein) McWhorter (former class scribe who I have gained a whole new respect for the years she did this job) had the best Mimosas at the football tailgate. She is teaching calculus in the Mathematics Department.

Kevin Divers and Karin (Klein) McWhorter. Tracie (Mead) Hughes also checked in from San Antonio, TX. She and her husband, John Hughes (USMA ’96), adopted two children this past summer. Now they have four kids ages 9, 10, 11 and 12. Excellent planning to get a complete set of classcolored baseball caps and comforters from USAFA. Tracie retired at the end of 2014 and has started a private practice as a psychologist since then. Her team specializes in treating veterans with PTSD, but welcome patients of all ages. Finally, I got word of some sad news as we lost one of our fellow Dominators recently. Michael Mosley passed away in September. Please keep Michael and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Since taking this job, I have really enjoyed reconnecting with so many members of our class, and in some cases, connecting with some who our paths have never crossed before. News like the last update gives me a new perspective about what it means to be connected in our class. Now that you are done reading this, I encourage you to reach out to some of your old classmates. I’m sure somebody would love to hear from you. I know I would, and not just because it makes my job of writing these easier. Keep Dominating.

–Christopher Ulish, (405) 476-6807; usafa98@ A quick update from the Land of Enchantment this time, ’99. I had an opportunity to dine with the one and only Bobby Farina, who was on his way to Santa Fe to celebrate his 11th anniversary with his bride, Anne. He’s still working as a (hedge) fundraiser and loving life on the West Coast, based in San Francisco. He also occasionally runs into Rob Mishev, who’s also based in the Bay Area with his wife, Gaby, and their two little girls. Rob works as a headhunter. Bobby also mentioned he keeps up with Bobby Wolfe, still based in Florida and according to my recent Facebook feed, is now Members expecting a baby brother for his 72% three girls with his wife, Natalie. The following morning, I ran into Tim Curry, who’s currently serving as the aide de camp for your United States Air Force Chief of Staff. Sabre Society I’ve had folks ask me how to Donors contact members of our class. 12 I, unfortunately, can no longer *99 folks on chat, but I can direct everyone to the class Facebook page—USAFA Class of 1999 should get you there. We’ve got about a third of the class on the page now, and it’s a great place to connect or post pictures like the one below. It’ll also likely come in handy as we prep for our 20-year reunion in less than two years now!



2001 Members


Classmates, Another round of Class News with only two last-minute submissions. Please send your Sabre Society updates! Donors I heard from Summer Koons 13 this time around. Summer is now married to TJ Crane (’99), and along with her son CJ, they moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, this last summer and are already enjoying traveling throughout the Middle East. Here they are at the Roman Temples in Baalbeck, Lebanon (Syria is in the far background).

I also heard from Hans Anker who has assumed command of the 109th Civil Engineer Squadron. Hans notes that, after 21 years, he’s finally back to his home state of New York. He transferred to the NYANG and the 109 CES supports the Antarctic C-130 SkiBirds, so he’s enjoying New York and the mission, along with his family.



Hello ’01ers, Not many updates this time so please send them my way for the next article! Sabre Society Lauren Palagi sent this Donors update and picture over from 12 a recent mini-reunion. Kima McCoy was in town for National Guard duty with the 603rd AOC and JD Foy is the 21 AMOG/DO and DJ Palagi is the 86 OSS/DO.

Lauren Palagi, Kima McCoy, JD Foy and DJ Palagi. Also pictured Caroline (Class of 2033), James (Class of 2034) and Charlotte (Class of 2036)! Jeremiah Guild sent me an exciting update revolving around him and coworker Capt. Michael Day. On their way home from a late night at work, they came upon the scene of an accident and saved a woman trapped in her car! Here is the link to the full story. Awesome thing to see our classmates in the news! news/252395/osan-airmen-pull-woman-crashedvehicle-during-seoul-adex-2017

Dana Moss, Trisha Eknes and Mary Stewart in Boston for a ladies’ weekend in October. Until next time, hope all are doing well, and keep me posted on all the amazing ways you’re making the world a better place, one Shiner at a time. -Mary Stewart, Arlington, VA; marybeth 1999@; That’s all for now class. I hope the next time around, some of us may know about some future assignments. Cueball

Capt. Michael Day and Maj. Jeremiah Guild. Thanks again for the updates and keep them coming! Faith –Faith (Hitchcock) Dunn, 6423 NW 94th Court, Johnston, IA 50131;

–Jason Simmons, 1218B Tomahawk Drive, JB Elmendorf-Richardson, AK 99505;; Checkpoints · December 2017 · 141


Class of 2002! Happy Holidays to everyone! This is just a quick update for the class and a request to please send me a quick email or Facebook message with a pic so that I can throw it into the spring Checkpoints update. The AOG created a mobile app that you can download to your phone if you want to keep in touch with USAFA happenings. Class Sightings: David Orleans and Joden Werlin met up in Baltimore for the Ravens vs. Dolphins game in October. Joden had just returned from a deployment in Afghanistan.  Two former Killer Cobras, Matthew Mai and Scott Motley met up Members at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Scott 67% was on his way to spend some extended time in Kuwait. Joe Browning, Dylan Duplechain and Josh Burns went on a hunting safari in Limpopo, South Africa, this past July.  Sabre Society Chris Lazadis, James Colraine Donors and David Orleans met up for 5 steak and wine at Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse in Dallas, Texas. David Amar got married in September in New York. Tony Straw and Bryce Terpstra met up for lunch in downtown Bozeman, MT.

Chris Uecker and Travis Clegg at the USAFA Airfield. Over the Ssummer Chris Uecker randomly took his family on a last-second trip to Colorado to visit his old sponsor family and some other friends in the area. While visiting the Academy he randomly ran into his former roommate Travis Clegg and his family at the Thunderbird Lookout, of all places.  Travis Clegg is flying F-16s with the Tulsa ANG when he’s not on a trip with Southwest.  Chris Uecker is flying F-16s with the Toledo ANG and also flying for Delta Airlines. Chris also reports that he got an invite by Bryan Dalton to meet him on a layover in Munich for lots of beer while they celebrated Oktoberfest. Bryan was on a trip to deliver an F-35 to Israel. The Air Force vs. Navy football game in Annapolis this year was a great place to run into former classmates. Khomani Shortte, Andy Rule, Tony Ewers, Nora (Cho) Rule and Jahrod Matlock (’03) all met up to tailgate before the game.  142 ·

2003 Members


Khomani Shortte, Andy Rule, Tony Ewers, Nora (Cho) Rule and Jahrod Matlock (’03). Professional Development: Kevin Walsh is currently Thunderbird 7 and the operations officer for the Thunderbird team. He and Carlos Jayme met up in Dover, DE, at the Air Mobility Command Museum during the Dover Air Show. Carlos had the honor of taking command of the 436th Communications Squadron in July after being stationed at the Pentagon for the last two years. Over the fall, just before he PCSed, Carlos had the opportunity to meet up with Victor Deal, Brandon Roberts and Ryan Kaldahl at Matt Price’s promotion ceremony. Matt is currently serving on the Joint Staff, Ryan works on Capitol Hill and Brandon Roberts is working with the FAA.

Matt Price’s promotion ceremony with Carlos Jayme and Brandon Roberts. Check in with Checkpoints: As always, please continue to update me with your latest job moves and family updates anytime something cool happens! Keep taking photos and posting them to Facebook or email me anytime so I can keep our classmates updated on what’s new! We now have a Facebook page and a class page on LinkedIn, so come join the party! –Eric Ballew, World Cell: +.850.543.9936;; mil; Class Facebook: USAFA Class of 2002; Class Website:

Hey Bongers, we heard from Randi (Watts) Ramcharan. She writes, “This past Sabre Society Mother’s Day, Bryan Albiston, Donors husband to Mindy Albiston 6 (Finley), pulled off the most epic USAFA-themed Mother’s Day present. Mindy lost her ring a few years ago and always wanted a replacement, so Bryan decided to surprise her with a new ring and wanted to give it to her USAFA style. He elicited the help of Randi Ramcharan (Watts), Adrienne Stahl, Laura Nigro (2004), Cieara Clugston (Carson, 2004), Carmel Burnett (Patton, 2004), and Brandi Guajardo (Raifsnider, 2004). About 1,000 texts later, Bryan knew all the necessary elements to recreate ring dance for Mindy from a 2003 Ring Dance champagne glass to put the ring in, an O-96, hamsters, an original Mitchell Hall plate, and, most importantly, a Mitch’s Mountain!

Mindy Albiston (Finley) with daughters Sabrina and Lillian. Their daughters, Sabrina and Lillian, also helped dad pull off the most memorable Mother’s Day present -- "one that will never be topped!" Awesome update, Randi. Thanks so much for sharing. Please drop us a line at our class gmail account to let us know how you’re doing. Take care, Susan

Mindy Albiston (Finley) with husband, Bryan.

–Susan Lynn (Doyle) Maly, LinkedIn: USAFA 03;; Class Facebook Page: Usafa Zerothree

2004 Members


(Editor's note: We did not receive an input from Breezy for this issue. Please send her your information and photos for the next magazine.)

the fall of 2014 and they moved to Georgia as soon as possible. Bryce and his wife, Catherine, live in Newnan, GA, on the south side of Atlanta, which is close to where Catherine grew up in Peachtree City. At the time of this submission, Bryce was running for the state house in Georgia’s 71st district, which includes Newnan, Sharpsburg, and a little slice of Peachtree City. The election is scheduled for Nov. 2018. Here is a link to help Bryce out if you are interested: Finally, Anna and I would like to make a little announcement of our own: On Sept. 7, we welcomed our second little girl into this world – Katherine Joyce Tamasitis. Katherine and her big sister, Margaret, have been giving us a run for our money these last few weeks, but we are so blessed to have two beautiful and healthy little girls around the house.

Another baby announcement came in from Jamie Hart. “Kira and I welcomed a baby girl into the home in July and I assumed my second command at Nellis in mid-October. Things are going well for the family!” Congrats to both of you, Jamie, and also on 2nd command… good stuff. Placing a little humor into our daily routines and proving that we are ALL scarred for life, Laura Chighizola sent in this, “A rarity that happened the other day. Had the car moved 6 feet it would have been 2007. We were willing to be late for school drop off to take this pic.” That’s dedication and class pride.

Sabre Society Donors


–Breezy Long,

2005 Members


Strivers, We have a few updates from classmates for this issue. First, Joseph Thomer and his lovely bride, Nina Thomer, Sabre Society Donors checked in to let us know that they got married Oct. 13. 6 Their ceremony was held at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas where they currently reside. The wedding was attended by all of their family and their two-and-a-half year old son, Matthew, which made the ceremony extra special. Congrats Joseph and Nina!

The Thomers We also heard from Bryce Remkes, who has been busy on the campaign trail. Bryce was a FAIP at Laughlin and then flew C-17s at Travis and Altus before he punched out in 2014 with the massive VSP wave. He was then hired by Delta in

The Tamasitis Family As always, if you find yourself in the great state of South Carolina, please feel free to reach out. Go Falcons! All the best, John Tamasitis. –John Tamasitis, 825 Kinlock Court, Columbia, SC 29223;; Cell: (803) 3602970


Hello 2006. I hope this message finds you well. Fall is upon us now; I hope your summer was full of fun and changes of scenery. As I sent out the call for inputs this quarter, I got the pleasure of hearing first from Erin Skinner (Warddrip). She wrote, “Thomas Skinner and I (Erin Warddrip) had our third boy, Owen Kenneth Skinner, on Sept. 22 in Bury St Edmunds, UK. We all are doing great!” Great to see and hear about your awesome update, congrats. Three boys… and Thomas. Yikes!

Knowing that I can only be taken so seriously, our semi-serious Holly Chernushin (Sammons) was quick to let me know about her varying mass situation. I will leave that to you all to figure out. They still live in Georgia (the state) and she still works for FedEx. Holly let me know she is often in Memphis, TN, so I assume she is shipping secret sustenance supplies to Elvis. Her favorite movie is still "Cast Away" … Some final inputs were submitted to help wrap up this edition of updates. Chris Members Purvis wrote, “I just completed 77% my initial training at Endeavor Air and got my CL-65 type rating today. I’ll be based out of JFK flying the CRJ-900.” Alicia Carey (Tompkins) wants us to know, “Hello! I don’t know if I have given you an update Sabre Society Donors in years but I am out of the Air 9 Force and working as a project manager at Bigelow Aerospace. We make soft-sided, expandable space habitats. The BEAM, Bigelow Aerospace Activity Module, has been on the International Space Station for a year and a half now as a technology demonstrator, and it is doing well!” Andrew Braley wrote, “Hey buddy, here comes the big one: I just finished upgrading to captain with Skywest airlines flying the CL-65 type like (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Checkpoints · December 2017 · 143

CLASS NEWS Purvis, but all three variants (CRJ 200, 700, and 900). I got remarried to my beautiful wife, Lindsey, inherited a little girl Sydni in the process and have a little one due in April. Lindsey just started a new job at the same time I upgraded and we bought a new house in Piedmont, OK. I figured I would just smash most of the big life changes one can have into a short time and start enjoying them all.” Finally, Elizabeth “Liz West” (Flaherty) is killing fitness and wrote, “I just competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona. I finished with a time of 10:57:27. This was my 6th Ironman and my first time at the world championships after qualifying this summer at the Boulder Ironman.”

In closing, I hope those who need to complete, have completed ACSC already; what a beast but manageable. If not, you are wrong! My kiddos are ready to have their “fun daddy back.” For those who forgot what life is like at Air University here in Mont-gum-ry, Alabama, Shawn “The Schulz” Schulz would like to remind you that academics are in full effect. I am here going through a three-week finance course and the deliverables are a plenty. But as I rolled into Gunter Annex I had to stop and take the following photo for some additional class pride.

Thanks to those who provided updates this time around, and spread the word to others that I will gladly accept more. As for me (Shawn Schuuuuulz), I will continue to support each of you any way I can! Keep those updates alive and flowing!!!


Hi Class of 2007. Can you believe that our 10year reunion has already come and gone? We had 565 adults and 176 kids, and most impressive, more than 400 of the adults were our classmates. This was by far the biggest 10-year reunion ever and this update is dedicated to a detailed recap of

all the fun. The first event was super low key and a blast. We had a welcome reception/happy hour that started at 5 p.m. and went late into the night. There was a main room where everyone congregated throughout the night, but they were free to hang out in the foyer and the hotel bar. The hotel bar was decked out in Air Force sports memorabilia, so we all felt right at home. It was Members wonderful to feel the excite78% ment of that first night and see how genuinely happy everyone was to be together. Beginning at 9 a.m. the next day, we had buses ready to shuttle everyone from the field house overflow lot to the Sabre Society Donors Cadet Area open house. Our classmates walked around and 4 visited their squadrons, Mitch’s, the newly remodeled library, Fairchild Hall, etc. At 11 a.m., everyone gathered either on the grass hill (apparently you can walk on the grass AFTER you graduate) or up at the chapel wall to watch noon meal formation. The uniform of the day was flight suits and it was fun to watch the whole procession from a different vantage point. After noon meal formation, our class lined up for the reunion class photo. After the class photo, everyone headed to the newly-remodeled Haps for pizza and beer. There were boxes of pizza piled high and the bartenders doled out mugs of beer. A number of classmates hung out for a while at Haps before heading back out to visit other parts of the Academy they hadn’t seen in years. We honored Joe Helton’s mom, Jiffy Helton, as our reunion guest of honor and at 3:30 p.m., General Weida, Aaron Sanchez, Mark Hancock, Eric Guzman and Tina (Smith) Decker stood with Jiffy for the Fallen Classmate Memorial Ceremony at the chapel wall. Everyone agreed that it was an amazing memorial with a touching missing-man formation. There wasn’t a dry eye

among our classmates who witnessed this and thought about Joe.

Jiffy Helton at Fallen Classmate Memorial Ceremony. The Class Banquet started at 6:30 p.m. and to say we filled up the entire Academy Hotel doesn’t quite do it justice. Literally every crevice of Academy Hotel’s first floor was filled with tables, chairs and our classmates and their families. It was amazing to look out over this sea of people when I got up to say a few words to kick off the banquet. I reminisced for a few minutes about our class and thanked those responsible for making our reunion possible, especially my reunion dream team, Eric Sepp and Alicia (Stirewalt) Kaskela. Then I announced our special, surprise guest, General Weida, who flew all the way in from Washington, D.C. with his wife, Bonnie, to be with us. General Weida gave a moving speech about his love for our class and the calling that we undertook when we started our journey all those years ago. He highlighted Jiffy Helton and the sacrifice that Joe made for our country. He pushed us to continue to honor the sacrifice that Joe made and constantly chase becoming a better version of ourselves (in reference to Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech). After General Weida’s speech, we all raised a glass to toast him and Bonnie. We followed this with a toast for each of our fallen classmates beginning with Aaron M. Russell who took his own life on April 9, 2015. Then we toasted the memory of one of our brightest stars, Mark Anthony Riggan, Jr., or as we all knew him, Anthony, and his wife, Nicole, who were killed on Dec. 22, 2010, when their private plane crashed at Colorado Springs Airport. Lastly, I paid tribute to Joseph D. Helton, Jr. or as we called him, Joe, who was killed in action by an IED in Iraq on Sept. 8, 2009. I introduced Joe’s mom, Jiffy, and highlighted the foundation she started in honor of Joe, the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation. We honored Jiffy with a $2,500 check for her foundation. Jiffy accepted the check with tears in her eyes. She spoke for a few minutes about how painful Joe’s loss has been and how this

–Shawn “The Schulz” Schulz, 617 E. Wesley Dr., O’Fallon, IL 62269; (915) 309-5612; USAFACAD@; Facebook page: AFA Checkpoints 2006

Reunion Class Photo 144 ·

weekend had changed her view on coming back to the Academy. She had so much pain and emotion associated with the Academy but this trip with all the love and support she experienced had given her peace about coming back. I asked everyone to stand once more; we toasted Joe and Jiffy in a touching moment for everyone in the room. Then Jiffy took her seat to thunderous applause. It was an amazing moment that this recap can never do justice.

Toasting Joe Helton at Class Banquet. I finished up my remarks by thanking everyone for their commitment to our class and for attending our reunion, then announced that it was time to party. Table by table proceeded to the buffet to enjoy a wonderful dinner and unlimited drinks. Every ounce of food was eaten; all 400 Chaco Tacos that we special ordered were dusted in about 15 minutes; we drank every keg and bottle of wine and then some; and everyone stayed until the wee hours of the morning, laughing, reminiscing and reconnecting. It was a beautiful sight to witness. The next day was game day. Before the tailgate, a few of our classmates, led by Daniel “DT” Taylor, hiked Eagles Peak together. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend going to our class Facebook group page and checking out the reunion recap video that DT put together. It’s phenomenal! He includes amazing footage from the Eagles Peak hike and so much more.

Eagles Peak Reunion Hike. The tailgate started at 1 p.m. and it was a packed house. O’Malley’s was there with large grills, grilling all of the bison burgers provided by Roam Free Bison (owned and operated by a 2009 grad). The most impressive sight to see was our large class crest flag that Eric hoisted high over the tailgate. You could spot it from miles away. We shared the tailgate with the Class of 1992, but our classmates were easily recognizable with our reunion shirts and class-colored hats. Everyone came decked out in this gear and, of course, Ajackets! As we all know, the weather in Colorado is unpredictable and we couldn’t have imagined after two days of perfect weather what we were in store for during the tailgate. It was already a bit

chillier and overcast at the start of the tailgate, but that didn’t stop anyone from having a blast. A few hours into the tailgate, Mother Nature released her fury. I've never experienced such a torrential down pour of rain the entire time we were at the Academy than what we saw that day. The Class of ’92 was laughing and telling us they brought us their curse. They explained that they had the exact same weather on the day of their graduation and that their reunion just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Reunion Shirt and Hat The weather forced everyone to pack in under the tents. It’s a good thing there were a lot of them! I didn’t see any shortage of smiles despite the weather. The rain let up a couple times but ultimately right after the game started Mother Nature was at it again. Only a few brave and very cold souls stayed for the entire game. There was so much rain that they delayed the AF vs. SDSU game for quite a while in the middle of the game. Most of our classmates went back to Academy Hotel or other coordinated locations to watch the game in warmth and continue enjoying each other’s company. I headed back to the Academy Hotel and hung out with a number of our classmates in the hotel bar as we watched the game. General Weida was there as well and he even indulged by taking a shot with a group of us. The common thread in the conversations that night was how we didn’t want the weekend to end and how far away 10 years seemed until our 20th reunion. No one was ready to leave the next day and head back all across the country and the world. Many people hung out again into the early morning hours just to make it last as long as possible. It was a beautiful weekend and significantly exceeded the reunion committee’s expectations. Eric, Alicia and I felt that our three goals as a committee were realized, a reunion that was simple, high quality and FUN and it wouldn’t have been possible without all those who attended. I’ve uploaded more than 200 photos to an album titled USAFA Class of 2007 10-Year Reunion on Facebook; please scroll through the photos when you get a chance. Last, and most importantly, the reunion committee wants to hear from those who attended. We are emailing out a super short survey to get your thoughts on how we can improve the next reunion. We also want to get an interest count on if we should do a 15-year reunion instead of waiting until 20. We’d really appreciate your honest feedback and look forward to making our next reunion even better with even more classmates in attendance! –Casey (Bayne) Whitson, (310) 343-5969;

Hi Richter Class! First, Leah Pound and Andrew Gilbraith (married in 2010 in case you missed it) had a baby boy in Sept. 2016 and moved to Connecticut three months later! Their son’s name is Marc-André and is affectionately known as Little Meep across social media despite his young age. Leah was selected for the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership PhD pipeline faculty program after teaching in the department for three years. She’s going to school at the University of Connecticut, studying social psychology.


Leah, Little Meep and Andrew moved from Colorado Springs to Connecticut earlier this year. Andrew got out of the AF in 2013 and started working toward a second bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, in biology (graduated in 2016). He was just accepted into Yale’s physician assistants program. Congratulations! Both Leah and Andrew will graduate in early 2020 and are hoping to move to Washington, DC, soon thereafter. Second, your humble narrator has landed a new job (or two or three). Like many Members other classmates, I left active 66% duty and am now in the AF Reserves. I am an Academy liaison officer, trying to reach retirement one point at a time. On the daily, I work at the Toyota North America headquarters in the Motorsports Division, Sabre Society managing race cars and conDonors cept vehicles. Shortly before 1 starting that position, I earned a real estate license and now specialize in connecting clients with exceptional agents across the country and around the world. So if you have any questions about race cars or real estate, call me. Third, our reunion is coming! Our 10-year reunion is next fall and the planning has commenced. We’ll be adding updates to this article quarterly, but for real-time information, please like our class page on Facebook—US Air Force Academy Class of 2008. If the book of faces is not your Checkpoints · December 2017 · 145

CLASS NEWS thing or you know a classmate who is currently on FB hiatus, please contact me directly. More updates to come! Until our paths cross again, Christin Brodie. –Christin Brodie,; Facebook: USAirForceAcademyClassOf2008 Like and post it to our Class of 2009, Air Force Academy Facebook Page! We want to know how you’re doing and where you’re going! Let us know if you are PCSing, transitioning out of the Air Force, or anything else exciting you’ve done! Here’s the latest… First and foremost, congrats to all the major selects!


U.S. team captain, Capt. Christy Wise (USAF), carries the American flag as the team enters the opening ceremony for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 23, 2017. BABIES: Kevin and Shannon (Reichart) Williams are enjoying the career intermission program outside of St. Louis, MO. They have spent the time having two kiddos, Jillian 2 and Theodore 1. Chad and Rachelle (DeShazo) Stoll just gave birth to their second child, Isabelle Charice, on 22 May 17. Chad is currently stationed at Mountain Home AFB, ID, with the 726 Air Control Squadron. Mike McVay just had baby #2! Kurt Cloutier is working as an ALO out in San Diego and he and his wife, Jen, just had their first baby boy! Tyler and Ashley (Maddox) Hewko are expecting their first soon. So is Kenny Montague! Members Jon Rodgers just had his third 49% kiddo! NEW JOBS: Chris Vicari has been living in San Diego, flying as a King Air ISR (dirty bearded) contractor, and has interviews with some major Sabre Society airlines lined up for the spring! Donors Mr. Brian Vickers is now 0 working as a project manager at EMG. OTHER SPOOGE: Mike Knapp also made major… just barely.

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SHAMELESS PLUGS: Check out! Classmate owned! If you ever need a place to stay in Altus, OK, you need to look no further than the Bat Cave! Yvonne “Evie” Johnston bought Julia Child’s house in Provence! Check out her new venture on Facebook and AirBnB: La Peetch: Center for Food, Culture and Community. – Forrest Underwood, PSC 80, Box 20284, APO AE 96367,; Facebook: Forrest J. Underwood Greetings class! Hope everything is well as we roll into the holiday season and New Year! Congratulations are in order to Chloe Shea (Angello) as she and her husband, Dan, welcomed their second daughter, Persephone on Sept. 6. Persephone’s big sister Daphne could not be happier! Scott Levin and his wife, Kinsey, had their first baby girl (Harper) on Oct. 4! Andrew Van Timmeren and his wife, Lauryl, are proud to announce another Van Timmeren boy will be entering the world after Christmas! Similarly, Corey Curtis and his wife are expecting a bundle of joy in Jan. 2018. Max Willet Members and wife, Erin (Ferderer), are 41% expecting in March 2018. John Dombroski and his wife also welcomed a new addition to the family in September. Caleb Becker and his wife, Tara, proudly announce the birth of Sabre Society their daughter, Grace Elizabeth, Donors born Aug. 4, 2017. Grace joins 2 her big brother Cody, age 3. Caleb is currently a T-6 IP at Vance, but will be PCSing to Dyess AFB in fall 2018 for training in the B-1.


The proud Becker family! It is a small Air Force out there, and recently (from left) Will Cuchens, Scott Levin, Brett Troutman and Brad Wolff were able to meet up during one of their recent adventures and snap this cool photo.

Also, I’ll be firing my intelligence collection team as Bill Percoski got engaged back in April and married in September, but I didn’t find out about it until this month. Congratulations to Rachel Lovelady on her marriage, and to Sean O’Keefe on his marriage as well! John Falgout has had quite the past six months. After separating from the Air Force, he sold his home in Dayton and moved to New Orleans to start law school at Tulane. Good luck! Jon Lewczyk is now a USAF Weapons School grad. Congrats, and awesome job! For Vanessa (Warwick) and husband, Matt Beaudreault, after a cumulative 14 deployments and 4,000-plus combat hours in the U-28, both have the opportunity to start their next journey teaching T-38s to future aviators. I’m enjoying the lovely weather at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, about halfway through! ’Til next time, blue skies and tailwinds! –Todd Gamiles, Greetings Class of Olds! This past quarter has been quite the exciting one with wonderful news from some of our classmates. Starting off, Alex Parmater and his wife, Zandy, are pleased to announce the birth of their first child, Emily' on 7 September. Alex is currently living in Destin, FL and stationed at Hurlburt Field.




Sabre Society Donors


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

and check your local listings in order to watch the BECKMAN family. These all-stars should be showing up in November 2017.

Bottom Line: people are everywhere. It is probably best you follow your heart and make time for the people you care for. I hope each sunrise warms your face and that you welcome it as you welcome every challenge. You are open, adaptableand effective. Good luck to everyone. Cheers, LeRoi. –LeRoi Edwards, Hello class and alums! A lot of good things this past quarter, to include marriages and pilot upgrades. Congratulations to Karen Rubin-Santos and David Miller, who got married on May 6 in Miami. Karen is currently a T-6 instructor pilot at Columbus AFB and David flies the KC-10 at McGuire AFB. Yes, David’s plane is bigger, but rumor has it that Karen can triple-turn student sorties in less time than a successful KC-10 pre-flight. Karen is excited to be joining David in the KC-10 community, where they can feel the sting of these jokes together. Pia Gray and Ryan Gray (’14) Members tied the knot in Albuquerque 49% on Sept. 3. They are currently stationed at Cannon AFB where Pia flies the MC-130J and Ryan flies the CV-22. The dynamic couple crushed pilot training and lengthy B-courses and are thrilled to finally be Sabre Society Donors stationed together. Class1 mates from around the world and grads from 1980 to 2015 attended the wedding. Cheers to Falcon love and the Grays.


Alex Parmater, his wife, Zandy, and their daughter Emily. Next, we have two classmates, Taureen Singletary and Ryan Curry, who were both selected for Air Liaison Officer School. Congratulate them and wish them luck as they embark upon their physically challenging training! Finally, on two separate occasions, I had the pleasure of hosting two of our classmates who found themselves TDY in San Diego -- Alan Wong and Tania Buda. If anyone else is ever in the area, please do not hesitate to reach out. I will take you out for some tacos and a beverage of choice! As we bid farewell to summer and welcome in winter, I wish everyone a safe upcoming holiday, and keep our deployed classmates and troops in your thoughts!

The Beckman family dressed up and ready to prove that they ARE the brightest crayon in the box. In similar news, grad Megumi Voight is transitioning from active duty public affairs officer to AFRC Public Affairs with the 4th Combat Camera Squadron and just started working with a non-profit in Washington, D.C. The organization, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, raises scholarship money for the children of those who are killed in the line of duty. You can find more information by contacting Megumi on Facebook or

– David Lam, 1281 9th Ave. Unit 2001, San Diego, CA 92101; (862) 222-6674; Dlam11usafa@gmail. com Greetings Hap, I hope this message finds you in a vivacious attitude ready to continue dominating life as we know it (in an outstanding, walk an old lady across the street not tyrannical evil villain kind-of-way). Unfortunately (like many of you) life has gotten the better of me. Each of the last eight weekends I’ve been commuting to different countries and am limited in ability to fully disclose all of the amazing things that everyone is up to. However, a few shining souls have risen to the occasion Members and provided some solicited 27% feedback to my self-imposed position. First up: Family Feud literally “can’t even” without Andrew Beckman (pictured far right) and his family were flown down to Atlanta in May 2017. Sabre Society Donors Steve Harvey was pumped that 1 he knew someone that had their diploma handed to them by the president of the United States. Make sure


Megumi before transitioning into her next calling… Finally, something more lighthearted. I want to spotlight Taylor “Hyde” Roberts and his wife, Dani. They are amazing people and led the 510th FS (RULE) up to Oktoberfest this past September. They mean a lot to me and I am thankful they could fit me into their schedule.

Pia (Goodman) and Ryan Gray, the newlyweds. Tyler Margerison and Matthew Roberts recently graduated the C-17 pilot checkout course. Tyler is based at McGuire and Matthew is at Charleston. They met in tropical Altus, OK, as partners for their upgrade to aircraft commander. They are back to their respective bases, but both are excited to visit Altus yet again in the not-so-distant future. (See photo at the top of the next column.)

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Matt Roberts and Tyler Margerison posing post checkride. This quarter, I’d like to feature the C-17’s newest, shiniest aircraft commander, the one and only Alexander Augustine Arcidiacono. Better known at “Auggie,” this West Coast boy is known for his blonde flow, laid-back attitude, and Cali swagger. Growing up, he surfed the waves of the San Diego beaches. As a cadet, he continued to shred the gnar in the water polo arena. Now, he lives on the “not Best Coast,” where he makes the most of living in downtown Philadelphia and hacking the C-17 mish on the reg. His biggest accomplishment in life, however, is either eating an entire leftover cake at the CQ or beating Halo on Legendary… during a SAMI. Cheers to you, Auggie, and all your endeavors.

Weddings, engagements, babies, and other accomplishments of our brothers and sisters abound this quarter. First, Megan Cox not only bags 2016’s TACP (ALO) of the Year, she’s also the second female to graduate from the program… Also, Anna Cruz got Members accepted into LEAP and is now 60% enjoying empanadas while assigned in Colombia after tying the knot to her beautiful Army bride 1Lt Natasha Silva. Speaking of weddings, Jonathan Monsalve married Riana Rodriquez in a beautiSabre Society Donors ful afternoon ceremony at the USAFA Cadet Catholic Chapel. 1 The two met while Jonathan was at UPT in Del Rio. His groomsmen were other members of Tiger Ten including Brian Andre, Dylan Kay and Mike Foley.

The Monsalves

Lastly, the 36 Fighter Squadron had their first centennial this year and our classmates were there to celebrate 100 years of American Air Power. Harrumph!

Zeamers celebrating the Fiends Centennial. Harrumph! From left are Frank Martin, Nick Hafner, Dominic Garcia, Roed Mejia, Ryan Sheikh and Tim Park. Even though we see a lot of you around and on Facebook, Hailey Clinton and I will not publish your stories unless we have your permission/ direction to do so. Please email us your updates at We hope to hear from you next time! –Hailey Clinton, –Roed Mejia,

Alex Arcidiacono being a remarkably mediocre pilot, posing behind a KC-135. I know you all are doing grand, patriotic things all over the world. If you think your life happenings are particularly extraordinary (or even just ordinary), send me an update! We would love to hear from you. Thanks for contributing! Keep in touch, Molly Travis. – Molly (Bush) Travis, USAFA2013news@gmail. com Greetings class of the Zeamer kind! I hope everyone is having the warmest holiday season now that winter has come. And if you are on a mission to deter America’s foes or promoting our nation’s interest away from your loved ones, may this roundup warm your hearts and speed up your days so you can be reunited with them once again!


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2015 Angela Hartford and Wyatt Vander Voort (’15). Meanwhile, Angela Hartford is now a practicing physician assistant and was recently married to Wyatt Vander Voort (’15) late last summer in The Club at Flying Horse in Colorado Springs. Also, please congratulate Joe Cole and Audrey in welcoming baby Johnny to the world.



Bros! I hope all of you are doing well! Looks like our class is finally getting into the groove of the Sabre Society Air Force life. By the time you Donors read this article, we’re going 0 to be about 2.5 years out from graduation – which is half the commitment time for most of the class. Some people are moving on to their second assignment and getting selected for special duties. I know that some 2016ers are already dropping their follow-on aircraft out of UPT, meaning almost all the 2015ers have dropped

(unless you broke your foot trying cardio for the first time in your life – I’m looking at you Austin Heckman). Speaking of which – some happy news: every now and then the Air Force gives happy endings.

“The Truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” – General Norman Schwarzkopf Until next time, SEE YA! –Jonathan Kay and Tim Thornburg, 2015classnews@gmail


Jay P Fullam and Erin Fullam (Crow) both dropped A-10s! Jay P’s brother is already in the Hawg at Tucson, so now there are three A-10 drivers in the family. Also – Troy Timmerman and Molly Gilroy got a sweet deal where he’s flying the Strike at Seymour Johnson, and she’s flying the KC-135 out of SJ too! Here’s a group of bros at Matt Leslie’s wedding to his new bride, Caitlyn.

“You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast; these are some good times; so take a good look around you may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” I know what y’all are thinking; I’m bonkers to say that I miss the Academy. So let’s make this clear, I do NOT miss the tedious formations, silly M5 meetings, or the dreadful SAMIs. I do, however, miss viewing the beautiful Colorado sunrises, living next to my closest friends, and having my meals made for me! While “you’re going to miss this” is probably one of the most used clichés around, it is also the most accurate. Members We were all so ready to get our 62% AFSCs, graduate and leave our mark on the world. The excitement was real… a bigger paycheck, a larger room, and better food. The possibilities were endless -- now half a year Sabre Society later we are finally making our Donors mark on the world! 0 First, I wanted to welcome home Joey Wilkin on his first deployment! Who would have thought that this goofy guy would be out the door first? We are extremely proud of you, bud!

From left are TJ Mullins and Michelle Mullins (Ferguson), Chandler Bishop and Desirae Ionata, Sierra Kelly, Kevin Saval and Ally, Kristian Knuths and Lydia, and Creighton Scovil and Kylie Williamson.

JuJu Nainggolan in San Angelo, Texas. And as usual with Checkpoints, we are continuing to celebrate new lives and new adventures in our Air Force family! Congrats to Clay Nordhaus and his wife on the birth of their new baby (Alexander)! Such a beautiful blessing!

Clay Nordhaus and family Next, we have our engagement and wedding announcements! Congratulations to Jenna Tasic and Michael Barnosky on their recent engagement! And congratulations to the sweetest couple, Alex and Sara Olsen on their wedding! Best wishes to y’all! Time flies y’all; while we cannot slow down time, let’s take a few extra moments to appreciate how far we’ve come and the awesome things we are doing because we will miss it! Incredibly proud of y’all – Bianca. –Bianca Franz, (706) 825-6821; Bianca.franz@ Class of 2017! Alex Osborn here. This is just a quick update for the class and a reminder to please send photos/updates to our class email so that I have something to write about for future Checkpoints. I hope y’all enjoyed your travels and time off over 60 days. Our class ventured around the world and saw many amazing things. For part of my travels, I went to Australia with Shelby Chapman and Rhianna Hill. We had a blast playing with kangaroos and diving the Great Barrier Reef! It was a trip I will always remember.  


Sheppard IFF class 17-JBS was vastly Academy, so here’s another picture: Andrew Reese, Devin Lynch, Andy Leeuwenburg, Dustin Rivich, Sophia Vasiliadis, Weston Umano, Jon Kay, Erin Fullam, Mason McDaniel, Dillon Garvin (or maybe Traverse Garvin, no one really knows), Patrick Ryan and Cameron Garrison. Good luck to people who are currently on deployments or getting ready to get going that direction! We’re all counting on you.

Joey Wilkin Next, I wanted to congratulate some of our classmates on their duty assignment from tech school! JuJu Nainggolan graduated from intelligence training in early October and will be heading to Hawaii! Also, Nir Maramreddy found out he will be flying the mighty A-10 from pilot training. Make us proud; keep working hard!

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Alex Osborn, Shelby Chapman and Rhianna Hill It has been a few short months since we reported to our first assignment, and our classmates

are already busy doing great things. Our future pilots have been enjoying their time at initial flight training in Pueblo, CO. Each student gets 14 flights, which includes a solo flight. Here is Daron Williamson after his solo! Way to go Daron! IFT is supposed to last four weeks, but Members could last longer due to Colorado weather. A lot of studying 67% and chair flying takes place during the program giving students a little taste of what it will be like in undergraduate pilot training. Good luck to the rest of our future pilots, and have Sabre Society fun flying the mighty DA-20!  Donors Up the road from the busy 0 skies at IFT, we currently have 15 admissions advisors from our class who have been working hard and traveling across the nation to recruit individuals to USAFA. Myah Jackson and Alanna LoVetri have recently traveled to Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Michigan as a team in order to speak to young prospects from across the nation and spike interest in the Academy. Keep up the great work! Alanna LoVetri and Myah Jackson 

Jocelle Rudico, Samantha Moody, Zach Johnson and many others from our class have recently begun undergraduate space training at Vandenberg AFB! This is the space community’s entry-level course and must be completed in order to earn their space operations badge. This training will last approximately four months. Good luck to all in your training! That is all for now! Again, please send updates to our class email below. I know our class is working hard and will continue to accomplish great things! –Alex Osborn,

Daron Williamson

Why We Lost

Why Johnny Came Marching Home

Why Johnny Came Marching Home Read what others say about A Fighter Pilot’s History of Why ”Why Johnny Came Marching Home” We Lost the Clandestine Air Wars in Southeast Asia

“This is a landmark piece of literature that must be read by anyone This is the complete story of America’s concerned politics involvement in with the air the war waged over of war.” North Vietnam and the huge, clandestine Doctor Robert Davey (USAFA 62) air war fought over the Kingdom of Laos. American fighter-bombers fought intense

battles incourage the skies over (the North Vietnam and “The author) demonstrated in so many ways in and China. Unmanned American drones were around theout war is only by the courage he showed in examining, routinely shot of the Chinesematched skies. Thousands of American planes were shot dissecting, and exposing the hidden depths of ineptitude, the lies, the down by missiles and guns fired by the forces of multiple Communist countries, ignorance and the arrogance that caused so much human carnage in including the Soviet Union, China and that American exercise in futility.” Northmisbegotten Korea. The author flew 148 combat missions,Mike Farrell, award-winning star of MASH dropping bombs, firing rockets and shooting cannon against targets through-

Russ Goodenough

Why Johnny Came Marching Home A Fighter Pilot’s History of Why We Lost the Clandestine Air Wars in Southeast Asia

“Those of South us who out North and Vietnam,fought Laos and the (Vietnam) War greatly appreciate his Cambodia. He flew MIG screens and MIG efforts and insight. This is a must read for anyone interested in the SEA cover missions against Communist fighter aircraft over North Vietnam and the Gulf air wars.” of Tonkin. He flew close-air-support of Army and Marine forces in the Brig. South. General (ret.) Dan Pemberton (USAFA 62) He interdicted North Vietnamese supply routes through the Laotian Ho Chi Minh Author: RusstheGoodenough Trail. His aircraft, F-4C Phantom II, at (USAFA 62), F-4C fighter-bomber pilot, flew the time was the hottest and fastest in the 148 combat missions against MIGs, SAMs, & AAA throughout SEA. His world. He was forced to eject twice within a rescue by the Marines the middle of the 25th North Vietnamese year, with one involving perhaps the from most harrowing Laotian rescue of the entire war. Division in Laos was one of the most harrowing of the entire war.

The “Secret” Air War against the Pathet Lao and the North Vietnamese ground forces in Laos waged by CIA pilots and a “This is a serious document about war. Strap in with Russ for a wild and multitude of “airline pilots” contracted to the CIA, was augmented with jet aircraft dangerous ride through aerial combat in the Vietnam War.” flown by the U.S. Air Force and Navy. It was Major General (ret.) Don Shepperd (USAFA 62) so intense that more bombs were dropped on Laos than in all of World War II.

Available at

Continued on inside back cover

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FINAL APPROACH Portrait Unveiling Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85 (left), Air Force Academy superintendent, and his predecessor, retired Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michelle Johnson ‘81, unveil the 19th superintendent’s portrait Oct. 2, 2017, at the Air Force Academy. Johnson, the first female to hold the position of USAFA superintendent, served from August 2013 through August 2017. Johnson’s portrait is displayed in Arnold Hall alongside other past superintendents. Since retiring from the Air Force, Johnson has been named senior vice president and head of referee operations for the National Basketball Association. She began her new duties on Oct. 16. (Photos by Tech Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

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C-7A Plaque Dedicated at SEA Pavilion


n a cloudy and rainy Wednesday (Oct. 4, 2017), approximately 40 people attended a special ceremony to recognize those who flew the C-7A Caribou during the Southeast Asia War. A plaque highlighting the mission of the C-7A and commemorating those who lost their lives during combat missions was unveiled by United States Air Force Academy graduates Gordon Bredvik ’63 and Tom Smith ’70. One hundred Academy graduates flew the C-7A in Vietnam — one from the Class of 1959, four from 1961, two from 1962, 12 from 1963, seven from 1964, 15 from 1966, 11 from 1967, 28 from 1968, 14 from 1969 and six from 1970. A total of 40 C-7 crew members lost their lives in combat missions during the war, including two USAFA graduates: Capt. Robert Bull II ’61 and 1st Lt. Theron Fehrenbach II ’68. The C-7A plaque is the 13th unit plaque added to the Unit Wall at the SEA Pavilion along the Association of Graduate’s Heritage Trail adjacent to Doolittle Hall. The plaque project was made possible by 27 donors who provided the financial backing to get it accomplished. According to the plaque dedication emcee, Bruce Buono ’68, the Air Force used the C-7A in the Vietnam War for about six years, supplying Army, Marine and other customers with weapons, troops and critical supplies. “We risked our own safety by supporting our troops on the ground,” Buono said. What made the C-7A unique was its ability to land on short and unimproved runways, Buono explained, and to deliver supplies to troops who were closest to the enemy front or at isolated outposts. “We all had a mission to do, and ours was to resupply,” he said. “I think this plaque is a good addition to this wonderful pavilion.”


Tom Smith ’70 (left) and Gordon Bredvik ’63 unveil the plaque dedicated to the C-7A Caribou.


Bruce Buono ’68 was the emcee for the C-7A dedication ceremony at the Southeast Asia Pavilion along the Heritage Trail.

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CS-01 Remembers One of Its Own USAFA’s Cadet Squadron 1 dedicated a new memorial cabinet Friday, Nov. 3. The cabinet highlights the life of Lt. Col. Frank “Bruiser” Bryant ’95, who was tragically gunned down on April 27, 2011. Lt. Col. Bryant’s wife Janice (Harriman) Bryant and son Sean Bryant were on hand for the brief ceremony. Family friends, relatives and colleagues also were on hand for the dedication event. Lt. Col. Frank Bryant, Jr., was born Aug. 13, 1973 in Knoxville, Tennessee. During his United States Air Force Academy career, he wrestled for the Falcons and was the team’s captain and most valuable player during his first-class year. In addition, he served as the squadron commander of Mighty Mach One. Upon graduation, Lt. Col. Bryant was assigned to Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi for pilot training. During his time there he earned his pilot wings and became a T-37 instructor pilot. After his assignment at Columbus, he achieved his dream of becoming an F-16 pilot. Over the course of his 16-year career, Lt. Col. Bryant accumulated over 3,047 flying hours with 121 of those hours being in combat. In 2003, he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he flew the F-16 on multiple combat missions. One of those missions was a raid aimed at Saddam Hussein and his sons. He served multiple assignments taking him to Kunsan Air Force Base in the Republic of Korea; Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.; and the United Arab Emirates, where he severed as an exchange pilot. In 2008, Lt. Col. Bryant was named the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Top Instructor Fighter Pilot, earning the General William R. Looney III award. In addition to this achievement, he was also awarded the 19th Air Force Air-to-Ground Fighter

Pilot Instructor of the Year award. Prior to his final deployment, Lt. Col. Bryant was attached to the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, and served as the assistant director of operations and an F-16 pilot instructor for the 56th Training Squadron. In 2010, he was deployed to the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisor Group in Afghanistan for a 14-month tour. During his deployment he served as an air advisor for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands Program. In the process of helping the Afghans build their Air Force he uncovered and exposed corruption within the Afghan ranks and devised a plan to curtail misuse of American resources by Afghan officials. On the morning of April 27, 2011, Lt. Col. Bryant was participating in a meeting with American and Afghani Forces at Kabul International Airport. An armed Afghani colonel ambushed the meeting and opened fire on those in attendance. Lt. Col. Bryant, six other Air Force offi-

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cers, an airman and an American contractor were tragically killed in the attack. The memorial cabinet program officially began in 2008 and is coordinated by Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Bob Diehl. There are currently 14 cabinets positioned throughout the cadet dorms. Each cabinet is dedicated to a fallen graduate, with mementos displayed representing the life of the individual who paid the ultimate sacrifice since Sept. 11, 2001. The squadrons work with family members to gather up memorabilia that will be on permanent display at the Academy. Each display case is unique to the fallen hero and his or her interests. The Association of Graduates continues to assist in the research, graphic creations and cabinet purchases as the program continues. More than $20,000 has been raised to support the cabinet program through the years. To help out, or for more information, contact Bob Diehl at 719-247-8729 or email

USAFA commandant seeks graduate feedback, questions


n an effort to stay connected to the graduate community, USAFA Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93 held the second of her quarterly open forums Monday afternoon (Oct. 2, 2017) in Polaris Hall. To open her hour-long session, Goodwin talked about some of the successes the Cadet Wing has experienced in recent weeks. She noted that Max Wiseman, a young leukemia survivor, was recently named “Cadet for the Day” and was given the royal treatment at the Academy. He is the son of 2002 USAFA graduate Letitia (Dawson) Wiseman. Goodwin talked briefly about “In The Stairwell” and its recent successful run on the America’s Got Talent television program. She said the a cappella group’s appearances provided a great opportunity for the cadets and the Academy. “Through this experience, we were able to show America a little bit more about the cadet experience, what the Academy is all about and what our Air Force is all about,” she told the crowd. “It was just a win-win all the way around.” The big challenge now, she added, is that the Academy is receiving requests from around the globe for the singing group to perform. “And how do we balance that?” she asked. Goodwin reported that several cadets have formed a new CADD chapter (Cadets Against Drunk Driving) and the group is encouraging fellow classmates to avoid drinking and driving. The group

Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin '93, USAFA commandant of cadets, responds to questions from the audience during the second of her quarterly open forums at Polaris Hall. (Photo by Jeff Holmquist)

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provides rides when a fellow cadet finds themselves in a bad situation. In addition, Goodwin said several cadets have launched a new app called Good4DI, which allows cadets to sign in and out for passes. “They use this technology every single day now, and it’s been hugely effective,” she said. Goodwin also mentioned her efforts to empower cadets and Academy staff to make various decisions. The commandant said she is stressing accountability, professionalism, respect and dignity at every level. During the question-and-answer session, an alum asked about the lockdown that occurred Friday night. Reports of an active shooter led security forces to shut down the campus and investigate the report, which turned out to be a false alarm. Goodwin and Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85 happened to be meeting with about 300 cadets in Arnold Hall when the lockdown occurred. The senior leaders set up a virtual command post in an attempt to gather information and develop a plan of action. As the evening progressed, however, a “barrage of misinformation” resulted in some panic within the Cadet Wing. “It just caused mass hysteria,” she said. Suddenly, false reports started circulating via social media that a shooter was in Vandenberg Hall in Squadron 3. Another report suggested that two people had committed suicide. Yet another false report indicated that people running around the Cadet Wing with assault rifles. A local news report incorrectly stated that a suspect had been arrested. “All of this is false. None of this happened,” she said. But cadets who were

locked in their rooms had no way of knowfourth-class cadets to wear their backing “what’s real or not real,” she added. packs on both shoulders rather than “They’re scared. They think they’re carry them in their left hand. Goodgoing to die,” she told those in attenwin said no one could explain why the dance. “One cadet jumped out of a left-hand tradition was important. second-story window to run away and Because cadets have to carry laptop went to Stillman Field.” computers and heavy books to class, Goodwin praised security forces for it made sense that they be allowed to how they handled the situation, and she distribute the weight on their backs, suggested that the Academy’s established she said. emergency response plan worked well. The leadership has instituted a “What I’m proud of is … if it would morning accountability formation happen again, we’d do the same thing,” at 6:45 a.m., she said, to make sure she reported. everyone is safe and accounted for. Other topics that were discussed: “It’s an opportunity for the squadron • Another graduate asked why the commanders, the leadership and the Academy forces cadets to change flight commanders, to actually pay squadrons after two years. His Class attention to their troops and make of 1970 classmates developed strong sure they’re good,” she noted. bonds by staying in the same squadGoodwin also noted that lunch in ron all four years, he suggested. Mitchell Hall is now mandatory, forcGoodwin said the thinking behind ing cadets to learn dining etiquette the “shuffle” is that everyone gets a and get to know each other more. fresh start when they become juniors. Previously, many cadet-athletes were That’s important, she said, for those leaving the noon lunch immediately who maybe didn’t start their Acadafter announcements. emy experience strongly. “How about having a meal together? “Some people are able to start fresh Break some bread and talk, and get to and they’re doing really well,” she noted. know your people,” she said. “What I’ve • Responding to a question about mandated is 20 minutes – you sit and first-class cadets being allowed to leave you have lunch.” campus overnight on weeknights, • Goodwin reported that the AcadGoodwin told the graduates she has emy leadership is working to identify changed that policy. curriculum and military requirements “How are you supposed to have that every cadet must achieve in order to a four-class system when one class graduate. She said some key experiences is checked out?” she said. “Where’s are not current defined as requirements, the leadership if all the firsties are but that will change. gone? Who is leading? Those are the Other topics of discussion included officers – what kind of example are pilot training slots available to USAFA they setting?” graduates; exchange cadet training and She addressed several other recent accountability; and pass incentives. changes as well, including allowing

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Cyber’s expanding role in today’s Air Force


en. (Ret.) Charles Holland ’68 met with four cadets on Oct. 13 to talk about the expanding cyber fight and how that emerging domain will impact the warfighter in the years ahead. C1C Nathan Montierth, C1C John Johnson, C1C Jacob Orner and C1C Austin Gadient were on hand to quiz Gen. Holland about his views on cyber and how the modern battlefield is impacted by offensive and defensive cyber operations. Holland, a special operations commander during the closing years of his Air Force career, has been assisting our nation’s military with war game efforts since 2004. Over the past decade, Gen. Holland said, planning for future conflicts has included an ever-increasing awareness of cyber and the vulnerabilities that our country faces. Gen. Holland told the cadets that the U.S. has almost always enjoyed a competitive advantage over its adversaries, due to advanced technologies and strategies, but that’s now changing.

“Our adversaries are getting smarter all the time,” he said. “We have to protect our systems. We need to fix that problem. “And our adversaries don’t necessarily go by international norms, nor do they really go by the rules of law, versus how we in the U.S. try to operate.” A big concern is the ability of adversaries to fight in the cyber domain with very little cost involved. That adds to the challenges that U.S. forces face. As an example, Gen. Holland noted that 23 million people in Afghanistan have cell phones and 90 percent of Afghanis have access to the Internet. That means that potential cyber weapons are in the hands of everyday citizens throughout the world. Gen. Holland encouraged the upcoming Air Force leaders to explore opportunities in cyber and space, as those domains will be vitally important in the days ahead. “For all of you, these are pretty exciting times,” he said. “People are recognizing the importance of cyber. It’s going to be very important that we have people who are well steeped in what cyber brings to the warfighters.”

Gen. (Ret.) Charles Holland (center) answers questions about cyber warfare in the operational Air Force during a recent discussion with four members of the Class of 2018. (Photo by Ryan Hall) Checkpoints Online

Responding to a question about future technology that might help in the cyber fight, Gen. Holland suggested that Artificial Intelligence, lasers, jamming capabilities and “assured communications” will be important new developments in the near future. He noted that the military’s partnerships with private industry will be key as new technologies are explored, as tech companies can more rapidly respond to threats in the cyber realm. “What can we learn from them? That’s very critical,” he added. As for a final piece of advice, Gen. Holland offered the following: “Think outside the box, don’t allow yourself to get into a group think, and don’t be bashful,” he says. “Talk to your leadership in a respectful way.” Gen. Holland’s Academy class — the Class of 1968 — will gather for its 50th reunion next year. The class gift will focus on ongoing cyber education and cyber efforts at USAFA, including support for the Academy Cyber Competition Team.

Col. Fischer Promotes Space Careers C

ol. Jack Fischer ’96 — who recently returned from the International Space Stations after 136 days on orbit — interacted with United States Air Force Academy cadets throughout the day Tuesday (Nov. 14, 2017). Fischer, who was an astronautical engineering major at the Academy, was selected to be an astronaut in 2009. He served as a flight engineer for Expedition 51/52 — heading to space on April 20 and returning Sept. 3, 2017. During a noon presentation in Fairchild Hall’s D-2 lecture hall, Fischer recounted his experiences in space, including two space walks. “Obviously, the view was beyond amazing when you’re out there,” Fischer said of his space walks. “When you look out to the stars, it makes you feel so small. It really does change your perspective.” Fischer spoke about the various experiments he was involved in while on the Space Station, including efforts to create stronger alloys and efforts to test a new cancer drug. He also mentioned some of the fun experiences he enjoyed, such as renewing his wedding vows with his wife of 25 years while he was in space. Fischer praised the entire international team that made his mission possible. “The International Space Station is a fantastic example of what we can do when

we work together,” he said. “Just like here at the Academy, the team is what gets the job done.” During a question-and-answer session, Fischer encouraged cadets to consider space positions during their future Air Force careers. “The future of the Air Force … space is a big part of that,” he said. “It is going to be a huge growth industry. It infiltrates pretty much everything we do now.” If cadets are interested in becoming the next generation of astronauts, Fischer suggested that the future leaders take advantage of the many opportunities available to them at USAFA and during their Air Force careers. He did add, however, that the last three Academy graduates who became astronauts all were astro majors, all went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate school and all graduated from test pilot school. There is no magic formula to ensure a person becomes an astronaut, he added. He suggested that cadets just work hard and excel in everything they do to give them the best chance of reaching their career goals. Col. Fischer has a Master of Science in aeronautics and astronautics from the MIT. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours — flying more than 45 types of aircraft.

Checkpoints Online


Col. Jack Fischer ’96 is surrounded by Academy cadets with a bunch of questions following his Nov. 14 presentation in Fairchild Hall.


Col. Jack Fischer ’96 explains the joys and the challenges of life on the International Space Station during his recent visit to USAFA. (Photos by Ryan Hall)

Checkpoints - December 2017  

U.S. Air Force Academy Association of Graduates presents Checkpoints magazine. It is published in March, June, September and December and is...

Checkpoints - December 2017  

U.S. Air Force Academy Association of Graduates presents Checkpoints magazine. It is published in March, June, September and December and is...