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MADAM secretary

Heather Wilson ’82 returns to D.C. as top Air Force civilian



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

June 2017 FEATURES

Find the Falcon See details on p. 18


Wilson ‘82 Called Back To Air Force Service Former New Mexico Congresswoman Heather Wilson is chosen as 24th Secretary of the Air Force. She talks about her priorities of modernizing the Air Force and dominating in air, space and cyberspace just days after her swearing-in ceremony.


Gateway to Air Force Aviation Doss Aviation in Pueblo, Colorado, has signed a new 10-year contract to provide Initial Flight Training for the Air Force’s next generation of pilots. The company, which relies heavily on Academy graduates to instruct students, is looking forward to an even greater role in training pilots for our nation’s military and allies.


McDermott Begins Transformation into Library of the Future The initial remodeling project of the Cadet Library is complete, thanks to federal funding and Endowment gift funds. Want to know what the library of the future will look like? Check out the third floor of McDermott today!


CEO Update Chairman’s Journal

10 The Hangar AOG updates, your feedback, news and fun. Letters, Check Ins, and more p. 10 News from USAFA and grads p. 14 Checkpoints Challenge p. 18 An updated staff directory p. 19 Francis Bennett leaves a legacy of soaring p. 20 USAFA Endowment celebrates a decade of giving p. 24 Long Blue Ladle p. 26 70

Roll Call Heritage and graduate profiles. Superintendent presides over her final graduation p. 48 William “T” Thompson ‘73 bids farewell as AOG president and CEO p. 52 USAFA grads research new treatment for skin disease p. 58 AOG Career Services program helps grad transition to “likeable” new job p. 64 POW Chuck Jackson ‘69 returns to Vietnam to remember and say thanks p. 70 Falcon Fitness column p. 78 Distinguished non-grads also can make Academy proud p. 80 Former Forever Young helps return vets to battlefields of their youth p. 84

97 The Terrazzo Cadet life and the latest from the Academy. Brig. Gen. Goodwin ‘93 assumes command of Cadet Wing p. 88 Cadets conduct warfighter research at USAFA p. 90 Senior capstone project focuses on swarm technology and tactics p. 96 Cadet Question p. 99 100 Gone But Not Forgotten 104 Class News 144 Final Approach


On the Cover Dr. Heather Wilson ‘82, newly confirmed secretary of the Air Force, spent a couple days at USAFA to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2017. She stopped by the Association of Graduates for an interview with Checkpoints. Photo by Ryan Hall.

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Checkpoints Online Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ‘81 presents her final “State of USAFA” address; Academy honors Tuskegee Airmen with ceremony, parade; 2016-17 Cadet Wing Intramural Awards presented; Control tower named in honor of grad’s father; 59er joins Thunderbirds for a pre-gradution ride.




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ell, here we are — The Final Curtain. After nine years of being privileged to lead your AOG, the time has come to move on. It has been a wonderful experience for me personally, and I believe we have had a pretty good run. It goes without saying that this was a team effort, and I have been blessed to have a top-flight crew. Gary Howe ’69 has been my guy Friday and Alton Parrish, CFO, is a “numbers” man like no other. Marty Marcolongo ’88, as your COO, has brought tremendous professionalism and profit to the operational side of the house, and Bob McAllister, as head of Communications, took both our technology and creativeness to the very top. Alumni Affairs blossomed under Corrie Grubbs and, through chapter and event growth, our graduates are connected like never before. At the recent May Board of Directors meeting, your senior staff had the opportunity to review some of the major milestones of my tenure and we would like to share them with you. It’s often said “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so we’ll use some images to help tell the story: Organizational Changes: For the first time in its history, your AOG adopted a formal governance structure. It was the foundation for the success we have enjoyed. We took the first step in bringing these organizations back together again. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the AOG transferred fund raising to the USAFA Endowment, which moved into Doolittle Hall, with the AOG providing administrative and technical support.

able to support the AOG and its mission through an innovative program. It has been a classic “win-win” for these supporters and our grads. Chapters: Fropm 31 in 2010 to 86 today! Ambassadors 115: Our team established a program to support grads who move into areas that don’t have AOG chapters. Career Services & Mentoring: Career Services now lists hundreds of jobs for grads and has enjoyed significant growth in the Service Academies Career Conference program. Our team also has established a new Mentoring Program so grads can help and support other grads.

AOG Golf Tour, Tailgates, Scotch Tasting: Our team established the AOG Golf Tour, which has had events across the country. Thousands of grads have attended our enhanced tailgates, and the 8th annual Scotch Tasting event attracted more than 400 participants and raised over $15,000 to support the AOG’s Next of Kin event, which supports the families of graduates and cadets who have passed away during the previous year.

Membership Programs: We began the Family Plan! Then your AOG focused on its operations, growing membership within the graduate community and among cadets and parents. Merchandise/Online Store: The AOG built a new online store, renovated the store in Doolittle Hall and grew merchandise revenue 500 percent! Sponsor Growth: The AOG established major sponsorship agreements with top corporations. The USAA agreement was the first of its kind for them. Today, they have 56 such agreements and continue to acknowledge the importance of its first deal with our AOG. True Blue Businesses: Through the True Blue program, local businesses are 4 ·

More Distinguished Graduates: As an institution that has been around for 63 years, we realized that we have more than just two graduates a year who are qualified to receive this award. This year we honored four. Young Alumni Excellence Award: The AOG recently instituted this award to recognize our younger graduates who are doing some amazing things.


AOG US Chapters: * Just 31 in 2010


AOG International Chapters:

Our Communications Department rocks! Over the past five years, they have earned 61 awards for excellence in competition with 180 universities in CASE District VI. A sampling includes: • Platinum – Best Article of the Year • Gold – Magazines, General Interest (Alumni), Checkpoints • Digital Communications, Complete Institutional Website, • Writing, Periodicals, Checkpoints Staff Writing • Design, Periodicals, Checkpoints 60th Anniversary Edition • Best Articles of the Year (Districts VI-VII), The Building of the Air Force Academy • Photographer of the Year, Lewis Carlyle • Video, General Information (Long), WebGuy: The Untold Story • Digital Communications, Innovative Use of Technology, AOG Membership Renewal Email • Individual Sub-Website, WebGuy


Our team introduced the new AOG Mobile App, which is now compatible with our new website. We have more than 63,000 followers on Facebook, the largest number of all schools in the Mountain West Conference. The USAFA AOG is the leader among our sister academies and among all universities in Colorado. Our team digitized all class yearbooks and published them on the AOG website. In addition, our team has raised the stature of the Founders Day celebration, which has become the premier event at the Academy each year.

Financial Highlights: We established the first-ever AOG reserve of $2 million, which Heritage Trail Video: Our Communications team just gives the AOG some safety during tough economic completed a new video to give classes ideas on potential times. The first new projects for the AOG’s Heritage Trail. Long Blue Line Endowment and Fund was PCI Compliance: The AOG dramatically increased established, which now has $6 member information security with PCI Compliance and million in assets. Our assets significantly enhanced our database management system have grown from a low of $35 with the purchase of NXT. million to a high of $56 million. We currently have $53.5 Website: The AOG has just introduced the third iteramillion in assets, but have tion of its website during my nine-year tenure. It now given the Academy $11.5 million over the past two years. includes increased usability and cutting-edge features. The AOG adopted GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) reporting and included detailed explanation of our Checkpoints was redesigned and we introduced a new online finances for the Board of Directors and graduate community version of the magazine. through our Management Discussion and Analysis. We have



Checkpoints · June 2017 · 5

given $32.5 million to the Academy during the past nine years. The AOG contributed $5 million for the Holaday Athletic Center and $3.7 million for the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD). Heritage and Traditions: The following heritage projects came on line with AOG management or direct construction during the past nine-years: • Mall of Heroes, Class of 1964 • Harmon Memorial, Class of 1959 • Grad Display, Cadet Area and AOG • Form O-96, Mitchell Hall and AOG • Wings of Refuge, Class of 1961 • Carillon Bells, Class of 1967 • SEA Pavilion, Class of 1970 • Plaza of Heroes, classes of 1965 and 1970 • Shea Memorial Valor Node, Class of 1989 • Doolittle Wall, AOG • Distinguished Graduate Display, AOG • Banners in Doolittle Hall, AOG • Board Plaques, AOG • Checkpoints Display, AOG • Board Chair/CEO Display, AOG • Ring Display, Class of 1968 • Long Blue Line Notable Grads Wall, AOG and Fairchild Hall The AOG greatly increased its contact with cadets and established: • Cadet Leadership Dinners each semester with the CEO. • Goodies for Cadets: Hot chocolate, bacon (a big hit), waffles and cookies. • The AOG also established a program to support cadets by making goodies available during finals week. We have created a strong foundation for your next CEO to build upon and I am proud that we were able to effectively “move the ball down the field.” I also am happy that your AOG Board of Directors has chosen to tap Marty as your next CEO, and I expect him and his team to take the AOG to even greater heights. It has been an honor and a rare privilege to be able to come back to my alma mater at this stage of life and help support the Academy and serve the graduate community in this capacity. Thank you sincerely for entrusting me with such great responsibility and giving me such steadfast support. In closing, if you are coming through the Atlanta area, look me up. I’m usually good for a beer or maybe even a round of golf. All the best, and GO FALCONS!!!

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Heritage and Traditions

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Checkpoints · March 2016 · 7




uring our May meeting, the boardroom buzzed with excitement as we welcomed your newly elected directors. Hans Mueh ’66, Bob Munson ’73, Ginny Caine Tonneson ’80, Emma Przbyslawski ’10, and I took our seats at the table. We first said a fond farewell to Roger Carleton ’67, our former chair, as he called the meeting to order and set the election of a new chair in motion. We are grateful for Roger’s visionary and humble leadership. And, I am buoyed by the faith and confidence my fellow directors have in me as their new chair. Your Association of Graduates board also elected new officers — Wally Moorhead ’69, vice chair; Ginny Caine Tonneson ’80, secretary; and Jack Fry ’67, continuing as treasurer. They join Larry New ’76, Steve Mueller ’79, Will Gunn ’80, Tamra Rank ’83, Kathleen Rock ’98 and Mark Rosenow ’03 on the board. And we are fortunate that the current Class Advisory Senate president, Garry Dudley ’68, continues in his capacity as a nonvoting director. In addition, the two newly appointed board members who fill out our slate are Frank Gorenc ’79 and Glenn Strebe ’87. Your new board brings much to the table. We span 44 years of graduating classes and we span the nation. Half of the board lives in Colorado. The other half resides in California, Kansas, Virginia, and on a sailboat that pre-

fers warmer waters. We have varied Air Force and civilian backgrounds. Yet, the most important thing your unpaid volunteers bring to the table is a deep desire to give back to this institution and our fellow graduates. As this new board moves forward, our focus is on enhancing AOG support to graduates and cadets. Your board strongly feels, as did the previous board, that a single CEO leading our AOG and our Endowment opens the door to effective collaboration and will better serve graduates and cadets. And 86 percent of those of you who voted in the recent election feel the same way. Unfortunately, only 19 percent of you voted, coming up short of the 25 percent quorum required for the proposed bylaw change. Therefore, no action was taken. So, the CAS, class presidents and chapter presidents were asked for their opinions on how to proceed. These groups were not shy and their thoughts were invaluable. This board will heed their recommendations and proceed thoughtfully toward a single CEO via a referendum in the future. As I wrap up, please know that one word sums up my feelings about our new board — opportunity! It is energizing to see how each and every director is focused on listening to our members and charting a path to even stronger support of our graduates and cadets. I am honored to lead during this exciting and pivotal time for our AOG.

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Feedback, insight and fun from Falcon Nation The Iron Triangle Paul Henry’s article “Choices, Choices” in the March 2017 Checkpoints was excellent. It was a much-needed and well-researched discussion of what is currently going on at the Academy with respect to training our cadets to become lieutenants and future leaders in our Air Force and in our society. The discussion was broken into the “iron triangle” of a cadet’s life: military, academic and athletic. Some of the specific elements of that triangle may have changed from my days at USAFA, however, the basic ideas, principles and objectives have not. This article does not directly address the idea that “USAFA Doesn’t Train Warriors Anymore,” which AOG President and CEO “T” Thompson addressed in his “Times Change” column. However, Paul’s article makes a solid case that the Academy is emphasizing the skills, mental discipline and strength of character that have always characterized the institution, but have been updated with programs and “choices” to make it more relevant to today’s Air Force and the challenges of today’s world. — Chris Bauer, Class of 1967

Grads Impact AFCENT Mission It’s a great time to be in United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT). We’ve supported near-continuous wartime and contingency operations since 2002 and have lineage dating back to the original 9th Air Force around the outset of World War II, in 1941. Recently, Lt. Gen. Jeff “Cobra” Harrigian ’85, USAFCENT/CC and CFACC, refreshed the command’s priorities: First and foremost are our people, who are the engines of innovation and determination that enable USAFCENT to:

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- Deliver airpower so that enemies know no refuge. - Develop relationships across joint forces and coalition partner nations. - Defend the region through shared, mutual support and cooperation. USAFA graduates, who have been engaged in continuous warfare since at least 2001, play an integral role in fulfilling these priorities. We are working to build an enduring posture in the region, support CENTCOM objectives, and respond to dynamic changes in the environment. USAFCENT is a key player in bringing the fight to destroy Da’esh through Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and to support our Afghan partners in defeating the Taliban through Operation Resolute Support (ORS). Since August 2014, the 20-nation OIR coalition has flown more than 132,000 sorties, executing 18,000 strikes which destroyed almost 32,000 enemy targets. In ORS, the U.S. is part of a 13,000-strong NATO force whose mission since January 2015 is to advise and assist the government of Afghanistan to support and defend their nation, with key functions that include planning and budgeting, strategy, governance, and recruitment and training of military personnel. Armed with skills from the Academy’s leadership laboratory experience, our grads are persistent and professional in fighting our nation’s conflicts and contingency operations. It’s also important to recognize that none of this would be possible without the incredible contributions and talents of our fellow Air Force colleagues, our Joint Forces, and our many coalition partners. Our people, now and always, remain the standard-bearers for modern airpower and air superiority. — Maj. Jason Spindler, Class of 2004




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In a photo taken Jan. 4, 2017, USAFA grads (from 1985-2014) are performing the mission at the Combined Air Operations Center, Southwest Asia. (Front row, left to right) Lt. Gen. Harrigian (’85) and Maj. Gen. Silveria (‘85) holding USAFA flag, Brig. Gen. Williams (‘85). 2nd row: Rollins (‘95), Sawyer (‘99), Silverbush (‘14), Flick (‘09), Guillebeau (‘08), Pal (‘13), Lammert (‘08), Goulter (‘90), Brownheim (‘05). 3rd row: Cilla (‘12), Culhane (‘02), Hundt (‘07), Gonyea (‘98), Krause (‘09), Puffenbarger (‘11), Bradley (‘02), King (‘13), Winterbottom (‘98), Hainsfurther (‘07), Bennett (‘93), Brower (‘04). 4th row: Fountain (‘12), Spindler (‘04), Ramirez (‘06), Carmichael (‘92), Inscoe (‘01), Smith (‘12), Lydiard (‘12), Williams (‘12), Hoehn (‘91), McPeak (‘14), Wallace (‘04), McCoy (‘05). 5th row: Hendrickson (‘90), Collett (‘13), Burch (‘98), Allen (‘99), Welch (‘97), Chan (‘11), VanDootingh (‘85), Lohr (‘07). 6th row: Tison (‘09), Burtz (‘97), Ahmann (‘93). Photo by Capt. Trisha Guillebeau, Class of 2008.

A. George Houle ’71 carried his June 2016 Checkpoints with him

as he and his wife toured Ireland and Scotland to celebrate his 70th birthday in July 2106. He enjoyed a pint of Guiness while catching up on Academy graduate news. B. Mark Clanton ’88 took his September 2016 issue of Checkpoints to the Military Aviation Museum in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he volunteers. The Military Aviation Museum celebrates the first 50 years of powered flight and features the largest privately-owned collection of flying vintage aircraft in America. The P-40 Kittyhawk (in background) was the collection’s first acquisition.C. Terry Schiessler ’72 (right) and his daughter, Lt. Col. Jennifer Fuller ’99, took Checkpoints magazine along for a trek to the top of Mt. Democrat (no political affiliation intended!) in central Colorado in August Checkpoints · June 2017 · 11











2016. D. (From left) Mike Wagner ’68, Jim Herrmann ’72 and Ron Marquette ’67 took Checkpoints on their trip to the Pont du Gard in Southern France. The Pont gu Gard was built almost 2,000 years ago by the Romans. It is a 50K aqueduct crossing the Gardon River designed to carry water from Uzes to the city of Nimes. E. Christopher and Anna Flanagan, parents of C3C Benjamin Flanagan, took Checkpoints along on their trip to Turks & Caicos in October 2016. They reported that it was especially great to see one of their son’s squadmates being interviewed by the magazine. Thanks for the beach reading! F. Mike Brown ’70 (left) and Tommy Thompson ’70 (former CS-14 classmates) finished a 12-day trekking adventure in Patagonia, specifically to Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. Believe it or not, they had a great little brew pub there where the classmates decided to sample all their various brews, and they had Checkpoints along for some light reading. G. Col. Tom Steinbrunner ’87 (right) and son Niklas, along with their copy of the March 2016 issue of Checkpoints, are pictured en route to a medical mission trip to Ulannbaatar, Mongolia. H. Joe Holbrook ’67 (left) and Flick Guerrina ’67 (right) and their wives, Eldene and Linda, joined up on Oct. 17, 2016, at the Pratik Bakery in Barcelona for a sweet treat. They brought the September copy of Checkpoints along for the trip. The Holbrooks live in Sandy, Utah, and the Guerrinas in Southport, North Carolina. I. Joe Kim ’82 of Aiea, Hawaii, traveled to Whistler Mountain, Canada, with his family for a white 2016 Christmas. They took Checkpoints magazine along for the trip. J. (From left) Cass Casada, Rick Barton and Fred Strauss, all members of the Class of 1971, traveled with the December issue of Checkpoints magazine to Pololu Valley, Hawaii. K. Jim Tietjen ’74 and Checkpoints magazine are pictured with Tietjen’s Bhutan buddies atop Kiki La Pass, 2,950 meters, in Bumthang, Bhutan. Tietjen reports they are “lovely, well educated, friendly, and happy people!” L. Lt. Col. (Ret.) John W. Heimburger ’63 traveled with his wife, Chris, and a copy of Checkpoints magazine from 2008 to Washington, D.C., for President Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. This photo was taken on the east side of the Capitol Building as the Inaugural Parade was being formed.  Learn how to check in with Checkpoints at

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for Aerospace Studies

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The Mitchell Institute







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For more information visit our website at: at

THE TRANSMISSON USAFA news from around the globe ... and beyond

Jones ’79 named chancellor Vernon Dale Jones ’79 has been named chancellor of Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Jones previously served as the vice president for strategy, administration and board affairs at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

Bailey ’92 hired at NNMC Richard Bailey ’92 has been hired as president of Northern New Mexico College. Bailey most recently served as the dean of students at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies in Alabama.

Harrison ’62 honored

Taverney ’68 honored General (Ret.) Tom Moorman (son of former USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Tom Moorman) and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Tom “Tav” Taverney ’68 were inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame. The two also received the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Award. In 1989, the National Space Club of Washington, D.C., established the “Air Force Space Pioneers Award.” In conjunction with the Air Force’s 50th anniversary and Air Force Space Command’s 15th anniversary in 1997, the award was formalized as an official Air Force award. Also in 1997, Air Force Space Command established the Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame and took over responsibility for the Air Force-level award. As inductees to the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame, the Lance Sijan Chapter of the AFA commissioned custom oil portraits of each of the individuals.

Kelsey ’03 honored by Hall

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Weston “Seth” Kelsey ’03, USA Pentathlon national team coach, has been inducted into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame. In 2002, Kelsey won the NCAA championships, becoming the first Air Force Academy fencer to do so. By 2004, Kelsey had qualified for the first of his three Olympic teams. Kelsey retired after the 2012 Olympic Games, where he placed fourth — the best finish for a U.S. men’s epee fencer at the Games since 1956.

Air Force Major Gen. (Ret.) George Harrison ’62 received the Wright Brothers’ Master Award from the Federal Aviation Administration recognizing more than 50 years of piloting aircraft safely. Harrison is a member of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing. Over his 54-year aviation career, Harrison has flown 95 military and civilian aircraft types, including 530 hours in combat missions all over the world.

Summers ’89 shifts careers William Summers ’89 has been hired as a high school principal in his hometown. After a 23-year Air Force career, Summers became an English teacher at his alma mater — Cañon City High School in Cañon City, Colorado. He has now taken on the role as the school’s top administrator.

Starkey ’04 hired as coach Thomas Starkey ’04 was hired as the second head coach of the Maple Grove High School boys hockey program in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Starkey took over for Gary Stefano, the original head coach in the program. Starkey was an assistant at Wayzata High School from 2009-11 and played college hockey at the Air Force Academy.

Borgen ’92 joins bank board Luis A. Borgen ’92, chief financial officer at DAVIDsTEA, has been appointed to the board of directors at Eastern Bank, headquartered in Boston. Borgen spent 13 years at Staples where he ascended to divisional CFO for all U.S. stores, followed by two years as CFO of DaVita Health Care Partners. He has served as CFO of DAVIDsTEA for four years.

Sega ’74 gets Hall call Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ronald M. Sega ’74 was among the first inductees into the Colorado Space Heroes Hall of Fame at an Oct. 7, 2016, ceremony. The honor was bestowed by The Space Foundation, headquartered in Colorado Springs. Sega was honored for his work as a NASA astro-

naut; leadership in the Air Force Reserves; and his efforts as director of Defense Research & Engineering.

Mancos ‘10 joins RealManage Nicole Mancos ’10 has been named vice president to lead RealManage’s Houston, Texas, team. Mancos spent many years running military operations at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and led missions supporting the U.S. president, vice president, NATO, United Nations, secretary of defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other key U.S. and foreign leaders. She has also managed the budget for the largest Air Force vehicle fleet in Europe and managed multi-billiondollar commercial aircraft contracts. RealManage is a property management company.

Johnson ’04 flies high Mike Johnson ’04 has been hired as director of flight operations for SkySkopes, a Grand Forks, North Dakota, drone flight services company. Johnson spent the past 12 years working in various facets of aviation, with his most recent assignment being as chief evaluator UAS pilot for the Global Hawk program at Grand Forks Air Force Base. SkySkopes conducts flights that include inspections of utility infrastructure and the collection of data to produce maps, models and other imagery.

Hastings ’90 receives award Air Force Col. Brian E. Hastings ’90 was the recipient of the inaugural Bolingbrook High School (Bolingbrook, Ill.) Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award. Col. Hastings currently heads up the Air Command and Staff College, which is the Air Force’s premier academic institution for training airpower leaders for America and its international allies.

Milam ’63 joins Hall David Milam ’63 was inducted into the Central High School Hall of Honor in Pueblo, Colorado, in October 2016. After graduating from pilot training, he flew in Europe for three years and then flew 176 combat missions in Vietnam. After the war, he earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and was assigned as an instructor in aerodynamics and fluid mechanics at West Point. In 1973, he was assigned to test operations at Edwards Air Force Base and became the F-16 Test Force Commander. He later spent time at the Pentagon.

Rosenberg ’74 re-elected Nathan Owen Rosenberg, Sr., ’74 was re-elected to serve on the Boy Scouts of America executive board, and was selected by the other board members to serve on the executive committee as the vice president of operations. Rosenberg is also a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led, public policy organization that delivers well researched analysis and reasoned solutions on our nation’s most critical issues.

Riley ’05 gains honor Emily (Gross) Riley ’05 — a standout athlete in volleyball and basketball — was inducted into the St. Paul High School Hall of Fame in Norwalk, Ohio, in October 2016.

Brown ’15 heads to Hall Garrett Brown ’15 was a member of the 10th class of Hall of Fame inductees for Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. Brown, inducted in his first year of eligibility, starred as a receiver, running back and return specialist in football. On the track, Brown was named most outstanding sprinter as a senior and led the Greyhounds to the county championship. Brown was a receiver and returner at Air Force.

Lee ’74 joins FlightSafety Jeffrey Lee ’74 has been named executive director, Business Aviation Development, for FlightSafety International. Before joining FlightSafety, Lee served as vice president of aviation for American Express, where he provided strategic leadership and management for the company’s global aviation operations. He was previously with IBM Corporation, where he served as director of flight operations.

Boisture ’67 tapped for post Bill Boisture ’67 was appointed chairman of Global Jet Capital, a global provider of financing solutions for corporate aircraft. Boisture is an operating partner at AE Industrial Partners. He previously was an executive director of Global Jet Capital. Boisture has held senior leadership positions at Gulfstream Aerospace, NetJets, SimuFlite and Beechcraft Corporation.

Tart ’95 hired at Super-Sod Nathan Tart ’95 has joined Super-Sod as the new director of safety, health and training. Super-Sod markets sod to expanding urban markets. During his Air Force career, Tart flew combat missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan. Before joining the Super-Sod team, he served as the installation chief of safety for Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Rhodes ’79 joins MCR David Rhodes ’79 has joined MCR Federal, LLC as its vice president of civil programs. Rhodes oversees all operational support to civilian agencies while leading business growth across MCR’s civil portfolio, including the company’s longterm presence at the Federal Aviation Administration. Prior to his successful civilian career, Rhodes served with distinction as a command combat pilot, a White House Fellow, and in numerous senior-level military positions.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 15

Norris ’78 hired by TechSmith David Norris ’78 was named chief technology officer of TechSmith of Okemos, Michigan, a software company that provides practical business and academic software products. In this role, Norris will lead TechSmith’s strategic technical vision, overseeing emerging product efforts and guiding the company’s overall technology development. He brings more than 40 years of technology experience to the company.

Reiner ’91 accepts new role Michael Reiner ’91 has been hired as the director of Public Safety at Creighton University. The retiring Air Force colonel took over in December 2016.

Mordente ’87 named director Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Patrick Mordente ’87 was named the new director of the George W. Bush Library and Museum. Mordente is a 29-year veteran of the Air Force. He has served within the Department of Defense, including the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. He is also a combat veteran who served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Brophy ’02 joins Natera Mike Brophy ’02 is the new chief financial officer of Natera, a company specializing in non-invasive prenatal testing, genetic-carrier screening, miscarriage testing and pre-implantation genetic testing. Prior to joining Natera, Brophy served as a vice president in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley.

Welsh ’76 named Living Legend Mark Welsh ’76, dean of the Bush School at Texas A&M, has been recognized as a Living Legend of Aviation. Living Legends of Aviation are recognized annually for their remarkable accomplishments in aviation. Other 2017 honorees included Ray Conner, vice chairman of Boeing Company; Dr. Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group; Elling Halvorson, founder and chairman of the board for Papillon Group; and Nick Popovich, aviation repossession expert. The Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a nonprofit organization seeking to educate and spark children’s interest in aviation, produces the event, which is now in its 15th year. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Welsh became dean of the Bush School after a long and distinguished military career, which included service as the 20th chief of staff of the Air Force, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, commander of NATO’s Air Command, associate director of Military Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency, and commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy. “I’m honored and humbled to be recognized alongside individuals who have made such significant contributions to the field of aviation,” Welsh said. 16 ·

Actor and pilot John Travolta hosted the awards ceremony, which also honored astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly as well as humanitarian aid pilot Peter Paul Luce.

Koharik ’92 promoted Edward Koharik ’92 has been promoted to general manager, visual systems, for FlightSafety International. Koharik leads a team of more than 200 engineers, systems specialists, and service and support professionals based in St. Louis, Missouri; Austin, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to joining FlightSafety, Koharik served in the United States Air Force for 23 years. FlightSafety’s VITAL 1100 visual system offers unprecedented fidelity for a wide variety of uses with full-flight simulators and a complete range of other advanced training devices.

DeBerry honored by Hall On April 20, 2017, the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame inducted former Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry as part of the class of 2017. He was the head coach of the Air Force Academy football team for 23 years, leading the team to 12 bowl games.

Changose ’83 joins board William Changose ’83 has been elected to the Board of Directors for Bear State Financial, Inc. Changose serves as the chief operating officer of both Westrock Capital Partners, LLC and Westrock Group, LLC and serves as president of Westrock Coffee Roasting, LLC. In addition, he serves as chief operating officer of Bear State Financial Holdings, LLC, the company’s largest shareholder. Changose served as an officer and pilot in the United States Air Force for 23 years, retiring with the rank of colonel.

Brown ’71 assumes leadership Jim Brown ’71 is the new chief executive officer of the Ayn Rand Institute. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot, flight instructor, flight commander and squadron commander, Brown enjoyed a 30-year career in finance. He has been involved with the Ayn Rand Institute and the promotion of its philosophy for nearly two decades.

Goodwin ’83 is new GM Scott Goodwin ’83 was promoted to general manager of simulation at FlightSafety International. Goodwin has overall responsibility for the design, manufacture and support of FlightSafety’s full-flight simulators and other advanced technology training devices. He served in the United States Air Force for more than 30 years and retired with the rank of brigadier general in 2013.



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.

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 17

CHECKPOINTS CHALLENGE The Number Challenge Guess what the numbers represent? (See answer key on page 57)

1) 24 2) 979 3) 9,700 4) 15 5) 59

And The Winner Is...

The winner of this quarter’s “Find the Falcon” contest is Roger Winburg, Class of 1973. He was one of 35 Association of Graduates members and friends who successfully found the Falcon on page 48 of Checkpoints’ March 2017 edition. The classes of 1965, 1979, 1987 and 1989 had the most correct entries this quarter! 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 summer Checkpoints drawing!

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Find the Falcon 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 July 31, 2017.

“Job well done, sir.”

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 William “T” Thompson ’73, ext. 101 ( Chief Operating Officer Marty Marcolongo ’88, ext. 146 Executive Vice President Gary Howe ’69, ext. 107 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 Contributing Writer Steven Simon ‘77 Business Operations Sr. Vice President for Business Operations Corrie Grubbs, ext. 105 Director of Business Operations Beth Wade, ext. 134

Director of Business Programs Aphten Goldman, ext. 150 Marketing Coordinator 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 Constituent Programs Technician Karina Ross, ext. 100 Doolittle Hall Events/Special Functions Director of Event Planning Daisy Hall, ext. 147 Constituent Events Specialist Heidi Paul, ext. 148 Reunion Specialist Sherry Cooper, ext. 138 Event Chaperone 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 Haley Goos, ext. 158

The Association of Graduates Board of Directors Frank Gorenc ‘79 Board Chair Cathy McClain ’82 Will Gunn ’80 Vice Chair Wally Moorhead ‘69 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 Przbyslawski ‘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 Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Mark Volcheff ’75, 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 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, ext. 240 Funds Manager & Special Projects Officer Kate Hutchison, ext. 200 Administrative Assistant Kelsey Walsh, 719-472-2056

Volume 46, Number 1 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. (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, June 2017.

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or much of his life, Francis Bennett was either flying or thinking about the next time he would fly. A decorated Army pilot during the Korean and Vietnam wars, Bennett would spend his post-military career in aviation as a flight instructor and airframe mechanic. In his free time, he would pursue his favorite hobby of gliding — traveling the world to compete and strive toward personal soaring goals. “Flying was his first love, and especially sailplane flying,” explains Carol Webster, Bennett’s goddaughter. With the exception of his high-flying avocation, Bennett led a fiscally conservative life. More often than not, he just saved and invested his money. “He never spent any money on himself,” Webster says. “He wore these Dickies overalls all his life … saying they were good enough for him. I rarely remember seeing him in anything else, other than a uniform. He was a bit eccentric.” Bennett never married and outlived all his biological relatives. So, as he neared the final years of his life, Bennett thought hard about what to do with his growing investment portfolio. He wanted to leave the money to a cause that he cared deeply about, Webster notes. In the early 1980s, Bennett first contacted the USAFA Association of Graduates to discuss a potential bequest. In 1994, he set up a trust with the AOG as the beneficiary. “He never revealed what his estate might be worth,” notes AOG Executive Vice President Gary Howe ’69, who was assigned to steward Bennett in 1997. Howe wrote to Bennett several times a year and sent birthday cards and cookies at Christmas. They never met face to face, but talked by telephone on occasion. “But he never wanted me to call him,” Howe notes. Apparently, no one ever guessed that the former pilot’s net worth was, in fact, significant. Webster notes that her

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Francis Bennett during his soaring days.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” — Leonardo da Vinci “Uncle Red” lived for many years in a tiny apartment with few amenities in Odessa, Texas. “He complained when the rent went from $275 a month to $300 a month,” Webster laughs. “He was definitely a character.” As his health declined, Bennett moved into an assistedliving facility with his minimal possessions. Bennett accepted the offer of a free bed from the facility’s director, who assumed the older gentleman was indigent. When Bennett passed away on Dec. 22, 2013, Webster was by his side. She contacted the AOG to let Howe know of Uncle Red’s death.

Francis Bennett (pictured on the right) was a Korean War and Vietnam War aviator.

Howe traveled to Texas to clean out Bennett’s small room. Few of Bennett’s belongings had any value, but Howe did uncover insurance and investment account information that indicated Bennett had amassed a $9.5 million fortune. “Watching over his money was one of his hobbies,” Howe states. “He rarely followed the advice of his financial advisor, and he did very well.” And Bennett left the majority of that money to the AOG, even though he was neither an Academy graduate nor an Air Force veteran. A quiet life Bennett had no close blood relatives, but he developed a close bond with Webster’s family. “He thought of us as family,” she explains. “When I went to his assisted living complex after he passed away, the only photos he had on the wall besides sailplanes was of me and my family. That was just so touching.” Webster’s dad, Col. Russell Baugh, and Bennett first met in the 1940s. They later served together in Korea in 1951. “They were best friends for the rest of their lives,” Webster recalls. Baugh would later ask Bennett to become newborn Carol’s godfather. As Carol grew older, Bennett would take care of Webster and Webster’s mother, Elisabetha Baugh, while Russell Baugh was deployed overseas. “It was wonderful to have him there with us when my dad wasn’t there,” Webster recalls. Bennett was a bona fide war hero. While serving as a forward observer for the 49th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea, then-1st Lt. Bennett was struck and wounded by enemy gunfire, but he refused medical evacuation. He continued to direct artillery fire until a strategic, enemy-occupied hill was captured. In addition to the Purple Heart Bennett received “for wounds received in action against the enemy,” he was awarded the Silver Star.

Bennett would later be stationed at some of the same Army bases where Webster’s family lived. When he moved to Germany, Bennett would often return to the States to visit the Baughs. “He was around my family all my life,” Webster says. When Webster went to graduate school, she spent a semester studying in Germany. Her Uncle Red was working there at the time, so she was able to spend plenty of quality time with him. “We had so much fun,” she recalls. “When I became an adult, he was a friend. I could talk to him about anything.” After Bennett retired and returned to the U.S., Webster said she would talk via telephone with her Uncle Red almost every Sunday. In the months leading up to his death, Bennett planned to move to Tennessee to be closer to Webster and her family. But failing health prevented that from happening. He moved into an assisted living facility, even though he was opposed to the idea, but quickly warmed up to the new arrangement. He joined a poetry club and offered rides in his car to fellow residents. “He adapted well and people liked him a lot,” Howe reports. Wild blue yonder Bennett traveled worldwide — the U.S., Europe to Australia — chasing the best thermals for soaring. He also lived for a time in Hornberg, Germany, the site of one of the world’s best soaring schools. “He spent many happy hours there,” Webster says. “He didn’t have a lot of friends, but the people he was friends with were lifelong. And most of his friends were sailplane pilots.” In 1967, he achieved his Gold Badge #381 in soaring while flying in Colorado Springs. In 1978, he achieved his Diamond Badge #396 while flying in Saint Auban, France. Badges are awarded by the Soaring Checkpoints · June 2017 · 21

“Fly high in life, fly high in flying, just fly high!” — Francis Bennett 1929-2013

Society of America to recognize the level of proficiency a pilot has attained. The Gold is the second highest badge, while the Diamond is the highest. Bennett’s greatest soaring accomplishment was achieved in Australia, where he flew the 500 km triangle in 6:40. He called it the “most rewarding experience in his sport flying career.” Bennett would eventually retire to Odessa, which is near the soaring mecca of Hobbs, New Mexico. “It’s known for having good thermals for sailplane flying,” Webster notes. Bennett would continue his soaring hobby for many years, only giving it up shortly before his death. Soaring support Through his sailplane hobby, Bennett met and became friends with several Academy graduates. Some years ago, Bennett visited the USAFA campus and was impressed with the institution, Webster recalls. His love for soaring was so keen that he took an immediate interest in the Academy’s program. Bennett feared that soaring was on the brink of becoming a “lost” sport, so he wanted to do what he could to sustain the activity. “He felt the Air Force Academy, with its soaring program, was the right place in which to invest,” Webster says. Bennett indicated that he hoped a portion of his fortune would go directly to cadet soaring activities, but in the end the money had no strings attached. “He had faith that the AOG would steward his money well,” Howe says. Following Bennett’s death, the AOG worked with cadets in the soaring program to develop a short-term and long-term wish list. 22 ·

The AOG provided immediate, short-term support for the soaring team with gifts of competition flying equipment. The AOG also purchased a flight simulator for the competition flying team. Long-term needs were addressed by establishing three quasiendowments. The F.C. Bennett Soaring Margin of Excellence Fund will provide for travel expenses, equipment replacement and other similar needs in perpetuity. The F.C. Bennett Aviation Support Fund will supplement other cadet aviation programs, such as the flying team, Wings of Blue and UAS/UAV programs. To ensure Bennett’s generosity is highlighted annually, the AOG established the F.C. Bennett Scholarship Enhancement Fund. This fund will be used to supplement several other existing, but underfunded, scholarships thus allowing recipients to attend graduate school at more prestigious institutions. Epitaph Francis Clayton Bennett was born Feb. 15, 1929 in Monroe, Louisiana. His family always called him Clayton, friends called him Francis, but he was also known as “Red” to many because of his red hair. He joined the U.S. Army in 1950 and served until he was discharged from active duty July 2, 1968, with a short break in the early 1950s to earn his college degree. Maj. Bennett subsequently served in the U.S. Army Reserves for four more years and received his honorable discharge on 1972. During his time in the Army, he served two tours in Korea (1951-52 and again in 1965). He also served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. Bennett was eligible to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony included full military honors and a horse-drawn caisson. Howe and Webster, along with their spouses, were the only mourners in attendance, yet Arlington officials went all out. “It was the same treatment as if 150 people were there,” he recalls. Webster says her godfather is now “smiling down” on the cadets who will benefit from his generous gifts to the soaring program and the AOG. She claims he would take great comfort in knowing that future generations of cadets will develop a love of flying and soaring during their time at the Academy. The inscription on Bennett’s marble plaque displayed at the Arlington National Cemetery’s Columbarium states simply, “Fly High Red.” “That was his motto for everything,” Webster recounts. “Fly high in life, fly high in flying, just fly high!” If he were alive today, Webster says, her Uncle Red would share one piece of simple advice to Academy cadets and graduates. “Follow your dreams and do what you want to do,” she says. “Don’t worry about what anybody says or thinks. And enjoy your time in the air.”

Good Things Come in Threes! Get It Resized! Has your ring finger gotten larger (or the ring smaller if you prefer) since you graduated? Don’t just leave it sitting in a drawer at home. Get it resized and wear it proudly once again! Your ring is still under warranty with Jostens and can be resized at no charge.

The Perfect Gift! Looking for a great gift for a holiday? Birthday? Reunion? You can order class jewelry accessories anytime from Jostens. Pendants, charms, crest pins, tie bars, and more. Class miniature rings are also available.

Lost Your Ring? Don’t worry... we can make you a new one! Jostens has been serving the Air Force Academy for nearly 60 years and is the official ring supplier to the Cadet Wing.

Resizing & Lost Rings: 1-800-852-9353 or email: View our Class Jewelry Accessories: See website for a complete list of class years available.

Milestones The first five years — 2007-12


etween 2007 and 2012, two major building campaigns changed the skyline and landscape of the Air Force Academy, illustrating the impact private philanthropy can have on the institution. When it was established in 2007, the USAFA Endowment built upon the foundation of more than 50 years of philanthropy and focused its efforts on expanding the excellence of the Academy’s programs and projects. The financial involvement of Academy graduates and friends during the first five years (2007-12) raised the bar to new levels of private, foundation and corporate giving for the Endowment.

“Lynn and I shared a dream of creating a safe and weatherproof place for our cadets to develop as leaders on the ‘fields of friendly strife,’” Holaday said during the dedication. “Thankfully, many other members of our Academy family shared this dream. It would not have been possible without their generosity, cooperation and support.” At the time, the Holadays’ gift was the largest from a graduate to the Academy in the institution’s history. A similar gift followed from the estate of Col. Joseph and Dorothy Moller, both longtime Academy supporters. The Academy classes of ’78 and ’79 established class challenges for the project and were joined by friends and graduates from across the years to surpass the $15.5 fundraising goal. The Holaday Athletic Center was the largest privately funded capital project in the Academy’s history.

Character and Leadership Equally impressive during the Endowment’s early years was the campaign The HAC to raise funds for the new Center for A highlight of those first five years was Character and Leadership Development securing private funds to cover 100 (CCLD), launched in 2010. When the percent of the $15.5 million needed Academy broke ground for the facility to build the Holaday Athletic Center. in late 2012, more than $16.8 million in The fully-enclosed, 94,000 square-foot private funds had been raised toward the athletic complex can accommodate $45 million complex. football, lacrosse and soccer as well as The mission of the Academy to produce many other athletic activities. leaders of character resonated with a growResponse to the capital campaign ing number of respected foundations and was phenomenal. A lead gift of $5 forward-looking corporations. Support million was made by Bart ’65 and Lynn from corporations more than tripled from Holaday. Lynn died from complicajust under $2 million in 2007 to over $7 tions of Lou Gehrig’s disease before the million in 2012. center was completed, but she and Bart During that same period, foundations shared the vision for the project. rallied behind the Academy, contribut24 ·

ing more than $25.5 million to support academic and athletics programs, cadet research projects, and building campaigns like the CCLD. Funds raised during the Endowment’s first five years increased dramatically year by year, from $5.9 million in 2007 to a cumulative total of more than $64 million by 2012. As the imposing CCLD tower began to rise above the Cadet Area, the Endowment set its sights on new fund-raising milestones for its second five years.* (* The third installment of Milestones will appear in the September 2017 edition of Checkpoints magazine.) __________________________ Explore current funding opportunities on the USAFA Endowment website or call 719 - 472-0300.

Planned Giving

PUTTING FAMILY FIRST For Steve Wallingford ’74, the lessons he learned as an Academy cadet have had a lifelong impact on his career and family. “Some lessons were valuable right away, particularly the technical ones as I received advanced degrees, taught Aero at USAFA and had increasingly complex Air Force assignments,” says Steve. “But most important in life is having an ethos of ethics and trust, which really came to the fore when I was an accredited diplomat.” Steve’s European postings from 1989 to 2002 included a diplomatic tour in Brussels and opened a new chapter in his life when he met his wife, Marina. They now have three adult children, one of whom followed his father in military service as a West Point graduate. Returning to his native Boston after USAF retirement, Steve spent the next 11 years in private industry before returning to the Air Force as a civilian. Today, he is involved with NATO programs as the lead government engineer. The importance of trust to Steve extends to the financial type of trust as well. “Several years ago I finalized a living trust that will protect and provide for my family,” Steve says. “I am proud that this includes a provision to help USAFA. Imagine the impact if our fellow USAFA graduates also give back to their alma mater to provide cadets of tomorrow the same advantages and opportunities that both shaped our careers professionally and influenced the character we displayed as citizens in service to our nation.” In recognition of his current and future legacy gifts, Steve is a member of both the Polaris and Sabre societies.

“Several years ago I finalized a living trust that will protect and provide for my family. I am proud that this includes a provision to help USAFA.”

For more information about supporting our Academy through wills, trusts or other options that could include an income stream to you for life, contact: Dale Zschoche, Director of Gift Planning, 719.238.7510

LONG BLUE LADLE “She-Vants-Ski” Submitted by Dan Vician, Class of ’72 (San Juan Island, Washington) This is a sandwich from my old county (Slovak) family. I did not learn Slovak as a kid (“we speak English in America”), so I’ll write the syllables of the name of this sandwich as it sounds in English: “she-vantsski” (the “a” in “vants” is soft). Rotisserie required. Meat traditionally used: pork, beef, veal and bacon. Veal is rather expensive so I’ve seen chicken substituted. The given rule is that you must have three different meats. The better quality of the meat will produce an easier-to-bite into pieces sandwich; e.g., don’t use precubed red meat intended for stews. Also used: slices of onion. The bread or bun can be of your choosing (so you have official permission go wild there). To do this sandwich correctly, it requires a lot of messy meat prep work, but said prep work is pretty straight forward: • Cut into relative 2 ½” by 2 ½” by ¾” – 1” (thick) pieces of your chosen meats. • Using the secret spices, season generously. • Then pulverize each of the above pieces of meat with a metal meat tenderizer hammer, rendering the cuts into made-thin resultants approximating 4” x 4”x ¼” (thick). Note: Don’t stress because typically you can’t by veal that is 1” thick — making meat thin is not an exact science; particularly since each of the four choices pulverize differently. I usually get whatever veal I can and make do. As for the pork, I’ll typically buy deboned pork chops that I’ll slice (thickness-wise) in half. I always buy good quality steak for the red meat. So-called “thick cut” bacon is OK; each slice cut in half, then folded over onto itself so that you have about 2 ½” (folded) strips; and does not need tenderizing. I prefer the uncut bacon and cut it to the size I want. Bacon is important even if you personally will not use it on your sandwich (but that would be a poor, totally wrong, choice — turn in your meal!) The bacon‘s juices (as well as the onion) help keep the rest of the “prime” meats juicy while cooking. By the way, cut the onion slices relatively thick cause they will shrink down.

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Skewer the above perfectly prepared items in a militarily acceptable alternating cycle of fives, e.g.: onion, pork, bacon, beef, veal — and then repeat. (This 5 x 5 placement is helpful because when everything is done cooking, it is often hard to tell what meats are what. To get a true sandwich, all you have to do is take from the first onion, and everything after that till the next onion. Figuring how much meat you need to buy using the following scientific equation: most guys (meat-eating variety) will put more than the “rolling-5” into one sandwich. And most guys will have two sandwiches. Slice tomatoes are always good to serve with the cooked meat. Personally I don’t put any sauce on my sandwiches — but I always will have extra grilled onions on-hand to add to my sandwiches — giving me moistness to the finished sandwich that I like. My wife is an A-1 type of person when eating steak, but with “she-vants-ski” she goes totally sacrilegious and thinks this is a Gyro and uses a pocket Pita and tzatziki sauce. Each to his/her own on sandwich prep and additives! Oh, and for the secret spices — they are still secret. My mom never let me know the answer to that oft-repeated question to her. But I can tell you that the main spices are lots of black pepper and lots of sweet paprika; with some salt. Add whatever else you like; you are not reporting to me. Make a house rule before you serve: no guests get to take any leftovers home! For all the work involved, you should have the right to reheat the leftovers for yourself! Enjoy! (P.S. I recommend leftovers be reheated this way: put relatively lots of newly cut onions into a preheated frying pan/skillet, and then add in your meats and cover. Periodically add some water and recover (no pun intended) to introduce moisture into the reheating process.)

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall

Checkpoints · September 2015 · 27

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Heather Wilson ’82 returns to D.C. as top Air Force civilian


If she had her druthers, Heather Wilson ’82 probably would still be president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “Being a college president is the best job in America,” she admits. But a phone call following President Donald Trump’s election last fall propelled Wilson into the national spotlight and unexpectedly changed the trajectory of her career. Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was on the line asking the former New Mexico congresswoman if she’d consider becoming the 24th secretary of the Air Force. Wilson suggested several other qualified candidates and expressed her reluctance to leave higher education and the open spaces of the West. Mattis was undeterred, however, and continued to pursue Wilson. After the fourth of fifth phone call, Wilson agreed to accept the nomination. “I wasn’t anticipating returning to federal service,” Wilson explains. “But it was pretty clear that I was being called to serve.” Wilson had often encouraged the students and faculty at the School of Mines & Technology to use their gifts in the service of others, and to find something that is “bigger than themselves” to devote their lives to. “I either believe in that or I don’t,” Wilson says of her ultimate decision to become the secretary candidate. “At some point, if you’re called to serve — and you believe you have gifts that someone like

Secretary of Defense Mattis needs — then the country is calling and you’re supposed to do your duty.” After a lengthy Senate confirmation process, Wilson was sworn in as the 24th secretary of the Air Force on May 16, 2017. She joins fellow USAFA graduate, Gen. David Goldfein ’83, as one of the two top Air Force leaders. Wilson becomes the first United States Air Force Academy graduate to hold that top civilian position. It was not the only time that Wilson had achieved a “first” in professional and political life. As a USAFA cadet, she was the first woman to command basic training and the first female vice wing commander. When she was elected as New Mexico congresswoman in 1998, Wilson was the first USAFA graduate to serve in the nation’s legislative branch. In 2009, she was the first woman ever to receive the Distinguished Graduate award from the Association of Graduates and USAFA.

Family Expectations

Wilson propensity to serve comes naturally to the East Coast native. She is the third generation in her family to serve the country as an airman. Her grandfather started flying shortly after the Wright brothers and served during World War I for the Royal Flying Corps and in World War II for the United States. Her father was a crew chief in the Air Force and, later, a commercial pilot and experimental aircraft builder. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 29

“I think one of the things that a service academy education does is give you a strong foundation academically, but it also gives you an opportunity to learn to lead ... I learned that here.” Along with a love of flying, Wilson’s parents also passed on their sense of patriotism to their children. “I cannot, to this day, tell you what political party my parents were registered as,” Wilson smiles. “But I can tell you that if you didn’t get up off the curb when the flag went by in a Memorial Day parade, you were going to be hauled up by the scruff of your neck. That was the family I came from. You were expected to serve — serve your country and serve the community.” As a high school student, Wilson learned that the Air Force Academy had opened the Cadet Wing to women. Wilson talked to her grandfather about the opportunity and he supported the idea. She was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college. Wilson admits that the Academy experience gave her a leg up in her future, varied career. “I think one of the things that a service academy education does is give you a strong foundation academically, but it also gives you an opportunity to learn to lead,” she explains. “I learned that here.” in Great Britain and as a planning officer for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty OrganizaCareer Detours tion) in Belgium. “My entire life is a diversion from its Then — in 1989 — Capt. Wilson resigned planned course,” Wilson says with a laugh. from the Air Force to accept a position with Following her USAFA graduation in the National Security Council. As direc1982, Wilson had hoped to go to pilot tor for European Defense Policy and Arms training and become a test pilot. Control, Wilson worked under President “That was my ambition at the time that George H.W. Bush. She was a chief adviI was here,” she recalls. “But doors opened sor to the president during an era when for me that I didn’t even know were there. the Warsaw Pact collapsed and the Berlin I’ve lived a blessed life. I’ve been able to Wall fell. take advantage of opportunities and been After leaving government service in 1991, Wilson moved to New Mexico, started a helped along the way.” She would become a Rhodes Scholar family and opened a small business. and gain her masters and doctorate in interPolitical Service national relations at Oxford University. Wilson was then assigned as negotiator Several years later, Wilson (who was a and political advisor for the U.S. Air Force foster parent with her husband, Jay Hone) 30 ·

would be appointed the cabinet secretary for Children, Youth & Families Department in New Mexico. Over the next three years, she would play a lead role in reforming the child welfare laws and juvenile justice system in the state. “I garnered some attention for that, I guess, for turning some things around,” she notes. When a five-term incumbent from New Mexico died in office, Wilson was encouraged to seek the Republican nomination for the seat. In 1998, she won a special election to finish out the previous congressman’s term. She’d win re-election during the general election five months later. “None of it was planned,” she notes. “It just kind of happened.” Wilson would go on to be re-elected four more times. During her tenure in

“We live in this incredible country where people step forward and volunteer to protect the rest of us ... I find that inspiring, I really do.”


The 24th Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather WIlson ‘82, speaks following her swearing-in ceremony May 16 in Washington, D.C.


Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson ‘82 leads the way into Falcon Stadium May 24 for the USAFA Class of 2017 graduation ceremony. She’s trailed by Gen. David Goldfein ‘83, chief of staff of the Air Force, and USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ‘81.

Congress, Wilson served on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees. In her role with the Intelligence Committee, Wilson helped strengthen the nation’s security in the years following 9/11. During her time as a congresswoman, Wilson also served on the USAFA Board of Visitors and helped develop programs to reach more minorities and first-generation college applicants. In 2012, Wilson sought to become one of New Mexico’s U.S. senators, however she lost the race to her Democratic opponent. After leaving Congress, Wilson would launch a consultant firm and worked with several defense and scientific companies. Then, in 2013, she became president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

“Secretary Mattis felt some of my life “I’m actually going to miss being on a experiences would be good additions college campus,” Wilson says. to the team he’s trying to build at the Defense Department at this time,” she Madam Secretary says. “I have a fair number of tools at this Just one week after being confirmed, time, but also am well aware of how much Wilson was at her alma mater to particiI have to learn.” pate in graduation ceremonies. She visited Wilson says she hopes to focus much of with Checkpoints about her new role and her energy on the airmen who make the the challenges that lie ahead. mission of the Air Force possible. Wilson emphasizes that she’s committed “We live in this incredible country to leading our country’s airmen as the next where people step forward and volunteer secretary of the Air Force. to protect the rest of us,” she says. “I find “It’s an honor, and it’s a duty that I take that inspiring, I really do.” seriously,” she says. What’s the overreaching message she Wilson admits her breadth of experience has for the airmen under her charge? — everything from international relations “Do your duty,” she explains. “We take to business owner to congresswoman — an oath to protect and defend the constituprovides her with a solid “set of tools” that tion of the United States, and that’s what will serve her well at the Pentagon. we’re here for. And it’s worth defending.” Checkpoints · June 2017 · 31

Air Force Priorities

On the top of Wilson’s action-item list is preparing the Air Force for current and future missions. “I was very surprised — having been away from national security affairs for six years or so — what has happened in the Air Force over the last decade, particularly with readiness levels,” she reports. “We need to restore the readiness of the force. That’s not going to happen in one year, but we’ve got to get back to a ready force. Not just ready for the fight we’re in today – in Syria and the Middle East. But for the high end fight against near-peer competitors. That concerns all of us.” One key to readiness is recruiting and retaining fighter pilots. “We’re losing fighter pilots – we’re over 900 fighter pilots short,” she says. “And we’re short of maintainers. So we have some real readiness challenges.” A second priority is modernization, Wilson states. Over the next decade, the Air Force plans to modernize tankers,

bombers, fighters, the nuclear deterrent and space forces. “It’s across the board modernization,” Wilson says. “Right now in the Air Force, our aircraft are the oldest they’ve been in the history of the United States Air Force and we’re the smallest we’ve ever been. But the demand for air power just increases.” A final priority is innovation. “I think we need to drive innovation today for what the Air Force is going to be 20 or 30 years from now,” she says. “That’s the responsibility of the secretary and the Congress, more than anyone else.” A key area of innovation will be in the space domain, Wilson adds. Ever since China demonstrated the ability to take out a satellite in 2007, the U.S. has realized its need to ramp up space dominance. “We’re very dependent on space, but we’re also very vulnerable there,” she reports. Wilson admits the job of beefing up the Air Force can seem overwhelming at times. “The good thing is I don’t have to do it alone,” she smiles.


New Officers

Wilson spoke briefly at the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017 on May 24. Then she had the opportunity to salute and shake hands with many of the newest officers in the United States Air Force. “Today is your day to celebrate,” Wilson told the cadets. “And tomorrow you will be officers in a nation at war.” She pledged that she would work with Congress to “restore the readiness of the force” in order to succeed militarily around the globe. As secretary of the Air Force, Wilson helps guide and direct the 660,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian airmen who serve the country in various capacities. She reports directly to the secretary of defense.

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1602_Checkpoints (2016).indd 1

Leading The Situational Awareness Revolution

2/25/16 9:08 AM


YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS The Association of Graduates has partnered with Agora Worldwide and its Shop Thru The Heart program. By using this program, a portion of your online purchases will go to the AOG to better serve the graduates of the USAF Academy, enhance heritage programs and enrich the cadet experience. Shop at and support these programs with every purchase. HOW IT WORKS Go to, sign in and begin shopping to support the AOG. There is NO COST to you to use the program and all purchases remain confidential.

“It is a really easy way to support USAFA and it’s easy to use. I have put the Shop Thru The Heart shortcut on my computer, click it when I want to buy something online and go to more than 120 different stores I want to shop.” –Phil Del Vecchio USAFA ’69 Board Secretary, North Texas AFA Alumni Chapter

Shop Thru The Heart virtual mall has more than 120 stores, including online favorites such as:

Gateway to the

SKIES Doss wins contract renewal to train next generation of Air Force aviators

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ne of Colorado’s busiest airports isn’t anywhere near a major population center. The skies around Pueblo are constantly abuzz with airplane traffic, thanks to Doss Aviation and its Initial Flight Training (IFT) program serving military customers. The vast majority of future Air Force pilots — including hundreds of newly minted second lieutenants from the United States Air Force Academy — attend the Doss program each year with hopes of advancing to undergraduate flight training. When the weather cooperates — which turns out to be most days in sun-drenched Southern Colorado — dozens of student aviators are taking off or landing at Pueblo Memorial Airport from sun up to sun down. The IFT program accounts for 95 percent to 98 percent of the overall air traffic at the airport today. “When we’re busy, we’ll fly about 160 sorties a day,” reports Mark Maryak ’87, chief pilot for the IFT program since 2009. “There are plenty of days when we’re the number two airport in our region, right behind DIA [Denver International Airport].” The hectic schedule is necessary, Maryak says, because flight instructors only have a limited number of days to fit in the required sorties and academic instruction necessary for a student to graduate. The ultimate goal of the IFT program is to prepare the young officers and selected enlisted personnel for future success as military aviators. Over the first 10 years of Doss’ history in Pueblo, the company has trained nearly 14,000 aviators who have gone on to Undergraduate Flight Training (UFT) and beyond.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 35


James Love, Class of 1991, settles into the cramped cockpit of his DA-20 aircraft. The airplane is one of 51 in the Doss fleet used to train new Air Force and Marine aviators. 1st Lt. Courtney Bishop ‘15 completes her pre-flight check before taking off into the skies above Pueblo, Colorado.


Doss Aviation Chief Pilot Mark Maryak, sporting his Class Ring from 1987, points out some of the air space corridors in Southern Colorado used by the company for Initial Flight Training.

Earlier this year, the company was informed it was chosen for a 10-year, $290 million contract extension (with the first five years guaranteed). Doss expects the number of students it trains to accelerate even more, thanks in part to increasing Air Force demand for remotely piloted aircraft pilots and to a new agreement to instruct international students from various allied countries.

A Little History

Initial flight screening programs (now called Initial Flight Training) can be traced back to the Korean War, according to Maryak. Military officials during that era were taking people right off farm tractors and attempting to teach them to fly. The tactic didn’t work as it took too long to train the new pilots. That’s when the initial training program — using Piper Cubs that were used as spotter planes during World War II — 36 ·

ramped up to introduce flying to prospective pilots in a less complex way. “They let them get their feet wet, and learn some of the basic stuff in an airplane that was not quite so hard to handle,” Maryak explains. “It worked out quite well and it solved the problem for them.” The IFT program has been an integral part of the overall pilot training process ever since. “We always talk about the crawl, walk and run phases of pilot training,” Maryak says. “This is the crawl phase of military flight training.” Doss Aviation launched into the IFT business in the 1970s, starting out in Alabama and Georgia but then moving to Texas.

contract despite significant competition from several major Department of Defense contractors. The company — with the help of the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation — purchased a vacant industrial building adjacent to the Pueblo airport and upgraded it to accommodate students, maintenance personnel and flight operations. Doss took a significant risk bidding on the IFT program, Maryak says, because the original contract wasn’t guaranteed. The Air Force could have pulled out after just one year. “They had to buy all these airplanes, and spend money to update this facility,” he says. “So it was a big risk.” The gamble paid off, however, as the company has grown and prospered since Pueblo Days In 2006, Doss Aviation bid to provide its early years in Southern Colorado. Pueblo was the perfect location for the IFT services for the Air Force and other military clients. The company won the Doss operation, Maryak says, because of

“We always talk about the crawl, walk and run phases of pilot training... This is the crawl phase of military flight training.” —Mark Maryak ’87 the favorable weather (an average of 258 sunny days a year). “Generally speaking, we have great weather,” Maryak says. In addition, Pueblo Memorial Airport was an underutilized facility a decade ago, yet it had an FAA control tower and plenty of open airspace for miles around. There continues to be few, if any, conflicts for Doss aircraft around the Pueblo airport. “When you start looking around, it is very difficult to find open airspace in the continental U.S.,” Maryak notes. Doss has agreements with several nearby, underutilized airfields as well (La Junta, Trinidad and such) to conduct out-and-back sorties and touch-and-go operations.

The cadre of Doss flight instructors is perhaps the most experienced group of flight instructors in the country, averaging 5,000 overall flight hours and 3,000 flight instruction hours each, Maryak says. “Pretty much any of my instructors could be flying for the airlines,” he says. “But a lot of them are prior military aviators and, frankly, they’d rather put on a flight suit and come teach the next generation than to put on an airline suit and go fly for the airlines.” Four additional Academy graduates are part of the active-duty 1st Flying Training Squadron, which provides Air Force oversight of the government’s contract with Doss. Lt. Col. Rob Thweatt ’00 is the director of operations for the Academy flavor 1st FTS. Of the 250 employees who work at “We’re here to monitor the contract Doss’ Pueblo facility, about 77 are flight and make sure the government is getinstructors. Of that number, 27 are grad- ting what the contract requires,” Thweuates of the U.S. Air Force Academy. att explains.

Bernie Schwartze ’81 was an Air Force colonel assigned to the 1st FTS when the new Doss program was launched in 2006. After retiring from the Air Force, he returned to Pueblo in 2012 to become an instructor pilot. “I came back because of the people,” he explains. “We have some high-quality, high-caliber people working here. And we have really good leadership.” It’s also rewarding to work with new second lieutenants who are just starting out in their Air Force careers, Schwartze adds. “You care about the students and you want them to succeed,” he admits. “We do invest a lot into the students, even though they may not realize that.” James Love ’91, who has worked at Doss for more than five years, also enjoys the chance to interact with young aviators. He was an active-duty instructor with the Air Force prior to his retirement. “I’m able to continue what I was doing in the Air Force — teaching and trying to transfer knowledge to the next generation — but not have to move,” he said. “It’s really a joy and I love doing it.” David Myhre ’87 and Susan (McWhirter) Myhre ’87, a husband-andwife team of pilot instructors, have been working at Doss for almost three years. They weren’t aware of the IFT program until they attended their 25th USAFA class reunion a few years back. They met up with classmate Maryak, who recruited them to join his team. Susan Myhre hadn’t flown in about 23 years, due to back problems that led to her eventual retirement from the Air Force. But she was thrilled to have an opportunity to be a flight instructor again. “It’s a huge privilege to be able to come back and influence the next generation of military aviators in this way,” she says. “I’m tickled every time I think about what I’m doing.” David Myhre says the Doss opportunity proved to be perfect timing for his family. Both of the Myhre’s sons attended college in Colorado, and one — Justin Myhre — actually graduated from USAFA this spring. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 37

“The timing worked out for us really well,” he says. Joseph Petrosky ’99 says the instructors not only transfer aviation knowledge to the aspiring aviators, they transfer valuable information about Air Force culture to students. “Most of them don’t know what it’s like to be in the military setting,” he says. “You have to set the example and establish an environment where there are expectations and standards.” Even though flight instructors aren’t required to “mentor” students, they often end up giving advice or answering questions about life in the real Air Force. “It’s hard not to be a mentor,” Petrosky says. Maryak adds that, within his cadre of instructors, at least one person has had experience with almost every Air Force weapons system. If a student has a question about any aircraft or Air Force mission, Maryak directs them to the appropriate staff member. “It’s kind of nice to have that capability,” he admits. 38 ·

Home Sweet Home

The physical Doss facility includes multiple classrooms, a large cafeteria (serving three meals a day), a gym and workout space, barbershop, chapel, convenience store, three airplane hangars and more. Security personnel keep the students and staff safe while at the facility. “It’s an Air Force base all under one roof,” Maryak says. The facility’s 195 hotel rooms (85 double-occupancy and 110 single-occupancy rooms) provide a comfortable place for 280 students to rest and study. Daily maid service allows students to concentrate on their important studies. “We are the largest hotel in Pueblo by 50 rooms, over the Marriott,” Maryak reports. With the expected surge in additional students later this year, Maryak expects Doss to approach full capacity at its hotel facility in the near future.

humming. The company’s maintenance staff does an exemplary job of keeping the fleet airborne despite the hectic daily schedule, Maryak says. “We lose very few sorties to maintenance,” he explains “We just fly the heck out of these things, but they just keep on flying.” Despite the pressure to stay on schedule, Maryak says safety is the most important part of the Doss-Air Force partnership. “Our safety record is very, very good,” he notes. “In general aviation, the accident rate is about 6.3 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. Our rate is about 1.8. And we’ve had no fatalities.”

Serious Challenges

Approximately 2,000 students a year complete the IFT program in Pueblo. Most are Air Force officers (that’s why Doss calls itself the “Gateway to Air Force Aviation”), but a few aviators are Marines. Class sizes average between 70 Operational capability and 90 students. Doss has a fleet of 51 airplanes (Diamond Students hoping to fly traditional airDA-20 aircraft) that keeps the program craft are enrolled in a 22-day program that

includes four days of classroom instruction, 13 dual sorties and one solo sortie. A specialized IFT program for combat systems officers (CSOs) is just 18 days long, including academics and 10 sorties. The Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) program is more intensive, with students committing to 37 training days in Pueblo. RPA students must complete 22 sorties and a solo flight. The IFT program for remotely piloted aircraft pilots helps future operators get a feel for the actual experience of flying before they operate aircraft from remote locations. The RPA program has grown dramatically in recent years, Maryak reports, because of the increasing demand for RPA pilots within the Air Force. “RPA is a booming business. We’re almost 50-50 now — RPA students versus traditional pilots,” Maryak says. “I have three flights that teach RPA guys and four that teach pilots and CSOs.” Maryak notes that students who complete the Pueblo programs are better prepared to succeed wherever their aviation

career takes them. The Doss facility and its procedures are purposely designed to mimic an Air Force pilot training base. “So they are ready to go when they get to that next level,” he explains. “Nothing will surprise them. It’s a terrible disadvantage for the students who don’t come here.” Thweatt says any advantage a student can gain from finishing the Doss program is helpful in the long run. “The Air Force is only asking more and more out of its pilots,” he says. “Students are required to do more difficult things earlier in training than they were when I was a student. So the increase in complexity of the flight training program makes sense.”


USAFA graduates make up a good portion of the Doss Aviation instructor pilot crew, including (front, from left) Jake Mueller ‘10, Mark Maryak ‘87, Jim Love ‘91, Sue Myhre ‘87, Andy Holmberg ‘94, Jeremy Roth ‘00, Craig Pritchard ‘95, Juli Mansfield ‘86, Roger McFarland ‘71, Mark Hedman ‘83, Art Romero ‘91, Bernie Schwartze ‘81, Mike Flannery ‘86. (Back row) Rob Thweatt ‘00, Mike Hady ‘86, Pete Eunice ‘84, Paul Bordenave ‘79, Tim Matson ‘87, Chris Paulhamus ‘99, Kevin Yandura ‘90, Mike Abair ’91, Duane Cozadd ‘79, Ed Conroy ‘87, Scott Skibitsky ‘07, and Joe Petrosky ‘99. Not Pictured: Bob Curnow ‘71, Bill Welde ‘77, Chas Cameron ‘80, Mike Bettner ‘87, Dave Myhre ’87, Mick Harper ’92 and Collin O’Bryant ’08.


Daune Cozadd ‘79, an instructor with Doss Aviation, looks on as a future Air Force aviator conducts the necessary pre-flight checks on a DA-20 aircraft.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 39

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Don’t miss the fun at your class reunion! Classes of ‘72, ‘92, ‘97 and ‘07 – September 20–24, vs. SDSU Classes of ‘62 and ‘67 – October 4–8, Sink Navy! Classes of ‘77, ‘82, ‘87 – October 11–15, vs. UNLV Visit for more information

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Library of the

Future McDermott begins transformation to more collaborative, comfortable space By Jeff Holmquist

f you haven’t set foot inside the main entrance of McDermott Library recently, you’d never recognize the place. The towering book shelves and aging study carrels that once dominated the Terrazzo level of the library are gone, replaced with comfortable study pods and varying seating arrangements to accommodate individuals and cadet study groups. A series of glass-walled, six-person collaboration rooms — outfitted with whiteboards for cadet use — are situated along the edges of the redesigned space. Larger media-scape lounges have been installed along the northern part of the third floor, providing space for presentation practice for up to 20 people. Large, wall-mounted television screens allow for quick computer connections within the rooms. A new, automated snack bar can be found on the eastern portion of the main floor, with cafe seating and plenty of electrical outlets that allow USAFA cadets to plug in their laptops. As an added bonus, the historic spiral staircase at the rear of the library has been given new life, no longer hidden from sight. The entire space on the third floor is open, inviting and considerably brighter compared to the previous design. And there’s not a book in sight — other than those being carried by cadets. “Basically the floor plate is completely open,” explains Duane Boyle, Academy architect and deputy director of Installations for the Air Force Academy. “When you walk in there, you get a really nice feel. It’s not a claustrophobic feel like it used to be.” Boyle says the renovation project incorporated current trends observed at other university libraries. The Academy’s membership in the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) helped bring some of those library trends to light. “Libraries all across the country are changing,” Boyle says. “They’re no longer what they used to be — which was a book depository. Now they serve as the hub of learning and collaboraCheckpoints · June 2017 · 43


Cadet Michael Kearney, Class of 2018, is pictured in the library of the past and future.


USAFA Cadets Dennis Callaghan (below) and Kevin Perez Ortega (above), both Class of 2020, take advantage of the new study pods.


A cadet finds a quiet study spot at the end of the traditional book and document stacks inside McDermott Library.

have a good idea on how to proceed with the complete renovation of McDermott, Schaffter notes. Boyle and Schaffter say the initial upgrade has been well received by cadets, but more feedback will be sought as to the direction of future phases. “We’ve had nothing but positive comments,” Schaffter says. “The group study rooms were in use within minutes of unlocking them. They are very popular.” “I think our direction is spot on,” Boyle comments. “But we can’t make any judgments right now about where we’re ultimately going to go in the future.”

laboration that extends through the campus and into the community.” The $1.6 million renovation of the third floor of McDermott (totaling about 40,000 square feet) was completed in June. Half of the funding for the project came from USAFA Endowment gift funds, while the remainder came from Civil Engineering. Apart from all the furniture upgrades, the project included the installation of energy-efficient lighting and improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The recently completed project is the first major work done to the cadet library since the 1981-era addition to the original 1958 facility. According to David Schaffter, library associate director, the “interim refresh” of the third floor space is only a precursor of things to come. “It is an experiment in design to see what the students will use and how they will use it,” he explains. When work begins on the larger, phased “Library of the Future” project — which is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2020 — the Academy, its architect and eventual contractor will 44 ·

Library Trends Of the 880,000 volumes in McDermott Library’s collection, only 173,000 have been checked out at least once in the last 17 years. Those unused books take up a lot of space inside the Cadet Library that could be used for other purposes. According to Library Director Ed Scott, recent research indicates it costs libraries $4.85 per year to store a single book, when you take into account all utility, maintenance and personnel costs. “That’s a heck of a lot of investment that is not being used,” he comments. Scott explains the university library industry has shifted from a traditional “just in case” mentality to a new “just in time” approach to serving its patrons. “Can I think of a reason that you may need this book?” Scott explains the more traditional library thought process. “If the answer to that is yes, then I want to buy it just in case you need it.” For decades, that mindset led libraries to measure their value by the number of books and printed materials in their overall collection. Today’s approach, however, is to secure materials quickly and electronically (if possible), but only based on the specific needs of the library user. “It’s demand-driven acquisition,” Schaffter explains, “helping the customer to navigate an increasingly complex information environment, and not necessarily creating that extremely complex information environment with a labyrinth of books.” “That’s not to say that we will not continue to get things in print, because we will,” Scott adds. “There are still a lot of things out there that are only available in print. But, on the other

hand, I do not have to buy it and store it just in case you need it, because there may be a more efficient way to get it.” Some universities — such as Georgia Institute of Technology — are storing away all or most of their books in an effort to address the current information and collaboration demands of students. Other academic libraries, such as the McDermott Library, are taking a more modest approach to transformation and collection reduction. “We’re bringing our collection space allocation down from 66 percent to 30 percent, and effectively transforming it into userdirected space or user-utilized space,” Schaffter says. Decisions, Decisions McDermott officials are debating how to safely and efficiently whittle down the number of books the Cadet Library keeps on hand, Schaffter reports. The library will be working with Academy instructors to make sure books required for classes and other well-used materials remain within the walls of the facility. The Cadet Library has already disposed of 80,000 bound volumes of journals, which are all available online today. “We gave up a lot of stuff but not access to content,” Schaffter assures. Library officials expect another 400,000 monographic volumes — many of which can be found online — to meet a similar fate in the coming months. The library staff eventually will conduct a time-consuming, title-by-title review of remaining books to reduce the collection further. To help ease the decision-making process about which books should stay and which ones should go, library officials are hoping to join the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL) to better partner with academic libraries throughout the state. If the Academy library joins CARL, cadets will be able to access books and other printed materials throughout the network, allowing McDermott to keep its permanent collection at a more reasonable number. “If there are 10 copies of a book in the state, maybe we don’t need to keep that one,” Schaffter says. “But if it’s unique in the state … we’ll probably keep it.” The Academy also will coordinate with the Military Education Coordinating Council’s Librarian’s Working Group to make sure it keeps books that are unique within the military academic library network. “We’ll make sure we’re not doing anything irresponsible with our collection,” Schaffter says. “We have a responsibility to the scholarly record to retain as much as we can for the future.” In addition, the Academy is negotiating with PASCAL (the Preservation and Access Service Center for Colorado Academic Libraries) in Denver to determine if some of the Academy’s collection can be stored there. If an agreement can be reached, books or other printed material stored at PASCAL could still be requested by a cadet. The storage facility would locate and deliver the item to the Academy within a day.

“It’s demand-driven acquisition ... helping the customer to navigate an increasingly complex information environment, and not necessarily creating that extremely complex information environment with a labyrinth of books.”

Future Plans As McDermott moves toward full implementation of the “Library of the Future” plan, the Academy will be securing federal funds to tackle much of the estimated $78 million project. The USAFA Endowment will likely be involved with fundraising from graduates and friends for the “margin of excellence” amenities that the government won’t pay for — i.e. furniture, technological upgrades, collaboration spaces, says Schaffter. The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library organization also will be involved in the planning and executing of the overall renovation. The most recent “Library of the Future” plan developed for the McDermott Library was completed in early 2016. The Academy has been working with Shepley Bulfinch of Boston (a nationally recognized library consultant) on the overall library transformation. The preliminary plans call for special collections to move from the sixth floor to the fifth floor (part of which was recently renovated for CyberWorx but will revert back to the library once that cyber program builds a new, freestanding facility). Actual books for cadet use will be moved to the sixth floor. The Academics Success Center and tutoring program will move from first floor to fourth floor, according to current plans, and some library offices will move to first floor. “The Library of the Future plan will not in fact increase the amount of space assigned to the library,” Scott reports. “But how we use that space will be significantly re-assigned and re-designed.” When the “Library of the Future” is fully operational, the collaboration hub on the third floor is expected to be available to cadets 24/7. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 45

Plans call for the front entrance — which is often locked up during high winds — to be moved to the sides of the structure and shielded from Colorado’s unpredictable weather. In addition, plans call for the automated snack bar to be replaced by a full-service coffee shop. “Cadets want to be able to go to the library and not be in a stuffy environment,” Boyle explains. “They want to actually enjoy their time there.” Schaffter notes that all future renovation phases will emphasize functionality and flexibility. “Libraries are changing too rapidly,” he says. “Working with the architects, we will tell them there should be nothing too custom. It will need to be adaptable.” The newest iteration of the Academy’s “Library of the Future” is considerably different than the original proposal developed in 2011. At that time, the project was estimated to cost $154 million and included a new underground book storage facility (with a capacity of two million books) under the Terrazzo. The expensive storage facility is no longer needed, Scott says, because so much material is now available electronically that the number of actual books can be safely reduced. “The accessibility of information electronically has just skyrocketed in five years,” he says, “and I see no reason why that won’t happen again in the next five years.” A Sneak Peek The finishing touches to the third floor project were completed in early June, as the final pieces of furniture were moved into place. A grand opening celebration for the recent renovation project will be scheduled sometime before Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 retires. Scott, who plans to retire at the end of June after 22 years leading McDermott Library, says witnessing the beginning stages of the “Library of the Future” is a great way to wrap up his career. 46 ·

“When I started off in libraries 51 years ago, people would come to the desk and say they needed this journal. We would tell them we could get it for them in two weeks,” he laughs. “They didn’t blink … that was fine.” Today, cadets expect almost instantaneous access to the same information. “Things have changed vastly, to be sure,” Scott says. “Now it’s all about how you are meeting your students’ needs.” Boyle agrees, noting that prospective cadets and their parents often check out the library facilities to see how USAFA compares to other universities and colleges. “Our desire is to bring our library up to a standard that is commensurate with what other universities are doing, both from a functional standpoint and an image standpoint,” Boyle says. “Today’s students are a different student than they were in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1980s,” he continues. “Their study requirements are diverse. Individual study will always be important, as is the ability to collaborate. We need to provide the facilities where they can do that. We were not providing the cadets the kind of space they needed to fully enable their success. With this library renovation, we’re trying to provide them with the tools … to be able to do what they need to do in today’s world.” From talking with earlier USAFA graduates, Boyle found out that working in groups was often frowned upon. “Because that meant, in a way, that you were cheating,” he says. “You weren’t getting through on your own.” Today, working together helps prepare cadets to become better Air Force team members after they graduate. “It is obvious that critical and creative thinking, along with strong collaborative abilities, are key to today’s higher education environment and we plan to fully embrace these concepts as we plan for future academic renovations and new facilities,” Boyle says.


Developing leaders of character has never been more important … Your Sabre Society level gift to the Air Force Academy Fund will provide the best possible resources in support of the Academy, its cadets, and the graduate community. The Academy’s mission – developing leaders of character for our nation – is simply too important to leave to federal funding alone. The bridge between sufficiency and excellence is built by private funding. Generous contributions from graduates, parents and friends enable the USAFA Endowment to fulfill its mission of supporting the Academy.

Make your gift today! For more information, contact the Endowment at (719) 472-0300, ext 200 or

8 ·


GENERATION By Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ‘81

s I watched the United States Air Force Academy’s 59th graduating class, the Col. George “Bud” Day Class of 2017, walk across the stage last month and join the ranks of the Long Blue Line, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and admiration for the transformational journey they have undertaken. This journey started here at the Academy but has only just begun, and will lead these ambitious young officers — the future of our Air Force — to challenges requiring agile minds, battles requiring moral courage, and problems requiring collaborative innovation. They are ready, and I have no doubt that they are prepared with the interdisciplinary skills they will need to succeed in the many daunting missions they will be called to lead. It has been my distinct privilege to serve as superintendent throughout this class’s development over the past four years, as they matured from some of the most promising and diversely talented youth our nation has to offer, into its next generation of inventive warrior leaders and characterdriven officers. As cadets, they readily embraced our vision as we took unprecedented steps to 48 ·

strengthen our commitment to our foundational core values, while remaining relevant to the demands of 21st Century combat and to the future of the constantly evolving, modern profession of arms. The Air Force is engaged in combat every day, and graduates of the Class of 2017 will soon operate in asymmetric battlespaces — complex, interconnected webs of manned and unmanned weapon systems, operators, and command and control networks that span the air, space and cyberspace domains. In this environment, every airman is a crucial link in the success of the mission. The future of warfare requires a new type of warrior that our graduates exemplify — someone not even the founders of the Air Force Academy could have imagined 63 years ago. To adapt to the changing battlefield, we’ve taken bold steps to innovate in the way we deliver the academic mission. The core curriculum is increasingly interdisciplinary — science and technology interwoven with the fabric of the humanities, a design purposefully tailored to outpace the demands of modern combat. This develops in our cadets a crucially diverse skillset: the technical knowledge needed to operate today’s sophisticated technology, as well as

the emotional and social intelligence that comes from an intimate understanding of the human condition. Nowhere is this approach more apparent than within the collaborative spaces of CyberWorx — a partnership with Air Force Space Command, the Air Force Chief Information Officer, 24th Air Force, local academe, and industry partners. Cadets from both technical and non-technical disciplines use techniques pioneered at the Stanford Design School to employ the full spectrum of human knowledge and solve problems in creative ways. For the Academy, the partnership allows us to educate and train officers to enter the Air Force well-prepared to harness the rapidly-changing pace of technology and provide innovative solutions to the most pressing problems facing our nation today. Beyond the educational benefits, CyberWorx also enables the Air Force to sustain an asymmetric operational advantage over our adversaries through the effective application of game-changing technologies. As a result of our evolution as an Academy, what we do here today might look a little different than in the past. For example, some of our returning alumni have been

surprised that the freshmen eat first at Mitchell Hall. The shift was intentional, modelling what is expected of our future officers as they take on the great responsibilities of combat leadership. Leaders eat last. They set precedents, share hardships, and display to their subordinates the wisdom and poise they have acquired through their education, experience and tenure. They exemplify character through their words and actions at all times, whether in public or in anonymous environments. To that end, we have deliberately interwoven character and leadership development into all aspects of our demanding curriculum of education, training and athletics. We’ve made character development the cornerstone of the Academy experience, enabling our cadets to practice the habits of thought, to develop personal accountability, and to exemplify the ethical behavior that is expected of our graduates when they leave here and transition from warrior leaders in training to warrior leaders in command on the battlefield, where more is expected of them than ever before. With a renewed emphasis on dignity and respect, over the past several years we have taken deliberate steps to involve every member of USAFA in the character development of cadets — to model and practice the behavior expected of quality officers, to set the organizational culture and climate, and to ensure the cadets see what “right” looks like. The dean, the commandant, the director of athletics, and our AETC teammates at the 306 FTG are all equally invested in the character development of the cadets. To prepare the staff for this awesome responsibility, we’ve doubled down on Lt. Gen. Bradley Hosmer’s original vision for the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) by increasing investment in the professional development of the staff. The opening of Polaris Hall reinforced the importance of this initiative by providing a world-class facility as a permanent home for the CCLD and this vital part of our mission. Thanks to the generous donations of our alumni and supporters, this more-than-symbolic, awe-inspiring structure also enabled us to realize an

Be confident that our newest graduates have joined the Long Blue Line poised to live honorably, and are committed to serve the nation to ensure we remain — now and forever — the greatest Air Force on the planet.”

outward facing ambition for this Academy — to be a national thought leader and center of excellence for character and leadership development, the standard bearer of character leadership for the entire Air Force. This institutional emphasis on character has yielded noticeable improvements in culture and climate across all mission elements of our Academy, and will continue to pay off as our graduates enter the Air Force to lead units that face punishing operational tempos with limited resources. As we look toward the future, what we do for our Air Force and nation has not changed. Our mission to develop agile and inclusive officers of character prepared to lead in a complex, volatile and rapidly changing geopolitical landscape remains the foundation of the Air Force Academy. Our mission remains aligned with the needs and Strategic Master Plan of the Air Force. We continue to meet or exceed the Air Force’s requirements for placing graduates into rated career fields. We’re in a great place as an institution — but we’re not done yet. As the Air Force Academy nears its seventh decade of existence, our challenge is to remain on the cutting edge of innovation, learning and officer development — to continue our upward trajectory. Over the past four years, we’ve set the stage to enable USAFA to achieve even greater heights in the development of character-driven leaders for our nation and Air Force. First, we have laid the groundwork for modernizing our aging IT infrastructure. And over the next five years, our skyline will change as we collectively embark on several

facilities projects to renovate the Cadet Chapel, Sijan Hall and Falcon Stadium, improve the visitor experience, and build a permanent home for CyberWorx. Our continuing success in these areas hinge on our commitment to remain aligned through unity of effort and common purpose toward our noble mission. We are the Air Force’s Academy, and the history we share with the Air Force has been characterized by an unwavering quest to fly faster, farther and higher using aircraft, spacecraft and the information domain to control the ultimate “high ground.” Through the immersive experience of the last four years, this heritage of adaptability and innovation — seeing problems from a different perspective — is part of the mindset of every graduate. Their class motto of “respect all, fear none” exemplifies the dignity they have displayed in their actions, their commitment to the warrior ethos, and their character as leaders. The grueling four-year experience has equipped them with technical cognizance, a critical mindset, an enduring warrior spirit and the character to lead. The Class of 2017 played an integral role in fueling our upward trajectory as an Academy, and in the coming years their contributions will continue to be realized as we accelerate toward even greater heights. Be confident that our newest graduates have joined the Long Blue Line poised to live honorably, and are committed to serve the nation to ensure we remain — now and forever — the greatest Air Force on the planet. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 49

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52 ·


AOG president and CEO wrapping up nine-year run By Jeff Holmquist


rom his corner office on the second floor of Doolittle Hall, William “T” Thompson ’73 has a stunning view of the USAFA campus and the mountains beyond. For the past nine years, the president and chief executive officer of the USAFA Association of Graduates has enjoyed the scenery while also striving to better support the institution that has meant so much to him and his fellow graduates. But Thompson’s impressive tenure at the USAFA Association of Graduates will soon come to a close, marking the beginning of the next chapter in the alumni organization’s storied history. He plans to retire at the end of June and return to his home in Atlanta. “You don’t want to be in these jobs too long,” he admits. “Nine or 10 years is about as long as you want to do it. Then somebody else can come in with a fresh set of eyes, and they’ll do things that we’ve never even thought about doing.” It’s important to note that Thompson never expected to find himself in the role

of CEO and president of the AOG in the first place. And he certainly did not intend to stay as long as he did. But looking back, Thompson says he feels good about all that’s been accomplished during his tenure, and he’s certain the organization is in a much better position than when he first arrived. “I think we’ve had a hell of a run,” Thompson smiles. “Hopefully I’m leaving a good foundation for the next person to come in and build upon.” TUMULTUOUS TIMES A decade ago, the Association of Graduates experienced organizational upheaval that ultimately led to the formation of the USAFA Endowment and created a palpable fracture within the graduate community. In an effort to give graduates more say in how their alumni association operated, a grassroots group — called the AOG Reunification Committee (ARC) — sought to open up the Board of Directors election and bylaw process. At that time, a slate of

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 53

ARC candidates ran against board incumbents, and the opposition group sued the AOG to gain access to the membership list so it could communicate its message to voters. The ARC candidates won the day, ousting a number of board members who also were significant donors to previous AOG capital campaign efforts. Some of those previous AOG board members would go on to form the USAFA Endowment and begin raising money for Academy programs and capital projects. According to Gary Howe ’69, current AOG executive vice president, the tumultuous times led to the retirement of Jim Shaw ’67, who had served as the AOG’s top administrator for eight years. Howe would jump in to serve as interim president and CEO while a national search was conducted for a new AOG leader. A LACK OF INTEREST “T” Thompson knew few of the details surrounding the turmoil within his alma mater’s graduate community when he received a call from a classmate in 2008. His friend suggested that Thompson apply for the president and CEO position with the AOG. “My friend thought it would be great if I came out here and straightened things out,” Thompson recalls. Thompson had noticed the advertisement for the position but wasn’t interested in the job. He had recently retired as an airline pilot and sold his successful business, plus he was writing a book, launching out onto the speaker’s circuit and enjoying life. Thompson also was settling in to a fulfilling community service routine, serving on various boards for nonprofits and businesses, including the American Cancer Society, Eastern Bank, Boy Scouts of America and 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. He reluctantly agreed to study the job description, learn more about the AOG and evaluate the organizational structure of the alumni association. Thomp54 ·

son admits he never expected to actually pursue the opportunity. “I was not committing to anything, other than just doing a little due diligence,” he notes. After talking to officials with the alumni organizations at West Point and Annapolis, Thompson discovered that USAFA was well behind its sister academies in engagement with graduates and membership benefits offered. At that time, West Point had 120 chapters (called societies) scattered around the globe, and Navy had about 100 chapters with an additional 72 class clubs. The AOG had about 30 chapters. “Yes, we’re the newest service academy … but at the time we’d been around for 54 years. I didn’t feel we could use that as a reason for being so far behind,” Thompson notes. “I think my competitive juices kind of kicked in and I became more interested in the job.” GIVING BACK On the final day the AOG was accepting applications, Gary Howe received a phone call from Thompson asking if a new president and CEO had been hired yet. Howe explained the position was still open but resumes needed to be in by the end of the day. “He threw his hat in the ring at the very last second,” Howe recalls. “I somewhat reluctantly, quite frankly, sent my resume out,” Thompson explains. “Even though my competitive juices had kicked in, I still didn’t have a burning desire to have the job.” Randy Jayne ’66 and his executive search company provided pro-bono help to whittle the 53 active CEO candidates down to 10 finalists. A handful of those ended up coming in for face-to-face interviews, and Thompson was one of them. The first question Thompson encountered when he met with the search committee: Why did he want job? He was honest. “I don’t know that I want this job.” “Of course, that got everybody’s attention,” he remembers. “I was asked to elaborate. I told the board they had some

significant challenges here, and I started going down the list.” Thompson had done his homework, poring over several years worth of meeting minutes. He found that the board was often paralyzed, failing to make decisions in a timely manner. Point blank, Thompson indicated to the committee that the organizational structure was dysfunctional at best. If he was to take on the role of CEO and president, Thompson stipulated that the board would have to adopt the Carver Policy Governance Model, which would allow the new leader to take charge of the AOG’s day-to-day operations while the Board of Directors would set policy, plan strategically and deal with larger issues. “I was not going to compete with 15 other people to run the organization dayto-day,” he recalls. Thompson also advocated for an aggressive chapter growth program, noting that the USAFA AOG was well behind the pace set by its sister academies. In addition, he zeroed in on the troubling financial position of the alumni organization, suggesting that the AOG establish a healthy reserve fund to smooth out the budgetary ups and downs it experiences. “I’m just laying out all this stuff,” Thompson says. “I could see they were getting uncomfortable.” He left the interview fully convinced that he wouldn’t receive a job offer, but several days later Thompson was informed that he was the unanimous choice of the board. “T’s bearing, eloquence and desire to help his alma mater stood out,” says Terry Storm ’61, who served on the Board of Directors and search committee at that time. Thompson says he was honored to be selected, but he still had reservations about returning to Colorado Springs for a fulltime job. “In all honesty, I had mixed emotions at the time,” he says. “I’d done well when I sold my business, and I got a nice retirement from Delta. I was at a point in life where I didn’t have to worry about working at all. There was no financial incentive

for me to come out here and take a job. But I did have an incentive because I love the Academy. It was really my chance to give back.” Thompson accepted the job, believing he’d stay in Colorado for three or four years, fix the AOG and move on. Nine years later, he’s decided it’s finally time to move on. CHANGES Thompson hit the ground running after joining the AOG staff. He helped develop a chapter growth program, which expanded the graduate network from about 30 to 86 chapters over the next five years. “Our grads had a hunger for being connected, but we’d never provided them the grass-roots structure to do so,” Thompson says. “We hired two people — USAFA grad Stella Grayson ’99 and Natalie Ryan ’08, a West Point grad — to go out and meet grads. They started growing the number of chapters. I give them all the credit.” Thompson and the AOG staff also helped institute a distinguished chapter program, which recognizes chapters that attain exemplary status through important milestones and regular activities during the year. Under Thompson’s direction, the AOG has launched a successful ambassador program as well. About 120 volunteer USAFA graduates are scattered throughout the nation and are tasked with welcoming and mentoring fellow grads who move to their communities. In addition, Thompson slowly built up the AOG’s reserve funds (now sitting at more than $2 million) and beefed up the organization’s overall communications efforts. During his nine-year run, Thompson has supervised the implementation of two new and improved websites. A mobile app also was developed to better connect grads. The organization’s alumni magazine, Checkpoints, has been improved and the weekly e-newsletters have been enhanced. The AOG’s Communications Department has received 61 awards for excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education over the past five years. The AOG’s annual revenue from the sale of merchandise has been on a continual upward trend under Thompson’s

There was no financial incentive for me to come out here and take a job. But I did have an incentive because I love the Academy. It was really my chance to give back.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 55

leadership. Thanks to the implementation of an online store, the AOG can market its high-quality products to the graduate community and Academy friends all around the world. During Thompson’s tenure, the AOG has generated additional revenue through sponsorships as well. The alumni organization was the first partner in USAA’s successful affinity program and that relationship has helped fund the overall mission of the AOG. Over the past nine years, the AOG also has ramped up career services and mentoring programs, which assist graduates during career transitions. And Thompson is especially proud of all the heritage projects (the SEA Pavilion, the Plaza of Heroes, the Doolittle display, notable graduate displays and more) that have occurred and advanced under his watch. Plus the much-improved Founders Day celebration that the AOG and Academy jointly puts on gives him a sense of accomplishment as well. In addition, Thompson helped implement a staff strategic plan that led to the hiring of highly skilled AOG staff members to better serve the graduate community. “I’ve been blessed, fortunate and privileged to serve with our AOG staff,” he says. “The AOG staff is the best group of people that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. I wish more of the graduate community knew and appreciated what the staff 56 ·

does on behalf of the graduate community. “‘T’ takes a very collaborative approach They are dedicated and professional.” to bringing the community of interests together and trying to find a common COLLABORATION denominator so it’s a win-win for everyShortly after he was hired, Thompson was body,” he suggests. directed to work more closely with the Volcheff notes that Thompson has been USAFA Endowment and help bring heal- successful on many fronts because of his ing to the fractured graduate community. It willingness to reach out and cooperate. was perhaps the biggest challenge he faced “He was clearly the right man for the in his new role. job — to not only work the mission of the Thompson helped lay the groundwork AOG, but to, quite frankly, bring peace for the initial Memorandum of Under- and to help the two organizations continue standing (MOU) signed by the two organi- to work together to support our Air Force zations in 2010, which ultimately brought Academy and our graduate community,” the Endowment to office space within Volcheff says. Doolittle Hall. The arrangement also Since that initial agreement, Thompson has allowed the staff members from both orga- been involved in two MOU renewals between nizations to work more closely together. the AOG and Endowment. Gen. (Ret.) Stephen Lorenz ’73, Thompson’s He’s also been involved in recent discussions USAFA classmate, was hired as the Endowment about the hiring of one president and CEO to CEO and president in 2011 and worked along- oversee the operations of both the AOG and side Thompson for more than four years. Endowment. Under the plan, the boards of the Lorenz says Thompson succeeded in two organizations would remain separate, but making the AOG “solvent and prosper- the support staff would be combined. ous,” while at the same time seeking to Even though the proposal failed to gain work more closely with the Academy and membership approval due to a lack of total USAFA Endowment. voters, organizational leaders expect the idea to “He and I worked together as a team to be implemented eventually. help the Academy,” he says. “We were here “As time goes by, it’s in the best interest to help the greater good of our school, our of our Academy that both organizations graduates and all the cadets.” work closely together as one toward the Mark Volcheff ’75, current Endowment common goal of helping our great AcadCEO and president, says that spirit of col- emy,” Lorenz says. laboration has continued since he replaced “The two organizations are a little bit Lorenz a year and a half ago. different, but there is so much collabora-


In 2009, William “T” Thompson is pictured leading the “March Out” to Jacks Valley with the Cadet Wing. “T” talks with AOG chapter members at the 2016 Chapter Presidents’ Conference. “T” meets regularly with the Cadet Wing leadership and shares dinner with them during each semester. He’s pictured in November 2015 with the wing leaders from that era.

tion that can be done,” Volcheff adds. “It is absolutely the right thing to do to provide a single and stronger voice … representing the graduate community.” Thompson agrees, but with some caveats. “I would hope that, as time goes on, the Endowment and the AOG can just become one organization again, like it used to be,” he says. “But at the very least — if they want two different boards — that we have one combined operation. But there needs to be one common governance structure for the CEO and staff. Both boards should be strategic — let the CEO run the operation, and have one common agreed upon set of governance principles by the two boards.” THE RIGHT GUY Most who have worked with Thompson believe he turned out to be the right choice to lead the AOG organization during this time of its history. Terry Storm ’61, the chairman of the AOG Board of Directors during the early years of Thompson’s tenure, called “T” the “perfect … face of the AOG” over the past decade. “I was honored to team with him for the betterment of the AOG overall,” he says. “He was absolutely the right person at the right time to re-establish an effective and efficient AOG to the benefit of the entire USAFA community — not only the members.”

Roger Carleton ’67, who has served on the board since 2009 and was chairman from 2013 through this past May, used an old E.F. Hutton commercial phrase to best describe the leader’s effectiveness. “When he talks, people will listen,” Carleton says. “’T’ is very well respected.” Carleton says he’s also been impressed with Thompson’s ability to listen intently to all ideas, create a path forward, make a decision and then run with it. “The culture he has created within the AOG staff is remarkable,” he notes. Howe calls Thompson a “classy guy” who helped elevate the visibility and prestige of the AOG over time. “Everybody knows who he is,” Howe says. “And he knows how to work a room. ‘T’ has done well … he’s been good for this organization.” Thompson has always been able to get the most out of the AOG staff, Howe continues, and always expects excellence in the end product. “He has taken the excellent things that we have come up with and made them outstanding,” Howe suggests. THE NEXT PHASE As he leaves the AOG, Thompson is excited to finish the book that he started writing more than a decade ago. He’s also looking forward to returning to the speaking circuit. In addition, his plans include some golf and a bit of travel.

“I want to go out and revisit some of the places that I had gone to as an airline pilot but never had enough time to stay there,” he says with a smile. “And I’ve got my old Corvette that I bought as a cadet that I just totally restored. Plus, I’ve got an Aston Martin that I need to drive.” Most importantly, Thompson says, he will spend more time with his mother in South Carolina. “I want to hang out with her a bit more and be able to do stuff for her,” he explains. “That’s very important.” LASTING LEGACY Thompson hopes he’s remembered as the leader who helped the AOG and his alma mater move forward during challenging times. “I think that’s all you can hope for … moving in a positive direction so somebody else can pick the ball up and keep moving it down the field. I don’t know if we’ll ever score a touchdown, but you just want to make good progress while you’re here.”

Answer code: 1. Number of Air Force secretaries in U.S. History 2. Number of graduates in the Class of 2017 3. Total number of USAFA graduates in the institution’s history 4. Number of foreign exchange students in the Class of 2017 5. Number of graduating classes during USAFA’s history

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 57

58 ·


Grads help harness apple byproduct’s healing power By Jeff Holmquist

wo USAFA graduates are on the front line in the battle against irritating skin disease. Maj. Simon Ritchie ’03 and Maj. Casey Bowen ’04 — both Air Force dermatologists stationed in Texas — have partnered with pharmaceutical company Galectin Therapeutics to conduct research on a new treatment that shows great promise against severe cases of psoriasis and eczema. The new drug (GR-MD-02) was initially developed to address a serious liver disease — Non-Acoholic Steatohepatitis or NASH (fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver that is not the result of alcohol abuse). The drug is derived, in part, from apple pectin — a powdery substance extracted from the pulp of apples and other fruits. During the clinical trials on several hundred patients with liver disease, one patient who also had a severe case of psoriasis told doctors that her skin disease started clearing up after taking the experimental medication. “That was very significant, in my opinion as a dermatologist, because psoriasis doesn’t just get better,” Ritchie explains. “It doesn’t just go away.” Interestingly, drugs targeting one disease can often end up being effective against other health problems, according to Ritchie. GR-MD-02 appears to be one such promising drug. “We kind of know, as investigators, to always ask about a patient’s other health problems,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just by happenstance that we figure out how things work. We’ve seen some major breakthroughs that way.”

Clinical Trial

Since Galectin Therapeutics remains focused on finding effective treatments for liver disease, the company asked Ritchie if he’d be willing to conduct a separate drug trial on psoriasis patients. (Pso-

riasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease and between 2 and 3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from the malady. Psoriasis also can affect the joints and pre-dispose people to other risks — heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.) The USAFA grad agreed to help out and recruited five individual patients to participate. After establishing a medical baseline for each patient — recording measurements for height, weight, physical fitness, severity of the disease, etc. — the research began. Every two weeks, the patients visited Ritchie’s clinic and received a dose of GR-MD-02 — higher dosages for heavier patients and lower levels for smaller patients. After completing 13 infusions over six months, Ritchie concluded the initial trial. Even though Ritchie was skeptical about the new drug when he started the trial, he’s now optimistic that GR-MD-02 will relieve the pain and irritation psoriasis patients suffer with every day.

Promising Results

The severity of each patient’s psoriasis is measured by a Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) score, Ritchie explains. By the end of the trial, the average patient in Ritchie’s clinical trial showed a 50 percent improvement in their PASI score. One patient — who was the heaviest patient in the trial and thus received the highest dosage of GR-MD-02 — realized an 80 percent improvement in his skin condition. “He was essentially clear,” Ritchie reports. “We have photos that are just jaw dropping. They are absolutely striking.” Some of the patients who stopped the drug infusions have since reported that their psoriasis has not returned, even though many months have passed since the trial ended. “I would never, ever say that we’re going to cure psoriasis,” he says. “But we may be able to induce a remission. That would be Checkpoints · June 2017 · 59

an incredible advantage to the patient, to the insurance company that’s paying for the medicine, to the physicians, and to access to care. It would be an all-around benefit.” Another positive sign from the clinical trial was the lack of side effects reported by patients taking the drug, Ritchie reports. Many psoriasis treatment drugs on the market today suppress a patient’s immune system or can cause serious side effects. “Hundreds of patients have received this drug and not a single person has had an adverse event related to the drug,” he notes. “That’s very, very significant.” The fact that the drug is derived from a polymer of sugar molecules — apple pectin — likely has something to do with the lack of negative outcomes, Ritchie suggests. “Drugs based on sugar molecules, rather than the typical organic chemicals or proteins, may have fewer side effects,” he says. The good news doesn’t stop there. If the drug eventually is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the expected lower retail cost of GR-MD-02 could save patients thousands of dollars every year. Current medications on the


market (both shots and pills) can run patients $30,000 to $40,000 a year, Ritchie estimates. “The cost is massive,” he says. “And sometimes those drugs aren’t very effective.” Even with all the positive results from the study so far, Ritchie is hesitant to get psoriasis and eczema patients’ hopes up. “It all has to play out in the research,” he says. “We won’t know until we know.”

Eczema Trial

Because of GR-MD-02’s effectiveness with psoriasis, Simon and his fellow dermatologist Casey Bowen are now conducting a six-month, “compassionate use” study on the drug’s ability to counteract severe adult atopic dermatitis, a.k.a. eczema. “I have kind of become our department guru on atopic dermatitis over the last few years,” Bowen reports. “I’ve been lecturing on the topic for four years now.” The FDA allows “compassionate use” studies for drugs that show promise in treating conditions or diseases for which there currently are no effective treatment options.

Maj. Casey Bowen ‘04 (left) and Maj. Simon Ritchie ‘03 examine a slide while doing research on a new drug aimed at skin diseases. (Photos by SSgt Kevin Iinuma.)

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Bowen recruited three patients who suffer from severe cases of eczema. The first patient has already finished six months of infusions but, because of the positive results, that patient’s involvement in the study has been extended for six more months. The other two patients are nearing the end of their infusion schedule. According to the Galectin Therapeutics website, the new drug has shown promise among eczema patients as well, although the final report has yet to be compiled. Early indications are that GR-MD-02 may be even more effective against eczema — which affects between 10 and 15 percent of the nation’s population — than with psoriasis, Bowen suggests. Incidents of severe adult atopic dermatitis are much more rare, however. Bowen expects to complete his study in the weeks ahead and compile his final report on the drug’s effectiveness against eczema. Whatever the final outcome, Bowen says he’s enjoyed being part of the research. “It is cool to be involved in the cutting edge of dermatology and try to make a name for our program,” Bowen says.

Next Steps

Ritchie recently presented the results of his research at a dermatology conference and he’s hoping to publish a paper on the subject in the next month or two. Next, Ritchie and Bowen hope to launch the next phase of FDA trials on psoriasis and eczema. The next phase of the research will require medical researchers to sign up 200 to 250 patients willing to take the new drug. Each patient will receive different dosages of the medication and the results will be tabulated. “We’re basically looking to see how each one responds and if there are any safety events,” Ritchie explains. Eventually, the drug will go through double-blind studies where both the patients and doctors don’t know who is receiving the drug and who is receiving a placebo during the course of the infusions. If the patients who are given the actual drug show significantly more improvement than the placebo group, the FDA will likely approve the treatment for use.

“Hundreds of patients have received this drug and not a single person has had an adverse event ... That’s very, very significant.” “We’re not sure yet if we’re going to do the next step study with psoriasis patients or if we’re going to do it with eczema patients,” Ritchie reports. “That hasn’t been determined.”

Military Partnerships

It’s somewhat unusual for Air Force physicians to participate in clinical trials for drugs being developed by civilian companies, but it’s not unheard of, according to Ritchie. Part of the challenge is the initial set-up of the project. “It took about a year to go through the whole process, and that’s with being very proactive and working very, very diligently,” Ritchie notes. “It still takes a long time to get studies approved.” Military members have to gain approval for proposed research projects through their institutional review boards, and then the entire process is tightly monitored to ensure the safety of patients and to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest with the military personnel involved. “It all has to be above board, obviously,” Ritchie explains. “I don’t get paid by the pharmaceutical company — no military physician gets paid by a pharmaceutical company. We just do Checkpoints · June 2017 · 61


Maj. Simon Ritchie ‘03 examines a patient at his clinic. (Photos by SSgt Kevin Iinuma.) this because we’re interested in furthering the science and getting better care for our patients.” Bowen adds that Air Force doctors have another stumbling block when it comes to conducting research. Because they move to a new location every three or four years, military physicians have a hard time committing to long-term projects. “It’s a tough thing to do clinical research as an active duty physician,” he admits. “That’s why not a whole lot of it is done. Just to start clinical research is kind of a daunting task. When you’re only at a base for three or four years, it’s hard to get something off the ground and running.” Bowen is PCSing in July and Ritchie is moving to his next assignment in September. Both dermatologists hope to be involved in the next phase of GR-MD-02 research at their next locations, but they can’t be certain. “I’m hoping to be involved in the actual studies themselves, but that will be left up to my next base that I’m PCSing to,” Ritchie says. “I’m hoping to enroll patients locally and continue with the treatments. But, at a minimum, I’m going to be an advisor to the company — unpaid.”

“Working at SEAKR feels like a career rather than just another job, from having a birthday lunch with founder Ray Anderson to playing volleyball, it feels more like a family.” –David N. Anderson Engineer III, FPGA Engineering

If you are interested in being a part of SEAKR’s future, please visit:

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Making the Cadet Experience Exceptional It’s an honor to have a son, daughter or relative serving as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. It’s that pride in family and devotion to service that prompts many to ask: “What can I do to help support my cadet and the Academy along the way?”

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Through active volunteerism and philanthropy, Parent & Family Giving can help you connect with other USAFA parents, get involved in Academy events and act as an ambassador for the Academy and cadets.

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Service Academy Career Conference helps graduates navigate the challenges associated with job changes By Jeff Holmquist


vaine Mansfield ’03 knows the value of keeping an open mind. If she didn’t, Mansfield likely would have followed the path of many Air Force Academy graduates who left the military and went to work for either the airlines or a Department of Defense contractor. Instead, with the help of the Service Academy Career Conference program offered by the USAFA Association of Graduates and its sister academies, Mansfield is now using her leadership and problem-solving skills at social media giant Facebook. And she’s loving it. There are lessons everyone can learn from her recent job transition, Mansfield claims, including the importance of networking, the benefit of lifelong learning and the criticality of exploring outside-the-box opportunities. ACADEMY DAYS As a teen, Mansfield loved space and astronautics. So it was only natural that the United States Air Force Academy ended up being on the top of her list for college. During her time at The Zoo, she competed in rugby, powerlifting, shotput, discus and the hammer throw. In addition, she went on to play women’s professional football while still a cadet. After graduation, Mansfield went directly to pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. She did exceptionally well in her first Air Force role and was asked to become a FAIP — “first assignment instructor pilot.”

“I got to stay as a second lieutenant and teach other people how to fly airplanes, which I found really rewarding,” she remembers. When that assignment ended, Mansfield would move to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, to fly RC-135s. She started out as a co-pilot and worked her way up to instructor pilot. Her time at Offutt included several overseas deployments as well. NEW HORIZONS After 11 years on active duty, Mansfield says she was ready to transition to the civilian work world. “I decided it was time for a change,” Mansfield says. “And I thought a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Many of her contemporaries had found jobs with the airlines, but Mansfield admits that “flying commercial was not the ongoing mental challenge I was looking for.” “My favorite things about flying are abrupt maneuvers and air refueling,” Mansfield jokes. “For some reason commercial passengers don’t like going over 20 degrees of bank. I don’t know why. My mentality and commercial passengers just didn’t mix.” Mansfield came to the conclusion that she would explore other career options, but focused her attention on industries that would challenge her, allow her to work collaboratively with others and force her to learn new skills. “I realized that all of that would be in IT [information technology], because IT is changing so much.” Mansfield explains.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 65

“And there’s always going to be somebody smarter than you in something, so you can collaborate and work together and learn from each other. That’s a lot of what drove me into the IT area.” PREPARING FOR SOMETHING NEW Mansfield discovered the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program and began her move out of the military. She found out about the Military-Veterans Service Center at Bellevue University, which offered help with resume writing, networking and job search skills. “It wasn’t just for students at that university — they help anybody,” she says. Mansfield then heard about the Veterans Career Transition Program, which offers a free year’s worth of online college classes through Syracuse University. “I did as many classes [in IT] as I possibly could in that one year,” she reports. “I was focusing on learning the material, knowing the terminology and being able to speak to it in an interview. But I made a calculated risk decision to not go for the certifications. I decided to go for the knowledge, and hopefully — if I got to the interview piece — I could wow them with my knowledge.” Evaine Mansfield ‘03 “likes” her new job at Facebook. Her interaction with the Association of Graduates’ Career Services team opened her eyes to the non-traditional position.

With the assistance of her transition team, Mansfield landed her first civilian job with a Nebraska electromagnetic compatibility testing lab. The commute to that job ended up being too long, so Mansfield restarted her networking efforts and eventually was hired by the IT department at First Data in Omaha. That particular job search was quite a challenge, she notes. “I did hours and hours of online applications, and it was really frustrating. I just didn’t know what I was doing wrong,” Mansfield says. “I finally realized that what they say is true — you need a network, because otherwise you’re just a number. But if you can become something other than just a number, you’re going to get to that next step.” Mansfield initially had a bad impression of what “networking” entailed. She didn’t want to end up asking for favors or pushing her way into an interview. “It had the feel of a slimy used car salesman to me,” she notes. “I don’t know why I had that impression.” She has since learned that networking is more about connecting with friends and colleagues, asking plenty of questions and seeking out job opportunities that would be a good fit. Mansfield used her networking skills to connect with a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who works at First Data, and she began asking questions about the company. He eventually helped Mansfield line up interviews with the appropriate hiring professionals. “They knew I didn’t meet the job requirements as they were written, but they knew I had the potential to get there,” she explains. “They knew that, in the long run, I was a much better fit than anybody else they would find.” Over two and a half years, Mansfield excelled in her new IT job and helped the company improve its processes and improve overall efficiency. Mansfield also used the opportunity to learn more about the other jobs her co-workers tackled within First Data. “I got high-level views and experience in almost every area of the data center,” she says. “That was a huge piece to my growth … and being able to understand the big picture.” MOVING ON A California native, Mansfield eventually got tired of the Midwest winters and being far away from family. She sensed it was time to head closer to home. “I loved my position,” she says. “Honestly, if they had an opportunity for me on the West Coast doing that same thing, I’d probably still be at First Data. The winters were just really too much for me.” In August 2016, she attended a Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) in San Diego to scout out possible IT opportunities. A lifetime AOG member, Mansfield had heard

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The sign outside of Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California, features the well-known “like” icon.

about SACC events that occur four times a year, but she’d never attended. “I didn’t necessarily have the companies in mind that I was interested in,” she recalls. “The Jet Propulsion Laboratory would be there, and Boeing and Lockheed would be there. I was thinking one of those companies would be a great fit.” At the conference, Mansfield met Association of Graduates Career Coach and Business Operations Director Beth Wade, who encouraged Mansfield in her newest transition. Mansfield decided she would interview with any companies that offered her the chance, thinking that it was at least good practice for future interviews. That’s how she ended up connecting with Facebook recruiters who were exhibiting at SACC. While in San Diego, Mansfield interviewed for two different Facebook job openings, and learned more about the company that left her with a good impression. Researching more about Facebook via LinkedIn, Mansfield also discovered that one of her USAFA classmates works at Facebook. She connected with him and was able to ask a bunch of questions. “I had not been thinking about working at Facebook, because a lot of military folks and the general population think of Facebook as just a big app,” she says. “I had no idea all the other cool things Facebook is doing.” Mansfield was drawn to Facebook’s ongoing hardware development efforts, its global Internet connectivity program and its overall environmental friendliness. “And the more I learned, the more I realized that Facebook had the two things I enjoyed most about the military,” she explains. “They had a mission that was engaging and meaningful. ‘To make the world more open and connected.’ And second,

they had a sense of community and a sense of teamwork. That sense of having a second family.” ON THE JOB After two in-person interviews at SACC, two phone interviews and six face-to-face interviews during her one-day visit at Facebook, Mansfield landed an operations program manager generalist job at the social media company. After more than six months at the company, she reports that things are going great. “I have as close a relationship with my manager as I’ve ever had,” she says. “And I hang out with my co-workers. I already feel like I have friends and family at work, and it’s amazing.” She currently works with the data center connectivity team, ensuring that Facebook’s many data centers are operating effectively and efficiently. “With the scale that Facebook is growing, we’re figuring out ways to do what we do faster and better, and be able to accommodate the growth we have in the future,” she explains. “So I’m helping think about processes and how to keep Facebook from having to re-invent the wheel each time.” As she continues to settle into her new role, Mansfield admits she remains amazed at how Facebook treats its employees. The company covers all the monthly premium costs associated with health insurance. She was provided a healthy relocation bonus, as well as free shuttle service to work if she wants a ride. The company even offers free breakfast, lunch and dinner on its campus. “I never thought I’d be working for a social media company in the Bay area,” she adds. “I’m just amazed.” Checkpoints · June 2017 · 67

Facebook in Menlo Park, California, is ablaze in light during the evening hours. Evaine Mansfield ’03 says the social media company has been a great place to work.

ADVICE FOR YOUR TRANSITION Mansfield mentions a couple pieces of advice she’s learned during her recent job transition. “The first thing I would say is, don’t say ‘no’ to something just because you don’t have the experience in it,” she begins. “There are programs and people out there who are willing to help you transition. There are resources out there to help you go from whatever you’ve been doing to something entirely different. Look at what you want to do and go for it.” Second, try to be humble and modest in your expectations. “I had to get used to asking what I thought were very basic questions,” she explains. “It made me feel like I was dumb at the time. I worried that people were going to judge me because I didn’t know the answer. But when I asked these basic questions, every single person’s response was — ‘hey, let me teach you.’ People like to teach. They’re going to bring you along.” Mansfield also encourages Academy graduates who are in transition to be open to new challenges and unexpected career paths. “Almost everyone I talk to has no idea what they want to do when they grow up,” she notes. “That’s actually oddly reassuring to me.” Finally, Mansfield is convinced that networking is valuable and should be practiced even if a person isn’t actively looking for a new job. She has already connected with fellow graduates in the San Francisco area by becoming involved with the Northern California Chapter of the AOG. Mansfield also connected with a veterans support group for employees at Facebook. She has joined the local Lesbians Who Tech chapter and another local LGBTQ group as well. “And now I have a mentee,” she reports. “I’m helping her in her career transition.” 68 ·

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‘MR. SON’ RETU 70 ·


Charles Jackson ‘69 (left) shares a toast with one of his former captors in Vietnam.



hen Capt. Charles Allen Jackson ’69 was shot down over North Vietnam on June 24, 1972, he knew his survival would depend heavily on the individuals he encountered in hostile territory. What Jackson couldn’t anticipate, however, were the simple acts of kindness he’d experience on his perilous journey to becoming a prisoner of war. Those fleeting moments filled him with gratitude for the gentle touch of humanity that would appear in the most unlikely places. For 44 years, Jackson admits, it’s gnawed at him that he’d never had a chance to thank the handful of people who treated him well while in captivity. But a carefully planned, two-month tour of Southeast Asia this winter provided the perfect opportunity for Jackson to track down several villagers and captors he hadn’t seen since the Vietnam War. His eventual face-to-face encounters with those individuals proved to be more uplifting and rewarding than he could have ever imagined.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 71

Charles Jackson is pictured during his United States Air Force Academy days, checking out a sweet ride.


After graduating from USAFA in 1969, Jackson would finish navigator training and eventually head to Vietnam. While flying out of Ubon, Thailand, with the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Jackson volunteered for a bombing mission over the Thai Nguyen Steel Works in North Vietnam on June 24. “I owed a USAFA ’70 grad a favor and he happened to be a scheduler for another squadron,” Jackson recalls. “They ended up a backseater short one morning for missions and I volunteered to fly outside the squadron. That was the mission I was on when I was shot down.” When Jackson’s F-4 approached its target, enemy aircraft attacked. After dropping bombs on the steel mill, Jackson was following the egress route when his airplane was hit by an airto-air missile. As the airplane exploded, Jackson was able to eject over enemy territory. Jackson hit his head on the canopy and injured his spine, broke his left arm in two places and injured his right hand during ejection. (Unfortunately, his pilot — 1st Lt. James McCarthy — did not survive.) 72 ·

“I really don’t remember anything after that, until I apparently came out of shock on the ground,” he says. “I noticed men working their way toward me, through the trees.” Jackson scrambled to gather his parachute and locate a hiding place. Unable to walk, Jackson rolled his body toward a hole next to a large rock, crouched inside and covered himself with debris. The evasion tactics worked, and Jackson thought he would actually avoid capture. “Everything, I thought, was going in my favor,” he says. “It was getting dark, they had been searching for me for a fair amount of time and it was beginning to rain. I spent the time working to put the pain out of my mind with the hope I would be able to walk when necessary.” Then, suddenly, a villager jogged by Jackson’s hiding spot and caught a glimpse of the aviator. “One of the men reached down and grabbed me by my hair and started to pull me out of the hole,” Jackson says. The Vietnamese captors marched Jackson back toward their village in the dark of night. But about a half hour into their hike, one of the men noticed that Jackson’s hand was injured.


“The doctor of the village stopped everyone and he applied a compound of crushed leaves that he took from a small, glass bottle,” Jackson recalls. “He put that on my wound and wrapped it with a dirty rag. I have no idea what the compound was, but it worked, drawing together and healing in three days.” When the group arrived at the remote mountain village of Muong Do, Jackson acknowledged the assembled elders with a polite nod of his head. Jackson had learned about the culture of the Vietnamese people while at the Academy, and he knew it was important to show proper respect to village leaders. The villagers escorted him to the home of the village security chief and gave him all that he could eat and drink. The security chief showed Jackson a map of the area and various military sites, before allowing him to sleep for the night. Vietnamese militia members arrived at the village at 3 a.m. to gather Jackson and take him to Hanoi, but the village elders stood up to the militia, not allowing the soldiers to take the airman until everyone slept and ate breakfast.


Once the militia took possession of Jackson, the group hiked down the trail out of the mountains. “As we approached villages along the trail, the militia would hit me in the head with bamboo sticks and tell me to keep my head down,” he recalls. “And I would go along with that order, until we got into a village and I noticed the village elders come out. Then I would raise myself erect and acknowledge the elders with a nod. To me it appeared that I won favor with the villagers.” During his second night of captivity, Jackson woke up and left his quarters to relieve himself in the forest. When he realized everyone around him was sound asleep, he recognized this might be his only opportunity to escape. He quietly re-entered the house and retrieved his F-4 seat kit (which included a couple containers of water, a signal mirror and a knife) and disappeared into the darkness. But after Jackson climbed a karst wall to a path, he was left with no choice but to cross a dew-covered meadow leaving an obvious trail for his captors to follow. “It was like a big neon sign saying ‘Hey, he went this way,’” Jackson remembers.

A short distance later, Jackson found himself trapped in a box canyon, with his pursuers close behind. He eventually was recaptured. “The militia decided to punish me,” he says. “They tied me to a pole at the edge of the village, and the militia and the villagers came by kicking me and hitting me — all at the prodding of the militia. After a while, I’d decided I had enough of the game and I pretended to pass out.” Thinking the worst was behind him when he was untied from the pole, Jackson was moved to a nearby stream and made to squat down on a rock with a rope around his neck, tied to a tree. A young boy was given an AK-47 and the militia encouraged the boy to fire at Jackson’s head. “I decided that if I was going to die, I was going to at least die on my feet,” he notes. “I stood up and I stared at this young man, over the sights of the rifle. He didn’t shoot.” The villagers eventually became upset over the treatment of Jackson and forced the soldiers to leave with their captive.


At the next village, Jackson notes, one of the elders pushed a young woman toward him. “As it turns out, the villagers were not allowed to marry within the village. So they practiced what they called capture and marriage,” Jackson chuckles. “Apparently I was being offered a wife. This upset the militia for some reason. We went on down the path with no food and no wife.” A short while later, the group happened upon a whitewashed barn and paddock. “It looked like something out of an old Roy Rogers movie,” Jackson recalls. He soon fell asleep while propped up against a large tree inside the paddock. When he woke up, however, Jackson found himself surrounded by kids of varying ages and each armed with a long knife or sword. He thought the end was near. “I’m sitting there against this tree, trying to figure out where the cameras were,” he admits. “I thought this must be a propaganda stunt.” Eventually, however, a man wearing a white smock over his clothes appeared and created a sling for Jackson’s broken arm. The Academy grad was then thrown into the back of a truck and driven the final five hours to Hanoi. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 73


“As I’m peaking out of my blindfold, I can remember when we turned into the Hanoi Hilton,” he says. “I remember the light outside — hanging over the front gate. I knew that I was there.”


When he arrived at the Hilton, Jackson was taken to the area known as the “Heartbreak Hotel” and was interrogated. “No rough stuff,” he emphasizes. He stripped, bathed from a bucket, changed into prison “pajamas” and was placed in a holding area. “As luck would have it, a group from the Japanese press corps were in Hanoi that night,” he says. “The Vietnamese were presenting recent captures to the news. My picture, name, everything was put out by them. The U.S. authorities now knew that I had been captured.” That night, Jackson would begin a conversation with a prison guard who spoke fairly good English. “We pretty much spent the night working math problems, and talking about anything we could think of,” Jackson recalls. The young man proved to be a decent human being all the while Jackson was in captivity, he notes. “He was never cruel or showed any intent of being cruel,” he says. After spending a week in solitary confinement, Jackson would be moved to a large cell in “Unity” with no fellow prisoners. His health declined and Jackson would have no memory of the next few weeks when other prisoners were assigned to his cell. Following surgery on his arm, Jackson’s physical condition improved. A short while later, Jackson and other prisoners were moved to another POW facility in Hanoi called The Zoo. “One of my new cellmates was a 1968 [USAFA] grad — Tony Marshall,” he remembers. “We were put into cells in a building we called The Garage. They opened the cell door and pushed us in, and we stood there looking around our cell. There was a concrete sleeping pad both on the left and on the right, and a large barred window at the far end. We started uncontrollably laughing, because it reminded us of a room back at USAFA. The rest of the prisoners in our group thought we had really lost it because they had no idea what had happened.” Daily “activities” at The Zoo included interrogations (some rough, some not), political indoctrinations and work details, 74 ·

Jackson reports. Because he was badly injured, Jackson wasn’t forced to take part in the work details.


Jackson would move back to the Hanoi Hilton for a short time, then return to The Zoo as the Vietnam War wound down. By December 1972, United States B-52s were flying regular missions over Hanoi. “The old guys in the camp were positive that the end of the war was coming real soon,” Jackson says. “I wanted to think that, but at the same time … there was no need to set myself up for a big letdown if it didn’t happen.” One day, an announcement came over the loudspeakers scattered throughout Hanoi. A civilian painter at The Zoo jumped down from his job site and promptly hugged Jackson. By using a calendar, the painter was able to explain that the Paris Peace Accords would be signed on Jan. 27, 1973, and the war would end.


Because of his serious injuries, Jackson was among the first POWs to be freed. When he arrived at the airport the day of his release, Jackson was surprised to see an acquaintance behind the processing table — Col. Dick Abel was an instructor at the Academy while Jackson was a student there. “I report when my name is called,” Jackson recalls. “I give a salute to Dick and I turn to walk out to the aircraft.” Once the C-130 was loaded with POWs, the passengers and crew remained silent as the airplane taxied to the runway, Jackson remembers. But when the wheels left the ground, all inside erupted into cheers. “Everyone was laughing, crying and hugging. We were going home,” he recalls. “It was truly a moment to remember.”


Fast-forward some 44 years and Jackson and his wife, Marty, travel to Southeast Asia for an epic trip from December 2016 through the end of January 2017. “Primarily, I just wanted to go back and thank those people who conducted themselves as decent individuals during difficult times,” Jackson says. “It was something that I felt I really wanted and needed to do. It was important to let these people know that

After his capture, Charles Jackson ‘69 was interviewed by Japanese reporters and the U.S. became aware of his POW status.

I appreciated their conduct, which I thought was pretty much atypical from what most of my cellmates had experienced. That included the villagers who captured me, and the one guard I met that first night at the Hilton. He was just a decent individual, while some of the guards were just sadistic bastards.” The Jacksons worked with a Vietnamese tour company that coordinated travel arrangements in Vietnam and with the Vietnam-U.S. Society, who coordinated with the government and Communist Party officials to make all the necessary connections with villagers, captors and former Hanoi Hilton officials. The Jacksons began their Southeast Asia journey with stops in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Once in Vietnam, they started in the Mekong Delta at Chau Doc and headed north toward Hanoi. After touring Hanoi and visiting the Hanoi Hilton, a key stop was in Muong Gio (Muong Do) Village, within the Phu Yen District, in what is now Son La Province — where Jackson had been captured four decades ago.


When they arrived in the district, the Jacksons were ferried to the Communist Party headquarters to meet with District and Provincial Party leaders. The next day, the party leaders accompanied Jackson to Muong Do Village. At the village’s Party Headquarters, Jackson had his initial encounter with villagers. On hand were two of his captors, the widows of

three former captors, the son of the doctor who treated Jackson’s wounds, several brothers of other captors and other village leaders. As they all gathered around a large conference table, Jackson couldn’t believe he was again face-to-face with the villagers he met briefly so many years ago. “We’re sitting there at the table, and I’m thinking ‘Is this real or is this a scam?’” he admits. But after the party officials were done speaking, Jackson was finally able to talk with and thank villagers through an interpreter. The captors provided details of the aviator’s capture that matched his own memories. The villagers also pointed out an old banner on the wall that the village had received in honor of their successful capture of the aviator. “At that point, my whole thinking changed to … this is real,” he says. The villagers called Jackson “Mr. Son,” because they are used to mono-syllable last names and assumed his surname was “Son.” “To them, it was Mr. Son returning to Muong Do village,” Marty Jackson notes. “And they were so happy he came home.” After a group picture, several selfies and many hugs, the Jacksons and a few villagers piled into a van and headed up the mountain, stopping on a narrow dirt road on a secluded hillside. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 75

Charles Jackson ‘69 boards the airplane to return home at the end of the Vietnam War.

“We couldn’t figure out why we were there,” Marty chimes in, “standing around in the mist.” Turns out, the group was standing near the site where Jackson’s plane came down and the location lower down the mountain where he was eventually captured. They couldn’t climb to the actual sites due to the damp weather. The group then headed off to the village, where the visitors were served tea at the home of the now-retired security chief in whose house the former POW was detained the first night after his capture. It was here that the security chief confirmed Jackson’s memories of being shown maps detailing their location and other sites. The visitors were taken to a larger house in the village for a luncheon in their honor, where the Jacksons enjoyed a meal punctuated by numerous rice wine toasts. Overall, Jackson says his return to the village, and the interaction with his former captors, far exceeded his expectations. “It was surreal and it was nothing like I expected,” he says. “I expected to be able to go back and express to them my gratitude


for the way they conducted themselves. But it was reversed — they were showing their gratitude for me coming back. The emotions that the villagers expressed were mind-blowing.”


The Jacksons visited the site of the Hanoi Hilton as well. Only a small portion of the complex remains and it’s been turned into a museum. “Walking up to the gate and seeing that light hanging out over the sidewalk instantly brought back memories of coming through that gate the first night,” Jackson recalls. “It was a little easier this time because he knew he was going to walk back out,” Marty adds. Chuck Jackson says the museum paints an accurate picture of the prison’s early history when the occupying French brutalized the Vietnamese people. The section recalling the history of the American POW period was not so accurate. “It didn’t look anything like the Hilton as I knew it,” he notes. The Jacksons met briefly with the former head of the Hilton, who was able to identify the former guard who had befriended the former POW. The man, however, could not be located in time for a meeting.


Jackson says he understands the animosity that many of his fellow POWs and Vietnam War veterans continue to have toward the people of Southeast Asia. Many Americans suffered horrible brutality at the hands of their captors. For Jackson, however, the trip was a chance to embrace both the bad and the good memories from that time of his life.

“I truly respect the guys who did suffer in Vietnam … from the guys out stomping through the rice paddies and jungles, to the guys who were imprisoned in the North, Laos or Cambodia,” he says. “But the war is over, and we have to come to terms with our memories and our experiences.” Holding on to hate, Jackson suggests, is usually counterproductive and merely cripples the individual who fails to move on. “I find hate to be a double-edged sword,” he says. “It can charge you up and motivate you, but at the same time it can leave you empty and void of any feeling other than hate.” The Jacksons plan to return to Vietnam sometime this fall to visit a few more locations and hopefully meet with the friendly guard from the Hanoi Hilton — if officials are able to locate him. They already have one meeting targeted for their next trip — sitting down with the MiG-21 pilot who shot Jackson down in 1972. Jackson says he’s looking forward to that meeting. “People don’t start wars, they fight wars,” Jackson notes. “Politicians start wars, but they don’t fight them. We all were responding to what our governments asked of us. It wasn’t personal, and the Vietnamese people seem to understand that. I’m not sure the American people understand that as well as we could.”

(Above) Charles Jackson returns to the site where his airplane was shot down. (Below) Jackson and two of his captors who are still living.

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 77

FALCON FITNESS Skill vs. Strength

Dan Felix ’74


port training involves specificity. The term is precisely what it sounds like — specific. The body is a very exacting student. When it learns a skill, it learns that specific skill and no other. Think of your body as a team sport. There are two distinct capabilities needed for the team to play. Each team member — each muscle — must be in top condition. Additionally, each team member must be trained to work in unison with the other team members — the other muscles.

Similar But Different

Many times I see athletes attempting to improve their sport skill by adding some form of resistance to a sport movement. Golfers practice strokes with cable weights. Tennis players add weight to the racket. These attempts only train the body to be good at moving a cable weight or swinging a heavy racket. They do not accurately transfer skill to the actual sport. The better approach is to think of training in two steps. Train strength, speed and stamina with muscle-targeted exercises. In a separate workout, train the skill, timing and finesse specific to your sport. When you think about it, this “learning attitude” is very efficient. An example would be the inexact transference of a tennis skill to a racquetball skill. To our eye, the two activities seem so alike that proficiency in one would materially contribute to the other. They don’t. To the human nervous system, they are two distinctly different activities. What can transfer are the non-specific aspects of a sport. Cardiovascular capacity, flexibility and stamina can transfer since those are not nervous-system specific. Timing, swing and finesse would not transfer. For a few sports, skill and strength training routines are almost identical. This would be true for running, cycling, swimming and similar repetitive action sports. This does not work for the non-repetitive sports like golf, tennis, basketball, football and soccer, to name a few. The nonrepetitive sports usually involve a ballistic movement and the movement is usually one-sided.

“Train strength, speed and stamina with muscle-targeted exercises. In a separate workout, train the skill, timing and finesse specific to your sport. ” 78 ·

Skills First, Strength Second Each individual muscle can improve its cardiovascular recovery time, its fuel efficiency, and the speed of its muscle unit contractions using a variety of resistance exercises. The exercises that target these capabilities are usually not the same movements that are needed to execute a sport skill. If you train twice a day, train your skills first. If you train your skills on a previously fatigued body, you will end up training imperfect skills. A tired body will learn bad habits and remember them. Exercise for strength in the second workout with at least a couple hours between the two. Most strength training does not require learning a skill so a muscle slightly fatigued from a previous workout is still capable of harvesting all the benefits of a resistance training routine. If you split the training in this manner, you will improve your sport performance by individually addressing each capability. (Personal Note: This will be my final “Falcon Fitness” article. I want to thank the AOG and Checkpoints staff for allowing me to share my fitness knowledge and experience for the past three years. I also want to thank my readership for all the emails and calls.) As always, if you have any questions, you are always welcome to email me. Stay healthy! Dan Felix ’74 has been fitness training for more than 25 years and has multiple certifications, including International Sports Sciences Association and American Red Cross Advanced First Aid. He can be reached at


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hen I was a cadet, one of my friends decided to resign from the Academy after two years to pursue his dream of playing soccer in the Olympics and professionally. After telling his AOC that he wanted to leave, he began the then-standard round of one-on-one, up-the-chain-ofcommand counseling sessions that every cadet who wished to disenroll endured. We jokingly called the appointments “Park Bench” talks, because invariably he would be told that if he chose to leave the Academy, his life was essentially ruined, he would be a failure and he would end up on the proverbial park bench. My friend departed anyway, taking advantage of the opportunity to leave the Academy with a bushel-full of academic credits before incurring the active duty service commitment. Or — as we called it — the “USAFA Junior College” option. He did not end up on a park bench. Like many others who left the Academy short of graduation, he has gone on to lead a very productive life. While the Academy and the Association of

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OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM Harry Chapin, a former member of the Class of ‘64, on stage performing. Alberto Gonzales, who attended USAFA with the Class of ‘79, is pictured with President George W. Bush.


Jody Powell (left), who attended USAFA with the Class of ‘65, confers with President Jimmy Carter.


Graduates regularly and rightly highlight the lives and accomplishments of our graduates, it is also appropriate to acknowledge and recognize the achievements of former cadets who did not complete the four-year program. Here are the stories of some of the most successful: Jody Powell, Class of 1965 — One semester short of graduation, Cadet Jody Powell violated the Honor Code. He was an outstanding cadet, but in his own words, had “a moment where greed and ambition overtook [my] sense of right and wrong.” He was disenrolled. Years later, he would grace the cover of Time and Rolling Stone magazines and appear on television almost daily as the press secretary to President Jimmy Carter (U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1947). Despite the circumstance of his departure, Powell was one of the Academy’s — and our honor code’s — fiercest defenders. In a 1984 column published in the Los Angeles Times (and reprinted in Checkpoints’ winter 1984-1985 issue), he discussed the circumstances of his dismissal and strongly endorsed the system that led to that dismissal.

“Almost 20 years ago, I had left this place in — to put it bluntly — disgrace,” he wrote. “Since the earliest days of childhood, an appointment to one of the service academies had been my only goal. I got the appointment, but three and a half years later, in the middle of my senior year, I cheated on a history examination, was caught and, as the Cadet Honor Code required, expelled. “I returned home — neither with my shield nor on it — on Christmas Eve of 1964, to be greeted by deeply disappointed but loving and sympathetic family and friends. It was the worst and, in a peculiar way, the best thing that ever happened to me. It remains the one mistake, in a lifetime with at least its share of transgressions, that I most regret — and the one single incident that taught me most about myself and about life.” Powell wrote the essay during a dark period of time for the Academy and the Honor Code. A physics cheating scandal had embarrassed the institution, and the superintendent, Lt. Gen. Bradley Hosmer, Class of 1959, had temporarily suspended cadet operation of the code. Powell praised Gen. Hosmer, Checkpoints · June 2017 · 81

calling the suspension of the code “a gutsy decision he could easily have ducked,” and said the purpose of his article was not to give advice, “but to offer encouragement and support and to urge understanding from the public at large.” Powell concluded the piece by writing, “The years I spent there meant more to me than any other period of my life, and the part that meant the most was the Honor Code that I violated. Though I fell short, thousands of other young men did not. Their example is a continuing reminder that human beings are capable of much finer and better things than we generally suppose. As such, it is a challenge and an inspiration to do better — in a world too often short of both.” Powell died of a heart attack on Sept. 14, 2009. I reached out to President Carter for comment on Mr. Powell for this article and received a hand-written note. In it, President Carter said, “Jody was like a son to me, and was always truthful, honorable and humorous.” President Carter also spoke eloquently about his former advisor and friend while eulogizing Powell. “Jody was beside me in every decision I made as a candidate, governor and president, and I could always depend on his advice and counsel being candid and direct. Our home state of Georgia and our country were well served by Jody’s patriotism and his commitment to a better, fairer world.” Jody Powell wasn’t the only former cadet to serve a president.

**** Alberto Gonzales, Class of 1979 — Alberto Gonzales served as President George W. Bush’s attorney general, the first Latino to hold that position. Gonzales enlisted in the Air Force, was selected to attend the Academy’s Prep School, and then earned an appointment. He told me by phone that he had concentrated on academics while at the Academy, but he also got involved in the soaring program and was the freshman class president. He departed after two years due to deteriorating eyesight that would have precluded his going to pilot training.

“ 82 ·


For the record, he told me he did not receive the “Park Bench” talk, perhaps due to timing — at the end of the Vietnam War, when the force was drawing down. He did, however, relate an incident that happened years later. “I wore my USAFA parka to a restaurant. Someone called out and asked, ‘When did you graduate?’ I said I didn’t graduate, and received a look of disappointment and failure.” Gonzales, however, did not fail. He went to Rice University, the only school other than USAFA to which he’d applied (and where, he told me, he used to sell sodas at football games during his youth). He graduated from Rice, then earned his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University and joined the firm of Vinson & Elkins. In 1997, he became Texas’ 100th Secretary of State, and two years later he was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court. During fellow Texan George Bush’s presidency, Gonzales served as President Bush’s White House counsel. On Feb. 3, 2005, Gonzales won Senate confirmation as the nation’s first Hispanic United States attorney general, a position he held until September 2007. He is currently the dean and Doyle Rogers Distinguished Professor of Law at Belmont University in Nashville. “I can’t overstate how proud I am to have attended the Academy,” Gonzales told me. He has no regrets about leaving the Academy, but added, “I do often wonder what would have happened if I’d stayed. Every decision profoundly affects a person’s direction.” He told me he has visited the Academy twice since his departure, once with his son, whom he wishes had considered a service academy. Gonzales greatly enjoyed his visits. “Seeing cadets,” he concluded, “gives me hope for the country.”

**** Harry Chapin, Class of 1964 — In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Harry Chapin was one of the world’s most successful singer-songwriters. He sold millions of records and performed in sold-out arenas. He also was a humanitarian, devoting time, treasure and energy to the problem of world hunger. Before attaining that success, he was an Air Force Academy cadet. But not for long. The son of a World War II Air Force bandsman, Chapin left the Academy on Aug. 19, 1960, less than two months into his cadet career. Quoted in the book “The Harry Chapin Story,” by Peter Morton Coan, he said, “I ... thought the ideal of flying was glamorous. I used to draw planes and I thought flying would be incredible.” That motivation wasn’t enough to sustain him, even with a T-33 orientation flight. He determined early on that he didn’t have the discipline to succeed at the Academy. Too much of a free spirit, he had earned the nickname “Gapin’ Chapin.” After his resignation from the Academy, it took a decade of intense work and practice for Chapin to make his mark in

the music industry. In 1971, he finally broke into the national consciousness with a hit song that harkened back to his time at the Academy. The song was “Taxi,” a story song that references his past, that he “was gonna learn to fly” and “took off to find the sky.” Chapin went on to have several other hits, to include “Cat’s in the Cradle,” which went to No. 1. Chapin didn’t forget his cadet time, or the Academy. He performed concerts in the Field House on three occasions. I attended the first — on Sept. 21, 1975 — and can say no entertainer I ever saw related to his audience as well as he did. As I recall, he came on stage wearing a wheel hat. He squared corners to the microphone, saluted and said, “Harry Chapin reporting in.” At the end of the concert, he told the crowd that he would stay on stage to talk. He related tales of his brief and undistinguished cadet tenure. Echoing my soccer-playing classmate’s experience, Chapin remembered that it was harder to get out of the Academy than to get in. Relating one conversation with a counselor, Chapin told the audience, “He said that if I quit now, I would never be a success at anything.” Chapin was, of course, a huge success, though his life was tragically short. On July 16, 1981, at the age of 38, he was killed in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway. He was driving to a concert at Eisenhower Park’s Lakeside Theater on Long Island. A few days later, the theater was renamed the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater.

**** Several former cadets made their mark in athletics. • Larry Cole, Class of 1968. The defensive lineman lettered in football at the Academy in 1965 and 1966 before departing. He transferred to the University of Hawaii and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1968. He played for the Cowboys for the next 12 years, including five Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl championships. At the time of his retirement, he held the NFL record for most playoff appearances, as he played in 26 playoff games. • Brian Billick, Class of ‘76. Billick attended the Academy for a couple months longer than Harry Chapin, departing near the end of October of his Doolie year. He transferred to Brigham Young University, where he won all-conference honors as a tight end, and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1977. He never played in the National Football League. He made his mark on the sidelines, serving as head coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999 until 2007, including their Super Bowl championship in 2001. • Anthony Schlegel, Class of 2001. A linebacker, he lettered in football at Air Force in 2001 and 2002. He transferred to Ohio State and was drafted by the NFL’s New York Jets in 2006. He played in the NFL for two seasons, one each with the Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals, before returning to Ohio State as a coach.


Two former cadets enjoyed more success on the soccer pitch than my classmate and friend. Jamil Walker, Class of 2003, transferred to Santa Clara and went on to play in the Major League Soccer league for five seasons, 2003-04 with the San Jose Earthquakes and 2005-07 with D.C. United. Daniel Wasson, Class of 2006, played at the University of Tulsa and then spent two years (2006 and 2007) with MLS’ Colorado Rapids. No Academy hockey player has ever played in the National Hockey League, but that could change within the next couple of years. Shane Starrett, Class of 2019, signed a two-year NHL entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers in April 2017. He is the first Falcon to sign an NHL contact while still at the Academy. By signing the contract, however, he had to resign from the Academy, so if he does make it to the NHL, it will be as an Academy non-graduate. Many other non-grads have gone on to enjoy success, as senior government officials, business innovators, and in higher education and the arts. Attrition at the Academy has ranged from a high of 46.19 percent in the Class of 1975 to a low of 20.1 percent in the Class of 2011. That means tens of thousands of bright, motivated women and men did not graduate. Given the drive, determination, intelligence and perseverance that it takes to get into the Academy, it is logical to assume that these characteristics would propel these individuals to success in whatever endeavors they chose to pursue. The former cadets profiled in this article — and thousands of others — did not remain at the Academy long enough to walk across the stage at Falcon Stadium, but have still done the Academy proud. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 83




By Jeff Holmquist


Class of 1977 Academy graduate and his family are helping grant the wishes of dozens of aging veterans hoping to return to the battlefields of their youth. In 2006, Greg Hight ’77 and his wife, Diane — along with Duane Oliger ’73 (Diane’s brother) — helped launch the nonprofit Forever Young Senior Veterans based in Collierville, Tennessee. The organization’s executive director is Daniel Hight, the son of Diane and Greg. “We’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly,” Greg Hight explains. “We began Forever Young as a wish organization for senior citizens and we granted individual wishes.” The nonprofit’s mission shifted in 2009, however, as it started focusing on hosting honor trips for military veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The organization has continued to thrive ever since. “Our work to honor veterans has far exceeded our expectations,” Hight says. “The impact reaches nationwide, even though we’re still a pretty small organization [only one paid

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staff person]. NBC National News and The Today Show have covered our trips. It’s become much bigger than we ever dreamed.” Throughout its history, Forever Young Senior Veterans has coordinated 23 four-day honor trips to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials and other historic sites in that region. The organization also has taken six groups of veterans to Normandy, France; three groups to Pearl Harbor; six to Bastogne, Belgium; and one group to Italy to experience where they fought and sacrificed as young men. Several women who served as nurses during World War II have also taken part in the trips. In addition, Forever Young Senior Veterans has granted about 300 individual wishes, including one trip to Iwo Jima for a World War II veteran who fought there 70 years ago and one trip to Okinawa for a veteran of that battle. The organization also hosted two “World War II” shows to honor veterans who weren’t well enough to travel or didn’t


have a wish request. The special shows, sponsored by FedEx, included 1940’s entertainment and honor presentations. This fall, the nonprofit is sending a group of Army Air Corps veterans from World War II back to England, from where they flew missions during the war. “It’s a healing experience for them to return and that’s why we do it,” Hight says. “Many will come home and open up to their children, even if they’ve never talked about their war experiences before. They’ll go to schools and speak, or they’ll do interviews on TV. We’ve even had some write books and memoirs after their trip.” “We didn’t realize they were suffering silently all these years until we started returning them to the places where they fought,” Diane adds. “It has definitely given them peace and closure. When we see this healing that takes place in their lives, it only encourages us to do more and more.” Greg Hight says that the veterans who travel to Washington, D.C., or elsewhere are not expected to pay to participate. Costs associated with the trips total about $1,500 per veteran for D.C. and $5,000 per veteran for European trips. “We raise money and fund all of the veteran’s costs,” he explains. “If a veteran wants to bring a family member with them — like a wife or a child — then that person must cover their own expenses.” Chaperones and volunteers who join the group are expected to pay their own way as well. Money to cover travel expenses comes from private and corporate donors, as well as an annual summer gala the organization hosts. “It hasn’t really been difficult to raise money for the World War II vets,” Hight notes. “I think the American people have a special place in their hearts for this generation, because of how much they sacrificed and what they did.” Several volunteers typically travel with the group of veterans to provide support along the way — carrying luggage, pushing wheelchairs and coordinating site visits. The number of vol-


At the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Rome, Italy, World War II veteran Jep Williams kneels at the gravesite of a buddy that was killed on a bombing run. His buddy’s name was Harold Morgenstern.


From left, veterans Jim Weaver, Andy Poteete, Ben Hodges and Jep Williamson pause as a wreathe is laid in honor of fallen Americans in Italy.

unteers who accompany the groups varies depending on how many veterans need assistance. A medical team travels with the group on every trip, ensuring that the elderly veterans are well cared for. According to Hight, the organization grants travel wishes from veterans throughout the U.S., although its focus is on West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas areas. The organization identifies deserving veterans for the trips through word-of-mouth advertising and website communications. As the numbers of World War II and Korean War veterans dwindle, Hight says, Forever Young Senior Veterans is now starting to focus its energy on Vietnam War veterans. “The trip we’re taking to Washington, D.C. this fall is 75 percent Vietnam vets who have never been to the wall,” he says. “We’re going to start focusing on them more, as the World War II guys and Korean War guys fade away.” Because return trips to Southeast Asia can be costly, Hight says he’s unsure if the organization will coordinate and fund large group tours there. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 85

“We may end up just sending guys over to Vietnam individually, granting wishes for them to go back,” he suggests. “In many ways, they actually need the honor and the affirmation more than the World War II guys do, because they were treated so poorly when they came back. We’ve already seen healing with some Vietnam vets who we’ve taken to D.C.” As for how his fellow USAFA graduates might get involved with Forever Young Senior Veterans, Hight says financial support/veteran sponsorships are always appreciated. Contributions can be made via the organization’s website,, or call 901-299-7516. Hight also invites graduates to accompany future travel groups to various locations. “They can come with us if they want to,” he says. “It’s an honor just being with these guys. You’d be with a piece of living history that is not going to be around much longer.”


Earl Williams, who landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day, gathers sand from that beach during a return trip organized by the Forever Young Senior Veterans organization. He’s assisted by his daughter, Janis Richmond.

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Commandant Assumes Command

Brig. Gen. Goodwin ’93 joins USAFA team just in time for 2017 graduation


rig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93 assumed command of the United States Air Force Academy’s Cadet Wing as the 28th commandant of cadets at a May 15, 2017, ceremony. “To the Cadet Wing, I promise you … you will always be my top priority,” Brig. Gen. Goodwin told the cadets who watched while in formation. “My actions will reflect a commitment to your continued growth and well being … in preparation to excel as warriors and combat leaders. I can’t say it more simply than I will have your backs and I know you will have mine.” Brig Gen. Goodwin pledged that she would support cadets in “every way possible, every single day.” “I am honored to lead and be part of this great mission,” she continued. “I cannot think of any other place I’d rather be than with you. I am excited to see the new heights we will achieve together.”

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Having been born into a military family (her mother served as an Air Force Reservist for 20 years and her father served in the Coast Guard for 30 years), Brig Gen. Goodwin said a life of service came naturally to her. Her grandfathers and several other immediate family members also served in the military. “They taught me about service, they taught me about sacrifice, and being part of something bigger than myself,” she recalled. Just as important in her personal development, however, has been her Air Force family, Brig. Gen. Goodwin said. “For more than 24 years, I have learned many lessons from my fellow airmen — officers and enlisted, young and old,” she said. “From the halls of Sijan, in squadrons 33 and 39, and my classmates from 1993, they have guided me through my career and they continue to inspire me today.”

Brig. Gen. Goodwin told the cadets the lessons she learned could be summed up in three simple words — people, mission and pride. “Value people first, execute the mission and take pride in what you do,” Brig Gen. Goodwin said. “Our Air Force is made great not by our aircraft, not by our satellites, not by our cutting-edge technology, but by each and every one of you — our people. Never forget that our people are the most powerful weapon.” USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 took a few moments to welcome the new commandant and her family. “The Air Force couldn’t have chosen a better leader for these days,” Lt. Gen. Johnson commented. “Welcome aboard.” Johnson also took the opportunity to recognize and thank the previous commandant, Brig. Gen. Stephen Williams

’89, who has gone on to become director of Air and Cyberspace Operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. Goodwin graduated from the Academy with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. During her time at the Academy, Brig. Gen. Goodwin was a member of the Wings of Blue and played soccer. She’s a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in various aircraft, flying C-130s, B-2s and B-52s. Brig. Gen. Goodwin was a planner for that first night in Operation Iraqi Freedom, then known as “shock and awe.” She would later help plan the first night of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the 2011 military operation in Libya. In addition, she was a National Defense Fellow, and served as a political advisor in the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Brig. Gen. Goodwin was the first woman to command the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and served as vice commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Most recently, she served as senior military assistant to the secretary of the Air

Force. For her work at the Pentagon, Brig. Gen. Goodwin was presented with the Legion of Merit award, first oak leaf cluster, prior to assuming her position as commandant. “Her career has been marked by excellence,” Lt. Gen. Johnson told the crowd. “This is an airman who understands the big picture and she understands the challenges that our cadets will face as they

Brig. Gen. Goodwin admitted that the Academy and the Air Force has changed since her time as a cadet, but the changes have been positive. “It’s even better than when I was here,” she said. “It’s better because we’ve had leaders who came since I was here in 1993 that adapt and adjust to the challenges in the world. This is a different world — this is a different Academy — than 24 years ago. It needs to be, because we need to adjust and we need to adapt to the external challenges that we have.” Brig. Gen. Goodwin said she looks forward to leading the Cadet Wing and helping develop leaders of character for the Air Force and nation. “They’re going to inspire me every day,” she said of the cadets, “and I hope that I can inspire them.” As commandant, Goodwin will command the 4,000-member cadet wing and a staff of more than 300 airmen and civilians who manage cadets’ military training, logistics and facilities, and daily activities, including participation in the Academy’s Airmanship Programs.

“Our Air Force is made great not by our aircraft, not by our satellites, not by our cutting edge technology, but by each and every one of you — our people.” graduate and become lieutenants in our United States Air Force. “You join a phenomenal leadership team,” Johnson added, “and I know you’re going to make us even better. Keep us climbing.” During a press conference following the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Goodwin said she’s excited to return to her alma mater in her new role. “An alma mater that I love and that I’m proud of,” she said, “that has helped me build a foundation of who I am as a person and as a leader.”


USAFA Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93 salutes as she participates in the pass in review of cadets during the Monday ceremony.


USAFA Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93 accompanied then-Secretary of the Air Force Debra Lee James to the Navy vs. Air Force football game on Oct. 1, 2017. She hammed it up with The Bird during the game. (Photo by Troy Surratt)

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 89



A glimpse into the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center By Gary Martyn

At first glance, it may seem strange to discover research involving robots, special ops communications devices, or a self-driving Tesla automobile coming out of the Air Force Academy’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. But the unstoppable advance of warfighter technology is putting increased demands on the psychological and physical abilities of the men and women who are being tasked to use it. The department’s Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center (WERC) is a second home to more than 100 cadets who are using a cross-disciplinary approach to research projects that could have far-reaching effects on the future of modern warfare. The move toward collaborating with fully autonomous systems, including self-driving cars and self-flying F-16s, pushes the envelope of human-machine teaming (HMT). From a warfighter’s perspective, the one who masters the HMT frontier has a tactical advantage that could tip the scales of modern warfare. Enter, the Wizard of Oz With the flick of a switch, three 72-inch monitors and the cockpit console of a flight simulator come to life, providing a pilot’s view from the seat of an F-16. The monitors surround a dynamic motion crew seat that translates simulator signals into realistic motion sensations that a fighter pilot experiences during various flight maneuvers. Delving deeper into HMT technology, researchers are creating situations that an F-35 pilot might experience when flying in a formation that includes unmanned F-16s. “The Air Force’s vision is to have a piloted F-35 teamed with two to four non-piloted F-16s,” says Maj. Chad Tossell, assistant professor and WERC director. “The technology is there, but we need to make sure that we don’t leave the human out of the equation. So how do they plan together, how do they build trust, how do they train together, how do they communicate, and how do they execute and then debrief? A lot of these design guidelines aren’t out there yet.”

The flight simulator gives researchers the ability to control the interactive environment and record the results. “It’s a kind of Wizard-of-Oz situation.” Tossell says. “Behind the curtain, we have a person playing the role of a robot. We can assess various communications methods and supply data to show which of those are most effective.” The motion crew seat, provided to the Academy by ACME Worldwide Enterprises, helps the Air Force explore new ways of increasing warfighter effectiveness while collecting information that benefits the manufacturer as well. “It’s a great symbiotic relationship,” Tossell says. “We are able to do studies associated with the chair to help us collect data on important problems we are trying to solve, but then it’s also important to ACME. As we get the results, we provide them with data and discussion on the chair’s functionality.” What’s research without duct tape? A battered, grey fighter helmet sits on a folding table in the WERC, looking more like a Saturday garage sale find than an important research model that could be incorporated into evolving F-35 technology. A thin layer of foam, covered in silver duct tape, conceals a forehead sensor that monitors the pilot’s pulse, oxygen levels and other vital signs during a flight. The gravity-defying maneuvers of an F-16 capable of traveling at nearly twice the speed of sound puts pilots at risk of gravity induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). Special anti-g flight suits, breathing techniques and muscle contractions help pilots counter the effects of g-force hypoxia, but sensors in the helmet, breathing mask and oxygen tube can alert the pilot and the aircraft itself to an impending G-LOC emergency. In 2011, the Air Force grounded its fleet of 170 F-22s because pilots were becoming hypoxic. “The F-22 had thousands of sensors in it, but zero sensors on the pilot,” says Dr. Victor Finomore, a civilian researcher coordinating WERC projects. Research and investigation into the Checkpoints · June 2017 · 91


Cadets modified a simple flight helmet to test sensors that monitor the physiological changes a pilot experiences during various flight maneuvers.


Jake Whitteker, Class of 2020, field tests the ATAK communications device created in the WERC.


Jacob Taylor, Class of 2017, feeds “Chris” the new data to support the robot’s latest WERC assignment.

problem led to the installation of an automatic oxygen backup system in the F-22s. Research to perfect flight helmet sensor technology is an ongoing priority in the WERC, with cadets conducting studies in and out of the flight simulator to collect data on pilot attention and workload. WERC research has been incorporated into helmets that are now being flight tested by Air Force pilots. Out of the clouds and into the mud Members of the Academy’s Sandhurst Competition Team, a special cadet unit that trains to compete in a rigorous, inter-service military skills competition at West Point each year, marched out to the rugged obstacle course in Jacks Valley to field test two Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) communications devices that were developed in the WERC.

“We’re working on some wearable technology for the special operations field, designing software that can be loaded into a commercially available smart phone that will allow the operators to do a lot of their tasks right on their person,” says Jacob Riley, Class of 2017, who did his senior capstone project on special ops field communications. “They can coordinate evacuations, navigate, and talk to each other right on their phones. It’s some really cool technology that would really help them in the field.” Riley and a team of six cadets created two models — one that attaches to the wrist and another adapted to fit into a fold-out pocket on the chest. Sandhurst team members put the devices to the test, climbing over barriers, crawling across rough terrain, and moving through the area using ATAK technology for navigation and communications. “We are in the process of analyzing our data, but so far it looks like the chest configuration is the best option,” Riley says. “We plan to share our results with the Air Force Research Laboratory so that they have supporting data to move forward with one specific design for this wearable technology. We will also be sharing our results with the special operators who have assisted us in this project along the way.” Isn’t an airplane just a car with wings? There’s a lot of buzz within the WERC about the addition of a self-driving Tesla vehicle to the Academy’s research arsenal. The implications for advanced HMT research and evolving warfighter technology are far-reaching. “We’re trying to build trust between autonomous systems and humans,” Tossell says. “We can put people into some risky scenarios in the flight simulator, but there are really no consequences if something goes wrong. It’s not a self-flying F-16, but the Tesla provides another level of autonomy and automation that we can use to assess things like establishing trust between autonomous systems and humans by simply having someone get into the vehicle and letting it take them to another location.” Thinking out loud about possible Tesla research scenarios that mimic manned and unmanned teaming, Tossell sits back in his chair with a smile and imagines. “Picture this,” he says. “We have the Tesla with these drones in the trunk and then, at some point, we have the drones coming out of the trunk and being controlled by the operator. Now, the Tesla is self-driving in a lot of ways, but you still have to maintain certain awareness. We want to amp up the automation of the Tesla and see what that allows as far as mental resources for the operator to focus on these other self-flying drones.” The Air Force Office of Scientific Research provided funds for the Tesla vehicle, investing in the Academy’s growing success in HMT studies. The WERC staff expects to welcome the Tesla to the team this fall. And of course, there are robots Robots play an important role in HMT research. Friendly sidekicks like NAO, a 22-inch-tall robot created by Aldebaran Robot-

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ics and renamed Chris (after former WERC director Lt. Col. Chris McClernon) by the WERC team, display human behaviors, speech, movements and responses that can be personalized by researchers to help them collect data on human-machine interaction. The WERC is home to six robots, including Baxter, a life-size collaborative robot that is being used in a variety of studies. “We want to enhance learning and cultivate teaming with machines,” says Dr. Kerstin Haring, a civilian researcher who coordinates robotic and virtual reality studies. “Instead of using them as tools like vacuum cleaners, we want to create a team. This is tricky enough with humans, but now, with human-machine teaming, it’s quite a challenge.” Some people respond to Chris as if he were a child or maybe a pet. To the hardened researcher, he is a social agent, but when Chris suddenly pipes up and says, “I like pizza!” you have to laugh. “We anthropomorphize the robots very strongly,” Haring says. “Chris is inherently very social. You just can’t help but like him.” When Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 visited the neighboring Machine Autonomy, Reasoning, Vision and Learning Laboratory (MARVAL), Chris was stationed by the door to greet her. “The robot saluted, stood at attention and said, ‘Good morning, General Johnson, welcome to the MARVAL lab.’ And the general saluted back,” Haring says. “It was a very natural reaction. She saw the salute and she saluted back.” Beyond the “fun-factor” of working with a robot that likes pizza, Haring’s research is unlocking important insights into HMT interaction. “Anything we can do to enhance learning, teaming and collaboration with machines, we are highly interested in,” she says. “We want people to feel like, ‘Yeah, we’re a team.’”

Broader horizons The WERC collaborates with a variety of joint military operations, universities and private industry partners, including Honeywell Aeronautics, Bennett Aerospace, Tesla and Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the F-35 Lightning II fighter. Cadet and faculty research advances the center’s mission to enhance warfighter effectiveness while providing valuable data that can benefit fellow researchers and contribute to advances in warfighter technology. Interacting directly with corporate leaders has broadened the perspective of the WERC. Bob Witwer, vice president of Advanced Technology for Honeywell Aerospace, recently spoke to cadets in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, challenging them to develop innovative thinking through a journey of lifelong learning. “The more you know in all kinds of domains, not just the ones you study, but in politics, the arts, the opposite sex — you pick it — the more you learn about stuff, the broader your innovation playing field is and the more probability you have of making unique connections,” he said. Mark Howes ’75 served in the Air Force for five years, then launched into a stellar business career that included posts as the vice president of integrated delivery system at Honeywell Aerospace and president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia-Pacific Region. Howes recently embarked on a path to re-engage with the Air Force Academy in a more significant way and became uniquely involved in the research center. “The value of having someone like Mr. Howes as a champion has been huge,” Tossell says. “Just from talking to him and getting a sense of things he cares about and how he sees things strategically, I’ve gained a lot. It’s been great to get these lessons on corporate thinking and the bigger picture. Mr. Howes has business connecCheckpoints · June 2017 · 93

tions all over the world and he’s helping us reduce the insulation between cadets and global activities.” Expanding business connections also opens new doors for collaboration between the WERC and corporations that are on the leading edge of new technology that may have warfighter applications. “I never thought I’d be wearing this uniform, collaborating with Tesla and so many other unique partners on projects,” Tossell says. “It’s providing environments for cadets to be more innovative in designing effective solutions for the warfighters to gain the edge. Cadets also gain immense benefits from being involved with projects outside of the classroom that impact real operators and missions.” Giving back Mark Howes designated a gift to the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership through the USAFA Endowment. His support served a two-fold purpose of enhancing the work of the research center and developing leaders of character to thoughtfully manage emerging technology. Drawing from his Academy, Air Force and business experiences, Howes recognizes the importance of having men and women who

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follow a moral compass standing behind both interpersonal and HMT equations. “Every weekend, as I would prepare for the business week to come, I would start my notes by writing down these phrases: Integrity First, Service Before Self (one of the great secrets of leadership) and Excellence in All We Do,” Howes says of his years as a leader in the aerospace industry. Academy graduates across the spectrum share Howes’ warfighter ethos, making it easy for him to encourage them to invest in the future of the Academy by giving back. “As graduates of the Academy, we are part of a group of people who share this predisposition to do the right thing — especially when it is hard — when others step back,” Howes says. “Doing our parts to support, build upon, improve, reinforce, enable and contribute to this process is worthy of our time and treasure. Engaging is in many ways an opportunity to invest in the capabilities of talented future leaders and contribute to the future of our nation.” __________________________________________________ Explore current funding and engagement opportunities at the Air Force Academy on the USAFA Endowment website ( or call 719-472-0300.

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BUZZ what’s the

Competition allows cadets to advance military swarm tactics By Jeff Holmquist


elcome to command central for one of the most involved and complicated senior capstone projects in United States Air Force Academy history. “We call this The Hive,” laughs Lt. Col. (Ret.) Del Christman ’85, assistant professor with the Department of Computer Science, “because it’s where swarms are born.” Inside this Fairchild Hall laboratory, some two-dozen cadets have been working for eight months to test and improve equipment and software designed to autonomously coordinate the behaviors of multiple unmanned aircraft (a swarm) within a designated battlespace. The development of swarm capabilities utilizing Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) is a top military priority

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these days. Adversaries from China to ISIS are well on their way to using sUASs and swarm tactics to attack or counter U.S. military action, and Homeland Security officials are concerned about homegrown terrorist attacks by individuals using sUASs. “It’s something that’s becoming a real threat in the world today,” explains Alex Fulton, Class of 2017. The Department of Defense and its military branches — with the help of the service academies — are in hot pursuit of new offensive and defensive swarm capabilities to maintain our nation’s air superiority over all potential foes. The focus of the recently completed capstone project was to participate in the first Service Academies Swarm Challenge April 23-26, 2017, at Camp Roberts, California.

“Diversity was definitely a good thing, because it let us approach problems in a different way.” —Joshua Valenciano ‘17 The competition, hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), pitted the Air Force Academy against teams from the Naval Academy and the Military Academy. Navy eventually eked out the win in the end, but the USAFA team was a close second. There was plenty of buzz surrounding the Swarm Challenge as the three-day contest approached. Military leaders at all levels were anxious to witness how student researchers advanced the nation’s swarm capabilities through teamwork and creative problem solving. Taking the USAFA’s core values to heart, the cadet team from the Academy demonstrated “excellence in all we do” at every juncture of the preparation and the eventual challenge.

A bumpy start

One goal of the challenge was for cadets to quickly advance from limited swarm knowledge to expertise over an eightmonth period. Called “dorm to swarm,” the cadets were surprised at how the team jelled together and excelled. “I honestly think we made some really cool strides,” Fulton says. “We really made big leaps and bounds.” When DARPA first announced the Service Academies Swarm Challenge, the plan was to deliver the necessary hardware and software to cadets by June 2016 so that the team could fully test and upgrade the swarming capabilities of 20 fixed-wing sUASs and 20 quad-rotor sUASs provided by the research organization. According to Christman, the equipment and software showed up more than six months late, putting the cadets behind the eight ball in their preparations for the challenge. Undeterred, the cadets tackled the task with all they could muster. “It was not an easy road,” Christman admits, “but when you’re the first doing something, you’re always pushing the limits.” The USAFA capstone team was composed of 21 senior cadets from six different majors, Christman reports. Team members included military and strategic studies, computer science, computer network security, electrical engineering, computer engineering and systems engineering majors. “I have not had anyone tell me otherwise, but I think we had the largest and most diverse capstone in Academy history,” he suggests.


Joshua Valenciano ‘17 explains the operation of the quad-copters.


The capstone project utilized 20 fixedwing sUASs and 20 quad-rotor sUASs. Senior cadets prepare for a test flight.

The diversity of the team was purposeful, Christman says, so that cadets with a variety of skill sets could interact to ensure the best possible outcome. “Diversity was definitely a good thing,” says Joshua Valenciano ’17, “because it let us approach problems in a different way. All of us brought different components to the actual team.” Fellow teammate Fulton agrees. “It was very interdisciplinary, which made it a very interesting challenge as a capstone course,” he adds.

Outside the Box Thinking

Most importantly, the Academy team wasn’t content with doing the minimum and leaving the results to chance. The first-class cadets jumped in with both feet to innovate and strive toward dominance in the battle. The team quickly moved forward to develop a threedimensional display from the two-dimensional software that DARPA provided. “They never expected a bunch of students to try to do that,” Fulton smiles. The cadets also tied their command and control process to virtual reality goggles that allowed operators to select and direct sUASs with the simple click of a button — similar to “Ender’s Game.” The cadets even gave Fulton the call sign “Ender” during the competition. The Academy team never had the chance to use that capability at the competition, but later used the virtual reality controls at a special swarm demonstration back at the Academy. Throughout the year, two team members developed effective military swarm tactics and worked with others to code the desired behaviors in the sUASs. In addition, the team worked with genetic algorithms in an effort to allow the sUASs to “learn their own behaviors” through trial and error. Still other team members helped develop cyber techniques to impact opposing aircraft, even though the cadets ultimately weren’t allowed to use the jamming technology. Unlike the teams from other sister academies, the USAFA cadets attempted to conduct practice runs for their swarm and use the technologies available to them to give them a competitive advantage. In the end, the cadets ran into too many technical difficulties to fully practice and implement the innovations they developed. Checkpoints · June 2017 · 97

absolutely fantastic,” Christman says. “We went well above and beyond the DARPA project. The USAFA team was the most prepared and best-performing team at the competition.” Christman reports that his team established a number of “firsts” throughout the year, including flying the first autonomous swarms with one ground control station; the first autonomous swarms of multiple quad-copters; and the first to use electronically driven launchers with sUASs. “It was an amazing feeling to be a part of something that nobody had ever done before,” comments Kirk Beaver, Class of 2017.

Swarm Benefits

Nonetheless, Christman notes, the capstone project members were impressive with how they tackled the unexpected challenges and how they enhanced the hardware and software they were provided. “These guys did a tremendous job putting it all together,” he says.

Contest Time

When it came time to compete against Army and Navy, the Air Force cadets were ready to prove their mettle. Valenciano and his partner, Philip Davis ’17, developed a “swarm wall” tactic to keep the opposing teams away from the Air Force’s home base and keep casualties at a minimum. The cadet team also employed a “wave” tactic to enhance its attack capabilities while ensuring that defensive forces remained strong. “We talked to subject matter experts … to see what tactics that they thought would work in the competition,” Valenciano says, “but also what would work for employment in the actual Air Force and the DOD overall.” The team’s first contest — against West Point — set a world record for the most sUASs under the control of one ground control station (21 by each team). Air Force was the first to have all of its sUASs airborne. By the time Air Force took on Navy, the cadets set the world record again by having 30 sUASs airborne (60 total by two teams) under control of one ground station. Teams scored points by accomplishing air-to-air kills, air-toground kills and operational duration during 30-minute battles. Due to technical difficulties that were beyond their control (inadequate Wi-Fi and a malfunctioning DARPA command and control system), the USAFA squad encountered numerous issues that limited its ability to use its complete swarm toolbox. “But regardless of how we placed, just the achievement of going to the competition and accomplishing what we did was 98 ·

The military is anxious to develop offensive and defensive swarm capabilities, Valenciano says, because fewer pilots will eventually be sent into harm’s way and because of the cost advantage associated with sUASs. “It would be a very helpful tool to implement,” he suggests. “The sUASs are in the thousands of dollars, as opposed to millions of dollars for manned aircraft.” The Academy team’s innovative work on the swarm project has led to interest from leadership throughout the Air Force and the DOD. Christman reports that NORTHCOM, Air Force Research Lab and the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO) have all inquired about the cadet team’s efforts and the effective tactics they employed. “That’s what makes it really rewarding,” Valenciano comments. “We get to see the relevance of what the project is doing for the Air Force.”

Swarm’s Future

In the short term, Christman is excited for next year when a fresh crop of firsties with the Class of 2018 try their hand at the next swarm capstone project. With an entire year to innovate and test, he expects the new team to achieve even greater things. “We were able to lay the foundation,” Valenciano says proudly. “I can only imagine where they’re going to be able to take it.” Fortunately, one member of the Class of 2017 team, as a new second lieutenant, is staying at the Academy next school year while on casual status awaiting his time at pilot training. He will help carry the swarm project forward. “He will work for the Computer Science Department,” Christman notes, “and help get the capstone team spun up quicker.” As for the long-term future of swarm technology, Valenciano estimates that it will be five years before the Air Force has reliable hardware and software to use for military purposes. Within 10 years, he adds, the U.S. military should have its first weaponized swarm in place. “There’s a lot of work still to be done,” he admits. “Swarming presents a problem that we need to solve and that we need to work on, but it’s not going to happen instantaneously.”

CADET QUESTION What are your plans for this summer?

“I’m going to China for CSLIP (Cadet Summer Language Immersion Program) first period. For three weeks I’ll be touring China, while studying Chinese and learning about the culture. Second period, I’ll be going to Ops Air Force in Alaska — Elmendorf AFB. I’m super excited for that. Third period, I’ll be the Wing Operations NCO, so I’ll be sending out the routine orders for every day and then helping manage the wing.”

C2C Yaereem Lee

“This summer I’m going to Japan on CSLIP, the cultural immersion program. Then after that, I’ll be coming back to be an instructor pilot for the gliders down at the airfield. After that, I’m headed out to Kunsan, South Korea, for Ops Air Force. That will be a good time! And then I’m coming back and I’ll be headed off to Navy for an exchange semester.”

“I’m going home to see my brother graduate from high school and then spend a little time with the family. This is the first time I’ve taken leave since coming to the Academy! Then I’m coming back to be the summer admin squadron commander for second period. And then third period, I’ll be Second Beast flight commander for my squadron — the Flying Tigers. I’ll have a great summer.”

C1C Nick Graham

“First, I’ll be going to Little Rock for Ops Air Force for two weeks. Then I come back and for first period I’m doing FERL (Field Engineering Readiness Laboratory). My major is civil engineering, so I get to drive heavy machinery around for three weeks. That will be fun! Then I’m working First Beast as a SMO (safety medical officer). It will be my job to make sure everybody’s blisters are taken care of and they have ice for their wounds. And then third period I’m taking biology.”

C2C Lucas Beissner

C2C Nicholle MacKeen

Checkpoints · June 2017 · 99

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Frank E. Willis, ’61 Maj. Gen. (Ret) Frank Edward Willis passed away on Feb. 23, 2017, in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the age of 77. Frank was born in 1939, and he grew up in Clinton, Ill. He graduated from Clinton Community High School in 1957, and he had the honor of being appointed to the newly formed Air Force Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Military Science Degree and his first set of military flight wings. Frank was in the U.S. Air Force Academy’s third graduating class. After graduating on the morning of June 7, 1961, Frank married his true love, Clarice, that same afternoon—not a bad day’s work! Frank also earned a master’s degree in management from the University of Nebraska in 1973. Progressing through the military ranks, Frank achieved the rank of brigadier general in 1984 and major general in 1989. General Willis retired after 32 years of service to his country in June 1993. The general was a command pilot with more than 5,100 flying hours in the KC-135, C-123, T-39, C-130, C-21, C-141 and C-17 including more than 1,000 combat flying hours during tours in Vietnam flying the KC-135 and C-123. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. After retirement, Frank pursued his first passion of railroading—both model railroads and full-size trains. He volunteered for the St. Louis Steam Train Association at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation, spending thousands of hours primarily working on restoring the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway “1522” Steam Locomotive. The 1522 pulled passenger trains again from 1988 to 2002. While working on the 1522 and for a few years after the engine was retired, Frank was co-owner of Tinker Town model railroad hobby shop near St. Louis, where true fans of the railroad could share his passion. Frank also served as the president of the Illinois Central Railroad Historical Society for more than seven years. Frank moved to Colorado Springs in 2007. After a sudden and very short battle with cancer, Frank passed away peacefully on the morning of Feb. 23. He was a devoted Christian, husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of more than 55 years, Clarice M. (Hull) Willis; three sons and their wives, Michael and Judy, Steven and Bettina, and William and Margo. Also nine grandchildren: Evan and Joshua (Mike and Judy); Alex, Andrea, Erika, Kristina, and Anna (Steve and Bettina); and Eric and Jessica (Bill and Margo). Frank was buried with full military honors at the Air Force Academy cemetery. Friends and family members donated to Frank’s chosen charities: The Illinois Central Railroad Historical Society and Forestgate Presbyterian Church with their associated missions. (Frank’s loving family)

Raymond C. Bevivino, Jr., ’65 Raymond Carl Bevivino, Jr., passed away suddenly along with his wife, Dianne, after a tragic accident at their home in Arlington, Va., on March 5, 2017. He was 73 years old. Ray was born on Aug. 22, 1943 in Springfield, Mass., to Rosario and Mercolina Bevivino. The fourth of five children, he was always proud to tell stories about his father who had emigrated from Italy through Ellis Island and began his own business running a tailor shop on a busy street in Springfield. Ray was many things in his younger years – paperboy extraordinaire, caddy to Springfield’s top golfers, and president of his high school class. These successes early in life pushed him to apply to the Academy and he was accepted as a member of the Class of 1965. He always told many stories about his time at the Academy, but some of his proudest 100 ·

(and most memorable for family and friends) stemmed from his exploits as a cheerleader. After graduation, he became an intelligence officer and volunteered for Vietnam as soon as he had completed Intel School. While there, he volunteered to be the first intel officer for a newly-created, secret group: the Misty FAC (Forward Air Controllers). He collaborated with many great men during that time and is fondly remembered by all of them for his work ethic and commitment to the mission. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service during the war and his pride in being a founding member of the Misties only grew as time went on. After coming home from Vietnam, Ray moved to Washington, D.C. for an assignment at the Pentagon. Soon after, he married Dianne Sherwood and began his own import/export business. He worked very hard to give his children – Raymond III, 36; Joseph, 34; and Michael Ann, 31 – a great childhood full of opportunities, including many trips to Europe and Colorado Springs to visit the Academy, which they will always remember. As his children entered high school and began considering colleges and moving away from home, Ray continued to encourage them to venture out into the world and follow their dreams – something for which they will be eternally grateful. A funeral mass for Ray and Dianne was held on March 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C., and in gratitude for his service to his country they will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. For further details, please feel free to contact the family at To quote one of Ray’s favorite authors, Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep… and miles to go before I sleep.” Ray can rest well knowing that he has kept all of his life’s promises. He was a master storyteller with a big heart, and he and Dianne will be terribly missed by family and friends. (Maj. Raymond Carl Bevivino, III, USAFR, USAFA Class of 2003, Ray and Dianne’s proud son)

Lionel H. Luxich, Jr., ’65 On Feb. 28, 2017, Col. (Ret) Lionel Hudson Luxich, Jr., passed away peacefully at his home in Lewes, Del. Dad was born in Birmingham, Ala. on April 22, 1942, son of the late Lionel H., Sr. and Edwina (Harang) Luxich. Dad’s roots in Alabama were humble yet full of love. Living with four sisters, Sandra, Sharon, Susann, and Shelly, taught him essential survival skills, as well as fostering his character of compassion and empathy. After surviving that for 18 years, dad was ready for anything! At Tuscaloosa High School, dad’s vision of the Academy came into focus. He was involved in several activities – drama, debate, student government, cheerleading, and more – as well as contacting his congressman, to alert him of his goal. He was chosen to speak at his 1960 graduation with his speech, “Old Glory -- The Challenge of the Future.” Once at the Academy and throughout his career, dad was known simply as “Lux.” According to his Academy mates, the “Trolls,” he was a master storyteller and an actor at heart. During an Academy Theater production, a malfunction caused the show to be stalled. The quick-thinking showman he was, Lux proceeded to take the stage and in a booming baritone voice recite “High Flight,” as if it were part of the show. Along with his bachelor of science degree from the Air Force Academy, Lux also received a master’s in public administration from Auburn University. He also completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. Lux entered navigation training at Mather AFB in July 1965 and received his wings in May 1966. He completed C-130E RTU and was assigned to the 345th TAS, Taiwan, flying 505 combat hours in Southeast Asia. From there, he went to Travis AFB as a C-141 navigator as well as to maneuver Scott Lionel (1969) and Christine Michelle (1971) home. From 1971 to 1975, he served as an instructor at Squadron Officer School. Flying F-4s was next at Homestead AFB, then off to The Netherlands as a squadron operations officer. Korea was his next assignment, 35th TFS flight commander in F-4Ds. He then joined the

Air Force Inspector General team at Norton AFB, before serving as deputy base commander, Nellis AFB. In 1986, he was assigned to the Pentagon, then base commander, RAF Bentwaters, followed by the IG Team, Ramstein AB, before retirement in 1995. Lux was a master navigator with more than 4,400 flying hours. His many military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Meritorious Service Medal. Much more important to dad were the people he served; to him, a leader works FOR his people. Have a problem? Lux was your man! He was the most genuine, selfless and loving man you would ever hope to meet. Dad had a big family that he loved with his big heart. Our cousins cherished his stories, especially “The Chicken Heart!” He was OUR HERO. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Sandra, and his adoring and loving wife, Carole. In an essay on his “Leadership Philosophy,” dad shared a quote by Ernest Hemingway, which became a part of him for his entire life: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” We were blessed with an exceptional father, whose LOVE for US was boundless. We love you and miss you so much dad. Thank you for being you and leading us by your example of how to be kind, giving, and a loving spirit to every soul you encounter in life! (Lux’s kids, Scott and Christine)

Orvin H. “Orv” Ramlo, Jr., ’65 We lost a great man and friend Orv Ramlo on Feb. 25, 2017. Orv leaves behind a flood of memories of things we shared: work, travel, food, card games, golf, and the occasional gin and tonic. He was a very loyal friend with an incredible mind who could be counted on to solve any problem. Orv will really be missed by all who knew him as a very kind, warm and engaging man -- one who set the example for people who worked with him. The world is a much better place because of all the lives Orv influenced during his time on planet Earth. Orv was born Sept. 18, 1943, in Miami, Fla. and is survived by his loving wife, Harriet “Sugar Plum”, of 44 years. Orv entered the Air Force Academy, graduated fifth in his class in 1965, then earned a master’s degree in aircraft structures at Columbia University on an Olmsted scholarship. In 1967, he attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Webb AFB, Big Spring, Texas, again graduating with top honors. Then Orv flew 242 combat missions in the F-4 with the 12th TFW at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam. His following assignment was in the F-106 with the 460th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Klamath Falls, Ore. In 1972, Orv attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, Calif., and married his high school sweetheart, Harriet. He was selected in 1975 for the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto, Canada and then was posted to Headquarters USAF for three years during which he distinguished himself on several projects to improve the strategic capabilities of the USAF. After the Pentagon, he commanded the 475th Test Squadron at Tyndall AFB, responsible for the Weapons System Evaluation Program and for the evaluation of upgrades to the F-106. After graduation from the Air War College, he was assigned to Headquarters USAF in 1982, responsible for joint weapons development. Orv concluded his Air Force career with a classified assignment until he retired in July 1989. After retirement, Orv stayed in the Las Vegas area as a vice president and range manager for Raytheon, responsible for overseeing personnel and equip-

ment for developmental and operational test and evaluation of aircraft and weapons systems. Orv was a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours of fighter time in 20 types of aircraft. His military decorations and awards included the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. Thanks Orv for giving us the privilege of working and living with you. (John Blaha, classmate and friend)

Matthew J. Szczepanek, Jr., ’67 Lt. Col. (Ret) Matthew J. Szczepanek, Jr. of Placerville, Calif., took to his wings again at home on Jan. 21, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was born on May 30, 1942, and is predeceased by his parents, Matthew J., Sr., and Josephine (Baranowski) Szczepanek. He is survived by his three sisters, Pauline (Diluzio) Cortis (of Palmer, Mass.), Jennie McAlpine, Jo Maria Velez; and great niece Sash Bray; and many more loved family members. Matt proudly served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years. He was stationed on several continents and received numerous awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medals and Commendation Medals each with several oak leaf clusters, and numerous other awards and decorations. Matt will be greatly missed by his many biological and chosen family members. There was no local service and he was inurned at the Air Force Academy Cemetery. The family requests all donations be made to the USAFA Endowment Fund Class of 1967 Reunion Project (cemetery upgrade) Give/67cu or call 719-472-0300. Arrangements were entrusted to the Chapel of the Pines Funeral Home, Placerville, Calif. (Written by Matt’s sisters and niece)

Thomas J. Meyer, ’68 L,t Col. (Ret) Thomas Meyer died Nov. 25, 2016, of lung cancer. He was a varsity debater and four-year tennis veteran while pursuing a degree in economics from USAFA. Following graduation from the Academy, he served as a Southeast Asia tanker and Air Rescue helicopter pilot at U-Tapao and Udorn Royal Thai Air Bases. He taught others to fly HH-43 Huskies and T41 Mescaleros. His SAC crew was the first to successfully refuel the C-5A Galaxy, beginning an era of nonstop global airlift for large U.S. military hardware. As a professor, he taught economics, political science and history during assignments to West Point, the Air Force Academy and Boston University. Following retirement from the Air Force, Tom continued teaching economics at colleges in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Virginia and Minnesota. Tom is survived by his wife, Carol; son David; daughter Dana; son-in law Tom; and two grandchildren, Nathan and Natalie. His greatest satisfaction came from his time with family and friends.

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

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. Checkpoints · June 2017

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN In his last weeks, Tom found strength and hope in the words from an unknown author: What cancer cannot do: Cancer is so limited. It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot destroy peace, It cannot suppress memories, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul, It cannot steal eternal life, It cannot conquer the Spirit. (Provided by Carol Meyer, Tom’s wife)

James W. Collins, Jr., ’74 Lt. Col. (Ret) James “Jim” William Collins, Jr., of the United States Air Force, age 67, passed away April 17, 2017, in Atlanta, Ga. He was born on July 30, 1950, in Paris, Tenn. to Wilda and James Collins, Sr. Jim graduated from Pine Grove High School in Paris in 1968, after which he attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. In June of 1974 Jim not only was commissioned as second lieutenant and graduated from the Air Force Academy, but he also married his beloved wife, Jacqueline Denise (Cannon) Collins.  In 1975, Jim graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi in Class 76-02. In 1976, he was promoted to first lieutenant and given his first assignment at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, N.C., with the 130 MAC division. After serving at Pope for two years, Jim moved to Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, after which he was promoted to captain and assigned to Columbus Air Force Base as a pilot instructor/check pilot. He graduated from Squadron Officer School as a distinguished graduate in 1979. In 1982, Jim was assigned to the Air Force Academy as an air officer commanding of the 30th Cadet Squadron. The next year, he was assigned to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. as an exchange officer to assume the position of tactical officer commanding H4. Jim was proud to serve as a representative of the United States with the United Nations peacekeeping military personnel in Tiberius, Israel from 1990-1991 during the Gulf War, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1997. Jim has worked at Plexus International, based in Minneapolis, Minn., since 1999, where he served as master trainer, developing curriculum and certification examinations for the aerospace and automotive industries. Jim is preceded in death by his father and his infant sister, Christy Elaine. He is survived by his mother; wife; daughter Christy Renee (James Jones) Collins, son James Jared Cannon (Heather) Collins, and grandson Westley. A graveside service was to be held at Walker Cemetery in Paris, Tenn. Memorial donations may be made to the MPN Research Foundation (www. or donate blood at your local Red Cross. (Heather Allen Collins, Jim’s daughter-in-law)

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Phillip L. Kendall, ’75 Maj. (Ret) Phillip L. “Buddy” Kendall, age 63, passed away in February 2017 at his home in Irving, TX. Phillip is preceded in death by his wife, Becky, and survived by his three sons: Nicholas, Benjamin and Derik. He is also survived by three brothers, Timon (Miriam) Kendall, Michael (Peggy) Kendall, and Tracy (Kim); and five sisters, Jean (George) Smith, Phyllis (Rickey) Bonds, Angela (Wyatt) Garrett, Cheryl (Wallace) Sconiers and Margaret (Reginald) Atkins. Phillip is a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, highlighting a lengthy career in the Air Force. Born and raised in South Bend, Ind., “Buddy” was the fourth child out of seven brothers and sisters. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1975 before going on to complete undergraduate helicopter training in 1981. It was also during this period that he met and married Becky Melissa Jones on Aug. 11, 1979. Upon finishing helicopter training, he began life as a helicopter pilot in Hampton, Va. and as a search and rescue pilot in Keflavik, Iceland. Soon after, he completed Fixed Wing Transition Training in Del Rio, Texas, in 1983. Through this, he began flying the C-130E. This is the plane he piloted for the rest of his military career. After stints in North Carolina and San Antonio (where he managed the Air Force Officers Training School), Phill went to Rhein Main Air Base as a C-130E aircraft commander/instructor in 1988. It was here that he flew tactical training missions along the East German border and into West Berlin. It was also during this time that he served in the Persian Gulf War, providing tactical airlift support in the gulf for Desert Shield and Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. He also provided humanitarian relief to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq during this time. After his career in the Air Force, Phill moved to Irving, Texas, in 1993 where he and Becky raised their three sons. He became an inactive Reservist and began a long career with Greyhound Bus Lines, working in several capacities. He retired in 2015 from Greyhound as a regional/national logistics manager. He was very proud of both his service in the military, his time at Greyhound and his family. Phillip, who is beloved by family and friends, will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. (Phill’s Sons – Nick, Ben and Derik)

Kyle S. Hansen, ’12 Kyle Hansen passed away on Feb. 8, 2017 at his home near McChord Air Force Base in Washington. He was buried with full military honors on Feb. 17 in the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Ala. Born Sept. 24, 1989 in San Antonio, Texas, Kyle was adventurous and loved life. He was active in scouting, earning the Arrow of Light as a Cub and attaining the rank of Eagle with the Boy Scouts. As a scout, he learned to love and protect the outdoors, and through church activity, he learned the rewards of giving service as a young man. He often volunteered in projects where his selfless acts extended to family, friends and any with whom he came in contact. Kyle’s thirst for adventure was insatiable. In the water, he loved to snorkel, scuba dive and fish. He loved to hike and camp, and over the years, he hiked in more than 20 state and national parks and mountains, and kayaked, rafted or surfed over a dozen rivers, lakes and oceans. He craved speedy motorcycles and fast cars. He became a certified skydiver with dozens of jumps under his belt. Oddly enough, he hated roller coasters and most theme park rides. Kyle’s passion for flying began at an early age.  His first flight was in a Stearman biplane around Tacoma Bay at the age of nine, and he became an avid participant of air shows and aviation museums. He joined the Civil Air Patrol at Maxwell Air Force Base and began pursuing his private pilot license as

a teen. Kyle was a proud member of the USAFA Class of 2012 and entered pilot training upon graduation. He was an accomplished pilot, earning his wings at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, where he flew the T-6 Texan and the T-1 Jayhawk. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Darrel, who earned his wings in Texas decades earlier and flew the C-124 Globemaster II, Kyle mastered the C-17 Globemaster III and fulfilled one of his life’s dreams of flying to every continent. Kyle summarized his views on life in a short statement: “Just because you are breathing does not mean that you are living. I am a very outgoing person, and I try to never let an adventure pass me by. I fight for what I want and for those I care about with all that I am. I am a patriot and an airman. As for the rest, that’s for you to figure out for yourself. “ As a young teen, Kyle set a number of goals to achieve over his life which included things like becoming an Eagle Scout, learning to fly, attending the Academy, visiting all states and continents, and several that involved giving service to others. Number 14 on his list was to “truly touch someone’s life for the better.” In his short 27 years, he achieved that and so much more. Kyle is survived by his father, Steven (Julianne) Hansen; mother, Elizabeth Hansen; one brother, Daniel (Shelley) Hansen; two sisters, Kristina (Burt) Osborn and Trieste Hansen; step brothers, Andrew (Tabitha) Lowman, Joshua (Susan) Lowman; step sisters Kamilah (Amel) Drake, Heather (Allen) Wheeler and Liberty Lowman; and extended family, many friends, and brothers-in-arms throughout the Air Force, especially the Workhorses in the 8th Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base. He will be missed by all. His father has created a Facebook page to help remember Kyle’s life and service titled “In Memory of Captain Kyle S. Hansen (official).” (Steven and Julianne Hansen, Kyle’s parents)

Timothy R. Barber, ’20 Cadet Fourth Class Timothy Barber, age 18, passed tragically on Dec. 31, 2016 with his father, Greg “Spanky” Barber, in a two-plane accident in McKinney, Texas at approximately 5:30 p.m. Tim and Greg were spending an afternoon of quality father-son time doing what they both loved, flying. Tim, after graduating as salutatorian from Farmersville High School, was home on break after completing his first semester at the U.S. Air Force Academy, working toward following in his father’s footsteps. Tim was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Farmersville and active in the Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts. He enjoyed playing tennis, hanging out with his friends and being with his family. Tim, like his father, personified the phrase “Humble Servitude” touching many lives and by his love of his family and, of course, the Lord. Those touched by Tim will carry him with them forever. Luke 18: 29-30: And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” Timothy Barber is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mandy Barber; brothers Ben Barber, stationed at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba City, Calif., and Franklyn Barber and wife, Tiffany Barber, of Wellington, Texas; sister Becca Barber of Farmersville, Texas; Tim’s grandparents Frank and Sally Barber; and aunt Lori Barber of Morris, Ill. Services were on Jan. 9, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church of Plano, Texas. Tim also received a military service with his father, Greg, on Jan. 12, 2017 at the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Burial followed at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery. (Written by family and friends.)

Richard D. Day, ATO Mr. Richard Donald Day, 87, loving husband of Barbara Martha Sevits Day, passed away Dec. 22, 2016, in Aiken, S.C. A memorial service was held at a later date at the Woodside Country Club. Mr. Day was born in Lima, Ohio, to the late Richard and Mary Miller Day. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and became an Air Force pilot and Air Force Academy Air Training Officer for the first classes at the Academy. As part of his military duties, he was selected to be on the cover of Newsweek magazine and a guest on the Ed Sullivan show modeling the new Air Force Academy uniform. Mr. Day spent the remainder of his career working as a sales manager for Motorola. In addition to his wife, Mr. Day is survived by a daughter, Kimli (John) Fioravanti of Doylestown, Pa.; three sons, Corey Day of Palmerton, Pa., Jeffery (Caroline) Day, of Doylestown, Pa., and Robert Day, of Lehighton, Pa.; eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. Memorials may be directed to the Aiken Heart Association, P.O. Box 5211, Aiken, S.C. 29804. (From the Shellhouse Funeral Home website)

James A. Gravette, ATO On Oct. 21, 2016, retired Air Force Col. James (Jim) Gravette, Jr., of Arlington, Va., passed away. Jim is now united with his parents (James and Jules), and is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughter Peggy Purcell (Mike) and children Lindsey Casey, Jaimee and Natalie; son Jim Gravette (Julie) and children Megan, Erin and Lauren; and daughter Aimee Kokotakis (Manny) and children Nicholas and Julia. Jim will be dearly missed by all. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932, and was the oldest of six children (Joyce, Tom, Jack, Dennis and Janice). He attended Cathedral Latin High School, and was recruited under Woody Hayes to play football at Miami University (Ohio). In college, he joined the Air Force ROTC program and graduated in 1954 with a degree in education. Jim later received his master’s degree from the University of Denver in 1958, and attended the National War College in Washington, D.C., in 1972. In 1954, Jim entered the Air Force as a second lieutenant. As a young flight officer, he proved himself quickly. In one instance, his quick and decisive actions to put out an inflight cockpit fire saved the lives of all those onboard. This level of bravery was shown throughout his career; particularly in the missions he later flew during the Vietnam War as part of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Jim also had the distinction of being one of the young officers selected to assume the role of upper classmen in order to start up the Air Force Academy. Jim’s Air Force career is marked by many awards including numerous Commendation and Legion of Merit Medals. As a navigator during the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Presidential Unit Citation. As a colonel, he rose to director of South American Affairs and was instrumental in developing Department of Defense objectives in Central and South America. Jim retired from the Air Force in 1985 after 30 years of service, and was recognized by being awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service to our country.

(Continued on page 142.)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

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. Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS It began on our ’59 Facebook page with a comment by Bobby Blake that BG “Bent Wing” Ben Cassiday might not be in the best of health. Some discussion later Jim Reed volunteered to take the lead in designing a plaque with all of our classmates names on it for presentation to Ben. Jim designed and had a plaque built which Dave Phillips volunteered to deliver to Hawaii and present. The inscription on the plaque is, “Brig. Gen. Benjamin B. Cassiday, Jr. With great admiration – we learned to lead by being your wingmen.” Below the class crest is a brass plate with all 207 ’59er names and a center insert, “Honorary Class Member BGen Benjamin B. Cassiday, Jr.” We look forward to pictures of the presentation in the next issue. Bill Telford and Max Miller teamed up to write a beautiful description of RL Penn’s Members funeral at Arlington. “On a 85% beautiful, spring-like day in March, our friend, classmate, and fellow airman – R.L. Penn – was put to rest in Arlington Cemetery. In attendance were his widow, Eugenia, with family Sabre Society and friends, twenty-two ’59er’s Donors from all parts of the country 23 and Judy Josephson (Ed’s widow). The church service was conducted in the Old Chapel at Ft. Myer by classmate Ron Lanman who gave a stirring eulogy. The casket was placed on a caisson pulled by horses and escorted by a full honor guard. Following a mile-long walk to the grave site, accompanied by two flights of airmen and a full band, there was a fly-by. The interment ceremony concluded with a short graveside service and a three-round volley by the rifle squad. A truly beautiful ceremony. The day included a wonderful luncheon at the Ft. Myer Club, hosted by Eugenia, where we all were entertained by stories of R.L. and his career. A very befitting 'goodbye' to our dear friend.” (See photo below.) Ed Lankenau updates us on the Space Coast


Honor Flight. Ed and Pat are heavily involved and the organization has now taken more than 1,000 veterans to Washington, D.C. to tour the memorials. Recently, Ed joined Col. Bud Bartleson with his “guardian”, as the escorts are known, daughter Becky. Some may remember him flying us navigator trainees around Ponca City in a T-29 from 1958. I join Ed in recommending to all our classmates that are able to support your local Honor Flight. Jean and I have also been guardians on flights from southwest Florida to DC. It is both humbling and rewarding.

Honor Flight in DC: Becky, Col. Bartleson, and Ed Lankenau. After skiing in New Zealand years ago and making long-lasting friendships with folks from around the globe, Gene and Jane Vosika have, for 27 years, organized a one-week ski vacation for these friends and some ’59ers in Utah. These ski fanatics were joined by Greg Boyington and Junie, Mike and Arohanui Bender and Jack and Flo Howell, becoming members of the “Ski Amigos.” This yearly gathering features about 20 or so friends and family. There was no mention of which “bunny” slopes they tackled this year. But life in the lodge looks good. (See photo at the top of the next column.) PS: Mike Bender reports that they are planning a two-week or so trip to New Zealand featuring a four-day, 34-mile hike of the “Milford Track” in late March of 2018. Mike and Arohanui are planning to stay two months. Any takers?

The 22 Classmates with Eugenia and Judy. 104 ·

The oldest living USAFA Ski Bums. From left: Boyington, Vosika, Bender and Howell. The captain of our Wrestling Team, Charlie Zaleski, reports that it continues in the family. His grandson, Garrett Ryan, is captain of the Columbia University wrestling team. He won the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Tournament recently as a heavyweight. He lost at the NCAA Tournament but “Ski” has high hopes for him next year. Charlie, in our 4th class year, won the 177-pound class in the Rocky Mountain Conference Tournament in Laramie, thus becoming the first USAFA cadet to win a championship. Bob Dwyer and Greg Boyington were teammates. Tom Stack reports that the Charleston Chapter of the AOG has a big Founders Day dinner each year that attracts the AFA leadership on a regular basis. This year’s speaker was Jim Knowlton, AFA director of Athletics. Pete Winters, Lorin Krueger and Dave Archino often join with the Stacks to attend this gala. A few years ago, when the “Supe” was the speaker, the ’59ers were introduced to the crowd and, as the much younger Zoomies took this in, one was heard to say, “Gee, I thought they were all extinct”. Not quite! The gift that keeps on giving – remember our reunion gift that funded the sponsorship of the keynote address of the National Character and Leadership Symposium? This year’s symposium theme was “Warrior Ethos and the American Airman.” The keynote speaker was BGen Mark Weatherington (Class of 1990), director of Cyberspace Operations for the U.S. Northern Command. His speech was entitled, “The Warrior Ethos in the Digital Age”. Ed Montomery has been instrumental in this effort and attended the symposium. He said it was a very timely topic and especially for the “old grads” to whom cyber warfare is a new discipline. The general got his second star shortly after the symposium. Hmmmm…. Our prolific writer, Don Brooks, has an interesting thought to share. He has published one book, “Fly to the Sound of Battle” and is soon to publish his second, “Flying in the BUFF.” Not the state of undress; the big airplane! Don’s vision is to capture the history of our class as individuals in a book called, “The Start of the Long Blue Line.” He would chronical each of our pranks, parties and key events as we lived our lives during and after our stint at the Zoo. Realizing that the participation rate may be small, it may still be very worthwhile. Please share your thoughts. One of our Florida snowbirds, Don Livingston, has a tradition formed with our President for Life,

Joe DeSantis. They get together in southwest Florida each year to celebrate March Madness with suds, clams, oysters and TV watching. Joe sent some great pictures of them cooking and partying with neighbors. A favorite was Don mesmerizing four scantily-clad young ladies in the pool with his tales of daring-do. A large tip-of-the-hat to all of you who sent pictures. They are much appreciated, but we have a limit we can put in the narrative. I have saved all of them for potential future use. You may remember that Jean walked 325 miles on the Camino de Santiago in 2014. She is going back in June to volunteer in the Pilgrim House in Santiago welcoming the pilgrims from their walks. Thought for the quarter: “May you live in interesting times”. Some say an ancient Chinese Curse! –Dick Carr, 3612 San Sebastian Court, Punta Gorda, FL 33950; H: (941) 637-8272; Cell: (941) 268-4245;; FB: USAFA Class of 1959. As this issue was going to press, we learned that fellow New Yorker and command pilot, Denis Haney, had lost his battle with cancer. He had told us that he was getting an advanced degree in medicine without having to take any classes! I believe few of us are aware that Denny had been shot down over North Vietnam in his RF-101 and made his way overland to open water where he was rescued at sea. Denny will be remembered for his unfailing good humor, service to his church, country and community and his love of travel and sports of all sorts. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were married for 53 years and had five children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Two of their children, Elizabeth and Cynthia, are also USAFA graduates.


city archives… who lived there, what property was bought and sold, etc., but so far nothing written has been found.” Like the rest of us, Wayne Kendall, in the process of divesting himself of all the stuff we have accumulated (and nobody wants), uncovered accounts of his efforts as a young Air Force flight surgeon, testing the feasibility, and survivability, of crew members flying high-speed aircraft following a canopy loss. At a monthly class gettogether in Colorado Springs, his accounts of experiencing open-cockpit flight in aircraft Members travelling at speeds of 250 to 89% 450 knots was riveting – and he survived and was the recipient of the Jabara Award for his exploits! At the other end of the spectrum, I still have a blue book from Gen. Al Hurley’s advanced history course, where Sabre Society Donors he said, “A first class essay which deserves the maximum 13 grade... but your spelling stinks to high heaven.” Now who would part with that? During September and October 2016, JT Smith made a 29-day, 6,500-mile, mostly solo, round-robin motorcycle trip to and up the West Coast. “The trip was ostensibly to attend the 66th anniversary of my high school graduation in North Hollywood, CA”, says JT, “but it was mostly a catharsis following Diane’s death, which left me with a hole in my schedule and a hole in my soul.”

On the road again... Here is his story. “Along the way, I visited with family, friends and classmates. In Lakewood, WA; I had dinner with Vic Yoakum and Nels Delisanti. In Colorado Springs; dinner with Andi Biancur, Jim Bujalski and Judy, Dick Schehr and Jim Waddle.”

Denny and Elizabeth Haney, Greece, 2008. Recently, Alex Zimmerman returned to Jordan as a volunteer at the excavation of a site, Tall el Hammam, believed to be the ancient city of Sodom, just northeast of the Dead Sea. This was his 10th time to make this trip. All work is carefully recorded by a supervisor and the pottery pieces are catalogued by location, washed, and “read” by the experts to determine the age. “Most everything we unearthed was from the Middle Bronze Age (1950 BC to 1550 BC),” says Alex, “No ‘Welcome to Sodom’ signs were found. I would love to find the

The Colorado Springs contingent. In McCook, NE, JT spent a few days with Dick and Anne Trail ('59), where he had the privilege of manipulating the controls of an aircraft in flight for the first time in decades. “Not a pretty sight,” he said. Finally, JT spent several days visiting with Gordon and Ann Flygare in Norman, OK. JT

continues, “When I returned home, I had four days to do laundry, repack, change motorcycles, and see a ballet with a granddaughter before heading east to attend the DC gang’s roosting at the QuerryHiatts. After that, I went to a MOAA conference in DC and then spent a lovely evening with Leon and Maryn Goodson before returning home. Adding the miles from this trip to that from the West Coast trip brings my total distance travelled in the saddle to just over 7,500 miles in about six weeks.” Dick and Marilyn Meyers are doing well in Fairhope, AL, having successfully rebounded from a flood a few years ago that left three feet of water in their living room. As with several of our classmates, Ed and Nancy Haerter are delighted with their new multi-level retired community in Madison, WI. The cold weather, caring for a big house they no longer needed and health issues helped confirm their decision. Ed is also especially proud of their 12-year-old granddaughter who has been flagged as a potential Olympic-level ski jumper, currently training for the 100m jump. Reece Williams is still trial-lawyering in Columbus, SC. In lieu of a retirement community, he and his wife, Nancy, have downsized to a new, small house 10 minutes from downtown. Recently, in a local antique store, Reece recovered some memorabilia relating to Greg Boyington’s father and sent it along to Greg. Dr. Dave Luce is a retired family surgeon living in Beaverton, OR. He has family close by, and he and Marilyn enjoy living on the western boundary of the Beaverton wilderness areas. In a recent letter to Bill Zerson, Jim Kerr wrote: “Somebody asked me to list my choice of the two best military leaders that actually led while I was at USAFA. My reply was instantaneous: Col. George Simler (Dept. of Athletics) who personally disciplined me to be as tough as necessary and challenged me to do better without mincing one word or allowing one moment to throw a pity party. Next was Capt. Charles Gabriel, AOC 3rd Squadron, who was the micro version of the macro version Simler, without the huge arm. He encouraged me to never ever even think one nanosecond of my time on quitting, as the reward of a first class education was worth all the hazing and misuse of power by upperclassmen. To do so would make you a better man.” Some, like Bill Gillis, would add Col. Echelberger and W/O Charlie Cobb to that list. Others? In case you missed it, Mike Loh has placed an essay entitled, “USAFA - THEN AND NOW: Observations of a Classmate” on our class website. The shoddy performance of the USAFA cadets in President Trump’s inaugural parade has prompted Mike to reflect upon the similarities and differences between our experiences as the Class of '60 and the cadets of today’s modern Air-Space-Cyberspace Force. Mike has unique insight into today’s cadet experience due to his frequent semi-official visits to the Academy and the fact that both his son and grandson are also graduates: Class of 1984 and Class of 2016, respectively. His major conclusions are: “I have tried not to be overly critical. USAFA does produce officers with a basic grounding in honor, discipline and character. Most of today’s grads embody the best aspects of our Air Force and nation. Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS But, too many opportunities are lost in their four years at USAFA, opportunities that would make them much better products with a deeper sense of purpose and motivation embedded with an indelible air-warrior culture. “The Air Force and USAFA leadership have acquiesced to the pressures of today’s society to accept constraints on discipline, religious expression, military training, even honor code situations. I understand the difference in political pressures and lawsuits prevalent today that we did not face. But we need to stiffen their backbones to begin the march back to a USAFA more like one that we would recognize and our nation expects. “Then, at the Inaugural Parade of 2021, we could see a cadet squadron looking sharp in every respect, and making us all proud. I look forward to it.” Nulli Secundus. –Ken Alnwick, 2403 Arrow Park Drive, Alexandria, VA 22306; (703) 768-8280;; Class Website : We will all miss three more classmates who left our midst this past quarter: Frank Willis on 23 February, Don Paye on 7 March, and Dave Carlstrom on 11 April; as well as Don’s wife, Patricia (Pat), who passed on 17 November 2015. Frank and Claire lived in Colorado Springs; Don and Pat in Seattle; and Dave and Elizabeth (Lily) in Concord, MA. Four classmates and six uniformed cadets attended Frank’s burial, while three classmates and three classmates’ wives attended his memorial service at the church later that day. For those who did not know, Frank was Mert Hull’s brother-in-law, and the six cadets were all Mert’s grandsons. Don’s memorial service was on 28 April, and Dave’s funeral was 14 April. On the day of Dave’s funeral, Concord flew the American flag at half-staff in honor of his military service. He had been hospitalized for four years following a stroke. For more information regarding Frank, refer to this Gone But Not Forgotten Section. The others’ will appear in a future Checkpoints. John Kohout said that the members of the original Gray Tags gathered for lunch at the Springfield Country Club, courtesy of Charley Dixon, on 21 March. All had a great time telling stories, some even true, and comparing notes on travels, families, and their many now non-revenue-producing activities. Bill Stackhouse, John and Joan Kohout, Twy Williams, Spike Nunn, Charley Dixon, Bill and Theda Foster, John Sullivan, and Liz Powers attended. Dick Arnold dropped out of barbershop singing at the first of the year to do some genealogical research, trying to discover whether his ancestry went beyond West Virginia and Ohio.   So far, it is just the Mountaineers and the Buckeyes.  Marty was surprised to discover that her Virginia lineage leads back to France.  The local library has a free link to a robust and other genealogical sites.  And this spring Doc and Marty have been active with the local Lifelong Learning


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Institute where folks more than 50 years old can attend various classes of an hour or two duration on subjects from Mah Jongg to film (six movies) to container gardening to hiking to managing our mangled medical milieu; birding, interior decorating, Yoga, poetry, and more. Stu and Marnie Boyd “retraced” the steps of Pthe apolstle Paul on his second missionary journey. They traveled with a group as well as an educator.  It was both an educational and spiritual experience.  They skipped his Syrian departure point, for obvious reasons, but spent two weeks in Turkey and Greece.  Pat and Marilyn Buckley flew to England on 30 January to visit family and friends in and around Brighton.  Then, on to the ski slopes of Pila, Italy, where Marilyn fell and broke a bone just above her right wrist.  They returned to England to Shoreham-by-Sea for Marilyn’s Mum’s 97th birthday celebration and visits with family and friends before returning home to Satellite Beach, FL.  Following a surprise call and invitation from Howard Bodenhamer on 5 March, Pat and Marilyn drove to join him and Sue Ellen Trout for their wedding at Howard’s sister’s farm near Floral City, FL, on 7 March.  Pat and Gene Davis committed to organize a Class of ’61 mini-reunion on the Florida Space Coast for early November.  They have about 12 classmates and 24 total people committed so far and will soon be sending out a follow-up message with more details.  Although Pat encouraged all to vote in the latest AOG effort to get a 25% Members quorum for some by-laws 90% changes, the quorum was not achieved.  Following an AOG Board request, Pat then followed up with a specific question to our class regarding the issue of moving the AOG and USAFA Endowment Sabre Society toward ultimate unification Donors with a single CEO and single 12 board.  As of 9 April, 38 classmates had replied – 34 in favor of unification, four in favor of unification following some actions to respond to the lack of a quorum in the AOG Vote, and four strongly opposed to unification.  Anne Eller was healthy enough to attend the Founders Day dinner on 7 April and go to church on Sunday, 9 April (for the first time since last June). Fifteen people from our class, including spouses, attended the dinner for Lee Butler’s designation as a Distinguished Graduate. Lee’s son and daughter-in-law, Brett and Patti, represented Lee.  Congratulations again to Lee, Doreen, and the entire family in earning this well-deserved honor. Jerry Gill had a pleasant top-down drive to St. Augustine in early April (with no speeding tickets) to attend one of Brice Jones’ wine events: a delicious five-course dinner with wines. Brice was his usual entertaining self with new wines and old jokes. Jerry stayed with Bob and Winnie Wagner in their beautiful home, enjoying their wondrous

hospitality. They were also great tour guides. On the second night, Jerry picked up his granddaughter Hillary, who lives in Jacksonville, and Bob and Winnie took them to a cool place on the beach for dinner. Dean and Wayne Jones celebrated their big 80th birthday in Colorado with a huge party in Colorado Springs and skiing (for free) at Monarch Pass.  A month later they added a bucket list item: sky diving at Perris Valley, CA, followed by golf in Palm Springs and a stay at the Welk Resort in Escondido.  Life is good.  Terry Jorris and two rock-hound friends took his '76' motorhome and '94 4-Runner into the Hauser Geode Beds (in the low desert near Blythe, CA) for three days to hunt for volcanic geodes and agates. They drove the 40-year-old motorhome in four miles on an “unimproved road” where they made camp. They proceeded the rest of the way with the four-wheel-drive. Although they didn’t find any really good geodes, they found a lot of nice agates and had a good time. Bob Kellock and Samantha Carlson kept to their plan to spend the winter holidays at their home in Patagonia, AZ, but expanded that time quite a bit.  Having decided he was done flying and to sell the Jabiru 250, they looked around and decided to buy another home in Patagonia. They closed on their dream home on 22 December, and it has consumed their attention ever since.  The parcel includes a one-bedroom, 3/4 and 1/2 bath, high-ceiling, remodeled adobe home; a garage, a covered 15- by 25-foot cement carport; and a one-bedroom, one-bath guest house.  The previous owner (an engineer) had remodeled it to be his retirement home and outfitted it with every trinket he and his wife ever wanted.  His parents suddenly needed them to come take care of their failing health, and Bob and Samantha just stumbled into it at the right time.  They returned for another 25-day visit in March/April, and reached a sort of end point in “moving in.”   They have a lot of work to do on their first home and the doll house, but that’s for their May visit. Jerry Mason and Jo spent a week in Yucatan (near Merida, the capital) as guests of their neighbors, who had built a getaway to escape from those brutal Tucson winters. One highlight was a superb concert in the Merida Symphony Hall, an architectural gem reminiscent of European opera houses.  In family news, Jerry’s youngest son is proceeding with his Internet startup (  Hector Negroni on 15 December 2016 had a NAION attack (Non-Arteritic Ischemic Optic Neuropathy) on his left eye, leaving him blind in that eye.  Some 30 years ago, he had had a similar attack in his right eye, taking away 30% of his vision in that eye.  Now he cannot see out of his left eye, sees poorly out of his right eye, has no peripheral vision, walks with a cane, and cannot drive.  The prognosis is unsure and his prayer is that his condition does not worsen.  This condition is genetic. Most of the latter part of December and early January was spent with ophthalmic neurologists.  They visited Bascom Palmer in Miami, FL on 13 February and were told that there is a 98% probability that his

condition will not worsen. He needs monthly follow-up visits to his doctor.  Nelson and Teri O’Rear toured the Corvette assembly plant and National Museum in Bowling Green, KY, in February. The assembly plant tour was probably enhanced for them by the fact that neither had ever before seen a large assembly line in action. Corvette’s testing and enforced specifications compliance was impressive. The tour guide said that the vast majority of Corvettes are now built to the specifications of those who pre-order them. At any rate, all such thoughts of buying one evaporated when Nelson sat in a new Corvette in the museum. He felt like he was sitting on the floor, and probably more importantly now, getting out of it was not nearly as easy as exiting a sedan. Still, he would definitely recommend these tours for anyone who happens to be in that area. Thanks to all who shared this quarter. –Earl N. “Nelson” O’Rear, 50582 Stonington Drive, Granger, IN 46530-8243; (574) 273-2597; Email: Hi Redtags! We’re almost to the 55th. Here is latest news. From Bill and Sue Haugen: “There will be a 'June Week' party at the Haugens in Falls Church, VA, on Saturday, 27 May, and a 'Pre-55th Reunion' party at Chet and Eva Lee Griffins in Fairfax Station, VA, mid-September; details to follow.  All are invited; just let them know you are coming. Sue and I will be going to Lisbon the end of August, then on a Seabourn cruise up the coasts of Portugal, Spain, and France, ending up in Southampton mid-September. Then, of course, we are all off to the 55th reunion 4-7 October. Best wishes.  See you at USAFA, if not before.  Go REDTAGS. Bill.” Thanks Bill. Have a great trip. From Bob Staib: “I attended the 50th reunion of the survivors of the Battle of Soui Tre, Vietnam, March 21, 1967. I was invited to give the FAC view of the battle, since I was the first and third FAC overhead. Soui Tre’s attackers numbered more than 2,500 VC vs. two U.S. Army battalions Members of roughly 450 each. 647 VC 80% bodies were buried at the end of the four-hour battle. Hundreds more were estimated. It was the largest one-day enemy loss of the Vietnam War. Incidentally, I discovered that RTB Geoff Engels was quoted in Sabre Society Donors several publications for his par13 ticipation as a FAC in the Battle of Ap Gu, March 31-April 1, 1967.  In talking to Geoff, Ap Gu was also characterized by a major VC attacking force. Ap Gu’s VC KIA count numbered an estimated 600-plus. The Battle of Soui Tre 50th reunion, held in Colorado Springs and at Fort Carson, was very inspiring.  After two days with the Army, and a very moving memorial


at Fort Carson, we had lunch with classmates and RTB babes. Rip Blaisdell did the arranging. Thanks again, Ripper.  Bob McNaughton, Jim Mack, George Lyddane, Tim Guilmartin, Dave Holt, Jon Staples and P.K. Robinson were the fellow story tellers at our end of the table. Half of us were FACs and flew the Hun in Vietnam, so we had plenty of shared memories to swap. Christi and I will be back in the Springs for our 55th.  Many of those at our lunch are organizing the reunion. Sounds like we need more RTBs to commit soon so they can plan.  It’s clearly a bunch of work.” And this email from Jim Mack, right on que. “Plans for our 55th Redtag reunion are going well.  Since a lot will be known by the participants when the next Checkpoints is published, perhaps you could just insert the following as a gentle reminder to the troops: Guys, plans are coming along nicely for our 55th reunion from Oct. 4 - 8; a little less ‘doing’ and a little more ‘visiting.’ It’s going to be fun.   As a reminder, REMEMBER that your hotel reservation is totally separate from your reunion registration; you ‘gotta’ do both to avoid that dreaded ‘10A.’ Reunion info: http://www2.usafa. org/Reunion/1962”. Thanks Jim. Next I got a missive from Dick Klass. He and Liz visited Cuba and he had this to say. “Cuba, a Trip Back in Time. Havana was surprisingly clean (not Singapore but not NYC either). And all those old cars (35% of Cuba’s cars are said to be vintage); few horns were honked. The first place our tour took us in Havana was to Hemingway’s house where we also had our first encounter with Cuba’s famous vintage automobiles. While I posed by the entrance, Liz found a beautifully restored 1948 (her birth year) Buick convertible. See attached photos. Dick is in front of the Hemingway Manor holding a picture poster of Hemingway in front of the structure with Liz parked close by for a speedy getaway.

cow gets you 10 years in jail. Monthly rations are 6 kg of rice, maybe 10 eggs and a portion of cooking oil. Anything more must be bought with CUC, the government currency. But the average salary for a government worker -- and the government is the only employer -- is ~ 750 pesos per month or 30 CUC. Very grim! How do they survive? Barter, remittances and income from authorized private activity including small restaurants, B&Bs and guided tours. There were a few memorable visits but they were not thrilled with Cuba overall.” Dick mentioned that the tips that the people in his tour bus paid to the drivers and others servers amounted to more than their monthly allowance. Thanks Dick. There is much more info that Dick has. Planning a visit to Cuba? Contact Dick Klass. FIRST! I also got an email from Tom Keaney with information and a picture concerning his impending retirement. “I am retiring from my position as associate director of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. That long title for the school, known as SAIS, is Hopkins graduate school for this field, and I have been there for the past 19 years.  A great job, but it’s time to go.  I hear retirement is great.  I am sort of delaying full retirement to teach next fall at the School’s Bologna, Italy, campus, an opportunity I could not pass up. (Scribe’s note: It must be a tough job.) At a gathering in February, the alumni presented me with a picture, attached, as a going-away present. It’s an original poster for the Air Force just after its establishment in 1947.  Note the World War II Army Air Force logo is still used. Mary Beth and I will continue to live in Falls Church, VA, where we have children and grandchildren in the area.  My best regards to you and your family. Tom.” Thanks, Tom. It was great

They said that they passed by some musical establishments where men were dressed as 1930s gangsters so convincingly that they thought their lives were in danger. The state owns all the cows but individuals can raise them for milk. Killing a Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS hearing from you. And may you and your family have a great retirement. See you and Mary Beth at the 55th Reunion. I got a last-minute email from Jan and George Larson saying that their son, Bret C. Larson, was recently promoted to Brig Gen, USAF at AETC A5/ A8/A9 as the Military Assistant (MA) to the director, Plans, Programs, Requirements and Assessments. Congratulations to Bret and the proud parents That about wraps it up. I just want to remind the Redtags about sending in good pictures. First they have to have an RTB in it. Second, they have to be clear. Sometimes I can use my picture app to enhance pictures. Sometimes I have to shrink the picture size. But whatever you or I do, make sure you are in the picture. Four months to the 55th. Do whatever you have to do… TO BE THERE! Cheers, Jack. Go Redtags! –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 our classmate Klem F. Kalberer, CS-14. Klem passed away last year on 20 Jan 2016 in Dallas, TX. A graveside service took place on 14 Apr 2017 at the USAFA Cemetery. He was inurned along with his daughter, Kim, who passed away on 17 Mar 1972. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of his wife, Ann, and daughter, Kloe: Mrs. Ann Kalberer; C/O Mrs. Kloe A. Barcus; 3481 McFarlin Blvd; Dallas, TX 75205-1827 Jimmie Butler sent the following picture of our classmates at Klem’s graveside service. Many thanks to Jim Gaston for taking the picture. (See poto below.) Class Fund: Diff provided a summary of the Class Endowment Fund activity for 2016: A gift to the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) for $11,255 and a gift to the Department of History Center for Oral History (COH) for $11,255. Other information includes $30,400 remaining pledged funds of and an investment gain

of $58,347. The end balance for 2016 was $807,922. Mini Reunion 2017: Bob Hayes reported that the local Golden Boys concluded the Sept 23rd weekend would be good for our mini-reunion. The football game on the 23rd is Air Force vs. San Diego State. With only three home games in September and October, the other games available were Sept 2nd and Oct 14th. We can expect activities similar to those last year, but the game kickoff time of 5 p.m. will impact the schedule. Bob says he will be providing details via his email list, so if you are interested, please check if you are on his list and if not give him a call or drop him an email. Contact Bob at 1-719-481-9693, bcahayes@ Bob added that he will happy to arrange game tickets as he did last year, 55th Reunion Update: Note from Bill Ball: You’ll remember Members the dates selected for our 55th, 83% 3-7 Oct 2018; the Antlers Hotel has been selected as Reunion HQ, and we’ll be playing Navy that weekend. Well, all that is firm. The AOG is still not letting us sign a contract for the Antlers until this coming fall. Sabre Society Donors This is a new rule since an unnamed class overbooked on an 25 early hotel contract, had many no-shows, leaving the class/AOG with a very large bill. This later date for contracts will delay us a little on our hotel meal planning but shouldn’t be a show stopper. What is a planning problem right now is that the Academy is still working the decision on timing for a chapel closure for a complete teardown and rehab. Their decision is expected sometime this April or May. The current word is that the chapel closing will be in the summer of 2018; but that date has not been finalized. Potential locations for chapel services are being looked at now and will obviously affect our cup-turning service location and timing. Bill went on to say the first planning meeting for our 55th is going to be sometime in June or early July. This will give many issues time to hopefully get solved before we start working a real reunion schedule. He added the committee will put out a planning meeting email soon enough for

Classmates with Ann Kalberer, from left are McCracken, Hauser, Bredvik, Vaughn, Steinbrink, Shutack, Maher, Kuhn, Fain, Butler Thacker, and Hayes. 108 ·

you to work your schedule to attend. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email or call Bob Hayes,, Vic Thacker vlthacker@ or Bill Ball The following photograph came across from a Facebook post that was part of a transition in a community program that Lou and Karen Matjasko have worked with for some time now. Karen is the program director and Lou, who is stepping down as the executive director of Circle of Change Veterans Dog Program. Circle of Change is a community partner of the Madison VA Hospital and its Rockford Satellite Clinic. Veterans with posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are referred to the program by VA Mental Health. Circle of Change has two classes operating in Northern Illinois and one class in Madison, WI. Lou says the program was developed over 10 years. It provides dog training experiences in a small group and safe venue for vets referred by the VA who have PTSD/ anxiety issues. There’s no cost to the vet or VA. More than 250 vets in the Rockford/Madison corridor have been helped. See org. The photo sent with the announcement was a great picture of Karen and Lou. However, when I clicked on the picture to save it in my class news file I saw another picture that I couldn’t resist. You can, I hope, see why. Congrats and many thanks to both Lou and Karen for their work on this important project.

Lou, Karen and friend. Another Facebook post included an article in the Aurora Villager about Larry McLaughlin that was entitled “Service Before Self.” Larry is called a “professional” volunteer. Larry and Jeanne live in Heritage Eagle Bend in southeast Aurora, CO and typical of Larry, when he retired he started a new venture, sprinkler service, as well as his volunteer activities among others Rotary Club, Lamplighters who change neighbor’s outdoor and garage lights in the community, driving cancer patients to their appointments and acting as an usher at the Parker Arts and Lone Tree Arts Center. The article had a photo of Larry with his sprinkler gear blowing out a sprinkler system for a neighbor. Unfortunately, the photo is a reproduction of the newspaper article and not of the quality to show here. So, Larry sent a recent photo. Note the Rotary emblem on his polo shirt. (See photo at the top of the next column.) I received some quality feedback from the Warrior discussion in the March issue of Checkpoints. As follow-on, consider looking at a couple of videos put out by the Academy and the AOG.

Larry and Jeanne First and foremost, watch the video “State of the Academy” address by the Superintendant, LTG Michelle Johnson. It lasts about 30 minutes and I know we all have plenty of time. I found her to be prophetic about what challenges the Academy will be facing as it goes forward into the next half century of its existence. A little math was required before my mind grasped the fact the Academy has been around for more than 60 years. Take a look: https://youtube/K0M-LsRyb5U. Another video, this one is short, worth watching is the USAFA 2017 Founder’s Day Video produced by the AOG. https://youtube/6nIVFeA7Mwo. Just one more video; this one for grins: In a recent Facebook post Steve Savonen shared a SIERRA HOTEL AERONAUTICS’s video, Aviators of the Silver Screen, which is full of clips from movies many, I’ll wager, you will remember. https:// youtube/4KSAa8x2k_g. That’s all for this time. Please, let’s be careful out there and hope to see you at the 55th reunion if not before. – Norman I. “Skip” Lee, 63119 E Cat Claw Lane, Tucson, AZ 85739-2058; Home: (520) 825-7980; Cell: (520) 241-3498;; Class Web Site: From Cuba: Ray Rodgers sent a trip missive “Having a great time in Cuba: Small group of avid travelers and super tour guide and bus driver. Highlights of two days in Havana were a city tour in 40s/50s vintage convertibles and a show at the Buena Vista Social Club. Now [Day 3], in Vinales. Toured a cigar factory this morning. Visit to the Bay of Pigs tomorrow. Raul is allowing more private ownership and restaurants and other construction is popping up everywhere. Accommodations are Spartan but clean. Some good meals, some just OK.” Sorry, Ray. Sandy and I aren’t that adventurous. We’re doing Germany and France this June. On the other hand, you don’t hear of a lot of bombings in Havana these days. From California: Bob Coburn wrote about a great tribute set up by his family. “A remarkable thing happened to me last Friday. Unbeknown to me, my son Michael, daughter Michelle and my


wife, Winnie, started a project last October. Along with Mike’s good friend Jim Hoey, they submitted me to the Anaheim Ducks hockey team for their Tribute to Veterans program and I was accepted. I had mixed feelings when they told me that, as many others obviously deserved it more than I. I told the team representatives that I was a representative for everyone that I flew with – those still here and those who perished in the air or succumbed to various ills since we flew. Mike and Winnie wanted me to take the tribute alone but I asked Winnie to stand with me as she graciously came along thru thick and thin. “The event was tremendously uplifting and I wore a 497th squadron hat for my first combat squadron. Having the whole Honda Center standing and cheering you is humbling.” [Bob’s email included a great video of Bob/Winnie being cheered by the crowd as the announcer listed his many military accomplishments. Unfortunately, the print version of Checkpoints doesn’t allow videos yet. Maybe in the online version someday?] From the Left and the Right Coast: Whit Whitman sent an email about Jack Paterno’s passing. “I was saddened to read in Checkpoints Jack had passed. In 1972 he and I were both furloughed, Jack from TWA and me from American. Having the bad habit of liking to eat, we each were serving in the Air National Guard. Given the opportunity for 30 Members days of active duty to instruct the second class at the Guard 80% Academy located on McGhee Tyson in Knoxville, we jumped at the chance. We had a great time leading competing flights. Maj. Gen. IG Brown, chief of the National Guard, came to Sabre Society the closing dining-in during Donors which he offered us any Guard 40 position we desired. Jack asked for and went to F 105s with the New Jersey Guard and I somewhat worriedly asked to go to the C 141 Associate Reserve program at Travis AFB, CA. After what seemed to me a long pause, really very short, the general said I should call Travis in a week. I arrived at Travis and the Reserves in 1972 and have lived in the same house since 1973. Unfortunately, I never saw Jack again, but the time at McGhee Tyson surely changed each of our lives.” I [your scribe] also had interaction with Jack early in our careers. I lived with Jack and his family one summer when I went to New York to see Jack’s eye doctor. The doctor used exercises to get my vision to better than required for pilot training. After graduation, we lived on separate coasts and I only saw him once again, as far as I remember. That summer also changed my life, because I wouldn’t have gotten into pilot training without Jack’s help. Up High: The Old Trolls continue to have quarterly lunch meetings on the east slope of the Rockies. In April, they met at the Union American Bistro. Doug Jenkins says that a good time was had by all. That must be true, because the photo, courtesy of Tom Morris, shows the group still

smiling. From left are Jim Johnson, Al Larson, Bob Thomas, Rod Wells, Doug Jenkins, Claude Billings and Tom Morris.

Who said the Trolls are old? One last CA: I noted a new photo on Dave Earl’s Facebook page and was just running through his photos when I got another Air Force car tag hit. Dave didn’t have the numbers on his license plate, but used 64 as his racing number. [By the way, I think ’65 has taken up the car tag challenge, also.]

Dave Earl’s car. [Put it all over the car and it will go faster!] –Bob Hovde, 206 Walker Ave., Huntsville, AL 35801; Home: (256) 532-3923; Mobile: (256) 3489794; If you’re thinking about holding a squadron reunion, no need to reinvent that round thing with spokes. Tom Murawski will be happy to explain the why and how of 5th Squadron’s October 2017 reunion in Santa Fe, NM. Joe Koenig reported that Curt Nelson has been elected to fill the position of executive director of the Wright Image Group (WIG). The WIG is a non-profit with the objective to “raise an iconic monument that symbolizes the birth of a revolutionary industry – aviation....” – basically to design and build America’s newest monument, The Triumph of Flight©. Joe got hooked and started volunteering with the group a year ago after he heard Curt give a presentation about a monument that will put a 144’-wingspan replica of the 40-foot wingspan Wright Flyer III on a 270’ high pedestal adjacent to the Interstate 70/75 intersection just north of Dayton. Joe is working STEM-education-related concerns and Curt has been the director of public communications since 2009. for more.


Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS On 16 Dec 16, George McKinney was privileged to attend the ceremony when the 505th Command and Control Wing recognized our classmate, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Short’s career by naming their Hurlburt Field, FL, conference center for him. Following his 30 years’ active-duty service, Mike served 16 years as a highly qualified expert-senior mentor with the 505th CCW, preparing an entire generation of airmen for leadership at the operational level of war. In this capacity, he mentored students in 165 senior-level classes as part of the 505th CCW’s Air Force Senior Staff Courses, Joint Senior Staff Courses and Combined Joint Force Air Component Commander courses. His mentorship extended to more than 800 flag officers and many thousands of senior leaders from the U.S. and allied air forces. This recognition is noteworthy. It required approval at the highest levels of the Air Force and the ceremony was attended by the vice commander of Air Combat Command, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harris who said, “Lt. Gen. Short is undoubtedly a hero. When it comes to air power history and theory, [Mike] leads the way, and we will stand on his shoulders for decades to come.”

experiences. I had met Janis over the years, but never really gotten to know much about her. In the course of the reunion events, we both became aware that we had a lot in common and were both interested in pursuing a possible relationship. Janis had been widowed for about seven years and I had been alone for about four years at that point, but neither of us was looking for a relationship. Well, looking or not, a relationship developed in the course of many emails, phone calls and cross-country airline visits. It seems most of our/ my CS-15 classmates saw this developing even before Janis and I did and they have been very supportive. This is especially true for Denny and Kathy Murphy, who live close to my Monument, CO, home just north of the Academy and were life-long best friends of John. In fact, Denny helped Janis arrange for John’s interment at the Academy and later helped me when my wife died in 2012. In April 2016, I proposed and we were married in Coronado, CA, on 5 Nov 16, with about 90 guests, including five of my old CS-15 classmates and the rest were there in spirit. The wedding was in the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and the reception was in the historic I-Building on North Island Naval Air Station that goes back to the 1930s. Janis relocated to the Oceanside, CA, area about 2011 from Oregon in order to be the advocate for her mother, so we expect to be here for now.

Warren and Ann Langley and Kim and Joe Smith enjoying lunch at the Cutty Sark Pub on a sunny day in Greenwich, London, England. Thames River and London skyline are in the background. Bill Kemp read Bob Hovde’s Class of ’64 news article in the December 16 Checkpoints with great interest. In it, he indicates that the record holder for “Most USAFA Plates” is Jerry King, who has two plates currently on his Suburban and Silverado, and who also had one on a Cessna 182. Only because I believe in accuracy, I wanted to let you know that I have three Virginia-issued USAFA plates on active duty: “3260K” on my convertible, “65CS13” on my Escalade, and “2161AF” on my Mustang. I think the references to my cadet service number and 13th Squadron are fairly obvious, but I have to admit that Virginia picked the “2161AF” for me. So at the very least, the record is TIED at 3… –Bill Roberts, 9870 E. Golden Currant Drive, Tucson, AZ 85748-7897; (520) 342-8002; scribe@;; https://

George “Spider” McKinney and Mike Short in front of the Hurlburt Field building named for Mike. From Gary Silence: When we graduated in 1965, one of our most popular CS-15 classmates was not commissioned due to medical reasons. That was John Torsey. He was crushed by that as he was looking forward to an Air Force career, but went on to have a successful career as an aeronautical engineer and commercial airline (PSA) and corporate pilot. Over the years John, stayed in touch with his CS-15 classmates and attended many of our class reunions. Unfortunately, John Members died of cancer in 2009. 77% When we were preparing for our 50-year reunion, CS15 classmates encouraged surviving spouses of deceased classmates to join us. I believe we have three, but only John’s wife, Janis, accepted our invitaSabre Society Donors tion and joined us for our 50th Reunion in November 2015. 29 Since I had lost my wife of almost 47 years, Sherri, (John and Sherri are both buried in the USAFA Cemetery about 50 feet of each other) I was a “singleton” and so Janis and I tended to gravitate toward each other on buses and at reunion events to have a friendly companion to share conversation and common 110 ·


From left standing are Bill and Pricilla Wall, Jerry Wilkowski, Jean and Brian Esterby, and Arlis and Will Burney. Seated are Gary and Janis in the center flanked by Kathy and Denny Murphy, our “Best Couple” for the ceremony. Effective immediately, Ginny and Ken McAlear have new email addresses and a web-page: The McAlears – Just another WordPress site ( A friend is helping them develop it and there are just two pictures on it so far. The first is a picture out the back of our house looking down Ginny’s Hollow following a rare winter snowfall. The second picture is the namesake with the new signage. Joe Smith thought you might enjoy the attached picture. He and Kim came over the pond to visit with their two granddaughters who are living here with our daughter and her husband. Warren and Ann Langley have a house here and show up in London often. We had a great time talking about how much we enjoy the pubs in London and reminiscing about the best pubs in Colorado Springs 50 years ago. Warren and I managed to solve most of the problems of the world and decided that we will probably be able to survive Brexit and Donny.

Greetings, Redtags! The latest AOG election had some mixed results. The good news was that Hans Mueh was elected to the AOG Board of Directors, where he jwill help direct our graduate organization. The bad news is that only 20% of us AOG members actually voted. Although this did not impact the results of the Board of Directors election, it did mean that three proposed changes to the AOG Bylaws did not get approved because our rules require that at least 25% of members must vote for those changes. About 90% of those who voted were in favor of the changes, but not enough of us voted. I think the AOG needs to figure out if this low participation rate means that people don’t care—or maybe everyone is happy with the current organization? The following picture is from last year. There hasn’t been room in the last couple of editions, but it’s such a great shot that I had to find a spot for it before these guys all take their next fishing trip. Rusty Gideon sent the picture right after the event, saying that the group had a great week fly-fishing in Yellowstone. He did mention that, if you judged the trip by where most of their advanced planning time and money were spent, you would have to conclude that this was an eating and drinking trip—not a fishing trip. Truly a noble bunch—putting their own health at risk to save some poor fishies from the hook!

Ron and Judi Davis enjoy lunch with Claire and Jack Sanford. (Jack is the one paying the bill.)

Redtags in Yellowstone—a lot of happy faces, but no fish in sight. From left are Rusty Gideon, Steve Amdor (’65), Marty Daack, John Marshall, Hugh Gommel, Vic Andrews, Hans Mueh, Tip Galer, Roger Carlton (’67), and Tom Brandon. While we are wrapping up some of last year’s news, do you remember we mentioned that Jerry Mrozek took a pretty good fall on the golf course during our last reunion? He escaped the hospital and showed up at the Friday night banquet looking like the Phantom of the Opera without his mask. Jerry wrote to say that he is now doMembers ing well and “thanks for all the 81% prayers and well wishes for my recovery. I still have some carryover items to work through, but nothing like the original scare. It really made a reunion that I will not forget. We really appreciate how kind and helpSabre Society Donors ful everyone was to us!” Dan Larson writes that he 25 and Karen spent February in San Miguel Allende, birthplace of Mexican independence. Dan says that they left home (upstate New York) in a snowstorm, so the weather and margaritas in Mexico were far better than those they left behind. They visited lots of historic and cultural sites, including the 17th-century Allende Mansion, and stayed at a working ranch far out in the beautiful Mexican countryside.

Dan Larson (the one with the redtag hat) and Karen take a ride off the beaten track in Mexico. Jim Murphy was recently selected for the USAFA Athletic Hall of Fame, but all of the articles I saw kept claiming that he was in the Class of ’65 -- is there something we didn’t know back then? (I

always thought that he was a lot more mature than I was…) Jim was USAFA’s first NCAA champion, winning the 5,000-meter run at the 1964 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He also finished third in the 1964 NCAA cross country championships and was the track and field and cross country program’s first All-American in each sport. He remains ranked among the program’s top10 in the outdoor 5,000-meter run, ranking eighth with a 14:06.60. Jim was named USAFA’s Most Valuable Athlete in 1965 and was a recipient of an NCAA post-graduate scholarship to USC. Price Bingham says that, even though it has been more than 50 years since we were watching airpower movies at the Zoo, he is still thinking about airpower and how to use it most effectively. His latest thoughts are published in the recent Joint Force quarterly magazine (1st quarter, 2017), where he argues that the role of ground forces should be to support airpower instead of the other way around—probably not a popular view in the Pentagon. You can read his article (and see a lot of other neat stuff) in the Joint Electronic Library at No special access required to visit the site! Jack Sanford was taking his new boat (a 40-foot motor yacht) for “sea trials” from his home in Maine down to Florida and stopped in to have lunch with Ron and Judi Davis in Merritt Island, FL. Jack says that his wife, Claire, definitely likes their new boat much better than their “old airplane”. Ron says that, in spite of his expression in the picture, he was having a good time. (I think he was worried that the waitress wouldn’t know how to take a picture with his cell phone, since you have to flip it open to turn it on…) See photo at the top of the next column. Access to a digital copy of our 1966 Polaris Yearbook has now changed. Tom Guenther wrote to tell me that the “breadcrumbs” to find the yearbook on the AOG website have been rearranged in the last month. All you have to do now is get on, click on “Grads,” then select “USAFA classes” from the drop down list, and look for “Polaris Yearbooks.” (I just did it without the help of

a 12 year old.) Of course, some helpful IT guy will probably change this as soon as you figure out how to do it -- to make it “easier” for us Luddites. Keep those emails and pictures coming! Until next time…..Happy Landings! –Ryan Denny, 1635 Mary Todd Lane, O’Fallon, IL 62269; Cell: (618) 670-2298; Greetings, one and all, and happy springtime! I am composing this on the evening of Easter.  It has been a beautiful Albuquerque day — wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope it was a great day for you, too.   This will be an abbreviated news note, as I had very little input to work with.   To begin — here is a unique (I think) input:  Roy P. Miller  has taken his personal reunion planning to a whole new level — by getting a ’67 class crest tattoo.


Roy Miller and his new ink. Hmmmm.  Maybe the reunion committee could get a tattoo booth set up for our 50th.  I suspect it might do a brisk business, especially at the end of some long party evening… Here are some tidbits extracted from the Holiday letter of George and Pat Frushour: They sold their float plane because “George just didn’t bend well enough to get in and out”—and are currently looking for a more pilot-friendly replacement. George finished his year as Rotary president — “very

Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS R POW Memorial Fund R Carillon Bells R Center for Character

& Development (CCLD) R Legacy Fund c Cemetery Upgrades

Gerry Corwin, Chris Dysart, Pat Finnegan, Eddie Folz, Jack Fry, Tom Griesser, Chuck Heflebower, Paul Henry, Pete Knepell, Gary Koldyke, Bruce McDonald, Rich McGill, Roy Miller, George Milne, Bob Muldrow, Marion Pumfrey, Buddy Sams, Jeff Schofield, Loren Shriver, and Rich Hughes.

At the wedding — Em is second from Left, Michele second from right. ’67 was well-represented at the USAFA 100th Night festivities in February — in addition to Roger Carleton, the group included Frank Chuba, 112 ·

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


The Class of ’67 adopted five projects and have reached four out of their five project goals! Accept the challenge to help ’67 reach their last goal in upgrading the USAFA cemetery. The class is encouraging full class participation to reach their $123K goal. Please consider giving a gift to support ’67’s class giving efforts to provide improvements and upgrades to our USAFA cemetery for all graduates and their loved ones. Please give at productive and fulfilling.” So now he has more time for fishing. He caught his first steelhead, and he and his brother caught a mess of silver salmon, steelhead and rainbows off the Kenai Peninsula. He and Pat worked part time this past summer for Holland American- Princess Cruises in Anchorage, guiding tourists through the Anchorage airport. They have not committed to Members a repeat performance, as it 73% seems that work cut into their free time and left them questioning their sanity. From Em Monda’s holiday communication: Em’s wife, Michele, has become a “biking phenomenon.”  Em did not say Sabre Society whether he bikes with her. Son Donors Andrew graduated from the 22 University of Mannheim, Germany, and is now employed in Frankfurt.  Andrew’s graduation was unique as it was attended by his second grade teacher. Son Alex is in his senior year at Boston University, hoping to find a job in banking or finance in Boston or New York.  The picture was taken at the formal wedding of their son Hunter in Buenos Aires.  The first wedding was in the Monda home in California; this one was performed by the bishop of Buenos Aires, with a special proclamation by Pope Francis. 

and take actions that will make the world safe, and lead to lasting peace on earth. See you at our 50th Reunion!

HELLO ’68! It’s that time of year, again! Freshly minted second lieutenants from the Class of 2017 are about to toss their hats into the air and join our ranks in the Long Blue Line. Congratulations and best wishes to one and all for clear, spacious skies and fair winds from USAFA’s great

Class of 1968!

Class of ’67 attendees at the 100th Night festivities of the Class of 2017. Perhaps like some of you, I remember aspects of our 100th Night so well…mostly the earlier parts of the evening.  Among my recollections, I seem to recall that the bar was open, and actively utilized, and some of us celebrated pretty hard. Somewhere there is photo evidence of some of the CS-06 crew in heaps, in the Vandenberg hallway, in mess dress, laughing uproariously and looking forward to becoming 01s.  It is by now a bit dated but HUGE congratulations to the USAFA hockey team: in addition to being selected for an NCAA playoff slot, they knocked off their highly-favored first opponent and then went on to barely be edged out in the second round by another highly-favored opponent.  They did not win the tourney — but they did damn well.  To keep up with a number of us, I’d suggest you get on Facebook.  There are regular inputs from or about Flick Guerrina, Pete Milne, Rick Rodriguez, Joe Holbrook, Abner Haynes, Bill Hurley, Les Jensen and others. Plus — you can track John McCrillis on his bike rides.  Much activity continues in organizing our 50th reunion.  Regarding the donations for the 50th Reunion Project (cemetery enhancements) — the effort is toward “…100% class participation in donations… (we are) not there yet.”  Please look at the AOG website, or contact your squadron rep, and help ’67 make its worthy goal.  Also — the organizers seek pictures from… everyone, with names, captions, etc. so we can all look back on who we used to be in those halcyon days.   As I compose this, U.S. forces have recently reengaged in Syria and Afghanistan, and North Korea is flexing its nuclear and conventional military muscles.  These are scary times for us and our children and our grandchildren — and everyone else.  God bless the troops and their families, and God grant our leaders the wisdom to make choices

Two of USAFA’s finest. Generals Ed Eberhart, at left, and Charlie Holland. FOUNDERS DAY CELEBRATION AT USAFA: On April 7, in a packed USAFA O’Club (now known as the Falcon Club), Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, '80, welcomed returning alumni and their entourages to the 63rd anniversary of the founding of our alma mater. It was a firstclass effort from beginning to end with choral tributes to the nation; video presentations of Members USAFA life; and video interviews of the four distinguished 72% graduates for 2016—Gen. George Lee Butler-USAFA ’61, Mr. R. David Yost-USAFA ’69, Col. Gary Payton-USAFA ’71, and our own Gen. Charlie Holland. Col. Gary Howe-USAFA Sabre Society ’69, did an outstanding job Donors as master of ceremonies by 41 keeping us all in stiches with his comedic and witty quips throughout the evening. As mentioned in my last column, Charlie joins Ed Eberhart as the second member of our class to be honored as a USAFA DG. Charlie was joined by his wife, Nancy, and his two sons, Lt. Col. Chuck Holland-USAFA ’99 and Justin Holland, a millennial MIT grad. In addition to Charlie and Ed, classmates who attended the awards dinner were: Dave Barrs, Jim DeFazio, Bob

The Class of 1968 is conducting a 50th Reunion Class Gift Project to raise funds for the Class of 1968 Cyber Competition Team Endowment Fund. With only 12.5% participation, the class has already collected over 60% needed for their project goal. Please help build your ’68 legacy and support the class giving efforts by contacting the committee at or visit our ’68 project page at Denny, Garry Dudley, Bill Eckert, Carl Janssen, Bill Maywhort, Jim Neu, Dale Oderman, Gene Rose, Vince Rusinak, Ben Stephens, Gary Vasek, Jim West, Doug Wilson, Bill Wood, Rhip Worrell, and your scribe. Our heartiest congratulations to Charlie and Ed for their distinguished service to our nation and USAFA! EX-ROOMIE CHECKS IN: Holiday greetings this year included a note from my Doolie roommate, Jim Parker. Jim is ensconced in Wisconsin and a life-long Green Bay Packers fan. He recently resigned his position as a special investigator with the FBI where he had been conducting security background investigations since retiring from the bureau in 1998. He said he finally has more time for fishing, part-timing with the U.S. Marshals, substitute teaching, and playing bridge. Now, as a full-fledged retiree, he said: “Got to love the old Civil Service Retirement System, which gave me credit for all my AF time, including the Academy, on top of my FBI time.” Can anyone say “Sweet pension!” Jim’s wife, Janice, retired from nursing and now fills her time with various volunteer activities, including serving hospice patients. They spent Christmas in Fresno visiting their oldest daughter,

Anne, who is a major in the USAFR and is assigned to the AWACS unit at Tinker and get to visit their youngest daughter, Jen, from time-to-time, who lives in LA and works for RAND. ’68’S COLORADO LOCALS DO NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WWII AVIATION: With much appreciation to Vince Rusinak for passing this information along, Vince writes, “Eleven local ’68ers and wives gathered together in March to tour the National Museum of WWII Aviation, which is near the old Colorado Springs Airport, with lunch afterwards at The Airport Restaurant. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) Our docent for the tour happened to be a Misty FAC and one of those responsible for the FAC memorial we contributed $10K of our class funds to build at our 40th reunion. The tour brought back more than memories of our Academy days studying about WWII and its aircraft. Our docent raved about the accuracy of the A-1 Skyraider. Don Caughlin happened to fly one in Vietnam and not only did he agree about the accuracy of the weapons, but he claimed that flight time was not limited by the fuel on board, but by the amount of oil it could carry! “There was a 1929 WACO Aircraft, similar to the one Dave and Jeannie Allen rebuilt and currently fly. Dave let us know that the name comes from Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio and it’s not pronounced like the city in Texas, but rhymes with TACO! “Then we were shown a WWII aircraft being restored that is owned by Microsoft’s Paul Allen. This led to a lengthy discussion between Gary Hoffman, who used to work for Paul Allen, and the owner of the WWII museum. And finally, Neal Starkey had previously donated his father’s WWII memorabilia to the museum and discovered that it was assembled by the museum and was almost ready to be put out on the floor for display. “After the tour, we headed over to The Airplane Restaurant for lunch. This restaurant is built around an actual KC-97. Imagine eating lunch under the “starboard” wing of a KC-97…and having more than a box lunch to choose from!” Vince opined that Mike Parkinson went on the tour, but could not stay for lunch due to a need to go home to “let out the dog.” Vince believes that

Fun in the sun at Old Colorado Springs Airport. From left are Nancy Rusinak, Jeanne and Dave Allen, Barney and Sandy Mills, Bill Eckert, Gary and Nancy Vasek, Garry Hoffman, Ed and Peggy Leonard, Vince Rusinak, Garry and Tina Dudley, Neal and Sharon Starkey and Don and Barbara Caughlin.

“this was code for doing something else like when we were younger,” but, admittedly acknowledged that “Mike does have a dog.”

Classmates at the special operations banquet: From left are Bill Drennan, Bob Durham, Charlie Holland, Scribe and Charlie Coolidge. SCRIBE RECEIVES NATIONAL SPECIAL OPERATIONS AWARD: On 13 Feb 17, at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Division’s Annual Awards Banquet, your scribe received the R. Lynn Rylander Award, the division’s highest honor. A portion of the citation accompanying the award reads: “Colonel Davidson’s early years saw more than 120 AC-130 combat missions in Southeast Asia, followed later by his development of tactics and procedures for the then-new night vision goggles that have become signature capabilities of special operations aviation. He helped draft the legislation that created U.S. Special Operations Command and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. His impact is impossible to overstate. He authored the study documents on all Army and Air Force special operations aviation which established, funded, and formed the basis for their fore structure, and outlined their current U.S. basing arrangements.” I was honored to have my family and classmates Charlie Coolidge, Bill Drennan, Bob Durham and Charlie Holland join me for the banquet and award presentation. THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: We offer prayers for John Swanson in the recent passing of his wife, Lori. We also pray for others who are fighting the good fight. Please give them a call. THAT’S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep ’em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos

Founders Day: ’68 and ’69 scribes’ reunion.

Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS coming in to Pat Russell and me. Note my new e-mail address for future correspondence. Ciao for now. Tim Now it’s your turn Lindsey! –Tim Davidson, 9712 Hidden Valley Road, Vienna, VA 22181-6094; Home: (703) 255-5313; Mobile: (703) 772-6052;; Class Website:


Thanks to Tim (’68) for the pictorial handoff, symbolic of the continuing close ties between our two classes. Into a shimmering springtime we go. First, to clear up the issue of “too many Toms” from the last issue, and still mystified as to how such could have occurred, I’d like to assure George Bonelli and Ron Nielson that their prénoms have not been changed to “Tom;” moreover, Tom McGrain has used (and not abused) that first name successfully for more than 70 years now, and isn’t looking to change a good thing by adopting something different. Operator error here. Mentioned last time was Dave Yost’s selection as the class’s first Distinguished Graduate. The gala to honor and celebrate the four new DGs, on April 7, was superb in all respects, with Gary Howe emceeing the proceedings for the AOG, and the Class of ’69 setting a new record for class attendance at Members 23, with Pat Sisson coming all the way from Dayton, Ohio, 70% and Dennis Ryll from Vegas to attend, along with the expected large contingent (stand up, usual suspects!) from the front range of the Rockies. I was struck by the video presenSabre Society tations of each of the DGs: Donors their soaring successes; their 44 compassion for the Air Force, the Academy, their classmates, and indeed for our fellow man; their modest beginnings and selflessness; and genuine geniality. All speak volumes about them, our shared institution, our values, and the Long Blue Line. Again, Brother Yost, great kudos to you from all your USAFA classmates. On the local AOG chapter front, Gary Hoe continues to orchestrate monthly breakfast and lunch gatherings in Albuquerque, keeping the heritage lamp lit with helpings like a first-person account of the Doolittle Raid from Lt. Mac McElroy, pilot of B-25 #13. Down South, Mike Rose draws on a steady stream of AF traffic through Charleston AFB especially to offer speakers (including ’69er POW Chuck Jackson) and activities (golf, anyone?) to the local grads on a monthly basis and for special occasions. Chuck Jackson was speaking for Founders Day, and shared his ordeal with memories refreshed from recent visits to his F-4’s crash site and internment location; interestingly, Chuck 114 ·

credits his experiences living in his cadet room with helping him survive time in the Hanoi Hilton. And, heritage reminders of another kind come monthly from Rocky Van Zelfden, who offers up an interesting treat of USAFA and blue-suit-themed vignettes synched to each month’s calendar dates. And, the Texas micro-reunion this year will be held on 3 June in San Antonio, at our place; y’all come if you are in the vicinity—contact Wade Morrison, Bill Haney, or me for details JC Miller attended his second National Character and Leadership Symposium at USAFA, this time in the new CCLD building in which our Class Gift -- the Cadet Wing Honor Board Room -- is located with ’69 so-recognized as the benefactor. Speakers included Jerry Yellin (well over 90 and still full of spunk), who flew WWII’s final P-51 mission; Dr. Brian Williams (’91), featured in September 2016’s Checkpoints, the surgeon who treated the Dallas police wounded by the sniper last July; and Col. Ellis, a POW who spent too long in the Hanoi Hilton, and spoke of his fortitude in making it out. All speeches were humble and matter-of-fact, like those of the DGs, and spoke of men who went above and beyond, giving one’s full measure in the process. JC said that, like the first NCLS he attended in 2012, he felt renewed and inspired, and put an extra spring in his step as a consequence. This conference might be one of those comparatively stealthy events most worth attending. JC provided a shot of 21st Squadron’s plaque, eye candy for you ’69ers in Blackjack at graduation.

Forty eight years ago? No way! Blackjack 21’s ’69ers!

And as for going above and beyond, in a different field, that would be Robin Hanson, the only ’69er we know who has summited all of Colorado’s 54 original 14ers. Shown below, four months before turning 70, is Robin and his twin sons atop Challenger Peak (so-named for the Challenger Shuttle), one of the more recently enshrined “additional” 14ers (so-judged because the saddle between it and 14er Kit Carson was determined to be more than 300 feet, thus qualifying for separate peak status). Ascent of 5,400 feet, with high winds and sleet above 12,000 feet—enough to stymie 2/3rds of those who attempted the ascent that day. For you mountain-inspired classmates, Robin says that Kit Carson is to the far left, and Crestone Peak is just over Robin’s right shoulder, which the long memories of some of you may recall from the fall ’96 Checkpoints, one of Robin’s last conquests on the road to 54. Onward and upward, higher and higher. Awesome, Robin.

Robin and sons almost on top of the world. Steve Stowe continues to spend lots of time airborne… He and family relocated from Wichita to Portland (Oregon) last summer, at least in part due to his new moniker, “Captain Steve-San.” Steve was recruited to be a test pilot on the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program, which prompted a departure from Bombardier, heading to Najoya for initial training, then back and forth between Japan and the USA during which he was nearly continuously in flight simulator training when he wasn’t undergoing four check rides, and acquiring Japanese radio licenses and Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau ATP licenses—FAA ATP and radio licenses no good. After his medical, he was cleared and legal to fly Japanese-registered airplanes as PIC with pax, and “Steve-San” took his first flight as PIC last November. He is now flight testing the MRJs out of a former SAC base in Moses Lake, WA with British, Japanese, Canadian and U.S. test pilot flight engineers. Guess Oregon is as good a place to learn the nuances of sushi as anywhere! Steve reports he has a 31st Street Exit poster his son found on eBay, shot in downtown Colorado Springs. Will print for all to see once we conquer the file transfer issues. Still serving in multiple volunteer capacities to help veterans is Jerry Ball. In recent years, he has been working with the local (San Antonio) chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution on a variety of activities to assist (mostly older) vets at the Audie Murphy Veterans Medical Center and to conduct one-on-one family history work with (mostly younger) wounded warriors and their families at

Fort Sam Houston. His efforts help ease family situations by providing funding, people, equipment, tools, and presence to help with food, comfort, and morale to the wounded and their families. Jerry says that he runs into many who have given up hope entirely, but that helping the supporting agencies help the wounded (and often their families) see that life is still worth living -- even if the life is different from that they had expected -- is one of the most rewarding activities he has ever undertaken. A great big “Esse non Videri” to that! Emails, texts, and calls as you can, or old-fashioned cards and letters. Onward and upward. Aim high in all you do. ’Til next time. Salute, Lindsey. –Lindsey Parris, 616 King’s Cloister Circle, Alexandria, VA 22302; Home: (703) 836-3604; Let’s go Seven-Oh! Here it is 22 April 2017 and I was thinking about what I was doing 50 years ago. I think I was contemplating quitting after Recognition. My dad was in Vietnam and when I told him, he wrote back and said, “Fine -- I have just one question for you. Where are you going to eat?” It was a sobering wake up call. I forget when we were recognized; believe it was in early May. And of course, Recognition marked Bill Manning’s famous shout that has become our unofficial motto—“It’s a screw job ’70!” and the ensuing gauntlet we had to pass through over the North Bridge. I still can see future roommate Ken Hassen deck an upperclassman. I guess many of us will ask what we were doing 50 years ago over the next three-plus years. Send me your memories. In January, the Class of ’73 invited the men of ’70 to join them for dinner. Unfortunately, they did not offer to serve us as they had when they were Doolies. I wanted Gen. Steve Lorenz to sit at my table to make his dinner miserable like I must have done many years ago when I was a Firstie. He told me ’73 men used to offer money to their classmates to take their place at my table. I don’t remember being that hard, just wanted them to read the paper and know something about Vietnam and our sports teams. Many thanks to Rich Downing for organizing this fun event.

Traveling seems to be on the agenda for many classmates. The Downings spent much of the winter in Florida and took a trip to Jamaica. John Russ enjoyed lots of adult beverages in Jamaica. Careys were checking out pubs in Ireland. Emerys visited Europe not once, but twice. Hallmans had a 26-day cruise and spent quite a bit of time in Cambodia. Rayls were in Dubai. Carparellis and Sheltons visited the Netherlands during the start of tulip season in April. Tom Jones enjoyed a trip to Hawaii. Mick and Jan Davey met up with some fellow service Academy grads. The first two in this pix are from sea-level military schools with more than 400 combined years of tradition -- unhampered by progress. Mick reminded them who won the CIC Trophy.


Mick Davey reminds grads who won the CIC trophy. From left are Jim Vernon, USMA ’70; Corky Caldwell, USNA ’68; and our own Mick Davey.  I attended the Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium in February. The theme was the Warrior Ethos and it was a great experience. I encourage you to come out some time for this first-class event. Vic Bradford and Roger Hill also attended. The author of the book Joker One, Donald Cunningham, gave one of the best presentations I have heard in all my years at the Academy. He is a Princeton Members graduate who joined the Ma73% rine Corps and led an infantry platoon in Anbar Province in Iraq. His comments about his troops, leadership, and character were just what the cadets needed to hear. We have a new commandant and Sabre Society Donors


we will also be getting a new superintendent.

My sources indicate it will be a great person. Probably will be announced by the time you read this. It is a real shame we could not get 25 percent of the graduate community to vote in the recent election.

’70 and ’73 men share memories. In back from left are Susie Kirkman, Bill Kirkman, Mark Ewig, The Phantom, Marilyn Rauschkolb, Rich Downing, Nanci Downing, Frank Heming, BGen Wakin, and Dave Gaw. In front: Mike Torreano and Kristi Ewig.

I know several of the new AOG board members and I think the graduates elected some great people. Thanks to Roger Carleton for all his hard work as AOG board chairman. While we haven’t always agreed, I want to thank “T” Thompson and Gary Howe for leading the AOG during very difficult times. Best wishes in your future endeavors. Don Mills and Bruce French shared a burger and beer in Oregon. Mark Miller and Jim Andrews hooked up and Mark also played golf with Wild Bill Stealey. No word on who won the money. Larry Tieman is back in training for an Ironman. Bob Welbaum ran in the Boston Marathon. I gather Dave Shelton did it years ago. Bob Chambers moved from Virginia to Dallas. John Russ enjoyed restaurant week in Toledo. Jim Reel and Terry Silvester hooked up in Vero Beach. Emerys and Lamberts have visited each other a few times the last few months. Bjorklunds were in Colorado for some relaxation in March. BJ, Cathy, and I enjoyed a few brews last summer at our favorite steak place—O’Malley’s in Palmer Lake.

BJ and The Phantom enjoying some adult beverages. Phil Meilinger has written another great book -- Limiting Risk in America’s Wars—Airpower, Asymmetrics, and a New Strategic Paradigm. Mega kudos Phil! Terry Silvester told me Brian Maher is a retired colonel and SES. He is the president of the Joint Special Operations University at MacDill. Sounds interesting Brian—bet you have some great stories to tell. Mark Ewig sent me two articles about Ed Epping. Ed was honored for coaching wrestling for 30 years at a high school. Ed was highly praised by former wrestlers and school officials. He did this part time while running a company. I still remember how disappointed I was when Ed hurt his knee and missed his senior season on the gridiron. I think Ben Martin put him in for one play during the last home game. Speaking of football, I went to several spring practices. The offense looked great. Arion Worthman returns at QB and the offense looked good. The big key will be how the defense shapes up Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS after losing several starters. We have four tough games after opening with VMI -- Michigan, Boise State, New Mexico and Navy. We could lose all four. Coming out 2-2 during that stretch would be great. Prediction—8-4—bowl game and keeping CIC Trophy. We just signed a contract to upgrade our website ( and add more stories to the screens in the SEA Pavilion. If you have a story from your SEA days, please send it to me. Bottom line—please continue to contribute to our gift fund to support these programs and our sponsorship of the Class of 2020 our legacy class. Hit ’em straight and enjoy the summer men! –Dick Rauschkolb, Cell: (719) 310-6928; It is never good when I have to bring you news about classmates’ passing, but this edition is – slightly – tempered by the thought that the two who left us spent the last few years of their lives in pain. Harry “Jay” Davis and Jeff Dotur had not been doing well recently. Jeff suffered from Inclusion Body Myositis, which is a type of muscular dystrophy. Harry suffered a series of strokes several years back, from which he never fully recovered. We will miss them, but I prefer to think of them as in perpetual flight and freedom. Jeff is already at the Academy Cemetery, while Jay was to be interred in early May. Dave Powell’s widow, Ellen, has joined him at the USAFA Cemetery as well. She passed away in March. The hockey team actually reached the Elite Eight this year Members behind their sophomore goalie. 59% By the time you read this, he will have signed with a pro team and left the Academy for “greener” pastures. Frank Morgan passed on the latest update to the Air Warrior Combat Memorial: “We have Sabre Society Donors received the 90% (final) concept drawings from the design 39 team (picture), and are very happy with the outcome. I am happy to report that we have collected over $1M ($602K in cash), from which we will pay approximately $200K for the two CCLD breakout rooms, and apply the rest to the AWCM. Of the remaining $800K, $487K is cash, which is $63K shy of the $550K in cash that we will need to award contracts for the development of the site, including the statue of General Olds. The USAFA planning staff is very close to being ready to put the design out for bid, so we will need to collect the remaining $63K in cash in order to respond. After that, we hope to bring in the final $400K from those classmates who have yet to contribute… to date only 35% of the class has donated. I know we can do better than that! I greatly appreciate


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The Class of ’71

continues to encourage classmates to support their 40th Reunion Class Gift Project, the Air Warrior Combat Memorial (AWCM) which honors General Olds, our commandant, the spirit of the Air Warrior and those Academy Graduates who have served as air combat warriors. Class of ’71 celebrated a site visit at their 45th Reunion, and strives for full class participation to help reach their goal. “With just 34% participation, the class has already collected 74% of the $1.4M needed. Please help ‘71 reach their class goal at:

As the calendar highlights another seasonal change, it virtually guarantees that folks up here in the northern half of the country can at least put away the shovels and snow blowers for a few months. Along with that comes the promise of some great summertime festivities for all. Another grad dad, ’72er Drew Riolo, proudly announced that his son Manny is joining the USAFA Class of 2021. Graduating from high school on 3 June, he will be allowed a very short summer break, starting what we all know as the ever popular BCT fun and games on 29 June. It’s good to see that once again the tradition continues for the Long Blue Line. This reminds me of the recently longago question that came up when one of our first graduate “offspring” entered those hallowed halls. How many sons, daughters, and grand-kid USAFA graduates is our class responsible for so far? If anyone would like to let it be known, I would happily relay that knowledge here, or better yet, it could go on the class website/FB page.


the efforts of the Class Gift Committee, and want everyone to know that we are committed to getting this done.”

The Air Warrior Combat Memorial 90% (final) concept drawing. If the stars align correctly, and if Cass Casada’s invite didn’t reach you, the annual “Second to None” golf extravaganza might be within your reach. “Beginning around 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, we will have tee times at The Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur, CO, followed by a social hour and dinner there at the Clubhouse. Then on the afternoon of Friday, June 9, we will have consecutive tee times starting at 12:22 on the Blue Course at Eisenhower Golf Course on the Air Force Academy. We are limited to about 40 golfers on each day, so preference will be given to those who sign up the earliest. Both days will be played similarly as a four-person scramble format, open to any graduates, family and friends of the Air Force Academy, with prizes to be determined. All proceeds from the sale of mulligans will be donated to the USAFA Endowment for the Air Warrior Combat Memorial (AWCM) project.” Later in June we should all pause for a moment or two just to reflect on how the “Lucky Thirteen” class first gathered at the “Base of the Ramp” fifty years ago, on 26 June. It’s been a long, strange ride, and I for one wouldn’t have missed it – and you – for the world. GBA –Paul D. Knott, 5565 Lantana Drive, Colorado springs, CO 80915; Home: (719) 570-9162;

Manny and Drew Riolo Classmate Mark Meyer acknowledges that it is awkward for him to highlight his own accomplishments, especially with an audience of over-achievers like AFA72. He writes that his update is based on gratitude for a gift of new life, not of his own accomplishment. After 21 years of suffering from a congenital heart Members disease which ended his AF 56% flying career and his flying career with Continental Airlines, he received a newer, younger and stronger heart by the grace of God. It is only possible because of the unselfish act of Sabre Society someone he does not know, Donors who made his organs available. 32 He has yet to fully comprehend the magnitude of the gift. His surgery was Dec. 12, 2016, and he is recovering well. He has set some goals. (Maybe unrealistic, but goals don’t have to be realistic, do they? They

are just targets to justify a new behavior.) Mark has registered for a half-marathon at Lake Powell in October. He and his wife, Kim, also plan a bicycle trip over three Colorado mountain passes from Denver to Glenwood Springs. They will not work too hard and enjoy good lodging and food along the way. He has not yet decided how or when he will return to work. After not being able to fly, he attended a Lutheran seminary and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor five years ago. He wants to be able to continue to be available to proclaim God’s gifts, so he will find some format in which to do that. He just doesn’t know how. In summarizing his amazing story, he says “Life is good. Second life is even better.” Mark just wanted to share his good news with his good friends and colleagues of 45 years. Thank you for your time and the energy to tell it to us, Mark. As the countdown rolls toward an autumn weekend in Colorado, Harvey LeCato reports in with the latest update for your 45th Class Reunion. The dates are set – Sept. 21 through 23. If you haven’t heard – the Falcons will play San Diego State – and it looks like it will be a 5 p.m. game. There are still five months to go (as of this April date for Checkpoints submission) but your reunion committee is working hard to get the details of the event ironed out. The hotel of choice is the GREAT WOLF LODGE – a new property which sits just on the other side of I-25, across from Falcon Stadium. The rest of the details are still in the works. The best way to keep updated is by watching the class website: USAFA ’72 – BEST IN BLUE. Rest assured – the committee will make it a weekend to remember. That is all for this edition, guys. May your plans all come together to allow for a great gathering in Colorado in September. FPA –Bob Bell, 13 Pacific Ave., Sinking Spring, PA 19608; Cell: (302) 399-3240; reservist777@ Greetings, illustrious Class of 1973! I’ll lead off with a quick recap of this year’s National Character and Leadership Symposium. We had 73 (yes, an auspicious number!) of our classmates and guests sign up, with some 60 or so in actual attendance. That is about half again the most we’ve ever had attend. A big thanks to the event organizers for accommodating all of us at the Thursday dinner. Class webmasters Craig MacPherson and Kelly McCullar, both CS-39 Campus Radicals, have posted a bunch of pictures from the event, as well as a dozen videos of speakers’ presentations. The Academy once again did a marvelous job of getting outstanding, motivational speakers. On the evening


before NCLS started, the aforementioned Campus Radicals had a squadron dinner at the local Biaggi’s Restaurant, with Mark and Claire Romain, Craig and Pat MacPherson, Paul and Jana Motley, Al and Jana Maurer, Dale Birch, and Kelly McCullar in attendance. Craig sent me a pic, but since I can only include two phots in the print column, you’ll have to go to the website,, to see it. March saw two major classmate milestones. Maj. Gen. Mike Edwards, CS-13, was our last classmate still in uniform and retired as the adjutant general of Colorado on 2 Apr 2017. A dinner in honor of Mike was held at the Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum at the old Lowry AFB. Classmate John Barry, CS-26, is the CEO of the museum. Check out pix on the class website. Mike was also at our local Front Range ’73 dinner in January, where we each chipped in a buck for our “Tail-End Charlie.” The guest speaker was Brig. Gen. (Ret) Mal Wakin. How many had him for philosophy? He retired after some 58 years of association with the Academy! Ron Taylor, CS-34, sent greetings/congratulations and Members copies of old photos of Mike 53% and him on a cross-country trip to see Mt. Fuji during their first operational assignment, at the 36th TFS at Osan. Our second milestone-passer was Mike “Kid” Davenport, Sabre Society CS-07, whom I believe is our Donors youngest classmate. As such, 29 he was the last to hit the big 65 (on 18 March) and the last to retire from the airlines, United in his case. (Mike, I suppose you could argue you deserve the Tail-End Charlie moniker, but no one was there to defend you in January.) Mike’s squadronmate Stalker Reed sent a picture of Seagram’s Seven classmates Al Kinback, Bill Paterson and Ted Munsch, all of whom flew into Sacramento for a golf tournament in Mike’s honor, but since the pic didn’t include the honoree, it didn’t make the cut for the column. Look for it on the website. And if I get one of Mike’s fini flight, I’ll get it posted to the website, too. Congratulations to both Mikes! Several other airline/cargo pilots reported their final flights and retirement as well. Ken Bonn, CS-06, made his last flight for JetBlue on 21 Dec 16. Bill Gillin, CS-16, had his last flight for FedEx 1 Nov 16 and was met at the gate by squadronmate Rich Fazio and his wife, Teresa, among others. Stephen Savell, CS-14, reported his last flight for American Airlines was in May 2016. Pix at After 15 years as the associate general counsel, Commercial Law, U.S. Department of Justice, Alan Rotach, CS-33, says he’s finally breaking out of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Having been a D.C. commuter since PCSing to the Pentagon in 1989, he and his wife, Karen, will be riding his Harley on the roads less traveled around this beautiful country.  Alan says not to be surprised if you get a phone call telling you that they’re in your neighborhood, and invited all to join them on Facebook.

Easy riders Alan and Karen Rotach, CS-33. Heard from Tim Sisson, CS-30, a bud from BSU (Baptist Student Union) while we were at the Academy, after quite a few years: “After retiring from the Air Force, I taught middle school and high school science for 15 years. Margaret and I then retired from teaching and have been enjoying retirement, reading, gardening and golf. We may be moving to Woodland, CA [currently in Vacaville] in another month if all the contingency dominos fall in place. One of the first orders of business will be planting a few fruit trees. Planting trees always helps make a new house into a home. I’ve wanted to plant a pluerry (size of a plumb; tastes like a Ranier cherry) for several years, but my ambitions had, long ago, outgrown my yard.” A quick note about BSU: Our beloved director, Don Gurney, passed away in Georgetown, TX in November. More than 100 of our classmates who had no other affiliation with BSU attended the Fall 1969 BSU retreat at the Ponderosa Retreat Center, just north of Monument. Cobra 14 made its presence felt at this year’s Master’s Golf Tournament. Ralph Broderick and Craig MacDonald spent two days taking in the golf and enjoying Augusta National’s stunning layout. Craig says, “We think we could challenge the course record...if only we had an invite!” Ed Hawkins, CS-11, came out of retirement at the request of the mayor of Honolulu to serve as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.  Of course, Ed signed off with a big “Aloha!” Frank Childers, CS-27, gets the award for the pic with people from the most cadet squadrons with a photo of a reunion BBQ in Waco, TX of cadet navigators and wives. Speaking of BBQ, Ted Kam-

Bill and Gale Roberson, CS-36; Gordy and Jan Purcey, CS-28; Susan and Randy Putz, CS-33; Pete Peterson (Pam unable to attend), CS-23; and Frank and Kathy Childers, CS-27, at Rudy’s BBQ in Waco. Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS mire, CS-18, sent in a pic (see website) showing the successful results of the 7th Annual South Florida AOG Pig Hunt. Warning: animals were harmed in the execution of this event. Dirty Thirty denizens Don and Renee Ottinger, Mickey and Sharon Tramontana, and Jerry and Winnie O’Connor helped Sharon celebrate her [redacted] birthday in Winter Haven, FL. The highlight of the party was a performance by a Journey tribute band rocking hits from the ’70s and ’80s. [Congrats to all Journey fans for their recent selection to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.] Pic on the website. Dave Ellis, CS-32, reported for him and Denny Merideth, CS-08, from the USAFA Men’s Rugby Team. Dave photographs while Denny coaches. Dave reports Denny is “a wonderful gentleman, mentor and coach to the players.” The proof is in the pudding: the team finished the regular season atop the D1A Western Conference, making it to the national D1A collegiate tournament. Unfortunately, they lost to the University of Arizona in the first round. Dave’s pix of the D1A tournament are at Pix from a 7’s (small team) tournament at USAFA in early April are at Thanks for all the inputs and pix. You make my job easy and the columns interesting. If you are not receiving class-related emails from me, please send me your email address and I’ll include you. “Here’s a toast…to the host…of the men we boast…the U.S. Air Force!” –Mike Arnett, 5285 Copper Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80918; (719) 310-8100;; Class.Scribe@R-NetServices. com Hi classmates! Busy times this quarter. We are glad that folks write into the scribe so ’74 can stay connected. We know that tasks get involved and next week will be a better time. For those that haven’t had a chance to read the last Checkpoints issue, check out page 90, Falcon Fitness by Dan Felix, 1974. Those who were in CS-02 in their fourth-class year may remember Squadron CC Gary E Payton, who was honored in the last issue as a Distinguished Graduate. Those who may still be part of the USAFA email system would have seen ’74 classmate Donald J. Clement make a run for an AOG director seat. Unfortunately, Don did not make it this time! Allow me to repeat his bio for those who have not been able to follow Don. He earned his internal medicine MD from the University of Kansas after USAFA graduation. His 20 years culminated with serving as the chairman of and the Surgeon General chief consultant for gastroenterology in Wilford Hall. He retired in 1994, but has recently completed 22 years of private practice in Kansas City where Don and Kathleen share time with two children and two grandchildren. We’ve had another author in the ’74 family. He’s completed Amazing Leaders, Volume 6, “Biblio-


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theque” and Volume 7 “The Unfathomable Bliss” in 2016. Francis E. McIntire (wife, Patricia) has developed his skills since his first book “Educated Blackjack” published in 1977. There’s quite an extensive writing history of Frank, including his time as assistant professor at USAFA, and chief of Operations in U.S. as well as NATO services. Other titles bear his name, and I speculate he will continue. Ted Roth completed his flying career in February 2017. His last flight was from Seoul to Seattle, and Louise was able to be there. Through his 22 years in the Air Force and 22 with Northwest/Delta, Louise taught 4th and 5th grade for 17 years. Ted wrote that they are grateful for the opportunities God gave them to be productive and creative within our society. Living in the Colorado Springs area, both are retired now, and are able to pursue other challenges, and perhaps continue to serve.

Louise and Ted; last time in the pilot seat. Ben Ausbun wrote in a “congratulations” to Ted. Ben, at the time of his note, was in Thailand flying in the Exercise Cobra Gold. Ben and Kay plan to move to Holloman in May. Jim Donaldson also wrote in a “congratulations” to Ted. Jim also wrote he was happy for Ted -- hopes Ted can have time foro golfing, and perhaps take the class golf championship from Rich Bowman. (Ahhh, challenge?) Jim (wife Signe) plans to retire from flying in May. More on that news next Checkpoints! Another retirement planner, September 2017 timeframe, is David Daley (Tai Lee) in Members the Washington, D.C. area. 54% This should be fun to read about! David is one of the few classmates still working in the Civil Service…that I know of. Would any of you classmates employed on the Civil Service or DoD let me know? We’d like Sabre Society Donors to know for sure where our tax dollars are going, as we learn 38 with pride that the Long Blue Line has direct work in addition to our own sons and daughters in the Blue Line. I reckon I’ll get caught sooner or later for misinformation. Thank you all for keeping me straight on my errors. You may have been caught, too, on little things? I worked with grandson to count to 20. Great. It is easier to have time to hide in hide-n-seek games. However, when I count, for

example…13, 14, 15, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13…to get some more resting time, the grandson points out “Opa, you’re not counting right!” So those fun times come to an end.

Riley with his smile. The picture may reflect what you may remember on classmate Riley Stevens. Riley took off April 6, 2017, from Sebring Regional Airport (FL) to fly home in his Pipistrel Virus light-sport aircraft. Riley was about 8,000 feet when the-yet-to-beconfirmed weather-related accident occurred, just south of Gainesville, FL. The left-side wing separated as was found 4.5 miles from the crash. Riley was the only person on board. His cousin remarked: we enjoyed being around him because he was always smiling and always in a good mood. Mike Cranford flew with him many times in the Air Force and gave the scribe the same thoughts. All CS-12 classmates responded to Mike’s calls to inform them of Riley’s accident have the same types of memories. Now, you know, too, the type of character and service Riley shared with his friends and country. Through Cindy’s request, Riley's ashes will rest in the USAFA Cemetery.

Toast to a friend! The picture shows Nick Puzak and Michael Crandford offering a toast to the life of their CS-12mate, Riley Stevens. The scribe asked for a toast as they talked about Riley over lunch later that week. So, specialists in protocol, please forgive any infractions…and…here’s a toast to the lives of all USAFA ’74 classmates: May you live long and prosper. –Joe Brezovic, 228 Senior Circle, Lompoc, CA 93436; (832) 285-4179;

GBNF: Classmate Phillip L. “Buddy” Kendall passed away at the age of 63 in February 2017 at his home in Irving, TX. Upon graduating Undergraduate Helicopter Training, Buddy flew in assignments in Hampton, VA, and as a search and rescue pilot in Keflavik, Iceland before going through Fixed Wing Transition Training in 1983. As a C-130 aircraft commander, he flew tactical airlift missions along the East German border, into West Berlin, and in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, including humanitarian relief to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq. He is preceded in death by his wife, Becky and survived by three sons: Nicholas, Benjamin and Derik. Grim Reapers Spotted on Winter Park Slopes: CS-31 squadron mates Jack Storer, Dr. Larry Colletti, Mike Dehart, and Jim Burling got together for a ski weekend of snow and sun in Winter Park, CO, during the third week of March. Dave Ferguson also joined in on the outing. Larry supplied a cabin on Shadow Mountain Lake, Fergy showed up with the Scotch, and Mike provided cigars and reportedly awful movies. They plan to make it an annual event…presumably with someone other than Mike in charge of the movies. At the end of the weekend everyone went home with the same


From left are Jack Storer, Larry Colletti, Mike Dehart, and Jim Burling.

The Class of ’75 is raising funds for their 45th Reunion Class Gift Project in support of the Air Gardens Renovation and the ’75 Contrails endowment fund. Please join them in their efforts to support these worthy projects and help give back to USAFA! Please contribute by contacting the ’75 committee at or for any questions.

number of appendages they brought to the junket and without the aid of orthopedic supports, which earned the event the coveted “good time was had by all” rating. High-Timers Retire From SWA: Ted Stallone flew his last flight from Oklahoma City to Denver as the #1 senior captain Denver-based pilot after 35 years at Southwest Airlines in February. In addition to safely getting thousands of people to their destinations, one of his other notable accomplishments is that he is STILL single at 65! Gary Matson also recently retired from Southwest Airlines Members after 33-plus years. Following 48% 68 combined years of enabling others the freedom to roam the country, now Ted and Gary will be able to do their own roaming, or watch cable news at home and marvel at the fascinating machinations of modern-day Sabre Society Donors politics. The possibilities are endless, and sometimes down33 right scary. Troll Earns Award For Achievements on High School Soccer Fields: CS-20 Troll Mike Goyden received the 2016 Tracy Fifer Award for outstanding long-term achievement and service to Colorado High School Soccer through his coaching and leadership positions in Colorado and national-level committees. A partial list of criteria to receive the award is making a positive impact on improvement, advancement and presentation of the game of soccer at the high school level, and exemplifying the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association Code of Ethics. Well done, Mike! Speaking of Well Done… Jim Marshall (CS-18) was recently elected president of the Alamo Chapter of the Association of Graduates. They Fly Alone but Stick Together. Dale and Bonita Hanner, Rod and Vicki Kallman, and Paul (Boo) and Chrissie Butalla recently took a weeklong cruise to Antigua with 10 other Stealth couples from their F-117 Z-Unit days at Tonopah. The cruise idea germinated after a planned dinner last August of three couples who live in the Denver area turned into a full-blown reunion with about 20 couples going to Colorado for the weekend. According to Dale the Stealth lads were, and after 30 years still are, a tight-knit group. That closeness must have extended to family life as well, because 95% of the Stealth fliers on the cruise still had their original wives! Hanner also claims the members of the Stealth community are getting better looking with age. As is evidenced in the attached picture of Dale, Rod, and Boo with their wives, he must have been referring to the wives; either that, or flying under the cloak of invisibility messed up his eyesight something fierce.

From left are Vicki and Rod Kallman, Bonita and Dale Hanner, and Chrissie and Boo Butalla. Peon Visits the Masters. Lowly class scribe Foster Bitton stumbled across a ticket to the Augusta National Golf Club on Wednesday of Masters Week, and I took my sticks with me just in case someone had to drop out at the last minute. Alack and alas, fate wasn’t having any part of making that miracle happen, which is why Masters viewers at home didn’t hear Jim Nance’s silky baritone voice say, “Foster is coming to the tee. If you have little ones in the room, please have them avert their eyes while he is on the tee box. CBS is not responsible for emotional damage which may result from viewing his so-called swing.” Wednesday is the day of the par 3 contest, but this year it turned into more of an exercise in lightning dodging. The course was evacuated for weather at 10 a.m., reopened at 12:30 p.m., and then evacuated for the rest of the day at 2 p.m. Cellphones were not permitted on the course so I didn’t take any pictures, but I can confirm that every blade of grass is manicured and the egg salad sandwiches at the concession stands are still only a buck fifty. Keeping in Touch. Jeff Chappell traveled to Tampa in February for his oldest son’s 40th birthday (to put that in perspective, his son is more than twice as old as most of us were when we took our first stroll up the “Bring me men…” Core Values ramp). While he was in that part of Florida, he wandered over to St. Petersburg for a short visit with Al Nash. Despite the auto accident in 1980 that left Al with long-term brain damage, he has continued to grind away in his typical trooper manner and remains alert and aware of what’s going on around him. He’s still sharp witted, and his grip is as strong as ever. Al and his 93-year-old father moved to Florida about a year ago. They have caregivers

Al Nash and Jeff Chappell Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS on site at their home who are happy to help in arranging visits. If you are going to be in the Tampa area and would like to drop in on Al, contact Jeff ( for details. Al is also up on Facebook; Allan Nash, St Petersburg, FL.

–Foster Bitton, Fellow ’76ers, Classmates, the USAFA Class of 2017 may have graduated and joined our “Long Blue Line” by the time you get this. Tom and Kate Lange’s son is in 2017, Cadet Squadron 07, which was Tom’s ’76 squadron. Tom and Kate will be here in C-Springs for the graduation. Jose Santiago’s son Stephen also is in 2017 but at USNA. Congrats to both and good luck as you begin your military service journey! Moving up/moving on: Congrats to Emma Przybyslawski, USAFA ’10, daughter of our classmate Tony Przybyslawski, on her election to the USAFA AOG Board of Directors. Sad news: Pat Ashenfelter, widow of our classmate Bob, told me her dad died late in the fall last year. Please keep Pat and family in your thoughts and prayers. General class stuff: Steve Krikorian tells me he and Kathy have three grandkids who love to fly in Steve’s 1974 Bellanca Turbo Viking. Steve says he may be grooming another generation for our “Long Blue Line.” Steve still flies for Delta.


Grandpa Steve and grandsons. Richey Felder sent me a reminder article about MSgt William Crawford, Medal of Honor recipient, who worked as a USAFA janitor during our time as cadets. If you haven’t seen the article, go to Thanks Richey. He also had a question about the Sabre Society and class gift items that I was able to answer for him. A couple of classmates reported on their medical issues. Lee Cuevas sent a note that in early April he had a bit of tightness in his shoulders and decided to get it checked. Turns out he had a coronary artery blockage. Fortunately no damage, corrected with a stent, and a couple of days observation. Lee says he is doing fine, still enjoying piano lessons, bowling, his Porches and four grandkids. But he reminded us we all are advancing chronologically 120 ·

The Class of ’76 is raising funds for their 40th Reunion Class project supporting the ’76 Air Gardens Renovation and the ’76 Wings of Blue Endowment. The class has reached their WOB project goal and is now encouraging support for the ’76 Air Gardens Project. Please join them in their efforts to support the Air Gardens Renovation and help give back to USAFA in honor of the Spirit of ’76! Visit or

and to take care of ourselves and get “unusual” things checked out. Ed Morley tells me he is still recovering nicely from his open heart surgery and has worked through a few “burps,” but post op meds are now adjusted and he feels good. He will retire from his Foreign Service job in July but does not yet know what is next on his agenda. Jose Santiago says son Stephen will have a short stay at “Canoe U” to help train new plebes, then off to Members TBS at Quantico in September. 55% Charlie Vono and I had a brief exchange about his AOG membership. His expired and he apparently did not get the word. I suggested he (and all of you!) consider a life memberSabre Society ship and thereby avoid missing Donors any expiration notices. You 52 also will not have to remember to renew as you chronologically advance and your brain gets full of other stuff. Huerfano County here in Colorado celebrated Doug Fry day on March 4 and Doug says it will occur every March 4th. Mark your calendars classmates! As I said in my last article, Martha and I visited with T.S. Kelso while on Maui in February. He has a nice abode there and we shared a nice dinner and had an opportunity to catch up. I was able to return the favor a few weeks ago when T.S. was in C-Springs on business. Of course, as a Hawaii bubba, he noted we had snow here during his visit. Mike and Jacky Walsh are moving to Huntsville, AL in July. Jacky will be going to the Missile and Space Intelligence Center there. Bill Dunn sent a photo of himself, Erin Reilly, and President Trump. The photo was taken last September down in Florida. A rose with two classy thorns?

Charley Allan is now at 25th Air Force working on some new counter-SAM concepts. Says he should be there about two years then back to Colorado. Luckey Dunn, Scott Gough, and John Mashl had NSTR this time. Gary Montgomery sent a photo of himself and Rich Davila enjoying a round of golf in Tucson.

Randy Schavrien tells me south Texas is still secure, seventh grandkid is due in June, and his son also pins on major in June. Ernie and Pam Wollard had dinner with Bill and Cecily Carolan in Destin, FL, early March. Bill and Cecily were there to visit son Ryan’s (USAFA ’07) family while Ryan was TDY to Pope. The Carolans then headed to Europe for a two-month U-drive visit. Send me a report Bill. Ernie and Pam were cruising to Europe and touring northern European capitals April to June. Send me a report Ernie. David and Gail Anderson chimed in from Kansas City; Dave is an ordained minister serving as director of Human Resource Ministries for Community of Christ. He recently defended his doctoral project and as of May is a Doctor of Ministry. Congrats Dave! Dave Clary’s son Bryan is starting a business. If you might be interested in owning a piece of the company, contact me and I can get you Bryan’s contact information. Larry and Kim Engleson are enjoying time in San Diego with kids and granddaughter. Don Nerge linked up with Jon Rivera in Savage, MN recently. And John Hazen is on an approximately 2,200-mile hike on/ through the Appalachian Trail. Good on ya John and be safe. Class gift update: You should have received several notes about our class gift campaign, and you will see more. To date, we are doing well, but are still short of our dollar goal. We have had somewhat limited participation and one of the campaign goals is to get our participation rate higher. I encourage you to contribute classmates.

Well classmates, it's 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 and send me and the AOG with your current data. Send me your notes, inputs, address updates, suggestion, junk mail, etc. and 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 –Dan Beatty, 12196 Stanley Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80921; Home: (719) 488-1962; Cell: (719) 338-0276;


Greetings, salutations and congratulations to all who see these words. At or by the time you are reading this, it will have been 40 years since we walked across the stage at Falcon Stadium, threw our hats in the air, and made a beeline to our cars to see the “You Are Now Leaving the United States Air Force Academy” sign in our rearview mirror. My very best wishes to all of my classmates on this significant milestone. Losses: I am sorry to report on the passing of Mark Burlingham, who passed away on March 24th in St. Peters, MO. Mark spent 11 years on active duty and then went to work for Boeing for almost 30 years as a system safety engineer. He was extremely active in his church and was also an amateur astronomer. I extend the condolences of the class to Linda, Timothy, Nicholas and Teresa. Reunion Notes: Again, I want to note for your appreciation the tremendous efforts on behalf of our reunion by Tom Toole and the reunion team. At Tom’s request, I am reporting the dates and schedule as they stand at the time of my writing this. The reunion is set for the weekend of Oct.12-15, 2017. Members For those of you still living in 50% the 1980s, get out your day timers and annotate that date. The rest of you put it in your phones or on the post-it notes you have stuck all over your refrigerators. And you should start planning ingress and Sabre Society Donors egress to Colorado Springs now. This looks to be our 31 largest reunion ever -- thanks to Tom and his guys -- with approximately 500 of our classmates and 400 guests indicating that they plan on being in attendance. A lot of the reunion discussion is going on through our Facebook page, so please check in there as you are able. Otherwise, we will have a website up for the class shortly. Here is a breakout of the schedule: Wednesday, Oct. 11: early check-in at the Hotel

Elegante after 1500; no-host social for early arrivals (location TBD). Thursday, Oct. 12: Class Golf Tournament (USAFA) -- (captains choice, shotgun start -- time TBD-afternoon). Regular check-in at the Hotel Elegante after 1500; no-host social for the class (location TBD), as well as squadron parties as desired or planned by Squadron POCs. Tentative class meeting at the hotel (time TBD-morning); USAFA open house/dorm tours/Mitchell Hall lunch/ senior leader briefings (1100 through 1500). Class photo (chapel steps, 1500). Class memorial service for our gone but not forgotten classmates (chapel, 1515-1615). Class Dinner (location TBD, but working on the Broadmoor); cocktails at 1800 (food and entertainment-TBD). Saturday, Oct. 14: Class tailgate at Falcon Stadium before the football game (time TBD, entertainment -- yes, there will be entertainmentTBD). Football: USAFA versus UNLV (time-TBD). Squadron gatherings and post-game celebrations (location and time-TBD). Sunday, Oct. 15: Escape From USAFA. This looks like a terrific schedule, very detailed, especially this far out. I urge you to attend the game and the tailgate -- you should note that the entertainment portion of the tailgate, at least for right now, will involve the Nashville music group “Two-Way-Crossing”, which is fronted by the daughter of Doug Marlowe (Barbara). The reunion committee has contacted approximately 750 of us so far and coordinating all of the activities through email. If you are reading this and have not been contacted by email, it means that your squadron POC doesn’t have a good email address for you. Please email Tom at tomtoole77@ to get a good email on file for future updates. And finally, the AOG will open the registration database in June. Tom and his folks will get plenty of warning out as to the exact date, again by email. Please try to attend. This is a big event. Randy Rothe (Pamala) wrote to tell me about being in attendance at an AOG Rampart Chapter meeting where famed aviation artist Rick Broome was presenting. A number of us have Rick’s T-38 Thunderbird picture, which was the unofficial graduation painting for our class. Rick indicated that he was interested in painting a picture for our reunion event and Randy asked me to solicit some suitable ideas for a picture. If you have some ideas for this project, please let Randy know at Thanks. Mail Updates: I got a few messages rolling into the mailbox this time around, but this one grabbed my attention right away. Greg Hight (Diane) sent me news and a picture from Memphis where he has been flying for FedEx for the last 22 years. He sees a number of our classmates just passing through, most recently Tony Grady (Donna) and Vince Guida (Louise) but the really interesting

part of his message (not that Tony and Vince aren’t interesting, but I digress) comes here -- Diane and Greg have been running a nonprofit called “Forever Young Senior Veterans” that grants wishes for senior military veterans, with a focus on World War II vets. They mostly sponsor trips for these veterans back to places where they fought as young men and women. So far Greg and Diane have chaperoned seven trips to Normandy, seven to Bastogne, Belgium, four to Pearl Harbor, one to Italy for Italian campaign vets and 11 trips to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial and others. This fall they are headed to England for the first time to accompany several Army Air Corps members who flew out of those bases during the big one. You can read lots more about their efforts in the article in this magazine, but let me take this opportunity to say what a pleasure it is to read about something like this. Oh, and here is the picture of the two of them at the Coliseum with one of the Italian campaign folks.

Forever Young sponsors, Greg and Diane. Close-out: That’s it from the land of disappointed Blackhawk fans and always frustrated Bulls fans. I hope your spring is going well. Be seeing you in October. –John “Lou” Michels, Jr., 4107 Harvey Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558; (312) 463-3412;; loumichels55@gmail. com Greetings ’78ers… Hope this finds you all enjoying the last vestiges of spring as we move into summer. With all the rain we had here in lovely So Cal, it should be nicer than average, especially up here in the high desert. Anyhow, my sincere thanks in advance to the folks who sent info/pix in this quarter. I won’t repeat myself by saying that the quality of this tome is only as good as the info I receive…rats, I did. First out of the chute is who I believe was our last classmate in uniform to retire after 39 years of faithful and exceptional service. Herb “Hawk” Carlisle hung up the spurs with a traditional “fini” flight and retirement last month in March (writing this in April). The ACC website had a couple of indepth articles and several shots of the event. Pic-


Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS tured are the three gents who flew with him along with one of his former crew chiefs (now an E-8).

For the actual ceremony JJ Jackson (whose retirement we were able to chronicle back in the Dec ’16 article officiated by Hawk) sent in an excellent shot of the classmates who were able to make it to the event. It certainly is a big deal when a four-star retires and the several classmates who were there made it doubly so. From left are Rich Shook, Dave Scott, Lance Undhjem, John Weida, Hawk, Vince Wisniewski, JJ, and Dave Lengyel.

’78 is STILL Great. Hawk and bride, Gillian, are building their dream house in historic Mount Vernon. He’s certainly not going to be sitting around as the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) announced in mid-March that Hawk will be their new president and CEO. Congrats Hawk and all the best on the new job. JJ mentioned that he’s loving life (and all his newly found free time) flying for Southwest. He also stood up an LLC and will be doing some consultMembers ing in the D.C. area while they 46% stay there. Something tells me the consulting gig will take up some of that free time. Rich passed on that he’s working as the senior manager for USAF Customer Sabre Society Programs at GE Aviation. His Donors main customers are ACC and 37 AETC where Hawk was his #1 customer…it is a small world indeed. My thanks to all of you for the outstanding information and pix. George Ka’iliwai sent in a tremendous shot of him and Larry James receiving some highly special awards at the Engineers’ Council 62nd annual honors and awards banquet. The council was founded 122 ·

in 1955 and is one of the preeminent engineering organizations in the country. With the rich aerospace history that California enjoys (and thankfully still advances when companies aren’t moving out of the state) the council has an elite position in the discipline. Larry is still the deputy director for JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) “down the hill” in Pasadena and received the Leonardo DaVinci Saper Vedere Award (Saper Verde means “know how to see”). I was able to abscond a copy of the event program and the award was explained with the following: For his many decades of service and innovative development across the Air Force and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is a nationally-known space leader and engineer who was on the forefront of Global Positioning System and advanced space guidance systems development, critical space situational awareness innovation and historic earth-science spacecraft operations. His service and leadership across an incredible variety of spacecraft, launch, command and control, surveillance and scientific exploration programs exemplify the true renaissance nature of Da Vinci, driving us to the farthest reaches of human knowledge and capability. He truly embodies “To Know How to See.” Not to be outdone by his classmate, George received the “Kelly” Johnson Skunk Works Award for: Kelly Johnson invoked a dedicated team to achieve program success quickly, quietly with quality and without the encumbrance of unnecessary process. Dr. George Kailiwai’s consistent and persistent execution of national need programs exemplifies the foundational elements of Kelly Johnson. His leadership instilled within critical national need programs continues unabated today in the rapid development of engineering requirements, employment concepts of operations and insertion of game changing technology into the capabilities of the Department of Defense through his steadfast leadership as the director of Resources and Assessment (J8) United States Pacific Command. He is recognized for his action in defining the need, the development of the solution and the fielding of critical technologies and high priority programs to ensure our nation’s airmen never enter a fair fight while consistently exhibiting Kelly Johnson’s Rules of Management.

to college. And…as you can see by the photo, George is back to his “USAFA weight” and says living in paradise makes it easy to do. Congrats to both you gents and thanks for continuing to make ’78 Great! Also heard from John “Obi-Wan” Oberndorfer, who is living and working in North Carolina. He’s a manager for XLC Services in Greensboro and has a side job as a musician at the Carolina Renaissance Festival each October and November. He and bride, Tammy, have been married 37 years (well done Obi!) and have three grandkids with one on the way. Life is good…great to hear from you Obi and thanks. He would love to hear from former Red Eye (CS-25) classmates and is on LinkedIn and FB as John Oberndorfer. Lastly, HIGHLY faithful ’78 bride Amy Keohane writes that she and Delta captain hubby Tom married one of their daughters on an 11,000’ mountain in Telluride, CO! The wedding was “spectacular” and certainly one to remember. The bride is finishing up her anesthesia residency in June then goes to Nellis (USAF captain). Her identical twin is a professor at George Mason University in Virginia and the “baby” was recently accepted into five grad schools (including Harvard) and is currently deciding which one to attend. Wow…some amazing ladies Tom and Amy have raised! Tom is still captaining A330s out of Minneapolis and Amy was able to join him for a Japan layover recently (airline perks). Thanks Amy as always! Hopefully you all received the message Wayne “Bees” Kellenbence sent out on 3 April concerning the 40th reunion next year (yeah, take a minute to let that settle in). He and Kip “Bonemass” Warton will be leading the charge from the Springs with several folks already offering to help. Cliff Huff is keeping the website up to date ( and I’ll also keep the LinkedIn group (78 Is Great) current. Please keep the date open (probably September-ish) once it’s officially announced. Bees can be contacted at: Am happy to report that I’m running out of space so will close out this quarter’s endorsement. Again, my thanks to all who took the time to write and hopefully more will follow suit. Enjoy your summer and God Bless. ’78 is Great! –Bob Kay, 40411 Tesoro Lane, Palmdale, CA 93551; Home: (661) 274-2201; Cell: (661) 9741417; PERIOD! Begin with the end in-mind (that’s all I can remember from four years of USAFA English classes). Since brevity is the soul of wit…I will be brief (paraphrasing Shakespeare in his play Hamlet). Here I sit for my seventh all-nighter class article as tax season comes to a close. Taxes and golf are alike; you drive your heart out for the green and then end up in-the-hole! RETIREMENT: Mine; specifically, from my position as the state of Arizona’s district advisor for First Command Financial Services. I knew it was


Larry and George As stated in the writeup, George is still loving life in Hawaii as the PACOM J8 but is thinking of possibly returning to the mainland (possibly Colorado) to care for his mom and be closer to his son going

time to saddle-up and ride off into the sunset when I would look at my watch three consecutive times and still not remember what time it was. Were it not for the U.S. airlines’ maximum age extension out to 65 years old, many of you classmates would be staring your own personal retirement in the face. Don’t wait too long to pull the trigger; six Saturdays followed by a Sunday isn’t bad! ACCOLADES: How about our newest class scribe, Jeff Moore, and his outstanding “cherryride” article last fall! YOU DONE GOOD, Jammer! NAMES: Scott “Woody” Allan is the “ring” leader for several ’79er gatherings each year out in Tempe, AZ. Dr. Max Wyman is a frequent guest. So, too, is Gary Nichols. During last fall’s USAFA football game vs Navy, MANY classmates appeared. Miss Bonnie and I tailgated with Rod McNeill who was constantly “vaping”. During the game, Rodentule was his own personal cheerleading section. After the game, Chip Taylor hosted a class get-together in one of his houses (this one, obviously, in Colorado Springs). JR Dallas was in Scottsdale, AZ for the wedding of one of his daughters. We formed-up one night with our ladies at one of his condos (this one, obviously, in Scottsdale) for some catch-up and then “smacked whitey” the next day at a local golf course. JR remains a true gentleman and is a gifted writer of the English language. In Members February, I took-the-controls 47% and hosted the winter edition of a rotating golf event amongst classmates. Jon Fago was in-town on his annual pilgrimage visiting family so he made time for one round. Jon, Sabre Society who recently purchased a lake Donors house in Nebraska and another 31 home in North Carolina, is expecting his first grandchild so expect many pictures going forward from this proud “emoji ninja”. Tru Eyre flew in from his home in Colorado where he has recently retired from two of the three jobs he previously held. Tru’s parents live in Ahwatukee, AZ and his Marine father played two rounds with us! Trust me; neither of them gave the other ANY putts! Rounding out the four-ship was Mark Stearns. Sterno’s daughter, who lives in the south Phoenix area, delivered his first grandchild last year. Mark now lives in Frisco, TX and is a simulator instructor for Southwest Airlines. He is also the newest Falcon Foundation trustee, joining the other seven trustees in our class. More classmates to come, as recently retired Frank Gorenc was nominated this year! PHOTO PHINISHES: Below is NOT a picture of President Donald Trump with “Gentle” Ben Crenshaw; it is Mark Stearns in a dated photo that I am just now including in my article.

As I write, the “yellow rains of pollen” are descending upon this part of Georgia. Although it means agony for those who suffer from allergies, it also signifies the coming of tremendous displays of springtime colors. Of course, little of this will be remembered by the time you open the June Week edition of Checkpoints. Sadly, as you likely already know from the AOG, we received word that Mary J. Snyder passed away in early 2016 in Washington State. Family affairs. From Debbie (Dubbe) Gray. “I continue to homeschool our daughter, Jayanthi. She is now 13 and in the 8th grade! Time is flying! My husband, David, is teaching at a Classical Christian School here...middle school-aged students. He enjoys it! We did make it back to USAFA this past October to attend the AF-Hawaii football game and a weekend of hockey was a lot of fun. We will be out there again this June for a USAFA Sports Camp experience. We enjoy the FAMCAMP with our motorhome...a great base of operations for all our activities.”


Here are the previously mentioned “Fab Four” hackers at Luke AFB’s Falcon Dunes Golf Course in February. From Left are Tru (I will NOT tuck-in my golf shirt) Eyre, Mike (Cool Hat) Watson, Jon (I wear my sunglasses on top of my hat) Fago, and Mark (I don’t need no stinkin’ hat) Stearns.

Finally, I’m selling my classic, fully restored, red and white 1960 Chevrolet Corvette (pictured). If you know of anyone desiring to own this beauty, please pass along my contact information. After owning “Scarlette” for the past 21 years, it is time for her to occupy another ’Vette Lover’s garage.

FALLEN CLASSMATES: During 2016, our Class lost several classmates. Please remember them and keep their families in your thoughts and prayers. PERSONAL THOUGHT: There is no greater loss than a beloved child. Walt and Ingrid Wright’s son, Brent, recently passed away. Brent was a “rising star” who will be terribly missed… NEXT ARTICLE’S AUTHOR: John Pardo at or 1843 Miller Dr., Dupont, WA 98327; (253) 507-4889 (h). PERIOD! Fly Safe, Mike. –Mike Watson, 6438 W John Cabot Road, Glendale, AZ 85308; (623) 451-4131; michaelwatson@

Three zealous Falcon fans. Larry Wolf spotted me as he walked past a food court in the Atlanta airport. He was flying and I was ending a holiday trip with Kathy to Toronto. Larry is still the #1 MD-88 captain in Cincinnati for Delta—no change in 10 years! He’s going to ride it out until getting displaced when his plane is retired with a Members wide-body aircraft in his future. 52% He and Mara own a house at Lake Chautauqua, NY, which they commute to via their own plane in nice weather. They aren’t sure where/what the next move might be, since the kids Sabre Society are just now out of the roost. Donors Carrie (Banwell) Gronewald 33 passed along, “Ken [’78] and I have officially kicked off our Montana 350-acre ‘ranch’ cabin construction. We are building a cabin this year and a house in another year when all our kids have finally graduated Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS from college and Ken retires after 20 years with Alaska Airlines. Our cabin will always be stocked with a warm bed, wine and beer, a hot tub, and, of course, venison hot dogs for everyone who can make the trek to Eastern Montana!” Service. Back a couple of issues ago, I mentioned how we might be getting more free time in this stage of our lives. I’d love to pass along what/where some of you have found to make a difference. It might give others ideas where they can contribute, whether it be locally or globally. Congrats to Ginny (Caine) Tonneson: She was one of the five grads recently elected as directors to the USAFA AOG Board. Also, Mark Reidinger has served our class seven years as our Class Advisory Senate (CAS) member at the AOG. Mark has recently stepped down from the position. I hope by now Matt has announced a new volunteer from the COS area. If not, please let him know you are interested. Mike Opatowsky shared, “My new Adopt-A-Soldier assignment is supporting 125 MPs at GITMO.” If something like this strikes a chord with you, please let Mike know how you can help. Teri Meyer moved before I had a chance to take her up on the offer to tour the area around Panama City, Panama. She’s now doing good things at the embassy in Guatemala City. Remember, you write these articles; I simply do the arranging. Looking forward to hearing from/ about you—possibly as you have some time to “recharge your batteries” this summer. Intel from all sources (i.e., spouses, fellow grads, classmates, etc.) is welcome here! All the best. Don –Don Myers, P.O. Box 153, Tyrone, GA 302900153; (770) 631-1429; DMyers80@hotmail. com; FB group: “USAFA Class of 1980”; Class Website: Very lean (short) news article. My scribe magic dust yielded minimal responses. I will try much harder for the Fall (pre-AF football ’81) article. The AOG elections wrapped up with 19% participation. (A bit disappointing.) No bylaw changes as a 25% turnout is required. Class News: Big congratulations to Maj. Gen. Sean Murphy! Sean, Michelle Johnson, Rex Kiziah, and Marty France are still on active duty…anyone else? We are looking for someone to serve as our class senator. It can be done remotely, I served a Members couple years and Scott Land 51% took over for me. He is looking to hand it off to the next proud ’81er! Fellow rebelevener Mike Bronson is doing well living in San Antonio and is flying based out of New York. Scott Sabre Society Land is in Missouri still planDonors ning B-2 missions at White19 man AFB. Scott ran into Dale

Zelko at Whiteman and caught up for a bit. Dale is near Boston doing contract work out of Hanscom AFB. Scott also recently talked with Jean Floyd. Jean is flying out to the West Coast a lot working on a fun project building the world’s largest airplane. We have been in an apartment for a year now as we slowly build our “final” house in Monument. I am headed out to West Virginia for two weeks in July to staff the National Boy Scout Jamboree. I have enjoyed chatting with our oldest son at Cape Canaveral as he begins working his next assignment. (Flashbacks of us 30+ years ago.) No real change in the top ’81er states, but Colorado is gaining on Texas. #1-Texas (106), #2-Colorado (98), #3-Florida (83).

Maj. Gen. Sean Murphy and classmates. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I must tell you that our classmate, Rigo Santiago (CS-04), passed away on 7 April. I am sure he was so happy to have the ’81 CS-04 reunion in January! Rigo was laid to rest in Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in San Antonio. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


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Rigo Santiago, CS-04 Always great hearing from all of you; although I did not hear from many this time. Drop me an email or call. The Class of 2021 will be showing up shortly after you read this…40 years our junior – yikes! Go Falcons! ’81 second to none! –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:

Hi Folks, You’ve probably heard by now that we have firm dates for our 35th reunion. It will be held from Wednesday, 11 Oct. through Sunday, 15 Oct. We’ll get to see the UNLV game on Saturday. Your reunion committee has been hard at work planning all the details for the event since the dates were announced in March. By the time you read this, we should have settled on a hotel and the final agenda, and I’d expect there will be a registration website that’s gone live. You can check our class website ( or the AOG’s website (www. for updates and details. And if you haven’t already done so, please go to http://eepurl. com/celkl1 and sign up for our class mailing list. If you’re on this list, you’ll get the latest news just as soon as we have it. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there! And with any luck at all, Members we should also see the SECAF (Secretary of the Air Force) 47% there too! As you’ve probably heard, in late January President Trump announced his intention to nominate Heather Wilson as the next SECAF. In late March, she had her confirmation hearing by Sabre Society Donors the Senate Armed Services 28 Committee, and the committee subsequently voted on 5 April to pass her nomination to the full Senate. As of this writing (mid-April) the Senate has yet to vote, but I’m sure by the time this makes it to print, Heather will be approved, sworn in and hard at work. Let’s hope her busy schedule will allow her to join us as we celebrate 35 years since tossing our hats! To help the reunion committee, I’ve been tracking down email addresses and other contact info for as many classmates as I can. This has put me in contact with many of you over the past several months and, in the process, I’ve picked up a few updates. Darleen (Avery) Sobota sent me a nice note and I was surprised to learn that she and her family live quite close to me in Beavercreek, OH. Her husband, Mark, is an ’80 VMI grad and the brother of our classmate David Sobota. Mark is a GS-15 government civilian serving as the director of engineering in the Acquisition Center of Excellence at Wright-Pat. Darleen’s son Chad is an AF 1st Lt and is at Wright-Pat getting a master’s in EE from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Her youngest son, Luke, is a government civilian who worked at the Sensors Directorate of the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), but is now the exec officer to the AFRL executive director. He’s finishing up a master’s in EE as well. Darleen told me she and Mark have three grandchildren, with a fourth due in July. From updates received through our class website, I learned that Steve Mazzola is a retired F-16 pilot who was hired by Delta Airlines in 1990. He’s living in south Florida now, and is currently flying


A330s for Delta. I also gleaned that Dave Curry lives just outside Chicago and is doing forensic human factors and engineering (expert witness work). He says it pays way better than being an advanced development design engineer for GM or a research scientist for a DoD contractor (two of his previous jobs) and he gets to pick and choose what he wants to work on. He says it’s a great “retirement” gig because he can just taper off slowly by taking fewer cases. Finally, my last bit of news is that Cathy (Colebrook) McClain won election to the AOG’s Board of Directors back in March. Her four-year term started in May. Thanks to all of you who voted in the election! Ellen and I will be headed to Belgium, Germany and Greece in June to do some sightseeing, visit family and friends, and treat Ellen’s teenage niece to her first overseas trip. Should be a good time for all of us! Until next time, Ratman. –Jim Ratti, 2860 Arbor Pointe Drive, Middletown, OH 45042; (937)760-2333; rattijm@mindspring. com Greetings, ’83. Lots of bragging to do this issue on the achievements of the Best to Be. First this from Jay Dunham: Our classmate, “Evil” Bill Gray, chief test pilot of the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS), has won the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Chanute Lifetime Achievement Award.  This honor is reserved for pioneers in aviation, previously going to flight test giants like Armstrong, Crossfield, Cooper, Hoover, and Boyd.   Bill flies about 200 hours a year in the F-16, NF-16 (VISTA), and T-38.  He developed several of the most advanced flight test techniques and safety processes of the past two decades in military and civilian flight test.  Extraordinary contributions and he’s still going strong!

Jay also sent along these updates from Edwards AFB: “Rob Cruz is working in the Communications Squadron as the chief of Strategic Planning.  He has two kids out of college and the other two are in high school.  When I reached him, he was on the road with his high school senior checking out college options.  Russ Erb is serving as master instructor of the USAF TPS Performance Members Phase and also as a glider 48% instructor pilot.  He enjoys flying his Bearhawk singleengine prop that he built a few years ago, and his 2 year old loves to go flying with daddy. I (held together by bubble gum and baling wire) am recoverSabre Society Donors ing from two recent ortho surgeries, medically grounded 25 from flying, but still serving as T-38 chief pilot at TPS.  My amazing wife has homeschooled our four kids and does numerous other things as we try to support our Edwards AFB community in a God-honoring way.” Jay also is the very proud papa of son, John, who just received his General Billy Mitchell Award in Civil Air Patrol. Glad to see our class is out there sharpening the pointy end of the spear.


Bill Gray, winner of the AIAA Chanute Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tim and Darla Strawther celebrating their 30th anniversary in the British Virgin Islands. I also heard from Tim “Bounce” Strawther: “We just got back from 10 days in the British Virgin Islands; part of a 30th wedding anniversary trip to include seven days on a catamaran. Fabulous time. We were able to travel with Tom and Kathy Kallman.  Tom is ’81…and my BCT First Sergeant!  (Executioners…Heads Will Roll!)  Funny how friendships transcend class graduation and time. Darla and I regularly see Pat “Curly” and JoDee Pence (SWA captain, now) and (lieutenant general) Darryl Roberson and Cheryl (Devita) (’84) in our AOR.  Always fun.  I also have had the chance to share a wee dram with [major general] Garrett Harencak, on occasion.  Sack is doing some superb work as the USAF Recruiting Service commander.  Big job.”

Tim Strawther, Darryl Roberson, Gary Harencak, and Pat Pence at Randolph AFB. I am actually heading to Randolph tomorrow, courtesy of Gary, to speak to some educators about the USAFA opportunity and application process. This will be my third time; then I’m pretty sure he will be tired of me. I want to share the story of the genetically-perfect best-to-be grandchildren, for those who haven’t heard it. Gary and Tanya’s son, Michael (’10), married Maj. Gen. Kathy (Strand) Johnson and Wade Johnson’s (’81) daughter, Kallyn (’08). Michael is a B-2 pilot and Kallyn is a doctor. They have two children (the smartest and most adorable children in the world, according to Gary): Joshua, age 3, and Adienne, 7 months. They are stationed at Whiteman AFB where they have the dubious honor of maneuvering the base wearing the name of the former wing commander. Gary and Tanya’s daughter, Megan, is in airfield ops at Laughlin, and just pinned on major. So, guess we’re officially old enough to have field-grade officers as children. Wow. I spoke with Gayle (Johnson) Denny about the recent USAFA Athletic Hall of Fame induction. Swimming coach Paul Arata was inducted, father of Alan Arata. Gayle told me Alan delivered his father’s acceptance speech for him as his father looked on from his seat. Nancy (Burdick) Liggett and Diann (Christianson) Boyle were also in attendance. Finally, congrats to Brig. Gen. Jeff Barnson on his retirement from the Reserves in February. Our numbers are dwindling! –Sue Ross,; (719) 238-8136


Save the date! Mini-reunion time Nov. 2-5, 2017. In conjunction with Colorado Springs’ ServeU.S. weekend, you are invited to attend the festivities around this year’s Army game. Info and signups are on COSServeUS2017. Reply after reading! I’ve been doing a lousy job on my quarterly term papers. I need your help. Please send me an update. I would like to have so many updates that people say “why didn’t you put in my update?” In fact, if your update has not been posted, please resend. Founders Day DC: Marv Jones and Melody Bell were in attendance at the dinner in D.C. Marv says Mark Novak was also in attendance. Tommy HernCheckpoints · December 2016


Marv, Tommy, M.C. and Mike at the D.C. Founder’s Day Dinner. don ’85 and Mike Bell ’85 also were there. Marv heard from Tommy that there was a street dedication for Aundra Billups at Dobbins AFB back in 2015, by the 94th Airlift Wing of which Aundra was a pilot. Thanks, Marv, for the updates.

At the dedication of Billups Avenue, Dobbins AFB. Enjoying the Senior Discount: I had the pleasure of meeting up with Generals Mackey, Loh, and Overturf, along with six other ’84 members in early May. Colorado Governor Hickenlooper appointed U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael A. Loh as Colorado’s newest adjutant general and executive director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs with an effective date of April 10. Mike has served in the Colorado Air National Guard since 1991. His change-of-command ceremony Members occurred May 5. 42% Brig. Gen. James F. Mackey is the mobilization assistant to the director of Operations, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA. Known to most as “Jimmy,” he augments the A3 director Sabre Society Donors responsible to the commander, Air Combat Command, on all 25 matters pertaining to the direct operational planning, training, command and controlling functions to deploy and employ regular and Reserve component combat air forces, including more than 1,900 aircraft, in support of U.S. security objectives. Jimmy’s retiring 38 years to the day after reporting to the USAFA Prep School in 1979. And possibly more important, he has (I’ve heard) the most fantastic BBQ recipes EVER! 126 ·

Maj. Gen. Eric S. Overturf is the mobilization assistant to the commander, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA. The command organizes, trains, equips and maintains combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. ACC operates more than 1,300 aircraft, 34 wings, 19 bases and more than 70 operating locations worldwide with 94,000 active-duty and civilian personnel In addition to that brass, I was also able to converse with United captain John Weigand. Johnny is the managing director of Flight Standards. He is currently responsible for all regulatory and company compliance for the United Airlines Operating Manual and Fleet Flight Manuals, as well as the currency, qualification and quality control of more than 850 instructors/evaluators and line check airman. He is also responsible for Flight Operations Safety Management Systems, Flight Test Program and Fleet Technical Publications. He is based at the Denver Training Center, Denver, CO. Family doing well and all are going strong! OK! Enough with the Google and Wikipedia updates. The birthday boy was also at the May event! Yes, Ted Sundquist celebrated that evening with a cake brought personally by Jimmy Mackey. Ted released his first book on June 7, 2013 titled “Taking Your Team to the Top: How to Build and Manage Great Teams like the Pros.” His hair was perfect, and is always TV ready. Along with Ted, Jeff Hays joined in and he is the new Colorado Republican State Party Chairman. The kids are grown and he and Gina are living right up the road. The stories get better with age

In the back row are Overturf, Jensen, Loh, Pavlich, Louthan, and Hays. Front row: Weigand, emcee Mackey, McNeal, and Sundquist. Marty Louthan, who flies the 787 out of San Francisco for United, is doing great. He and his super cool family live just north of the North Gate of USAFA. Captain Mike McNeal is an Airbus training instructor at United’s Training Center in Denver. The kids are grown but still close enough for family get-togethers. Sean Pavlich was about ready to become a grandpa at the dinner. Daughter, Jordan, who is married to Josh McFarland, yes, Dillon’s son, was due on May 8. The kid is a shoe-in for the Class of 203 9! The night was simply awesome. The friendships

and being able to spend time is fantastic. Sadly, as we all know, the time is flying by at a supersonic rate. That is WHY you need to sign up to come out to the ServeU.S. Weekend vs Army. You’ll be glad you did. –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


Greetings ’85ers!! After what has seemed like an eternity, we’re finally getting signs of the approaching spring and summer. I for one can’t wait. I like heat. Last issue I made a slight error in my updates on Dave Humblet, and Dave was kind enough to give me the full story. Unfortunately, he is no longer retired. Since separating in 1997, he has been a working stiff where 10-hour days are the norm. With two teenage girls in the house, he doubts he will ever be retired. Dave actually lives about two hours north of Madison, WI Members just outside of Wausau. This is 45% where he grew up and he loves being back here. They moved back in 2007, after 10 years of exile in Illinois. For a Packer fan, any time spent in Bears Country is exile. Dave and Marta also comSabre Society Donors pete in Honor Flight fundraising. Honor Flight is the orga14 nization that takes veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam to D.C. for a day. It is a great program, and Dave was able to go as a guardian for his godfather in 2013. Here is a photo of Marta and Dave from our last class reunion.

Marta and Dave Humblet The AOG recently learned of the death of our friend and classmate, Mr. Donald N. Blue, CS-07. Don passed away on 9 February, in Denison, TX. A funeral mass was held on 16 February at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Plano, TX. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his daughter, Natalie. Natalie Kurtz, 327 Trakehner Trail, Celina, TX 75009-4667.

Planetarium Renovation Project The Class of 1985 has set out to raise $250,000 to support the renovation, maintenance, and programmatic use of the USAFA Planetarium. The Class committee has decided to dedicate this class gift to all our ’85 fallen classmates who have lost their lives while performing duties as an Air Force officer. Our support of the Planetarium will be a lasting legacy of our Class of ’85.

back at United Airlines after a 16-year break and is currently living in Pine Valley at USAFA. His family will be moving from Pine Valley to Monument soon, so if you want a place to crash during USAFA football season, start making reservations now. John Miller recently took part in the 12th Annual Spring Bull 6 gathering of Washington, D.C. area residents. Joel Schmick, Michael LoGrande, Mike Marshall, Jimmie Schuman, Mike Simpson, Dondi Costin and John Miller attended. The stories were pretty entertaining. Command Chaplain Costin promised to host the next one at his palatial Joint Base Anacostia Bolling Chateau. 

More information on this project can be found at:

Thanks to Price Osteen and Michael Wells for announcing the passing of Kristine DeBrock, Rick DeBrock’s wife of 15 years. Kristine passed away after a lengthy battle with leukemia. She was the mother of Rick’s daughter Brianna and their son Pierce. She will be missed by her family and by the many lives she touched through her many charitable contributions. With class graduations, summer moves, and wedding only weeks away, I look forward to many updates for the next update in Checkpoints. ‘85... Best Alive! Scott

The Bull 6 spring gathering. From left are Joel Schmick, Michael LoGrande, Mike Marshall, Jimmie Schuman, Mike Simpson, Dondi Costin and John Miller. We’ve also had some grad sightings at the recent National Space Symposium at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See photos of Pat Jameson, Maj. Gen. Roger Teague and Mark Vidmar. I’ve spotted Roger in the Pentagon several times over the last few years and it seems each time, he’s sporting a new star. At this rate, he will probably get his third by the end of the year.

-W. Scott Carney, P.O. Box 5, Pembroke, ME 04666; (207) 214-4836;

1986 Members

Well, another quarter done, another update crisis staved off until the next administration takes over -- that means the next update falls to the main scribe, Bob Colella. -Lawrence Cooper, 2806 Erics Court, Crofton, MD 21114; Hello again ’87—not many inputs during the long cold winter, but the big news this news cycle is that we got our reunion dates. After ’82 and ’77 bailed on Army weekend… we got the consolation prize… 11-15 Oct. and we get to watch the Falcons pound UNLV. There are no activities on 11 Oct., but there is a golf tournament scheduled for Thursday morning, Prep School visit Thursday afternoon and a reception on Thursday evening. We will be at the Colorado Springs Marriott at Tech Center Drive, and the hotel link is now active at https:// The reunion and events link should be active now, although as of publication date these links were not available. Members #usafa1987 for online Twitter 49% reunion chatting. As a reminder before the reunion, to have rings resized, fixed or cleaned, contact Herff Jones Ring (repair/replace/ warranty). Contact Ryan Tanner at 1-800-451-3304, Sabre Society Ext. 401238; email: rptanner@ Donors; www.herff18 jones.com150; Herff Jones Way, Warwick, RI, 02888. To order a Class Print: Thanks to Dave Hollenbach for keeping an eye on this for all of us! On another exciting note, we are always so proud of our classmates and all they are doing to make this world a better place. Here’s a great example from Largo, FL! Kurt and Malia (Bell) Spranger and their Orangetheory Fitness franchise. Check out this excerpt from a recent article



Hey ’86ers. This time we will have a very abbreviated update. You must be still be recovering from the reunion festivities or just had Sabre Society so much fun that you can’t Donors remember all of the details. 12 Our only update comes from Tim Harris of CS-12. He says he “retired from the AF Reserves at March ARB a few months ago.”  His wife, Jill, started as an economics professor at USAFA last summer and one of their boys, Campbell, is finishing his year at the Prep School. Tim is starting

Roger Teague and Pat Jameson 

Pat Jameson and Mark Vidmar

Kurt and Malia (Bell) Spranger Checkpoints · June 2017


in a Largo, FL, magazine: Kurt and Malia started this business because they have been athletes and fitness-minded their entire lives.  They believe that this is an integral part of a healthy and happy life and family and they want to share that with their community.  Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) is their way of doing this.  OTF and the Sprangers share the same values: integrity, passion, accountability, innovation and community.  All three of Kurt and Malia’s sons are USAFA grads (2010, 2012 and 2014) and are scattered throughout the world: one at Buckley doing the space mission, one at Lakenheath RAFB flying F15Cs and the youngest in civil engineering at Dyess AFB (who has already done a six-month Air Expeditionary Force tour in Afghanistan). Kurt and Malia are also grandparents x4! Check out the photo, an “Opa and Mimi” picture as bragging rights.

Shyamali, me, ?, Ricky Murphy, Miten Merchant, Greg Zehner, Susan and John Quintas (in uniform). Georgia Ruckle McCurdy provided the following on our class Facebook page: “Here we are representing the USAFA Class of ‘88 at the recent Connecting Colorado event at the Broadmoor during Space Symposium week: Nina Armagno, Dave Goldstein, Jim Solti, and Georgia McCurdy. (You know Jeff Bezos tried to get in on the photo op, but we were like, ‘Hey, Jeff, sorry but this is sort of a club and you kind of need to have done some push-ups on a soggy parade field to get in on this action!’)”

Chris “Kubes” Kubick, Scot Gere, and Jon Petruzzi. That’s all for this input. If you’re not in our Facebook group, you need to join since there is much more info there. –Tom Sadlo, thomas.sadlo@gmail; (240) 427-8453

1989 Members


Kurt, Malia and their grandchildren. One more Checkpoints before the reunion. Get up for it! Fly safe ’87! –John & Carolyn Sammartino, 3107 Woods Cove Lane, Woodbridge, VA 22192; Home (703) 4925492; Cell: (703) 220-1372; Happy spring/summer ’88! I’m starting off with a great news input from Lisa Cleveringa… “I am graduating from UCCS in May with my second master’s degree (MPA, 2017 and an MA communications from UNC several years ago). In June I will be taking the plunge a second time on marrying Bill Coble who works up at the Air Force Academy. We plan to stay in town and I would encourage anyone to keep in touch. I know this is far in advance, but I don’t generally update people so I thought I’d get it done before I chickened out.” I got to see Chris Hauth in February while restoring my Maryland rental. He sent the following photo of some ’88ers from the Air Force Academy Society of Washington, D.C. quarterly event in February, sponsored by Boeing.


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Nina Armagno, Dave Goldstein, Jim Solti, and Georgia McCurdy. From “Kubes” Kubic: “Had a mini-’88 reunion at the AFA Salute to Team Langley and ACC this past week. Jon Petruzzi, Scot Gere, Cris (Romagosa) Stone and I were all there.  Scot and Cris are on the ACC staff (Scot has been there for what seems like a geological age), while Jon and I Members are on the contracting side. Jon 48% is with General Dynamics and I am with Harris.  Hard to believe we are coming up on our 30th reunion.  Sorry for not having Cris in the picture, but the thought to take a picture came upon us in the bar (where all Sabre Society the best ideas are generated), Donors and Cris was not at the din25 ner.  Hope to see some other classmates in the Langley area… please drop me a note if you’re gonna be around!”

Greetings classmates! In the CY16 major general promotion board, we had three classmates selected: Kirk Smith, Andy Toth and yours truly. A huge Sabre Society Donors congrats to Kirk and Drifter and your families! Angelle and I are 14 humbled and excited for this next chapter. We will be moving back to Barksdale AFB, LA, this summer where I will be serving as the vice commander of Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). Since I did not receive any other updates, thought I would pass on a photo from our recent AFGSC Senior Leader Conference we hosted here at Whiteman. I am holding the watch, and next to me is the flight suit that my grandfather wore on the Enola Gay during the Aug. 6, 1945, mission over Hiroshima, Japan. These were presented during our heritage dinner the last night of the conference. What an emotional evening… so proud of these men, and so honored to be upholding the legacy of their service to our great nation!

The watch and flight suit worn by Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. on the mission which led to the end of World War II.

That’s a wrap for this quarter. Keep those cards and letters coming. Take care and God bless! –Paul W. Tibbets IV, 509 Earhart Circle, Whiteman AFB, MO 65303; (660) 233-8333; Email p2a2@ or; Class Facebook Group: groups/43101356987 It is a favorite time of the year -- graduation is just around the corner and we are all preparing for our summer vacations. We had many classmates check in -- maybe a visit to an old buddy is in your travel plans -- if so please snap a photo and let us know! There must be something to the lure of Florida as we edge more toward a life of leisure after full careers of service. Ryan Cecil’s really got things figured out as he spent the past few months competing (and winning his class) in the Interline Regatta down in the British Virgin Islands as a guest hand on a Norwegian Airline-crewed yacht. Ryan is concluding his military career in the AF Reserve in Miami where he has been working as the SOUTHCOM political military affairs Caribbean desk officer. In his spare time he flies the friendly Members skies working as a 757/767 47% captain at United where he recently was crewed with Eric Wohlrab and has worked the transatlantic routes to Italy. Also in Florida is Matt Perron. Matt provided a quick update on a few of our former Sabre Society hockey players from Beantown. Donors “[Here is an update] from my9 self and our old Boston crowd. I moved from Boston down to Florida five years ago after my wife’s constant complaining about the cold.  So I now reside in Melbourne Beach, FL, near Patrick AFB with my wife and daughter Sophia.  I work at Oracle as an ERP sales manager.  I keep in constant contact with the old Boston crowd including Bob Hanlon, Geno Ranaldi and Luke McConville.  Bobby and Luke are in software sales like me and Geno has his own real estate development firm.  Geno and his daughter Katlain visited us from Boston for a week and we had a great father/daughter weekend down in Fort Lauderdale!” Must be nice to be in a town where the only ice to be found is in properly cubed umbrella drinks! Jay Owen showed us some folks are taking a different tact than the snowbirds flocking to Florida. “My wife and I relocated to Düsseldorf, Germany, with FedEx. We have a foreign domicile in Cologne. One of the reasons we did the move now is that fellow '90ers Jeff Harder, Bob Hagstrom and George Kochis are living here.” On the Korean peninsula we find David and Krystal Murphy. Dave reports, “We recently had lunch here at Osan with Jorge

Rios (CS-31) who has been living in Seoul for the last 10 years with his wife and two children. He is a captain flying for Asiana Airlines. Krystal (formerly Guenther) is half way through her tour as the Osan Medical Group commander. I retired in 2014 and am slogging my way through a PhD from Dallas Baptist University. Anyone coming through Korea please let us know!”


“Flash, fifth grandchild (and first granddaughter) born this morning to our second oldest daughter and her husband. At the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament in Hilton Head this week, I’m sporting a bright red short with a mighty ’90 clast crest today. Remember Everyone Deployed Friday!” That’s a movement I can get behind! Ok red tags, that is it for this quarter. Thanks to all who checked in—enjoy those summer vacations and, if you remember, send me a quick postcard or Facebook post! Mighty ’90!—Flash. –Mike Shepherd, 3801 Derby Circle, Quartz Hill, CA 93536; One of my favorite Mark Twain quotations is “if I’d had more time, I would have written less.” Well, in this case, if I’d taken more time, I would have written more. If anyone wrote me a story, sent a picture, or otherwise doesn’t see something here that you’d intended to share… please accept my apologies in advance. I was traveling a lot and have tons of unread mail (no excuse, sir!). Still, enjoy these tidbits! Back in cold, snowy January (for most of us, anyway!), Brian Williams and Jerome Osurman got together at Jerome’s home in Honolulu for what was surely a much-needed tropical break on Brian’s part! Jerome did a fantastic job taking our pictures at last year’s reunion, so I was particularly glad to see the two suited up in Aloha gear, smiling all the way. Jerome is ready to host any of us at a moment’s notice, so what’s keeping us?


Martin Rothrock and Laura Radley debate the finer points of logistics at dinner—after all an army travels on its stomach! Frequent contributors Laura Radley and Nikki Blatt each shared a bit of news. Laura reports “This is Martin Rothrock and me having dinner in San Antonio catching up. We were both attending the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Summit at Lackland. We’re both still colonels -- he’s the USAFE A4 deputy for Logistics in Europe and I am in Dover serving as the Mission Support Group commander." Nikki didn’t have a report on her latest from Florida, but noted: “Mike Pelletier is reliving his college days. He is performing again in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Raincoat this March in Virginia.” I was in Mike’s squadron as a Doolie -- what college did he go to again! A fellow test pilot classmate of ours retired back in December. Congratulations go out to Scott “Coz” Ormsby who retired from his position as the Air Force Materiel Command chief of Safety. The presiding official was Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer who took time off from his responsibilities as the wing commander at Edwards Air Force Base. Scott is now an air ambulance pilot flying King Airs and living in Georgetown, IN, just across the river from Louisville KY.

Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer mints another retiree in Mighty ’90, Col. (Ret) Scott Ormsby! I felt immediately younger with my last update. My close friend Brad Norris sent me this gem:

Willy and Jerome There’s been a good bit of football-related news splashed on our Facebook page, highlighting the recent accomplishments of JT Tokish, Brian Hill and Chris Howard. JT has been playing a role in researching and reducing concussions among players by advocating for training in Heads Up Football for coaches; Brian hosted Peyton Manning around USAFA in March (was it for the National Character and Leadership Symposium?) and Chris Howard is doing great work on the College Football Playoff committee! This reminds me of the very tight common bond formed among many of us through the trials of our four years. What shaped us then continues to shape our work now. Great work, gentlemen! John Cinnamon is now the permanent profesCheckpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS Aloha True Blue! The 25th reunion is fast approaching and the date has been set. Rod Stephan has taken the lead and is planning a great weekend of events for the end of September. I also promised last column to give you an update from the CSAF’s Wing Commanders Conference from January. So I’ll start with that. 1992 Wing Commanders. The annual CSAF’s Wing Commanders Conference brought together the total force wing commanders in Arlington, VA. 1992 was well represented once again with about 10-15 of our classmates in attendance. A few of our newest brigadier generals in attendance were Brook Leonard, Chuck “Corky” Corcoran, Bill Spangenthal, and John Members Kubenic—pretty cool! Most 49% of us gathered at the end of the conference to get a photo with the CSAF. (See photo at the bottom of the page.) I also ran into Michelle Myers in the hotel lobby. She was in town visiting Sabre Society Donors her daughter at college and 15 with her husband who is an ANG wing commander attending the conference. Unfortunately, I lost my notes from the conference so I’m going to try to remember and get this right. I think Michelle is still in the ANG, as well, but I’m afraid I got that wrong, so, Michelle, please forgive me and then send me a note to give me the correct details. New 1992 brigadier generals selected. The most recent list of brigadier general selects finally came out in March. 1992 had another strong showing with 11 new selects! Congratulations to all of you: Jason Armagost, Lance Bunch, Derek France, Joel Jackson, Michael Koscheski, Dave Kumashiro, John Lamontagne, Al Miller, John Nichols, Rob Novotny, and Jeremy Sloane. Retirements. I think the next few years are going to be filled with 1992 retirements as we move on to second careers. I got a few notices of retirement


sor (PP) of the Aeronautics Department at USAFA; he is USAFA’s 95th PP, in fact! Congratulations, John! In the advanced age and the continuing development of aeronautical engineering advancements, no doubt his leadership will be critical to the formation of outstanding aerospace engineers for the country for decades to come. I guess we now know that John and TamMembers my will be living in Colorado 53% Springs for just about the rest of their lives! Looking forward to seeing you there, John. In my own news, I’m proud to report my son, Jacob, will be interning at the Air Force Research Laboratory this summer Sabre Society Donors studying barium oxide as he 9 begins his PhD studies through the Colorado School of Mines. I can hardly believe it! I trust he will make his own special mark on aerospace research as a result. Many thanks to my friends who have supported me in my new work; these are truly exciting times with China and I see many examples of encouraging development despite what you read nationally. I appreciate your interest, questions, prayers, and support more than you know! If any of you wish to be delegates on my next trip (2018?) I would love to hear from you. –Carson Tavenner, 7912 Carlisle Place, Arlington, WA 98223; (301) 367-8969; Tavenner@hotmail. com

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this quarter—my good friend Joe DeLapp and Brandon Baker. Joe retired from Randolph AFB in March in San Antonio. His older brother, Col. (Ret) John DeLapp (’89) was the narrator and his younger brother, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Jim DeLapp, officiated. Pretty cool to have all three colonel brothers DeLapp together. While on terminal leave, Joe has been enjoying the freedom, puttering around, and working on his classic Corvette. I think he’s also looking for a job, but is happy to be relaxing. As for Brandon, he retired from the Pentagon in March and is staying in the D.C. area at least until his daughter graduates high school in another year. He hopes to keep working in the UAS or drone community as a civil servant or in the defense industry.

Colonels Jim, Joe, and John DeLapp. 25th Reunion! As I already mentioned, Rod Stephan has already done quite a lot of planning for our 25th reunion. If you haven’t found the 1992 closed Facebook page, or received any information on the reunion, there are several places you can get the info. In addition to Facebook, Rod has set up a new class website ( and another page on the social media site called “band. com” (once there, search for “USAFA 1992” to find our group). The reunion weekend is scheduled for Sept. 21 – 23 (Thursday – Saturday). The hotel hosting the banquet is the Marriott of Colorado Springs, which has a group rate for our class.

1992 wing commanders: From left are Chuck Corcoran, Lee Smith, Bill Spangenthal, your scribe, Chuck Henderson, Kevin Cullen, Tom Torkelson, General Goldfein, John Kubenic, Ken Moss, Barry Blanchard, and Brook Leonard.

Thursday’s reception and Friday’s dinner will be at the Marriott. Friday also will have a golf outing on the USAFA Blue Course at 0800. Friday cadet area activities, including the memorial service, are being coordinated. Saturday evening is the football game against San Diego State University and a block of tickets have been reserved. See the details on one of the above online sites to sign up for events, make room reservations, and for tickets. Other class news. Dave McAuley sent me a note inquiring about the reunion. We took the opportunity to get caught up and he told me that he got married last year (April 2016) and honeymooned in Hawaii. Needless to say, he didn’t bother calling me to catch up while he was here! Dave has been at DIA for a while and was just appointed chief of DIA’s new Analytic Development Office focused on building the analytic workforce, tradecraft, and tools for the future. James “Shige” Shigekane who is here in Hawaii as the PACAF director of Safety was recently TDY to Germany as part of the U.S. delegation of O-6s and GS-15s to attend the German Bundeswehr Higher Command Seminar. Scott “Gunner” Gundlach also was part of the program and Shige sent me a photo of them on the “Bridge of Spies” in Potsdam. Sounds like a pretty good TDY, if you ask me.

Gunner and Shige Mike Mote, my recent joint staff crony, is in Geilenkirchen, Germany, working a NATO job. He’s enjoying life in Europe and is trying to figure out what he’s going to do when he grows up… Final thoughts. I encourage all of you to try to make it to the reunion. If you have not attended one in the past, it’s a great time to reminisce and say “remember when…” about a hundred times and also potentially rebuild some networks that you can rely on in the future. Enjoy the summer, and try not to think about the fact that we’ve just passed 25 years since we graduated. I don’t feel that old, but you can’t deny the calendar. I look forward to seeing many of you in the Springs before I write again. Until then, True Blue ’92. Aloha, James. –James S. Mehta, 117 Julian Ave., Honolulu, HI 96818; (571) 830-7095; jamesmehta@earthlink. net;

Greetings '93! I know you all are well and enjoying the spring and getting ready for the summer! This article will be a little light on updates, but potent. We’ll call it the “General update” with another plug for our class gift project for our 25th reunion… yes, 25th reunion… in 2018! First, a few small updates. I was able to have breakfast with Joe Sucich in Washington, D.C. on one of his Jet Blue layovers at Reagan National. It was great catching up with him. He and Kristin are doing great as empty nesters! Dylan, Matthew and Erin are doing great in Baltimore as a University of Texas graduate, Texas Tech and Baylor, respectively. Joe has a hefty supply of Members college shirts and can be seen 88% swapping Baylor for Tech shirts at rivalry games. Great having breakfast with you! Got a quick update from Lee Spechler recently. He has moved airlines to fly with American. He also finally Sabre Society Donors updated his phone number to an “actual” Florida number. He 13 hasn’t moved cities though… he still lives in his swanky condo in South Florida! He just completed his indoctrination and training with American! Look forward to seeing you up front when I leave DCA! As an aside… Lee’s academy roommate, Stephan McIlnay, made the leap from Jet Blue to American Airlines and completed his training at the end of 2016. Congrats to both on sweet career moves! As a representative of the Class of 1993 25th Year Reunion USAFA Gift Committee, I would like to


Class of 1993 NCLS Outstanding Airmen 0 Panel Fund For our Class of 1993 25th Reunion Class Gift Project, we are supporting the National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS). The intent of the Class of ’93 NCLS Outstanding Airmen Panel Fund is to support an annual National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) panel to strategically connect cadets and USAFA to the exceptional airmen across the Air Force, like those chosen to receive the Air Force Association’s (AFA) Outstanding Airmen Award. We have already raised over $69,000 for this important project. To learn more about this project and to sign up for a monthly recurring contribution, please visit

reiterate some important information about our class gift that we will be presenting to the Academy for our 25th reunion. Our class fund is not about building a physical memorial or merely giving back to Academy operations, but rather intentionally investing in the future of AF leaders. We all served (and some of you are still serving), but frankly we want future classes to serve as well or better than our class. Funding our class gift -- Give/93ncls -- will do just that by introducing the cadets to some of the most outstanding airmen they will be leading upon graduation, and by introducing these top performing (and highly influential) airmen to their Air Force’s Academy and cadets -- their future leaders.  By the way, the Endowment does not take any administrative fees, so 100% of our contributions go to our fund.  The goal is to initially provide finances to fund expenses for 20-plus years of the NCLS Outstanding Airman of the Year (OAY) program and other cadet interactions.  Each year, NCLS hosts an annual panel with several of the OAY.  Due to OAY schedules, we expect that three, maybe four, of the 12 OAY will be able to attend the panel and possibly a couple more will be able to attend other Academy activities throughout the year.  We want to fund the expenses for those top enlisted personnel who travel to the Academy and expand the cadets’ knowledge as well as experience the Profession of Arms. Have a positive impact on the future of the Air Force, now! Congratulations to our newest brigadier general select, Kristin Goodwin! The Air Force has nominated Col. Kristin Goodwin to be the Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy. Kristin was also nominated for appointment to Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS the rank of brigadier general and has been serving as the senior military assistant to the secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C. She previously led the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, becoming the wing’s first female commander. She will be joining our other classmate, John Price, and shaping the future of the Air Force… this is setting up very nicely for our academy reunion next year! Wait…there’s more! Evan Dierten has also been selected as brigadier general! I love looking at Evan’s bio… he has several assignments that are data masked which means he’s had a huge impact on things we don’t see. Evan is currently serving as vice commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. I still remember Evan in pilot training and how he was a stud pilot at Sheppard AFB! Way to lead the way my friend! We are all so proud of you! And the hits just keep coming! Troy Dunn has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general and is currently serving as commander, 10th Air Base Wing, U.S. Air Force Academy, CO. Lance Pilch has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general and is currently serving as commander, 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Eglin Air Force Base, FL. Congrats to Lance and Troy! Sorry we are a little light this time… Next article will be more robust and we will have a brief update on our reunion from the Association of Graduates. Until then… Mike. –Michael D. Sundsted, 1805 Macadams Place, Alexandria, VA 22308; (703) 307-0903; mdsunsted@ Happy Summer! What a great time of year. We’ve got road trippin’, beach time and Universal Studios planned for this summer. My oldest daughter is going to a cross country running camp in Colorado Springs, so I’ll likely take her for a tour of USAFA. Though she hasn’t yet shown any interest in attending a service academy, maybe she’ll fall in love with serene Rocky Mountain beauty in the backdrop of shiny aluminum buildings... right? It’s also the heart of baseball season, and we’re hoping to catch the Red Sox somewhere this year to see how they do in the aftermath of Big Papi David Ortiz’ retirement. I hope your summer is awesome and that your baseball team does well, unless you are a Yankees fan. The first update is from Mary (Hartman) Arnholt, who is my old housemate from the glory days in the Viper B-course at Luke AFB... back in the ’90s. Mary and her husband, Mark Arnholt (‘93), live in Albuquerque, where they are raising their three kids. Mary has been doing her AF Reserve duty at Kirtland AFB in the AF Safety Center. She said she works there with Brian Musselman and Mark Schmidt. Mark is an IMA, like Mary, and Brian is active duty. Also on active duty, in the same


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building, is Leland Bohannon, who is the commander of the AF Inspection Agency. Mary was able to gather this crew in the pic below. She also said her family recently took a trip to Yellowstone, which they combined with their son competing in Salt Lake City at the western zone swim meet. Apparently, their oldest son, Nolan, who is 11, has been crushing it in the pool. Mary said to watch out, 2024 Olympics! Beyond being a swim mom, she said she is super busy with all her three kids’ activities, part-time homeschooling, piano, work and a dog. Thanks for the update Mary!

’94 in Albuquerque: Leland, Mark, Mary and Brian. I got another deployed ‘94 update from Nick Kozdras, who managed to get this photo of five classmates over at FOB OQAB, in Afghanistan. Nick is serving as the director, Headquarters Resolute Support (HQ RS) Information and Communications Technology, Train, Advise, Assist (ICT TAA). Also pictured are Steve Ward (command surgeon general, 438 Air Expeditionary Wing), Bill Kossick (CJ4 deputy director, 438 Air Expeditionary Wing), Nic Gismondi (vice commander, 438 Air Expeditionary Wing) and Troy “Snake” Henderson (commander, 438 Air Expeditionary Advisor Group). Keep up the good work and stay safe over there fellas!

’94 at the FOB: Nick, Steve, Bill, Nic and Troy. Here in San Antonio, I got in touch with Mike and Andrea (Kerkman, ‘95) Miller. Mike and Andrea moved here from the D.C. area, as Andrea, now an O-6, is at AETC/A1K on Randolph AFB. Mike took a job with a local engineering firm and is managing a huge project at the San Antonio Airport. They are putting up a big new parking and rental car complex. Mike and I were CE structural majors together, and second semester of senior year, the two of us teamed up with Jim Chrisley to engineer and design an entire building, from the ground up, for our “capstone” class. We got As. Somehow. Mike has actually parlayed that learning and knowledge to real life. And I’m pretty sure Jim has too. My old CE notes and calculations look like

hieroglyphics to me now... like the symbols on the Predator’s wrist watch thing before he blew up stuff in the jungle around Arnold and Jesse Ventura. Nice work Mike. The biggest project news, however, was when Mike texted me a picture with the caption, “Look what we did!” Alexander Michael (pictured below) was born in January. Colleen and I recently stopped by to see Andrea and the baby at the Miller’s house in the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio. Colleen got to log some baby-holding time, rocking the little guy to sleep as we caught up with Andrea, who is on maternity leave. Congrats y’all!

The Millers and their new addition. I received some sad news from a fellow Viking 9 alum, Will Sammon (‘95), who relayed that Tim Dowd had passed away in 2016 from MS. Will and Tim went to high school together in Long Island. Will said that there is an annual bike ride that raises funds in support of research for cures and treatments of MS. He is Members participating in this ride, called 80% Waves to Wine. The ride is in September, 2017, and goes from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. Will is with Team FedEx for the event, but is personally trying to raise $1994 in memory of Tim. He asked for Sabre Society Donors some support of his effort. You can find more information and 12 ways to donate to the cause at: So sorry to hear about Tim. Thanks to Will for honoring his memory with this endeavor. That’s what I have for this time. Send me an update about your summer! If you include any Yankees references, however, it’ll be blocked by my customized firewall. Not really, but now that I think of it that is a really good idea -- Kegger. –Craig Allen, (660) 864-5374; kegsdoolittle@

Hello everyone! This is Becky Mason Fox. I’m excited to announce I am our new class scribe. Please feel free to send me your updates via the new class email address: keepthepride95@gmail. com (yeah, it’s real!). First, I want to say thank you to Andrea Themely for her amazing writing skills over the last few years doing the Checkpoints for our class. Super appreciative for all of her hard work and updates.


The first update actually came from Andrea – the photo also comes from her as well. Attending the pre-command training class at Maxwell -- here is our wing and group commander photo for the C lass of ’95. From left are Mike Rimsky (vice wing commander at Incirlik AB), Rich Carrell (Special Ops group commander at Kirtland), Bill Denham (vice wing commander at Columbus), Phil Acquaro (Electronic Warfare Operations Group commander at Davis Monthan), Andrea (Rolfe) Themely (ENJJPT Wing commander at Sheppard), Renae (Bartlalone) Hilton (OSI Region commander for all of AETC), Dee Jay Katzer, Dave Abba (33d Wing commander at Eglin), and Jeff Kronewitter (Intel Group commander at Wright Patterson AFB

[NASIC]). Congrats to all and best of luck in your new command! Don Rhymer checked in from USAFA over the winter. He ran into Kim (Devereaux) Burke in the Fairchild Hall C-store when she was in town for ALO meetings. He also joined (from left) Jon “Guido” Cory, Doug Cameron, Jason Lamb, Julie Price, and Rob Black at a mini-reunion in Monument while we beat down South Alabama in the Arizona Bowl.  Not shown, Troy Twesme also made a surprise appearance (conveniently post photo op).  

Don also recently ran into Liz (May) Meggett at Papa Murphy’s and Missy (Hyland) and Mike May at Costco. Don says just he, Barrett McCann (currently downrange), Bob Wacker and Joel Higley are the only KTPers currently still “in” at Camp USAFA, but there are plenty “out” around town. Speaking of KTPers out and around town, Guido sent in that he and his family have Members recently moved to Colorado. 76% He was hired as the operations manager for OfficeScapes in Colorado Springs, and rejoins his wife, Diana, and sons Justice and Greyson. Both boys are attending UCCS (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) Sabre Society – WHAT? No USAFA? He writes: Donors “Besides the pleasure of driv7 ing past The Zoo on my daily commute, we recently installed all-new furniture on the main floor of USAFA’s McDermott Library (see pic). It was very rewarding to interact with cadets and get their feedback on our furniture. Even better, they were already using it to take well-deserved naps in peace and quiet!” How about that… some things never change!”

And finally, we had a mini reunion of our KTP swimmers over the Easter weekend! Rolf Lundmark sent in this update: “A handful of us just finished an awesome weekend in Colorado Springs. On14 April, more than 380 people celebrated the 29-year USAFA career of swim coach K.C. Converse. The ‘95ers present that night (pictured) were Rolf, Kris (Vandenberg) Goodman, Teri (Heitmeyer) Baxter, Tanja (Hauber) Scherm, James Zwyer, Gretchen Bronson, Melissa (Hyland) May, and Mike May. So maybe long-term chlorine exposure is the anti-aging secret for us? Then on 15 April, the 1995 season women’s swim team was inducted into the Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame! Remember our firstie year; they were NCAA Division II National Champions -- congrats to Missy, Tanja, Teri, and Gretchen!” Great job everyone and you all look amazing!

OK that’s all for this edition of the class of gold’s Checkpoints update from here in sunny Homestead, FL. Please don’t forget to send in your updates to the class email address: keepthepride93@ You can also send me a message via Facebook (Listed under Becky Mason Fox). KTP95! All the best to everyone – Becky. Becky Fox, 646 SE 37th Ave., Homestead, FL 33033;;; cell: (928) 302-8989 How exciting that as I type this, our very own astronaut, Jack Fischer, was talking to the President from the International Space Station. Lots of great coverage on Facebook by classmates—Reid Rasmussen was part of the contingent that accompanied the Fischer family to Kazakhstan for festivities leading up to the launch. Just after the last issue, I received a few updates… Kristin (Pederson) Ader has been an IMA at 1 AF, Tyndall AFB since Dec. 2012. She met her husband, Dan, when “deployed” to the 601 AOC in 2010 and they married in June 2012. Dan has convinced Kristin to do two Florida Ironman competitions. When she isn’t training or on orders, she is a stay-at-home mom with daughter Claire. Matt Linnell is living in Mesa, AZ, with his wife, Monica, and three kiddos. He’s flying with Southwest. Chris Dougherty is the commander of the 115th Airlift Squadron (“The Hollywood Guard”), flying C-130Js out of the Channel Islands. He’s an Active Guard Reserve until 2020 on mil leave from United. His


Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS wife, Leeann, is a news anchor on AM790 KABC from 0500-1000, so if you are driving in the mornings tune into a friendly voice.

Chris Dougherty and family. Speaking of California, Noel Lipana just retired from the California Air National Guard in October 2016 and is currently a doctoral candidate at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and doing work study at the Center for Innovation for Veteran’s and Military Families. He and his wife are expecting baby #2 in May. He recently ran into Joey Gower at a retirement and he's hoping to catch Jason Hoskins on his upcomMembers ing PCS to Travis. Jeff Hansen 69% lives in Orlando and is the VP of Investor Relations for Marriott Vacations. His prime goal is to maintain and grow the shareholder base since the branch spun off from Marriott five years ago. He’s married and Sabre Society has a 12-year-old daughter. Donors Beau Neal retired in 2015 8 and his incredible wife homeschools four kids in Atlanta while Beau captains an MD88 for Delta. In the past couple of months, I’ve also had a chance to catch up with Clay Freeman and Mike Conley who were in San Antonio for promotion boards. Tom and Jenny (Spindle) Caballero were in town with two of their three kiddos visiting Jenny’s dad. It was great to celebrate with the family. In the “my bad” category—it is with great regret that I left Jason Stinchcomb off the recent list of ’96 colonel selects. He will be leaving the Air Force in August to work for Lockheed Martin in Amendola, Italy (which sounds awesome). Steve D’Amico retired in March and is off to fly for the airlines. A few classmates made the celebration—including Chance Henderson. I ran into him on the train in DIA headed back to USAFA where he’s an orthopedic surgeon. Lots of other great stuff going on this quarter— time snuck up on me so I’ll have a better article next time. –Andi Vinyard,; andrea.

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Greetings ‘97! As always, hope this update finds you well. Can you believe 20 years have already flown by since graduation? To drive that home, the Class of ‘97 20-year reunion is officially scheduled for the weekend of 20-23 September. Mark Hadley has taken the stick to lead planning for the event. Stay tuned to the AOG webpage at Reunions for registration and other pertinent information. Also, if you have not joined the USAFA Class of 97 Facebook page -- look it up and ask to join it. Speaking of 20 years, news of classmates celebrating retirements continues to come in. I had the honor of attending Mark Clifford’s retirement in the Pentagon. The ceremony was officiated by Academy basketball teammate, Kenyon Bell (‘95) and as you might expect, the ceremony was a joyous event with Mark supplying plenty of laughs. A number of classmates were in attendance to include Randy Ackerman, Rick Goodman, Brian Laidlaw, and Bonar Luzey, who flew in from Houston for the event. Mark and his family are settling in the Phoenix, AZ, area this summer.

From left are retiree Mark Clifford, Bo Luzey, and Mel Maxwell. Kevin Templin had a retirement ceremony in late March at Whiteman AFB, MO, and will officially retire on 1 Jun 17 with a grand total of 20 years and three days of commissioned service. Kevin reported fellow PTWOBs, Erik Knauff and Anthony Mincer have the same retirement date. Classmate Mackie Contreras had his retirement ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in April Members and also shares that retire75% ment date. Kevin also passed that fellow B-2 pilot Geoff Romanowicz also retires this summer and all four will be going to the airlines. In April, Texas A&M University College of Architecture and Sabre Society Donors Department of Construction 12 Science announced the appointment of our very own Dr. Patrick Suermann as their new department head beginning in September 2017, pending his official retirement in August.

I’ve caught wind of other retirements through my Facebook feed. Ralph Clark, Mike McKee, Jason Johnson, Mike Julaton, Jon Appelt, and Andy Caggiano will all be officially retired this summer and Tracey Smith is retiring out of the Pentagon this fall. Finally, Ty Barbery recently shot me a note. Ty has been building his business with Edward Jones for some time and was with Linwood Wells in March as he celebrated his 20-year retirement from active duty.

Linwood Wells, at left, and Ty Barbery. In non-retirement news, this past April, Tracy (Waller) Ring tied the knot with her husband, John, in a private ceremony in the sand near their home in Atlantic Beach, FL. Following the wedding, they honeymooned in the Keys and are excited to spend the rest of their lives together. Tracy loves her new job as victims’ legal counsel at Naval Station Mayport, FL -- her Navy blue camouflage is the only remarkable drawback in life these days.

John and Tracy (Waller) Ring Here are a few more quick updates. Pete Sandness is finishing up at Air War College and will head back to Wright Patterson AFB afterward. Moving in the opposite direction, Justin Collins is finishing up his materiel leader (acquisition command) assignment this summer and then will head off to Air War College afterward. He passed on that Jeremy Potvin is also retiring this fall and that Dave Lyons is completing a group command tour in Kuwait this summer with a follow-on to DARPA. Jiffy Seto

puts on O-6 in May and he and his family will head to group command at MacDill AFB, FL, shortly thereafter. 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;


Air War College at Maxwell. Now he is headed to Virginia Beach for a Joint Staff tour working Force Development. Keith Englin and Pat Sims were also out at Bagram flying the venerable Herc. Keith is headed back to Dyess to be the director of staff for the 317th Airlift Wing. On the way back, he ran into some more Dominators at the ‘deid. Eric Winterbottom and Diane (Carloni) Burch were working at AFCENT, and they were also proud to show the RTB ’98 patch.


Spring 2016 at Bagram. From left are Steve Pipes, 455 EFSS/CC; Joy Boston, 455 EOSS/CC; Irene (Wiesenburger) Folaron, 455 EMDG; Mike “Danger” Meyer, 421 EFS/CC; and Tom “Heat” Wolfe, 455 EOG/ CDF. Steve Pipes (proudly sporting the USAFA flag) was there commanding the Force Support Squadron. Prior to this deployment, he has been seen around the C-Springs area working Manpower at Peterson and coaching the Falcon Football team to one of their 20 Commander in Chief trophies. After his tour at Bagram, Tom Wolfe went to

-Mary Stewart, Arlington, VA; marybeth 1999@;



Hey Dominators, This update’s MVD (Most Valuable Dominator) award goes to Joy Boston. By the Sabre Society time this hits print, she’ll be Donors taking her last flight on her way 9 home from Bagram. During her time there, she has been hosting mini class reunions in front of mountains that are not the Front Range. I’m jealous of the RTB ’98 patches.

otherwise living life to pimp out our classmates for this issue of Checkpoints. Even after several pleas to reliable sources, I’m without stories to tell. And my own creative writing skills are wiped out from plotting fake theater campaign strategies against the Russians and the Iranians at Air War College. (FYI: We totally win.) So until next time, keep checking our Facebook page for the latest ’99 sightings and when you get the chance, pass some updates my way!

From left are Keith Englin, Eric Winterbottom, AFCENT/CAG; and Diane (Carloni) Burch, AFCENT/ A1. Some of you may remember Diane’s low key other half Adam Burch. Adam should be sending a pic in the next update as he recently started flying for JetBlue. Finally, back to our MVD Joy. Joy will be going back to Air Force International Affairs where she will be working foreign military arms negotiations. She prefers to think of her role as a “government endorsed arms dealer.” That type of work might be getting pretty busy in the near future as I understand our new administration is big on making deals. That wraps up this update. You could be the Most Valuable Dominator in the next Checkpoints by sending an update to

Classmates, please see the latest updates below, and we’re pretty thin again this go, so please send me updates. Hello from Vanessa Weed (Bartley), Amity Lynch (Tipton), and Tiffany Fisher Ikkala. The three had a reunion in Amsterdam back in March to celebrate Vanessa’s safe return from a deployment, Amity’s birthday, and most importantly, long time friendships!  Vanessa had a stop-over there on her way back from her recent deployment.  Tiffany lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and works in international financial compliance and regulation. She works lots of application of OFAC, EU, UN, and local laws to consider in order to avoid risk of fines and sanctions associated with money laundering, tax evasion, and customer protection, trade laws, and other new rules. She works with the Nordic countries as well as the Baltics, New York, and many other locations and really enjoys it. She notes that’s the closest “AF equivalent” would be the Stan/Eval shop… so basically, the Stan Eval Evaluator (SEE) of Finances – awesome. (Note to self: when I buy an international resort for a retirement gig… nah who knows where I’ll end up… probably Walmart greeter.)

–Christopher Ulish, (405) 476-6807; usafa98@

1999 Members


Spring 2017 at Bagram. From left are Keith “Toast” Englin, 455 EOG/CDA; Joy Boston 455 EOSS/ CC; and Pat Sims, 774 EAS/ADO.

By the time this is published, we should be postGoldschlager shots in honor of 18 years since graduation— Sabre Society congratulations all! Donors Unfortunately, it seems we 12 are too busy celebrating 40th birthdays, prepping for PCS season, winning body-building competitions and

Everyone see that August Pfluger made the Air Force Times with a reenlistment while refueling his F-22 while taking on fuel from a KC-10 over Syria? Brilliant… now some of us are going to try and equate or top that. Here is an excerpt of the Air Force Times story by Christopher Diamond … On March 3, Lt. Col. August Pfluger was refueling his aircraft 30,000 feet over Syria after completing his mission, according to Air Forces Central ComCheckpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS mand. [SSgt Rebecca] Rains sat next to the refueling plane’s boom operator and was sworn in by Pfluger, reciting the oath over headset. Pfluger is the commander of the 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron, Rains’ deployed unit. Before the oath was given, Pfluger told Rains about the mission he had just been on prior to coming up for refueling. “He then said ‘You ready to do this?’ and I said ‘Yep let’s go’,” said Rains. “He started the oath Members and I was kind of nervous so he 66% had to repeat the first part; but from there on out it was smooth and I was able to thank him,” she added. Rains was sworn in just 11 minutes after Pfluger had comSabre Society pleted his mission over Syria. Donors “Staff Sgt. Rains and her team 12 had actually helped make the mission a success and participated in the development of this mission,” Pfluger said. “She’s an absolute superstar in a field of really talented people,” he added. Brian Lane retired last summer and is working as a MQ-9 test pilot at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, while commuting on the weekends to Vegas for time with his 6-year-old son. That is it for now. Please know that your classmates would really like to have a window into your life, and even catch up some time. Keep excelling, as we set the bar! Thanks, Simmons. –Jason Simmons, 1218B Tomahawk Drive, JB Elmendorf-Richardson, AK 99505;

2001 Members


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

Sabre Society Donors


–Faith (Hitchcock) Dunn, 6423 NW 94th Court, Johnston, IA 50131;

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Class of 2002! I hope everyone is having a great summer full of pool parties, cookouts and fireworks. 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 fall 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.


Joden Werlin, David Orleans and Hassan Bin Rizwan popping bottles on Pattaya Beach, Thailand. Class Sightings: David Orleans and Joden Werlin have been traveling the world and popping bottles all over Southeast Asia. Back in April while they were partying in Phuket, Thailand, they ran into Hassan Bin Rizwan. Hassan said they were the first members of our class to see him since graduation 15 years ago! After Thailand, David and Joden flew to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. While in Nam, they rowed a boat down the Mekong River. Professional Development: Anta Plowden will be graduating from the University of Miami School of Law on May Members 11, 2017 (magna cum laude) 67% and will start working as an associate at White & Case in the fall. Tony Straw and Krissa (Arn) Watry met up in Silicon Valley at VetCon 2017, which is for tech-based veteran entrepreneurs. Krissa was a finalist Sabre Society Donors in the pitch competition (Shark 3 Tank style) and crushed it. Siobhan (Couturier) Celusta wrote that she was in a bad car accident last summer and broke her pelvis, ribs, lacerated her liver and banged herself up a bit. She’s bounced back like a champion, but the Air Force has pushed her to a medical evaluation board. Thus begins her second career as a real estate agent in Colorado Springs at Century 21. If you are thinking about moving back to the area, you should hit her up so she can help you find your dream home. Aaron Celusta is flying with the 70 FTS Reserve unit at the

USAFA airfield and he’s excited to announce that he was just hired by United Airlines.

Chris and Mallory Pace’s wedding in Lake Placid, New York. Weddings and Babies: Chris Pace separated from active duty in 2013 and he has been working for a government contractor as the director of International Programs. All of his employees work in the Middle East, India and Europe training local forces on how to fly military aircraft. Last summer, Chris got married to his wife, Mallory, in Lake Placid, New York. Ryan Deis and his wife welcomed their third child, Margaret Reagan Deis, on April 10. Check in with Checkpoints: The editors at Checkpoints want you to send a hi-res (300 DPI) digital image of you and your Checkpoints magazine at a unique locale (say on top of Mount Kilimanjaro) or cool event (like at the World Series) and your photo could end up on the State of Mind page in the magazine. Email editor@aogusafa. org. Also, as always, 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:

2003 Members


Hey Bongers, we did not receive any updates for this issue of Checkpoints. Please let us know what you’re up to and send a note to our class gmail account -- usafa2003@ Thanks and take care, Susan.

Sabre Society Donors


–Susan Lynn (Doyle) Maly, Linked In: USAFA03;; Class Facebook Page: Usafa Zerothree


2005 Members



The Ready for Warriors must have been mighty busy this spring! I didn’t receive any updates, but I also noticed my email address in the last issue Sabre Society Donors was missing a number. I’m 6 sorry if anyone tried and was unable to reach me. My correct contact information is I hope to hear from lots of you for the next update. Until then, in the spirit of our high school selves, I’ll simply say, “Have a great summer!” –Breezy Long,


Strivers, I did not receive any updates for this issue of Checkpoints; however, Justin Malmstrom started a great thread Sabre Society on the Class of 2005 Facebook Donors group page where everyone 6 is posting their current status and where they are located. If you would like to join the group, please send us a request. You can find us by searching for “USAFA Class of 2005.” If you have any updates you would like us to share in a future issue of Checkpoints, please feel free to reach out to me at my email listed below. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future. 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. I received several updates from our class, so a big thanks to those willing to share news across the board! Wes Morgan is out tackling the ultimate high, and its nowhere near Colorado. “Hey Shawn, I don’t know when your next Checkpoints info collection is but I thought I’d let you know I’m headed to Nepal in about 10 days for an attempt on Everest. If anyone wants to follow me, here is my blog site:” Many of us have seen the movie, Wes, and we hope your adventure goes nothing like it. Josh Wolfram and his wife, Members Christin, “…are leaving USAFA 77% a year early to go command across the pond at Kadena AB as comptroller for the 18 CPTS this summer.” Have fun out in Japan, and lead your people well! Aaron Bigler wrote, “Just got Sabre Society Donors back last month from doing carrier qualification in an F/A6 18E on the USS Nimitz, as part of my exchange tour with the Navy. It was freaking amazing.” I recall seeing you fly into COS in a Navy jet; looks like they want to keep you bad… enjoy the cross training, and Go AF, Sink Navy!


Aaron Bigler Jane Dunn (McDonald) said, “Hey Shawn! Not much to report other than Jonathan Dunn (’07) and I are PCSing to San Antonio next month (see ya Cali). Headed to AFPC.” I say enjoy some Whataburger and Taco Cabana for me. Ashley Housley is on the move again and wrote, “Hola. I’m going back to the Springs for the USAFA AOC IDE program... I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m old enough to go back. It’s a process – ha-ha.” Well Ash, enjoy your new house and life in COS; it is a great place, but try to stay off the marble strips! William MacVittie is Colorado bound too and wrote, “Hey dude. Hope all is well. My wife and son and I are heading to USAFA in May. One year at UCCS for the AOC master’s degree program and then two years at the Zoo with the cadets. We are really excited!” Believe me when I say, many of us are in envy… COS and IDE in one shot… homerun! Good to hear from Tripp Johnson, “I haven’t passed a Checkpoints update in a while so here you go. My wife, Carly Johnson (Siefken), and I had our 10th anniversary in February. We have three kids of our own and two foster kids. We’re at Hurlburt now. I’m flying CV-22s and we’re headed to Maxwell in July for ACSC.” Well, you and Carly surely have your hands full, but it all sounds positive; great stuff Tripp! Christine Knieff also sent a brief update, “I’m a Latin America RAS and stationed in El Salvador and my husband and I will be celebrating our fourth anniversary on the 25th of April.” Sounds like a sweet OCONUS gig and congrats on the anniversary! Also, thanks for keeping the SWIFT game alive… Hey SPAATZ, has anyone else been playing the game? Speaking of games, it appears Erin Boone (Frazier) plays the PEZ game because she be poppin’ them out like PEZ. She wrote, “Hey bud! I had another baby, girl -- #3! Her name is Auden Amaryllis -- born 1/4/17. Just trying to field my own girls’ softball team for the 2040 Olympics. I was in the Springs until last summer, moved to Florida in August 2016. TDY to Albuquerque for five months, then back to Florida.”

Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS you any way I can! Keep those updates alive and flowing! If you want to change your address so you can receive the Checkpoints magazine, I can guide you, and if you want to confirm your life membership to the AOG, I can look you up! Just ask. –Shawn “The Schulz” Schulz, 617 E. Wesley Dr., O’Fallon, IL 62269; (915) 309-5612; USAFACAD@; Facebook page: AFA Checkpoints 2006 Hi Class of 2007, 10-year Reunion. Our reunion will be Sept. 21-24, 2017, and our room block is at the newlyremodeled Academy Hotel. We are working on some final details but will be sending out a link to the registration site soon. We are using the email you have on file in the AOG’s registry. I will also post the link on our class Facebook page as well, but if you aren’t on Facebook or are worried you haven’t received the invite, please feel free to email me ( and I’ll send it to you. We are working to make our reunion family friendly and have sitters Members onsite at some of the functions. 78% You will have the opportunity to select and pay for which events you’d like to attend. Contrary to what we are used to, nothing is mandatory. If you’d like to start looking for flights, check-in at the Academy Hotel is 4 p.m. on Sabre Society Donors the 21st and checkout is 11 a.m. 3 on the 24th. Many more details will be included on the registration site. Our goal as a committee is to keep the reunion simple and fun. We are very excited to see all of you there! Classmates Reunited. Lanie Scott sent in an awesome update about a 2007 reunion in the sky. She is currently flying at NATO and had the pleasure of flying with classmates Kelly Morgan and Joey Smith as NATO 07 in Exercise Cameo back in March. She says they had a lot of GUS pride!


Erin (Boone) Frazier and the family. Changing the pace and no time for games is an update from the Gooch household. Brian Guetschow wrote, “Big changes in the Guetschow household... Kelsey (Hayward ’07) and I just added another little one to our family, Marek Lyon Guetschow. I just finished med school and the family is moving to Orlando for me to be an ER doc. See picture in the Class of 2007 update.” Solid name choice in my humble opinion brutha! Congrats on the new addition and enjoy Florida as an ER doc! Jamie Hart said, “Hey Dude! My wife, Kira, and I are expecting a baby girl in July, and just returned from a vacation in Maui with her family. We’re loving the CC life out here in Vegas.” Hey Jami, I hope your ACSC is outta the way because life has gotta be gettin’ busy… Command and a new baby, NICE! Andrew “Andy” Gray gave a quick update and said, “I flew an OIR sortie today with Brett Black and we dropped (five bombs dropped; 13 EKIA for our two-ship) together. Our squadrons are swapping in the AOR so we were able to fly a combat sortie together. He is stationed in Virginia and I am in Alaska.” Cool to see our class working the mission together; mini reunions are always awesome.

Andy and Brett Alex Divine is on the move and wrote, “The Divines are bound for Luke AFB with another addition to the family. Lucas Franklin joined his sister Eliana Victoria to round out our foursome. Barbara Divine (Leo) will be 56 CONS/CC and Alex is the F-16 schoolhouse IP/supporting spouse. Feel the fire!” Fire is right bro, ya’ll gonna be HOT in Phoenix! Thanks to those who provided updates this time around, and spread the word to others that I will gladly accept more. As for me (ShawnSchuuuuulz), I will continue to support each of 138 ·

The NATO 07 Crew. Engagements. Some of you probably heard the good news already but we have a 2007 Falcon love wedding coming up soon. Eric Liscar, Jr. and Mary Zinnel are engaged and the wedding will be in Colorado Springs on Oct. 15, 2017. They are currently living in San Antonio where Eric is a T-6 PIT

instructor pilot at Randolph AFB. Mary separated in September 2014 and works remotely, traveling as a clinical research specialist for a regenerative medicine company. Congrats Eric and Mary; we can’t wait to see a classmate photo from the wedding. Births. Kelsey (Hayward) Guetschow and Brian Guetschow (Class of 2006) recently welcomed their second son, Marek Lyon Guetschow, on March 3, 2017. Kelsey is working as the senior director of business intelligence at MedTouch, an online strategy and technology consultant for healthcare companies. Brian is graduating from the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa in May 2017. The family is headed to Orlando, FL, where he will begin his ER residency program.

The Guetschow family. Kimberley (Brady) Legans and her husband, Donny Legans (Class of 2004), welcomed their first child, daughter Rory Jane Legans, on Feb. 26, 2017. Marcie (Mueth) Forck wrote in to update us on her growing family. She and husband, Tim, welcomed Amelia Rose Forck on March 13, 2017. Pictured from left are Marci, Amelia, Delilah (proud big sister), and proud father, Tim.

–Casey (Bayne) Whitson, (310) 343-5969;

I found the seminars and career fair to be immensely valuable in my search of the next great opportunity. In fact, the connections I made at SACC allowed to me to secure a fantastic position in a Fortune 50 company. Do yourself a favor, and get yourself to one of these events and take the time before and after to prepare and follow up. –DANIEL JOHNS ‘08


ments at various test squadrons in 2017. Another one of our classmates reached out to me to announce an adventure of a different kind. Meghan (West) O’Rourke and Jon O’Rourke were married in 2012 and have now welcomed a little boy into the clan. James Stoughton O’Rourke was born at 1308 (yep, ’08 minutes) on 3 March 2017. The O’Rourke family is doing well and looking forward to introducing James to the Richter Class family.

Jon and Meghan bringing James home for the first time. Hey class, we also have a big milestone ahead of us… out 10-year reunion! Yep, the time has come for you to don your A-Jacket at a Falcon football game again. However, in order to make this all possible, the AOG needs some help. If you are interested in helping plan our reunion for the fall of 2018, please contact me via Facebook, email, phone… can Peregrines carry messages? Anyway, contact me however you can to share updates and give shout outs to your classmates or to help plan our reunion or to just say “hello”, that works too. Until our paths cross again, Christin Brodie. –Christin Brodie,



Hi Richter Class! We have a few updates to share from fellow classmates. Tommy “Crypto” Herold, Tony “MIFF” Paladino, Joe Sabre Society Donors “RHABDO” Sabat, and Matt “Yeti” Welch graduated from 1 USAF Test Pilot School on Dec. 9, 2016. “It was challenging and a rewarding year” writes Herold, who shared this image. They flew 30-plus different aircraft and made awesome new friendships. All are headed to new assign-

Our Richter classmates in the USAF Test Pilot School, Class of 16A.

Let us know if you are going to SOS, PCSing, transitioning out of the Air Force, or anything else exciting you’ve done! We want to know how you’re doing and where you’re going! Like and post it to our Class of 2009, Air Force Academy Facebook Page! Here’s the latest… BABIES: Mav and Kemi Lewis welcomed a little boy on March 20! Rich and Caroline Kenny are expecting a baby girl this fall! MARRIED: Chris and Hannah Schuette finally tied the knot! NEW JOBS: Nicole (Paget) and John Cox (2010) have moved back to the Springs. NiMembers cole is working with the TSA and 49% John is teaching the next generation of Zoomies on the Hill. OTHER SPOOGE: Mike Knapp is taking the summer off to be a cabin boy on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Sabre Society SHAMELESS PLUGS. Check Donors out! 0 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! Keeping the update short this time as well! Congratulations are in order to Jonathan Tellefsen as he and his wife welcomed the birth of their daughter! Daniel Walker got married this past quarter, Tori Hight (Lalich) and her husband are expecting kid #2! Jonathan Cordell is engaged to Katie Suhrhoff (’08) and is currently in the Weapons Instructor Course for C-130s with Eric May. Meagan Moulton is also a classmate in the WIC for MC-130s, as is Jon Lewczyk and Josh Slocum for C-17s. Members And, of course, it wouldn’t 41% be the Air Force without a PME reunion! Three classmates from the Dirty Dozen got together in Destin, FL, thanks to SOS! TJ West (F-15E pilot at RAF Lakenheath), Ivando Arroyo (acquisiSabre Society tions at Eglin), and Tate Grogan Donors (security forces at Tyndall) were 1 able to link up and let the good times roll!



Kayla Hill is over in Charleston now flying C-17s, Brent Spencer moved up to Alaska, Kate Heflin is engaged, John Rebolledo finally got sick of sushi and moved back to the States to fly Hercs at Little Rock. Matt and Kait Fair are in North Carolina teaching F-15E students. Sky Helm is also an F-15 instructor and just had a kid. Nate Witmyer is teaching cadets how to not die in powered flight at the Academy, Chris Ladehoff got orders to Florida and living life on the beach with his family, and when he’s not doing that still finds time to fly KC135s. Chris Edlund moved back from Alaska and went to Ohio, and Madison Burgess is flying Raptors. And last but not least, Joe Walz will be flying F-35s soon and is expecting a kid! ’Til next time, blue skies and tailwinds! –Todd Gamiles, Checkpoints · June 2017





Greetings Class of Olds! I am just amazed and in awe by all the wonderful things our classmates are doing every time I reach out or receive an Sabre Society Donors update. Wherever we may be, we always represent our class 3 and our alma mater well. Congratulations and best wishes to Chase Wilke and Alex Choi for heading off to start their MBA at the Wharton School in the upcoming class while Kyle Southard is finishing his master’s in German studies at Indiana University in preparation for a German teaching assignment at USAFA. Javier Noboa is tying the knot early next year, while Adam Sheridan is a proud father of two lovely daughters, Claire and Grace. Lastly, Eddy Cortez is on a contracting exchange assignment with the Defense Contract Management Agency in Sunnyvale, CA.

The Alts Not just this summer, but for the last couple of years Ben Arneberg and his wife, Camille, were featured in Forbes magazine for doing some pretty cool online retail. The created the company Willow and Everett, which sells upscale houseware items. As you may read, when you Google all of this great stuff, this isn’t their first company, and they were also recently sighted on flaunted a new venture: CubeFit Office. It seems like there’s no slowing them down.

Hello Class! This year has certainly been flying by! When you read this, I am almost certain (though I will not bet on it) that you all are just eating money sandwiches, thanks to that new captain paycheck! Congratulations on making it. With a heavy heart, I would like to begin by extending my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of classmate Frederick Drew Dellecker, who tragically lost his life on March 14, 2017 during a training flight near Cannon Air Force Base. He was a member of the 318th Special Operations Squadron, where he flew the U-28 and touched the lives of many. If you have stories of Drew that you would like to share in the next issue, please email us. We would love to share his memory. On a lighter note, congratulations to classmates Nick and Megan (Lavelle) Wawrzyniak, who welcomed to the world their beautiful baby boy, Jackson Nicholas Wawrzyniak (’39) on Feb. 21, 2017. The couple is currently stationed at Offutt AFB, where Nick flies the RC-135 and they are loving Omaha and life with their new baby!

– David Lam, 1281 9th Ave. Unit 2001, San Diego, CA 92101; (862) 222-6674; Dlam11usafa@gmail. com Hap, by the time you read this, several of us will already be gone… our commitment is finally over. These last five years have flown by in many ways, and lingered in others. Mitch’s is missed, but the pay is better and they almost balance each other out. I’m not sure how many of you have tried to throw spirit cheese at a loved one on Taco Tuesday, but it doesn’t have the same effect. To lead off today’s discussion, I wanted to congratulate a pair of Hap-tastic folks who will be plying their Academy experiences and teaching in the halls of Fairchild this summer. Allison Members Paddock and Paul Weisgarber 27% will be frolicking with other DFM legends starting with the 2017 school year. Congratulations. Also this summer, our very own Erin Alt (Dannemeyer) will be walking in the footsteps of legends as she begins her adSabre Society Donors ventures as a test pilot engineer 1 at Edwards AFB. Unfortunately, her husband, Tony Alt, will be staying back in D.C. supported by fellow Happer Kyle Kennerly and Happer-by-Recognition Maria Phillips (2013). Huge and exciting turn of events for the Alt family. Erin has been dominating since day one; Rip and Tear (or scratch and sniff back then).


140 ·

The Arnebergs Now, fourth, I mean four. Zed Davies and Samantha (Berthiaume) have officially welcomed child #4, Zoe Elyse on 12 January, 2017. Zoe joins the rest of the basketball team: Mia (4), Ana (2.5), and Dax (1). As you can see below, Zed was deployed for Zoe’s first day, but got to enjoy it via FaceTime.

Zed and Sam The world keeps spinning and the Dude keeps abiding. I hope you all are doing well and I look forward to hearing the many stories of success and path crossing that you all will do. Also, if your path isn’t crossing or things are ho-hum….don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all family here. Cheers, LeRoi. –LeRoi Edwards,

Nick and Megan Wawrzyniak keeping baby Jax warm! This quarter, I’d like to feature the one and only captain-select Ryan Dukes. Better known as simply “Dukes,” his booming voice, boisterous personality, unprecedented positivity, and Falcon spirit has almost certainly brought a smile to each and every one of our classmates at one time or another. At the Academy, Ryan valiantly served his first two years on the football team. Since then, his pride for Air Force football has Members been unmatched, and rumor 48% has it that he travels nowhere without his trusty AF flag. After graduation, Ryan brought his personality to the South, where he attended pilot training at Columbus AFB. Notorious for his cleverly worded takeoff Sabre Society briefs in the T-6, short shorts Donors in the blistering Mississippi 1 summers, testing the threestrike rule at Audobon Cove, and incredible ability to know everyone (and make

himself known), he made UPT that much better for students and instructors alike. Dukes is currently stationed at Dyess AFB, where he expertly employs the “so tactical” C-130J Hercules.

Dukes and Anthony Navaroli pose after a landing contest in the desert. Dukes, cheers to you, soldier, and all your future endeavors.

Bros, hope this all finds you well. Sorry for not writing last issue – you guys sure send me a lot of sassy texts and snapchats… and given that none of you send me stuff to write about, this one is dedicated to you and your snarky remarks. By the time you read this, we’re all first lieutenants and past two years of being in the “big Air Force.” Only two more years of being in the LPA! Very fun to think about where we’ve been in the past couple years. So many from our classmates have been entrusted with great responsibility, and there’s so much to be proud of there. We already have a few from our class going on deployments to the sandbox (for OPSEC, don’t think it’s a good idea to put who in here… I may not get the ADLS achievement). I wish I could put everything I’ve heard about in here, but here are a few quick highlights: Hope Stremcha was Battalion CGO of the Quarter (USAFA kicking butt in the Army ranks, rah). Huge shoutout to my old roommate, Austin Cooner, on what he did in graduate school at Virginia Tech. He was selected as the 2016 H. E. Burkhart outstanding master’s student for the Department of Geography. And right after that was the DG out of Space School.


The Bolt Brotherhood rides again: Dukes and Brian Lindsay behind the Herc. 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


Austin Cooner receiving his award with a member from his committee, Dr. James Campbell. I know there’s a huge group of you guys kicking butt in graduate school, as well as those who already graduated and successfully defended your thesis. Congrats on the fancy degrees!


From left are Katie and Devin Lynch (our one Guard guy), Dustin Rivich, Dallas the goldendoodle, Matt Nicholas, Jonny Kay, Derek Sargent, Sophia Vasiliadis, Lacey Dreppard, Stephen Orians, Kristian Knuths, Mason McDaniel, and Andy Marty. Keep fighting the good fight! Jonny Kay

Sabre Society Donors

–Jonathan Kay and Tim Thornburg, 2015classnews@gmail


Editor’s note: We did not receive an input from Claire for this issue. She also said she was no longer the scribe for the Class of 2014. Any volunteers for 2014 scribe should contact the Class News editor at Tom.

Fun little thing that happened here last week: Alan Acosta and Sarah Sill (who are engaged) both got F-15Es (the beautiful Mudhen). A bunch of 2015ers are going to be in the first batch of lieutenants in the F-35 (Henry Lang, Jake Brodacz, Alex Fotheringham, Kristian Knuths, Jon Lowell, and George Antoniou). Pretty much every base you go to is going to have some bros, so look each other up and reminisce about the glory days maybe. Today in class we were talking about Mitch’s chicken focaccia for Members some reason. 60% Again, it would take the entire article but so many people are getting awesome assignments and are starting training on their platforms. So many cool assignments and all have some 2015ers in them. Sabre Society Donors Given that Facebook is what it is, send me stuff about what 0 you guys are up to. Our former professors, AOCs, instructors, etc., read this and want to hear what we’re up to. You can send it to the email below or social media. We’re entering the Air Force during interesting days, with a turbulent dawn in front of us. The astronaut John Glenn passed away recently, and he has a great quote: “If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest.” Here’s some of us from Sheppard in a recent camping trip to the “mountains” in southern OK.


–Claire Palmer,

Some AFIT grads: Robert Gutierrez, Yana Fairman and Stuart Corbett.

Checkpoints · June 2017

CLASS NEWS 2016 Members


2016, short update this time, so please send in some news-engagements, marriages, pregnancies, anything -for the next edition! For now, I want to send out a huge Sabre Society congratulations to those who Donors have completed and are com0 pleting their initial training. Our favorite missilers completed their training out in Vandenberg at the beginning of April!

Domenic Troilo For our friends who are either too busy for or anti-Facebook, here are some things you missed! Jarvis Brown and Kimberly Albanese got engaged; as well as, Cody Donahue to his beautiful girlfriend, Izzy.

Chris, Brooke and Kinsley Cecil Again, looking for a tech-savvy person to get a 2016 Facebook page setup!! If you are interested in helping or have news you want to share, please contact me! Until then, best of luck as y’all continue to do great things! –Bianca Franz, (706) 825-6821; Bianca.franz@

2017 Austin Rodemaker, Taylor Parker, Myles Barnes, Riley Vann, Garret Peterson, and Gunnar Burgin. Also of note are all future pilots who are soloing the mighty T-6! If you are passing through one of the pilot training bases, I’d highly recommend you stop by, go check out the flight line, and grab a beer with these folks!

Jarvis Brown and Kimberly Albanese Last update, I mentioned the exciting news of Chris and Brooke Cecil expecting a beautiful baby girl! Well on March 21, Kinsley Cecil arrived!!

The Association of Graduates welcomes the Class of 2017 to the "Long Blue Line." We would appreciate if the class president or any member of the class who would volunteer to be the 2017 Class Scribe contact the Class News editor, Tom Kroboth at Tom.Kroboth@

(Gone But Not Forgotten. Continued from page 103.)

James A. Gravette, ATO After retiring from the Air Force, Jim continued to work in the defense industry for various firms in the Northern Virginia area, and became an active volunteer member of the Military Officers Association of America, later rising to president of the Northern Virginia Chapter. Over the last 30 years, he volunteered as coach (girls’ basketball) for Saint Agnes Catholic School and with the Red Coat teams for the Knights of Columbus. Jim loved teaching and sharing his life experience, and as such finished his working career as a substitute teacher at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Va. • • • • • • • • • •

At press time we learned of the deaths of the following graduates and cadet. Lt. Col. (Ret) Denis P. Haney, Class of 1960, who died on April 12, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. Col. (Ret) David L. Carlstrom, Class of 1961, who died on April 11, 2017, in Bedford, Mass. Mr. Donald D. Paye, Class of 1961, who died on March 7, 2017, in Seattle, Wash. Mr. Gary A. Theiler, Class of 1961, who died on June 1, 2016. Mr. William J. Hentges, Class of 1963, who died on April 20, 2017 in Kennesaw, Ga. Mr. Klem F. Kalberer, Class of 1963, who died on Jan. 20, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. Lt. Col. (Ret) William V. Keenan, Jr., Class of 1963, who died on April 18, 2017, in Sumter, S.C. Mr. John M. Cobeaga, Class of 1964, who died on April 24,2017, in Las Vegas, Nev. Maj. (Ret) Roy C. Good, Class of 1964, who died on March 17, 2017, in Kyle, Texas. Mr. James E. McCleary, Class of 1967, who died on Feb. 21, 2017, in Warsaw, Ind.

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Jim was married in 1962, and he and Margaret shared the last 54 years of adventures together living in Alabama, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Panama and Belgium, making great friends and touching lives everywhere along the way. Despite all the titles that have defined his life, Jim was most proud of his title as “Grandpa.” He touched so many with his calm, smart, strong and loving personality, and his humor had no equal. The world is a better place because Jim was here, and we will miss him dearly. (Jim’s loving family) • • • • • • • • •

Mr. James T. Estes, Jr., Class of 1968, who died on April 25, 2017, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Jeffrey S. Dotur, Class of 1971, who died on March 1, 2017, in Denver, Colo. Lt. Col. (Ret) Rilley R. Stevens, Class of 1974, who died on April 4, 2017, in Marion County, Fla. Mr. Mark S. Burlingham, Class of 1977, who died on March 24, 2017, in Saint Peters, Mo. Col. (Ret) Karl J. Hurdle, Class of 1977, who died on Feb. 10, 2017, in Park City, Kans. Mr. Rigoberto Santiago, Jr., Class of 1981, who died on April 7, 2017, in Texas. Maj. (Ret) James A. Donald, Class of 1984, who died on Nov. 22, 2016, in French Creek State Park, Pa. 1st Lt. Frederick D. Dellecker, Class of 2013, who died on March 14, 2017, in a U-28A crash in Clovis, N.M. C1C Kaleb B. Estes, Class of 2017, who died on May 7, 2017, in Ellicott, Colo. Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of these graduates and cadet.

There are many ways to see the world …

Hit play on your dream vacation.

Checkpoints · June 2017


Celebrate A total of 979 cadets (77 percent male and 23 percent female) were officially commissioned as Air Force second lieutenants as part of the 59th graduating class at the United States Air Force Academy on May 24, 2017. That brings the total number of graduates from USAFA to 49,700 since 1959. A total of 386 graduates from the Class of 2017 are headed to pilot training. Some 82 are in line for remotely piloted aircraft training. The top academic award for the Class of 2017 went to Young Yuyang Wu. (Photos by Ryan Hall)


oint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii remembered U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Gordon A. Blake during a special tower dedication ceremony Dec. 5, 2016. Blake, then a major in the Army Air Corps, was stationed at Hickam Field as the base operations officer during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. Blake was on the Hickam flight line when Japanese aircraft began their surprise attack on the field. Without consideration for his own personal safety, he proceeded to the control tower where he personally directed the landing of 12 unarmed returning B-17 Stratofortresses to five separate air strips across Oahu. His courage and knowledge were instrumental is the safe landing of the aircraft amid the attack. For his courage and dedication to the safety of the aircraft and fellow Airmen, Blake received the Silver Star. Seventy-five years later, Blake was honored again for his bravery as airmen unveiled a plaque detailing Blake’s actions. With a speech and memories shared by retired Col. Robert Blake ’59, Blake’s youngest son, the aircraft control tower at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was dedicated in honor of Lt. Gen. Blake. “[This is] an enormous tribute to an unbelievable man” said Col. Blake, “what a sterling career he had and brought up his family in those [same] kind of values.” The ceremony concluded with a performance by the USO Show Troupe and tours of the tower for attendees. The event was part of an island-wide joint commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Oahu. Checkpoints Online · June 2017

USAFA graduates next Air Force leaders


he United States Air Force Academy graduated 979 cadets at its annual commencement ceremony Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The new graduates included 15 exchange students from 15 different countries. Under warm Colorado sunshine, the newest members of the Long Blue Line — one by one — ascended the stairs to accept their diploma and shake hands with dignitaries. The new second lieutenants also received their first salutes as officers. Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81, who presided over her final graduation ceremony before retirement, challenged the Class of 2017 as they officially became second lieutenants and headed out into the real Air Force. “You will enter a more complex, interconnected and volatile geopolitical landscape than our military has ever known,” she said. “But I’m confident that you are ready to outpace the rapid developments of our adversaries.” She applauded the graduates for their dedication to the Air Force core values and their commitment to its overall mission. “It is you that will ensure that we will remain the best Air Force on the planet and I look forward to the destinations you will take us in the air, space and cyberspace domains and beyond,” she said. Dr. Heather Wilson ’82, newly confirmed secretary of the Air Force, spoke a few words of encouragement to the newest officers in her force. (Wilson and Johnson were both members of Blackjack Cadet Squadron 21 in Wilson’s Doolie year.) “Today is your day to celebrate,” she told the crowd. “And tomorrow you will be officers in a nation at war.” She reported that the U.S. and its coalition partners are attacking about 100 targets a day from the air against ISIS in the Middle East. “Eighty percent of those weapons are delivered by the United States Air Force,” she said, to a rousing round of applause.

Wilson added that Russia and North Korea also pose a threat to the stability of the globe. The new officers will be part of the force Photo courtesy Longshe Island that will deal with such global threats in the comingofyears, said.Music Hall of Fame “Working together, under the guidance of Secretary of Defense (James) Mattis, and with the support of the United States Congress, we will seek to restore the readiness of the force to fight,” she pledged. “We will modernize and innovate to meet the needs of the future.” Keynote speaker for the morning was Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In his early comments, Gen. Dunford applauded the Class of 2017 for surviving the “great toilet paper shortage of 2013” when sequestration meant temporarily insufficient funds for the military. “An extraordinary accomplishment in and of itself,” he joked. Gen. Dunford said there are more than 100,000 airmen standing watch around the world. Many are supporting combat operations, and joined by thousands more soldiers, sailors and Marines. He congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to be strong leaders in our nation’s military. “Everything you’ve done has come down to this,” he said. “You’ve answered the call to lead in our Air Force.” Gen. Dunford suggested that the new officers accept a few tidbits of advice from his military experience — be flexible, lead through change, have the back of fellow airmen, and be a good teammate. “If my experience makes me confident of anything, it makes me confident of the product that we produce here at the United States Air Force Academy,” he said. “I’m absolutely confident that you will measure up to the task at hand.” The newly minted second lieutenants were led through the Air Force oath before joining in the Air Force Song. The celebration turn raucous after a flyover and 30-minute performance of the Thunderbirds air demonstration team. Checkpoints Online · June 2017


FLYING HIGH...’ Superintendent provides an overview of the current state of USAFA By Jeff Holmquist


uperintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ‘81 presented her third annual “State of USAFA” address inside Polaris Hall on March 22, 2017. Lt. Gen. Johnson, the 19th superintendent of the 63-year-old institution, used the opportunity to tell community members, USAFA staff members and online listeners about the current state of affairs at the institution. She noted that the Academy continues to produce leaders of character and that cadets today are excelling academically, militarily and physically. “We have a wonderful trajectory going,” Lt. Gen. Johnson reported. “We’re flying high … we’re doing great.” Lt. Gen. Johnson singled out the academic and athletic accomplishments of several current cadets, including the recent secondplace finish of the Academy’s Moot Court Team in this year’s national competition. Other highlights include the 38 medals won by the Wings of Blue parachute team at its national championships; the Falcon football team’s securing of the Commanderin-Chief’s Trophy for the 20th time in its history; the Air Force hockey team’s advancement to the NCAA hockey championships; and several notable individual athletic feats. Superintendent Johnson also singled out a few cadets who have coordinated community service and international projects to benefit the disadvantaged. USAFA intercollegiate athletes alone have contributed 2,560 community service hours over the past year, she added.. “I don’t recall cadets displaying those kinds of activities when I was a cadet,” Lt. Gen. Johnson said. “I think this generation is one to be proud of… they take time to give to others.” Lt. Gen. Johnson admitted that the Academy faces challenges as well, noting that the institution doesn’t communicate its successes and key changes well enough. She pledged to ramp up the institution’s communications efforts in the future. She challenged the graduate community and USAFA supporters to engage in the telling of the institution’s positive stories and to help provide context on some of the negative stories.

Lt. Gen. Johnson assured everyone in the crowd that the Academy continues to strive to prepare cadets for the modern profession of arms. She admits the task is complicated, because the profession of arms is different today than in the past. Photo courtesythem of Long Island “We don’t know what world we’re preparing to go fightMusic Hall of Fame in,” she said. “Where’s the front line in the modern profession of arms? Is it in cyber? Is it in space? Is it on a train in France? That’s why the training we try to provide is purposeful.” Among the news bites Lt. Gen. Johnson emphasized at the morning event: The new Commandant of Cadets at the Academy will be Col. Kristin Goodwin ‘93. Lt. Gen. Johnson said she expects Goodwin (who will be promoted to brigadier general) to assume her new role sometime in May, following congressional confirmation. She will replace recently departed Brig. Gen. Stephen Williams. • Lt. Gen. Johnson also talked about the upcoming Cadet Chapel renovation project, which will begin in 2018 and likely last until 2022. • Lt. Gen. Johnson emphasized the Academy’s commitment to communicating better. To that end, she unveiled USAFA’s new website ( launched Wednesday. • Today’s cadets are more physically fit than their predecessors, according to measurements collected since 2002, Lt. Gen. Johnson noted. • Through energy conservation efforts, Lt. Gen. Johnson reported that the Academy has been able to save about $1 million a year in utility costs. • Capital projects planned for a 2017 launch include main gate enhancements; the planetarium restoration and opening of a STEM Outreach Center there; and the field house restoration. Lt. Gen. Johnson also said she expects the new visitor’s center, which is part of the City for Champions Project in Colorado Springs, will likely go out for proposals this spring. Checkpoints Online · June 2017

Tuskegee Airmen honored at USAFA T

he Tuskegee Airmen were top of mind at the United States Air Force Academy Tuesday morning, May 2, 2017. Cadets and visitors paid tribute to the memory of the Tuskegee Airmen during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tuskegee Airmen statue in the Honor Court. Three surviving Tuskegee Airmen were on hand for the special event, including Lt. Col. (Ret.) Marion Rodgers, Col. (Ret.) James Randall and Lt. Col. (Ret.) James Harvey III. Family members representing other former Tuskegee Airmen were also on hand. The day’s tribute honored the first African-American aviators who began serving during World War II. “Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the so-called “Tuskegee Experience,” the Army Air Corps program to train African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. At a time of racial segregation in the military, the Tuskegee Airmen answered the call to arms. They flew fighters on ground attack and bomber escort missions over North Africa and Europe. Approximately 150 Tuskegee Airmen lost their lives while in training or on combat flights. The year 2017 marks the 76th anniversary of the Tuskegee Experience. A total of 992 men graduated from the pilot training program by the end of World War II. A total of 450 went on to fly combat assignments and escort missions.

On March 29, 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States Congress. The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by an impressive Cadet Wing parade on the Terrazzo. The special gathering was hosted by USAFA’s Way of Life Committee Commandant of Cadets Col. John Price and the Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Checkpoints Online · June 2017

Return to the wild blue wonder

USAFA Class of 1959 grad joins Thunderbirds for a thrilling flight


fter a several-decade break, Paul S. Lasen (USAFA Class of 1959) returned to the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet Monday, May 22. Lasen, who holds the distinction of being the oldest living graduate of the United States Air Force Academy at 83, was already a second lieutenant in the Air Force and had his navigator wings when his chance to join the Academy’s first class arrived. When he was accepted into the Air Force Academy in 1955, he had to surrender his Air Force commission in order to attend, which he gladly did so that he had the best possible chance to become a fighter pilot. “If I stayed in as a navigator, it would have taken at least four years before I could progress to pilot training,” he says. “The Academy would give me four years and a degree. The bigger plus for me was the fact that it was mandatory that you go to pilot training if you were physically qualified at time of graduation. I always wanted to be a pilot and this was my way of getting to that position. It’s worked out beautifully.” As a result of his previous service, Lasen was a few years older than most of fellow cadets. That’s how he attained the honor of being the oldest living graduate. “It’s not a position that’s earned. It’s simply an accident of birth,” he smiled. “I’d love to be the oldest grad for quite a few more years.” Lasen was commissioned in the Air Force again four years after arriving at the Academy, then went to pilot training. He would become an instructor pilot for several years, before being deployed to Vietnam where he flew 128 combat missions in the F-105. “From there on, it became a wonderful career,” Lasen recalls. “I spent 20 years with the Air Force.” He retired in 1978 and went into civilian aviation. The campaign to secure Lasen a ride with the Thunderbirds began in early May, when E. Adrian Van Zelfden, USAFA Class of 1969, sent out a plea to anyone with connections with the Air Force air demonstration team.

His email was forwarded up the chain of command, first to Gen. Ronald Fogelman — Class of 1963 — the chief of staff of the Air Force from 1994-97. Then the plea made it to current Chief of Staff of the Air Force David Goldfein — Class of 1983. Photoits courtesy of Long Island Because the Air Force is celebrating 70th anniversary thisMusic Hall of Fame year, Van Zelfden felt it would be wonderful if the Thunderbirds would honor the oldest living graduate of the Academy. “I personally feel a huge amount of gratitude to the Class of 1959,” Van Zelfden wrote. “Those guys were the pioneers, and they made us all proud.” By Monday morning, Lasen was more than ready to put on a flight suit again and head skyward. He was scheduled to fly with Capt. Eric Gonsalves, a USAFA Class of 2008 graduate. “If I told you I wasn’t excited, you wouldn’t believe me,” he laughed. “You can’t fail to be excited for something like this. We’ll have a really great time.” “It will be interesting to me to see how many Gs I can tolerate now,” he adds. “It used to be just a part of my daily job. I’ll be very interested to see how I hold up.”

**** Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, a 2002 graduate, says the Thunderbirds are thrilled to be back for graduation. This is his second straight year of flying at graduation with the Thunderbirds. “It brings back a lot of memories – a lot of good memories and some more challenging than others,” he says. “Obviously, the Academy laid the foundation for my whole career, which up until this point I’ve been very happy with. I’m one of the luckiest guys in the Air Force.” Walsh says the USAFA graduation is one of the most challenging sites that the Thunderbirds perform at each year. The terrain and the stadium add to the challenge. “We train every day, sometimes twice a day, to perform a safe show,” he assures. Checkpoints Online · June 2017



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Checkpoints - June 2017  

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

Checkpoints - June 2017  

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