Page 1


Academy’s got



September 2017 FEATURES

Find the Falcon See details on p. 12


Lt. Gen. Silveria ‘85 takes command With a Change of Command ceremony on Aug. 11, 2017, the 20th superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy joined the institution’s leadership team. Lt. Gen. Silveria ‘85 talks about the opportunities and challenges ahead.


North Country Refresh USAFA graduates Matt (‘99) and Micaela (‘00) Brancato have wrapped up retreat season number four at Holbrook Farms Retreat in Minnesota. The retreat facility caters to military widows who are looking for peace, relaxation and healing. Fellow grads have been a great help and encouragement to the couple’s efforts.


Falconz Football Has A Familiar Ring To It Rick Rasmussen ‘77 and his son, Kyle Rasmussen ‘02, have helped guide the Utah Falconz to a second-straight championship in the Independent Women’s Football League. The grads have borrowed a few tactics and philosophies from the Air Force Falcons to solidify their ongoing success.


Staff Directory Board Chair Journal The Hangar AOG updates, your feedback, news and fun. Letters, Check Ins, and more p. 8 News from USAFA and grads p. 12 Checkpoints Challenge p. 16 USAFA Endowment celebrates a decade of giving p. 18 Career Services: Transition tips p. 20


Roll Call Heritage and graduate profiles. Guyette ‘08 selected for Jabara Award p. 42 Penry ‘65 makes a startling discovery regarding his Academy AOC p. 46 ‘The View’ producers surprise Lessner ‘99 p. 50 Jump Program gets unintentional start p. 54 Spetman ‘76 inducted into AD Hall of Fame p. 60 Three grads give F-4 Phantom a fitting farewell p. 64 Class of 1967 helps restore F-4 p. 66 Long Blue Ladle: Ackerley ‘82 shares wisdom about home-cooked meals p. 68

72 The Terrazzo Cadet life and the latest from the Academy. Board of Visitors helps guide USAFA p. 72 Cadets benefit from historic European tour p. 74 In The Stairwell rocks AGT p. 80 Academy institutes new nuclear minor p. 84 Cadet Wing accepts trench art donation p. 88 AOG hosts heritage briefings for basic cadets p. 92 Cadet Question p. 97 98 Gone But Not Forgotten 107 Class News 152 Final Approach


On the Cover In The Stairwell, an a cappella sing group at USAFA, has enjoyed an unexpected streak of success with America’s Got Talent. The group, some of whom are pictured on the cover, will compete again in early September to determine if they will advance to the Sept. 20 final show. Check them out on NBC and send some votes their way! Photo courtesy of Vivian Zink/NBC) Checkpoints Online 10th ABW welcomes new commander; B-66 and F-111 plaques dedicated at Plaza of Heroes; Academy presents Airman’s Coin to basic cadets at the conclusion of Basic Cadet Training; Ken Burns visits Academy to promote upcoming PBS series about the Vietnam War. 2 ·




28 54


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 Martin R. Marcolongo ’88, ext. 146 Chief Operating Officer (Vacant) Executive Vice President Gary Howe ’69, ext. 107 Vice President of Academy & Non-Profit Relations Steve Simon ’77, ext. 166 History and Heritage Projects Officer (Vacant) Executive Assistant Emma Ross, ext. 106 Finance & Facility Management Sr. VP for Finance & Chief Financial Officer Alton Parrish, ext. 123 Accountant Joyce Love, ext. 110 Senior Accounting Clerk Janice Baca, ext. 111 Sr. Data Integrity Specialist John Rice, ext. 132 Data Integrity Specialist Murlea Vance, ext. 130 Facilities Superintendent Kenny D’Amico, ext. 155 Communications Sr. VP for Communications Bob McAllister, ext. 142 Creative Director Sarah Larrabee, ext. 144 Senior Editor Jeff Holmquist, ext. 143 Graphic Designer Eric Costello, ext. 149 Photography/Video Production Specialist Ryan Hall, ext. 140 Class News & Obituary Editor Tom Kroboth, ext. 133 Director of Web Communications Troy Surratt, ext. 125 Systems Administrator Albert Gilligan, ext. 124 Lead Programmer/Web Developer Toby Lortz, ext. 141 Senior Programmer/Systems Analyst Nick Johannsen, ext. 118 Help Desk Specialist Johnny Bollman, ext. 122 Assistant Editor Paul Henry ’67 Business Operations Sr. Vice President for Business Operations Corrie Grubbs, ext. 105 Director of Business Operations (Vacant) 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 (Vacant) Reunion Specialist Sherry Cooper, ext. 138 Events Assistant Carolyn Simon Customer Service and Merchandise Customer Service Supervisor Michele Cowan, ext. 151 Customer Service Representative Brandi Lortz, ext. 154 Merchandising Supervisor Jan Howard, ext. 153 Merchandising Representative Kristin Frederick, ext. 158

The Association of Graduates Board of Directors 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 Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould ‘76, ext. 201 Vice President, Development Jennifer Bateman, ext. 202 Executive Assistant Ruth Reichert, ext. 206 Chief Financial Officer Dennis Scruggs, ext. 203 Director of Accounting Susan Mackaman, ext. 204 HR Administrator Abigail Wentzel, ext. 221 Associate Vice President, Development Greg Knedler, ext. 224 Associate Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Donor Relations Jermaine Johnson, ext. 220 Assistant Director of Communications Steven Lincoln, 719-472-2041 Communications Specialist Gary Martyn, 719-472-2051 Director, Gift Planning Dale Zschoche, 719.238.7510 Director, Parent & Family Giving Jason Fox, 248-495-5162 Director, Stewardship and Donor Relations Diane McOmie, 713-702-4506 Director of Annual Giving Denise Walker, 719-472-2053

Director of Class Giving Randy Helms ‘79, 703-975-8782 Director of Research and Project Management Kate Sutterfield, 719-472-2052 Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Amy Kreidler, 719-472-2057 Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Alyson Barber, 719-472-2047 Major Gifts Officer Southeast Chris Brewer, 804.337.5767 Major Gifts Officer Northeast Vince Greco, 719-433-0230 Major Gifts Officer Northwest Matthew Hudson, 719-600-7655 Major Gifts Officer Southwest Jessica Kurrle, 949-395-3236 Major Gifts Officer Athletics Marc Nickell, 903-819-2827 Class Giving Officer Razelle Doherty, 719-472-2055 Director of Gift Processing and Data Integrity Blythe Manuel, ext. 222 Gift Processing Coordinator Kimberley Wilson, ext. 227 Donor Stewardship Communications & Events Officer Gina Simler, ext. 240 Funds Manager & Special Projects Officer Kate Hutchison, ext. 200 Administrative Assistant Kelsey Walsh, 719-472-2056

Volume 46, Number 2 Checkpoints (ISSN 0274-7391) USPS 898-080 is published quarterly in March, June, September and December by the Association of Graduates, U.S. Air Force Academy, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO, 80840-4475. (Phone: 719-472-0300, DSN: 333-2067. FAX: 719-333-4194, E-mail: A portion of your dues pays for your magazine subscription. Additional copies may be purchased for $2.50 each, plus $4.60 for shipping. Periodicals postage paid at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to Checkpoints, Association of Graduates, Doolittle Hall, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475. The Editorial Board serves the Checkpoints mission by providing a top quality magazine to the Air Force Academy’s broader community. Together, the editor, VP of Communications, Executive VP and the AOG CEO collaborate to ensure that all articles meet the standards of excellence readers have come to expect of Checkpoints. The AOG reserves the right to publish or omit submissions at its discretion. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, policy or attitude of the AOG, its officers or the editorial staff. The appearance of advertisements in this publication does not constitute an endorsement by the AOG of the products or services advertised. Copyright, Association of Graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy, September 2017.

4 ·

for Aerospace Studies

e ro s

ie s


The Mitchell Institute







u p ac e S t


For more information visit our website at: at




y last note to you provided an insight into how your AOG Board of Directors views this pivotal time. That word was “opportunity!” We are seizing this opportunity and asking ourselves the tough questions. Why do we exist? To support members, connect graduates, honor our heritage and enhance cadet programs. In short, your Association of Graduates supports the Long Blue Line. Whom should we serve? Should we support all 49,710 graduates? Or should we support the 28,442 graduate members? Yes, you caught that — only 57 percent of graduates are members of the AOG. Why is that? Do the 21,000 non-member graduates lack an affinity for their institution? Do they see little value in being an AOG member? Is it something else? What does the AOG provide? All graduates, members and non-members, can access our website and Facebook page. All graduates can receive the bi-weekly email push of ‘7258, which focuses on AOG graduate activities. Additionally, all graduates can receive the bi-weekly email push of ZoomiEnews, which focuses on Academy happenings and cadets. Add reunions, AOG chapters, tailgates, golf outings, scotch tastings and Founders Day to the mix and our connections abound throughout the nation and globally. Members also receive Checkpoints quarterly. I must say I look forward to my copy arriving in the mail. Other members prefer to view it online. No matter the medium, Checkpoints is one very impressive publication. I first read class news. Next, I turn to the obituaries, honoring those who have gone before. Then, I read the top-notch articles covering graduates and cadets who are making their mark. The AOG has a growing network of more than 550 service academy-friendly hiring organizations, offering access to recruiters who actively seek candidates from our alumni pool. Graduates can take advantage of career transition services — through our Career Services portal at usafa. org/CareerCenter — such as virtual job search workshops, service-academy-exclusive job fairs, networking and mentoring on LinkedIn and other official AOG social media forums, and one-on-one career transition assistance with our staff career coach. And this isn’t everything. Your AOG and passionate graduates are making a concerted effort to honor our heritage. Have you seen the Heritage Trail, Southeast Asia Pavilion and the Plaza of Heroes on the Doolittle Hall grounds? You should. Make sure to allow time to explore

the interactive displays, relief map, war memorial replica, Lance Sijan statue, distinguished graduate displays and unit and aircraft plaques. In the future, you’ll see similar areas highlighting Long Blue Line graduates who have fought in our more recent conflicts. Doolittle Hall also is becoming a destination, with its notable graduate displays, distinguished graduate and class ring displays and Doolittle Raider exhibit. Additionally, the AOG coordinates the popular WebGuy program that provides parents and other family members a window into the USAFA cadet experience; partners with 85 chapters around the world to better connect fellow graduates; administers the ambassadors program which identifies graduates in various geographic areas who are able and willing to assist fellow alumni who are moving to their area; and compiles and publishes the Register of Graduates that helps alumni find and connect with classmates and others. Finally, your influence on cadets can be seen in current and previous funding for the National Character & Leadership Symposium, Falcon Heritage Forum, Cadet Commanders Leadership Enrichment Seminar, cadet clubs, visiting lecturers, Academy Heritage Briefs, Air Garden restoration and Planetarium reboot. What else should the AOG provide? What do the members and non-members want that we aren’t yet providing? How can we more effectively work with the other six nonprofit entities which all support an aspect of the Academy? That’s easy — talk, understand each other’s missions, trust, and create a way ahead. Talking and understanding missions are easy. Trust comes with time and effort. Creating a way ahead will generate a similar list of the tough questions listed here … times seven. Still, we can do it. How do we lay the groundwork for where we should be in five years? 10 years? Talk, understand our mission, trust that we will consider your thoughts, and create a way ahead. Sound familiar? We start by listening to you — your Board of Directors, your new CEO/President Marty Marcolongo ’88, and his incredibly professional and knowledgeable staff seek your thoughts. Talk to us, please. It’s easy to reach us. Simply go to the AOG website and click on one of our pictures to send an email. Here’s the link: We look forward to the dialogue! Very Respectfully, Cathy C. McClain ’82

THE PLATFORM MATTERS Special missions call for special aircraft. Gulfstream’s military service record stretches a half-century and is marked by versatility, reliability and performance. Gulfstream aircraft perform as trainers and transports, intelligence gatherers and medevac platforms. Today’s fleet is in service to nearly 40 countries, and Gulfstream provides more large-cabin business jets for special missions than any other aircraft manufacturer. Whatever your mission, Gulfstream delivers.


Checkpoints · March 2016 · 7


STATE OF MIND Feedback, insight and fun from Falcon Nation Non-grads Revisited The recent Checkpoints had an interesting article about some of the distinguished people who began but did not finish at USAFA (page 80, June 2017 issue, “Distinguished Non-Graduates Make Academy Proud”). A serious omission from this article was my classmate Klein Gilhousen, co-founder of the communications giant Qualcomm, holder of 55 U.S. patents, philanthropist and internationally known aerobatic pilot of powered and glider aircraft. The oversight is understandable because Klein was not a showboat, but a reserved and self-effacing man. He did not seek the limelight and was not known widely outside of his areas of passion (engineering, flying, philanthropy, horse breeding). Most of his former classmates know nothing about him. However, there is no question that his contributions to worldwide cellphone communications technology are foundational. Klein resigned from the Academy in the middle of his junior year. He realized that his strengths (engineering) were in areas best pursued outside of the service. Perhaps a future issue may be able to update all grads regarding this remarkable man who once started on a path that we also undertook. — Carver Sears, Class of 1964

Change in Training Great article on Doss Aviation in the June issue of Checkpoints. Actually, a lot of great articles, which is why I end up reading them all. But the Doss article struck a chord with me. The first class to get flight training at the Academy was the Class of 1968. The class was offered to seniors only and took place at Peterson Field in southeast Colorado Springs. Scheduling around academics was difficult. The class period was three hours long, and the bus ride was about an hour each way. It was an elective, and many cadets were hard-pressed to work it in. The plane was a modified Cessna 172. The standard version of the plane, however, had an engine that was 8 ·

comfortable at about 5,000 feet. This was not going to work for the Academy, where runway elevation was over 1,000 feet above that. So, the Air Force contracted with Cessna to install a 360-cubic-inch engine with 225 hp. This became designated as the T-41C Falcon, and it climbed to and flew comfortably at 11,000 feet. Although I was a cadet at the time and not privy to the “big picture,” it became apparent to me in retrospect that the Air Force and the Academy did not really know what they wanted to accomplish with this program. They knew they wanted to get us excited about hands-on flying (this was during the Vietnam era when we really needed pilots.) And they knew that some preliminary training would make Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) move along more smoothly. But they really did not know what the actual syllabus should look like. So with nothing else to guide them, the powers that be determined that the cadets would use the standard Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot License curriculum, but taught by Air Force officers. The entire program would be run by Air Training Command, not USAFA. I took the T-41 course in the fall semester, and by that time it was obvious that the goal of a license was not going to be achieved by everyone. Although the facilities that exist now at the Academy were still a dream, we did have a single runway and a small building that housed the AFA Flying Club, which was available to all AFA personnel and their dependents. Through that organization, I was able to take time through the spring semester to finish all of the FAA requirements for a civilian license. There was a major advantage for those cadets who were able to complete the T-41 course. At that time, Air Force pilot training consisted of three distinct phases for all of us: 30 hours of T-41s at Hondo Field in Texas; 130 hours of T-37s at a UPT base; and another 130 hours in the T-38. However, for those cadets who had completed the Academy T-41 program, the training at Hondo was waived. And for me, that time was replaced with 30 hours

Do you enjoy the enriched experience of Checkpoints Online? Go green and defer shipment of the print edition by emailing


additional in the T-38, primarily getting more formation training. Super cool! Life has a way of coming around. After UPT, I trained in the Lockheed C-41 and flew that for the next three years, shuttling out of McChord AFB in Washington to Southeast Asia, the Aleutian chain, Europe and more. I loved that big, four-engine plane. My next assignment was back to Peterson Field in the T-41. I was not excited to return to this little four-seat, propeller-driven toy. Big changes were coming for me, however, and for the T-41 program. I returned to Peterson Field in the fall of 1973, learned how to be a flight instructor and learned how to be an Air Force flight instructor. And shortly after arriving, our commander, Lt. Col. Neathery, called us all together and announced that we would be moving our entire operation from Peterson Field to a new facility at the Academy. And we would get a new designation – the 557th Pilot Training Squadron. The curriculum changed as well. Air Training Command and the Academy agreed that the private pilot course was impractical and they had a better idea of what they wanted to accomplish. The Academy still wanted a motivational program, but ATC owned the program, and they were looking for a way to minimize attrition at UPT. So we had a shorter program, one in which we taught the basic flight skills, and we taught the cadets how to land but not much more. Our task as evaluators was to assess each cadet’s probable ability to successfully complete UPT. It was not enough to learn to fly the plane. The cadet needed to be able to learn at the Air Force pace, and those who could not keep up were not going to attend pilot training after graduation. For many cadets, that was a real motivator. When I left C-141s in the fall of 1973, Air Force Personnel and I agreed that I would be back in the heavy cargo business. Life, of course, had other plans. Over the next four years, the mood of the nation changed, the Air Force changed, and I changed. And in the summer of 1977, I flew with my last Academy cadet and in my last Air Force aircraft. But what I came to realize over the following years was how much I enjoyed teaching. Among all of the other skills and characteristics the Academy gave us, it showed me how much I enjoyed watching others grow and blossom. Today, I am approaching 50 years of accident-free flying and nearly 45 years of active teaching. And I still get a thrill out of watching my student make his/her first landing, first solo and first license. Much of my teaching is still rooted in the way I learned to fly at the Academy in the fall of 1968. Thanks, USAFA. —Chris Hope, Class of 1969

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 9











10 ·

A. Dan Walker ’80 checked in on Christmas Day 2016 from Brown Bluff on the Antarctic Peninsula. His wife, Chris (taking the

photo), and he enjoyed a holiday trip interacting with lots of ice, penguins, seals, seabirds and whales. They brought Checkpoints along for the ride! B. Steve Fikar ’78 and his wife, Janet, watched the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris in July 2016. The picture was taken on the Champs-Elysées in front of the jumbotron next to the finish line. “Watching the race was a thrill of a lifetime for a cycling enthusiast like me,” Fikar says. C. Jim Donaldson ’74 and his wife, Signe, spent a couple of days in Havana, Cuba, with friends. The picture with Checkpoints was taken in Old Havana in a square where they have old classic taxis for hire. Many of the cars have European diesel engines under the hood due to decades of embargo. D. The South Florida AOG Chapter held its seventh annual pig hunt. Among those participating were (from left) Max Hale, Mark Hale ’70, Ted Kammire ’73 and Ed Schindler ’91. E. Ed Leonard ’68 had to dig into his cabin west of Creede in January 2017 following some epic snows. “My copy of Checkpoints is under the snowbank on left — pretty sure,” he writes. F. Wade Wheeler ’83 took the September 2016 issue of Checkpoints magazine along for a trip to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers first flew. G. Johnnie H. Hall ’63 took his December 2016 edition of Checkpoints on a train trip on the IndianPacific Railroad from Sydney to Perth, Australia, in March 2017. The train stopped in Cook, Australia (population 4) to take on water. H.Walter R. King, Sr., ’66 (right) was accompanied by his wife, Fran King (left), and his granddaughter, Isabel King, on a trip to the Normandy Omaha Beach Memorial. They took along a copy of Checkpoints. I. Karen L. Kaylor (left), Class of 1980, and Kenneth L. Kaylor, Class of 1978, scaled the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. They took the recent Checkpoints story about the Seven Summits challenge along with them. They completed the Lemosho Route of 80 km in nine days (seven up and two down). The trip was in celebration of Kenneth’s 60th birthday. Learn how to check in with Checkpoints at


F-35 Lightning IIs have flown thousands of sorties powered by the F135 propulsion system, developed from the highly successful fifth-generation engine for the F-22 Raptor. Pratt & Whitney partners with customers around the world to provide sustainment solutions that keep the F-35 Lightning II dependable and affordable. We are proud to power today’s most advanced fighter aircraft. Now, we are advancing engine technology to provide the next generation of fighter engines for tomorrow’s defense needs. Learn more at


Checkpoints · March 2016 · 11

THE TRANSMISSON USAFA news from around the globe ... and beyond Knorr ’86 heads to Arizona Brian Knorr ’86 was hired by the University of Arizona as its football team’s special teams coordinator. Knorr joined the Arizona program with 25 years of collegiate coaching experience that includes seasons at Air Force, Wake Forest and Indiana. Most recently, Knorr spent the 2016 season as a quality control assistant at Ohio State University.

Ferland ’95 becomes civil servant Derek Ferland ’95 was hired as manager of Sullivan County in New Hampshire. During his Air Force career, Ferland had deployments to Kuwait and Uzbekistan.

Haynes ’95 tackles new challenge

Kucera ’78, Gould ’76 take reins The United States Air Force Academy Endowment Board of Directors has elected a new chairman and appointed a new president and CEO for the organization. Current board director Jack Kucera ’78 has been named the Endowment’s board chair. Kucera succeeds Randy Jayne ’66. Jayne served as board chair from November 2015 to July 2017 and will maintain his role as an Endowment board director. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould ’76 has been appointed president and CEO of the Endowment. Gould served as the Academy’s 18th superintendent from 2009 to 2013. He replaces Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Mark Volcheff ’75, who served in the role from January 2016 to July 2017. During Volcheff’s tenure, the Endowment raised nearly $18 million in support of the Air Force Academy and its mission.

Mathews ’83 joins Epson Mark Mathews ’83 has been named vice president of North American commercial marketing for Epson America, Inc. In his role, Mathews is responsible for driving product and marketing strategies for Epson’s projector, point-of-sale, business inkjet printer and robotics divisions. In addition, he leads Epson’s Canada-based technical support and development team focused on point-of-sale solutions.

McArtor ’64 honored The Carol B. Hallett Award was presented to Allan McArtor ’64 of Airbus Group, Inc. The presentation was made during the annual Aviation Summit conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 12 ·

Anthony Haynes ’95 has been hired as associate dean for strategic initiatives and information systems at Albany Law School. He’s charged with implementing a series of strategic projects, including online courses and an online master of science in legal studies with specialization in cybersecurity and data privacy.

Fox ’89 receives promotion Jim Fox ’89 has been promoted to vice president of pricing and yield management for American Airlines. He oversees the day-to-day pricing and revenue management activities for American’s 2.1 million annual flights.

Top athletes honored Capt. Paige Blackburn ’12 and 1st Lt. Cale Simmons ’13 were named the U.S. Air Force Female and Male Athletes of the Year. Blackburn — a civil engineer with the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea — was a WCAP (World Class Athlete Program) member from 2015-16 and competed in the discus and javelin throws. Simmons, a contracting officer with Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, was a pole vaulter in the Air Force World Class Athlete Program and competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Pumroy ’98 accepts award Lt. Col. Kyle Pumroy ’98 was selected for the Gen. Bernard Schriever Award by the National Space Club. The award singles out individuals who contribute significantly to space activity. Pumroy is the chief of Space Force Structure Plans for the Space and Cyberspace Superiority Division, Directorate of Strategic Plans, Headquarters Air Force.

Watson ’74 joins team Col. (Ret.) Thomas F. Watson ’74 is director of Government Affairs with the Center for Climate and Security. He

is responsible for engaging the U.S. government on issues of climate and national security. Prior to joining the center, he served as the senior project lead for Climate Adaptation and Critical Infrastructure in the Cross-Sector Integration and Innovation Center in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Staley ’93 hired at Propel Jeff Staley ’93 has joined Propel, a modern cloud Product Lifecycle Management software company, as its vice president of Global Sales. As vice president, Staley is responsible for accelerating revenue growth for Propel’s cloud PLM software and its market leadership in the participation economy.

Loh ’84 returns to Colorado Maj. Gen. Michael A. Loh ’84 is Colorado’s new adjutant general. In this capacity, Loh also serves as the executive director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Loh was previously National Guard assistant to the commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Hays ’84 leads party Jeff Hays ’84 of Colorado Springs will lead Colorado’s Republicans for the next two years. He was elected state party chairman by state party members. He also is a member of the coaching staff for the Air Force Falcons football team.

Hecker ’89 takes command Maj. Gen. James Hecker ’89 has assumed command of 9th Air and Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan and NATO Air Command-Afghanistan. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels. Most recently, he led the 19th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

McNabb ’74 elected to board Gen. (Ret.) Duncan J. McNabb ’74 has been elected to the Board of Directors for AAR, a global aftermarket solutions company. For the last four years, McNabb has been a managing partner at Ares Mobility Solutions Inc., a company he co-founded to increase the efficiency and profitability of international logistics providers.

Goffus ’85 gains appointment Thomas Goffus ’85 has been named deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO. Goffus was most recently a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and lead advisor to its chairman, U.S. Sen. John McCain, on military strategy, counterterrorism and foreign policy issues in U.S. Central Command and European Command.

poverty and neglect. Since then, the organization has distributed more than $350 million in humanitarian aid and deployed more than 6,500 medical and construction volunteers to 68 countries.

Elwell ’83 joins FAA team Daniel Elwell ’83 has been named deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He previously served as assistant FAA administrator for policy under President George W. Bush.

Ehrhart ’75 appointed general counsel David Ehrhart ’75, former associate general counsel at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, now serves as Air Force general counsel. He was previously the lead attorney for the F-35 while at Lockheed.

Wright ’00 fills coaching vacancy Tyron Wright ’00 has been hired as the new boys’ basketball head coach at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A former Air Force Academy hoops player (19982000) and assistant coach (2012-16), Wright takes over a team that was 8-15 last season.

Cunningham ’94 takes command Brig. Gen. Case Cunningham ’94 has taken command of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Previously, he was commander of the 432nd Wing and 432 Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Combat Command, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

Ross ’66 honored by Hall Joseph Ross ’66 was posthumously inducted into the Highlands High School (Kentucky) Hall of Fame on Sept. 17, 2017. Ross was shot down over North Vietnam in August 1968 and his body was never recovered.

Synovec ’09 recognized Thomas Synovec ’09 has been recognized as a “New Faces of Engineering” honoree for 2017. The award is presented annually by DiscoverE, an educational organization dedicated to promoting the value of engineering careers. Synovec designs buildings, roads and airfields for the Air Force. He also works on various humanitarian projects that are critical to America’s coalition partners.

Memorial honors Svoboda’89 A memorial to honor Capt. Amy Svoboda ’89 has been installed at the Pima County Air and Space Museum in

La Forgia ’67 honored Barry La Forgia ’67 was honored for his impressive humanitarian work by the University of San Diego on April 22, 2017. In 1989, La Forgia launched International Relief Teams, a nonprofit providing assistance to victims of disaster, Checkpoints · September 2017 · 13

Tucson, Arizona. Svoboda died when her A-10 went down during a tactical training mission on May 27, 1997. The memorial is a part of the museum’s Joyce M. Corrigan Women in Flight Gallery.

Zabel ’87 takes IT post Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel ’87 is the new director of information technology acquisition process development for the Air Force. Zabel will oversee the force’s research, development and acquisition operations. She previously was vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Strange ’01 heads squadron Lt. Col. Jeffrey Strange ’01 has assumed command of the Air Force 13th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs. Strange was previously director of operations for the 13th ASOS.

Wayland ’84 joins district

Maj. Gen. Scott Kindsvater ’89 is the new deputy chief of staff for operations at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in Mons, Belgium. He was previously the air deputy/deputy commander of operations and intelligence for Combined Joint Task ForceOperation Inherent Resolve and commander of the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Levant.

Behrendt ’09 elected to Hall Prescott High School (Prescott, Wisconsin) Hall of Fame has inducted Capt. Brady Behrendt ’09. A wrestler in high school, Behrendt was all-conference and excelled academically as well. Behrendt has devoted time to many volunteer organizations, such as Home Veterans Stand Down, Air Force Squadron Booster Club, Habitat for Humanity and more.

Jantz ’05 ordained as priest

Brad Wayland ’84 is the new director of operations at the Hermiston School District in Oregon. He was previously president of his own company, Sentry Security Consultants in Hawthorne, Nevada.

The Rev. Brad Jantz ’05 was ordained as a Catholic priest on June 24, 2017, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Birmingham, Alabama. Jantz worked as a priest at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church before returning to Rome to finish his graduate work at Pontifical Gregorian University.

O’Brien ’89 takes command

Ryan ’88 joins Fuel Education

Maj. Gen. Mary O’Brien ’89 is the new commander of 25th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio — Lackland. She was previously director of intelligence, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. The first female 25th Air Force commander, O’Brien is now responsible for leading the nearly 30,000 enterprise members whose mission is to provide full-spectrum decision advantage to warfighters and national leaders through globally integrated ISR, electronic warfare, information operations, and strategic command and control.

Sean Ryan ’88 has joined Fuel Education, a leading provider of online and blended learning solutions for students in grades K-12, as senior vice president and general manager. Ryan previously worked with McGraw-Hill Education where he served as senior vice president of sales, service and platform for the School Education Group.

Deutscher ’96 leads wing Col. Johan Deutscher ’96 is the new commander of the Washington Air Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing based at Fairchild Air Force Base. Deutscher came to the Washington Air National Guard in 2013 to serve as deputy commander of the 252nd Cyberspace Operations group, prior to his assignment as commander of the Mission Support Group.

Smith ’74 leads CAP Col. Mark Smith ’74 is the Civil Air Patrol’s next chief executive officer and national commander. Smith, previously the Civil Air Patrol’s Southwest Region commander, will serve as the organization’s top senior leader for the next three years. As CAP’s 24th CEO/national commander, Smith will lead CAP’s 57,000 members across the U.S. in fulfilling the organization’s three congressionally chartered missions — emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education. 14 ·

Kindsvater ’89 heads to NATO

Atherton ’96 leads Textron Lisa Atherton ’96 has been named president and CEO of Textron Systems, a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Atherton most recently served as executive vice president of Military Business at Bell Helicopter.

The Academy envisioned a center for character and leadership development …

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 15


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 Nov. 3, 2017.

And The Winner Is...

The winner of this quarter’s “Find the Falcon” contest is Mike Tremonte, Class of 1973. He was one of 82 Association of Graduates members who successfully found the Falcon on page 46 of Checkpoints’ June 2017 edition. The names were placed into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the AOG online and Doolittle Hall stores. Who will be this quarter’s winner? Find the Falcon and you, too, can be entered into the December Checkpoints drawing! 16 ·

You helped create an icon!

The 150-foot tall Polaris tower symbolizes the qualities of honesty, excellence and integrity that are instilled in every cadet who enters the Center for Character and Leadership Development. Academy graduates, families and friends gave more than $39 million to enhance and expand the excellence of the CCLD. Make an enduring impact on the Academy and cadets through the USAFA Endowment.

Celebrating 10 years of expanding excellence! Checkpoints · March 2016 · 17


The USAFA Endowment’s second five years — 2012-17


unctuating the skyline above the Air Force Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), the imposing Polaris tower serves as a symbol of integrity. Canted at a 39-degree angle to align the 150-foot-tall tower with the North Star, it represents the moral compass that all Air Force officers are expected to follow in service to the nation. In terms of private philanthropy, the tower also represents one of the largest private fund-raising campaigns in the institution’s history. By the time of the official ribbon cutting for the center in 2016, the United States Air Force Academy Endowment had raised more than $22 million in private funds toward the $46 million center. “I am thrilled to see Polaris Hall’s doors open as it marks where people gather and share lessons learned from the public and private sectors, from other institutions of higher learning, from across our country and around the world,” said former Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 at the 2016 dedication. “We could not have done this alone, so we want to make sure taxpayers and those who so generously donated to this effort realize how much the new building they have supported will inspire cadets every day.” The CCLD coordinates an integrated leadership development program through four divisions: Cadet Development; Research, Integration and Assessment; Operations and Outreach; and Honor. The center also has become a busy hub for cadet training and events that expand the reach of 18 ·

the Academy by bringing dynamic leaders from throughout the nation to participate in the leadership training experience.

emony, where seven sitting U.S. presidents have delivered commencement addresses. After more than five decades of continuous use, Falcon Stadium is showing its age. Searching the stars Public amenities have not kept pace with Working hand-in-hand with priorithe increasing expectations of today’s sports ties set by the Air Force Academy, the fans, and supporting structures suffer from USAFA Endowment stepped in to help deteriorating infrastructure. expand the excellence of two other When the Academy elevated the priority iconic campus structures: the planetarfor a much-needed stadium renovation, ium and Falcon Stadium. the Endowment initiated a four-phase, The planetarium, which was built in $30 million Falcon Stadium Renovation 1959, was shuttered in 2004 when the inte- campaign. Alumni and friends responded rior equipment reached the end of its useful quickly, contributing more than $11 lifespan and funds needed for a complete million to the campaign. By early 2017, renovation were tied up in Washington, phase one was completed, with phase two D.C. The Academy and the Endowment construction scheduled to begin at the end pulled together to secure government funds of the fall football season. and private donations to accelerate the $5 million Planetarium Renovation Project. Satellites, drones and cyber command In addition to serving the expected disThe impact of private philanthropy on the ciplines of astronomy and astrophysics, the Academy extends far beyond impressive renovated planetarium will enhance learnbuildings to fulfill the primary purpose ing experiences for cadets studying biology, of transforming the lives of thousands of chemistry, history and geology. cadets who are training to become Air Cadets and visiting students from Force officers. During the Endowment’s the community will be impacted by the first decade, private companies contributed planetarium’s focus on valuable scimore than $32.6 million to Academy ence, technology, engineering and math projects and programs. (STEM) programming. Fortune 500 companies including Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Intel and others On the gridiron are tapping into the research and probFor 55 years, Falcon Stadium has provided lem-solving capabilities of the Air Force the grand stage for countless regional Academy, giving cadets hands-on experievents, Academy athletic competitions, ence in tackling the fast-paced challenges in community concerts and events, and the space, cyberspace and on the battlefields of all-important USAFA graduation cermodern warfare.

For example, Boeing’s investments in the Academy’s Small Satellite Design and FalconSAT programs are giving cadets an opportunity to design, analyze, build and operate small satellites for Department of Defense space missions. FalconSAT research is conducted within the Academy’s Space Systems Research Center. Intel is partnering with the Academy’s CyberWorx program to counter cyber threats with innovative research and design that often enters the arena of highly classified projects. Aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney is funding the Frank Gillette Propulsion Researcher position at the Academy, bolstering cadet-centered propulsion research in the Department of Aeronautics. Cadets are working on a variety of projects, including new engine and propeller designs and hybrid gas-electric propulsion systems. Foundations Private support from charitable foundations also has played a significant role in funding the Academy’s priority projects and programs. Over the last decade, the Endowment worked with foundations to direct more than $15 million to key Academy programs. The Anschutz Foundation contributed more than $3 million toward the Falcon Stadium renovation. The foundation also committed $500,000 to the annual Character and Leadership Award. The James S. McDonnell Family Foundation and the extended McDonnell family contributed $3.1 million to the Center for Character and Leadership Development and $280,000 to the USAFA Endowment Fund. The Perot Foundation contributed $3.5 million to sponsor the Gen. James Robinson Risner Senior Military Scholar Chair within the Center for Character and Leadership Development. More foundations are recognizing the unique funding opportunities that are

available at the Academy as an institution Leadership Symposium and the Falcon of higher learning, leading-edge academic Heritage Forum. research center, and training ground for leaders in national defense. Heritage - $4.63 million Alumni and friends provide support for a The big picture variety of efforts to preserve the rich heritage During its first decade of activity, the and traditions of the Academy and honor Endowment has raised more than $127 those who have become part of the Long million in private gifts and commitments Blue Line. Supported projects include the to enhance Air Force Academy programs Heritage Trail, the Southeast Asia Memorial and priorities, significantly impacting the Pavilion, USAFA War Memorial, Academy following areas: Heritage Projects and supporting programs. Academics - $9.78 million The effects of private funding on Academy programs have been felt all across the campus, touching every academic department and 19 research centers. Private funding is enhancing cadet training in military strategic studies, behavioral sciences and leadership development, physics, political science, English and fine arts, cultural immersion, law, STEM programs, computer science, aeronautics, foreign language studies, biology and more. Athletics - $25.43 million Falcon Stadium symbolizes USAFA sports, but football is only part of the game. The USAFA Athletics Department sponsors 29 sports including boxing, basketball, diving, fencing, lacrosse, rugby, water polo, volleyball, wrestling, tennis, gymnastics and more. Both men and women compete in Division I of the NCAA. Most sports teams are members of the Mountain West Conference. Boxing competes in the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA). Character & Leadership – $38.09 million The mission of the Academy to train leaders of character is channeled through the Center for Character and Leadership Development, supporting course studies, seminars and events, including the National Character and

Institutional & Operational Support $28.30 million Designated gifts are received for numerous projects and programs throughout the Academy. From the restoration of the Air Garden to support for the Small Satellite Design Program, the Endowment accounts for each gift and directs it to its intended purpose. Minimal funding also is received to assist the Endowment in its fundraising and stewardship responsibilities. Unrestricted Support - $18.38 million Gifts to the Air Force Academy Fund and other unrestricted funds give the superintendent and Academy senior leadership the flexibility to meet immediate strategic needs quickly. The United States Air Force Academy Endowment is poised to launch into its second decade of engendering unprecedented support for the Academy, enhancing its mission to train officers of character for the 21st century profession of arms. The way forward will be explored in the fourth and final installment of “Milestones” in the December 2017 edition of Checkpoints magazine. __________________________ Explore current funding opportunities on the USAFA Endowment website,, or call 719 - 472-0300. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 19

What’s Next? First define your life; then execute your transition By Jeff Holmquist


fter a 26-year career in the Air Force, Col. (Ret.) Mark Czelusta ’89 thought his transition to the civilian job market would be quick and painless. But like so many retiring senior officers, Czelusta says reality failed to meet expectations. “I took a journey that many senior officers travelled,” he explains. “I was a wing commander, I was a colonel and I’m an Air Force Academy graduate. I was a region commander. I was the commandant of the Air Force’s largest officer education program. I thought I certainly would be able to walk right into a senior leadership position.” When a top civilian job didn’t materialize, Czelusta began to explore his options in the nonprofit world. He soon discovered, as many have before him, the pay scale was less than desirable for most of those positions. Finally, Czelusta took a step back and fully explored his career options. He took stock of his job skills and experience, researched various career fields and identi20 ·

fied industries that would allow him to live the lifestyle he’d always dreamed of. Czelusta credits Beth Wade, AOG director of business operations, for a LinkedIn article that helped clarify the correct steps when someone begins their transition from the Air Force.

Read the LinkedIn article Mark refers to at

“Go back and define your life,” he says, “and then find the industries that you wish to pursue. Look at the path you want your life to head down, and then look at what industries will allow you to do that.” For Czelusta, that meant working in an industry that allowed him to work closely with customers, provided time to be involved in the local community, and

offered a flexible schedule so he could occasionally go skiing on a weekday during the winter months. But even the best-laid plans can go awry, Czelusta laughs. He hopes fellow USAFA graduates can benefit from his mistakes and other lessons learned. Military Transition For most of his Air Force career, Czelusta was a C-130 pilot and commander. His final assignments included a stint as the 314th Airlift Wing commander (201012), commandant of the Squadron Officer College (2012-14) and commander of the Northwest Region of the Air Force’s ROTC program (2014-16).

How do I envision my life at retirement? Czelusta hoped to remain in Colorado upon retirement, and he discovered the perfect financial advisor career with Pennica Financial Group in Colorado Springs to make that dream a reality.


Michael Pennica (left) and Mark Czelusta ‘89 connected in the financial services business, sharing a common bond of core values — integrity, service and excellence.

But just moments before joining the Pennica team, Czelusta received another job offer with a Fortune 500 company. “The money was insanely good,” he reports. He took the higher-paying job, but later regretted the decision. “I did what so many senior officers do, which was to chase the big-dollar offer,” he says. “But I found myself in a very difficult situation.” A few months into his new role, Czelusta realized that he chose the wrong transition path. “There was little intellectual stimulation and commu-

nity involvement was absent. I, frankly, was miserable.” In addition, Czelusta looked at his advancement opportunities in the company and wasn’t convinced he’d be happy staying put long-term.

What motivates me? Czelusta contacted Michael Pennica and took the fellow Air Force veteran to lunch. After talking over the situation,

“Go back and define your life, ... and then find the industries that you wish to pursue. Look at the path you want your life to head down, and then look at what industries will allow you to do that.” —Mark Czelusta

Pennica was more than happy for Czelusta to join his team. Pennica, an Air Force intelligence analyst and Air Force Reserves officer during his military career, is most comfortable bringing military veterans into his firm. He says most veterans bring with them a strong work ethic, invaluable core values and a sense of serving others. They also are more likely to become involved in the community, which is an important quality that Pennica looks for in his financial advisors.

Will I need additional training? “Everybody buys into that culture when they come into our firm,” Pennica explains. “That’s the kind of person who we like to bring into the firm, even if they have no financial services experience. I can teach anybody this business, but I can’t teach somebody to be kind, understanding, a good listener, organized, or action-oriented. These are Checkpoints · September 2017 · 21

things that a person has to come to the table with.” A few months later, Czelusta attained his required certifications and officially joined the financial services firm. He’s never regretted his second transition decision. A New Start After spending 21 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, Rich Cimino ’94 was ready for a new challenge. He attended a seminar on networking at Peterson Air Force Base and Pennica happened to be one of the presenters. “He talked about networking, talked about being a leader in the community, and talked about helping nonprofits,” Cimino says. “It hit home with me. I talked to him during the break and that’s when I found out that he was retired Air Force and in the financial business.” Among the industries Cimino considered for his transition were politics, property management and financial management. After Cimino met Pennica, the financial advisor opportunity seemed the best path to explore. After separating, Cimino moved to Winter Park, Colorado, and began building his business. Cimino says he’s found his new career to be challenging and rewarding. “It’s kind of a chronic problem that most Americans aren’t saving,” he explains. “There’s a saying in the industry that we have to work amazingly hard to convince people to do what’s good for them. Everyone that I’ve worked with has improved their situation, so it’s been fulfilling. I hope that I can just break through to more and more people and help them save.”

Are my expectations realistic? Transferring Skills Both Czelusta and Cimino can readily identify job skills that helped them 22 ·

transition from the military world into civilian employment. Czelusta says his experience as a senior officer provided him with a host of strengths that he brought to the civilian workplace. First and foremost, his ability to communicate a vision and plan with varied audiences was important. “I’ve been able to translate the highly technical and sometimes garbled jargon of the financial community to different folks,” he explains. “That’s one thing I did very well as a wing commander — being able to articulate the mission in multiple environments.” Other transferable skills included a strong dedication to the team and to the customer; an ability to refine plans and strategies as conditions change; and a can-do spirit that helps get things done. “Plus the sense of being humble,” he adds. “I think the best wing commanders are ultimately humble and appreciative at every level. You have to understand that it’s a team and it’s not just you, and that carries over to the financial services industry, too.” Cimino notes that his ability to speak in public — a skill honed as an intelligence officer — is a key ability that improves his chances for success. In addition, Cimino says his background in collecting intel on individuals helps him on a daily basis, too. “I’m not spying on my clients,” he laughs. “But you learn about their life — you learn their career goals, their retirement goals, their travel goals. It’s kind of like information analysis on individuals. I feel like I’m able to quickly assemble information about a client and understand them pretty well, because that’s what I did for a long time — but just with bad guys.” The Pennica Way As a small, independent firm, Pennica Financial Group focuses much of its effort on middle-class Americans. “We want to be a company that is helping everyday Americans, small business owners or employees,” Pennica says. “We have stayed true to that. We do have

some high-net-worth clients, but it’s not our mandate to work only with high-networth individuals.” In addition, the firm tries hard to focus on each individual client and provide “exquisite” customer service at every juncture, Czelusta says. “Every client is important to us,” he says. “We set to the stage where our client is walking into their future, eyes wide open. That is very cool.”

What are my core values? Another key lesson he’s learned while at Pennica is the value of networking and what it means to network, Czelusta adds. “Networking isn’t about meeting 20 people a day,” he says. “It’s meeting one person per day that you will know for life. It’s important to take it slow and not fast.” Another company core value is staying connected to the community. Pennica supports many military and veteran support efforts. The firm also sponsors numerous local events, projects and causes. Pennica was the fourth company that signed up to be a True Blue Business with the Association of Graduates. Today, there are 46 True Blue Business partners that support the AOG, Academy and cadets. In addition, each individual financial advisor within the firm is expected to stay connected and involved within their local communities. Czelusta is involved with the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce and a Kiwanis member. He’s also a Junior Achievement mentor and a cycling club sponsor. Cimino serves his community as a recently elected Grand County, Colorado, commissioner. He says the flexibility in his work schedule allows him to serve both his clients and his constituents. “Giving back is so important, I believe,” Pennica says. “It’s not about you and it’s not just about the money. It’s about what gets you out of bed in the morning.”

trueblue B












Building a Strong Community Together

The AOG thanks our True Blue Business Sponsors Learn more at



Chapel Hills – Colorado Springs

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 23

USAFA baton passed to Lt. Gen. Silveria ’85


he United States Air Force Academy welcomed its 20th superintendent during an Aug. 11, 2017 Change of Command ceremony. Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 relinquished command of USAFA to Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85. Lt. Gen. Johnson, who officially retired at the ceremony, served as superintendent for the previous four years. Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein ’83 was on hand for the command change in front of the Class Wall on the Terrazzo Lt. Gen. Silveria, with many family members and friends in attendance, was met with a rousing response from his fellow Class of 1985 classmates when first introduced as the new superintendent. “I promise to represent our class well,” he pledged to the crowd. Lt. Gen. Silveria is a command pilot who flew combat missions over Iraq and the Balkans and served as Bagram Air Base vice commander in Afghanistan. He has logged more than 3,900 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the F-15 and F-35. His most recent assignment was as deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and deputy commander of the Combined Air Force Component, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia. During his first weeks at USAFA, Lt. Gen. Silveria offered a few thoughts on the current state of the institution and the future he envisions for the Academy and its cadets. 24 ·


Gen. David Goldfein ‘83 (left), chief of staff of the Air Force, presents the USAFA guidon to Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ‘85, new USAFA superintendent, during the Aug. 11, 2017, Change of Command Ceremony.


USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ‘85 presides over his first Pass in Review of the Cadet Wing. Gen. David Goldfein ‘83, chief of staff of the Air Force, stands at attention in the background.


Many members from the Class of 1985 showed up to support their classmate, USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, during the Aug. 11 Change of Command Ceremony. They all paused for a group photo at the conclusion of the event.

What was your reaction when you first heard that you would become superintendent at USAFA? My first reaction was surprise. Then I felt deeply humbled. Ever since my days as a cadet, I have respected the position of the superintendent. Now, the Air Force has determined that I am the right fit to take on that incredible task? I’m absolutely honored and grateful. Were you surprised by this opportunity or was it a position you aspired to at this time of your career? This definitely took me by surprise. I never dreamed the Air Force would want me to run the Academy, and I can assure you the only people more surprised were my classmates! Based on the number of Class of 1985 classmates who showed up at the Change of Command Ceremony, is it safe to assume you’ve received a lot of encouragement and feedback from the graduate community? I’m biased — but I don’t know if there is a more supportive, smart, fun group of people than the Class of Checkpoints · September 2017 · 25

“I firmly believe I am the sum of all my past experiences — both triumphs and failures. Each one of them helped to prepare me for this job: developing our next generation of Air Force leaders.” 1985. This Academy belongs to them just as much as it does to me, so I am confident they’ll continue to support me and the institution just as they always have. Based on your background and experiences, do you feel well prepared for this role at this time? What tools in your skillset do you feel will help you as the new superintendent? I firmly believe I am the sum of all my past experiences — both triumphs and failures. Each one of them helped to prepare me for this job: developing our next generation of Air Force leaders. What are your overreaching goals as you begin to settle into your role as superintendent? Our mission hasn’t changed: We need to develop leaders of character prepared to fight and win in an increasingly complex, changing battlespace. In order to carry that sacred task out I intend to continue the path USAFA is on. 26 ·

Does it feel like a different Academy than when you were here in the 1980s? How and why has it changed? In many ways it’s still the same as it was in 1985. Look around — it has the same appearance until you look deeper. Concurrently, our Air Force and the fight we are preparing these graduates for has changed dramatically. When I graduated, we were embroiled in the Cold War with a single, known antagonist. Now we are fighting a different enemy in a demanding, complex environment. We need to prepare our graduates by not forgetting the lessons of the past, but also they must ever reach into the future to be ready for tomorrow’s fight. Have you reached out to previous superintendents to get a feel for this job or seek some advice? What sort of advice have they offered? Absolutely — I have forewarned and thanked in advance many of the former Supts because I know I’ll need to rely on their knowledge and expertise. I am inheriting an institution that was cared

for and pushed into the future by Lt. Gen. Johnson. I intend to carry that work and many other tasks on. What are you most looking forward to in this new assignment? What challenges are ahead? I’m most excited to connect with our cadets. You won’t find a more talented, driven, patriotic group of young people in America, and I can’t wait to hear their stories and inspire them to focus all those gifts to excel during their time at USAFA. As far as challenges, we still need to work on modernizing our IT infrastructure to keep pace with the demands of the technology. And we need to keep updating our facilities as well. Sijan Hall hasn’t changed much since I graduated, which is why we’re undergoing a much need renovation right now. Are there lessons you’ve learned from your career and life that you hope to impart to the cadets under your charge? I hope to bring my experience as a warfighter to inspire each of them in their careers. Any other things you’d like to share with the graduate community as you launch into this new position? We need you. We need you to be informed, which is on us, but we also need you to be engaged — that’s on you. With the support of the Long Blue Line, this Academy has achieved incredible things (#3 public university, #1 in undergraduate research funding, 20 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies, etc.) but there are still greater things to be done. I don’t see a ceiling for USAFA, and I certainly don’t think we’ve exhausted our potential. So join me and let’s see how far and how high we can go!

HEALING WATERS USAFA grads launch retreat facility in support of military widows By Jeff Holmquist

28 ·

“For the first time in five years, I’ve felt a sense of belonging again. Thank you for creating a space for us to connect, share, cry, laugh, grow and heal. I feel refreshed, energized and restored.” -Guestbook entry written by a retreat attendee


he mournful call of a loon rises from Holbrook Lake and echoes up the hill toward a sprawling home. A small group of women, enjoying a bonfire that helps cut the chill from the evening air, pauses to appreciate the sounds and sights that envelop them. Here, in the heart of Minnesota lake country, military spouses who have lost loved ones in combat or training tragedies gather for a weekend of peace, understanding and, ultimately, healing. Their conversations — whether around the campfire, by the beach or at the dinner table — can range from painful memories to funny stories to ongoing life challenges. During their stay, the widows experience the full spectrum of emotions — joy, anger, grief, hope and frustration. And that’s just fine — Holbrook Farms Retreat is a safe place for these survivors to be honest and vulnerable.

THE BEST MEDICINE Lt. Col. Matt Brancato ’99 and Lt. Col. Micaela (Bentson) Brancato ’00 launched this lakeside retreat center in 2014, a full five years before they planned to open the facility to visitors. They kicked things off by hosting five military widows for a long weekend. Now in its fourth season, the “Survivors of Heroes Retreat” serves a handful of widows each year. Unfortunately, there’s a long waiting list of survivors who want to attend future retreats. “We didn’t realize how much need there was out there,” Matt admits. The survivor retreats are designed to pamper participants with boat rides, massages, home-cooked meals, movie nights and helpful speakers. There’s an agenda of events and recreational opportunities built into each weekend, but attendees can pick and choose what they want to participate in.

If they want to stay up late and talk, it’s no problem. Sleep until noon? No one will question that choice. The only requirement — do what helps you relax and feel rejuvenated. “This beautiful setting, just by itself, promotes peace and healing and a de-stressing,” explains Sarah (Kotte Ziegler) Merwin ’03, a firstyear retreat participant and now the retreat coordinator. “We want people to feel a weight come off their shoulders when they walk through our door.” “I feel like our life mission is to serve those who serve,” Matt adds. “We wanted to find a way to give back to those who are supporting our country and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.” TRANSITION PLANS While serving with the North Dakota Air Guard in 2010, the Brancatos were first Checkpoints · September 2017 · 29


Lt. Col. Matt and Lt. Col. Micaela Brancato continue to serve their country in the California Air Guard, while also ramping up a nonprofit offering healing to the widows of fallen military heroes. They've found the demand for such retreats is greater than they expected.

30 ·

introduced to the 47-acre maple sugar farm that would later become Holbrook Farms Retreat. The couple three times rejected the idea of buying the property. “But there was just a higher power that said this place was going to be something someday,” Micaela recalls. “That some day, we thought, was going to be when we retired from the military.” The couple purchased the cabin and surrounding property and started renovations on the facilities, not knowing how they would eventually utilize the lakefront setting in their post-Air Force careers. A few months later, in April 2011, Matt was notified that his fellow Class of 1999 classmate — David Brodeur — had been shot and killed in Afghanistan. Two months after that, in June 2011, fellow USAFA graduate Eric Ziegler ’03 died in an F-16 crash. “I’ll never forget the year that Gen. (Stephen) Lorenz was speaking at Arnold Hall to the Cadet Wing, and he said … due to the nature of our profession we’re not all going to make it to our 20-year class reunion,” Micaela recalls. “That stuck in my brain. Unfortunately, he was right.” “These two funerals, back to back, made us feel helpless,” Matt admits.


Holbrook Lake near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, is the ideal setting for weekend retreats offered to the spouses of fallen military members. Survivors of Heroes Retreats have been conducted here for four summers. Photos by Ryan Hall

“We wanted to help, but we didn’t know how. We didn’t know what these families needed.” Later, when Micaela had a chance to talk with Ziegler’s widow, Sarah Kotte Ziegler ’03, the idea for Holbrook Farms Retreat started to take root. When asked what helped her most during that season of grief, Sarah told the Brancatos that it was time at the lake. “That’s when the light bulb turned on,” Matt recalls. “We always felt this land had a healing property to it. It’s so peaceful out here. We thought this would be the perfect venue to host ‘Survivors of Heroes’ retreats.” AN INCOME STREAM Around that same time, the Brancatos launched a home-based business — Rodan+Fields skincare products — to gain some business experience and generate a little extra income. All of that extra money made from the business has been pumped back into Holbrook Farms Retreat. “What we liked about the business model was we didn’t have to give up what we were already doing with our military careers,” says Matt, who is now squadron commander in the California Air National Guard at March Air Reserve

“But there was just a higher power that said this place was going to be something someday. That some day, we thought, was going to be when we retired from the military.” —Micaela Brancato Base. “What we were surprised at is there’s a lot of need out there for quality skincare, so the business started taking off. As soon as the income started coming in, we then could dream bigger.” With the infusion of extra income, the Brancatos expanded their retreat facility and completed several upgrades. Then they opted to give their “Survivors of Heroes” idea a trial run in 2014. They were able to buy new furniture and beds to accommodate all the guests. Landscaping and other projects also were funded.

The local community helped the Brancatos get up and running, volunteering their time to prepare the property for the military widows. “The idea was it was going to be a test year and we’d shut it down until we retired in 2020 or beyond,” says Micaela, who is the 163rd Aircraft Maintenance commander at March ARB. “But we had such a great outpouring from the survivors, we kept it going.” The number of survivors served grew steadily over the first three years of the Checkpoints · September 2017 · 31

retreat — from five the first year to 13 in 2016. But in 2017, the retreat staff decided it should cap the number at 10 new participants and two returning participants who serve as facilitators. “We didn’t want to grow too big too fast and then lose our intimate atmosphere,” Matt explains. “We wanted to keep it a close-knit, friendly atmosphere here.” Holbrook Farms Retreat added a second retreat this year, inviting alumni from previous seasons back to the lake. During their return visit, the alums worked on several projects in preparation for the summer’s “Survivors of Heroes” gathering.

“That’s also something we learned at the Academy,” Matt says. “No one can do anything alone. It takes a big team and it also takes a vision.” In the future, the Brancatos hope to expand the gatherings offered at Holbrook Farms Retreat. The vision is to open up the facilities to other family members of the nation's fallen military, wounded warriors and their caregivers, PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] survivors and other non-profit organizations. “This place is meant to be shared,” Micaela says. When not hosting retreats, Holbrook Farms is on the Vacation Rentals By Owner ACADEMY CONNECTIONS (VRBO) website and available for short- and Shortly before conducting their first retreat, long-term stays. The money generated by the Brancatos reconnected with Gen. (Ret.) rentals helps to pay for facility improvements Mark Welsh ’76 — the commandant of and retreat costs. cadets at USAFA when they were cadets — “That has brought some great income to and Mrs. Welsh, while attending the TAPS help take care of the property,” Micaela says. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) “We’d love for everybody to come stay with annual gala in Washington, D.C. During us on Holbrook Lake. We’d love for people this conversation, Gen. Welsh — then chief to come and help give of their time, talent of staff of the Air Force — encouraged their and resources. Or to let us know if they efforts and asked for more information. know of any survivors who could come and “We couldn’t believe with everything stay with us.” the Chief of Staff has on his plate that he would have time,” Matt smiles. SURVIVORS But Welsh immediately followed up Sarah (Kotte Ziegler) Merwin ’03 was afterwards and continued to follow the one of the first survivors to attend a progress of the farm. Holbrook gathering. Her first husband, That brief communication among Eric “Dirk” Ziegler ’03, died in an fellow Academy grads eventually led to a airplane crash. job at the Pentagon for Micaela — workShe now serves as the vice president ing for the chief of staff’s Commander’s of the Holbrook Farms Retreat Board Action Group (CAG). Matt landed a spot with the National Guard Bureau at Joint Base Andrews. The Brancatos say their time in D.C. was fortuitous because they learned a lot about establishing a nonprofit, raising funds and making connections that will help Holbrook Farms Retreat grow and thrive. “We’re just following the path,” Matt explains. “We keep going where God needs us and wherever we feel called to be.” They also have been able to connect with fellow USAFA grads who have helped get the retreat center established and upgraded. 32 ·

of Directors and is also the "Survivors of Heroes Retreat" coordinator. An aircraft maintenance officer during her Air Force career, Merwin was a stay-athome mom after her daughter, Anna, was born. The family was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas when Eric’s aircraft went down during a routine training mission. “My Air Force experience helped me to understand the dangers of our profession,” Sarah recalls. “We had both deployed to Iraq previously, so we had had the conversations and had wills drawn up. But no one is prepared for anything like this.” Sarah had tremendous support from family members and the Air Force community, so the healing progressed. But the grief she experienced from her loss never completely disappeared. That’s when her Air Force friend and fellow Fargo, North Dakota, native, Micaela, called and asked if she’d like to be part of the Holbrook planning team and attend the first retreat. Being able to spent time with other survivors helped Sarah discover a community of women who can support each other year round. “It filled a need I didn’t know I had,” she explains. “I thought I was very well supported. I thought I was healing and progressing … and I was. But this specific setting and the groups of people who come provide another level of support that no one else can.” Sarah now is thrilled to be part of the team that serves and pampers survivors at each retreat. “I just love being a part of this mission,” she says. “For me, there’s definitely been a lot of healing.” Sarah Merwin '03 attended the first Survivors of Heroes Retreat in 2014. She now is a member of the Holbrook Farms Retreat Board of Directors and is the retreat coordinator. Merwin says she loves being a part of an organization that seeks to pamper fellow widows.

Feedback from all of the retreat participants proves that Holbrook is a big help to those who attend. “The survivors who come feel this sense of community,” she says. “We can have very easy conversations. We don’t necessarily dwell on the past, but focus on what we’ve learned and how we’ve healed and how we can continue to help each other through really uncharted territory.” To stay connected after the retreats, alums can join a private Facebook page. The attendees also regularly talk via phone to share joys and concerns throughout the year. ALL EMOTIONS MATTER When Robyn Schornak attended her first "Survivors of Heroes Retreat" in 2015, she admits she had a lot of unresolved emotions penned up inside. It had been almost a decade since she’d lost her husband — Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Schornak — due to an insurgent ambush in Iraq. “That was the worst day of my life,” she recalls. “I had lost my very best friend in the world. I was a 24-year-old widow with a two-and-a-half-year-old son.” Robyn attended several memorial services in honor of her husband, but found the experiences too difficult. “Every time we went to one of those, it felt like ripping open a wound that wasn’t healing,” she remembers. “It was just so hard.” She would eventually decide to avoid anything to do with the military, shielding her son and herself from painful memories. “So for eight years, my son and I did not participate in anything that was offered to us,” she says. “But we were both anxiety ridden and had no support system outside of our family. It was just so difficult for people to understand why sometimes I just wanted to cry or sometimes I just wanted to be angry. Or, even though I was in a relationship with someone new, I still loved my husband. Your average friend doesn’t understand that.” In 2013, Robyn would attend her first widows’ retreat put on by TAPS. It turned out to be a great experience.

“I remember sitting among all these ladies and thinking … why on earth did it take me so long to do this?” she remembers. She would enroll her son in a retreat offered through A Soldier’s Child Foundation. He found the experience to be helpful. Robyn would later get connected with Holbrook Farms Retreat. She would attend the retreat with one of her friends — another survivor. “I remember we were coming up the drive and thinking this place is gorgeous,” she says. “You can’t even get in the front door before you can see the beauty that is here.” An early highlight from the weekend was having Matt Brancato carry each person’s luggage to their bedroom. “A lot of us don’t have someone at home to do things for us,” Robyn says. “Having someone to do that stuff was just phenomenal. Plus every little detail was perfect — the bed covers, the flowers, the paintings on the wall. They had towels out for everyone.” By the time the weekend was over, Robyn says strong friendships were formed and an emotional connection with Holbrook was established. “The day I had to leave was just so sad,” she says. “I was brokenhearted to leave, because I knew I was going back to the stress of everyday life. I was going back to that weight that all of us carry in our daily lives.” When she made it home, Robyn immediately called fellow survivors and encouraged them to apply for the next season. This past summer, Robyn returned to Holbrook twice — once for the alumni retreat and a second time to serve as a facilitator at the “Survivors of Heroes” retreat. These days, she thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to pamper fellow survivors during the weekend gatherings and to lend a sympathetic ear to those who are hurting. “We can’t change our circumstances and what has happened to us,” she explains. “But we know that when I walk through these doors, we can go down to the dock and put our feet in the water, and not have to worry about anything.”

VOLUNTEER HELP Lt. Col. Jen (Schiessler) Fuller ’99, who is currently assigned as a speechwriter at the Pentagon, served as a volunteer at this summer’s retreat. She heard about Holbrook while working with Micaela in D.C. “It is just a phenomenal program that I really wanted to become involved in,” Fuller says. “I decided that this was a valuable way to give back. I hope I can help facilitate some healing and some down time for these survivors.” A former C-130 pilot, Fuller was assigned a number of jobs at Holbrook during the long weekend — including meal preparation, cleanup and odd jobs. “There’s nothing more valuable than giving your time,” she says. “Unfortunately, we’ll be involved in conflicts for a very long time, so there will always be a need for this kind of support. It’s invaluable to be able to give back to those who have given so much to us.” RETREAT REPORT From July 20 to 24, 2017, a total of 12 women attended the fourth Survivors of Heroes retreat — 10 new attendees from Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota and two facilitators and retreat alums from Tennessee and Texas. According to Sarah, the entire weekend turned out perfectly, including the special speakers who talked about family finances and “Healing Through Writing” — a helpful journaling class. “We all ended the weekend physically and emotionally exhausted, but filled up more than ever,” she says. “I come out of the weekend still more healed and more positive than before. “Fortunately, but unfortunately, word has spread and more women are hearing about our retreat. The last two years we have not been able to accommodate everyone who has been interested. We have a waitlist, but we hope that we can grow and shrink that list to zero.” For more information about Holbrook Farms Retreat and the "Survivors of Heroes Retreats," visit Checkpoints · September 2017 · 33

respect all

fear none USAFA grads help guide women’s semi-pro football team to second consecutive national championship

By Jeff Holmquist

The two-time national champion Utah Falconz women’s tackle football team has the United States Air Force Academy to thank for its unrivaled success over the past three years. During that stretch, the squad has amassed a 40-1 record against Independent Women’s Football League opponents throughout the nation. Ask any of the players the reason for their winning ways and they’ll likely point to the coaching staff that includes Head Coach Rick Rasmussen ’77 and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Rasmussen ’02.

34 ·

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 35

ince joining the coaching staff four years ago, the father-son duo has installed a system eerily similar to the Air Force Falcons football team. Although neither of the Rasmussen men played for the Falcons during their time at the Academy, they learned well the leadership qualities and warrior ethos that can enhance any team’s chances for victory. The Falconz team motto — “Respect All, Fear None” — is similar to those adopted by each Academy class and helps create the appropriate mindset for players and coaches. On offense, the Falconz run the triple option to help overcome the size disadvantage they face at every game. The squad relies on speed, angles and conditioning (sound familiar?) to create an edge over their opponents. The Utah team also has implemented a code of conduct and a disciplined approach to game preparation that has paid huge dividends on the field of play.

At this year’s national championship game — held July 22, 2017 — the Utah Falconz dominated the Austin Yellow Jackets 35-18 in front of its hometown Salt Lake City fans. “No mercy,” Rick Rasmussen told the team in pre-game warm-ups. “I’ll be the one to decide if it’s enough. Take it to them until I say enough.” A record crowd for women’s semi-pro football of 2,500 raucous fans turned out to enjoy the action at Cottonwood High School stadium. Temperatures in the 90s didn’t seem to dampen the team’s passion and resolve to defend its 2016 national championship title. FANTASTIC FALCONZ The 53 women on the Falconz squad range in age from 19 to 47. All pay a hefty sum to play each season — about $800 to cover the cost of uniforms, equipment, referees and travel. The “pay to play” mentality was one of the reasons Head Coach Rick Rasmussen was drawn to coaching the Falconz. Rasmussen left the Air Force in 1986 after serving as a T-38 instructor and an F-16 pilot during his military career. He later joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Utah, eventually serving as a security plan supervisor during the 2002 Winter Olympics. For 14 years, Rasmussen also coached a local high school football team but eventually retired from that role. A teacher from that high school — who also happened to be the quarterback on Utah’s first women’s football team — approached Rasmussen at the gym one day and pestered him into lending a hand with the female squad. “She just kept harassing me and asking me to come to help them just one time,” he laughs. “I avoided it, because I didn’t want to get back into coaching. But once I went — which was a mistake — I haven’t left since. Coaching adult women who pay to play is a big challenge. The players have no background


Kyle Rasmussen ‘02 proudly displays the team motto on his game-day t-shirt.


1st Lt. Emmy Raney warms up her kicking leg prior to the Independent Women’s Football League championship game July 22. Raney played for the Falconz during the past two seasons. Photos by Ryan Hall

36 ·

in the sport, but they’re willing to learn everything. Our women are very dedicated.” The team has adopted the coaching staff’s philosophy, which is heavily influenced by the Rassmussens’ Academy experiences. “We run a triple option,” Rick Rasmussen explains. “We run toss sweeps, and we run a lot of wheel passes. The same type of stuff that you’d see on Saturdays at Falcon Stadium.” The Falconz run a hurry-up offense, rarely huddling in an effort to keep the opponent on their heels. The squad rarely punts and usually attempts onside kicks after scoring. “We try to keep the ball in our team’s hands,” he explains. Interestingly, the team also has instituted an honor committee, made up of current players, which addresses team rules that are broken and determines disciplinary action when needed. “Much like we all learned, standing there on the Terrazzo … we’re not big on excuses,” he says. “We’re big on personal responsibility, and the players have embraced that.” Rasmussen adds that he’s especially proud to be part of a team that is diverse and yet plays as a unified unit. “Our team is a great cross section of America,” he says. “We have a little bit of everything — racially, religiously, personal choice. There are people on our team who have never met somebody of the other type — no matter what that other type happens to be. They’re 53 completely diverse young ladies, all pulling on the same end of the rope.”

QUALITY TIME Kyle Rasmussen ’02 had no coaching experience when he agreed to join the Utah Falconz coaching staff. The chief financial officer for a small Utah company, Kyle Rasmussen says he was simply looking to spend more time with his dad when he took the volunteer offensive coordinator position. “I wanted to apprentice under him — to more or less learn as much as he had in his brain about the game of football,” he says. “I was astounded at how quickly I got up to speed, and how quickly my dad was able to teach me a lot of the facets of the game. I’m having a ball just spending time with a guy who I greatly admire, who has taught me so much about life, and who has given me so many gifts — including the Air Force Academy.” From day one, the team enjoyed immediate success and has managed to steadily improve each year, Kyle Rasmussen reports. This season, the Falconz outscored their opponents 472-33 and were undefeated, 11-0. “Those are stats that speak for themselves,” he smiles. “They really highlight the level of organization and discipline that we have in our staff and our players.” Even though the Falconz regularly dominate their opponents, Kyle Rasmussen says the goal of the semi-pro team isn’t just winning games. “The focus is teaching the game of football to a group who didn’t grow up playing and who has had relatively little Checkpoints · September 2017 · 37

exposure to the game,” he explains. “We offer them a gift of both organization and football that a lot people don’t get, especially women.” JUST FOR KICKS Air Force 1st Lt. Emmy Raney ’14 was one of the few Falconz who had previous football experience. She was a kicker and punter for her Fort Knox (Kentucky) High School team when she was younger. A soccer player most of her life, Raney tried out for the Academy soccer team while a cadet but didn’t make the squad. She would join the women’s club rugby team instead, playing all four years of her Academy tenure. Following graduation, Raney was stationed at Hill Air Force Base with the ICBM systems directorate. She heard that two fellow USAFA graduates were coaching the local women’s semipro team and she decided to try out. For the past two years, Raney has played with the Utah squad as a kicker and punter. During the 2016 season, she also was a wide receiver and safety. “It’s really an amazing experience, because you meet and get to know women that you never would have come into contact with any other way,” she reports. “There are doctors on the team. There are lawyers on the team. There are zookeepers. There are so many moms on the team. They are people of different backgrounds and cultures. But you have this common goal of playing football and doing well as a team.” 38 ·

What really sets the team apart, however, is the coaching philosophy that permeates the Falconz practices and games, Raney says. “Our coach is really big on integrity, timeliness and respect,” she says. “He really brings the Air Force core values to our team.” With two championship rings in her possession, Raney is leaving the Falconz due to her new assignment at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. She hopes to catch on with another women’s football team in the future.


(Above) Utah Falconz Head Coach Rick Rasmussen ‘77 implores his team during a timeout. His Falconz squad went on to win the league championship for the second season in a row. (Below) 1st Lt. Emmy Raney watches the action from the sidelines during the July 22 championship game. Photos by Ryan Hall

“AMERICAN FOOTBALL IS LIKE RITUALIZED WARFARE. THERE’S A LOT OF STRATEGY, A LOT OF MANEUVERING, AND A LOT OF RAW HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT. AND THERE’S EMOTION LIKE I’VE ONLY SEEN IN ARMED CONFLICT. I WAS JUST SUPER CURIOUS, SO I HAD TO TRY IT OUT.” “There are so many women’s football teams out there, even though people don’t know about it,” Raney says. “There are two different leagues right now — the IWFL and the WFA [Women’s Football Alliance] — and there are at least 30 teams in each league. I bet there is some team around where I’m going that I’d love to join.” THE EARLY YEARS Utah played host to one of the region’s first semi-pro tackle football teams for women. USAFA graduate Lisa (Willman) Berente ’90 was one of the early pioneers in the sport when she joined the Utah squad in 2010. Berente was a self-described jock while at the Academy — playing basketball and soccer, as well as being part of the track team. She also trained and played for the USA’s team handball squad as a cadet. But she never played American football until, years later, one of her friends suggested that she try out for the new Utah team. A KC-135 pilot during her 25-year Air Force career, Berente says she never intended to actually join the team. She was the fifth oldest player to show up for the tryouts and she wasn’t sure how she and her aging friends would fare. “It was a serious, timed and measured tryout,” she smiles. “What we found out was that we could hang. We did pretty good and it was just super fun.” Still, it took some convincing from her friends for Berente to join the fledgling team. She would eventually become a wide receiver, linebacker and backup quarterback during her

playing years. She admits that she never regretted her decision to play the game. “American football is like ritualized warfare,” she says. “There’s a lot of strategy, a lot of maneuvering, and a lot of raw hand-tohand combat. And there’s emotion like I’ve only seen in armed conflict. I was just super curious, so I had to try it out.” When the Utah Falconz organized four years ago, Berente was tempted to play for fellow USAFA graduate Rick Rasmussen. She says the structure, discipline and conditioning that the head coach brought to the program was something only an Academy graduate could organize and implement. Berente decided the demands of being a player were too great, so she instead agreed to become the Falconz wide receiver coach. For Berente, who retired from the Air Force two years ago and currently flies full time with the airlines, being involved with the Falconz has been both educational and enjoyable. Even though she gave up her official coaching spot this season, Berente could be found at Falconz games cheering on and encouraging her former charges. Players join the team for a variety of reasons, she suggests, but they all come away with greater confidence and a strong feeling of camaraderie when the season ends. “The Falconz have proven that you really can take all kinds of different players and skill levels and put them on a team … and it will do something for them in a good, positive way,” she notes. FOOTBALL’S FUTURE Rick Rasmussen indicates the competition in the Independent Women’s Football League is steadily improving, so the future of the sport is bright. Berente says she hopes women’s football thrives, as it gives some female athletes a unique avenue for competition and a strong sense of belonging. “I’ve never learned so much about myself than when I played football,” she says. “And I’d already played sports for years and years. I hope that football is always available for those who are looking for it.” Checkpoints · September 2017 · 39


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:



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 · 41


JABARA AIRMANSHIP AWARD Guyette ’08 earns 2017 Jabara Award while battling ISIS By Jeff Holmquist


n early-morning combat sortie in the skies over Syria required quick thinking and personal risk on the part of this year’s Jabara Airmanship Award winner — Capt. Brian Guyette ’08. Guyette’s dedication to his mission of protecting friendly troops on the ground helped neutralize the enemy, save the lives of countless U.S. military personnel and secure the main east-west ISIS supply route — connecting Syria to Iraq. It was just one of 44 combat sorties the B-1 aircraft commander would fly in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and Operation FREEDOM SENTINEL in 2015. On Aug. 25, Guyette was the guest of honor at the 2017 Col. James Jabara Airmanship Award Dinner at Doolittle Hall, where he was presented with the prestigious award while surrounded by family, friends and fellow airmen.

he noticed an enemy large-caliber, recoilless rifle mounted on a truck firing south to north near the Euphrates River. “It was just at that point in the day [dawn] when you could spot it with the naked eye,” Guyette recalls. “I cued in on that.” As Guyette moved toward the target, one of the two Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods in the B-1 malfunctioned and communications among the crew members was insufficient for the pilot to coordinate with his weapon systems officer (WSO). “The Joint Terminal Attack Controller [JTAC] was letting me know the urgency of the situation,” Guyette reports. “About 45 seconds later, they were at a point where the ground troops were going to be overrun if we couldn’t get a weapon on the target.” Guyette surrendered the controls to his co-pilot — who was flying just his second combat sortie — then unstrapped from his ejection seat and wiggled his Whatever it takes way back to the WSO seat. With comFour key sorties from his deployment were plete disregard for his own safety, Guyette singled out in Guyette’s selection as this directed the pod onto the target before year’s Jabara Award winner. returning to the front of the cockpit. Deployed with the 34th Expeditionary Between 20 and 25 ISIS fighters were Bomb Squadron, Capt. Guyette had just ultimately neutralized by Guyette and finished refueling in February 2015 when his crew. 42 ·

“There was a sense of urgency that was kind of underlying all of it,” Guyette says of that sortie. “It’s a weird swing of emotions, where the first inclination is to affect the battlespace. You want to get it done quickly, but you also want to make sure that you’re accurate with where you place munitions. It’s kind of a fine line between those two competing interests.” Adding to the hectic situation were the frustrations surrounding ongoing communications problems, Guyette says. “If you had a 10-second radio transmission, probably about 30 percent of that was cutting out,” he explains. “So you were dealing with that, too.” Close quarters In April 2015, Guyette and his crew responded to a firefight along the Euphrates River. After check-in with the JTAC, Guyette identified the ISIS fighters through night vision goggles via the tracer fire produced from the enemy locations. When the friendly location was reconfirmed, the enemy was determined to be approximately 10 meters away on three sides of the friendly troops. After relaying the precise enemy locations, Guyette facilitated the delivery


Upper: (From left) Capt. Brian Guyette (pilot), Lt. Col. Ryan Carignan (WSO), Capt. Shawn Johnson (pilot), and Lt. Chandler Anderson (WSO) are pictured following a sortie. Lower: Capt. Brian Guyette (right) accepts the 2017 Col. James Jabara Airmanship Award from USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria in the Staff Tower. of laser-guided bombs to provide relief to coalition forces, contributing to the establishment of the Western Coalition Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT). Mosul liberation In May 2015, Capt. Guyette led a multinational strike package in support of the liberation of Mosul. Targets included ISIS ammunition storage bunkers, defensive fighting positions, and weapons manufacturing facilities. The mission successfully took out all pre-planned targets. Later in the deployment, Guyette’s crew also responded to a firefight in eastern Syria. The enemy forward line had collapsed and coalition ground forces would be able to make significant gains south from the border of Turkey if airpower could capitalize on the gains. Guyette and his team identified 30+ ISIS fighters fleeing their positions and his crew was cleared to engage. However, they did not have a weapon designed to eliminate a moving target. Thinking quickly, the crew chose to employ an unproven tactic of using weapons designed for stationary targets by leading the target. In the end, the enemy personnel were neutralized. This particular engagement contributed to the unification of both Western and Eastern Coalition fronts in Syria. Independence Day message On July 4, 2015, Capt. Guyette helped lead a strike on ISIS headquarters in al­Raqqah, Syria. “The Air Force wanted to have a show of force on July 4th, for obvious reasons,” he explains. “It was the first time that we Checkpoints · September 2017 · 43

“We dropped 96,000 pounds of weapons on targets all across al-Raqqah — taking out bridges, lines of communications and important buildings”

“There are dozens of applicants every year, so to be selected for something of this magnitude is pretty overwhelming.”

Personal background After graduating from USAFA in 2008, Guyette went to pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. He was eventually assigned to Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene, Texas, flying the B-1. While en route to his new duty station at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Guyette was unexpectedly deployed to fly the MC-12. He went on to complete a 300-day tour at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. When he returned stateside, Guyette was stationed at Ellsworth and upgraded to co-pilot in the B-1. He deployed again in 2013, then returned to South Dakota from deceased — whose actions directly associwould strike inside of the headquarters of 2013 to 2015 and upgraded to aircraft ated with an aerospace vehicle set him or ISIS. It was a pretty significant event.” commander and then instructor. her apart from contemporaries. A two-ship of B-1s — in addition to In 2015, Guyette deployed yet again, Strike Eagles, A-10s and tankers — were The award is jointly presented on behalf which led to the Jabara Award. involved in the mission. of the Academy, the Association of Gradu“We flew about 75 to 80 percent of our “We dropped 96,000 pounds of ates and the Jabara family. sorties to Iraq and Syria, and then another weapons on targets all across al-Raqqah — Col. James Jabara was the first jet ace and 20 percent to Afghanistan,” he says. taking out bridges, lines of communications the second leading ace in the Korean War. When Guyette returned home, he was and important buildings,” he reports. In 1951, he won the Air Force Association’s accepted to USAF Weapons School. He most prestigious award and in 1957 was Guyette and his crew helped cut off now is a USAF Weapons School instructor recognized as one of the 25 Americans who the major inbound and outbound supply with the 77th Weapons Squadron at Dyess. had contributed the most to aviation. routes to ISIS headquarters. The strike Guyette admits that his career has taken Capt. Guyette joins an exclusive group, marked the beginning stages of uprooting several unexpected twists and turns, but becoming the 56th Air Force Academy ISIS forces in that area of Syria. graduate selected for the Jabara Award. The every Air Force stop along the way has been rewarding. list of winners includes such distinguished Award announcement “As it turns out, most of the things that alumni as Vietnam War heroes Karl Richter Guyette admits that he was “humbled” I’ve encountered have — in the long run ’64 and Steve Ritchie ’64, pioneering astrowhen he heard that he’d been selected for — been very good,” he notes. naut Karol Bobko ’59, and “Miracle on the the Jabara Award. Guyette is married to Stephanie (Pierce) Hudson” pilot Chesley Sullenberger ’73. Established in 1967, the Col. James Guyette ’08 — a classmate from Cadet “The individuals who are associated with Jabara Airmanship Award is presented annually to a USAFA graduate — living or the award are impressive,” Guyette admits. Squadron 29. 44 ·

NO LIGHTS? NO STARS The Air Force Academy’s planetarium has been closed since 2004. Help us turn on the lights with an online gift to the Planetarium Restoration Fund: USAFA.ORG/PLANETARIUM.

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 45

Family Ties

Penry ’65 discovers a startling fact about his former AOC

By Jeff Holmquist


obert Penry ’65 admits to feeling a special connection to his alma mater — the United States Air Force Academy. But more than half a century after graduating from the institution, Penry now has even more reason to feel a close tie to USAFA and its storied heritage. Through persistent family-tree research by his daughter, Anna Walker, he only recently discovered that he was adopted as a child. The most amazing discovery, however, was that when he was a cadet at the Academy, his 7th Squadron Air Officer Commanding (AOC) was actually a blood relative (a paternal uncle) of his. “Little did I know,” Penry says with a smile. Penry returned to the Academy on May 10, 2017, to tour his old stomping grounds and show off the campus to his newly discovered half sister, Judy Koeninger Bennett. The siblings, born to different mothers exactly a year apart on May 9, were fresh off their joint birthday celebration where Judy presented Robert with a new family scrapbook. “I made him a scrapbook with our family history,” Bennett says. “Now that he has a family.”

A Rough Start

By all accounts, Penry had a tough early childhood. His biological mother, Lois McFarlane, became pregnant by Joseph B. 46 ·

Koeninger, a former U.S. Marine living in California at that time. McFarlane apparently put the new baby up for adoption. The adoption was finalized in Nevada, but Penry would not grow up there. His adoptive family moved to Colorado. His adoptive mom died when Penry was young, so he eventually went to live with aunts and uncles in Denver, Colorado. As a high school student, Penry would sell newspapers to airmen at Lowry Air Force Base, where the initial classes of the new United States Air Force Academy were instructed and prepared to become officers in the Air Force. Penry would go on to enlist in the Air Force, eventually working on B-47 bomb navigation systems at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Penry would impress his immediate supervisor, who would later tell the young airman to apply to the Air Force Academy. “I said, ‘Yes sir.’ I went to the education office and made the application,” he recalls. “I took the SAT and completed all the physical and medical stuff.” Months later, after assuming that nothing had come of his application, Penry was told to pack his bags for Colorado Springs. He was to begin Basic Cadet Training at the Academy in a few short days. “I was really enjoying myself down there (in Florida),” he laughs. “I was almost 21, and we had control of the beach at Clearwater. It was that high time of my life and I was doing

well in the squadron. I wasn’t ordered to attend the Academy, but there was no way I was going to say I’d rather stay here on the beach.”

Cadet Connection

“A lot of my motivation for not letting my opponent get the best of me … was I didn’t want to disappoint him. When you’ve got your AOC there, it was like having your parents … or uncle … there.”

Penry arrived at USAFA with three years of enlisted service under his belt. During the 1961-62 school year, his 4th class year, Penry would be introduced to his AOC — Capt. Charles E. Koeninger. While at the Academy, Penry never realized that Koeninger was his uncle. “He was one of the good guys,” Penry explains. “He was a gentleman, and I never wanted to displease him.” Penry recalls that the two hit it off right away because Koeninger was prior-enlisted as well. “I felt a kinship to him,” he remembers. Penry admits he didn’t have a lot of “face-to-face” time with his uncle because only cadets who were in trouble got to know their AOC well. But he fondly remembers Koeninger attending intramural boxing competitions to cheer on Penry and others. “I can remember very vividly him sitting in the stands,” he recalls. “A lot of my motivation for not letting my opponent get the best of me … was I didn’t want to disappoint him. When you’ve got your AOC there, it was like having your parents … or uncle … there.”

He would later leave the Air Force and join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flying research C-130s into hurricanes. In 1979, Penry’s family moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he coordinated NOAA’s flight program. Then, in 1982, he retired and became a real estate agent. Now divorced, Penry has retired again and enjoys traveling with his long-time partner, Kit, in their motor home. They camp frequently on military bases — MacDill AFB and USAFA being two of many in their travels.

Career Moves

Family Time

The day Penry graduated from USAFA, he married a high school classmate in the Cadet Chapel. They would head to his first assignment — attending graduate school at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). He earned a master’s degree in business administration and then headed to flight training in Texas. He would go on to fly C-130s in Vietnam. Penry and his family would eventually move seven times during his military career, including a stop at the Academy where he worked in the Airmanship Program and with the registrar as an admissions counselor.

Penry had his suspicions that he might have been adopted after trying to track down a copy of his birth certificate. California officials indicated he had an amended certificate, which meant he was likely adopted as a baby. In 1999, his daughter Anna attempted to get the medical records of her grandmother — Penry’s adoptive mother — and found out that her father was indeed adopted. A family history buff, Anna launched into an intensive investigation to uncover her father’s real roots. Because adoption records in both California and Nevada are sealed, Penry and his daughter soon thought they’d hit a dead end. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 47

DNA Analysis

By 2014, Anna found the website and noticed they offered DNA testing so people could trace their heritage. Penry sent in a DNA sample, and Anna fed the information into the website’s database with no direct matches appearing. She did, however, preliminarily establish the two lines of his family through her research. In July 2016, Penry’s genetic codes linked to a 15-year-old boy in Texas who had just had his DNA tested. The boy’s grandmother — Judy Koeninger Bennett — happened to be a family heritage buff and had been doing extensive family tree work through Ancestry. “Talk about being cut from the same cloth,” Anna laughs. Bennett was shocked to hear that someone from her immediate family had been adopted years ago. “I’d been doing family tree work for years and years,” Bennett says. “But I had no idea that there was someone out there I didn’t know about.” At first, the amateur genealogists assumed Penry and Bennett were cousins. But when Bennett had her own DNA tested, it became clear that they were half-siblings (born of different mothers but to the same father). “I was amazed and overjoyed that Anna had found my family,” Penry says. Bennett and Penry met for the first time in March 2017, gathering in the hometown of their shared father and uncle Charles — Chillicothe, Texas. Bennett didn’t have a chance to know her father, who was killed in 1944 during World War II in a ship explosion at Port Chicago, California. At that time, he was no longer a Marine but a member of the Merchant Marines. She was instead raised by her paternal grandparents, Ollie Mae and Frank Koeninger, in Chillicothe.

AOC and Uncle

Through continued family research, Anna uncovered the obituary of a close relative, Col. Charles E. Koeninger, who had passed away in 2006. Anna called her father and read the article aloud, because Koeninger’s military life so closely resembled that of Penry’s. Both were C-130 pilots in Vietnam, both were stationed in Alaska in the early 1970s, both were at the Academy in the early 1960s, and both became real estate agents in retirement. “You might have been in the same places as this guy,” she told her father. When she revealed the name, Penry was shocked to find out that his former AOC was also his blood uncle. 48 ·


Cadet Robert Penry is pictured during his time at the United States Air Force Academy.


Robert Penry (right) and his half-sister Judy Koeninger Bennett enjoyed a tour of the Air Force Academy in May.


Col. Charles Koeninger, who was Penry’s AOC while at the Academy, turned out to be his blood uncle.

Ryan Hall

“It was totally unbelievable,” Anna says. “I couldn’t believe a family member was his AOC. For him to have that mentorship from his uncle is really just an incredible occurrence.” Penry, now also known as Robert Koeninger Penry, adds that the statistical probability of such a familial connection is staggering. Seventh Squadron classmate and noted scientist Bill McDermott calculated “the odds of one person in the U.S. to be at that point in time at about 184 million to 1.”

More Family Ties

Several additional blood relatives have since had their DNA analyzed and Anna has been able to fill in a few more blanks on the family tree. With the help of Anna, Penry was able to identify his birth mother just before Christmas of 2016. “It was a very nice family Christmas tree,” Anna laughs. Shortly thereafter, Anna discovered two half-brothers on his birth mother’s side of the family, both of whom were Los Angeles area law enforcement officers during their careers. The journey to discover Penry’s true family and heritage was now complete. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 49




‘The View’ crew drops two huge surprises on Academy grad


t’s safe to say that Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner ’99 and his family will never forget his most recent promotion ceremony. To highlight the 2017 Memorial Day holiday, Lessner was chosen by producers of “The View” television program to appear on their May 25 broadcast. But when he showed up at the studio for the taping, Lessner had no idea what was about to occur. He would soon experience one of the biggest surprises of his life — times two. Lessner and his wife, Kathleen, had originally been asked to appear on “The View” for Valentine’s Day. Producers were planning to highlight military families whose love had helped them persevere through tough times. “But the project got shelved,” Lessner says. Fast forward a few months and Lessner was again contacted by the ABC television network about traveling to New York City for a taping of the popular daytime show. “I never thought too much about it, because it had already been shelved once,” he recalls. Show representatives told Lessner the topic of their Memorial-Day-focused conversation would be the resiliency of military families who had faced significant challenges in life yet had overcome. The Lessners’ story is a compelling one. Kathleen has twice survived cancer treatments, their daughter Dottie recently endured major skull reconstructive surgery, and Thomas experienced several harrowing combat incidents and battled ongoing difficulties related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “It was a story for airmen overcoming adversity,” Lessner notes. “That’s why I agreed to do it.” Lessner worked with Air Force Public Affairs to prepare for his eventual appearance on the television program, expecting he’d only have a few moments to tell his story and encourage others facing similar challenges that he’d overcome. “We weren’t sure if I was just going to be in the front row and they were going to ask a question of me, or just highlight me in 50 ·

By Jeff Holmquist

Kathleen and Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner ‘99 are pictured with their daughter, Dottie. the audience,” he remembers. “It turned out that I ended up on stage and on the couch.” Lessner wasn’t thrilled, however, with the initial line of questioning by “The View” hosts. The questions focused primarily on the April 2004 shoot down of his MH-53 helicopter in Iraq, along with the miraculous rescue and survival of all who were on board. The helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade, which blew a hole in the front of the aircraft. Lessner suffered

“It was great to see guys who you haven’t seen for more than a decade. But we weren’t all together. We were still missing two guys.” significant shrapnel wounds to his face, neck, legs and left shoulder. Fellow crewmembers also were seriously injured. “I was talking about stuff that I really didn’t want to talk about and that I don’t talk about,” Lessner admits. Lessner talked with “The View” senior producer, Jamie Hammer, about how uncomfortable he felt talking about the incident that had happened 13 years prior. “I felt like the story was so much bigger than just me and my role and my words,” he recalls. “It made me uneasy.” Hammer assured him that the show’s producers would reach out to his fellow survivors to include their side of the story. What Lessner didn’t realize was that three of his five former crewmembers would be waiting in the wings for a surprise reunion on air. With cameras rolling, Lessner was shocked when his brothers in arms appeared. “It was great to see guys who you haven’t seen for more than a decade,” he says. “But we weren’t all together. We were still missing two guys.” Master Sgt. (Ret.) Christian MacKenzie, Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Randy Kensey and Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Robert Colannino were part of the surprise. Maj. Steve Edwards and Staff Sgt. Jesse Lee were not able to attend due to overseas deployments. The reunited crewmembers shared a big group hug, then answered the celebrity hosts’ questions about their collective and individual battle experiences. After a second commercial break, “The View” producers had one more big surprise in store for Lessner. Donald Rumsfeld, the crewmembers’ boss as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush (2001-2006), was introduced to the audience. Rumsfeld had been authorized to

conduct Lessner’s promotion to lieutenant colonel as part of the TV program. “It was a very nice tribute,” Lessner admits. “It turned out to be one great surprise after another. It was great.” Lessner laughs about his inability to accurately repeat the oath that Rumsfeld was administering. “Typically, with those oaths, you limit it to a couple words,” Lessner says. “But Donald rattled off a couple lines in a row. I was trying to hide a look of sheer terror on national TV. Had I been ready or known that was going to happen, I would have either read through the oath and memorized it myself or tried to find a teleprompter.” Checkpoints · September 2017 · 51

PREVIOUS PAGE (Top) Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner ‘99 is pictured in the hospital following the 2004 incident. Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner and his crew are pictured with one of the helicopters prior to the Iraq incident in 2004.

ABOVE Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner and his wife, Kathleen, and daughter Dottie are surrounded by family, friends, military colleagues and “The View” hosts following the show’s taping. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

Lessner says he’s grateful to everyone who made the nationally televised surprise happen, noting that he hoped those watching still got a sense of the importance of resilience among military personnel and families. “What I’ve realized over these years is that my experiences are burned into my mind, along with the scars on my body,” he adds. “It is with me and it is a part of me, but it does not define me.” What has helped Lessner survive and thrive is his willingness to talk openly about his challenges and to seek help when he needs it.

52 ·

“My favorite thing that I learned is that pain shared is pain divided; and happiness shared is happiness multiplied,” he says. “You’d be surprised by the number of people who are willing to help. But you have to be willing to share that pain.” Following the show’s taping, Lessner took his old crewmembers to lunch to celebrate and to catch up. “I appreciated their willingness to come on out and share their stories on national TV with me,” he says. “And then we parted ways. It was an amazing experience because of the ABC crew on ‘The View.’” Since the episode aired, Lessner reports that he’s been shocked by all the positive feedback he’s heard from people in the community, throughout the nation and on base. “I’ve had feedback from about a thousand people — strangers, classmates, people around base,” he says. “I have heard nothing but positive comments and statements, and people who have shared a sense of pride that has kind of filled the community. “That’s really what has surprised me the most … the pride and the morale boost that has happened after the show. It made me feel like my time and effort into that project — and putting myself out there — was actually worth it.” Today, Lessner is the assistant director of operations and the cost center manager at the 39th Flying Training Squadron and a T-6 instructor pilot at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. During his non-duty hours, Lessner also teaches group fitness classes at various gyms.


AOG USAFA APP • Get alerts for exclusive membership perks •

events in your area

• Shop for Air Force gear • Connect with graduates, parents, and supporters all around the world • And so much more!

Ryan Hall 54 ·

Parachutes A Passion For

Mavericks Unintentionally Start Cadet Jump Program By Steve Simon ‘77


n the early 1960s, the Academy airfield was already a hub of activity, with a multitude of aircraft filling the skies east of the Cadet Area. In that regard, the airfield was not unlike it is today, with one significant difference: There were no parachutes. Today, the Air Force Academy’s parachuting program is the most successful college jump program in the country. Yet, its beginning was so humble as to be nearly accidental. The cadets who were most responsible for starting it had no intention of founding the program. The only parachuting opportunity cadets had at that time was the Army’s school at Fort Benning. During the summers, selected cadets were given the opportunity to train at the post in western Georgia. Successful completion of the three-week program, to include making five static-line jumps, would earn the cadets the coveted Parachutist Badge, also known as Jump Wings. There were no Academy-sanctioned jump opportunities in Colorado. That situation did not discourage a few determined cadets, including Joel Aronoff ’64. Aronoff is recognized by his fellow founders as the driving force behind the Academy parachuting program. During a recent telephone conversation, though, he was very candid about his attitude and performance as a cadet. “I wasn’t a good cadet,” he says. “I just wanted to fly. I didn’t have much ambition otherwise.” He was equally clear on his motivation regarding parachuting: “I didn’t want to start a program. I just wanted to jump.” Among the cadets most interested and eventually most involved were Aronoff’s Class of 1964 classmates Jay Kelley, Stu McCurdy and JJ Davis. Pete Johnston ’66 was another original jumper, while Jim McGorry ’65 was also an early participant. Aronoff, however, is unanimously recognized as the father of jumping at the Academy. Jay Kelley calls him “the Yoda of the parachute program.” With extensive jump experience before entering the Academy, Aronoff was intent on continuing to pursue his passion for jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Unlike many of his classmates, he did not attend jump school at Fort Benning. Instead, he made his own arrangements. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 55

Aronoff explained that the Academy had a few planes available for qualified cadets to check out and use for cross-country flights. Unbeknownst to anyone at the Academy, he would fly to Boulder on Friday, jump Saturday and Sunday, and then fly back late Sunday. Eventually, other cadets found out what he was doing and wanted to join him. They did their best to keep it quiet, as jumping was against cadet regulations, much like riding motorcycles. Kelley was a member of the survival cadre in the summer. Among the lessons he taught was how to use parachutes in a survival situation. The scenario was that the cadets were down behind enemy lines with only their wits, parachutes and packs. Kelley taught them to make shelters and use the chutes for other survival purposes. During a recent interview, he recalls that the chutes they used in the survival program had all been condemned, “but for time, not damage or condition.” Aronoff approached Kelley and suggested that maybe he could take possession of some of those chutes. Kelley worked with the captain in charge of the program to obtain seven chutes and packs. Kelley was careful to ensure that the excess chutes were legally and officially transferred. The chutes were not maneuverable, so the cadets sent them off for modification, turning them into sport parachutes. Parachutes are only one, albeit the most important, piece of equipment needed for safe parachuting. Kelley relates that flying suits were still issued to all cadets, so at least that requirement was met. “We still needed reserve chutes, altimeters, stop watches and hard hats,” Kelley said. “We managed to acquire all those things through a war surplus store on mail-order.” Stu McCurdy and JJ Davis had attended the Fort Benning jump school. Joined by Aronoff , with his pre-cadet jumping 56 ·

experience, they provided instruction to interested cadets, to include the proper technique for parachute landing falls. They had no officially certified jumpmaster, so they also got instruction and support from officials at the various airfields they used. In the Boulder days, Kelley recalls that they jumped the first day they were there. They hired a qualified person at the airport to be the jumpmaster. “He made it clear that his only role was to accept our money and jump at our expense.” Kelley remembers him saying, “I’m just along for the ride.” The renegade cadets continued to sneak off to Boulder to jump. They rigged a static line and made five jumps that way (the Fort Benning requirement), and then transitioned to freefall. They needed 30 jumps to earn their B licenses. Eventually, they found other airports in the Denver area at which they could jump. Because their actions were not known by Academy officials, they could not request additional time away from USAFA and were usually only able to jump once or twice per day. McCurdy relates that, “Over time we bought our own higher-performance sport parachutes. We continued to jump on weekends in the Boulder/Golden area and gained some good proficiency.” They worked on accuracy and on relative work (multiple jumpers). Kelley and Johnston were the better accuracy jumpers, while Aronoff, Davis and McCurdy did the relative work. One of the main points of pride for Kelley was the fact that they never had any injuries or accidents. And they never needed their reserve chutes. Kelley says that, “At that age, we didn’t think about the risks. We learned the hard way — on the fly — in some instances.” Kelley

recalls learning about wind shears by getting dragged through a feed lot. As the cadet jumpers’ experience and proficiency grew, they began to attract attention. They were invited to competitions and demonstrations, received press coverage and earned accolades. Their growing notoriety, of course, made it inevitable that Academy senior officials would eventually learn of their exploits. After more than a half-century, however, memories differ among the participants regarding which specific event led to their being discovered. Aronoff remembers that it was when they accepted an invitation to skydive as part of Fort Carson’s Fourth of July festivities, which they accepted for the opportunity to jump from a C-54 Skymaster. McCurdy attributes it to their decision to participate in “a sport parachuting competition to be held east of Denver near Buckley Field. We entered the competition and won first place in accuracy. A photographer from the Denver Post happened to be there and took pictures of us with the trophy, which ended up on the front page of the Sunday paper sports section.” Kelley recalls that it was after they returned from the National Collegiate Parachute Championships with trophies. On March 25, 1964, the Kelley and Johnston team took first place in the novice accuracy category, earning the Academy’s first collegiate trophy in parachuting. Kelley notes that the meet, ironically, took place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, one of the three cities that were finalists to host the Academy. Incidentally, the Kelley-Johnston trophy is on display at the Academy airfield. Regardless of the specifics of their cover being blown, what followed is clear. They were called on the carpet and told to explain themselves.

Aronoff said the superintendent contacted the commandant and asked “Do we have a parachute team?” In turn, the commandant asked Aronoff, “What’s this business about skydiving?” “I thought I’d be kicked out,” he remembers. Aronoff, in fact, had other worries, as his use of the Academy planes to fly to and from Boulder was being scrutinized. “Something about using the program for an unintended purpose,” he remembers. Kelley says he also worried that they “would be late grads or even disenrolled.” In short order and to their great credit, Academy senior leaders recognized the positive potential for the Academy having a parachute program. Rather than discipline the cadets and prohibit their activities, Academy officials worked with other agencies, to include West Point, to properly and officially establish a program. McGorry, who continued with the program after the Class of 1964 graduated, says, “USAFA requested and got excellent support from the Air Commandoes. Four Air Commandoes from Hurlburt Field, Eglin AFB, Florida, (Maj. John Garrity, Capt. Craig Elliot, Master Sgt. Mort Freedman, and Tech Sgt. James Howell) came to AFA for the 1964-65 academic year to get the program organized, trained, equipped and ready to compete.” Cadet Pete Johnston assumed the leadership role upon the graduation of 1964, and the program grew larger and more professional. The objectives of the program were — and are — threefold: to train cadets in basic free-fall parachuting, to represent the Academy at competitions and demonstrations, and to provide a leadership laboratory and motivational experience for cadets. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on March 19, 1966 when Johnston was killed during a jump at the Academy. His primary parachute malfunctioned at an altitude too low for proper reserve parachute activation. Kelley recalls fearing that the program would be cancelled as a result of the accident, and is grateful that his fears were not realized. Continuing on after this tragedy, over the next five decades the program earned national recognition and national championships. Cadets who followed in these pioneers’ footsteps are well aware of their exploits. The current commander of the Academy jump squadron, Lt. Col. Sean “Ole’” Baerman ’99, says the link between the founders and current team members is remarkably close. Kelley, who went on to attain the rank of lieutenant general and is now the president of the Falcon Foundation, regularly speaks to cadets in the program. McCurdy also has returned Checkpoints · September 2017 · 57


As a cadet, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley ‘64 was a driving force behind the establishment of the USAFA jump program. His original canopy (pictured) was far different from the equipment cadets use today for parachuting.


Participants in this summer’s cadet jump program return following a successful morning’s work. (From left) C3Cs Steven King, Kendall Rate, Felix Krupczynski, Connor Loo, Austin Kintz and Jordan Locke are pictured.


C3C Nicholas Black gathers his canopy and heads toward the jump assembly area.

to the Academy to discuss the early days of the jump program with cadets. The Academy jump program, known as the Wings of Blue, has become one of the most visible and successful programs at the Academy. Both the competition and the demonstration teams have brought a large amount of positive coverage to the Academy and the Air Force. The competition team won so many collegiate trophies that organizers stopped awarding an overall champion trophy. The demonstration team is now the official Air Force Parachute Team, no longer just the Academy team. As such, they have taken on a fourth objective, similar to that of the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team, with a full-time recruiter on staff. The demonstration team has jumped into many nationally televised events, such as National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Collegiate Athletic Association football bowl games. They have performed around the world, including demonstrations in Chile, Japan and Korea. In 1999, the team landed on the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina. In September 2016, they jumped from the Goodyear Blimp. 58 ·

Cadets who participated in the jump program have also gone on to enjoy tremendous success. Gen. (Ret.) Greg “Speedy” Martin ’70 and Kelley are among 11 program alumni who earned stars. The most recent of them is the Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93. Among the four astronauts who were members of the Wings of Blue is Kjell Lindgren ’96, who in 2015 logged 141 days in space aboard the International Space Station. One of the team’s current instructors, Master Sgt. Israel “DT” Del Toro, recently received ESPN’s 2017 Pat Tillman Award for Service. In 2005, Del Toro was severely injured after his Humvee rolled over a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. More than 80 percent of his body was covered in third-degree burns and doctors gave him a very slim chance of surviving. In 2010, he became the first fully disabled airman to re-enlist in the Air Force. The jump squadron’s current director of operations, Lt. Col. Abigail Frander ’00, was the program’s first legacy team member, following her father, John Albert ’73. The early days of the Army Air Corps and the Air Force were populated with “maverick” aviation pioneers. Leaders such as Billy Mitchell and Robin Olds took chances and broke rules. While that adventurous spirit has rightly been tempered as the service matures, it is indisputable that without such renegade activity, a lot of what we know of the Air Force today would not exist in its current form. The Air Force Academy parachute program definitely fits that mold. Joel Aronoff, Jay Kelley and the other “accidental” jump program founders proudly share this free-spirit heritage. The Air Force and the Academy have benefitted ever since.


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

Embracing the

Unexpected L

ike a well-designed game plan for a collegiate football game, Randy Spetman ’76 was reasonably sure how his career would unfold — fly planes, retire from the Air Force decades later, and then swap stories with fellow Academy graduates on reunion weekends. While at the Academy, Spetman lettered three years as a defensive end for the Falcons football team. He also would capture the heavyweight Wing Open Boxing Championship twice as a cadet. After graduation, Spetman remained at the Academy for a year to serve as an assistant football coach and a counselor/recruiter. Then Spetman headed to pilot training and would go on to become a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours in the T-37, T-38, KC-135A, UV-18 and B-52 aircraft. He also would enjoy various Air Force leadership assignments, including chief of Bomber Planning in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and chief of the Command and Control Division, Operations Directorate at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Looking back, Spetman says the first 20 years of his career went pretty much according to plan.

60 ·

“I was pretty sure I was going to stay in the Air Force until they told me to get out,” he laughs. But an unexpected telephone call while Spetman was in Germany opened the door to a new career opportunity that was the farthest thing from his mind at the time. He was asked if he had considered applying for the director of athletics position at his alma mater — the United States Air Force Academy. “I thought it was a joke,” he admits. “But it wasn’t a joke.” Spetman quickly became intrigued by the possibility. Trouble was, the deadline for applying was the next morning and

Spetman ’76 inducted into athletic director Hall of Fame after surprising second career By Jeff Holmquist

Spetman needed to secure four letters of recommendation — with two coming from general officers within his chain of command. He approached his commander at EUCOM about the possibility of applying for the Academy job. “Spetman, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Gen. Charles Boyd laughed. “We’ve trained you to be a warrior, not an athletic director.” When Spetman decided to apply, Academy officials gave him extra time to get his resume and supporting materials in order. Gen. Boyd would eventually give Spetman his blessing and provide a glowing reference letter. Spetman made the list of finalists and was eventually selected as the new director of athletics. “I was the last active duty officer to be athletic director and it was a 10-year assignment,” he recalls. “You had to take yourself out of the Air Force promotion stream, but our kids were just starting junior high. I loved what athletics and the Academy had done for me, so we decided to come back.” Even though he felt ill-prepared for his new role, Spetman said he was fortunate to be mentored by several longtime coaches at the Academy — the likes of Fisher DeBerry, Gene Miranda, Reggie Minton and others.

“I thought I knew what a director of athletics was, but I had no clue,” he smiles. “The Academy coaches really helped me learn the business.” Spetman also joined the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) to better learn the athletic director job and to connect with additional mentors who had served in that capacity at other universities. “They were people you could call on to help you with decisions,” Spetman says. “Athletics is a lot like being in the military. It’s a very close family, and they are very driven to take care of each other. That’s why I guess I really enjoyed my time in athletics — it reminded me of being in the military so much.” During his eight and a half years as AD at the Academy (1996-2003), Spet-

man and the teams he guided enjoyed incredible success upon the fields of friendly strife. During Spetman’s tenure, the BELOW football team played in four bowl games Randy Spetman (left), during his and the men’s basketball advanced to its assigment as director of athletics first NCAA Tournament in more than at USAFA, talks with coaching 40 years. legend Ben Martin. (Photo In 1999-2000, Spetman was at the courtesy of Air Force Athletics) helm when the Falcons left the Western Athletic Conference and joined the NEXT PAGE Mountain West Conference instead. The Cadet Randy Spetman during move proved to be a success due to more his playing days at the Air Force national exposure and improved athletic Academy. (Photo courtesy of Air competition. Force Athletics) Spetman would help to improve the USAFA athletic facilities during his tenure, including improvements to Falcon Stadium and completion of the new Falcon Athletic Center — the first major addition within the Athletic Department in 30 years. That project included a new weight room, training room, locker rooms and administrative offices for the athletes and the department. From 1996 to 2003, the Academy had 26 nationally ranked teams, 224 all-conference athletes, 466 academic all-conference honorees, 108 AllAmerica honorees and 32 Academic All-America winners. “It was an incredible experience,” he says of his first AD job.

Utah State

When he retired from the military, Spetman hoped to continue his athletic director career. Many civilian universities wouldn’t consider his application because he was coming from an Air Force background. “Some universities were concerned that I would have too much integrity for their system,” he reports. “But I eventually broke through that barrier.” He became the director of athletics at Utah State and served in that capacity from 2003 to 2008. While there, Spetman led the Aggies to greater heights in competition and in terms of improved facilities. After joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2005, Utah State would Checkpoints · September 2017 · 61

Integrity First

“It’s still in my blood ... I love being a part of that.” claim four conference championships in its first two WAC years. USU’s studentathletes would go on to lead the WAC with a 78 percent graduation rate and they maintained a 3.0-plus cumulative grade point average. From 2003-07, Utah State moved forward with several facility projects, including high profile improvements to its football stadium. Spetman also spearheaded fundraising and construction efforts for a $12.5 million facility that met the academic and athletics needs of the 16 intercollegiate sports at Utah State.

“Because of my credentials as an Air Force officer, they wanted me to come in and fix the program,” he recalls. “It was another great experience. I got to work with such greats as Bobby Bowden and Mike Martin, among many others.” In 2009-10 and again in 2010-11, Florida State was the only Division I athletics department in the NCAA to have all of its 19 sports participate in postseason play. During his tenure at FSU, Spetman saw 250 All-American honors earned by Seminole student-athletes, 18 ACC Coach of the Year awards and 18 ACC team championships. And, Florida State out of 76 possible NCAA Tournament From 2008 to 2013, Spetman was direc- appearances, the Seminoles advanced to tor of athletics at Florida State. A peren- NCAA postseason play 69 times. nial football powerhouse, the Seminoles In addition, Spetman helped the had endured a huge academic scandal university through several facility conand were looking to right the ship. struction and improvement projects. 62 ·

Through his entire director of athletics career, Spetman always carried with him the core values he learned at the Academy. “Integrity first, service before self and excellence,” Spetman says. “I preached that here [at the Academy], and I preached it at Utah State and Florida State. They heard it over and over.” One university asked Spetman to ignore one sticky situation, but he refused to compromise his integrity. “They asked me to look the other way,” he recalls. “That’s something I would never do.” Another part of his philosophy as an effective athletic director was to “walk around” and get to know his people. “You need to be out of your office, know your people and trust your people,” he explains. “That’s what made me most successful.”

Hall Call

On June 14, 2017, Spetman was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame along with five other AD greats. “I was really humbled and honored to be selected,” Spetman admits. “One of the best awards you can get is when you’re selected by your peers. That’s what happened with this group — directors of athletics across the nation who I’ve come in contact with over the last 20 years. That made it really special for me.” A former president of NACDA, Spetman says he owes a debt of gratitude to the organization and its many members. Today, Spetman is retired and lives in Colorado Springs. He still attends many Falcon sporting events in his free time. “It’s still in my blood,” he smiles. “I love being a part of that.”


Jack ‘62 and Polly Ann Swanson

In typical fashion for an Air Force Academy graduate, Jack Swonson ’62 likes to tackle challenges head on, including estate planning. He also wrote a comprehensive plan, which he calls his “Mack Truck” book, so Polly Ann will have what she needs to smoothly handle all the complexities of modern life. Visit the USAFA Endowment’s Gift Planning website to read Jack Swonson’s story and to consider if your estate plans are in order: LEGACY.USAFA.ORG/MACKTRUCK.

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 63

A Final Phantom Farewell F-4 ends its 56-year run with the U.S. military


hree USAFA graduates were among the pilots involved in the final U.S. four-ship formation of F-4 fighter jets. On Dec. 21, 2016, Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King ’97 was the lead as commander of Detachment 1, 82 ATRS at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. He was joined in the formation by Maj. (Ret.) Eric “Rock” Vold ’94, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins ’82 and Maj. (Ret.) Jim “Boomer” Schreiner. The pilots were the final four F-4 operators in the Air Force, flying the QF-4 (a remote-controllable F-4 Full Scale Aerial Target [FSAT] used as unmanned targets for DoD weapon system testing and USAF Weapons System Evaluation Program). “That was everybody we had on deck to go fly that last four-ship of F-4s for all the reporters, photographers and Phantom Phans in December,” Harkins says. “We were hoping that nobody was going to be sick, otherwise they wouldn’t have had their four-ship.” Harkins and King had flown throughout the nation on a farewell tour of the F-4 in the six months leading up to the December formation. The culmination of the tour was the final flight. “The build-up was ridiculous,” Harkins recalls. “The Phantom has got 64 ·


Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King ‘97 was lead in the final four-ship formation on Dec. 21, 2016. On the right wing, as #2, was Maj. (Ret.) Eric “Rock” Vold ‘94 and on the left wing, as #3, was Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins ‘82. On Harkins’ wing (#4) was Maj. (Ret.) Jim “Boomer” Schreiner. The flight was also Harkins’ last flight after a 35-year military flying career. (Photo by David Chng)

some kind of weird, rock-star following. We were all really excited to be a part of this momentous occasion, but obviously kind of sad for the experience to end.” “We wanted to ensure that we gave the F-4 a proper send off for her last flight,” King adds. “She served our country well for many years, and it was important to all of us to send her out the right way.” King’s aircraft was the last to land on the runway when the formation was finished. “It was incredible to realize that we were making history and that no American would ever do again what we were doing,” he says. “As the first three jets landed and I was making the last pass, I just tried to soak it in one last time. It was a big honor when I considered how

many legends had flown this airplane over the years.” Still, Harkins says the phasing out of the F-4 makes sense for the Air Force. Now the QF-16 will be used for FSAT purposes. “It was time,” King agrees. “While I absolutely understand the public’s wish to keep it flying, it just wasn’t practical. Our maintainers did a phenomenal job keeping them flying, but the jets were old and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep them flying. “Using the QF-16 to test the next generation of aircraft and weapons is a huge step forward for the test community. The F-16 is much more representative of the threats we face around the world today.”

The night before the final F-4 four-ship flight, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jim “WAM” Harkins ‘82 (left) and Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King ‘97 were captured in an image for Airman Magazine. (Photo courtesy of Airman Magazine)

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 65

Before: The F-4 displayed outside the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force was in serious need of restoration.

After: The completed F-4 restoration in all its glory, including the Class of 1967 crest and AF 64 notation on the tail.



n recognition of the Class of 1967’s 50th reunion Oct. 3-7, 2017, two classmates underwrote an F-4 restoration project to benefit educational efforts at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Georgia. Financial contributions from Bill Boisture and Tom Barnett, both from the Class of 1967, made the restoration possible. It was the second time that Boisture was involved in restoring the aircraft. In 1999, several Gulfstream Aerospace employees in Savannah, Georgia, discovered that McDonnell Douglas F-4C serial number 64-0815 had been declared excess by the Air Guard unit near their factory. The Gulfstream employees, many of whom were aviation history buffs, did not want to see the aircraft destroyed, so they spent their spare time restoring the aircraft and then donating it to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Boisture, who was Gulfstream president and chief executive officer at the time, committed financial resources from the company to make that initial restoration possible.

Bill Boisture (left) and Tom Barnett, Class of 1967 classmates, helped make the F-4 restoration possible. They dedicated the effort to their class’s upcoming 50th reunion.

66 ·

Last year, during a return visit to the museum, Boisture observed that the airplane — which he had flown while on active duty and helped to restore 17 years ago — was again in need of refurbishment. Boisture enlisted the help of classmate Barnett to make the most-recent restoration plan a reality. Both had flown F-4s in Southeast Asia and they wanted to honor those members of the class who had been lost in this aircraft type while in combat. “It was a case of good timing,” Barnett admits. “With our 50th anniversary coming up, and having a number of classmates who were killed in combat while flying the F-4, we thought it would be a nice idea.” “So many of our classmates flew the F-4,” Boisture continues. “Probably four classes before mine and probably six classes after — that was the heart of the F-4 employment in the Air Force. I think there will be certain members of the Class of 1967 who will really appreciate having this plane dedicated to them.” With the completion of the restoration, the aircraft now displays the Class of 1967 Crest on its intake ramps. The canopy rail is stenciled with “USAF Academy Class of 1967.” Otherwise, the markings are as they were when the aircraft was in operational service in Southeast Asia and at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California, where many Academy graduates went through the F-4 Replacement Training Unit (RTU), according to Boisture. “I think they did a great job restoring it,” Barnett comments. Boisture agrees. “The team did a really fine job. And I think the materials they used are going to hold the airplane in good stead for another 15 to 20 years.” The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force reports more than 100,000 visitors each year, including thousands of school children who participate in the museum’s educational outreach to public and private schools in Georgia and South Carolina. “Members of the Class of 1967 … will be able to say to their families and friends … the next time you’re going down I-95 and past the Mighty Eighth, get off and take a look at the F-4 — it’s dedicated to our class,” Boisture says.

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.



Ackerley ’82 instructs airmen, soldiers in the fine art of home cooking By Jeff Holmquist


or one Academy graduate, memories made in the kitchen can last a lifetime. That’s why Dianna (Angeline) Ackerley ’82 is trying her best to pass on the love of cooking that she’s developed since she was a child. Ackerley is the author of a popular blog, entitled “The Memorable Kitchen” (, which focuses on the stories behind many of her family’s favorite recipes collected through the years. The blog offers plenty of healthy meal tips and tasty alternatives to eating out. When she’s not writing, Ackerley also teaches live cooking classes to airmen at Randolph Air Force Base and soldiers at the Fort Sam Houston USO in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, she conducts food demonstrations at a local teen center, providing the younger generation with information about healthy snacks and lunch options. “Every family is busy and has a lot on their schedule,” she says. “In many cases, we’ve gotten away from cooking in the home. It’s hard to take the time every night to make a good, healthy, homecooked meal.” She hopes to change that trend in the families she works with. Homecooked meals are not just important for a individual’s physical health, but also 68 ·

for bringing families closer together, Ackerley emphasizes. “The experience of making a dinner together and sitting down to a dinner at night, talking and sharing your day,” she says, “it’s all about your health and wellness as a family or as a couple. It all goes hand in hand.” Planting the Seed Ackerley caught the cooking bug when she was young, learning how to prepare authentic Italian dishes from her father and picking up German and Midwestern culinary specialties from her mother and grandmother. “My grandmother lived to be 95,” Ackerley says. “Watching her cook … it was potatoes with butter, or vegetables and homemade pie. She hardly ate any processed food. She knew exactly what was going into her food. “It’s good to try and eat as basic as possible, so you know where your food is coming from and what’s in it. It’s called clean eating” By the time she was a pre-teen, however, Ackerley had gained weight. Even though she was an active young lady, her food choices lacked the necessary nutrition to keep the pounds off. So Ackerley’s mother, who loved to grow fresh produce in her backyard garden, taught her daughter how to cook Ryan Hall

healthier dishes that included plenty of vegetables and fruit. “I thank God that my mom helped me and I was able to lose weight, because I never would have gone to the Academy if I had continued on the path I was on,” she says. Ackerley’s ability to lose weight and eventual successful Air Force career is a good lesson for parents who too frequently choose convenience over home-cooked, healthy meals. “I think it’s important for parents not to focus on a diet or restrictions, but more on making healthy eating a lifestyle as soon as your children become aware of their food choices,” she explains. Meal Time After graduating from the Academy, Ackerley had a six-year career as an aircraft maintenance officer. She and her husband, Col. (Ret.) Paul Ackerley ’82, would be stationed at Reese Air Force Base during their first six years together. Ackerley would separate from the Air Force after having her first child and receiving a new assignment to Greenland. “I couldn’t take my daughter to Greenland, and Paul was at the Pentagon at that point,” she recalls. “So I got out, which was fine. I never regretted my decision for one day.”

With her husband frequently deployed or at training, Ackerley was able to concentrate on her family (which eventually blossomed to include four children) and offer support to military spouses at the bases where they were stationed. Her love of cooking played a key role in her efforts as a senior officer’s wife. “Once I was out of the Air Force, I started cooking a lot more,” she remembers. “I was more involved with activities … whether it was in the squadron or parties or things at my kids’ schools, I was always making and baking and we’d always have people over to the house.” On occasion, she would even host cooking classes for military spouses, teaching them how to prepare economical and tasty meals. The instructional sessions were always very popular. “My husband and I ended up having a wonderful 30-year career together,” she notes. “As my husband started getting into command positions, it was very easy for me to organize spouse events

and groups, because I understood some of the structure and organization of the Air Force. And I really enjoyed working with the spouses.” Spreading the Message In 2015, Ackerley began teaching cooking classes to airmen at Randolph. The base was closing its dining facility for renovations and commanders were worried that their subordinates would simply eat out or rely on fast food for meals. “I taught them how to cook in their dorms … meals that were both healthy and economical,” she explains. “And I taught them time-wise recipes — where they could cook once and it would make five different meals.” Soon after starting those classes, and with the help of her two daughters, Ackerley launched “The Memorable Kitchen” blog — posting a mix of recipes from healthy to traditional favorites with a twist. She tries to add at least one new recipe to the blog each week.


Dianna (Angeline) Ackerley ‘82 conducts a cooking class for soldiers at the Fort Sam Houston USO in San Antonio, Texas. She uses her healthy and economical eating platform to help soldiers and airmen learn how to cook meals at home.

A short time after starting the blog, Ackerley also began teaching weekly classes for soldiers at the USO and teens from military families. Her goal is to offer cooking classes to even more military personnel and spouses in the future. “It’s been a fun journey,” she laughs. “In all stages of your life, cooking healthy is important. I just want to help families get back in the kitchen.” Ryan Hall

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 69

Long Blue Ladle

Hungarian Goulash Submitted by Dianna (Angeline) Ackerley, Class of ’82

Dianna (Angeline) Ackerley’s ’82 sponsor family was a lifesaver during her cadet years. Joe and Karie Strosnider offered Ackerley — a Maryland native — and other cadets a home away from home that provided important time apart from The Zoo. “I would not have made it through without them,” Ackerley admits. “They were just amazing. They were my encouragement and my support, and sometimes the literal shoulder to cry on … because I was so far away from home.” Part of her sponsor-family experience included meals with the Strosniders. Sometimes Ackerley would cook or bake, and other times the Strosniders would prepare the meal. “I would always bring my roommates and cadets from my squadron to my sponsor family’s home,” she recalls. “Or, if I went to their home by myself, I’d always bring food back to my squadron. So people would always ask me when I was going back to my sponsors’ house!” More than a few recipes shared by Karie Strosnider are in Ackerley’s current collection. She submits one favorite with this month’s Checkpoints readers. “It was served often by my cadet sponsor’s wife,” she reports.

70 ·

2 tablespoons butter 1 cup onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian Paprika 2 lbs. stew beef or other tender cut of beef, cubed ½ teaspoon caraway seeds 4 cups chicken or beef broth (I use beef broth) ½ teaspoon each, salt and pepper 2 large russet potatoes 1 lb tomatoes, canned or about 4 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped (I use fresh) 2 green bell peppers, chopped ½ teaspoon marjoram In a large dutch oven, melt the butter. Saute the onions on medium heat about 8-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the paprika. Add beef and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add caraway seeds, stock and salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. In a separate pot of water, parboil potatoes 8-10 minutes. Drain, peel and cube the potatoes. Add to the meat along with tomatoes, green peppers and marjoram. Cook partially covered over medium heat for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall

Checkpoints · September 2015 · 71

A Guiding Hand

Board of Visitors provides fresh perspective on Academy’s direction, innovation By Jeff Holmquist


ou never had to convince Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 about the value of the USAFA Board of Visitors. During her four-year tenure as superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, Johnson relied on the BoV to guide candid discussions about the current and future direction of the federally funded institution. “The Board of Visitors has provided tremendous insight and perspective that has been crucial to our mission of developing leaders of character,” Johnson says. “I am thankful for the board’s service to USAFA and our nation.” The independent, 15-member committee meets quarterly to review the current state of affairs at the Academy — evaluating the “morale, discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods and other matters” at the institution. The board’s oversight role is expansive, yet much of its work goes unnoticed by the general public. The BoV members are appointed by various upper-level U.S. government officials — the president, vice president, Senate and House armed services committees and the speaker of the House of Representatives. BoV members author two reports a year — submitted to the Secretary of De-

72 ·

fense, Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee — to reveal their findings and recommendations concerning USAFA. Lt. Gen. Johnson says the varied backgrounds of BoV members — ranging from military to non-military — provide Academy leaders with an independent resource for gaining valuable feedback concerning ideas, changes or innovations that have been implemented or are being considered. “The BoV is constituted in such a way that it serves a very diverse constituency,” Johnson says. “This diversity of thought is very important to us as an institution.” BoV members, some of whom are USAFA graduates, also help keep Academy priorities in line in regards to the heritage of the institution, Johnson notes. “Throughout my tenure, our leadership team sought to modernize the Academy so it would deliver its traditional mission in a modern way,” she explains. “The Academy must prepare lieutenants for the modern profession of arms, but should never stray from the traditions of the Long Blue Line. The BoV’s oversight is a valuable sounding board in achieving the right balance.” Johnson has nothing but praise for BoV members past and present and is convinced USAFA and its senior leaders are in good hands moving forward. Ryan Hall

“As my tenure draws to a close, I am confident that the BoV understands the great trajectory USAFA is on, how special the institution and its mission is, and how they can help propel us to even greater heights,” she says. An Academy alum, Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rice ’78, is the newly elected BoV chairperson. Rice, who first joined the BoV in January, is one of six members who are presidential appointees. “I got a call from the White House personnel office one day — out of the blue — asking me if I would be interested,” he says. “I said yes.” Rice indicates he’s “honored and privileged” to play a part in shaping the future for his alma mater. “I think most graduates of any institution would look forward to an opportunity to contribute in some way to making that institution stronger in the future,” he says. “This is really a great opportunity from which you can influence what happens with the Academy. Certainly, as a board, we don’t manage the day-to-day operations. But we, on behalf of the secretary (of the Air Force) and chief (of staff of the Air Force) … try to make sure that their intent for what happens here at the Academy is being realized.” Sue Hoppin, one of the longest-tenured members of the BoV (since 2012),

says she has enjoyed her involvement with the oversight body. Because her husband is a USAFA graduate (retired USAF Maj. Kevin Hoppin ’90), she has a strong desire to help the Academy move forward in any way she can. “We’re all working on the same team, trying to support the Academy,” she says of the BoV. “For us to give back to the Academy like this is huge. This is the honor and privilege of a lifetime.” Hoppin notes that the diversity of representatives on the BoV helps to advance the conversations and enhance the recommendations the group suggests. “All the board members make contributions,” she explains. “I think what they do so brilliantly is they bring in board members from different sectors. Everybody is selected because of their background and experience, and we all have our part to play.” BoV meetings, which are open to the public, are conducted in Washington, D.C., and at the Academy. The board is required to meet at USAFA at least twice during each calendar year.

Board of Visitors members who attended the July 2017 meeting at the U.S. Air Force Academy included (from left) Sue Hoppin, founder and president of the National Military Spouse Network; Col. (Ret.) Benjamin Drew ’84, Department of Defense Liaison Office of International and Interagency Relations; Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81, USAFA superintendent from 2013-17; BoV Chairperson Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rice ’78, Ed Rice Consulting; Linda Cubero ’80, Warriors to Work specialist; Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bruce Swezey ’76, Wisconsin Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Judith Fedder, director of Boeing Global Sales & Marketing, Integrated Logistics.

Barbara Rankin MBA, Realtor®, USAFA ‘96 Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS)

Your trusted real estate professional in Summit County, Colorado.

Barbara Rankin Broker/Owner tel 970.406.1809 office 970.513.8200


23110 Hwy 6 #107

Gateway Building Keystone, CO 80435

Breckenridge • Copper Mountain • Dillon • Frisco • Keystone • Silverthorne

111A Lincoln Avenue Breckenridge, CO 80424 Ryan Hall

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 73


Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944: When we got to the beach, I said to one of my men, Cpl. Meyers, ‘If there’s a hell, this has got to be it.’ And it was about a minute later that he got a bullet in his head. To make a long story short, only seven of the 31 men on my boat made it to the beach.


— Sgt. Ray Lambert, 1st Infantry Division.

History comes alive for USAFA cadets on the battlefields of Europe

n the 73rd anniversary of the Normandy invasion (June 6, 2017), six Air Force Academy cadets stood on the sands of Omaha Beach, moved by the bravery and sacrifice of the men who fought and died that day. “I just can’t imagine being a first-wave soldier going in on D-Day, where entire boats got mowed down by machine gun fire as soon as they opened up,” says C1C Daniel Cook. “It really puts it all into perspective what all of those men were willing to do for our country just to preserve our way of life and help secure that for others across the globe.” Visiting Normandy was part of the 14-day Face of Battle Staff Ride coordinated through the USAFA Department of History by Lt. Col. Mark Grotelueschen and Dr. Bob Wettemann. The ride was funded by Academy graduate Lt. Col. (Ret.) Don Raines ’86 through the United States Air Force Academy Endowment. “A trip like this has the potential to be transformational in so many ways, not only for the cadets, but to generate excitement within the History Department,” Wettemann says. “Developing this sort of intellectual engagement with the past creates insights that cadets will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Nothing less than victory The ride began three days earlier when the team arrived in London. They hit the ground running, visiting Winston Churchill’s war rooms and recounting the Battle of Britain with a visit to the Eagle Squadron Memorial, a walking tour of London highlighting key sites associated with the Battle of Britain, and a visit to the National Army Museum. 74 ·

(Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2004, “D-day survivors tell their stories.”)

When the cadets embarked on an evening crossing of the English Channel toward Normandy, they were each handed a copy of the letter that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower presented to the troops who made the same crossing to mount the D-Day invasion. In part, Eisenhower’s letter read: “In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. We will accept nothing less than full victory!” With Eisenhower’s words fresh in their minds, the cadets prepared to begin their battlefield tour.

A place among heroes Military historian John Keegan’s book “The Face of Battle” gave rise to the name for the ride and provided the conceptual framework for a semesterlong study of six major European battles that span more than 600 years, including the medieval battle of Agincourt, Waterloo, the Battle of Somme, the Battle of Britain, the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. “Keegan looks at battle through the experience of the individual — what the individual soldier faces in combat,” Wettemann says. “So we’re trying to take his framework and overlay it with everything we’re doing with the cadets.”

Each cadet presented graveside memorials for soldiers from his home state who are buried in either the American Cemetery in Normandy or the Luxembourg American Cemetery. C2C Charles Estep researched a paratrooper from the 101st Airborne, Warren Muck, who enlisted when he was only 17. Muck rose through the ranks to sergeant, fighting at Normandy, the Netherlands, and finally the Battle of the Bulge, where he died in a German artillery barrage near Foy. Standing beside Muck’s grave in the Luxemburg American Cemetery, Estep said, “His sacrifice will not be forgotten, while his position is surely earned in this place among heroes.” A band of brothers History department instructors Grotelueschen and Wettemann set the stage for the trip with assigned reading of scholarly works by Keegan, Philpott, Wells and other military historians. Additional pretrip preparation also included watching movies like “The Longest Day,” “Waterloo,” “Henry V,” “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan.” When the group visited Sainte Marie du Mont, the first French village liberated by Allied troops following the Normandy invasion, they posed in front of the village war memorial, recreating a famous black-and-white photo taken in 1944 of the men of Easy Company from the 101st Airborne. The photo also inspired a scene from the TV miniseries, “Band of Brothers.” Following a fine thread through one of history’s endless footnotes, the “band of brothers” title harkens back to William Shakespeare in 1599 as he recounts the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, France, in his play “Henry V.” At Agincourt, King Henry V led a sick and diminished band of 6,000 British soldiers against an army of more than 20,000 French knights and infantrymen. Although King Henry and his men were outnumbered three to one, his archers unleashed deadly clouds of arrows that were said to have blotted out the sun, leading to the defeat of the French knights who were bogged down by heavy armor Checkpoints · September 2017 · 75


1944: Soldiers from Easy Company pose for a photo in Sainte Marie du Mont, the first French village liberated following the Normandy invasion.


Upper: The team explores a German battery on Pointe du Hoc, overlooking Utah Beach and Omaha Beach in Normandy. Lower: Cadets explore trenches from the World War I Battle of Somme at the Newfoundland Memorial.


Don Raines’ Air Force career included Basic Cadet Training at the Academy, graduation with a handshake from Vice President George H.W. Bush, serving as a Tactical Air Command (TAC) Desert Warrior, and retirement after 20 years of service with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

on a battlefield that had been turned to mud by heavy rains. In Shakespeare’s play, King Henry rallies his troops to battle saying: “This story shall the good man teach his son. From this day until the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day what sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”

French and German soldiers who died in the WWI battle, gave C2C Brett Stell insight into the reluctance of the French to do battle with the Germans a second time in WWII. “The French cemetery at Verdun was pretty, but the bones underneath the monument were kind of creepy,” Stell says. “You can see why France was slow to oppose Hitler and embrace appeasement rather than risk another war like Battles won and lost the First World War.” The cadets imagined the horrors of trench In Belgium, the team walked warfare in World War I, recounting the through the thickly wooded forests of Battle of Somme, where more than a mil- the Ardennes, discovering the remnants lion men were wounded or killed during of foxholes where Allied troops battled the four-month campaign. The rural the German army during the Battle of countryside is still pitted with craters from the Bulge. more than 1.7 million artillery shells that When the cadets visited the were fired during the battle. battlefields of Agincourt, Somme and “Seeing the trenches they inhabited, Waterloo, they were grouped into the distance they had to cover through battle pairs, tasked with describing the historic conflicts from both sides of no man’s land, and their overall objective helped me better understand the history of the struggle. As C1C John Wendt stepped onto what happened,” says C2C Charles Estep. the medieval battlefield at Agincourt, Visiting the Douaumont Ossuthe historical accounts he had read ary and Necropolis at Verdun, which prior to the trip came to life. shelter the bones of more than 130,000 76 ·

“Being at the battlefields and seeing the topography of these famous sites gave me the perspective that each commander had and why they acted in such a way,” Wendt says. “My battle pairs presentation was on Agincourt on the French side. The battlefield was very small and one could see how the arrogant French knights thought they could defeat a ragtag band of English. To see such a historical battlefield was amazing.” Moving forward in time from Agincourt, the cadets explored the military achievements and ultimate defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815. Speaking to the team at Waterloo gave C1C Daniel Cook a new perspective on the battle. “Having to present on the Battle of Waterloo gave me a much deeper understanding of what happened in that battle,” Cook says. Building warriors for the modern profession of arms For 14 days, the cadets were immersed in 600 years of military history, but they also found time to experience local culture. “As for the trip itself, it was a great mix of history and culture,” says C2C Charles Estep. “During the day, we would do our thing visiting sites and battlefields, but after we would find time to experience the culture, people and communities in which we found ourselves.” The Face of Battle Staff Ride made a tremendous impact on the cadets. With support from Academy friends and graduates like Don Raines, Grotelueschen would like to coordinate future rides focused on different aspects of military history. “We are preparing our airmen to perform a mission and serve our country around the world,” Grotelueschen says. “Seeing the great battlefields of history first-hand allows them to develop a greater understanding of how battles are fought and wars are won and lost. By walking the same ground, you get a much more personal view of warfare. Every history major should have this experience before he or she graduates.”

From the heart of the Long Blue Line Academy graduate funds battlefield tour for USAFA cadets


ix Academy cadets — all history majors — had an opportunity to visit historic battlefields in Europe this summer as part of the Face of Battle Staff Ride. The trip was funded by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Don Raines ’86 through the USAFA Endowment. “I hope this trip really starts their transformation from cadets to young officers,” Raines says. “Visiting those battlefields makes the books and lessons come alive. Seeing the cemeteries really makes you think about the decisions that officers had to make, from generals to lieutenants. It’s no longer war games or books to read in the dorms, it’s the reality of becoming a warrior in the profession of arms.” Raines admits that he was struggling at the Academy when he turned his attention to the study of history. “History saved me at the Academy,” Raines says. “I was a struggling cadet on academic and aptitude probation when I discovered the history department. It sounds

cliché, but suddenly the Academy made sense — studying warfare, leadership, doctrine — all from officers who were authors and experts (Robert Owen, Mark Clodfelter, Mark Wells). Within one semester, I went from academic probation to the Dean’s List; within another semester I moved from aptitude probation to the Comm’s List. That was 30 years ago and I still read 20+ history books every year.” As a student of history, Raines developed a fascination for the Napoleonic era. “One of my favorite classes was History 495, Napoleonic Warfare, taught by Capt. Mark Wells [later Brig. Gen. Wells]. It started a career-long collection everywhere I went around the world of Napoleon memorabilia,” he says. Over the last 30 years, Raines collected more than 1,000 leather-bound, antique books on the Napoleonic era, including two that bear the cipher of Empress Marie Louis, Napoleon’s wife, from her personal library

in Austria. Two additional volumes were in Napoleon’s library when he was in exile on the island of St. Helena. Raines’ collection also includes several swords, victory medals from Waterloo, and artwork prints, including one signed by Napoleon. Raines plans to donate his collection to the USAFA library. Raines is pleased to be able to give back to the Academy by funding the staff ride for the six cadets and is already thinking about supporting future trips. “Although I’m hoping in the future more grads will pitch in to help with the finances!” he says. “Within a year or two these cadets will all graduate, and odds are within another year or two many of them will be making lifeor-death decisions on their own battlefields. That’s what visiting in person does — walking the terrain, imagining the battle, pondering how you would react. It starts to bring it home that time at the Academy is almost over and the time to lead in battle is drawing near.”

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 77

Doolittle Hall With spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and the scenic Front Range, your guests will have an exceptional experience that will put your event on the map!



3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840

Ties to the military are not necessary to use this facility.

See Your Favorite Academy Photo in the 2018 Air Force Academy Fund Calendar Easy as 1, 2, 3 1. GO online USAFA.ORG/GIVE/AFAFCALENDAR and upload your favorite Academy photos 2. GIVE a gift to the Air Force Academy Fund 3. GET your FREE 2018 calendar HURRY! Deadline for photo submissions is September 22

Checkpoints · March 2016 · 79

Academy’s got


A cappella group continues to advance in America’s Got Talent competition By Jeff Holmquist

Ryan Hall

80 ·


few short months ago, members of the cadet club In The Stairwell never could have guessed that their USAFA experience would land them in Hollywood. Yet, here they are — performing live on the Dolby Theatre stage in front of thousands of “America’s Got Talent” fans. An estimated 13 million more are watching at home on their televisions and other electronic devices. And hundreds of cadets are gathered at various watch parties throughout campus to cheer on the singers. The group’s rendition of “Some Nights,” by Fun, during the show’s Aug. 15 quarterfinals wins praise from the celebrity judges. The next night, during the AGT results show, In The Stairwell is the first act to earn a spot in the next round. The singers react in disbelief at the exciting and seemingly unexpected announcement. “We’re just proud of how far we’ve come,” says 2nd Lt. Benjamin Hightower. “We’re proud of the work we’ve put into it, because it has taken a ton of work. And now we’ve seen it come to fruition. That’s always a great thing to see in life — when you work hard for something and it happens.” The group opened its AGT run by performing One Direction’s “Drag Me Down” at its initial audition. They followed that performance with “Bye, Bye, Bye,” by NSYNC. In The Stairwell is now slated to perform during the semi-finals on Sept. 5 or Sept. 12. If the singing group advances to the finals, that season-ending live show is scheduled for Sept. 20 on NBC. “These next rounds, it’s truly the American people who matter,” explains C2C Thompson Knox. “At the end of the day, we need America’s vote.”

The Big Break Since 2004, when In The Stairwell was first formed, the all-male a cappella group has embraced its behind-the-scenes persona. The group’s name comes from the location where they first held secret practices — in the dorm stairwell. Because of the cadets’ busy schedules, the group continued to have limited time to rehearse and precious few opportunities to show off their talents through its 13-year history. In the past, they have performed for various functions on campus, sung the national anthem at sporting events and made appearances around the community. But in 2016, with encouragement from the group’s advisor and Officer In Charge Maj. Colleen Kellam, the singers pledged to up their game and compete against some of the nation’s top a cappella groups. They shocked themselves and their fellow competitors by placing second in the Midwest region quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Tournament. They went on to compete in the regional

semifinal event in St. Louis but were eliminated from the tournament. Since that initial success early last year, In The Stairwell’s stock has risen within the Academy ranks and beyond. Performance requests for the group have increased, and their performance level has risen as well. “When we auditioned for the group, it was supposed to be something casual,” Knox says of first being selected to join In The Stairwell. “We’ve grown into so much more than that.” Then, earlier this year, a video of In The Stairwell’s 2016 tournament performance made it into the hands of “America’s Got Talent” producers. The reality show asked the guys if they would consider auditioning for the show. At first, the singers didn’t take the opportunity seriously. But they eventually decided to give AGT a try. “We kind of did it as a dare,” Knox admits. “We did it for fun.” As the group has advanced, the singers have been amazed at the support and feedback they’ve received from the public.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 81


The a cappella singing group, In The Stairwell, rocks the AGT stage during initial auditions. Their unlikely run in the competition continues in September. Photo by Trae Patton/NBC


In The Stairwell celebrates the announcement that they will advance to the semi-finals of America's Got Talent. Current group members include 2nd Lt. Ben Hightower, Mobile, Alabama; 2nd Lt. Colin Klopp, Columbia, Maryland; 2nd Lt. Ryan Douglas, Salem, Oregon; 2nd Lt. John Testerman, Davis, California; 2nd Lt Zac Hevel, Basehor, Kansas; C1C Bram Gygax, Huntsville, Alabama; C1C Jared Bogdan, Lambertville, New Jersey; C1C Josh Surver, Orono, Minnesota; C1C Mercer Martin, Greensville, Pennsylvania; C1C Mormon Redd. Bountiful, Utah; C1C Mac Lerum, San Diego, California; C2C Thompson Knox, Chandler, Arizona; C2C Kaileb Williamson, Paris, Texas; C2C Josh Jalowiec, Chicago, Illinois; C2C James Lynch, Fairfax, Virginia; C3C Adam Barnette, Taylors, South Carolina. Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC

USAFA graduates have recognized the guys when they are out in the community and given them accolades for representing the Academy and the Air Force so well. The group’s Instagram and Facebook accounts have attracted thousands of new followers. Fans have thanked In The Stairwell for inspiring them to greater heights. “It’s been so rewarding to see how people have reached out to us … to see how it potentially has changed people’s lives,” says C1C Mormon Redd. “I have a bunch of friends back home who have talked about wanting to join the Air Force now. Honestly, that has been an honor and a privilege and something completely unexpected.” “None of us ever expected it to get to this level,” Knox adds. “But now that it’s turning into something meaningful, it’s really awesome. We’re just so excited to be where we are now.” Despite being buzzed and critiqued harshly by judge Howie Mandel during their audition, In The Stairwell has never looked back. 82 ·

could go even farther … but I’m their biggest fan, so I’m biased.” Hightower says the singers do the best they can to follow Kramer’s directions, sometimes with limited success. AGT judges have labeled the dance moves as “awkward” at times, but it hasn’t hurt their march toward AGT stardom. “It’s part of who we are — this choreography,” he laughs. “We’re not great at it Zoomie’s Dance? C1C Brianna Kramer serves as the group’s — and it takes a long time to learn how manager and choreographer. She’s captain to do it — but we enjoy it.” of the Academy Dance Team and met Logistics several In The Stairwell members during As the group first auditioned and subsean Operation Air Force familiarization quently advanced through the AGT season, trip during the summer of 2016. five members of In The Stairwell have When the a cappella group asked her to help them choreograph their initial graduated from the Academy and headed AGT audition, Kramer agreed on the off to their first Air Force assignments. condition that she could travel with them Because the academic year began while to the show. In The Stairwell was in Hollywood for “I’ve really enjoyed it,” she says. “They its Aug. 8 quarterfinal performance, the are incredible, and I don’t think they real- members who still are cadets had to work ized how incredible they were until they hard to keep up with their studies when they weren’t occupied with AGT duties. got out here to Hollywood. I think they “It’s in the past and we don’t even worry about that now,” Knox says. “We don’t play to Howie,” Hightower adds. “We’re doing what we’re doing because we love to do it. If he likes it or doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. In the end, it’s if the people like it and if we enjoy ourselves while we’re on stage.”

Maj. Eric Hastings, officer in charge for the cadet club, says it’s been a challenge handling all the logistics involved with bringing the singers back together for rehearsals and television performances. But everyone coordinating the group’s AGT experience has been fantastic to work with —from the Dean of Faculty to the various Public Affairs offices to AGT producers. “All the support that we’ve been getting has been great,” he says. “And the cadets have been outstanding. They’ve been keeping up with their academics so far. They understand where their priorities lie. “AGT is a great thing and it’s a great opportunity. But at the end of the day, they all realize they are cadets first.” The newly minted second lieutenants who are still performing with the group have been outstanding as well, Hastings adds. On their recent trips to Hollywood, the recent USAFA graduates are helping tutor the cadets who are missing more than a few instructional days due to their AGT commitments.

“They’ve got a great brotherhood going on,” he says. “They’re relying on each other and taking care of each other.” Money Matters If the singers go on to win the AGT competition, they won’t be cashing in on the $1 million prize. According to Knox, the prize money would be directed to the USAFA Endowment and designated for the Cadet Club Fund. “We definitely don’t need the money, we don’t want the money,” Knox says. “We’re just out here trying to make an impact on people, now that we realize how big of a stage we’re actually on. The fact that we’re able to wear the uniform on America’s biggest TV show is great publicity for the Air Force and the armed forces in general. We’re just honored to be a part of it.” The Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office, which has helped facilitate In The Stairwell’s appearances on AGT, confirms that the group’s impressive

showing has brought great exposure to the Academy and the Air Force. “Educating and retaining the most dedicated and talented airmen in the Air Force is a challenge to our overall national defense posture,” says Lt. Col. Nathan D. Broshear, director, Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office. “America’s Got Talent provides a broad platform to inspire youth across the country to consider service in the U.S. Air Force. Our team is rooting for the airmen of In the Stairwell during each round right alongside the audience.” The group's participation in the show has helped highlight “the unique caliber of U.S. Air Force Academy cadets and the wellrounded nature of our nation's military members,” he adds. If In The Stairwell is the top vote getter at the finals, the group will be anxious to accept the show’s other top prize — a live show in Las Vegas. “Hopefully we can just keep moving the group forward to bigger audiences and a bigger stage,” Knox says.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 83

Nuclear Age

Redux New Academy minor fills expanding Air Force need By Paul Henry ’67


t the Class of 2017 commencement ceremony, 2nd Lt. Tanner Thompson officially became the first grad to complete the Academy’s newest academic minor: Nuclear Weapons and Strategy. For both Thompson and the Academy, it was the culmination of a journey of some duration. The fledgling minor kicked off at an Academy “Majors Night,” where faculty representatives were pitching their academic wares to cadets who were looking to declare their majors. Among the offerings at the physics table was a pamphlet with an eye-catching photo of a B-2 on the front cover. “Leaders required for the second nuclear age,” goes the challenge, “will you be ready?” That was the hook line for the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor, a multi-discipline, cross-department course of study offered as an academic minor since its formal approval by the USAFA 84 ·

Curriculum Committee and the Academy Board in 2015. The pamphlet’s authors – Lt. Col. Kirk Brown and Dr. Ryan Cress (both physics professors with experience and credentials in the nuclear arena) – underscore the program’s purpose right on the front page. They cite the USAF Chief of Staff’s “Flight Plan” for reconstituting the Air Force nuclear enterprise after a period of de-emphasis and neglect, an effort that requires the Air Force “[to] develop and manage an experienced cadre of airmen with nuclear expertise [and to] develop critical thinking on deterrence and assurance.” In support of this broad service effort, the department pamphlet goes on to say, “the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor focuses on the enduring fundamentals of the nuclear enterprise…and provides a pathway for cadets from all majors to build a technical and strategic

foundation to lead the USAF in the second nuclear age.” By way of background, the “first nuclear age” refers to global nuclear conditions typical of the Cold War era. A limited number of nuclear powers — dominated by the nuclear balance between the U.S. and the USSR – are able to sustain a general status quo, and are also able (however fractiously at times) to promote stability, discourage proliferation, and generally agree that the real value of such weapons is in deterring all parties from ever using them. The Cold War ended more than 25 years ago. Scholars and policy makers have come to recognize that in recent times there has been a renewed importance of nuclear weapons in modern statecraft, diplomacy and politics. The global nuclear playing field has changed so markedly that the world now finds itself in what is being called the “second nuclear age.”

Perhaps the person most closely associated with this concept — Paul Bracken of Yale University — has advocated paying renewed attention to the role and influence of nuclear weapons, and to how they can affect likely crisis scenarios in today’s global setting. He argues that the current and emerging multi-polar nuclear orders in the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia are destabilizing. New long-term stra-

tegic initiatives and new political frameworks, therefore, are needed to counteract these increased dangers. According to Bracken, the potential for cyber attack, the presence of emerging regional rivalries, even modern missile defenses and precision offensive weapons all in their own ways serve as sources of the instability that characterize the so-called second nuclear age.

How does the second nuclear age relate to the Academy’s establishment of a Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor? Col. Rex Kiziah ’81 (incidentally, another nuclear-credentialed faculty member) is chair of the Physics Department. “In my own career” he says, “I have lived through a period when the Air Force almost fell off a cliff regarding priorities with respect to the nuclear mission. We lost focus on how important that mission was.” Service downsizing, incentivized by Air Force separation programs, saw much of its nuclear expertise go out the door. The mission itself, he argues, did not receive the emphasis it needed, in light of so many conventional force demands around the world.


2nd Lt. Tanner Thompson is the first USAFA alum to graduate with a Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor. His first assignment after graduating is scheduled to be pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

In the wake of several widely publicized nuclear security lapses, the Department of Defense and the Air Force conducted an in-depth analysis of the problem. The decision was made to leverage the resources of national, DoD and service constituents in revitalizing the nuclear enterprise. The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor is part of that revitalization. Lt. Col. Brown, director of Nuclear Sciences in the Physics Department, credits previous department members Lt. Col. Mario Serna ’97 and Maj. Brett Castle ’05 with doing much of the early legwork on this groundbreaking course of study. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 85

Participating in the minor was the most eye-opening experience I had at the Academy...”

They developed a concept of operations for the minor, he says, defining desired attributes of the program: that it would be open to cadets in all majors; that it would be designed and administered as a multi-department program; that it would rest on a core of physics courses with a required social science course and one of five electives from political science, military and strategic studies, chemistry or history. Representatives from the appropriate departments assessed relevant material that was already being taught and made recommendations for expanding or developing additional material. Lt. Col. Brown points out that it was a pivotal success for the team in clearing the security hurdles needed to teach vital course material at the classified level. Nuclear Weapons and Strategy also was built to include many enrichment opportunities for cadets and staff: guest lectures, field trips to the national nuclear laboratories, conferences and symposia, summer research programs, and the Los Alamos National Labsponsored Tri-Academy challenge. A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between the Academy and Colorado School of Mines provides reciprocal academic exchanges, plus access to their radiochemistry lab and to the U.S. Geological Survey reactor in Denver. 86 ·

Virtually no aspect of the minor, according to Col. Kiziah, could execute if it were not for the extensive resources invested in the program by a host of external agencies: the Department of Energy, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the National Labs (Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos), Air Force Research Labs, Air Force Institute of Technology, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and the Air Force Technical Applications Center. These organizations, he says, together with the Air Force’s operational commands, are vested in enhancing and sustaining the nuclear enterprise — an entity that touches so many Air Force career fields. And speaking of career fields, 2nd Lt. Thompson ’17 (the first guy out of the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy chute) will soon be off to Initial Flight Training right down the road in Pueblo, Colorado. Then it’s on to Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. To say that Thompson is enthusiastic about his experience in Nuclear Weapons and Strategy is to understate the case. “Maj. Brett Castle in the Physics Department first put me on to the minor,” recalls Thompson, “after I had done well in the Principles of Nuclear

Science course. Class material on weapons design and weapons effects really interested me. I saw that the nuclear mission is both humbling and serious.” Thompson was very motivated by the unique opportunities presented in the course of study, singling out talks by experts in the field and a U.S. Strategic Command-led tabletop exercise in which he participated. Thompson reserves his highest praise for the field trip to Sandia Lab, and for a first-hand tour of the Trinity test site at Socorro, New Mexico. “Participating in the minor was the most eye-opening experience I had at the Academy,” he admits. Although Thompson will assuredly be focused on his flying duties as his career gets underway, he plans to put his experience in the minor to good use in the future. He wants to leverage his knowledge and experience to help others improve their understanding of the nuclear enterprise and how it affects so many aspects of the military profession. Thompson says he can foresee a day when he may pursue advanced education — and subsequent assignments in nuclear-related work. “Cadets need to recognize that the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor does not limit your Air Force career choices or drive the path you take; in fact, it is a great background for many career specialties,” he says. Other cadets are following Thompson’s lead within the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy track. Col. Kiziah puts the official figure of students enrolled in the minor at 18 — across 11 separate majors. Six are in engineering and sciences, and five are in humanities or social sciences. More are enrolling each term. This is an endeavor that is, in Kiziah’s words, “driven by the Air Force mission — its end goal is to produce an officer with a high-quality, broad nuclear education.”

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 87

TRENCH ART TREASURE Graduate passes along memorabilia from the Lafayette Escadrille By Jeff Holmquist


everal significant pieces of aviation history have landed in the Department of History at the United States Air Force Academy. A pair of French 75mm artillery shells that have been transformed into “trench art” were delivered and accepted as a gift to the Cadet Wing on June 19, 2017. The shells commemorate the members of the Lafayette Escadrille, American volunteers who joined the French Foreign Legion in the years prior to the U.S. entering World War I. The Lafayette Escadrille would record 57 official victories from 1916-18. The famed Raoul Lufbery plus eight others of the 38 American volunteers would die in combat. Each pair of shells is emblazoned with the colorful Lafayette Escadrille squadron insignia — an Indian chieftain — and etched with historical information about the fighting group. One shell includes the names of the Lafayette Escadrille members, while the other lists the military campaigns in which the group participated. The trench art was designed, painted and etched by flight mechanics (crew chiefs) of the Lafayette Escadrille. This particular pair of shells belonged to Col. Charles “Carl” Dolan, who was the last surviving member of the Lafayette Escadrille when he died in 1981. Also included with the shell donation was a signed print of “The Last Patrol,” artwork depicting the final flight of the Lafayette Escadrille (N-124) on Feb. 17, 1918. Pilots Dolan and Lufbery are depicted flying their Spad S.7 bi-planes in formation over the Argonne region of France. 88 ·

Preserving History The unique donations to the Cadet Wing were made possible by Col. (Ret.) Bruce Freeman ’67 (former member of the Blackjacks, Cadet Squadron 21). He came in possession of the items after becoming fast friends with Col. Dolan some 40 years ago. After hearing about Dolan’s story, Freeman reached out to the war hero via letters and telephone calls while stationed in California. “I’d just come back from my second tour in Vietnam … and I just heard about the guy,” Freeman recalls. “I reached out to him and his wife Ramona. It was like a traditional pen pal relationship.” Later in the 1970s, Freeman finally met Dolan in person while in Hawaii doing Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) business at United States Pacific Command. “I was a guest at their home for several days,” he says. “We just clicked — an old fighter pilot and a far younger one.” During their first face-to-face meeting, Freeman happened to catch a glimpse of the two shells prominently displayed in Dolan’s bookcase. “I recognized right away what they were, but didn’t say anything,” he remembers. “I literally got goosebumps when I saw them.” Building Trust Through the years, the former Lafayette Escadrille pilot would entrust various pieces of memorabilia to Freeman — uniforms, medals, pictures, commendation certificates and more. Many


C1C Andrew Antonetti (left) displays a signed print of “The Last Patrol,” depicting the final flight of the Lafayette Escadrille. C3C Joshua Bombero (right) handles the two pieces of trench art that were donated to the USAFA Department of History. “The Last Patrol” print is signed by the last surviving member of the Lafayette Escadrille — Col. Charles “Carl” Dolan. The artwork and the trench art will be put on display within the Department of History.

of the items are now part of the Lafayette Escadrille/Carl Dolan Collection within Special Collections at the Academy’s McDermott Library. Freeman would go on to write a research paper about the Lafayette Escadrille while a student at the National War College. That paper is now part of the Special Collections exhibit and is dedicated to Dolan and his wife. “He obviously inspired me in my career,” Freeman explains. After Col. Dolan passed away on Dec. 31, 1981, even more memorabilia would be given to Freeman by the Dolan family, including the two trench art masterpieces. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 89

“When I opened the box, I got goosebumps again,” he says. “I did not know that they were going to send them to me.” Freeman gave some thought to adding the shells to the growing Special Collections treasure trove, but he wanted Dolan’s shells to find a permanent home in the History Department where cadets could have more direct access to the historic pieces and be able to better appreciate the story behind them. “They’re probably the most historically significant items in the Dolan collection,” Freeman notes. With the help of the USAFA Endowment, Freeman connected with the Department of History and shipped the memorabilia to the Academy. Display Plans At an unveiling event June 19, 2017, Assistant Professor and Director of Development for the History Department Robert Wettemann talked about the “significant gifts” that had been received. Two current “Blackjacks” — C1C Andrew Antonetti ’18 and C3C Joshua Bombero ’20 — were on hand (complete with white gloves) to formally accept the historic shells on behalf of the Cadet Wing. Antonetti was previously the legacy NCO for the squadron.

“These are unlike your run-of-the-mill trench art,” Wettemann says. “These are painted and engraved, and we’ve got a provenance with them so we can track who made them.” Wettemann reports that the department is working on an appropriate way to display the artwork so that current and future cadets can enjoy them. “It will be a nice addition to the museum that is the Department of History,” he says. “We’ll remain true to Col. Freeman’s wishes and have these prominently displayed for direct cadet access.” Reunion Days In October, Freeman will return to the Academy for the 50th reunion of the Class of 1967. He hopes the donated items will be on display by then, so he can see where they have ended up. “I hope that cadets will have the opportunity to feel, experience and embrace the added commitment to our Air Force that Col. Dolan was kind enough to instill in me,” Freeman notes.

Indian River Colony Club 55+ Military Community

• 2-4 BR Individually Owned Homes priced from the high $100’s to the low $300’s • Country Club Living • Amazing Maintenance Program • Private Golf Course • Over 600 Golf Course or Lake View Homes Learn more! Visit our website or...better yet, try our GetAway and see for yourself!

Ask about our Military Discount!!

(877) 484-6176

Find us on Facebook!

Indian River Colony Club · 1936 Freedom Drive · Melbourne, FL 32940 · 90 ·

5 Essential Elements of a

Linked in Profile Professional Head Shot

No selfies allowed! Profiles with photos receive 14x more views than profiles without a photo

First & Last Name

Janet A. Graduate

No nicknames or call signs; common names should add a middle initial

Aircraa Maintenance Squadron Commander | PMP Personnel & Risk Management Air Force Academy • Virginia Tech Hampton, Virginia • 500+

Responsible for detailed inspection, record-keeping, and administration demands. Supervision and coordination of aircraa care, as well as such varied duties as crew chief, repair and reclamation, and crash recovery duties incl...

Descriptive Headline

Your first impression on 500+ million active users

Impactful Summary

What you’ve done, what you do well, and why people should care

Customized URL

Makes it easy for people to find you – great for adding to business cards!

500+ million active users 10+ million job postings 33,000+ users related to USAFA 6,600+ members of the official AOG LinkedIn Group “U.S. Air Force Academy Association of Graduates” 6 regional alumni groups + 1 Young Alumni group U.S. Military Veterans receive a FREE 1-year premium LinkedIn subscription! Visit for details. USAFA.ORG | CAREERS@AOGUSAFA.ORG

Embracing Our Shared Heritage L

ess than two weeks into their Air Force Academy experience, the Class of 2021 arrived at Doolittle Hall July 9-10, 2017, for a short history lesson and a bit of inspiration. The Basic Cadet Training (BCT) Heritage Briefing, hosted by the Association of Graduates and conducted by USAFA alumni volunteers, has been part of the early cadet experience for the past two years. And it’s fast becoming an important step in introducing the concept of the Long Blue Line to the newest Academy student-warriors. This year’s briefings included all 1,200+ new recruits, who were organized by squadrons and arrived on buses over two days to participate in the various 90-minute sessions. AOG President and CEO Marty Marcolongo ’88 welcomed the groups as each arrived for the briefing. He helped set the stage for what cadets would experience at Doolittle Hall and along the Heritage Trail. “This is a very special place for heritage and traditions,” Marcolongo told the basics. “We want you to stop, take a moment … and ask why you are here and what you are supposed to learn here.” Marcolongo challenged the basic cadets, noting that each one had been selected from more than 10,000 applicants to attend the Academy. With that select status, Marcolongo said, comes a responsibility to serve one’s country and to serve the U.S. Air Force. “The country put a lot of faith in you,” he told the basics. “It’s not about you. It’s always about serving someone else.”

92 ·

Basic cadets enjoy an early introduction to the Long Blue Line

That servant-leader mentality must carry through each cadet’s future Air Force career and beyond, Marcolongo emphasized. “When you hang up that uniform after 5 or 40 years, you will need to serve your community, too,” he noted. “That’s what it’s all about.” After watching a short video, the basics split into small tour groups and walked throughout Doolittle Hall and along the Heritage Trail. Inside the alumni house, basics learned about Jimmy Doolittle and the infamous Doolittle Raid. They heard about the Academy’s distinguished graduates and the accomplishments of many members of the Long Blue Line. Outside, members from the Class of 2021 encountered USAFA graduates who talked about their own experiences at the Academy and how those early years in the Air Force shaped who they became later in life. The alums also provided a little encouragement to the dog-tired basics, many of whom were likely questioning their decision to come to the Academy. “Help each other and work together,” Col. (Ret.) Jimmie Butler ’63 advised. “There’s really nothing here that you can’t overcome.” “Never give up, never give up, never give up,” exhorted Gen. (Ret.) Stephen Lorenz ’73. At the Plaza of Heroes and the Southeast Asia Pavilion, volunteer tour guides provided basics with a brief history lesson about the Vietnam War and the ultimate sacrifice that many fellow graduates paid.

LEFT TO RIGHT “A lot of the basics don’t even know where Vietnam is,” said Col. (Ret.) Michael Goode ’69. “I think it’s important to get a perspective from somebody who has been there, done that. I bring up my roommate, Doug Martin, who was my very best friend … and he was killed. That’s the reality of this situation. It’s not just fun and games.” Goode also used his soapbox to encourage basics to stick through the tough times to reap the life-long benefits and fulfillment of serving one’s country. “Fifty years later, I never regretted getting through the Academy,” he told the basics. Gary Weber ’82, who has volunteered for the BCT Heritage Brief the past two years, said it’s his chance to stay connected with the Academy and be involved with the next generation of Air Force leaders. “To have an influence now … it’s an outstanding feeling,” he smiled. “The basics like being around the grads.” Maj. (Ret.) Jon Sercel ’78 said he enjoys sharing his Academy and Air Force story, which included being dis-enrolled from the institution before being re-enrolled and graduating from USAFA. “I got to do some things that were rather unusual — scud missile defense, command and control architecture, working the startup of the Space Warfare Center,” he tells the basics. “Those are things that you’d never get to do otherwise. “I ask the cadets … what’s your story going to be?” he said. “Trying to get cadets jazzed up is a worthwhile endeavor.” Despite 90-degree heat on both days of the BCT Heritage Briefing, Marcolongo said the graduates who helped out give high praise for the program. “They love this,” he said. “They’re willing to give their time and energy, because they feel it’s so critical.”

(Left) While touring the Plaza of Heroes along the Heritage Trail, basic cadets hear from Col. (Ret.) Jimmie Butler ‘63 about the story of Capt. Lance P. Sijan ‘65 and his heroic efforts during the Vietnam War. (Second) Lt. Col. (Ret.) Scott Hente ‘75 explains the significance of the Class of 1959 Challenge Bridge along the Heritage Trail, as well as the distinguished graduate pillars scattered throughout the trail. (Third) Col. (Ret.) Jeff Schofield ‘67 talks about the Academy graduates who were captured in Vietnam and spent time as prisoners of war. Basic Cadet Kestrel Mun Pon looks through a copy of Contrails while checking out the items displayed at the Doolittle Hall library.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 93

Army Residence


A retirement community for U.S. Military Officers and their spouses, widows and widowers, the Army Residence Community is one of the nation’s premiere, accredited, nonprofit Continuing Care/Life Plan Communities. Located in the beautiful city of San Antonio near Joint Base San Antonio, this community offers a carefree lifestyle where you are surrounded by friends. Come see why we’re your new home.

7400 Crestway • San Antonio,Texas 78239 • 800.725.0083 • 210.646.5316 94 ·


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



NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR 2017 DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE AWARD It’s time once again to submit nominations for the Distinguished Graduate Award! The Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes exceptional graduates who have set themselves apart by making extraordinarily significant contributions to our nation, our school, and/or their communities. This unique honor is bestowed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Association of Graduates, and recognizes graduates whose accomplishments are inspirational and elevate the reputation and standing of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Distinguished Graduates serve as examples to all graduates and cadets of the standards we value and of the unique abilities that have made our country and society great. If you know an exceptional member of the graduate community who deserves recognition as a Distinguished Graduate, submit a nomination package no later than Friday, October 30, 2017. Nomination packages have been standardized and all submissions must have the following elements: • One page cover letter nominating the individual • Administrative/contact information • Two-page, typed narrative describing the nominee’s achievements Details can be found on the AOG website at: Questions should be referred to Gary Howe, (719) 472-0300, ext. 107,

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 95

Moving to, from, or within Colorado?

When buying or selling real estate, you need a Broker you can trust. As a fellow USAFA Graduate with over 26 years of experience, I can be that Broker. ®

Captain Roger Hill ’70 Continental Airlines Retired Shorewood Real Estate

• Licensed Realtor for over 26 years • Ethical, professional agent looking out for your best interest • Specializing in locations along Colorado’s Front Range including Denver, Castle Rock, Monument, and Colorado Springs • Reduced Commissions for AFA graduates

Contact Roger at:

303-956-5955 96 ·

Checkpoints Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation 1. Publication title: Checkpoints 2. Publication number: 898-080 3. Filing date: Sept. 30, 2017 4. Issue frequency: Quarterly 5. Number of issues published annually: 4 6. Annual subscription price: Included in AOG USAFA membership fee (which varies). 7. Complete mailing address of known office of publication: Association of Graduates, United States Air Force Academy, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475 8. Complete mailing address of headquarters of general business office of publisher: same as no. 7. 9. Names and addresses of publisher, editor, and managing editor—Publisher: Association of Graduates, United States Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475; Editor: Jeffrey Holmquist, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475; Managing Editor: Bob McAllister, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475 10. Owner (if the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address): Association of Graduates, United States Air Force Academy, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475 11. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: none. 12. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes have not changed during the preceding 12 months. 13. Publication name: Checkpoints. 14. Issue date for circulation data below: September 2016 15. Extent and nature of circulation: Average no. Actual no. copies each issue single issue during preceding nearest filing date 12 months A. Total no. copies printed 32,226 31,820 (1) Mailed outside-county paid subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541 31,629 31,251 (2) Mailed in-county paid subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541 0 0 (3) Paid distribution outside the mails including sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors, counter sales, and other paid distribution outside USPS 60 60 C. Total paid distribution: 31,689 31,311 D. Free or nominal rate distribution: (1) Free or nominal rate outside-county copies included on PS Form 3541 0 0 (2) Free or nominal rate in-county copies included on PS Form 3541 0 0 (3) Free or nominal rate copies mailed through the USPS 0 0 (4) Free or nominal rate distribution outside the mail 492 457 E. Total free or nominal rate distribution: 492 457 F. Total distribution: 32,181 31,768 G. Copies not distributed: 45 52 H. Total: 32,226 31,820 I. Percent paid: 98.3 98.4 I certify that all the information furnished on this form is true and complete. Jeffrey Holmquist, Senior Editor.

CADET QUESTION With the new group of Doolies settling in, what piece of advice would you have for the Class of 2021? “Take advantage of all the opportunities here. We go to a really unique school and there are a lot of opportunities. Join a club, get to know some people in your squad and make as many friends as you can coming out of here. That’s what so many people look back on. If they do that, everything will start to seem a lot better and make a tough school a lot easier.”

C1C Tyler Pickhinke

“Work together and know that they’re always on parade. I remember when I was a freshman, I always used to think I could get away with a couple small things, like talking on the strips. But we’re always watching them. It wasn’t until second semester that I really started internalizing things. The sooner they start internalizing things that we teach them, it will be a better experience.”

“Mainly, I would say keep a positive attitude about everything. It’s very easy to get lost in everything that’s going on and not being able to see the forest for the trees. Keep your perspective. There’s an end to it, and there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. It definitely gets better -- you just have to stick with it.”

C2C Jonathan Banks

“Stay focused and work together. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the school work, all the military training, PFT and AFT stuff. But know it’s all worth it in the end. It’s a big struggle, but it makes the reward all that much better in the end. Work together because you can’t get through it alone — know that you need help getting through the Academy.”

C1C Samuel Sentongo

C1C Daniel Manley

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 97

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Denis J. Haney, ’60 On April 12, 2017, Lt. Col. (Ret) Denis Joseph Haney peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family, in Arlington, Texas, after a sudden battle with cancer. A guiding presence in our family, he is greatly missed. He was buried with full military honors at the Dallas-Ft Worth National Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Denis was proud to have graduated in the “Second to None” USAFA Class of ’60. After completing pilot training at Reese AFB, Texas, Denis was assigned to the 49th Fighter Intercept Squadron at Griffiss AFB in Rome, N.Y., flying the F-101 Voodoo. It was there he met and married the love of his life, Elizabeth (Liz) Piotrowski. In Vietnam from October 1965-June 1967, Denis flew the RF-101 with the 45th Tactical Recon Squadron in Vietnam, amassing more than 300 combat hours flying low-level day photo recon. Over the DMZ in November 1966, Denis’ RF-101 took several hits from ground fire; he ejected from his disabled aircraft over water and was rescued. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he received. After completing his combat duty, Denis became an SOS instructor or “Red Pants.” He completed Air Command and Staff College and his MBA (concurrently) then headed to the 820th CE Squadron (RED HORSE) at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nev., as the deputy commander and T-33 instructor pilot. In July 1973, he was assigned as the 82nd Airborne Division recon liaison officer at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Never the one to watch from the sidelines, he qualified as a military parachutist and regularly participated in airborne assault exercises. As a father, he exposed us to MREs (with the vital can opener), military-issue hammocks, many static-line drop exercises and the exciting C-130 tank drop! Assignment to Tinker AFB, Okla., followed as he developed crewmember ops training during the formative phase of the E-3A (AWACS) Sentry. Finally, Denis returned to SOS and Alabama where he, once again, donned those red pants as a wing chief. Those who worked with him during this time should know how much he enjoyed working with the junior officers and staff—especially on the “fields of friendly strife.” In August 1984, Lt. Col. Denis Haney retired honorably as a command pilot with more than 2,700 hours and 24 years of service to the Air Force. Among his many military decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with one device, Air Medal with nine devices, AF and Army Commendation Medals, and the Purple Heart. After retirement, Denis and Liz remained in Montgomery, Ala.; he was proud to swear-in his two daughters, both following his steps by graduating from USAFA: Elizabeth ’86 and Cynthia ’88; all three sons, Denis, Christopher, and Jeffrey, graduated from Auburn University (where their dad had received his MBA). Relocating to Arlington, Texas, Denis began as a branch manager for MetLife Insurance but left to pursue teaching science at the high school level, a call to his love of science and education. During retirement, Denis remained active in the Men’s Club; he and Liz played golf and travelled extensively, in the U.S., Canada and Europe, often with fellow USAFA classmates. Denis is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Liz; his five children: Elizabeth, Denis and Tracy, Cynthia and Dave (’86) Bryant, Christopher and Michele, and Jeffrey and Donna; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He passed on to all of us a respect for others and a powerful sense of honesty and integrity. We will miss his sense of humor -- and his cocktails on the porch! (Beth Haney, ’86, Denis’ daughter)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

David L. Carlstrom, ’61 Col. (Ret) David L. Carlstrom, age 77, of Concord, Mass., died peacefully on April 11, 2017 at the E.N. Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford. He was the husband for 45 years of Elizabeth (Hayes) Carlstrom. David was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on July 8, 1939, the son of the late Carl and Ruth (Wheeland) Carlstrom. From 1957 until 1961, he attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a bachelor of science degree in public affairs. He was captain of the track team his senior year and represented Colorado in the Rhodes Scholarship competition. As a member of the Academy’s third graduating class, he felt a strong connection to the institution and his classmates, attending reunions until his 50th. Devoted to his country, Dave served in the Air Force for nearly 25 years. In the 1960s, he was a Military Airlift Command navigator at Travis AFB in California serving in C-124, C-135 and C-141 aircraft. He was particularly proud to serve as the Air Force member of the Lockheed flight test crew for the C-141 validating navigation avionics. From 1967 through 1969, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a master of science in electrical engineering. It was while he was at MIT that he met his future wife, Elizabeth “Lilly” Hayes. After graduation, he was stationed overseas at Yokota Air Base in Japan as an aircraft navigator with the 556th Reconnaissance Squadron, serving in the RC-130 aircraft, flying missions in Korea and Vietnam. Returning to the states in 1971, he served as an electrical engineer with the 544th Aerospace Reconnaissance Technical Wing at Offutt AFB. On Nov. 13, 1971, he and Lilly were married in her hometown of Ruan, County Clare, Ireland. Before leaving Omaha, their son Brian was born in 1973. In 1974, Dave became a program manager with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), managing artificial intelligence research at top universities. Dave returned to flying as squadron navigator in the C-130 aircraft of the 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Little Rock AFB in 1978, later becoming Headquarters Squadron commander of the 314th Tactical Airlift Squadron. Returning overseas in 1980, Dave became chief of the Osan Air Base’s consolidated command post in South Korea, responsible for all U.S. air forces in Korea. He returned in 1981 to Andrews AFB as chief of the Strategic Defense Division and director of Mission and Functional Planning at Air Force Systems Command. Dave retired from the Air Force in 1985 as a colonel, after serving as chief of the Command and Control Division of the Rome Air Development Center. Following his Air Force career, Dave was a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying image recognition. He later joined Kaman Sciences where he continued to pursue this work leading to a patent on the use of pixel hanging for image recognition. The family expanded during this time with the arrival of his daughter Rachael. The family relocated to Concord in 1995 where he continued to work for Kaman until his final retirement in 2002. He then volunteered with middle school students as part of the RE-SEED science and technology program. In addition to his wife, he leaves behind his children, Brian Carlstrom and his wife, Jennifer, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; and Rachael Carlstrom of Acton, Mass.; his grandchildren Michael, Daniel, Elizabeth, Ashley and Audriana; and his sister, Martha Cary of Boston, N.Y. He was also the brother of the late Alfred Carlstrom. Concord’s town flag flew at half-staff on April 14 in honor of Dave’s faithful service to his country. (Dave’s loving family)

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

Niels D. Jensen, ’62 Niels David Jensen passed away on June 1, 2017, in his home at the Army Residence Community in San Antonio after a valiant 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was born to Maj. Albert B. Jensen and Mildred Combs Jensen on Nov. 24, 1937, in Edinburg, Texas. Niels was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, BG Albert Don Jensen. He is survived by Melodye Ann Jensen, his loving wife of 49 years, and their three children and their families, including eight grandchildren (the joy of his life). Niels began his military career as an airman basic, then airman 2C as a weapons control systems mechanic. Following a recommendation from his commander, he applied for the USAFA examinations and was admitted June 27, 1958. He never forgot the long march up to the USAFA campus as the first graduating class to spend all four years on campus and as part of the infamous RTB’s. He earned a BS in aeronautical engineering, Class of 1962. Later he went on to earn an MS in finance and an MBA, both from Webster University. He also graduated from the Air Force’s Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College. Niels served 20 years in the Air Force with multiple distinctions and medals. Niels began his second career as a research analyst for Frost National Bank, progressing to marketing director for Kelly Field National Bank, and then associate manager of the San Antonio City Employees Credit Union. He was happiest when serving the Air Force and so he returned home to the Air Force to spend his remaining 20 years as the investment manager for the Air Force Services Agency, managing NAF retirement funds, construction fund, insurance fund, and the working capital fund. Niels moved to Helotes, Texas, with his family in 1980. Community service was his passion and during his 35 years in Helotes he was an active member of Helotes Hills United Methodist Church (HHUMC) and an integral part of the community. In Helotes, he served on the HHUMC Administrative Board, was an initial member of the Helotes Optimist Board, served eight years on the Helotes City Council, and was a member of the Helotes Planning and Zoning Committee, as well as the Board of Adjustments. San Antonio also benefitted from his passion. Niels was an adjunct professor of accounting for Vista College and St. Phillips College. He served on numerous boards, such as the YMCA, NISD Vocational Education Board, NISD Health Careers High School Selection Committee, Military Advisory Board to the S.A. Chamber of Commerce, and Boy Scouts of America. Niels was a college athlete, an avid outdoor sportsman, and a lover of nature. He lived his life serving his country, family, community and church. He was committed to family and, in his later years, was reduced to putty when watching or holding his beloved grandchildren. His legacy of love of God and family and service to his country and community will live on. Gone but never forgotten. (Melodye Jensen, Neils’ wife)

Grant O. Bornzin, ’63 The ranks of former First Squadron’s members of the Class of ‘63 have thinned again. Grant O. Bornzin, a valued class and squadron mate, died of stroke complications on May 31, 2017.  He passed after a valiant six-month struggle.   Grant leaves behind his son Bret, his daughter Janel, and three grandchildren, Cole, Jolie, and Brianna, in addition to LaDonna, his wife of 27 years, who was by his side to the end. Special thanks to Warren Nogaki for his supporting presence with Grant throughout the struggle.  Grant’s classmates and especially his squadron mates from “Friendly First” mourn the loss. Grant’s active duty career began at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas.  Medical problems made him leave pilot training and he became an Air Force intelligence officer.  “GOBs,” as he was nicknamed, was always quick to help out and

volunteer for worthy projects. Characteristically, he volunteered for two tours in Southeast Asia; one “in country” and the other in Thailand, where applying his “normal” intensity, he set up the first photo-intelligence analytical unit in a shack on an abandoned World War II runway. Captain Bornzin left active duty in 1967. He resumed his academic studies, getting an MS degree from Arizona State, and later an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. He pursued a career in technology and information services, working for PWC Consulting, a nationwide professional consulting firm. In 2001, Grant founded Bornzin and Associates, his own business consulting firm that he led until 2007, when he retired. Settling permanently in California, he joined the Saddleback Church and found great satisfaction in advancing his religious faith by becoming involved in helping disadvantaged people in far-off countries, including Rwanda, China, and Laos. Grant personally made trips to target countries to get help flowing. He took great pleasure from his work and found much satisfaction leading church groups in setting up “hands on” programs to help local populations help themselves. Back in California, he would raise significant funds to support those efforts. Grant was an extremely caring soul and his life reflected the theme of service above self. Time goes by quickly. It has been 54 years since graduation for Grant and classmates. Fortunately, special Academy friendships endure and enlarge.  The experiences of a lifetime with reunions to accentuate and accelerate feelings across the years continued and GOBs was very much a part of the process. In California, he was active in his local AOG, assuming leadership positions. We counted on him and he counted on us.   First Squadron members from 1963 last gathered in Charleston a couple years ago where some shared rooms like the old days (Gobs was one). All shared the unbreakable bonds of common paths of service, failure and success and the happy knowledge that you gathered with those you trusted and loved. How well we remember Grant’s infectious sense of humor and daring. He’s home now and the Ramparts welcome one of their own. (By family and squadron mates) 

William J. Hentges, ’63 Col. (USAF, Ret) William (Bill) Joseph Hentges passed away peacefully on April 20, 2017, while surrounded by family at his home in Kennesaw, Ga. after a short but brave battle with cancer. Born to Leroy and Mary Hentges on Nov. 6, 1941, in Jefferson City, Mo., Bill was raised to love God and family. Upon graduating from Helias Catholic High School in 1959, where he excelled on the football field as well as in the classroom, he received an appointment to attend the Air Force Academy. A graduate of the Class of 1963, Bill earned All-America honors as a guard on the Falcon football team and was the team co-captain. While home between his junior and senior years at the Academy, Bill met the love of his life, Melba Hoffmeyer. Upon graduation, he completed pilot training at Craig AFB where he remained as an instructor in the T-33 and T-38. Bill and Melba were married Feb. 20, 1965, and had the first two of four children, John William and Janet Susan, while stationed at Craig. Between June and December 1969, he completed the upgrade to the F-4 at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Their third child, Mary Beth, was born while stationed in Arizona. Bill flew 89 combat missions in Vietnam while stationed at Danang AB and worked as command post duty officer at both Danang and Tan Son Nhut AB, where he also worked as a briefer for the TACC and as special projects officer for the commander, 7th Air Force. Upon returning from Vietnam, Bill upgraded to the F-111 at Nellis AFB and was assigned to RAF Upper Heyford where he served as instructor pilot, safety officer, weapons officer and flight commander. In 1974, Bill completed Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB and earned his master’s in education from Troy State. Bill and Melba had their last child, Jeffrey Joseph, while in Montgomery, Ala. In 1978, Colonel Hentges was assigned to Cannon AFB where he served as operations officer, deputy base commander and, finally, assistant deputy commander for Operations of the 27TFW. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 99

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN In 1982, Bill returned to Maxwell AFB to complete Air War College and after graduation was assigned to serve as vice commander of the 39th Tactical Group at Incirlik AB, Turkey. In June of 1984, he became wing commander. In 1985, he served as director of Tactical Operations, DOJ at Shaw AFB where he remained until his retirement in 1989. During his 26-year career in the Air Force, Bill received many service awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. After retirement, he began his second 25-year career as a physics and advanced mathematics teacher at both St. Jude Central High School and Thomas Sumter Academy in Sumter, S.C. He also served as headmaster of Thomas Sumter for three years. He retired from teaching in 2014. Bill was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. Nothing made him happier than spending time with family, especially with his nine grandchildren. He was an avid golfer and loved woodworking and camping. He loved Melba’s cooking and fixing things – he served as Mr. Fix It for whomever he could. A devout Catholic, he and Melba attended Mass regularly and prayed together daily. Their mutual faith set a wonderful example for their children and grandchildren and helped the family immensely through his battle with cancer. Bill was a hero to each member of his family, and the values he instilled in us continue to guide us despite his physical absence. (Jeff Hentges, Bill’s son, with help from Bill’s loving family)

William V. Keenan, Jr., ’63 Retired Air Force Lt. Col. William Vincent Keenan, Jr., age 78, beloved husband of the late Margaret F. Keenan, died on April 18, 2017, in Ocala, Fla. Born on Aug. 18, 1938, in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was a son of the late William Vincent Keenan, Sr. and Gertrude Jennings Keenan. Bill graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in June 1963. Bill and Margaret were married a few days later, and began their journey through life together. Shortly after his marriage, Bill received his Air Force orders and reported for pilot training.  Bill served in many different capacities in the Air Force to include being a pilot, instructor, advisor, operations director and chief of operations. While in the Air Force, Bill was stationed and served at numerous locations including Webb Air Force Base, Myrtle Beach AFB, Vietnam, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, England AFB, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, Korea and Shaw AFB.  Bill retired from the Air Force in June of 1991 as a lieutenant colonel.  Following his retirement from the Air Force, Bill became a government contractor and consultant. He worked with and advised many divisions of the armed forces. Bill’s professional accomplishments were surpassed only by his dedication to his loving wife, Margaret, and his family. Bill was the proud father of four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Bill and Margaret opened their hearts, family and home to eight foreign exchange students to help them learn and grow in a new and caring environment, and three foster children to help them form new and rewarding relationships. Bill was an active member of the Catholic community in many different locations while he served in the Air Force. He was a member of St. Jude Catholic Church in Sumter. In addition, he was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.  Bill served at the local, district and state levels and held numerous positions from grand knight, district deputy and state deputy. Surviving are two brothers, Ray Keenan and Paul Keenan; two sisters, Beth Hicks and Mary Ann French; four children, Bill Keenan, III, Mary Cardinale, Beth Cato, and Rick Keenan; eight grandchildren and eight greatgrandchildren.  (Beth Cato, Bill’s daughter)

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

Walter A. Becker, ’64 Walter Albert Becker died tragically from injuries sustained in a fall on Nov. 8, 2016, in Woodbridge, Va. He was 74 years old. Walt was born on Oct. 3, 1942, in Philadelphia, Pa. to Walter and Marion Becker. Following graduation from Valley Forge Military Academy in June 1960, Walt entered the Air Force Academy, graduating in 1964. Walt married Margaret (Maggie) Valdez in April of 1965 and had two children, Leia Michelle Henshaw (Mark) and Todd David Becker (Chris) and they are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren, Sam and Jack Henshaw and Ethan and Kate Becker-Mowery. Walt’s 20-year communications career began at Keesler AFB. From there, Walt and Maggie traveled to Hamilton AFB, Maxwell AFB for Squadron Officer School, Incirlik AFB Turkey, Moron AFB Spain, Lakenheath and South Ruislip AFB in England, Keesler AFB, Air Command and Staff College, Norton AFB, Wright Patterson AFB (AFIT), Richards Gebaur AFB, Scott AFB, and lastly the Pentagon. During his Air Force career, Walt earned numerous awards and decorations, retiring in 1984. Walt joined ElectroSpace Systems Inc. (ESI) in June 1984, shortly after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. During his more than 27-year employment in the Washington office, the organization changed names several times, ending under the Raytheon umbrella at the time of Walt’s retirement in November 2011. During his tenure, Walt supported numerous interesting and some highly classified projects under contracts with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), formerly known as the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). In support of DISA, Walt worked supporting the engineering, test, and evaluation (ET&E) of mission communications equipment and systems aboard the USAF’s National Airborne Operations Center (NACC) E-4B aircraft (sometimes also known as the “Doomsday” aircraft due to its mission). Walt was responsible for planning, conducting, and reporting on the quarterly mission communications meetings on the various communications assets of the E-4B and the U.S. Navy’s E-6B aircraft, as well as making recommendations for the modernization of current mission communications equipment and ET&E of evolving technologies that supported the overall mission of the aircraft. Walt also supported the ET&E of mission communications capabilities of the Special Airlift Mission (SAM) aircraft supporting the president of the United States and other high-ranking government officials. Throughout his entire post-retirement career, Walt was known as an expert on the mission communications capabilities of the various aircraft he supported. Walt was a good and loyal friend, going out of his way to help anyone, anytime he received the call. He loved his children and grandchildren and his “best friend” Toby, his labradoodle of 13 years. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, especially his family. Walt was interred on Nov. 16, 2016, at Quantico National Cemetery. “When I’m gone when I come to the end of my journey and I travel my last weary mile, just forget, if you can, that I ever frowned and remember only the smile. Forget unkind words I have spoken; remember some good I have done, forget that I ever had heartache and remember I’ve had loads of fun. Forget that I have stumbled and blundered and sometimes fell by the way. Remember I have fought some hard battles and won, ere the close of the day; then forget to grieve for my going, I would not have you sad for a day, but in summer just gather some flowers and remember the place where I lay and come in the evening when the sun paints the sky in the west, stand for a few moments beside me and remember only my best." [Author Unknown] “Cheers!” (Kevin Carlton, friend, and Maggie Becker)

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

Roy C. Good, ’64 Roy was born in South Bend, Ind. to Richard (Dick) and Flora Good. He had a younger sister named Anna Mae and in his formative years during and after WWII, aviation became a lifelong passion. From an early age, Roy was fascinated with all things aviation and he joined the Civil Air Patrol when he was old enough. He set his course in life to fly and that passion was a constant through the rest of his life. He had an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958, but turned it down to pursue an appointment to the then-new U.S. Air Force Academy. That path took an indirect route and he attended Purdue University, then enlisted in the Air Force, attended the Prep School, and he was accepted to join the USAFA Class of 1964. While in Colorado, he met and married Beatrice Patton and they began their lives together as an Air Force family. Kevin Scott Good was born in May 1966, and Brian Kent Good was born in July 1967. Throughout his Air Force career, the family was stationed in Alabama, Texas, Hawaii/Kwajalein, Virginia, Alabama and Texas. The family stayed in Austin, Texas, during Roy’s final assignment in Germany so that the boys could finish high school. He retired from the Air Force as a major in June of 1985. He spent several years in Germany after he retired from the Air Force and worked for Sperry Computers and Unisys Corporation outside of Heidelberg. He returned to the U.S. and continued to work as a programmer in Princeton, N.J. and later in Atlanta, Ga. During that time, he met Pat McGrath and they later married and moved to North Carolina to be closer to Pat’s family. While in North Carolina, Roy was active with the Civil Air Patrol and was an instructor at an airfield in Hickory. The flight line there was his second home and he even rented a small apartment so that he could work with flight students and not have such a long commute home. He inspired and touched many people in North Carolina both personally and professionally. He moved back to Texas in 2011 to be an instructor at the new Red Bird facility in San Marcos and be closer to his sons and was one of the primary instructors there for several years. His enthusiasm and passion for flying were infectious. He spent nearly all his time in a simulator, aircraft, or preparing for a presentation. During that time, he met Odrey de Valle and they married and established a home together in Kyle, Texas. He was not as active at Red Bird over the last few years, but he set up a simulator room in their house and hosted pilots and students to continue to share his love of aviation. The house functioned as a virtual flight line and he shared his knowledge and love of aviation with people from around the country. Roy was walking his constant companions – beagles named Socks and Boots – on a beautiful day on March 30, 2017, when he peacefully left us to slip the surly bonds of earth to dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings, climb sunward and join the tumbling mirth of sun-spilt clouds. (From High Flight by J.G. McGee.) A ceremony was held at the Red Bird facility in San Marcos, Texas, on April 15 – including a missing-man flyover by his former students and friends -- and his wishes were to have his remains interred with his parents in South Bend, Ind. (Written by Brian Good, USMA ’89, Roy’s son.)

Jon E Prenez, ’64 Lt. Col. (Ret) Jon E. Prenez passed away on May 19, 2017, at his home in Rancho Murieta, Calif., surrounded by his family. Jon was born Nov. 6, 1939, and spent his early years in Newark, N.J. He was greatly influenced by aircraft flying over his apartment headed to war in Europe. When he was 10 he took his first flight in a Cessna over the Statue of Liberty and he was hooked. Jon attended Seton Hall Preparatory School, graduating in 1957, and Newark College of Engineering for a year, but developed

an interest in attending the Air Force Academy. After two attempts and much persistence, he attained his goal. During his time there, he made the Commandant’s List, Superintendent’s List and became captain of the varsity fencing team where he was ranked seventh in the nation. He graduated on June 3, 1964. After graduation, he completed navigator training at Mather AFB and became an academic and in-flight instructor. He attended Squadron Officer School in 1969 and was then selected for graduate school earning a master’s degree in communicative arts/public affairs from the University of Denver. Following graduate school, Jon was assigned to Danang Air Base, South Vietnam, and flew electronic reconnaissance missions from 1972-1973. After he returned home, he was assigned to Travis AFB flying international airlift missions in the Pacific including Hawaii, Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Okinawa, Australia, Japan, Formosa, The Seychelles, Diego Garcia, and Alaska among others. In 1978, he was selected to oversee cleanup of radioactive soil and debris left from nuclear detonations on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the ’40s and ’50s and to return them to the islanders who had been in imposed exile for more than 30 years. Following Enewetak, he took over duties as 22nd Air Force (Military Airlift Command) executive officer before leaving for the University of Wyoming for an assignment as professor of aerospace studies and commander of the AFROTC. His last assignment was as airfield manager at Mather AFB where he retired in 1989 after 29 years of service. After retirement, he taught at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of Phoenix, and was the senior consultant to Sacramento County studying the reuse of Mather AFB. Jon loved golf and tennis with his buddies, and living in a beautiful community filled with lakes, wildlife, and kind friends and neighbors. He was a member of the local Corvette Club enjoying many road trips and social events. One of his favorite activities was helping children at the nearby elementary school with math and English. He and his wife traveled extensively in Europe, Scandinavia, and the Caribbean, among others. He leaves behind his wife, Judy; son Scott; daughter Michelle; and beloved grandson Jonathan. (Jon’s loving family)

David L. Nolting, ’65 David Leroy Nolting, age 76, “slipped the surly bonds of earth” for the last time on May 13, 2017, after a brief illness, surrounded by his loving family. Dave was a one-of-a-kind Christian, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. Born on the 4th of July, Dave was the definition of the unassuming patriot who did his job tirelessly and professionally, without any fanfare. As his son Darin said at his funeral, he lacked whatever gene was needed for self-promotion. Dave was an invaluable member of Fightin’ 4th for four years after studying for three years at Kansas University. He set a mature example for his classmates on how to succeed, and later was the model of efficiency for his fellow officers and aerospace industry co-workers. Dave excelled in all three of his professional careers. His 22-year Air Force career included flying classified missions in C-130s throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and being awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and eight Air Medals. He instructed pilots in the giant C-5. He earned a master of science degree in astronautics and was an astronautical engineer and chief of the Guidance Analysis Section with the 6585 Test Group at Holloman AFB. He was the chief of Aircrew Standardization for C-5 crews in the 75th MAS at Travis AFB, and he provided leadership and guidance as chief of the Test and Analysis Division at Headquarters Military Airlift Command. After retiring from the Air Force, Dave was a test coordinator on the MD-80 and a flight test manager on the MD-11 test programs. He was the senior flight test manager on the first C-17 flight test prototype aircraft (T-1). According to a co-worker, Dave was an expert on critical chain analysis (theory of constraints) and was the single Boeing expert on this process. His application of this type of analysis was so successful on the C-17 that Boeing had him teach it to other divisions. He was a leader in designing computer applications to increase Checkpoints · September 2017 · 101

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN the effectiveness of flight test programs. His work became fundamental to the successful and efficient operation of flight test programs on subsequent aircraft types. After retiring from Boeing, Dave worked as a management consultant, giving others the opportunity to tap into his vast storehouse of problem-solving approaches and solutions. Despite Dave’s immense love of aviation, his first and greatest love was his wife, Margee. They were high school sweethearts in Nortonville, Kans., and they endured a four-year engagement before showing the utmost restraint by waiting three whole days after graduation to get married! They were blessed with two wonderful and talented children, Darin and Kimberly, and two much loved grandsons. Dave was active in his church and prepared meals for the homeless. He had a beautiful singing voice, and he and Margee sang with their church choir, including singing at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. His magnificent voice will certainly enhance the heavenly choir. Dave Nolting was a patriot – one of those quiet, unsung heroes who have helped keep our great country free through their sacrifices and tireless efforts. He left his mark on the Air Force and the aerospace industry. He had a boundless curiosity that produced success at every endeavor he attempted – and no challenge was too great. He epitomized our class motto, “We accept the challenge.” We are sure that when Dave reached Heaven’s gate he was told, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Dave Nolting will be missed by his loving family and a host of people who were lucky enough to know him. Until we meet again, Brother . . . (Ken McAlear and Harv Shelton – roommates, Fightin’ 4th classmates, and friends)

James E. McCleary, ’67 James Edward “Jim” McCleary, age 73, of Warsaw, Ind., passed away on Feb. 21, 2017, at Sycamore Village Healthcare in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was born on Aug.4, 1943, in Warsaw, Ind. to Virgil A. and Lucille (Thorp) McCleary. He was a lifetime Warsaw resident, graduating in 1961 from Warsaw High School, and attended Purdue University for two years. He then proceeded to the United States Air Force Academy, where he played on the golf team and graduated in 1967. Additionally, he competed as an amateur golfer while he served in the Air Force. He married Carol Kleinkhecht and they had two children. He retired in 2000 as co-owner of SYM Financial Corporation in Warsaw. During retirement, he was inspired to begin an online woodworking company after creating several projects at home and for his granddaughters. He also enjoyed playing golf with his son-in-law and several local friends. He was married on Feb. 22, 1998, in Warsaw, Ind. to Irina Nekrasova who survives. He is also survived by six granddaughters and one brother, Richard McCleary of Warsaw, Ind. His daughter, Katherine Ross (Blue Springs, Mo.), shared the following about her father: “When I think of my father, I immediately think of simplicity, mercifulness, and forthrightness.  The father I knew growing up was one who had everything in its place, sink faucets rubbed down until they shined, and even the garden was weedless -- thanks to his kids having to pull them! My father wasn’t a man of 'stuff.'  He was frugal but he had superior taste.  Nothing but the finest when he was buying sounds systems, computers, homes and yes, cars. My dad was a sensitive man. However, he was full of creativity.  He shared his thoughts willingly and as his daughter I now appreciate all his wisdom.  “My father was an entrepreneur. He always strived for something greater. Whatever he set his mind to, he accomplished it.  From becoming one of the top life insurance salesmen in the nation to starting his own woodworking

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

business, he leaves a strong legacy for his children and grandchildren to follow in. I am reminded of my dad every day when I look out our back window and see the beautiful day lilies that line the fence. He sent me the bulbs to plant years ago. Their beauty reminds me of his love.  Thank you, Dad, for a wonderful life.  I love you!” Christopher McCleary (Bentonville, AR) applauded his father with the following words: “What a talented, intelligent man! He was a committed and driven achiever, dedicated to the assurance of a stable and beneficial environment for his children. He was thoughtful, caring and encouraging. He held high expectations of his offspring, hoping for the same conscientiousness he instilled in them.  I had always felt I was of lesser intellect compared to the seemingly all-knowing father-figure before me. “When I was nine, I made some comment about how relatively stupid I was and he responded with, ‘Are you kidding me? You’re so much smarter than me!’ I always wondered about that statement and how that could possibly be true, but nonetheless, it motivated me and carved out a set of unending possibilities in my life. Dad will be remembered for his patriotism, his financial prowess, and his amazing achievements. He will be remembered by me as an honorable father, compassionate mentor, and quality role model. Much of my own life experiences demonstrate how powerful his life was on me. And for that, I will always be grateful that he was MY DAD.” (Katherine Ross, Jim’s daughter)

James T. Estes, Jr., ’68 USAFA wisely recruited this multi-sport and multi-talented Tarheel, a natural athlete who also excelled academically. Possessing a southern demeanor and temperament, Jim spoke sparsely yet with abundant meaning. His talent for terse, dead-pan humor tested everyone’s capacity for suppressing laughter, especially when he chose to unleash it, under his breath, during the most ceremonious of occasions. Jim was musically trained and loved the great soul and R&B music of the time. It resonated naturally with his Carolina roots. And, because of his serious vocal artistry, he could even cover a James Brown riff, often filling in with local bands. He liked piloting his ’68 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans convertible to those gigs, described, in his words as, “turkey-turd green.” Jim never met anyone he didn’t like. In spite of his unerring instinct for sniffing out a stuffed shirt or BS artist, he embraced everyone and found a way to enfold them within the tapestry of his own journey. He was a zeit geist with intellectual chops, the heart of an artist and the unadulterated soul of a child. He couldn’t wait to see what tomorrow might bring. Endowed with natural leadership qualities, Jim was not judgmental; he was, influential. A born fighter jock, he demonstrated his prowess as a calm, steady flight commander in his firstie year. But then, he received the heartbreaking news that his eyesight would not meet the pilot qualification criteria. Of course, Jim possessed a rare combination of spirit and toughness, could take a punch with the best of ’em, and proceeded to his backup plan. He rededicated himself to becoming a different kind of warrior; on the ground, in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for his exceptionally devoted and heroic efforts while spending long and dangerous tours in-country as a procurement officer. His efforts assured that our troops and airmen had the best of everything necessary to secure their survival, success and well-being. He went on to distinguish himself as the first Zoomie to matriculate from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. But, before he could do so, he would suffer still one more crushing encounter with adversity when his father, who’d always admired the legal profession and, expressed his own desire to practice law, died suddenly, just as Jim was preparing for his final

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. 102 ·

exams. With only days to spare, he displayed his extraordinary strength and depth of character, flying home grief-stricken to North Carolina, to settle his father’s affairs, then returning immediately to complete the tasks that would have made his father so proud, had he been there to share it with him. He went on to make unique contributions as a respected leader of Hawaii’s distinguished Bar for more than 40 years. Whatever he’d given away in eyesight he more than made up for with insight, not to mention sheer guts. One could not complete a proper remembrance of Jim, without at least a nod… to golf. He was devoted to and excelled at the game. He loved having friends visit him in Hawaii, duffers included, for whom the best part of that invitation was not the privilege of playing those great courses but, far better, playing alongside a great guy who could play them scratch! Perhaps it was inevitable that Hawaii found Jim and neither would ever look back. He deeply loved and fully respected the people and the place, finding there his eternal home. (Submitted by Stephanie Estes, Jim’s daughter; his wife, Brett; his brother Rick, and Bob Marks, ’68

Forrest V. Schwengels II, ’68 Lt. Col. (USAF, Ret) Forrest "Russ" Victor Schwengels II passed away on April 4, 2017 at the age of 71. Forrest was born on May 3, 1945 in Fort Worth, Texas to Forrest and Betty Schwengels. As the child of an Air Force officer, Forrest lived in numerous locations around the country and world as his father was assigned to various duty stations. At one such duty station in Bunker Hill, Ind., he met his future wife, Joyce. After graduation from high school, in Fairfield, Iowa, he attended the U.S. Air Force Academy. Following his graduation in 1968, he married his high school sweetheart, Joyce, and whisked her off to Alabama where he attended flight school. Soon after, he served in Vietnam as a pilot. Upon returning from the war, he became a flight instructor and also earned a master of science in engineering management from the University of Alabama. During his 26-year career in the Air Force, he served with honor and distinction as a pilot (C-7, T-37, A-37, OV-10), flight instructor, missile design engineer, forward air controller, and a computer network architect. After retiring in June 1990, he settled in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and began working for Martin-Marietta as a network engineer at the Department of Energy’s K-25 site. He worked in various roles including team lead, project technical lead, and finally section manager in many DOE locations. In April 2013, he retired after 23 years of company service. Privately, Forrest was a loving husband, a remarkable father, and role model for his four children and his 12 grandchildren. He loved serving the Lord in his many callings as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His service included scoutmaster, young men’s advisor, counselor to the bishop, ward clerk, and stake clerk. Forrest and Joyce served a two-year mission for their church at the Knoxville, Tenn. Bishop’s Storehouse as storehouse managers from August 2013-August 2015. He loved woodworking and spent many hours in his woodshop. Other hobbies include macramé, playing guitar, and spoiling grandchildren. He also enjoyed camping and travelling with his children and grandchildren. He is survived by Joyce, his beloved wife of more than 48 years; their children Dawn, Forrest (Chip), Matthew, Steven, and their spouses; his 12 grandchildren; his sister Suzanne Schwengels, brother Paul Schwengels and their families; plus so many other relatives and friends. Forrest was interred April 10, 2017, with full military honors in the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Forrest requested that donations be made to the Arthritis Foundation to show his love and support of a granddaughter who has juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He was a patriot who loved his country and his family with every fiber of his being. He leaves behind a wonderful legacy and example for all who knew him. Passing of time does not dim his love of us or our love for him. Our family thanks and expresses are love to all who took their precious time to express their condolences. (The Schwengels family)

Stuart W. Thomson, ’68 Col. (Ret) Stuart “Stu” W. Thomson lost his life to cancer on April 22, 2017. He died peacefully at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., surrounded by his family. In June 1964, Stu entered USAFA having graduated from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y. He long held dreams of becoming a pilot and later trained at Williams AFB where he was assigned to fly C-130s and later the AC-130 Spectre Gunship on deployment to Thailand during the Vietnam War, where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. Soon after beginning pilot training, Stu married the love of his life, Janis Larson, in December 1968 in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The two enjoyed 10 years of assignments, including seven years abroad, before starting a family. Stu and Jan were blessed with two amazing children, Chris and Lauren. In the summer of 1988, Stu retired from the Air Force. His final assignment was serving in the secretary of the Air Force Legislative Affairs office at the Pentagon. He led congressional travel, frequently accompanying speaker Tip O’Neill, senators, and other representatives around the world. As a civilian, Stu and his family returned to Southern California where he spent three years working at Parr Contracting Company and 14 years at McDonnell/Douglas and Boeing. At Boeing, he was vice president for International Business Development for Military Aircraft. During this time, he was integral to the development and success of the C-17 program. After his retirement from Boeing, Stu and Jan traveled to all seven continents and further explored the United States, making Maui a second home that they loved sharing with friends and family. Stu loved nothing more than a beach day with his wife and family watching the whales and enjoying the ocean. Stu is survived by his wife, Jan; his son Chris Thomson (Amanda Caracci); his daughter Lauren Thomson (Carl Woog); grandson Zev Woog; his brother H. Scott Thomson; and sister M. Stacey Thomson. An intimate celebration of life was held at his home on May 6, 2017. Jeff Parrish (USAFA ’68) and Dave Fales (USAFA ’66) were among those who spoke at the service, where the Air Force rendered complete military honors. Friends and family enjoyed some of Stu’s favorite things (lasagna, chocolate chip cookies, and Maui Brewing Company beer) while reflecting on his lasting influence. Stu’s ashes will be spread on Maui by family and close friends in 2018. Those who knew and loved him are deeply saddened by his loss. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, brother and “Baba”; a dedicated and trusted friend, and always a “good citizen.” His legacy of kindness and respect for all will not be forgotten. (Written by Lauren Thomson and Carl Woog, son-in-law)

Scott M. Hoversten, ’70 Col. (Ret) Scott M. Hoversten passed away on June 5, 2017, at Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Mo. at age 69. He was born on Dec. 16, 1947, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Herman and Fonnie Hoversten, who preceded him in death. Scott had been Air Force his whole life. His dad was a World War II fighter pilot and Scott was raised as a “brat” as his dad served his 20 years. He then went to USAFA and graduated with a bachelor of Sscience in chemistry, followed by a master of science in chemistry from UCLA, and a master of science in computing and information systems from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. His 26-year military career included serving as a C-130 navigator in Southeast Asia, squadron and wing level Standardization/Evaluation navigator at Little Rock AFB, associate professor at USAFA, and aircraft maintenance supervisor at Travis AFB. He was past squadron commander of the 63rd OMS, Norton AFB, and the 603rd Consolidated AMS at Kadena AB. In 1991, he was asCheckpoints · September 2017 · 103

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN signed to HQ MAC, Scott AFB, where he served in various leadership positions, including wing director of staff, until his retirement in 1996. Colonel Hoversten was well respected for his military achievements, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Joint Services Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Legion of Merit, to cite a few. He had more than 3,600 flying hours with more than 800 hours of combat time. He had this to say upon his retirement: “…Serving in the Air Force has been rewarding for two reasons: First, defending this great country is so important that it justifies the sacrifices, big and small. I was proud to wear the uniform and salute the flag, and never minded a little bit of rain when retreat was played. In wartime, you pay your money, you take your chances, and most come home all right. “The other reason I’ve enjoyed the Air Force so much is that I was part of a world-class team, made up of the best people on earth…” After his military retirement, he worked as a senior systems analyst for Sumaria Systems, Inc., and as a lead systems architect for MITRE Corp. Once fully retired, he so enjoyed it because every day was a Saturday. Scott was a loving and devoted husband, a doting father, and a mischievous granddad. He was a good listener and always kept a curious and open mind. His kindness, optimism, and dry and clever wit earned him the love and admiration of his family and friends. Scott truly embodied being an officer and a gentleman in his career and throughout his lifetime. He was a wonderful man who had a life very well-lived. Scott is survived by his loving wife, Yolanda; daughter Veronica, and husband Paul Washburn; grandkids Molly and Toby; brother Gregg Hoversten and wife, Kathy; nieces Danielle and Sara; sister-in-law Zenaida Branson; niece Kim; nephews James and Patrick; and grandniece, Anighya. Scott wrote in his 1970 USAFA yearbook: “...16 Dec 47- the beginning of my autobiography… i pass bewildered into the world of Light 27 June 66- isolation… i pass bewildered into the world of Aluminum 3 Jun 70- rebirth… i pass bewildered into the Real World Date unknown-… i pass bewildered into that great sack in the Sky...” A memorial gathering was held on June 24, 2017, in O’Fallon, Ill. A private committal service will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be shared at (Yolanda Hoversten, Scott’s wife)

Theodore Erle Keefer III, ’70 T. Erle was a generous, big heart kind of man. After growing up in Utah, he was accepted at the Air Force Academy in Colorado where he received his BA in philosophy, a unique degree from the Academy.  He was one of the few Air Force officers to be accepted and to complete the grueling SEALS training.  He served one tour in Vietnam as a rescue helicopter pilot, completing his service in air helicopter rescue in California. He completed his master’s at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. After his divorce to Cheryl, he married Mary Anne in Cancun on April 1, 1979. Following his parents’ experience in World War II, Erle’s dream was to go into intelligence, which he did, first with the military, then with the CIA; however, a conflict of philosophy soon had him pursuing other areas. His other interest was in the financial futures market.  Erle became one of the founding members of the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE) with his own company, Glendan, Ltd. After London, he

Gone But Not Forgotten Notifications

headed to New York where he owned a seat on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Then it was Chicago.  He was chosen as one of the original legendary “Turtle Traders” created by Richard Dennis in Chicago.  Once trading became easier over the Internet, he and his wife moved to rural Virginia to get away from cities and once again run his own financial risk management company. Virginia was his first rural experience, living in a beautiful old stone house on a 1,000-acre farm in Upperville, Va. Finally, Erle and his wife found a little five-acre haven in Rappahannock, Va. slowly fixing up an old house built in the 1930s. His best love over the past 30 years was the Shenandoah National Park hiking trails just minutes from his home.  In the past five years, he was there almost daily, “jogging slowly” as he described, meeting and talking to through hikers as well as faithful local hikers.  He loved those trails and, true to his military background, was on the volunteer rescue team for the park. He also mentored future Air Force Academy candidates, and drove them to the testing and recruiting center in Pennsylvania. He helped the local Baptist church with their mission to help the poor, and contributed to our local area in so many ways.   Once we moved to rural Virginia, Erle continued trading from home, worked on a remarkable deal with the Koreans for trading in Korea and traveled there frequently. He became more interested in options trading and did that until the day he died and kept up with his Chicago trading group daily via Skype.   He died the way he wanted, quickly, and most importantly, while out hiking on his beloved trail.  He leaves a host of friends here and across this continent and in Europe and Asia behind. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Mary Anne.   T. Erle Keefer died Aug 4, 2016, in the Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, Va. (Mary Anne Keefer, T. Erle's wife)

Harry F. "Jay" Davis, ’71 Harry “Jay” Davis was a proud member of the Class of ’71, and between 1969 and 1971, he had the best hair in Tiger Ten! I can say that as an adopted member of the Tiger Ten “Fab Five,” and as one who witnessed many of the mirror sessions that went on in that squadron.  But Harry (no pun intended) had more than great hair… he had a great heart… something that was evident in the obvious love he had for his wife, Cindy, and in the way they raised their two sons, Brian and Kevin.  Harry passed away in January 2017 after battling the effects of a terrible stroke he suffered nine years prior.  And though he and Cindy fought hard to recover the life they loved, it was not to be. Harry had a thing for speed.  He was a life-long ’Vette owner, and spent the first few months after graduation riding around the U.K. on a motorcycle before reporting to pilot training at Columbus AFB.  It was there that Harry learned to fly, and, most importantly, learned that he LOVED to fly.  It was no surprise, given his talent, that he was offered a fighter (F-4 Phantom) out of pilot training, and he and Cindy headed to Bitburg, Germany, to start what would be a memorable Air Force career.  The assignment at Bitburg was followed by stints at Shaw, Nellis, Osan, Hickam, Moody, the Naval War College (Newport Rhode Island), the Joint Information Warfare Center (San Antonio), Ramstein (Warrior Prep Center), Aviano, and culminated back where it all started, at the Academy, as chief of Plans and Programs.  Along the way, Harry also would fly the OV-10, O-2, and the F-16. It was in the F-16 that Harry left his mark as a combat aviator, serving as the 69th Tactical Fighter squadron commander in Operation Desert Storm, and as the director of Operations at Aviano Air Base, Italy, during Operation Deliberate Force (Bosnia).   After retiring from the Air Force, Harry, like many of us, traded his flight suit

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. 104 ·

for a business suit, working as a program manager for RSIS and Wyle defense contractors. Being in a similar line of work, our paths crossed frequently, but any business talk was quickly dismissed after the first beer and a mention of the good old days when we had real jobs (i.e., in cockpits!).  He was always ready with a story, and brightened an otherwise dreary day on many occasions.  Harry served as class senator for our class for several years, and was always the first to raise his hand when volunteers were needed to help organize class reunions and other events.  He was great at marshaling the troops on these occasions. Harry and Cindy’s beautiful house off Baptist Road was home to many cadets over the years, including my son (Class of ’06), who admits that he would not have made it through without their love and support.  Their door was always open, as were their hearts.    Harry was interred at the Academy in May, on a beautiful Colorado day, with his family and friends present, and many “nickels” in the grass.  He leaves behind a lasting legacy of unshakeable honor, selfless service, incredible dedication, and a deep love of family.  He was a fighter pilots’ fighter pilot, who will be sorely missed by friends and family.  And while he no longer has to worry about “two, mayday, bingo” or checking six, we will think of him often when we raise a glass.  Peace, brother. (Frank Morgan, friend and classmate)

William J. Shaw, ’78 Lt. Col. (USAF, Ret) William Jefferson Shaw was born on Frances E. Warren Air Force Base in, Cheyenne, Wyo. March 4, 1957. He died suddenly and unexpectedly on May 24, 2017, at Arundel County Medical Center, in Annapolis, Md. He was 60 years old. Shaw was the only child of Mary Harper and William Anderson Shaw, Jr., USAF retired, and grew up in Omaha, Neb., and Denver, Colo. He graduated from Bellevue High School (Nebraska) in 1974 dreaming of becoming an astronaut with the U.S. National Aeronautics Space Agency. Bill applied to and was accepted in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Although Bill could not pursue astronaut training because his eyesight was not 20/20 without corrective lenses, he studied hard and graduated from the Academy in 1986. During his 23 years in the Air Force, Bill worked on some of our country’s most sensitive intelligence operations and was awarded many decorations, medals, badges, citations and campaign ribbons including the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal Air Medal with four devices, Air Force Overseas Tour Ribbon, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four devices, and the National Defense Service Medal with one device. He attended the Air Command and Staff College and earned his master’s degree. Over the course of his career, Bill served with the Strategic Air Command and at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, flying missions around the world. His final assignment was with the National Security Agency (NSA) where he spent the remainder of his military and civilian careers. In 1999, he married Oren E. Whyche and she was his wife at the time of his death. Oren and Bill settled in southern Maryland, near Ft. Meade. Bill retired from the Air Force in 2000. After his retirement, Bill was back at work at the NSA where he worked as a contractor until he died unexpectedly. Bill and Oren shared a mutual love of Star Trek –both TV, feature films, computer games, books films and collectibles. Bill and Oren enjoyed meeting up with other “Trekkies” over the past seven years at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Nev. Moreover, Bill and Oren finished their basement in their very own stylized interior of the starship Enterprise, including a captain’s bridge serving as their home theater. On a more serious note, Bill will be remembered by many for his tireless dedication as an advocate for increased funding for research into the cause, treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2013, the year before the death of Mildred A. Whyche, Bill’s mother-in-law, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, he joined Oren, her family and friends in the Annapolis (Maryland) Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser. The walk is affiliated with the National Alzheimer’s Association. Bill and Oren’s fundraising team, named Trek to End Alzheimer’s, was recognized that year and the following years through 2016

as Walk Champions for the funding raised. In 2016, he served as chair of the Annapolis Alzheimer’s Walk fundraising committee. Bill’s life epitomized unconditional love of family, patriotism and selfless actions to improve the well-being of others. Over his life, Bill accomplished much but was always a very modest man. He is survived by his wife, Oren Whyche Shaw of Crownsville, Md.; his father, William Anderson Shaw; and stepmother, Kathryn Shaw of Aurora, Colo.; his daughter Lindsay Avril Shaw Turner; his son-in-law Janson Turner; two grandchildren, Ella, 10, and Evan, 8; a sister-in-law Stephanie L. Whyche; and, a host of other family members, friends and colleagues. (Bill’s loving family)

Rigoberto Santiago, Jr., ’81 Rigoberto Santiago lost a courageous battle with pancreatic and liver cancer on April 7, 2017. He died at home with family and friends at his side. All who knew Rigo will miss his passion for life and his uncanny ability to bring together any group of people through his love of life and storytelling. Rigo graduated from Randolph High School in 1977 where he was a star athlete in baseball, football and track. In high school, Rigo also played in the band, sang in the choir, and was an honor student. He was elected by his peers as “Mr. RHS” – best all-around male student – and showed immediately that this award was deserved as he received an appointment to the Air Force Academy. He loved the Air Force; the Air Force brought him the opportunity in his youth to see the world, make lifelong friends (like his buddy Kenny who was at his side when he passed), and mature into a young man who was a spirited cadet at the Air Force Academy. As a member of the Fightin’ Fourth Honor Squadron three years in a row, he left the Academy with a further appreciation of the Air Force and with the love of his life, Roshayl, on his arm. Rigo and Roshayl raised three children into a wonderfully loving and close-knit family. The five Santiago’s did not just enjoy each other, they adored each other. Indeed, with all of Rigo’s sports and professional accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. Rigo was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1981. He served seven and a half years of active duty in the Air Force attaining the rank of captain. He enjoyed assignments at Chanute AFB, Ill.; Bergstrom AFB, Texas; Griffiss AFB, N.Y.; and Randolph AFB, Texas. Following Rigo’s military service, he entered the oil industry and became an expert as a lubricant engineer. Even after high school and college, Rigo continued to play and watch sports, cheering on his favorite teams the New York Yankees and New York Giants. In January 2017, his Fourth Squadron brothers celebrated Rigo with a minireunion in Katy, Texas, since he could not travel to his 35th USAFA Reunion. His leadership and love of his family and his extended 4th Squadron family buoyed everyone around him over the last months of his life. As Rigo tenaciously fought cancer, he helped to bring the 4th Squadron family even closer by helping us to show our love for each other more, by helping us to appreciate every day we have and, above all, by helping us cherish our family and friends even more than we had before. Rigo was positive and pragmatic as he battled cancer. His poise and compassion under this severe hardship will be a lasting legacy of Rigo; we will all be better for knowing him. He was preceded in death by his mother, June, a month before his own death. He is survived by his wife, his rock, and his guiding star, Roshayl; his three devoted children, Michael, Alexis and Madison; his ageless father, “Chico”; sisters Trisha, Erin and Kerin; and a multitude of friends and “brothers” who will think of him every day. (Rigo’s Fourth Squadron brothers)

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 105

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN Frederick D. Dellecker, ’13 Capt. Frederick Drew Dellecker, 26, distinguished himself by meritorious service as a tactics officer and U-28A pilot, 318th Special Operations Squadron, 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Tragically, on March 14, 2017, he lost his life along with two other experienced officers in an air crash during a training exercise. Drew was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal (posthumous) for accomplishments during his tenure with the 318th SOS. Drew was born in Daytona Beach, Fla., grew up in Ormond Beach and graduated from Seabreeze High School in 2009. He won an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where he learned to soar in gliders and earned his jump wings. Drew also made the most of his experience as an exchange cadet at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Drew graduated from the Air Force Academy with a pilot assignment in 2013. He wrote an article titled “It’s All About the People” summing up his remarkable experiences at USAFA: http:// Following the culmination of a year-long, dedicated effort to earn his flight wings at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, Drew joined the Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field near Destin, Fla. His most recent assignment took him to Cannon AFB in New Mexico, as a proud member of the 318th Special Operations Squadron. When he wasn’t in the air, Drew loved all things outdoors. Growing up as an avid surfer, he translated those s kills to intense snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. Other interests included a wide range of sports, off-roading in his jeep, photography and music of all genres. Playing trumpet was a special passion in Drew’s life, which gave him a special love of both traditional and modern jazz, not to mention its military applications. Drew’s sense of humor was legendary.  He loved the art of the practical joke, a clever theme party, the sense of surprise and a great story. A huge laugh with friends, over the simplest real-world things, made his day and gave his life meaning. Drew gave new meaning to the phrase “man’s best friend.” He loved animals and dogs in particular. While in pilot training in Del Rio, he once shared a hot dog with a flea-ridden stray dog, who clearly had delivered a recent litter and was starving.  This moment turned into a great outcome for both; Drew got a companion he named Daisy and she was given a second chance at a new life. When he had to move on to a new assignment, he turned to Southern Paws Transport, a non-profit organization that specializes in placement of lastchance dogs in forever homes.  Daisy now resides in Boston with a loving family. Drew will be deeply missed by his parents, William and Karen Dellecker; a brother, William “Brett” Dellecker; his maternal grandparents, William and Janine Keebler; and paternal grandmother, Ann T. Dellecker. His family dogs, Rhys and Kramer, anxiously await his return home, while his many wonderful friends remember him. Drew was laid to rest with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery on May 31, 2017. (Written by his proud father, William M. Dellecker)

Kaleb B. Estes, ’17 C1C Kaleb Estes of Hartselle, Ala., made his final skydive on May 7, 2017, in Colorado. He was born on June 23, 1991. Before attending the Air Force Academy, he was valedictorian of the Hartselle High School class of 2009, varsity basketball statistician, member of the golf team, and National Merit recipient, scoring 35 on the ACT and a perfect composite of 2400 on the SAT. He was a student ambassador to Japan – Daikin Homestay Program in 2008, Volunteer Student of the Year in 2008, and Alabama Hospital Outstanding Teenage Volunteer in 2009. 106 ·

Kaleb attended the Air Force Summer Seminar in 2008, where his love for the Academy began. After a two-year stint at University of Alabama at Birmingham in the EMSAP (Early Medical School Acceptance Program), he decided to follow his heart, applied to the Academy, and entered in 2013. He was set to graduate with the 2017 graduating class at the US Air Force Academy in May with a bachelor of science in English and membership in the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. One English professor penned this tribute to Kaleb: “To me Kaleb was a student of peculiar, incandescent intelligence. The Air Force Academy ranks students with an 'academic composite' score comprised of grades, standardized test scores, and other mysterious criteria. It’s used to predict academic capability. Kaleb’s academic composite was the highest I’ve ever seen in my twenty years at USAFA [more than 4,000], and in Kaleb’s case, as you know, this was quite accurate... when he was engaged, he would submit the best work in the class—the best work anyone could remember seeing from an undergraduate. We don’t see students who can do this—who have a rocket engine under the hood—who can win any race they enter—who can look a veteran professor in the eye and converse as an equal. It would have been a pleasure to see how Kaleb would have chosen to use his miraculous mind.” Kaleb was exceptionally talented; he was an author, poet, artist, musician, songwriter, computer geek, avid bowler (he bowled a perfect game 300) and scholar, but his love for adventure was evident to all who knew him. Kaleb truly lived fearlessly. Although Kaleb was passionate about base-jumping and parachuting, his passion and care for others was his greatest attribute. Another of his English professors spoke to Kaleb’s caring nature when she said, “He cared about ideas, people, truths and his inner life more than grades or accolades. He cared more about helping his classmates learn than impressing them.” Nothing sums up Kaleb’s outlook on life better than his own words posted to social media in January 2016: “Kaleb Estes: Thinking About Life… It is often voiced that we should put others before ourselves, and it’s easy for us to brush that off, but I’d like to put some thought into that statement for you today. Other people are the ones that make your life happier when it’s sad, help you when you’re hurting, and generally make life interesting when it would otherwise be quite boring. Nothing I’ve done on my own is as great as what I’ve done with others. The people around us are the spice of life, so take a little time to make the lives of those around you better today. You’ll be glad you did, and it should make your life better too.” Kaleb truly inspired others and made this world more vibrant. His radiant light and smile will be missed by all who knew him, but the memory of his fearlessness will remain close to our hearts forever. Kaleb is survived by his parents, Keith and Melissa Estes; his sister Kiersten and husband, Doug Simpson, and niece Heidi of Decatur; his grandparents, Linda Harvey of Decatur, Bobby Harris of Hartselle, and Nathan and Glenda Estes of Silver Creek, Ga. (Melissa Estes, Kaleb’s mother)

(At Presstime continues on page 150.)

AOG Written Obituary/Tribute Procedures Outlined The Association of Graduates receives numerous questions concerning written obituaries/tributes in Checkpoints, specifically why some graduates do not have obituaries appear in the magazine. The AOG procedure is once the details of a graduate, cadet or Air Training Officer's death are verified, that notice is placed on the AOG website and listed in the next magazine’s “At Presstime” section. Shortly thereafter, the president and CEO sends a condolence letter to the next of kin informing them that the obituary editor will be contacting them shortly for an obituary submission. Next, the obituary editor sends a letter to the next of kin asking that they provide a writer for the obituary/tribute and a photograph of the deceased. The obituary is limited to 600 words maximum and a deadline for the next magazine is included. If the obituary and photograph appear by the deadline and are within the parameters necessary for magazine publication, the obituary appears in the next magazine. If not, a second letter is sent to the next of kin after that magazine is published asking for the obituary and photograph again with a deadline for the next magazine. The next of kin is also notified in the second letter that this will be the last request for an obituary. If the requested materials do not appear by the second deadline, no further action is taken and the obituary does not appear.

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


To bring everyone up to date on last quarter’s opening article – Dave Phillips and Phyllis flew to Hawaii to present the class plaque to General Ben Cassiday. Arriving in the morning they were met by his daughter at the home he built in Honolulu many years ago. To quote Dave: “He greeted us with a big smile of recognition and that great gleam in his eye that we all remember. I unveiled the plaque and explained how special he was to all the class and how we wanted Members to recognize him by making 85% him an honorary member of the Class of ’59. He was truly touched by ‘the honor we had bestowed on him’. He talked about how the Class of ’59 was unique and how it had been an assignment like no other Sabre Society Donors in his career. We talked about 23 the selection of the ATOs, Jerry O’Malley, Frank Drew, John Englehart, Bill Yancy, Hank Warren, etc. We talked about the Air Force and how it had changed. We shared memories of flying together; I was always his wingman, never lead.” Dave shook his hand, saluted and departed. He wants us to know that he was honored to represent the class by presenting the plaque to our mentor.

Dave Phillips presenting our class plaque to General Cassiday. The USAF Thunderbirds have a regulation that says no one over the age of 55 can fly in an orientation flight. However, thanks to messages from a massive number of classmates, ex-Thunderbirds, students, family and friends the Oldest Living Graduate of USAFA, Paul Lasen, was given the opportunity to do so during graduation week at the Zoo. We have heard that the Chief of Staff, USAF gave the go ahead! It began as the new owner of N1553A

gave Paul permission to fly it to the Springs. After ground school and photos, Thunderbird #8 took off and chased the team practice, then the fun began. In the East MOA (military operations area), Paul took the bird and quickly acclimated to the side stick controller. After seeing the following picture, I can see Paul saying to his student: “Son, I’ve got more time upside down than you have in the Air Force; so listen up!”

Paul Lasen, Thunderbird 8, at the top of a loop! After returning home, he said his bucket list is now empty. Paul, we of the Class of ’59 are very proud of you. You represented all of us well! Also, the Sun Ray, monthly magazine of Sun City, TX, had an extensive article with Paul’s exploits. There is an unfortunate post script. A month later his pilot, Eric “Speedy” Gonsalves was on the ground in Dayton, OH, when a gust turned his F-16 upside down and he was badly injured. He will recover but it may take a while. Our “Iron Man”, Mike Bender, soon after a trip to New Zealand, riding his bike 60 miles and riding hill repeats for two hours, showed symptoms like a stroke. The symptoms were caused by a rapidly growing glioblastoma multiforme tumor on his right temporal lobe. After surgery and rehab, Mike is home and undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. As we would expect, he is astounding the doctors by walking unaided and Arohanui reports that his spirits are high and thanks the classmates who contacted him with support. News of another classmate comes from his son. Emil Cwach had both open heart surgery and back surgery in June and was expected to be in rehab in July. We wish him a speedy and full recovery. A Thunderbird alumnus referenced above, Hank Canterbury, is still active flying and instructing in his Bonanza and Pitts S2C. His son, Todd, (call sign: “Tales” -- really?), completed two years as F-35 wing commander at Eglin, received his first star and is now heading the Air Force F-35 Integration Office in the five-sided Puzzle Palace. Congratulations to both Hank and Todd. Dusty Trail reminisced recently in his local paper about being invited back to AFA to attend a glider program ceremony, pinning “G Wings” on about 76 cadets. His escort was Tori Gilster, Herm’s granddaughter! He was the first of us to solo in a glider. As an aside, I coached the AFA soaring team 1969-1970. We competed in civilian soaring meets from Indiana to Arizona. He also reports on the “First Day” celebration, 11 July, at the Rocky Mountain Brewery attended by classmates Joe Morgan, Ed Montgomery, Bob Browning, Larry Fortner, Max Miller, Greg Boyington, Dusty Trail and Dick Gaebler. He said that the drinks were better now.

The next day, Janet placed Al Waters’ ashes in the Academy Columbaria with Bob Browning doing the funeral in the Cadet Chapel. Note: The Cadet Chapel will close next summer for three years for repairs!

From left are Ann and Dusty Trail, Tori Gilster and Col. (Ret) Wally LeLand and Muriel (Colonel LeLand set up the soaring program at the permanent site). One thing to be noted about our class: many of us are anything but retired. Brad Hosmer is toiling quietly to reform both the high school and university-level education systems in New Mexico. Years of labor have had some success, but when graduation rates double to 24 percent, it becomes evident that there is a long way to go. Very admirable involvement, however, Brad and press on! The Battle of the Bulge (not waistline), the one in Bastogne, just had a visit from Ed and Pat Lankenau. Ed remarked on the ferocity of the battle and that the massacre at nearby Malmady was very moving. He also just received Governor Rick Scott’s Veteran Service Medal. Since Scott is a Navy veteran, he couldn’t grasp the notion of Ed’s claim to “establishing air superiority over Ponca City.” In June, Joe and Janet Morgan with Dick and Jean Carr flew to California to visit Lois Chase and Greg Boyington. It was a wonderful visit and Greg is definitely the tour guide of the year as he shepherded us to Muir Woods (Redwoods), Sausalito, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Joe got us into the St. Francis Yacht Club. Don’t forget Don Brooks' offer to put a book together detailing the exploits of our class members. Email him at: Let’s have a large turnout for the Navy game. Our hosts, Joe and Janet Morgan, have promised good weather (for a change) and with enough encouragement the Air Force team will win again! Go Air Force! Soon after you receive this issue, Jean and I will spend a month in Dubai, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Traveling the Silk Road. As I receive messages from the Class of ’59 and our many and varied activities, I am reminded of the thought for the quarter: “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” - Mario Andretti It appears that ’59ers are continuing to “go faster” and stay involved and active! –Dick Carr, 3612 San Sebastian Court, Punta Gorda, FL 33950; H: (941) 637-8272; Cell: (941) 268-4245;; FB: USAFA Class of 1959. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 107

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


Toward the end of our 55th reunion, a few of us were contemplating the impact of actuarial tables on potential attendance at a notional 60th reunion. Since there were no plans at that time for such an event, we thought that perhaps smaller regional mini-reunions, held in the notso-distant future, would be a viable option. Hence, thanks to the combined efforts of Bill Zersen, Nels Delisanti, Ben Furuta Members and a host of other West-Coast 89% denizens, the USAFA Class of 1960 Reno Mini-reunion was a smashing success for the 28 people who attended. The gathering was held on June 6, 2017, and the theme for the event was quite simple: no tours or special Sabre Society briefings, just good food, lots of Donors stories and heart-felt compan13 ionship. The capstone event was a dinner at ZOZO’s Restaurante’. The Pledge of Allegiance led by Miles Kaspar and a prayer for the class by Jim Kerr kicked off the evening, which was punctuated by toasts and comments and the awarding of prizes. In closing, RG Head and Carol offered to host another mini-reunion for ’60 in the Coronado/San Diego area in 2018. You can access the complete narrative and photos on our class website. (See photo at bottom of page.) Coincidentally, on the same day in Colorado, George Luck’s wish to have a bronze plaque dedicated to those graduates who flew A-26, B-26 and RB-26 Invaders in SEA installed on the Wall of He-

roes at the SEA Memorial Pavilion was fulfilled. The ceremony began in the pavilion proper with brief comments by Andi Biancur, Roger Graham '63, and your humble scribe and then moved outside for the Calling of the Roll, Taps and the formal unveiling of the plaque by Carolyn Luck and her son Mike. Classmates named on the plaque are: Kenneth Alnwick, Andrew Biancur, Robert Davis (KIA), George Luck and Patrick Smith. Other classmates and wives attending the ceremony were Dick Sexton, Wayne and Barbara Kendall, Jim Waddle, Ron Yates and Judy Alnwick. The wall also memorializes the dozens upon dozens of graduates who also flew and fought in that God-forsaken war.

Carolyn and Mike Luck with Jim Nance '71 (sculptor). Frank Mayberry has taken up residence in Mesquite, NV. He is currently battling a type of fibrosis which inhibits the growth of red blood cells and requires that he get blood infusions on a recurring basis. He is in good spirits and enjoys living in Mesquite which is half way between his sons in Colorado and Southern California, has a great climate and no state income tax. He is hoping to attend another class reunion and would be delighted to hear from some of our classmates. Perhaps the 2018 Coronado mini-reunion might be a good fit. Nuptial News: Phil Meinhardt and Roy Jolly have recently exchanged vows with their new life partners. Phil and Nancy Macy took their vows on 22 April at the Air Force Academy Chapel. This

From left are Charlie Thompson, Bill Zersen, Charlie Diver, Miles Kaspar, Dick Doyle, Jim Kerr, Alex Zimmerman, Vic Yoakum, Ben Furuta, Greg Boyington, RG Head, DK Johnson, Howie Whitfield, Paul Vallerie, Harry Swainston and Nels Delisanti. 108 ·

was the first wedding for Phil at the Chapel and he and Nancy took full advantage of the opportunity, including an arch of swords held by six cadets. Given the pending chapel renovation, the odds are good that Phil’s wedding is the last Class of '60 wedding to be held there. Roy and Barbara Ann Vessels joined in a “Commitment and Covenant Ceremony” in Edmond, OK on 6 May. Their “nonwedding” ceremony was conducted as a joint statement of their abiding love for each other and their dissatisfaction with what they perceive to be our government’s unfair treatment of senior rights. Some 150 guests attended, most affiliated in some way with the 507th TFG. Gordy and Ann Flygare represented the class. Jerry Stack has checked in from Sanford, FL. “I must confess,” he says, “not much has changed since our 50th reunion -- except I did give up the cigars, but not the cognac. My lovely German-born wife -married my dictionary -- and I have enjoyed cruising and extended vacations in Germany. This year we were in Antarctica in January and February, cruised for two weeks in Alaska in June, and will spend a month in Munich in August -- those trips pretty much represent our yearly lifestyle.  We would happily join anyone else who has similar interests.  Our home in Central Florida (Sanford) is open to all who want to reminisce about the ‘good old days’ -- when everyone could march in a straight line.” Paul Sullivan currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, and plays the banjo. Previously, his career path can best be described as “other.” After a stint as a UPT instructor, he became a Brigade FAC, and travelled by boat to South Vietnam. His reward was an AFIT astronautical engineering MS, which landed him in Cheyenne Mountain and eventually Shemya Island in support of the Cobra Dane installation. He rounded out his career with increasingly more responsible positions in flying training and radar systems development and support assignments, including, after retirement, as a support contractor with Applied Research and Engineering. Paul has found his calling as a consummate bluegrass musician and singer, playing gigs with the First Arizona Banjo Band and the Cimarron Sidekicks -- and loving the audience reactions. In a quaint bistro in Fort Walton Beach, the Red Neck Riviera Mini-reunion convened again this summer attended by Aaron Thrush, Mike and Emma Clarke, Frank and Faye Gorham, Bill Gillis, and your scribe and Judy. Aaron continues to be active in local politics. Frank is still giving flying lessons as a certified flight instructor. Mike (former YF17/YF-16 test pilot) and Emma still fly almost daily from their back-yard airstrip. Bill has deferred his move to Arizona until his daughter graduates from med school. Pete King was awarded 10 demerits for failing to attend a scheduled formation. Jerry Farquhar was planning to drive over from Lake Okeechobee, but decided to break in his new 42’ pleasure/dive boat instead (another 10 demerits). Courtesy of Tom Burke, the DC contingent convened at the Springfield Golf Club on 10 July to commemorate our first day at the Zoo. In addition to Tony “Two Canes” Burshnick, other attendees were Mike Loh, Ralph Lalime, Les Querry, Bob

Badger, Jerry de la Cruz, Bill Hockenberry, Bill Carnegie and Howie Bronson. Les reminded all that 21 October will be the date for the next Roosting. During this reporting period, Don Paye and Dean Phelps took their final flights. Don graduated with the Class of ‘61. After leaving active duty, he went on to serve in various positions in the federal government, retiring as a lieutenant colonel from the USAF Reserve in 1996. Dean was medically discharged from the Academy as a result of a detached retina occurring during a T-33 orientation ride. He was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a member of MENSA. His career focused on radio management and sales. He was an avid patron of the arts and made several important donations to USAFA’s Special Collections Branch of the Academy Library. This just in: The class leadership has formed a committee to explore options for a 60th Reunion. –Ken Alnwick, 2403 Arrow Park Drive, Alexandria, VA 22306; (703) 768-8280;; Class Website :


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) John Payne, John and Joan Kohout, and Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, plus HT Johnson (’59) and his wife, Ann, were among those who attended the memorial service for Sandy Jones, Lowell’s wife, on 14 July in the chapel and ballroom at Falcon’s Landing, in Northern Virginia. Lutheran ministers officiated at the Celebration of Life service, but the highlights were the many stories told by relatives and friends of a great lady with both a sense of humor and a sense of duty.  Sandy will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on 14 September, at 1300 hours.   Gary Theiler’s daughter, Krista, said that Gary had quite a bout with arthritis the last few years of his life, before succumbing on 1 June 2016 while hospitalized. Family and friends gathered to celebrate his life. Our class learned only recently of

his passing and has contributed to the Alzheimer’s Association in Gary’s honor. Planning for the Space Coast Reunion: Gene and Judy Davis and Pat and Marilyn Buckley are well into planning for our Class of ’61 Reunion set for 3 through 6 November at the Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront Hotel.  A total of 53 have signed up.  Activities will include the meet and greet, the Air Force-Army Football Game watch party (with the option of other activities), and the farewell dinner.  Robert Apodaca, Vic’s son, will give a terrific presentation of the difficulties overcome to return Vic’s remains to the Academy during our 2001 Reunion while all civil air traffic was grounded following the 9/11 Trade Center attack.  Before, between, and after the three core activities will be time for informal socializing and some optional activities.  They have room for more, and the Space Coast beaches are great in early November.  If you have not signed up yet, please get on the phone to the Hilton (phone: +1 321 421 1637, fax: +1 Members 321 777 3713) and tell them you 90% want to attend the Air Force Academy (AFA) Reunion on 3 through 6 November. If you want to come early or stay late, the discount will be available for several days before 3 and after 6 November.  Then e-mail Sabre Society Donors Gene and Pat. Bob Best has lived on Greers 12 Ferry Lake, AR, for 12 years.  Unknown to him, Terry Jorris also has a cabin on that lake and has been vacationing there for years.  Luckily, Bob read about Terry telling of his time on the lake, so Bob e-mailed him and they hooked up early this summer to trade stories.  They are looking forward to an encore. In early May, Pat and Marilyn Buckley visited family in North Potomac, MD, and then flew to England to visit Marilyn’s 97-year-old mum, children, and grandchildren.  On 9 July, they flew to Spain for a week, preparing their Velez-Malaga home for rental guests. They then drove to Rota Naval Air Station in Spain and flew back Space-A to the U.S. on a KC-10 headed to McGuire AFB. It was leading six A-10s, so Pat and Marilyn both watched them from the boom operator position being refueled inflight.  Lee Butler’s memoir was named “Winner” in the category for the autobiographies/biographies portion of the 2017 Independent Publishers Awards. That qualified the memoir for a separate panel of experts who had the discretion to name, from a pool of some 70 category winners, a relative handful for the additional designation of Gold Winner.  Each of Lee’s memoir’s two volumes was graded on its own merits.  Happily, the second volume was selected as a “Gold Winner.” Its cover will be changed to reflect that honor. Dee and Doug Cairns remain in pretty good health. They just moved from Texas back to Alabama. That’s a long story, but the short answer is, “family.” At this stage of life, they want to be closer than Texas to them.  Life was great in San

Antonio; lots of fun living in a community of retired military. But it’s a long way from San Antonio to Montgomery, AL. They moved back to the same neighborhood they had left.  The address is 5552 Ash Grove Circle, Montgomery, AL 36116. Their cell phone and email remain unchanged. Paul Dean is still missing Donna after seven months, but has been doing some traveling. He has been to San Diego, Tennessee, and Florida, and is going soon on a sailboat trip through the British Virgin Islands. He is nearly through with his executor duties from his mother’s estate. She died in June, at 97 years old. Not a great few months for Paul, but he is looking forward to the mini-reunion in November. His friends there at MacArthur Hills and his church have been really helpful during these trying times. Jerry Gill had a fantastic week in NYC and returned to San Francisco in August. He ran his 28th Peachtree 10K on the 4th of July and hosted a family reunion in his home on 22 July. Since it involved 40 people from six states, and he can’t cook, he had it catered. Bill Griffis has been recovering from back surgery (spinal fusion) for the past two months and fell out of touch with the entire world.  He received some wonderful calls from Jack Taylor and Corky Cochrane, which really cheered him up.  He spent three weeks in a physical therapy facility that reminded him of the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  He lost 27 pounds and nearly his sanity.  The operation itself was a shining success: no more back pain, but rehab requires the “spirit of the bayonet.” Jim Hourin is laying claim to having the youngest grandchild in the class, Alexandra MacKenzie Hourin, 9 March at 0827.  Dean and Wayne Jones and families and friends spent two weeks in Cabo San Lucas at the end of June for a little “Margaritaville” R&R.  The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.  Wayne’s son Jeff and his wife, Vera, and grandsons Marcus (18) and Ryan (16) joined them for the first time.  Jeff is a firefighter in Yakima, WA (over 16 years now), and Marcus just graduated from high school and, a week later, from Yakima Community College.  Wayne drove up for the graduation in early June to help them celebrate all of their recent achievements.  Terry Jorris has qualified as a “Certified Skipper” with the American Legion Yacht Club of Newport Beach, CA, and can now check out one of their sailboats to take friends or family as crew on cruises around Newport Harbor. Hector and Joan Negroni have decided to sell their Vienna, VA, home and move permanently to their Bonita Springs, FL, home.  Hector continues to cope with being blind in one eye and 75 percent functional in the other.  Joan’s help and support are invaluable since Hector can’t drive.  She is superb. Sarah and Charlie Stebbins made their annual trek to Nags Head, NC, with kids and grandkids over the Fourth of July week. Eleven of their 12 family members assembled—one grandkid working in Washington State couldn’t make the trip with them. They were able to find and borrow three kids from other families to compensate, so 14 of them stayed in a beach house together—without major incident! Featured activities included unsuccessful golfing, Checkpoints · September 2017 · 109

CLASS NEWS highly successful women’s shopping, competitive fishing, and serious over-eating. They returned home and helped set up their high school’s 60th graduation anniversary/reunion -- lots of old folks talking about recent and impending surgeries. Terry Storm retired as the CEO of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors on 31 January.  He and Carleen met their Marine grandson for his 21st birthday in Las Vegas with his parents, four buddies, and other friends; great time.  They also traveled to Pagosa Springs, CO, with friends to see Terry’s godson, wife, and pet wolf.  He says nobody else should try to have a pet wolf like he does.  They are planning a two-week car trip in September to see relatives and friends, plus the AFA-Michigan football game there. Gwen and Neal Westbrook spent two weeks with son (Cliff '88) and two grandsons in the UK visiting long-deceased relatives and other attractions, via Category 6 Space-A travel. Tom Wilson has now completed 25 of 36 rehab sessions and is grateful to report all is going well, following his heart attack Easter Sunday.  He feels pretty close to “normal” now and looks forward to each day, except for getting up in the early a.m. They enjoyed their annual Wilson family (kids and grandkids) reunion at the end of July.  That’s always a fun time. Nelson and Teri O’Rear are still enjoying life. During a recent round of golf with friends, he was only two over par for the first eight holes and began fantasizing about shooting his age. As fate and his golfing talent intervened, he promptly doublebogeyed the 9th hole and performed normally for the next nine holes. He needn’t have worried. It’s still nice to fantasize occasionally. Thanks to all who shared. –Earl N. “Nelson” O’Rear, 50582 Stonington Drive, Granger, IN 46530-8243; (574) 273-2597; Email:


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hi Redtags. It’s good to be back with you again. Starting off with a great picture of a June Week gathering at Bill Haugen’s place. “Jack, On 27 May, the area Redtags and RTBabes had a 55th June Week celebration at the Haugen’s. A great time was had by all.  Present were, from left, Art Farrington, Bob Lightsey, Bob Keighery, John Fer, Bill Haugen and

110 ·

all of a sudden. I greatly appreciate the letters of advice from previous or current sufferers of the ailments. Stick together and help out. We’ll get through this together.

Chet Griffin. Go REDTAGS! Bill Haugen.” Thanks Bill for a great picture. The guys looked reasonably well-preserved. And they pledged their lives and fortunes to be at the 55th. “A great time was had by all. And we reaffirmed that war stories only get better with the passage of time. It was a handsome group; no one looks a day over 69 This from Roger Smith: “Hello Jack, I just signed with Neely Worldwide Publishing, Washington, D.C. They are going to print, distribute and advertise my Cosmiton I, Cosmiton II and Cosmiton III sci-fi books in paperback and hard cover. They called me after seeing them on I’m sending you the front covers. They may put Members my picture on the back with a 80% little bio. Wish me luck. Roger T Smith (Go Red-Tags)” Very impressive books, Roger. Good luck. PS. I didn’t have space for the covers, but let me or Roger know if you want to see them. Got this from Paul LandSabre Society Donors ers, “Jack, Jo Anne and I just 14 returned from Spain and Portugal, where we had a memorable time with Bunky and Connie Reeves.  The trip was originally planned for last year, but I had to postpone due to months of industrial-strength chemo for stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  I attach a photo of the four of us at the Alhambra in Granada, one of many unique and beautiful sights during the month-long adventure. Hope all is well with you and your family.  Thanks for your years of great service for the Red Tags. Cheers. Paul”

Thanks, Paul. Your email leads into a general comment about the several emails that were sent out concerning the several RTBs who had some troubling bouts with various ailments, and I use the term loosely. We are aging and having more complications from that process. Several of you have mentioned atrial fibrillation and passing out

Rog and Ann Meyers (left) with the Keighery's (middle) and McAtees ( right) in Washington, D.C. in May. We had a great weekend staying at Keighery's house and touring the area. Our condolences to the families of Niels Jensen and Mike “Chief” Hughes for their passing away recently. Also, Don Baucom’s oldest son passed away after a long bout with cancer. Our prayers go to all the families. Now for a “feel good story.” I got an email a short time ago: “Jack, I acquired a Contrails, Class of 1962, in a local flea market. It has ‘Pederson 1226K’ stamped on the inside and handwritten notes scattered throughout.  Looked the name up in the AOG Register, and it appears it might be your classmate, MG Dave Pederson. It’s in great shape. Some pics attached.  I sent a note to him using the email in the Register several weeks ago, but have heard nothing back, so I thought I’d reach out to you as the class scribe to see if you can contact him. If it is his, I would be happy to return it to him.” It was from a retired colonel from the Class of 1975. I put them in touch with each other and the Contrails was returned. Happy end to the story! Remember that this system works in many ways. Also, I received a news clip from Bob Baxter showing Tom Moore’s daughter, Elizabeth Moore Aubin, being interviewed on Canadian TV. She is the acting U.S. ambassador to Canada. She was very poised and answered questions diplomatically and succinctly. I gave her all As. Tom should be proud, as we all should be. Here is an interesting footnote to the Vietnam War. "The Vietnam War" is a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series that will air on PBS in September 2017. In this immersive 360-degree narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. "The Vietnam War" features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. Six years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Along with this story, I want to include a plug for Russ Goodenough’s book “Why Johnny Came Marching Home Again.” It’s 453 pages long and I’m more

than half way through it. I highly recommend it. Russ did an exceptionally excellent job in gathering his facts. Don’t delay. Buy it today. It’s a no-holds barred Vietnam War fact book. Here’s a great Zoomie story! Air Force Academy cadet Hayley Weir had an idea that turned out to be a game changer. “It was just the concept of going out there and stopping a bullet with something that we had made in a chemistry lab.” The 21-yearold Weir approached Air Force Academy assistant professor Ryan Burke with the idea. He was skeptical. Weir’s idea was to combine anti-ballistic fabric with what’s known as a shear thickening fluid to create a less heavy material to use in body armor. She demonstrated the principle to Burke by combining water and cornstarch in a container and asking the professor to jam his finger into the paste-like goo. ‘I jam my finger right into this bowl, and I almost broke my finger! Hayley’s laughing because I’ve got this finger that I’m shaking and I’m saying, you know, that’s pretty impressive stuff.’ Convinced, Ryan worked with Weir for several months in a small lab at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. They were helped and advised by Dr. Jeff Owens, senior research chemist at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.” This could be a breakthrough. Don’t forget to be at the 55th. Get your reservations made. Should be one of our best! Looking forward to seeing you there. Go Redtags! Cheers, Jack. –John W. “Jack” Jamba, 4 Judy Court, Satellite Beach, FL 32937; Home: (321) 777-5520; Office: (321) 861-6279; Cell: (321) 432-1370; Email:

ter, SC. Services were held in Sumter. He is buried in St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery in Sumter. Condolences may be left online at or may be sent to his family in care of his son, Richard: Mr. Richard Keenan; 4185 Lake Mist Lane; Snellville, GA 30039-8434. I found that Bill was one of the 28 members of our class to have been awarded the Silver Star Medal. Grant Bornzin passed away on 31 May 2017 in California after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Condolences may be sent to his children Mr. Bret Bornzin and Ms. Janel Bornzin in care of Mrs. LaDonna Bornzin at 3792 DuMembers champ Dr., Irvine, CA 9260683% 1810. A graveside service will be held at the USAFA Cemetery during our mini-reunion on 22 Sept 2017 at 1000 hours. Diff writes: I have made a change of class officers; Les Denend is now your vice presiSabre Society Donors dent. Denny and Colleen King are graciously placing their 25 family needs before all else and I have relieved Denny from further class business, and what could be the task of the presidency. These changes are mutually agreeable to Denny, Les, and your other class officers. West Virginia Micro Mini report by Bob Kennedy: Some of the boys of ’63 held their annual micro-mini reunion following the Memorial Day weekend at Ed and Caroline Pickens’ West Virginia retreat. The reunion included two days of golf for the boys, while the ladies were on excursions.


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) The Association of Graduates recently learned of the death of three of our classmates; William J. Hentges, CS-11, William V. Keenan, Jr., CS-05, and Grant O. Bornzin, CS-01. Bill Hentges passed away on 20 April 2017 in Kennesaw, GA. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on 27 April at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Burial with military honors was held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery in Taos, MO. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Our Lady of Confidence Carmelite Monastery Building Fund; 11 West Back St; Savannah, GA 31419 (912) 925-8505 Condolences may be sent to Bill’s family in care of his wife, Melba, 5288 Stone Village Cir NW; Kennesaw, GA 30152-7770. Bill Keenan passed away on 18 Apr 2017 in Sum-

The entire group in attendance, from left, are Jim and Maureen Hannam, Bud and Joyce Gilligan, Caroline Pickens, Jan and Doug Hardgrave, Bob and Vevonna Kennedy, Ed Pickens and Patty and Bob Venkus. Jimmie Butler graciously filled us in on the ceremony held early in May dedicating the A-26 plaque honoring graduates who flew the Douglas Invader in Southeast Asia. The ceremony was inside the Southeast Asia Pavilion near Doolittle Hall, with the unveiling on the east-facing wall alongside other such plaques overlooking the Plaza of Heroes. Designated B-26 when flying in World War II, Korea and during the Farmgate Project early in South Vietnam, the airplane was later known as the A-26 when flying combat missions out of Thailand in 1966-1969. The Air Force contracted to have 40 B-26s modified, including beefing up the wing structure, hard points under the wings to carry

external ordnance, and .50 caliber machine guns in the nose. Our classmates, Mick Roth and Roger Graham, flew as Nimrods (call sign of the A-26s). Roger documented what that was like in his book, The Nimrods. Roger spoke during the ceremony about the 609th Air Commando Squadron/Special Operations Squadron’s dangerous and deadly night operations out of NKP.

Mick wasn’t at the ceremony, but sent us this note: “Dear DIFF AND ALL, This communication brings back vivid memories. One of those is a song which Bob Hope did on his visit to NKP in 1967. ‘The A-26 was once a B, But we don’t bomb from here you see. Every night when we hit the air, That load in our belly ain’t really there.’ I have indeed had to cope with Alzheimers, but I can vividly recall how exciting (and sometimes more than excitement) it was to fly the A-26. And I often thank the Lord for helping me get through those 146 missions. And it is a pleasure to communicate with my wonderful classmates. I wish you all the best. Mick.” For your info, both Mick and Roger are listed on the Silver Star plaques in the Plaza of Heroes Tom Fryer wrote he had just returned from D.C. as a member of the Kansas Honor Flight. “It was a three-day, two-night trip -- an awesome and intense three days. My ‘guardian’ was my son Wesley which made it special.” They were able to locate the names of all 18 classmates on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Another highlight of the trip was at Arlington. The Kansas group got to do the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “There were four of us: Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force-I was the AF rep -- what an honor.” Tom sent a list of our 18 classmates whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial with the panel references where they can be found. In case other classmates travel there and want to locate their names, I will send the list to Gil to be added to our web page, or you can contact me and I’ll send it to you, Jim Hannam and Dick Guild reported on the Red River Fighter Pilots Association’s 50th Anniversary Reunion. Class of ’63 was well represented at the event held in Louisville, KY, where Ron Fogleman was the guest s peaker. Dick declared Ron’s speech at the River Rat banquet was magnificent. The crowd was totally attentive as he spoke about the profession of arms.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 111


Taking a break from storytelling at the flight suit party are Fogleman, Butts, Hannam and Guild. Mini Reunion 2017: Bob Hayes is hard at work planning this year’s mini-reunion scheduled for the 23 Sept weekend. The football game on Saturday is Air Force vs. San Diego State. Don’t know if you will receive this Checkpoints in time but if you do and you have not received Bob’s e-mail detailing the events please get hold of Bob via phone: 1-719481-9693 or email: 55th Reunion: The committee and the AOG have asked us to review and if necessary update our contact information with the AOG. Use one of the following: Call Customer Service at (719) 4720300, email Customer Service at (include your full name and class along with current contact information) or visit https://members., login to your account, and update your information. Hank and Nancy are moving! Hank Hoffman says they are moving from Scottsdale to the C-Springs area into a new home just north of the North Gate. Received some more thoughts about the Warrior Ethos discussion. It is clear some are not happy with the state of the Cadet Wing. Think BCT and the 4th Class System can revert to earlier times? Your thoughts are appreciated. That’s it: Please, let’s be careful out there and see you at the mini? – Norman I. “Skip” Lee, 63119 E Cat Claw Lane, Tucson, AZ 85739-2058; Home: (520) 825-7980; Cell: (520) 241-3498;; Class Web Site:


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Correction: I apologize to all of you who spent time looking through our yearbooks to find a David Earl who looks a lot like Dave Neal. His Facebook account is in the name of David Earl Neal – and my first article submission just had the “David Earl” next to the picture of Dave and his racing car with the 64 on the side. I sent in a corrected copy, but 112 ·

the original was obviously used. Sorry about that. [I’m sure I’ve butchered other names through the years, but not so completely.] Travels: Sandy and I decided to get in some travelling this year before the whole world shuts down. In February, we took a short Panama Canal cruise to check off another Members bucket list item. Then, in June, 80% we went to Berlin for three days – Sandy had never been there and I wanted to see how much it’s changed since I was there 35 years ago. MAJOR changes! Following that, we flew to southern France, where we met Sabre Society Donors our son-in-law’s father and his wife for a cruise up the Rhone 40 River. Bob Armacost is Class of ’64 from the Coast Guard Academy, but we don’t hold that against him. We had a great time exploring castles and tasting the local wines. When we met new people on the ship and they asked how we knew each other, Bob would reply, “We share grandchildren!” Aging Aviators: Terry Isaacson sent in a picture of this year’s golf outing at Jekyll Island, GA, in April. Everyone looks just like the day we graduated!

Aging Aviators: Darryl Bloodworth, Terry Isaacson, Jim Ingram, Al McArtor, Fred Olmsted and Hugh Williamson. Aging Authors? Speaking of Terry, he recently published the third in his series of books on teaching kids golf – "Teaching Kids Golf: Putting Lessons for a Lifetime," by Terry Isaacson. Not to be outdone, Bruce Fister also published a book, “Growing and building: Faith, Prayer and Leadership,” about his involvement in the Officer’s Christian Fellowship – culminating in his leading the organization for 10 years. Gone But Not Forgotten: Walt Becker, CS-09, passed away in Virginia last November of injuries he sustained in a fall. Also, Jon Prenez, CS 19, passed away in May. Just a couple of weeks prior, several of our classmates got one last visit with Jon and Judy at their home in Rancho Murieta, CA. Gary Ganong, who has taken over the squadron scribe duties for Jon, sent in the this picture.

One last visit: Gary Ganong, Carver Sears, Jon Prenez, Jon’s Grandson, Jonathon, and Dave Ammerman in Rancho Murieta. The day this article was due, I learned that Jim Graham, CS 19, passed away 19 July in Fairfax Station, VA, of bladder cancer. Our condolences go out to the families of our departed classmates. We will miss them. Old Warriors: Another group of ’64 grads met at Mitch Cobeaga’s Celebration of Life in May. You know – that’s where you get together, have a bit to drink and tell stories about the deceased. Mitch would have loved it!

Jim Lemon, Matt Feiertag, Willie Sakahara, Max James and Jim Renschen help to say good-bye to Mitch Cobeaga. Just to prove he’s not so aging, Matt took off the following week for a three and a half-week, 6,500-mile motorcycle ride to D.C. (for Rolling Thunder – and to visit Fred and Annette Gregory in Annapolis) and then to Texas (where he shot a very large boar – think “Great White Hunter pose”) and back to Nevada via Denver. He may have grey hair, but his backside is tough! Other Aging Problems: In May, Fred Malmstrom was at the Old Trolls lunch at Biaggi’s in Colorado Springs. In June, Doug Jenkins visited him at the hospital, where Fred had surgery to replace his aorta. By July, he was in rehab and feeling better. In May, Ron Growden wrote that he visited both Jack Cole and Bob Clark in Fairfax Hospital (Virginia). Jack had a mild heart attack, which resulted in him getting a stent and is now on blood thinners. Bob had both a stent and a new aortic valve installed. He had a myocardial infarction (whatever that is) in April and was feeling very bad when he was brought to the hospital. Ron reports that when he saw Bob, he looked great and was very talkative, saying that the increased blood flow had remarkably improved his vision! More Pleasant News: Al McArtor sent a great picture of him and Gracie with Steve and Mariana Ritchie at the Washington, DC, Memorial Day Parade, where they were on the Vietnam Vets float.

Unfortunately, I can report the news, but don’t have room for the picture. (Maybe we should switch to Facebook, where you can post as many pictures as you want!) Looking forward to happier news next time – more vacations/visits with classmates, etc. –Bob Hovde, 206 Walker Ave., Huntsville, AL 35801; Home: (256) 532-3923; Mobile: (256) 3489794; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Lt. Gen. Johnson gave a nice pep talk at the Tampa, FL-area Parents’ Club reception on Feb 27, 2017. Jim Robison and Wayne G. Brown represented ‘65. Wayne and his wife, Marty, have been in Ocala, FL, for more than a year now after five years in The Villages. They miss the golf course they lived on but love their new one-acre lot with lots of trees for ham radio antennas. Wayne is very active in MOAA as area vice president for six Florida chapters and Marty edits the Florida Council Communique newsletter.

the Milwaukee Airport. It was a spectacular event attended by hundreds. The keynote speaker was Governor Scott Walker followed by several others including Guy Gruters ’64 who was Lance’s cellmate in Hanoi. Flash Wiley also attended but departed prior to photo op. On June 13, Ron Murray was honored to receive the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award which recognizes pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years. Test Astronaut Charlie Dry, Ron’s friend, was the keynote speaker. Classmate Johnny Justice attended along Members with U.S. Air Force pilots and 77% friends, including airport director/Air Force vet Walt Strong, and others from University of Oklahoma Aviation. FAA representative Pat Stephens presented Ron with a plaque Sabre Society and a packet that contained evDonors ery application Ron ever made 29 and every letter he ever wrote to the FAA in his entire history. Ron then addressed the group with a look back at the world of flight that his father and grandfather saw and of his appreciation for the Wright Brothers and the FAA’s creation of such an award. He highlighted 55 years of his flying experiences, including USAFA Aero Club, Air Force, Vietnam, business and pleasure journeys through today, and then closed with reading “High Flight.” (Too many years since Doolie memorization.) It was a much appreciated recognition and presentation.

Jim Robison, Lyons Wilder (‘59), Lt. Gen. Johnson and Wayne G. Brown. On 26 May, Tom Owens, along with several classmates, had the distinct privilege of attending the dedication of the F-4C on the Lance Sijan Memorial Plaza located immediately adjacent to

Bob Zapecki, Jerry Wilkowski, Wayne Smith, Janine Rozina (Lance’s sister who orchestrated the event), Mike Smith, Ray Brill, Leon Rausch and Tom Owens.

From left are Jack Kelly, Air Force F-4 pilot, Lance Sijan’s pilot training roommate stationed also at Danang, and who was also shot down in North Vietnam and rescued; Johnny Justice, Ron’s 3rd Squadron mate; Ron Murray and test astronaut Charlie Dry. Ken McAlear writes that Fightin’ 4th had a mini-reunion in May in Winston-Salem, NC, for the worst possible reason -- to bury a brother, Dave Nolting. It is a little hard to see, but Dave “photobombed” us with his picture over Millie’s shoulder. It was a time for reminiscing about our shared entry into the Air Force and the prominent role that Dave played in that. Please note Dave’s most significant accomplishments in the “Gone But

From left are Millie and Harv Shelton, Bev and Vic Genez, Jane and Mike Ryan, Margee Nolting, Ken and Ginny McAlear, and Lee Alton. Not Forgotten” section. Harv and I led the military honors that were given to this fellow patriot. Rest in peace, friend. Bob Zepecki just returned from an exciting “Warrior Weekend to Remember” event in Ohio adjacent to Wright Patterson AFB. The Fastrax group puts on four of these events honoring and sponsoring 50 or more wounded veterans in four locations now and counting. Sky diving. B-25, T-6, Huey rides and sky diving for those who want to! Remarkable group: Deserves a look. He also toured the Air Force Museum and reports, “What an amazing place! Proud beyond words. Lots of our classmates all over that place. “ –Bill Roberts, 9870 E. Golden Currant Drive, Tucson, AZ 85748-7897; (520) 342-8002; scribe@;; https:// (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Greetings, Redtags! We have another published author in our class! Ron Bracy has just released his inspirational book, Walk On, which has received some great reviews. One of these reviewers was John Casper, who said, “Ron Bracy’s book Walk On offers truly inspirational reading while providing practical advice for living through the ups and downs of life. In the book, Ron tells his own gripping story of the loss of his son and his subsequent grief. Using the Old Testament book of Habakkuk as his guide, he takes us through the prophet’s own despair, examines his (our) questions of God, and how God, in His time, finally answered Habakkuk. The journey’s lessons are illustrated with many biblical references, Bracy’s personal stories, examples from real-life people, as well as references from classical literature.” I got a copy of Ron’s book on Amazon.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 113


Ron Bracy with a copy of his new book. Another classmate who has appeared in print (sort of) is Walt Schrecker. In the last issue of Checkpoints there was an ad from the AOG that encouraged grads to attend their reunions. The ad featured a picture of Walt and his wife, Mary (from behind), with the football jerseys they had worn at our 50th reunion. Across their two jerseys was printed “Together -- since 1966.” If the picture looked familiar, that’s because it was the same picture that was in this Class of ’66 newsletter in a previous issue of Checkpoints. In that article, I had misidentified the Schreckers as another couple. At least Checkpoints didn’t repeat my error—they just left the clever ’66 couple unidentified. To set the record straight, below is a picture of Walt and Mary, from the front—still together since 1966.

Walt and Mary Schrecker enjoying their newfound fame as unidentified models.

To celebrate his recent retirement from the neutron business, Terry Higgins bought a “land yacht” RV to wander around the U.S. in style. I saw a picture of this classy vehicle (it was a Mercedes RV) and I was impressed. I think it comes with a butler as standard equipment. Terry has been working on and around California’s nuclear power plants for many years and finally decided to retire while he was still younger than the half-life of the fuel that they use. He and his wife, Judy, plan on visiting all of those remote spots in the U.S. that you normally only see on the NatGeo channel. Sounds like a great adventure! Another world traveler, Al “Stretch” Strzemieczny, and Members his wife, Shirley, celebrated 80% their 50th anniversary with a Viking Rhine River cruise. Joining them on their 10-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, were their daughter-in-law Carolyn and granddaughters Liah (14) and Sabre Society Donors Zoe (16). Stretch says that 26 they had a great time and a river cruise is the only way to travel; but he recommends that you lose at least 10 pounds before you start if you want your clothes to still fit at the end of the cruise. Randy Jayne writes that 7th Squadron conducted its 20th Spring Fling in June, and this one perhaps topped all the others. It was hosted by Jim and Margaret Hamernick, whose home is on a fairway for Pinehurst #1, in North Carolina golf country. The group played four courses, including Pinehurst #1 and #2, the latter being on a number of their bucket lists. Randy says that the domed greens are as challenging as they look on TV! My hat’s off to these 7th Squadron guys who have managed to get together so often for so long. Jim Simpson is the squadron’s outstanding photographer, who captured this great shot of the group. Keep those emails, stories, and pictures coming! Until next time… Happy Landings!

Seagram 7 at Pinehurst Golf Course. Front row: Bob Gravelle, Dick Wetzel, Jim Boney and Dick Guido. 2nd row: Margaret Hamernick, Eileen Simpson, Judy Hudspeth, Nancy Jayne, Bill Dunne, Pam Dunne, Daisy Guido, Bill Eubank and Lou Finch. Back row: Jim Hamernick, Jim Simpson, Bill Hudspeth, Randy Jayne, Brad Ashton, Sharon Finch and Don Steward. 114 ·

–Ryan Denny, 1635 Mary Todd Lane, O’Fallon, IL 62269; Cell: (618) 670-2298; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Hola, amigos — as I compose this, it is midsummer, with fires and flooding, heat and/or humidity. In New Mexico, we are mostly in the “heat” category, with evenings now cooling to comfortable levels — it is really quite pleasant when I take my attack (ha ha) dog for her late evening walk. I hope your summers are going as well. Here are a couple of inputs, some pics and one “feature” article. The Class of 2017, our Legacy Class, is now a part of the Long Blue Line, guided on their entry to the Real Air Force by a number of ’67 guys. From Roger Carleton: “A super showing by '67 for the legacy commissioning ceremonies… There were three different times for ceremonies… in various locations around USAFA… Families and friends all in attendance, too. Each '67 grad as the legacy class rep got to speak for 5-7 minutes.  Then each grad came up and someone of his Members choice administered the Oath 74% of Office followed by family / friends pinning on 2nd Lt Bars… After photos, the emcees told the audience the grads’ first assignment.  Then he/she came over to the mini receiving Sabre Society line -- '67 grad, Squadron AOC, Donors and Squadron AMTs.  A '67 grad 23 gave them their 2nd Lt bars with a short/written message from '67 to '17 and engraved on back with 67 and 17… Each ‘67 grad I talked with said being a part of this was truly inspirational… Compared to how our class did it in squadron day rooms late the night before graduation… this is a tradition to keep. Families really thought it was special, as did the cadets… [After graduation] 2017 [was] just like us -- hats in the air, hugs with classmates and ready to finish outprocessing and head out the North Gate after four difficult years to start their careers. Ed Folz had the stick for the reunion committee to pull this together.  He went above and beyond as evidenced by all the '67 grads who volunteered to participate.”

One last photo, unrelated to anything in this article:

Quite a ’67 gaggle here! In the front row from left are Art Tait, Paul Henry, Buz Carpenter, Gary Koldyke, Ed Folz, Joe Burke, Skip Pumfrey and Tom Griesser. Upper Left: Chuck Heflebower, Loren Shriver, Larry Thal and Pete Knepell. Behind Joe Burke, lower right: Bob Barnum and Roger Carleton. Behind Larry Thal, upper left: Pete Milne and Bill Gerber. Grads with sunglasses: Jerry Wenner and Rick Bebee. Third row upper right: Marty Chambliss and Chris Dysart. In case you were not aware — there has been At the Academy, he was on the soccer team and a passing of the torch on the AOG Board: Roger was commander of CS-13, the Honor Squadron of Carleton has moved on and is presently fishing in 1967. After graduation, he married his high school Montana. Jack Fry continues as AOG Board treasweetheart Nancy and vacationed in Mexico until surer. Thanks to both of you for your continued beginning pilot training at Williams AFB. First he service to ’67 and all grads. flew the C-141, then he transitioned to the RF-4C. From John aka JMac McCrillis, who sometimes He served RF-4C tours in RVN and Thailand in ’70 reports his bike rides on Facebook: “…I got to and ’71; then went to Kadena AFB. In ’75, he transhare a ride about two weeks ago with my niece sitioned to the SR-71, which he flew until ’81. He from our hometown of Middleboro, MA, to Plymflew more than 65 missions in the Blackbird. outh, MA, and return, about 35 miles… I had a He returned to the U.S. and worked in Plans meeting in Boston and escaped a day early to make and Resources at the Pentagon until ’85. He then this ride. The next day was her birthday. Great returned to flying in the F-4E and later the F-16, time and got to visit with all her family. Sobering and he was commander of the 70th Tactical Fighter thought... my niece has grandkids! In school! I am Squadron. He moved with his family in ’87 to Eustill working, seeing patients three days a week, rope, first to high- level jobs at HQ USAFE, then providing oral appliances for folks with diagnosed to Ramstein AFB where he in ’90 commanded the obstructive sleep apnea. We work entirely on refer377th Combat Support Wing. In September ’91, he ral from physicians and the bulk of our patients transferred to Beale AFB as CV of 2nd AF; then in ’93 see us because they have dueled with their CPAP as CV of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing with machine and lost. Oral appliances are not quite as its U2 reconnaissance mission. He served there until efficacious but considerably better tolerated. Plus his retirement from the USAF in January ’95 no power required… I should be retired as of 1 Jan He continued to work post-AF retirement in a 2018… Looking forward to seeing everyone in number of positions in the intelligence, surveillance October. Another Frat Five member, John Retelle, and reconnaissance (ISR) communities until 2013. now lives here so we get together every so often In 2013, he joined Concept, Inc. as vice president and refine our stories…” for business development, and then moved to L-3 I had a call a while back from Les Gabriel, who Communications. advised me that Buz Carpenter had been selected Over the years, between assignments and travelfor induction to the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame ing about the country, he and his family — wife, this coming October.  Les and Buz’s wife furnished Nancy, and daughters Kristin, Kimberly and Kelli — me with a copy of Buz’s bio which formed the basis explored the “depth and breadth of Buz’s passion for his selection. Not all of us know Buz well so I for aviation,” including such sites as Kitty Hawk, have included a summary of this impressive docuCape Canaveral, landings of the space shuttle and ment below: various air shows. Adelbert “Buz” Carpenter was originally from For many years he has volunteered as a guest Pennsylvania but grew up in northern California. speaker about the SR-71 and aviation history to He had an early interest in aircraft likely related various audiences ranging from the Girl Scouts, to to his father’s being an aeronautical engineer schools, community and business leaders and orgawho for a time taught at the Brazilian Air Force nizations. In 2013, he completed extensive docent Academy. His nickname originated from buzzing training by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum sounds he made as a child, mimicking the sounds Udvar Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport. of light airplanes. After high school graduation, he After 10 years, he was recognized for having given the attended Oakland City College while awaiting his most Air and Space Museum VIP tours. Well done, acceptance to USAFA. Buz — the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame chose well.

Abner Haynes chilling in Utah. MAKE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REUNION!! See you there! Adios my friends — God bless the troops and their families, and God bless America. –Larry Wilson, 13100 Pinehurst Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111; Home: (505) 291-8949; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) HELLO ’68! In thinking about all the time that has gone by since we threw our hats into the air at Falcon Stadium, I thought it might be a good idea to have our class president, Phil Pignataro, get our reminiscing going by catching us up on what he’s been doing since hanging up his Air Force blues.


Our class president and his family. From left are Greg, Martha, Phil, and Taylor Pignataro. PRESIDENT PHIL REMINISCES AND ENCOURAGES CLASS TO ATTEND OUR 50TH: Phil writes, “My family and I left Maryland and the D.C. area in November, 1993, and moved to Chicago, which was the United Airlines domicile for the Airbus A320. I flew as a first officer for three years, then moved to the Boeing B-777. UAL used this aircraft mostly on international routes to London, Paris, Frankfort, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 115

CLASS NEWS Again, after three years, I moved back, to the A320 but this time as a captain. “I turned 60 in September 2005 and had to leave United because of FAA age restrictions. However, I started flying a month later with NetJets, Inc. as a copilot on the Cessna Citation X. This job lasted two years, when I decided to spend more time at home with my teenaged sons. I still worked though, part time as a barista for Starbucks, then Borders, and finally Barnes & Noble until 2015. These jobs gave me a greater appreciation for people in the food service industry -- and tangentially, flight attendants. “Martha started working part time as a pediatric nurse Members practitioner at Lake Shore 73% Pediatrics in Barrington, IL, in 1996. She is still there and hopes to continue for a couple more years. This part-time job and raising two boys while I was away flying kept her quite busy. Sabre Society Donors “Our two sons, Greg and Taylor, were only four and two 41 when we moved here. Shortly after getting settled in, Greg started playing soccer. Of course, his brother had to do the same. It was a pleasure to see them progress all the way through rec soccer, travel teams, high school, and finally, to college. They both went to Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. They played together at Carthage for two seasons, which was especially enjoyable for us. Greg now works in the fund-raising department at North Central College in Naperville, IL, where he is also the assistant coach for their women’s soccer team. Taylor lives near downtown Chicago where he works selling software/website access to companies for OSHA compliance management. The company he works for is VelocityEHS. “Kids from my first marriage, Julie and Matt, are currently living out West in Colorado and Wyoming, respectively. Matt enlisted in the Air Force in 1993 and worked his way up to lieutenant colonel, where he currently serves as the commander of the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne. His previous assignments with the Security Forces took him to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Afghanistan. One note here, following in his father’s footsteps, he also married an Air Force nurse. Carolyn is now a retired lieutenant colonel and they have a son, AJ. My daughter Julie is a program manager at Ace Info Solutions, Inc., Fort Collins, CO. They are a government contractor providing IT support to various government agencies. She also has a son, Linden, who just turned 4. “Fifty of anything is a big deal, so the 50th anniversary of our graduation from the Academy is a significant milestone and it is just around the corner. Mike Parkinson, Gary Hoffman and their team have been diligently working to make our reunion a memorable one. From what I have seen, they are doing just that. Here’s your chance to share in a half-century of life-adventures of classmates, squadron mates, and teammates. I am confident 116 ·

there are some fantastic stories and tall tales to be shared. It’s not too early to start making room on your calendar to be at the reunion on the weekend of 6 Oct 2018 when, as a bonus, the Falcons will take on the Navy. “Let’s live up to our unofficial motto of '’68, we’re great' with record attendance. I look forward to seeing you there!”

Joel and Lin Gordes send greetings. CONNECTICUT ’68ER HONORED: I received a great update from Joel Gordes, along with news of his significant scientific recognition. Joel writes, “Gordo Lives! While I am retired, it is really semiretired. Since I have been looking at cybersecurity issues for about 20 years now, I have been relatively busy in writing on this and developing long-term strategies with an all-hazards approach to keep the lights on. I see many instances where one strategy to make the grid safe from increased or more powerful storms may actually weaken overall security in other areas. We are too specialized! “Much of our training from USAFA stands me in good stead as many of the very basic military principles can be applied in this field. USAFA, itself, is doing great work in this area and has had a detailed article on it in a recent Checkpoints. “As a result of my work back here on cyber and many other studies, I was involved in the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) and had an incredible surprise when they elected me to be an honorary member, the only one inducted this year. Consequently, I was asked to give a 90-second speech at the annual CASE meeting and dinner in May. Not bad for a poli-sci major! Now it’s back to the drawing board on what we have to do to make the grid safe from cyber as well all other hazards.” THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: We are deeply saddened by the loss of three of our classmates— Russ Schwengels, Jim Estes and Stu Thomson. Lt. Col. (Ret) Forrest V. “Russ” Schwengels, II, CS-03, passed away on 4 Apr 2017 in Oak Ridge, TN. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; their children Dawn, Forrest (Chip), Matthew, Steven, and their spouses; his 12 grandchildren; his sister, Suzanne Schwengels; and brother, Paul Schwengels. A private graveside service with full military honors was held on April 10 at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. After a long battle with cancer, James Tyler Estes, Jr. passed away in Hawaii on 25 April 2017. At the Academy, Jim spent his first two years in First

Squadron and his last two in 11th Squadron. He was buried in a private ceremony in Honolulu, HI. Col. (Ret) Stuart W. Thomson, CS-01, Class of 1968, passed away on 22 Apr 2017 at home in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. He is survived by his wife, Janis; and their children Christopher and Lauren. A celebration of his life was held at his home on May 6 complete with military honors.

Jan and Stu Thomson at our 45th reunion. Please keep Russ’, Jim’s, and Stu’s families and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. THAT’S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep ’em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Ciao for now. Tim –Tim Davidson, 9712 Hidden Valley Road, Vienna, VA 22181-6094; Home: (703) 255-5313; Mobile: (703) 772-6052;; Class Website:


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) September greetings to all, w/ hopes your summer filled with joys of the season and direct- and extended-family excitement. Too much info, too many pix this time to work them all in, so please bear with me until a future date. Promised last issue was a group picture of ’69ers gathered at USAFA on a perfect evening of toasting and honoring ’69’s own Dave Yost as our first Distinguished Graduate. Below are ’69’s attendees, sans wives, for your identification enjoyment: Gary and Pam Bone, John and Jane Dallager, Steve and Rochelle Edelman, Ron and Terry Hindmarsh, Glenn and Barbie Schlabs, Ron and Nancy Olds, Pat and Cynthia Sisson, Randy and Judy Percy, Tom Baumgardner, Walter Garrard, Gene Camp, Robin Hanson, Chris Paulson, David and Marti Wagner, Ben Stevens, Dennis Ryll, Steve Lincoln, Brian Nelson, Harry and Marilee Utter, Bud and Vicki Speace, Tim and Stephanie Courington, Joe and Kathleen Quinn, myself, and of course Dave and Jean Yost.

Honoring ’69er DG Dave Yost. Another gathering of ’69ers found Texas residents and many from other states at the annual Texas micro-reunion, this year at our place in San Antonio, June 3. Tale-swapping, a cocktail or two, some wine, and dinner were mere sidelights to the predictable camaraderie of the evening. Lots of old friendships renewed. Nothing like these gatherings! Attendees included Jerry Ball, Scott Bench, Bobby and Naomi Bennett, Jim and Maria Campbell, Craig Collins, Maury and Members Michele Deaver, Doug and 70% Mary Degroot, Dick and Naty Downes, Jim Foster, Bob and Paulette Gemignani, Bill and Fran Haney, Jim Hewitt, Mike and Betty Howe, Gary Lindner, Ken Macaluso, Ron and Diane McCracken, Mike and Nancy Sabre Society Donors Monroe, Dick and Adriana 45 Moore, Wade and Jane Morrison, Jim and Lois Orgeron, Ralph Paglia, Dennis Ryll, Tom and Ann Solomon, David and Marti Wagner, Nic Walsh, Malcolm Ward, Darrel Whitcomb, Rocky Van Zelfden, Ron Sammonds and Jean and I. Unfortunately, Joe Hasek’s flight crumped, so he was unable to attend. No group shot other than the Austinites.

Austin ’69ers Dan Thomas, still working his business strategy wizardry from his Palo Alto base, writes that he was attending an aircraft association meeting (American Yankee, for aircraft designed by Jim Bede, a company bought by Grumman) when he ran into a ’69er he had known casually at USAFA, Bill Marvel (and wife Marti). Bill had flown in from Grand Junction, CO, in his home-built Van’s RV-8A, one of two Van planes (the other an RV-14) he has

built. Aircraft, whether Bill’s gorgeous RV-8A, Dan’s own pristine T-34, Gerry Schwartzel’s Bonanza or vintage P-51s, fearsome F-4s, and menacing B-2s are all constant reminders of one of the connections we all share as members of the Long Blue Line. Thanks to Dan for the note, and congrats to Bill for helping to keep our aviation tradition alive. Speaking of which, Dan was touring the AF Museum in Columbus, OH, recently, where he ran into a face he thought he had seen before in a USAFA classroom. Dan struck up a conversation with him, and learned that the gentleman was Don Strayer, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret), formerly one of Dan’s instructors at USAFA! Picture to come in future Checkpoints. In 2016, Bob Schutt ran for the Colorado State Legislature, District 61 (includes Crested Butte and Breckenridge), losing to incumbent Millie Hammer. Bob, a retired fighter pilot, and orthopedic surgeon, has traveled to underdeveloped countries and volunteers his orthopedic skills to assist poor, young children in need. See http://bobschutt. com/press-bob-schutt/. Congrats, Bob, thanks for representing us all so well, so long. Jim Storey also has thrown his name into public sector leadership and governance, presiding over one half square mile and 671 residents in Upper Marlboro, MD, near D.C. He recounts some of the usual experiences associated with local governments and homeowners association—lots of citizens eager to critique, but few eager to pitch in to do the pick-and-shovel work necessary for local entities to function. Thanks to Jim for continuing to make a difference. Rounding up the Usual Suspects Dept. finds a tale-telling foursome at work in May at Chuck

Lance Cargill, Steve Kirby, Chris Curtis and Chuck Early pause for a pix.

Early’s home in Deland, FL, with “tallest tale award” going to Gator! Chip off the Old Block Department has King Robinson’s son, a ’96 grad, off to UAE as vice commander of the 380th AEW. Meanwhile, Bugs Forsythe and I attended the O-6 promotion party for Les Dyer’s son, Todd (Embry Riddle), an F-15 jock now on the joint staff and soon to head back to the field. Congrats, King and Les, two of ’69ers’ many progenitors of the Long Blue Line. Silver Screen department finds ’69er Bill Jenkins’ daughter Patty earning rave reviews as the producer of the summer’s biggest blockbuster film, "Wonder Woman." You will recall Bill as a fighter pilot awarded the Silver Star; RIP Brother Jenkins – your daughter continues to honor and perpetuate your legacy powerfully. And, Don Rakestraw recalled his days as a Misty FAC (two-seat version of the F-100) in helping Rebecca Rusch, an ultra-endurance mountain biker, and the film producers of "Blood Road" recount the events of her 1,500-mile trip along the Ho Chi Minh trail to locate the crash site and understand the historic circumstances surrounding the air-to-ground mission that led to the death of Rebecca’s father, a USAF pilot shot down over Laos in 1971.

Straw flanked by Blood Road’s producer and Rebecca Rusch. On a sad note, Harry Laws, Roy Coppinger, Les Dyer, and I received an email from the eldest son of Danny Spears, informing us that Danny had passed on, a victim of a serious hemorrhagic stroke. Danny’s son recounted his fond memories of USAFA, and the fantastic stories with which Danny regaled his family of his times at the Zoo and afterwards. Godspeed to Danny and his family. More reminders that tomorrow isn’t promised -- so, hug the ones you love -- today! Our 50th reunion approaches rapidly, and Glenn and the Front Range ’69ers are already busy serving us all – again – to set up a memorable occasion. Please fill out the Survey Monkey (ASAP!) with your inputs to help make this reunion our best ever! Salute, ’69. Lindsey –Lindsey Parris, 616 King’s Cloister Circle, Alexandria, VA 22302; Home: (703) 836-3604;

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 117

CLASS NEWS (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings classmates! It is the end of July and the media seems fixated on remembering The Summer of Love back in 1967. Remember Scott McKenzie’s lyrics—If you’re going to San Francisco/Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair? The local paper interviewed me about Members my memories -- article is on 74% my Facebook page. I recalled SERE and the rigors that we all endured. I also mentioned the ZI Field Trip and our visit to Hamilton AFB. A lot of us took that opportunity to Sabre Society visit Haight-Ashbury. I don’t Donors recall seeing too many girls 50 with flowers in their hair. My most vivid memory was seeing Chuck Weir finish second in the Ghoul Pool despite deserving to win. A quick change in the line right before we met our dates doomed him. He still hasn’t forgiven me. I think Tom Randazza took home the honors. Tom Stein recently joined the Endowment Board and teed it up with the boys. Tom is a very good golfer—unlike your scribe who is having a bad year!


Tom Stein sinks one for the boys. From left are Greg Gilles, Rick Lesch, Tom Stein, and The Phantom. Classmates have been on the road a lot this summer. Roger and Suzanne Radcliff went to the Oshkosh Air Show. Jan and Mick Davey are off to Scandinavia on a cruise as I write this. Rayls and six granddaughters were rafting in Moab. Desserts went hunting for ISIS terrorists on a 118 ·

cruise throughout the Middle East. Jack Trimble, Desserts and Swansons enjoyed a great party honoring Dusty. Greenes were in Africa. Gunyous visited a lot of national parks out West. Gilles are off to Europe. DeFillipos celebrated an anniversary in Venice. Silvesters are enjoying their lake house in Pennsylvania. Gregersons took in Niagara Falls. Popovichs and Waskows spent time at their respective summer homes in Maine. Royces were in Europe and Yogi visited Normandy. Disosways are in Europe. Fran Buchan left the heat of Alabama for a fishing trip back East. Hubers had a family reunion on the East Coast. Downings were in Alaska. Harmons were on Kaui. Lamberts were in Nantucket. Bjorklunds had a family reunion in California and Martins were in Colorado. Bob Chambers moved to Fate, TX. Sounds like a name in a Jack Reacher novel! I should have been in the travel planning business. Would have made a fortune off the class. Mega kudos to Rick Sine and Roger Peterson for planning a superb F-111 plaque dedication at the SEA Memorial Pavilion. There were a lot of classmates in attendance. Francis Chuba ’67 of “It’s a screw job ’70 fame” was there. I enjoyed telling the gathering about the birth of our unofficial motto, Chuba’s role, and subsequent mayhem on the North Bridge. This picture says it all. Also in attendance were Tooey Emery, BJ Bjorklund, Craig Northrup, and Mike Torreano.

Classmates gather for the F-111 plaque dedication. From left are Denny Smalley, Rick Sine, Gary Dahlen, The Phantom, Bill Kirkman, George Monroe, Roger Peterson, and Tommy Thompson. The new basics visited the SEA Memorial Pavilion and Plaza of Heroes during BCT. Mike Torreano, John Gallagher, Dan Murphy and I talked to them about their heritage at the SEA Pavilion. If you want your aircraft plaque at the Pavilion, please let me know. Am also looking for your SEA stories. Ed Cole visited Dick Smithwick’s mother while at the Oshkosh Air Show. Dick was my Doolie roommate, a great friend, and helluva baseball player who left us far too soon. Rich Mandas participated in the long range, high-power rifle world and national championships. Rick Lesch, Greg Gilles, JB Gannon and Gary Dahlen did some serious fishing on the Colorado. John Pomeroy and Angus MacDonald represented ‘70 on May 24 (USAFA graduation day) at the USAF Memorial. I saw Jack Trimble on NBC. Tom Brokaw did a piece on POWs and Jack was one of the men featured. Jack, Tommy Thompson, and Rick Humke climbed Pikes Peak. Rumor has

it a few adult beverages the night before fueled the men to the top. Joe and Diane Burke hosted Tom Reel and Oker and Monica O’Connor for dinner. Jim Bechtel is enjoying playing Sawgrass near his new home in Florida. Kudos to John Martinson who helped fund a first-class practice area for the golf team and cadets taking golf. Jeff Alves was named to the Hall of Fame for Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellows at Wilkes University. He is a professor and the author of numerous books and professional articles related to small business failure and entrepreneurship. Terry Petrezelka and I exchanged a few emails about our opening game win against highly touted SMU our senior year. Terry had two interceptions, but blew out his knee on the second one. Have enjoyed Facebook exchanges between BJ Bjorklund and Gary Bagliebter about their racehorses. If either wins a Triple Crown race, they will pick up all expenses for our next reunion. John Quincy joins the ’70 author ranks. He has written a trilogy. Adventures, Musings, and Sarcasm—According to Clyde the Dog is the first book and is available on Amazon. John hopes to sell enough to pay for Clyde’s dog food. Darrel Massey sent me a fascinating story. It is too long to capture here. I hope Checkpoints does an article on his somewhat unbelievable story. The bottom line is Darrel received an anonymous certificate (signed by “The Bird”) stating that in honor of the 50th anniversary of his recognition as an upperclassman he was summoned to attend the recognition of the Dodo as a member of the our class on 8 May (the last known date of a sighting of a living Dodo was in 1662) at the Mauritius Institute in Mauritius. Darrel suspected Roger Peterson, Rich Puseman and Jerry McKee were playing another practical joke on him, but undaunted he flew to Mauritius for the ceremony. None of his classmates showed up—surprise! While I thought all this was a joke, the pictures of Darrel in Mauritius with Dodo bones confirmed this humorous adventure. If there isn’t an article here, send me an email and I will send you the story. Bob Hilb and Jim Reel were at Normandy and paid their respects to the Greatest Generation.

’70 Men honor the fallen at Normandy. Bob Hilb, at left, and Jim Reel. Rich and Nanci Downing have graciously offered to host another great mini-reunion at their

home after the Army game. If you are coming from out of town, drop me a line and I will get it to Rich. The media picked the Falcons to finish fourth in their division. I think that is based on us losing a lot of defensive starters. We may have to hope our offense can outscore many of the teams we play. Am still sticking to at least an 8-4 season. On a sad note, we lost two classmates the last few months. Scott Hoversten and John Petty passed away. Both were good men and will be missed. On a positive note, Tex Ritter has made remarkable progress and is walking a lot better. We are proud of your long battle Tex! ARRIBA FALCONES! –Dick Rauschkolb, Cell: (719) 310-6928; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


By the time this edition hits the streets and screens of the world, football season should be just about here. The Rockies may be looking forward to October and the playoffs, or wondering what may have been. Even odds, I would guess. As you have hopefully heard, we are the Legacy Class for the Class of 2021. Cas Casada, Bill Maggio and I helped welcome them on your behalf in June. After over a half century of tweaking, the process of getting from the airport, bus terminal, or hotel to the Cadet Area is a thing of beauty. The inductees and their families arrived at Members Doolittle Hall with a report 59% time to meet. After confirming in Doolittle that all their data was up to date, they got a quick briefing at the Memorial Wall, and then a Class of 1959 member challenged them to join the Long Blue Line, with Sabre Society Donors a physical bridge to cross 39 that brought them on to the buses that started Basic Cadet Training, hashtag#ShockandAwe. Ron Boatright and Dave Keith represented the class that Friday at the swearing-in ceremony. Between deadline for the column and publication, classmates including speaker Gary Payton will be at the Acceptance Parade to recognize the basics who made the biggest impression on the cadres during BCT. Frank Morgan wrote a forward to Checkpoints. Speaking of Cas, his “Second to None” golf tournament went pretty well, and attendees seemed

to have a good time. There were fewer foursomes this year, and the featured guest speaker, Coach Dave Pilipovich, had to leave early due to a family emergency. Luckily, “Entertainer to the Stars” Fred Strauss filled in after the buffet and did a wonderful job. On the 50th anniversary of our induction, Tom Berry retired from the Center for Character and Leadership, capping a long and distinguished career. Several of our classmates gathered to cheer him on to the next chapter of his life. (Unfortunately, none of them seemed to have a camera, cellphone, tablet or other recording device.) If you were at the reunion last fall, you may have had a chance to meet Ron Hale’s bride, Pam. The story of how they met is a wonderful one; “My sister asked me to accompany her to a ‘Bunko party.’ There I met Pam for the first time. I met her again a few months later at a weekend party at my sister’s lake house. We exchanged phone numbers, and for the next nine months, we talked incessantly over the phone from Texas to Washington. At my age and circumstances, I wasn’t dating nor looking for a wife. Pam says she wasn’t either. I swear, you learn a lot about a person by talking, and we talked about everything. We didn’t always agree with each other, but we could talk about it. I got brave and asked her if she would like to go on a date. She said, ‘Just what do you have in mind, since I’m in Washington and you are in Texas?’ I said, ‘how about two weeks in Hawaii!’ Smile. I thought that was a pretty good first date.” Ron proposed at a restaurant in Oahu during one of their visits, and they married a year later. “We now enjoy traveling and are making up for lost time.” Ron, if anyone deserves happiness, it’s you two. Just a reminder – if you have not made a contribution to the Air Warrior Combat Memorial, the time is here! As you should remember, as of the last issue only about a third of the class had contributed. Some of you don’t have a lot of extra cash; some of you have other commitments that came before this project started. That leaves a lot of us that just need to ante up a dollar or two. Give up that double-mocha latte for a week or two. You’ll feel better, and the class benefits. GBA –Paul D. Knott, 5565 Lantana Drive, Colorado springs, CO 80915; Home: (719) 570-9162; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Greetings Classmates. With a fast approaching deadline, here I am trying to put out a column for your viewing pleasure. Currently, the August

temperature here in eastern Pennsylvania is pushing 90, so at least we are almost into the dog days of summer. There are a few brief emails so I’ll go with them in chronological order here so that hopefully at least I can follow what I am doing… Roy Hendrickson came out at the end of April with a unique presentation of which I have just included the copy of the text from the cellphone… (I think it may have been sent right from the table with copious amounts of adult beverages involved…) OK BELLY BOY, this year you better post this ’72 Best in Blue BBQ or I’m sending in my people… worse than “death by Bonga.” Or as we like to call it, an evening of burgers, brats, beer, friendship, joy and laughter. Arizona bros send their best in hopes that the 45th reunion, in the words of newly elected DJT, “…will be the biggest and best ever…” Cheers my friend… hey Bell… remember that Bonga thing! You do NOT want to go there.

In the front row are Randy “Fitz” Fitzhugh, Doug Adamson and John Nestico. Back Row: Jim Kimmel, Roy Hendrickson, Phil Hudson, Pat Burke and Bingo Eaton. OK, I’ve figured out what happened here. LAST year, Roy sent in a similar message with photo of the same guys (except Bingo Eaton) at that year’s May golfing event. It was confessed that only one of them shot under 100, said by Roy to be still higher than their IQ – but no mention was made as to who that was. So, that Members message apparently did not 57% make it into Checkpoints – my bad -- and so, here we are with the stronger reminder to make sure it gets done this time! Got it Roy, and thanks for that! Jim Livingston checked in with a note reporting a Sabre Society Donors get-together with a few friends 33 during early May in Yosemite. He was joined by Scott Sturman, Doug Goodman and Joe Sullivan for some socializing and hiking. Since this is getting to be an annual affair, Jim figures that they’ll keep doing it as long as they are able. Hey, Jim – I appreciate the update!

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 119


From left are Sturman, Goodman, Sullivan and Livingston. As a “new retiree”, Scott Stephens has decided he’d find out what all of this alumni stuff is about by trying to renew old friendships, so he sent in a nice email bringing us up to date on his world. With plans to attend this year’s reunion in September, his interests include looking up any of the CS-24 guys who might be attending as well. Scott has a Denver-based new grandson which led him to contemplate a long overdue trip to Colorado. Currently, he resides in the Houston area, since sadly, Scott’s wife, Patricia, passed away from cancer about a year and a half ago, so he is able to be closer to his other daughter and her three kids. Scott, glad to hear from you! Hopefully, some other 24 Phantom characters along with all the other squadron folks attending will soon be making themselves known via the registration site as listed by our illustrious reunion committee. Another country heard from is Skip Morgan, (this time not in period warrior dress) but a welcome note just the same. Yes, Skip, since you’ve caught me on Facebook, it MAY be true that I am more conservative than you but hard to tell – you may have to ask our good buddy Mark McCarthy about that. So in response to the earlier suggestion that classmates let us all know who is the first of several generations of Academy class members, Skip reports having contributed two more to the Long Blue Line. His son Christian, Class of 2005, is now a major and director of USAF Space Launch Operations at Cape Canaveral. His other son, Harley, has just entered USAFA as a brand new basic cadet along with Drew’s son Manny Riolo. Additionally, Skip’s own father entered the Army Air Corps in 1939, flying Stearman biplanes. He later flew the YF-12 (fighter version of the SR-71) and was a Korean War recipient of the Silver Star. He retired in 1968 after 29 years of service -- ironically just as Skip and we were joining the ranks ourselves! Skip’s eldest son Guy is in the Colorado Army Guard, crewing Chinooks. He has three combat tours, one each in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. (He and Christian were in Afghanistan at the same time, even flying together despite dad’s admonition.) All of this is to say that the Morgan family has accumulated more than 100 man-years of consecutive service since 1939. Skip’s one wish is that his father had lived to see it. Finally, excitement mounts about the forthcom120 ·

ing reunion. Knowing that the committee has worked really hard, it’s even rumored that there will be an opportunity to visit with Billy Mitchell. He’s aged somewhat since his death in 1936, but hey, who hasn’t? Thank you, Skip. Harvey LeCato, as part of his reunion committee skill-set, has put out the word to all that we are now able to register online – either with a link in his own widely sent email, or by use of the USAFA website where the reunion link will also appear. Again, the most difficult part of writing to all of you is when I must pass on the news of another loss of a classmate and friend. This time it is our very special friend, Dale Carter. His many closest compadres and especially his roommates over our four years at the Zoo have been better at expressing the sense of loss than I could ever be writing here. The Facebook site, “72 Best in Blue”, has had many personal notes from you folks since his passing on 22 June. Services are expected to have been finalized by August. On that sad note, this column is done, guys. FPA

ish line—having maneuvered through most of the difficult turns, I was pretty much on time. However (and unknown to me at the time), the car in front of me had caught a tire on the edge of the road, causing it to spin at 145 MPH, exit the highway backwards on the opposite side, and slam into a power pole, knocking it down. Emergency vehicles were immediately en route, but I was past the last flag station so I didn’t get any warning as they came at me in the opposite direction. Luckily, I was able to avoid them by nudging myself to the right side. I did not slow down and had a pretty successful finish—two-tenths of a second off perfect time, good enough for second place. And although the other Porsche was totaled, both guys were fine and were able to join the picnic later.” Two-tenths of a second off after 59 miles, averaging 140 MPH was only good enough for second place! By my calculations, 0.2 sec at 140 MPH is only 41.1 feet. Incredible! Great job and thanks for the writeup, AJ.

–Bob Bell, 13 Pacific Ave., Sinking Spring, PA 19608; Cell: (302) 399-3240; reservist777@


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings, Illustrious Class of 1973! “T” Thompson, CS-24/29, gave up the reins as the AOG president and CEO on 30 June and returned to the Atlanta area. Thanks for your leadership and contributions to the Academy, T! But WAIT! Apparently he’s not done! On 9 July, the National Speakers Association honored him with their highest award, Certified Speaking Professional, at their annual conference. Congratulations, T! We look forward to hearing Members from you. 53% Coolest input of the quarter goes to AJ Ranft, CS-11/17, about his timed, 140 MPH open-road race on U.S. 285 between Fort Stockton and Sanderson, Texas. In his words: “This year I thought Sabre Society Donors I’d move up several classes, so 30 I drove solo in the 140 MPH class. There were 17 cars in the class and I was running behind another Porsche. We started with one-minute spacing for the 59mile drive south on U.S. Highway 285. Things were going well as I closed in on five miles from the fin-

AJ Ranft, CS-11/17, and his Porsche prepped to race. Note his car’s number, a nod to the Illustrious Class of ’73. Well, it looks like Mike Davenport, CS-07, loses his “kid” status (see last quarter’s class news). Dave Muckley, CS-27, reported he turned 65 on 4 Apr 2017 and claimed “Class Youngster.” Any other challengers? Jack Hudson, CS-25, is in better shape than most of us, having completed the six-day, 366-mile “Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure” in mid-June, along with 1,500 of his “newest best friends.” He reports it “was an awesome six days!” See pic on website. Speaking of the website, I’ve finally caught up in posting the expanded versions of our class news, and this one will be there by the time you read this in Checkpoints. Tom Kennedy reports the 31st Squadron Grim Reapers have been fairly quiet. Most have retired from second jobs, though Dr. Dan Connelly still actively practices medicine in Kansas City. Phil Yavorsky is still a contractor supporting Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB; and Tom Kennedy is still a managing engineer for DoD’s Defense Logistics Agency in Richmond, VA. Gym, part-time work and leisure take up most everyone else’s time. Most are enjoying the life of being a grandparent as well. See pix on website. Gene and Barb Ogilvie met up with Johnny and Nancy Whitaker at the Kings Arms Pub in Polebrook, Northamptonshire, UK, for a quick CS-16 Chickenhawks reunion lunch in May. Gene

is a contractor at RAF Molesworth and Johnny was visiting the former RAF Station Polebrook site where his dad, a B-17 bombardier, flew missions from during World War II. Pic on website, info on RAF Polebrook on Wikipedia. In response to the call for inputs for this column, Niner Doug Dick’s widow, Bev, sent news that she has remarried. (We lost Doug to jaw cancer 7 May 2012.) From Bev: “The class of '73, and 9th squadron in particular, has been nothing but supportive, kind and inclusive of me since Doug’s death. I hope you’ll be able to share in the happiness I’ve found as I start a new chapter in my life.” Pix on website. From webmaster Craig MacPherson, CS-39: “Pat and I had a wonderful time in Alaska, hosted by Bill and Sandy McKinnis, CS-39, who live in Eagle River. [See website for] a picture of Bill grilling fresh Alaskan salmon and halibut. (Note short sleeves and sun!)   After retiring at Elmendorf, Bill worked as a civil engineer for the state DOT.  Gave us a great Alaskan experience, including a trip to Seward in his RV that has seen many miles of Alaskan highway.  Sandy is still working part time, and takes 4-5-day kayak trips with the ‘girls’ all around the Alaskan coast line. I literally ran into a brown bear and two cubs on the street to his house.” “Smoke” Clark, CS-19, reports that 12 members of 19th Squadron took a seven-day cruise with their wives on the Norwegian Escape June 16-23. See pic of the guys and wives on the website. Smoke also reports that after years of searching, he was able to contact all 36 guys who started with the class. They now have a Yahoo group to stay in contact. Twenty-six of the original 36 attended the last reunion, including five who did not graduate. They’re going to try to beat that record next year. Any squadrons care to take them on? Erik Anderson, CS-19, reported he and Cynthia live in Eastern Tennessee, just below a 13-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that crosses Roan Mountain, TN and was voted the most scenic part of the southern part of the trail. If anyone finds themselves in that neck of the woods, he says they always have a room upstairs for ’73ers and a porch with adult beverages afterwards. Erik finally gave up the consulting thing a couple of years ago. He says he’s still working, but now getting paid in head nods and thank yous while volunteering 20-40 hours a week with their 27-acre community park and several other local charities. Bill Drury, CS-32, sent in the following photo of

From left are CS-32 Roadrunners Bill Drury, Charlie Clatterbaugh, Pat Jordan, Stu Willis and Frank Sanchez in the British Virgin Islands for a bit of sun and fun.

a recent Roadrunner mini-reunion in the British Virgin Islands in May of this year. The group (with wives) chartered two boats and spent a week sailing, snorkeling, touring, and enjoying camaraderie and adult beverages in the beautiful Caribbean. Larry and Janie Balash, CS-40, are proud to announce the nomination of their son Joseph to serve as assistant secretary of the Interior, Land and Mineral Management. Congrats! 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 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;;

Jim and Signe in Havana. A note in from Keith Quinn. Never too late to chase a dream! He got his private pilot license a few years ago, and finally convinced his mom and stepdad to go for a flight on their 50th wedding anniversary!


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hello Classmates! Summer has gone by too quickly this year for some of us! Similar to school days of yesteryear… lonnnggg for September thru May but quicksilver for summer. In a few more months, the reunion planning team will be forming and planning. I hope, by now, you have been contacted by a classmate working through your squadron’s roster to update your Members location (home address) and 54% contact information (email and phone). The mission is to be able to keep the blue line strongly connected… and reconnecting with those off the grid. If you already responded Sabre Society with your update, thank you. Donors If you haven’t, pass it on to 38 the classmate contacting you or onto the class scribe Joe Brezovic at Here are a few life updates to pass on: Jim and Signe Donaldson are spending some of their retirement days travelling! Here is a picture of them “reading Checkpoints” in Havana! Jim’s comment – “Interesting Place!” Jim retired from flying American in mid-May. Their plans are to move from Philadelphia to Dallas – with home in Colorado in summer and fall. [“But what about the ski season?” we may be thinking.]

Flying with Keith. Keith has been a civil servant with Technology Transfer since 2009. He is now the Air Force Technology Transfer program manager. Basically, his office brings commercial ideas in to the Air Force or out to industry to get products for sale to support the warfighter and help the U.S. industry/ economy. Lately, Keith writes, there is more interest in job creation. One classmate who has been able to be in Rapid City for almost 20 years now, perhaps in the same job, is Jim [and Joyce] Leonard. Jim is still working at a proprietary university. Jim reminded us of the T-33 Stardust flights of yesteryear -- that’s when he “toured” [buzzed?] Mt. Rushmore (near Rapid City)… never thinking that he’d be there (here) decades later -- for decades. New hobby for Jim is brewing beer with a craft beer tool! [Anyone up for sharing recipes?] Les and Janet Katahara are still living in Connecticut, for just a bit longer. They’ve enjoyed a mini- CS37 reunion at 2016 Navy game… but have lost track of some of their squadron mates. He’s searching! Les is recently retired and looking forward to finding a place where the garage tools do not include snow shovels! However, they are awaiting their son’s choice of placing his roots before selecting. [Some of us grandparent types did just that – go where the grandkids are!] Most likely with humor, Les wrote that Hawaii is probably a bridge too far! And closed the note with Aloha and mahalo. Another recent retiree is Al Anderson. He and Barb have been living in Las Vegas for the last six years. Al retired from Southwest Airlines after 25 Checkpoints · September 2017 · 121

CLASS NEWS years, only because their pilots are required to hang up their wings at 65. There has to be a few more classmates like this, so perhaps next newsletter may have more pilots’ hanger news. Friendly reminder… John Ephland, on the day before his birthday, quipped a note to me from his and Cheryl’s home in Belton, MO, that I must be getting older, because he is! One set of notes I enjoy passing on are gala notes of retirement. The most recent one is from Dave Daley. In May 2017, Dave’s office planned a grand farewell! The chief of the Defense Office of Republication and Security Review presented his gratitude and admiration for David’s work: from his chief of Navy Security Review 2003-2007, thru his service in the Defense Office on DoD Security Classification Appeals Panels at the Pentagon 2007 to May 2017. Family, friends attended. One of the pictures show Dave, Tai-Lee, his brother (USAFA’71) Chuck, Chuck’s daughter Pam, and niece Ginny and nephew Geoff. Dave has been the source of many stories and updates while serving there in the D.C. area. Thank you Dave and Tai-Lee for those! …and as ’74 Scribe, I do hope you continue sending them.

change of command will be later this year in the CAP’s national conference in Texas. [Classmates, Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary to the Air Force; consider getting involved with CAP in your area, as you can… on your schedule.] What other opportunities for retirees? Consider looking into local Service Academy Alumni Associations. One checked-out is the Houston Chapter hosted by USAFA ’69 Tom Solomon. Always 4th Friday (not Nov or Dec) at Marriott Westchase, 1130 to 1300. Look the lawyer up. And this last part is always difficult to write. It has been a tough spring. Notices of classmates’ departures come at different times with regards to the scribes’ deadlines. So the front part of the magazine may not always match with the ’74 column. Two classmates have been laid to rest and are to be recognized herein. On April 17, Doug Walker learned a plane crashed a few miles down the road from him during a thunderstorm that day… classmate James W. Collins died in that crash. We send condolences to his wife, Denise. Neal T. Robinson (Brig. Gen. retired) passed on May 27, and we send our condolences to his wife, Pat. Both men served our country, and we pause to honor their dedication and sacrifice that they themselves gave, and the sacrifice of their family so that our classmates could serve. Forevermore, may each of you live long and prosper. –Joe Brezovic, 228 Senior Circle, Lompoc, CA 93436; (832) 285-4179;


One other classmate from CS-12 has an ongoing travel log that all are invited to join. Rich and Peggy Bowman enable you to be virtual sightseers. [Email the scribe and he’ll send you their email address to be placed on their travel reports!] They do travel the world and we’ve read notes on them. This summer, this couple is traversing the U.S. in their 15-year-old motorhome Liberty. A rugged start with tow trucks; with repairs to Cummins engine; and air leaks. Makes one feel for them and glad ‘not me’. A few other classmates have been found in our mission to locate. Michael Chase is in Albuquerque, NM. Michael talked on the phone for a few minutes between his board meetings. That is to say, board meeting for one organization and board meeting for another organization, and a board… Michael seems to be as busy as he was in yesteryear’s Second Group. One organization fosters the favorable relationship with Kirtland AFB and Albuquerque! I think “Yay for that” because my wife and I stop there a few times a year as we drive onwards. Michael told me that Mark Smith is active in the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol. New news from further research: Civil Air Patrol’s governing body has chosen (June 2017) Mark Smith to be the chief executive and national commander. He will lead the patrol’s 57,000 members for the next three years as they promote emergency services and promote aerospace education. The 122 ·

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) GBNF: Fate was not kind to our class this quarter, as we lost three classmates. Charlie Sargent, CS-25, passed away on June 4, 2017, from an aortic dissection. After his time in the Air Force, he flew for Air India and Delta. Tributes for Charlie can be seen and submitted at https:// Steve Barber, CS-21, passed away on June 14, 2017. Steve had a tremendous love for flying and spent as much time in the USAFA sailplanes as his academic schedule would allow. He was described as a gentle giant, a tinkerer and a genius. Dennis Forinash, CS-21, was struck and killed by a car on July 17, 2017, while jogging in Chicago on a layover. He is survived by his wife, Carla, their daughter Erin and son David. More information about Charlie, Steve and Dennis is available at gbnf_home.html. Recent Retirees: Congratulations to the follow-

ing classmates who have given up the pursuit of wealth and fame and have taken the off-ramp that leads to spending their children’s inheritance. Brian Barnes flew for more than 42 years, of which more than 32 years was with Alaskan Airlines. His last flight was to Kauai, Hawaii. Alaskansized congratulations go to Brian, and especially to the key to his successful journey, Teri! Jim Dearien made his final landing as a Delta pilot on the asphalt at Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson Airport on Easter Sunday. Jim and his wife, Julie, retired to Dallas, but suspect they have a move to Colorado somewhere in their future. As for now though, they’re happy to just stay in one place for a while. Headline Makers: Alas and alack, it appears some of our classmates are in denial about the benefits of letting society figure out how to continue to function without their inputs. Following is a list of what’s going on for those who, for some inexplicable reason, still have the fire in the belly. The White House nominated Dave Ehrhart to serve as the general counsel of the Air Force. Dave was active duty for 33 years, retiring as a brigadier general. His tours included numerous judge advocate positions, including staff judge advocate at the Air Force’s European headquarters, and commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General School. After a lengthy career in and out of public service, Max Della Pia recently decided to throw his hat in the ring to represent the people of New York’s 23rd District. Max has put together a lengthy career as an Air Force officer, lawyer, economist, analyst and legislative aide, but he’s not ready to occupy the porch swing just yet. He attributes his inspiration for running to a renewed Members sense of political responsibility 49% and activism following the 2016 election.  Michael Heil was named as one of 15 appointees to the newly formed Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee. The charter of the comSabre Society Donors mittee is to develop policies for enhancing the aviation and 33 aeronautics industry in Ohio. Remember all those times you wished you could back out of the garage and skip the upcoming commute by extending a couple of wings on your car and soaring over the traffic, tipping up on your left wing every now and then so you could callously smirk at the schmucks on the I-whatever freeway making their ways to their cubicles at the usual 7.4 miles per hour? Phil Meteer is still doing his part to make that dream a reality by piloting prototypes for flying-car startup Terrafugia, which was recently purchased by the parent company of Volvo Cars. No word yet on how it does in parallel parking. Giving Back: Mark Howes, CS-15, has been named as the Champion for the Department of Behavioral Science and Leadership in a program initiated by the Academy and the AOG. Mark and others in the Champions program will be bringing external professionals into the classroom or other

and more than a few days of rain. They saw some fantastic views and sheep, sheep, and more sheep.

–Foster Bitton, (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Fellow ’76ers, USAFA Class of 2021 is now on board and beginning their USAFA and USAF journey! Moving up/moving on: Randy Spetman was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame. Bill Dunn received a certificate National Business Aviation Association certificate for 3,500 hours of mishap-free business flying. Ed Morley retired from DCS, staying in the Melbourne, FL area. Congrats Spet, Bill and Ed! General Class Stuff: Forgot Charlie Vono’s input last article. NO EXCUSE, SIR! Charlie is chairman, Utah Engineers Council, is retired and writes/speaks on various topics, focusing on sustainment of complex systems (see charlesMembers Nita is progressing 55% well from her victory over stage 2 breast cancer and broken back from an accident. First time input from Mike Smith (aka Wesley), thanks Mike! He just went over 20 years with Northrup-GrumSabre Society Donors man, Schriever AFB, CO as a software engineer, he and 53 Jackie lamenting their three grandkids moved away when daughter Hilary got a new job in Wisconsin. Son Justin is in Brooklyn. Mike said Kevin Leinbach retired from the National Guard, is countywide RVing. Ricky Mantei visited Bob Hinkel; Bob is doing well. George Studor still with NASA, anticipating first “fly-by-wireless” commercial aircraft OEMs test flight. He and Mary interred their son’s ashes in Spokane in June on the first anniversary of his death from opioid drugs, and asks we all support the fight against drugs. I assisted Richey Felder contacting Curt Gronewald, and Charlie Morgan contacting Ray Vizzone and Bill Musick. Bill moving from Hawaii back to the San Francisco Bay area. Greg Lewis has been to Havana airport in his airline job; says everyone was friendly. Tony Przybyslawski and Jack Catton sent a photo of themselves, Wes Stowers and Larry New on the White House lawn in May when Falcons accepted the CinC trophy. Hope y’all reminded the CinC THE SPIRIT LIVES!


Hacker Classic Participants Miscreants from left are Jack Shine, Bruce Fritzsche, Larry Fariss, Tug McGraw, Roy Rice, Jim Corrigan, Tom Popp, Dave Pratt, Russ Trinter, Bo Montgomery, Brian Duffy and Wayne Willis. settings to emphasize key teaching concepts as selected by faculty members. Kudos to Mark and his fellow Champions in taking on this important initiative! Life Beyond the Maze: Paul Kent and his wife took an eight-day boat cruise to the Galapagos in May. They saw two-foot-tall penguins at the Equator, iguanas that swim under water, and lots of blue-footed boobies. Since the trip included hiking and snorkeling, Paul’s advice to all aspiring Galapagos explorers is to do it sooner rather than later; that is unless you’ve found the fountain of youth, in which case you can put the trip off as long as you want. Normandy is next on the Kents’ list. Jeff Hackett is in his third year of retirement and reports that he is outrageously happy. (Note the common theme coming from the non-working element of the class.) His two granddaughters got him a well-deserved “Papa Uber” T-shirt for his birthday with a big “75” on the back. Aww, how sweet, until the first time someone says, “Isn’t it nice that he can still drive at that age.” Jeff recently found a new golfing buddy in David Keene. The dubious duo will participate in #TheOven17, which is 2 1/2 days of golf in Tucson in the middle of the summer put on by Eat/Sleep/Golf. Jeff has invited other insane classmates to join them for #TheOven18. You might want to see what the survival rate of this year’s event is before talking to your travel agent.

The members of Hacker Classic Numero Cuatro descended on San Antonio in May and left the usual path of unspeakable destruction in their wake. Jack Shine, Bruce Fritzsche, Larry Fariss, Tug McGraw, Roy Rice, Jim Corrigan, Tom Popp, Dave Pratt, Russ Trinter, Bo Montgomery, Brian Duffy and Wayne Willis took part in the event. So far no indictments have been issued to any of them for crimes against golf and humanity in general, but there should’ve been. Low medalist for the event was Bo, and Bruce was Tail End Charlie. Reportedly, the #1 topic for discussion was Social Security and Medicare. Go figure. Bill Murray successfully stalked some big names during the PGA’s swing through Texas in May, and he has the evidence to prove it. Bill has selfies with Bill Murray the actor, Sergio Garcia, and Brandt Snedeker, and he got Jordan Spieth to autograph his golf hat. Pictures verifying Bill’s claims can be seen on the 75 Best Alive website. Bob (Wild Bill) Hickcox (CS-35) and his brother Ray completed an 18-day trek on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk across northern England in late June and early July.

Bob (Wild Bill) Hickcox at the start of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk.

Jeff Hackett and David Keene before The Oven; there is no “after” picture!

They started the journey at St. Bees Head on the Irish Sea coast and walked 194 miles, including 26,500 feet of climb and descent, to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea coast. The weather was typically English with a few glorious days of sun, interspersed with several days of overcast skies,

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 123


Greg Boomgaard fished with Mike Ellen recently, also with Ted Birke, USAFA ’65. Ben Thornson responded to my ’41 years’ note suggesting we should use Roman numerals vice numbers (i.e. XLI). But he assumes I can do Roman numerals. Randy Schavrien’s son Scot was recently on the Smithsonian Channel Mighty Planes C-130 episode. Scott presented Randy and Gail their seventh grandkid. Scott pins on major end of August; he and family moving to Japan. Jose Santiago’s son Stephen graduated from USNA and was commissioned a USMC 2nd Lt. Larry Weaver visited C-Springs recently; unfortunately we were not able to connect. Win Macklin and I had a short but interesting email discussion. Our combined memories clarified when the SR-71 did a grad fly-by. Tim Lewis sent a photo of himself and Kurt Kamrad at Miami’s 20 May Honor Flight. Tim is MIA TSA deputy federal security director, Kurt is president/CEO of Miami Air. Jerry McFarlane sent a photo of himself, Michael Byers, Lance Christian and wives Barb, Julie and Sue dining in Ireland recently. Also pictured are John and Robin Prior, USAFA ’79.

Mike Fricano and Bob Norman both wrote they and wives, Debby and Nancy, dined in Oahu in June. Bob and Nancy were there celebrating 40 year anniversary; also met a young man headed to enter USAFA ’21. Hope you told him that if he and his class jelled and worked really, really well they would be ALMOST as good as The Spirit of ’76! Bill ‘Cliff’ Clifford sent a nice note of apprecia-

124 ·

tion on the class gift effort and his run for the AOG Board. He has a national opportunity coming up but was not at liberty to give details. Standing by for more info Cliff. Terry New, Al Granger and Kevin Henabray attended the F-16 Fighter Weapons School 35th anniversary reunion. Terry, Al, and Kevin returned as instructors with Steve Loerakker. Mike Sackley didn’t make the reunion. Steve Nickel was on a UAL Hong Kong - SFO flight with Hugh Smith getting his B777 first officer checkout. John Hazen’s Appalachian Trail hike got cut short, John injured his right arm, needed corrective surgery, is now back in Memphis rehabing, hopes to try again next year. Ernie and Pam Woollard sent a lengthy recap of their 25-day European cruise, said they had a great time with scheduled ports of call in the Azores, France, England, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark followed by Baltic capitals including a Copenhagen ER stop for a minor ailment. “Papa Joe” and Becky Marchino got an enroute visit from Mike and Jacky Walsh. Jacky got reassigned to Huntsville, AL. Joe and Becky are settling in nicely in Kansas City; Joe back umpiring baseball games, mainly school/youth leagues. Bill and Peggy Roege moved to upstate Seneca Lake, NY area. Bill retired from DOE last fall. Says Tom Bergie is also in the area. Send me a note Tom. Steve and Kathy Krikorian did a 13-day, 27-flight hours, 11-airport, 1,000-photo “bucket list” grand Pacific Northwest adventure in their Viking. Prep-school roomie Dan Foster flew up and met them at the Bellanca-Champion fly-in, Sonora, CA; both surprised to see Neil Cahoon there. Dan still with UAL. Neil retired from Delta. Steve contemplating retirement soon. Bill Hanson judged the Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition at Spaceport America in hot dusty weather. Sadly reported no AFA team. (Hey, Astro Dept…?) Doug and Cendy Fry cruised the Caribbean with daughter Lt. Col. Kasey Stramblad (USAFA ’00) and family. Denny Damiens did the National Capital BBQ Battle; they’ve won the last three championships. Kirk Bell sat with Roger Staubach at a recent veteran’s event. John Dunstan sent a 1989 photo of ACSC ’76er’s. In the front row are Dan Cuda, Dave Tate, Rich King, Dave Clary, John Dunstan, Duncan Shields, Doug Loverro and Mike Belcher. Middle row: Bruce Teagarden, Gary Turnipseed, Jeff Brown, Mike Gould, Randy Schavrien and Tom Wyman. Back row: Bob Tribolet, Dave Pyshora, Scott Anderson, Chuck Pinney,

Stef Eisen, John Young, Ed LaBarre, Tom Muckenthaler, Mike Berrian, Phil Vollelunga, Scott Britten and Randy Spetman. Dave Clary and Stef Eisen were instructors at ACSC at the time. Got contact updates from Jim Crowe, Bill Swartz, Walt Washburn and Tom Lange. Tim Cantwell helped update/confirm my listing with emails for Rich Long, Ray Wild, Jamie Bosworth and Dan Woodbury. Jack Catton also sent me his list. NSTR: Jim Boma, Luckey Dunn, Chris Curry (thanks for the kind words Chris) Two license plate inputs. Lee Heitman’s wife, Deb, got him personalized Colorado plates, “USAFA 76” for his birthday. Good job, Deb! Lee says, “To ensure I do not bring discredit upon the Spirit of 76, I now must endeavor to be the kindest, safest driver on the road!” Dave Clary sent photo of a license plate understood only by Zoomies; Virginia plate reading “ACPRO”. Well classmates, again time to stick a fork in it. If you haven’t received an email from me in the past 3-6 months, I do not have your current email address. Please update me and the AOG with current data. Send your notes, inputs, address updates, suggestions, junk mail, etc. I will do my best to keep all of you in the loop. As always, if you are headed to the Springs, let me and the other locals know. Keep flying your flags and let our deployed troops know you have them in your thoughts and prayers. The Spirit of 76 is STILL alive and well! Until next time… Beatty. –Dan Beatty, 12196 Stanley Canyon Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80921; Home: (719) 488-1962; Cell: (719) 338-0276; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Happy end of summer to all of you. As you read this, days are getting shorter, the Falcons are back on the football field, and our 40th reunion looms large in our minds. Specifically, how in the heck did we get to be so old, so fast? And those of you who are trying to tell me that age is simply a state of mind, talk to my bald spot. Passings: I regret to report the loss of another one of our classmates, John Hurdle (Kay). John retired as a full colonel and passed away in Park City, KS, where he and Kay had retired. On behalf of the class, I extend our condolences to Kay and their family. Reunion Push: Here is the latest on the reunion, but frankly if you are getting your news through this column, you’re a little late. The website for reservations and football tickets is now open and


available. Look for for details and links to registration, class merchandise, football tickets, etc. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal project—the Incline climb. For those of you who are interested, I will get out an announcement at the reunion desk. Plan on meeting at the base of the Incline (I will have directions for parking, etc.) early on Saturday morning, 14 October. We will be finished by 1000 hours (see what I did there?), in plenty of time to make the tailgate/football game/ AOG festivities. (Editor's note: Unfortunately, the Incline will be closed during the reunion for repairs. No one will be allowed on the Incline until repairs are completed in December.) It appears that we will have one of the largest turnouts ever for this reunion, which is fitting given that it’s been four decades since we were all in the same place together. For those of you who are reading this and not planning on attending, please reconsider. Every one of us wants to see every one of you. Having attended a number of these over the years, I can tell you that you will emerge from the weekend energized and humbled at the extent and breadth of the emotional experience. This is truly a celebration, with lots of opportunity to talk, reacquaint, and, most Members importantly, remember our 52% departed brothers. There are activities that will interest some of you, most of you, or all of you. I urge all of you to make an effort to attend. John Buckley (Melinda) and his crew have done a masterful Sabre Society Donors job of pulling things together. Equally important are the vari31 ous squadron representatives who have reached out to you by now with information and details. Please pat these people on the back when you see them in Colorado Springs in October. Various updates: Bill Brandt (Susan) is running for a justice of the peace seat in his native Texas. Bill just finished law school and is not wasting any time at getting into the upper echelons of practice. Good luck, Bill, and I look forward to hearing all about your becoming the “Law West of the Pecos” at the reunion. Tom Mulhern (Lorie) will be heading up the golf tournament for the reunion. Tom Heaney (Joan) is taking suggestions to paint a class picture for the reunion. Tom is now working as a commercial artist in Colorado Springs. Check out his website for some pretty nice work. Pat Burke (Denise) is wrapping up his work assembling anecdotes from the class history. He’s posted a number of these online and is preparing a final product for our edification in October. Many thanks for all that work, Patrick. Tom Jones (Liz) has authored

a special edition of the National Geographic entitled “The Next Earth”. It’s a very nice look at some gorgeous planetary imagery and worth a review. Robert Massey (Andrea) continues to fly his fire-spotting/fighting missions out of Southern Arizona, although my understanding is the wet summer has dampened this somewhat. Thank goodness. Fly safe, Robert. Losses: Bonnie Slack, Dave’s wife, was tragically killed in a car accident this summer. Please extend your condolences to Dave and his family. Members of the Pink Panthers gathered for her memorial service in Dallas.

In memoriam for Bonnie Slack -- Tom Toole, Bill Welde (Judy), Dave Slack, Jim Alexander (Cindy) and Tom Schipper. Last man standing: Lt. Col. James M. “Jim” Glass (Susan) is, as far as I can tell, the last man to retire from active duty from the Air Force. He officially retired on July 5, 2017, although his terminal leave might take him to 1 September, his mandatory retirement date. Congratulations Jim, and my congratulations to you all at the end of our service era. Well done. I look forward to seeing many, and perhaps even most of you, at the reunion. Until that evening in October, be seeing you. –John “Lou” Michels, Jr., 4107 Harvey Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558; (312) 463-3412;; loumichels55@gmail. com


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings ’78ers… Unfortunately, I need to open this quarter’s article with some sad class news. For those who didn’t see the late AOG June announcement, Bill (William J.) Shaw unexpectedly passed in May. He was a severe Trekkie and working as a NSA contractor at the time of his death. Due to a life-long space fascination (he had wanted to be an astronaut when entering USAFA), he arranged for his ashes to be scattered in space at a later date. The following

site has a great narrative on his life: https://www. . Due to his mother-in-law dying of Alzheimer’s, Bill and wife, Oren, were extremely active in fundraising for the annual Annapolis, MD “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”  http://act.alz. org/site/TR/walk2017/MD-GreaterMaryland?fr_ id=10483&pg=entry. The family has requested that donations be made to this year’s event in lieu of flowers. For Beltway classmates, the walk will take place on 22 Oct 2017.  Details are on the website if you wish to participate, and condolences can be sent to Oren at: Mrs. Oren E. Whyche-Shaw; 299 Aston Forest Lane; Crownsville, MD 21032-1605. Talked to Kevin Kennedy after several years and he relayed sad news about Kip Self who Members is battling an advanced and 46% aggressive form of ALS. Kip retired from the AF in January 2011 as the A-3 director of Ops Planning, Policy and Strategy on the Air Staff. He and Sue eventually relocated about 25 miles northeast of Charleston, Sabre Society Donors SC and recently celebrated their 39th anniversary (they 37 were high school sweethearts). Due to the disease, he isn’t able to respond but would be most blessed to hear from us. His address is 7861 Doar Road, Awendaw, SC 29429 if you wish to send a card or letter. Kevin and Allison have stayed in Herndon, VA after his November 2010 retirement as the J8 for U.S. Joint Forces Command. He’s involved in a non-profit organization that assists former junior enlisted folks in finding jobs in the telecom industry… they have placed about 1,000 so far. He sent this shot below of ’78 retired general officers that was taken at the annual CSAF forum this past April at Andrews (Kip was with the group last year and Kevin sent him the picture). From left are Gary Dean, John Weida, Bob Steel, Paul Capasso, Steve Sargeant, Dave Scott, Joe Reheiser, Bill Chambers, Glenn Spears, Kevin and Rick Devereaux. (Tom Owens was present but missed the photo.)  My sincere thanks to Kevin for the news and helping Kip.

I reported last article how Tom and Amy Keohane’s daughter was married on an 11,000’ mountain in Telluride. Also, their youngest daughter was deciding on which of several grad schools to attend… she decided on Harvard (tough problem to have). Amy sent this great shot of Tom’s niece Megan, who just graduated from USAFA in 2017 and is enroute to Vance for UPT. A few classmates stopped by to celebrate her graduation. From left Checkpoints · September 2017 · 125

CLASS NEWS Randy Helms, Robin Rand and another of Don’s sons, Martin (’11 USMA). Howlett’s squadron, CS-32, earned Outstanding Squadron for 2016-17, so their commissioning ceremony was at the commandant’s house with Robin as the guest speaker.

are Gary Hughes (American captain), Mike Catlin (defense contractor with UNORTHCOM and NORAD in the Springs), Tom (Delta captain) and Doug Paton (United captain). Turns out the Catlins sponsored Megan for the four years she was at the Zoo... small world indeed. Thanks as always Amy!

Mark Werthman (who said he still has his cadet stereo) recently picked up an associate degree along with his helicopter CFI last fall (he was an F-111 WSO) and his instrument flight instructor ticket in March. He’s pretty confident that the 2 1/2 years it took to get to this point were more demanding than getting through the Academy! He’s in great shape and proves it in the Masters Track & Field events by attaining All-American status in our age group (400m, 800m and 1500m events). In his words: “I tell myself that I’m putting in this effort for those who are ill or injured, busy with work or grandkids or deceased. And that I’m doing it to motivate other adults to get/remain fit. And that I’m doing it to show little kids that adults exercise as well and so they should plan on it. Still, there is some chance I’m doing it for pure ego’s sake. With any luck, I’ll also make All-American in either the 200m or the 3000m before I injure up again. (Five inches higher on my relatively-recent pole vault PR would also be nice, but not likely this year, if ever).” Well done Mark… keep up the great work and certainly do hope you remain injury free. Finally, Jay Ellis shared some highly motivating news. He’s still in private practice anesthesiology and pain management in San Antonio but was diagnosed with lymphoma immediately following our 35th reunion. Chemo hit him hard… bride Merrill called the ambulance in the middle of the night due to a near fatal infection. He went back to work part time after a stay in the ICU and a prolonged convalescence. Several CS-26 classmates kept the pressure on as they had all run the Beach to Bay Marathon Relay in Corpus Christie, TX for the past 18 years (except during Enduring Freedom).  They coached Jay to run the race in same year he was in ICU… which he did (three months after his final chemo treatment… wow). Jay credits God, Merrill, his kids, family and friends (the guys below greatly encouraged him when he was at his “lowest point”) for recovering and being cancer free! The picture is their final race in May. From left are Ed Rice, Jay, Jimmy Keaton, non-grad friend Don, Billy Nichols and Tim Parker. 

126 ·

Jay further reports: “Ed works in a leadership position for United Way as well as having many other irons in the fire. His wife, Theresa, is also a cancer survivor having gone through breast cancer, making a very full and graceful recovery. Ed and Theresa share Spurs season tickets with us. Theresa is a diehard Spurs fan while Ed is a closet Lakers fan. I still take his money and let them go to the games because Theresa is such a devoted team supporter. Tim is a captain on the 767 for Delta meeting his wife, Susan, while stationed at Bentwaters and they are planning a move to England. Billy is a captain on the 737 for American and lives in Dallas. Jimmy is a check airman for American on the Airbus and lives in the Dallas area as well. I am in good health and 18 months out from maintenance chemotherapy. I’m fit enough that I finished in the top 500 in the world in my age group in the CrossFit games; my age group being very old guys who shouldn’t do CrossFit.” Way to go Jay… congratulations on not only getting healthy but being amazingly fit. Sure see a trend going here gents… I’m now officially motivated to get back to the gym! That’s a wrap for this quarter. My sincere thanks so much for the info. May everyone have a blessed fall and we’ll be back in December. God Bless… ’78 is Great! –Bob Kay, 40411 Tesoro Lane, Palmdale, CA 93551; Home: (661) 274-2201; Cell: (661) 9741417; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings from across the pond. Lots of great inputs for this issue, so here we go. Don Cohick attended his son Howlett’s USAFA commissioning and graduation in May along with


From left are Gen. Robin Rand, Don Cohick, Randy Helms, Capt. Martin Cohick and newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Howlett Cohick. Steve Sosa is currently doing one last run in the desert before hanging it up. Steve is an Air Force reservist and works in the oil industry. Andy Busch had his retirement ceremony on 4 May at the Defense Logistics Agency. Robin Rand—who seems to be everywhere—presided. Also in attendance were classmates PJ Miller, Steve Newbold, Dutch Dunkelberger, Pat Swanson, Lance Beam, Doug Robb, Greg Smith, Denny Hugo, Jim Mandziara, Greg Members Brundidge, Kent Gilliland, Jim 47% Armington, Bob Edmonds, Brian Koechel, Frank Gorenc and Stan Tomkinson. After the ceremony, Steve Newbold hosted a birthday party in recognition of 60th birthdays and Jack Catton was there to Sabre Society Donors chaperone! Ken Snoy also recently 31 retired after 33 years with Northrop Grumman. During that time, he worked sustainment engineering and acquisition on the Titan, Peacekeeper and Minuteman weapon systems. He continues working his retirement job on the pro ski patrol at Snowbasin in Utah (is that really a job?). During the off season, Ken and wife, Karen, plan to travel, play and spend time with family. He invites anyone who is in the area to contact him about making a few turns in the greatest snow on earth!   The final retirement news comes primarily from Steve Lepper who attended Gary Curry’s retirement ceremony at the Peterson AFB club on 3 June. The presiding official was Jan-Marc Jouas and a number of our classmates were in attendance. They included: Rich Peters, Craighton Chin, Walt Davidson, Tom Teigler, Stuart Maxon, Ken Kraak, Robert Fisher and Trevor Albro. Colonel Curry, USA (Ret), added that he retired officially July 1st with 30 years; 11 were active duty Air Force and the remaining 19 were in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves.

At Andy Bush's retirement are, from left, PJ Miller, Steve Newbold, Dutch Dunkelberger, Pat Swanson, Lance Beam, Doug Robb, Greg Smith, Andy Busch, Denny Hugo, Jim Mandziara, Robin Rand, Greg Brundidge, Kent Gilliland, Jim Armington, Bob Edmonds and Stan Tomkinson.

From left are Rich Peters, Craighton Chin, JanMarc Jouas, Walt Davidson, Gary Curry, Tom Teigler, Stuart Maxon, Ken Kraak, Steve Lepper, Robert Fisher and Trevor Albro. Paul Schubert updated his status from road manager to stay-at-home dad. His son Joe is going to Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire this fall for 9th grade. That means he gets to go home after four years on the road with Joe chasing the hockey dream. Joe has been on a roll, getting invited to combines from the U.S. Hockey League and individual USHL junior teams as well as to the USA Hockey National Camp in his first year of eligibility. Paul saw Bob Desmond in Scottsdale recently and George Bernhardt at the USAFA-Harvard East Regional Final last March. Paul Hough recently returned from a driving vacation around Northern England and the Scottish borderlands with his wife, Karen, daughter Paula and mother-in-law. While there, he and Karen renewed vows in Gretna Green, a historic place for elopements. For authenticity, he wore a kilt for the first and probably last time. A public service announcement from Jeff McChesney, who is launching Veterans Accelerator in mid-September to give back directly to the service members protecting our nation. Veterans Accelerator will help veteran-owned firms, and companies that have a goal to employ veterans, gain access to growth capital, mentor select veterans about business and entrepreneurship and form an independent foundation for veterans in need.  If you want to know more, check out and tell your friends as well. I received a missive (look it up) from LeGrande Blount that made my 1,200-word-limit easy. Like many of us, he is turning 60 this year. His big birthday present is going to be his retirement checks from Uncle Sam for his time in the Reserves. Wes Miller sent a “proof of life” picture of Kathy and him at Lake Tahoe in June. Even though there was no date on the paper he was holding, I suspect

he’s still with us, still working for UPS and still enjoying his life in Kentucky. From his home in Colorado Springs, Bob Kronebusch writes that he recently attended his first Pikes Peak Hill Climb. He camped on the Peak with his boys and watched the hill climb on Sunday, June 25. He notes that it was doubly exciting for them because Les Long drove in the race. While Les is a seasoned driver, this was his first Pikes Peak race. He drove a 2009 Porsche GT3 cup and finished 5th out of 21 in his division. Les has a company, called Air Power Racing, out of Toole, UT, providing independent Porsche service, race car prep, and-arrive and-drive racing experience. Mike Gee sent a note about yearly gatherings with Dale Reed, Tom Foertsch, Tim Fyda and Tim Hoy, along with their sons and brothers, to hunt pheasant and quail in west Kansas. Getting together not only allows them to hunt, but also to catch up on families and Falcon football, not necessarily in that order. And believe it or not, since they walk their rears off every day, there’s not a whole lot of partying. Instead, they watch the Falcons and whoever else happens to be on (not that any other team is nearly as important) and armchair quarterback. Brian Koechel sent a recent press release from the White House. To paraphrase, Robert P. Kadlec of New York is to be assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response. Dr. Kadlec is currently the deputy staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and previously served as a special assistant to the president for Biodefense Policy for President George W. Bush. Well done, Bob! Bob Tardie provided his first ever Checkpoints input. He left the Air Force in 1989 for Delta Air Lines. After flying for Delta for 24 years, he retired five years ago and loves it. He has 30 acres in Wells, VT, that keeps him busy mowing, brush cutting and wood cutting. He also hunts, fishes and makes maple syrup in the spring. Anyone who gets out his way is invited to stop by. Last minute input from Chip Taylor about his son’s (Chris Taylor,’07) wedding. Chip managed to get a group of ’79ers there. They included: Fred Jacobsen, Steve Barnes, Jon Fago, Frank Gorenc and Joey Hackbarth. Chris is a test pilot at Edwards.

From left are Fred and Nancy Jacobsen, Steve and Cheryln Barnes, Cindy and Jon Fago, Dr. Lynne Ellison (Chris’ wife), Major Chris Taylor, Frank and Sharon Gorenc, Joey and Dana Hackbarth and Kim and Chip Taylor. Next up is Jeff “Hammer” Moore at jeff@moore. -John Pardo, PSC 47, Box 918, APO AE 09470;


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) You should be smelling a little autumn in the air and the comings and goings of summer have turned into another, hopefully great memory. Academics at the Zoo have taken front-and-center—and cadets are now living for each week-END. Grab a second cup of Joe and let’s see what you’ve sent me to share with the rest of us. Generally, when one of our classmates has made their final flight west, we are quickly Members notified. The communications 52% link isn’t very robust for the loss of spouses. Diane Pray, John’s wife, succumbed to ovarian cancer in May. Alongside John, she was involved with helping military families and felt Sabre Society Operation Homefront does an Donors excellent job in this area. 36 Button-popping. Got this June Week update from Ken Radosevich: He’s “relaxing in the right seat of the 787 at LAX for American. This is a photo of the family at my son, Nick’s, graduation from USAFA with the Class of ’17, shortly after I had the honor of commissioning him. Also in the picture: my wife, Paula, my older son, Mike '13 (flying F-16s in Europe), and his twin sister, Louisa, recent master’s grad from Sonoma State. I’m a proud dad, especially since I would probably be voted least likely to send two sons to USAFA.”

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 127


Ken, keeping it in the family. Mike Prusz notes, “Sharon and I are still in the Baltimore/D.C. area. My older son is a second lieutenant in the Marines at Pensacola NAS for pilot training. My second son is a junior at the University of Maryland—physiology neurobiology—so, it seems I should work at Johns Hopkins University/ Applied Physics Laboratory a little longer to pay college bills.” Air-related. I read a May article in Aviation Week & Space Technology, regarding flying the new Boeing 737 Max. Seems the magazine’s editorial pilot was riding along with none other than our own Keith Otsuka, “Boeing’s chief test and evaluation pilot.” Susan Helms was recently elected to the board of trustees of The Aerospace Corporation. She is also a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and an independent consultant and the principal of Orbital Visions, LLC. Dave and Marla Jones, who live near Atlanta, have used their Mooney aircraft to get to/from their Idaho getaway. The photo is not some kind of costume party, but they are wearing a comfortable cannula as part of the oxygen delivery system, since the unpressurized plane is turbocharged and can go well above 15,000 feet.

Dave and Marla where the air is rare. More doing more good. The AOG website has a nice article about Chis Miller being selected for the Helen & Arthur E. Johnson Chair for the Study of the Profession of Arms. Although the article goes into detail, this quote is a good summation, “The Johnson Chair’s charge is to inspire and achieve discourse, research, events and scholarly work that will prepare the Academy and its graduates to lead in the profession of arms the nation needs for tomorrow.” By the time you read this, I suspect Paul (Ricki Smith) Selva will have been confirmed for a second term as vice chairman of the JCS. The fact that he was asked to serve in two very different administrations is certainly a kudo and shows how 128 ·

much he’s trusted. Derek Hess has agreed to serve as our Class Advisory Senate representative to the AOG. If you have any issues for the AOG, he’s our go-to guy. Kirk Yost sends a “short note for the news-fromclassmates-who-have-relocated-to-odd-places category. I moved to Yerevan, Armenia, in July 2016, as my wife, Debbie, is the USAID mission director here. While some of my family and friends questioned relocating to a country with a militarized and closed border on the east (Turkey), at war with the country to the west (Azerbaijan), and a southern border closed to U.S. citizens (Iran), I’ve found it very enjoyable here. The city is clean and safe, and I also have a gig teaching graduate classes at the American University of Armenia. We’ll be here for a few more years, so if anyone is passing through, they’re welcome to stay, as the government has rented us a big house (now that our kids are grown and gone). The picture is of us hiking to Amberd Fortress, which dates from the 13th century.”

The Yosts hiking through time. Dave Gruber lives “in Aurora, CO, and some of the city council members asked me to run for an at-large seat in the November election. The city is growing rapidly, and based on my military and community experience, they believe I could help council. In other words, they asked me to serve. You all know that is a magic word for airmen, so I volunteered to run. It was easy to consider serving because I sit on city committees and I attend City Council meetings. What I was not prepared for was step one of campaigning—fund-raising. If I had focused on that fact, my decision to run would probably have been different. I just want you to know what the election process entails.” Guest Scribe. As a way to get some variety and different perspectives, our next scribe for our class section will be Dan Williams. Please forward anything to him at: (and kindly cc me as well). Thanks! –Don Myers, P.O. Box 153, Tyrone, GA 302900153; (770) 631-1429; DMyers80@hotmail. com; FB group: “USAFA Class of 1980”; Class Website:

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


Hope all of you had cool Colorado summers like us! This is the fall football article and I am writing it on a pleasant 70-degree, July Colorado day. 2021 is marching to Jack’s Valley this morning. I still cannot believe a class 40 years our junior is at the Academy. I chatted with several the Members night and morning before they 51% checked in. They were the same as us – excited, nervous and curious (and very young). Memories. Class News: Randy Worrall did remind me that Star Wars Sabre Society was the hot movie before we Donors checked in a long time ago (in 19 a galaxy far, far away…). Rex Kiziah and Marty France were doing pre-checks on the footsteps at the Base of the Ramp (BOR) before 2021 showed up. I love seeing the Gazette pictures of new class day!

Rex Kiziah and Marty France pre-checking for 2021’s big day. Jeff Braley is still doing well living up north in Ft. Collins. He and Paula are proud of grandchild #6, Beau. The Braley gang will all be together for Jeff and Paula’s son, Andrew’s (’06) wedding in Oklahoma City over Labor Day. Andrew is flying for SkyWest and starting with the Oklahoma Guard flying the MC12. Jeff is looking forward to upgrading to the left seat of the Airbus 300 early next year. Jeff said we have 31 ’81ers at FedEx. He has seen Alex Baggett, Terry Foley, Bob Gabreski, Lantz Balthazar, Lionel Trujillo and Rob Bonn lately.

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hey Redtags, Well the big news for this quarter is old news by now. As nearly everyone knows, Heather Wilson was sworn in as SECAF on 16 May 2017. About 32 of us turned out for the event and formed our own private cheering section on the steps to the Pentagon’s river entrance. Heather gave us a shout-out during her remarks and we all responded with a loud and prolonged cheer. Here’s a picture of most of the gang during the reception that followed. (See photo at the bottom of this page.) I know I’ve probably missed someone, but with that caveat, here’s a listing of the folks who I saw at the soiree: Powell Wilson, Tom Sylvester, Gerry Sohan, Butch Howard, Alan Goard, Kenny Robinson, Troy Hithe, Jim Demarest, Ben Huff, Mike Kempton, Lyn South, Brad Silver, Steve Pearson, Bones Jones, Martha Stevenson-Jones, Mary Stevenson, Jack Mohney, Julie “Joyce Charity Hughes” Ryan, Stu Rogers, Tony Lazarski, Gordy Dexter, Chip Dorman, Dave Ziegler, Jim Simpson, Cindy Diehl, Art Crain, Carter Pilcher, Steve Jarvis, Kevin Krisinger, John Crennan and Mike Sinisi. Wow, what a great turnout! It was a fantastic minireunion, and Heather was a gracious host, working the crowd, visiting with everyone and patiently posing for pictures with anyone who asked. I must say, with SECDEF Jim Mattis, CSAF Dave Goldfein and SECAF Heather in senior leadership roles, I’m firmly convinced our DoD and Air Force are in good hands. They’re all impressive folks. While at Heather’s celebration, Mike Kempton let me know that he’d be taking command of the 209th Special Ops Civil Engineering Squadron. The unit is part of the Mississippi Air National Guard in Gulfport. Over the years, the squadron has had several domestic and overseas missions. It responded to Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina


Jeff Braley with grandson, Beau. Heard from John Marlin! He is trying to get the last two kids through school and out of the house. He has successfully gotten three out and on their own. His #4 just finished her first year as a nursing student and #5 will be a senior in high school this fall. John says she wants to be a dancer, so more to follow. I was touting the cool Colorado weather to Maura (Burke) Wingard and she's certainly missed it living in hot Texas. Ed Knox has been biking the trails out East between Pittsburgh and D.C. and has a good mile marker picture for us!

Ed Knox at mile marker 81. I love all the memorabilia pictures being posted on Facebook. Always great hearing from you! We are presently living in a hotel as our builder missed yet another completion date and still (slowly) plugs along on our house in Monument. (Now six months past scheduled completion.) I am sure many of you have been there. It will be so nice to be in a house again. Let me know if you get out to Colorado for a game this fall or give me a call to catch-up. Go Falcons, beat Michigan! ’81 Second to None!

and overseas operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Mike is understandably excited about taking over the reins. I received this really cool picture of Steve Bragado and his son Drew taken at the USAFA Class of 2017’s graduation ceremony in May.

Steve and Drew wearing their happy faces! Clearly, they’re both in a celebratory mood! Drew was a management major and will be heading to pilot training at Laughlin. Steve says that Drew’s accomplishments easily surpassed his, but Steve gets partial credit for giving Drew the benefit of his experiences and telling him what NOT to do. Steve and Karen are justifiably proud of their son. Dan Reeder also had a proud graduation moment when he commissioned the third of his three offspring serving in the USAF.

The Reeder family Dan had the honor of commissioning all three of his children. Son Paul “Scott” Reeder (shown in the

–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:

Heather’s Cheering Section! Checkpoints · September 2017 · 129

CLASS NEWS center of the photo) just graduated from the ROTC program at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and majored in earth science with a concentration in meteorology. He’ll be headed to RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) training. Dan’s other son, James, is a first lieutenant and C-17 pilot at McChord. His oldest, daughter Rachel, graduated with the USAFA Class of 2012 and is an MD in family practice at Ft. Belvoir. To round out the family’s service, Dan’s wife, Pat, served as a USAF nurse before she left active duty to raise their family. Dan served on active duty and in the Reserves and is now a 757/767 pilot for Delta. Dan told me that only three other ROTC cadets were commissioned with Scott from UNCO this year and that one of them was Zackary Schreiber, son of our classmate Herb Schreiber. Herb also had the honor of commissioning his son who will be headed to Tyndall to be an air battle manager. Dan sent a great picture of Herb and Zackary, but unfortunately I can only run three pictures per issue! So, I’ll put their photo up on the webpage ( for you to Members enjoy. Look under “Jim’s Blog” 48% for the latest. My last input this quarter is from Jim “WAM” Harkins. WAM is a DoD civilian who flew QF-4s at Holloman up until the end of last year. The USAF retired the last of the Sabre Society Donors QF-4s in December and is now using QF-16s as aerial targets. 28 Jim participated in the “Phinal Phlight” of the QF-4s on December 21, flying #3 in a four-ship of Phantoms. Coincidentally, it was also WAM’s last flight in a fighter, capping a distinguished 35-year military flying career. He’s had 25 years on active duty (only two non-flying!), three as a contractor, and seven as a DoD civilian. As the aerial target business transitions to QF-16s, WAM will continue flying as a remote-control pilot, giving his back and neck a break. He told me he had the privilege of participating in the six-monthlong “Phinal QF-4 Rock Star Tour” as they flew and displayed the jets at places like Oshkosh, Reno, Texas Motor Speedway, Miramar and Nellis. Lots of long days and double-turns, but I imagine the tour was a hoot. Good times and fond memories! WAM sent a fabulously-staged photo of himself next to a QF-4 and his red (what other color?) 2015 Corvette Z06 on a wet parking ramp at twilight. It was taken by a photographer for Airman Magazine who was there doing a photo shoot for the final flight the following day. Again, since I’m out of photo space here, please see “Jim’s Blog” on the website for this really cool shot. And although it’ll be history by the time you read this, we’re currently in the final stages of preparing for our 35th reunion in October. The committee has been hard at work planning the events and making the arrangements for what should turn out to be a fantastic get-together. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there! 130 ·

Ellen and I’ve been staying busy with work (me) and fun stuff (together). We recently returned from a two-week trip to Greece, Belgium and Germany with our youngest niece. We had a great time seeing the sights, eating the food and drinking the beer. We just missed crossing paths with a (thankfully incompetent) suicide bomber in Brussels, but that’s a story to be told over beers at the reunion! I just declared Initial Operational Capability of my indoor, all-electric basement brewery, and I was honored with another first-place trophy for one of my restored Honda motorcycles at the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance in Lexington, KY, in July. And, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in August. Life is indeed good! Until next time, Ratman. –Jim Ratti, 2860 Arbor Pointe Drive, Middletown, OH 45042; (937)760-2333; rattijm@mindspring. com (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Blissfully out of the loop, I missed the memo for the recent all-call at Los Angeles AFB, where Errol “E.I.” Lewis reports our classmate General Dave Goldfein made a visit, speaking and taking questions from the audience. Apparently, no one asked if there’s any truth to the rumor USAFA will soon add vests and suspenders to Combo One (as well as allowing beards and man buns) in an effort to recruit young hipsters. In addition to working with Chuck Jones supporting the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation, Errol is currently a GG-14 at the Engineering Division of the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at L.A. AFB. So, if you’ve been feeling like you’ve been remotely sensed lately, it very well could be Errol’s handiwork. He also reports there are other

O-10 Goldfein and GG-14 Lewis

Bohicans on base, including Joe Wendlberger, Loni Smith and Paul Mejasich. Mike Croy has been keeping us updated on the great progress Chris Mannion has been making after a devastating bicycle accident several weeks ago. Mike visited Chris and Felicia at Spalding Rehab Hospital in Aurora, CO, where Chris is now rolling around in a wheelchair, checking his laptop, and rocking his physical, cognitive and occupational therapy. If you’re on LinkedIn (and who isn’t?), you may have seen a recent update on Dan Elwell, who is now a deputy administrator at the FAA, which seems like a perfect fit for Dan. So, there’s a mystery to be solved and you may be able to help. Some hapless Bohican Members lost his (size 10.5, so assuming 49% “his”) USAFA class ring and it was found several years ago (on eBay, of all places), yet the owner has yet to be identified. The ring, which was purchased with class funds, is 14K white gold with a sort of mint green Sabre Society Donors or seafoam green star sapphire with an inscription that was 26 “burnished off long ago” as the description poetically reads. Apparently we won’t be doing a “Cinderfella” style trying on of the ring at the next reunion, so if no one speaks up and claims it, it’s going to become part of the “Forged in Blue” program and will be melted down to be incorporated into the production of, fittingly, Class of 2033 rings for the dinks that graduate 50 years after us. Ray Blust sends word of running into Jerry Varner and Roger Yeshnik when all three were at DFW for their recurrent (lots of airline lingo in this paragraph, by the way). Jerry is a 787 FO for American at Dallas-Fort Worth, Roger is an A-320 CA for American at Los Angeles, and Ray is a 787 FO at Chicago O’Hare.

Jerry Varner, Roger Yeshnik and Ray Blust planning a spirit mission at Dallas-Fort Worth. Colin Moffat hosted a sort of rolling ’83 reunion on Whidbey Island earlier this summer, right as the Rainier cherries and salmon berries were coming into season. Rick Scholz made it in time for an epic crab fest at Mark Abbott’s Vashon Island pad, after which Rick and Colin, still encrusted in the remnants of crustaceans, picked me up at SeaTac for the trip up to Whidbey.

As fortune would have it, a couple of days later Mark flew his acrobatic Experimental RV6 up from Vashon loaded with freshly harvested Dungies and stone crabs, so I didn’t miss out on a crab fest after all. We ended up polishing off enough eight-legged lovelies to free up adequate space and weight for Mark to give me a righteous ride back to SeaTac via Boeing Field.

through the mud and water in Marengo Cave in Indiana. In addition, she also did a high ropes adventure course, zip lining, water skiing and more.  Aaron says Beast would be a piece of cake. (We will let the Cadre know!)  He’s currently at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia where he got to see President Trump.  Kathy took an early retirement from Delta to be with her kiddos.  So now she substitute teaches (good way to keep an eye on the boys) and helps coach high school girls tennis.  If that weren’t enough, she is the local Daedalians flight captain and a member of the board of trustees in San Antonio.  But her favorite job is being a mom and wife.   Of course, as we all can relate to, she is looking forward to her oldest, Austin, finally being old enough to learn how to drive so he can take over shuttle duties.  

Forget Emirates; fly Abbott Air. Looking for more news of our far-flung classmates? You can find it every day on the USAFA 1983 Facebook group, where Mitch De La Rosa, Cecil Grant, Bob Schantz, Andrea McIntosh Culpepper, Chuck Murillo, Cheryl Newhouse Phillips, John Davis, Cindy Norman, James Cerny and many others are sitting in front of their computers in their scratchy, yellow woolen robes, digitally discussing everything from S.E.R.E. to Mitch’s Mountains. All right, then, we’ll wrap it up here. Send the juiciest news you’ve heard for the next ’83 Checkpoints column to Wade Wheeler at wwade83@ or, for nostalgia’s sake, mail him a letter at W64 Hickory Trail, Southern Shores, NC 27949. –Stu Pope, 520 Ramona Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024;


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their nonrated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Thanks for the updates... let’s get right to them! All is well in Tucson with the Henness family. Joel is working for a DoD contract management agency as an engineer. He runs into Ted “Slap” Maxwell from time to time and rumor is Bruce Ellwein is in town as well.  Carol (Miller) Caughey transferred to DallasFort Worth for American Airlines where she is having a blast flying the 787 international as a first officer. Sad news: her terrific husband passed away a few years ago. She is doing well and continues to enjoy a great life. Kathy (Gotch) Staiger enjoys trying to keep up with her two teenage boys.  She sent a photo of herself and her youngest son, Aaron, who is 13.  He wants to go to USAFA and become an AF fighter pilot.  Looks like she is back in Beast -- crawling

Looks like Kathy and her son, Aaron, are ready for their own reality show! Chris Bowman is still working for the Naval War College as a professor, but he and Anne (Foley) Bowman have moved to Waco, TX, to be closer to family. Ed Heierman (Class of ’84 married to Anne’s sister Sheila) had their oldest son Alec Heierman graduate from the University of Texas this past June. Ed Rutherford is flying with Atlas Air and moved to Yelm, WA. Monica (Schweitz) and Tim Smith have a new addiMembers tion; they bought a horse! 42% Andy Klein checked in from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  Jessica, his oldest, is pregnant with his first grand baby, a girl, and was due August 19.  Andy is back flying the 737 Sabre Society international out of Dallas-Fort Donors Worth and trying to keep trips 25 flying south of the metroplex, but the schedules don’t seem to be cooperating. He and wife, Liz, are heading to Cabo San Lucas at the beginning of October for two weeks of much needed beach time. His Doolie roommate, Fred Tate, and his wife, Katherine, will join them for the second week.  Of course there will some deep sea fishing in their future. Maria (Duran) Flores is no longer working for

H&R Block doing tax preparation. She is now the AFA Cadet Chapel Tithes and Offerings Fund (CTOF) account manager. She does still work for Rocky Mt Chocolate Factory (YUM!) but only on Saturdays. Her husband, Hector, is still teaching but looking to change positions if he is fortunate to find a new role in the education industry. They are still sponsoring cadets and have six juniors and one sophomore remaining. Their two daughters are doing well. One lives in Sacramento, CA, with their three grandkids and her husband, and their other daughter and her husband live in the Wilmington, NC area. Merrick Krause moved from DoD to the VA last winter working with a lot of really great Americans dedicated to serving vets in the D.C. area. He is offering to help us if we have questions about the VA -- he will try to point you in the right direction.  He attached a recent pic of his family in a London lift. All of the group looks great. He keeps in close touch with Chris and Anne (Foley) Bowman.

The Krause family with a quick “selfie” in London. David and Donna Fitzgerald’s daughter, Lt. JG Kaitlyn Fitzgerald (USNA ‘15) wed Lt. JG Richard Morales (USNA ‘15) July 1, 2017 in a beautiful 4th of July-themed wedding featuring Eagle fly-bys, fireworks, USAFA classmate Paul Suarez, his beautiful wife, Anne, and, of course, Left Hand Brewing on tap in the beer truck. Alan Bridges and his wife, Maureen, are enjoying their Colorado Springs home. Since they moved in, they remodeled the downstairs and master bathroom, and changed carpet, stuccoed the exterior and updated the garage-side walkway from old cross-ties to concrete and block steps. I was fortunate to have a nice lunch with him at Sheldon’s on Nevada, just north of the old dog track, and he looks fantastic. He is still in fantastic hiking shape and is a captain at SkyWest, smartly based out of Colorado Springs. Eric Furches son Cory (2013) just graduated from F-15E WSO training at Seymour-Johnson AFB and will be staying there in the 335th FS. He shaved off the “combat” mustache right after receiving his certificate. Eric had a moment to catch-up with “Ernie” Eannarino, who was one of Cory’s sim instructors. (See photo at the top of the next column.)

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 131


Eric Furches and his son, Cory, at SeymourJohnson. Tim Shields with his wife, Jolene, stopped at Klamath Falls, OR, on their three-week national park tour to have dinner with Wayne and Jenny Adkisson. Wang has a civilian job with the Oregon ANG. And Tim is still at United Airlines (25 years, sheesh!) To see more photos, check them out at www. If you haven’t already done so, get out here for the Army weekend, Nov. 2-5. Hopefully we will be working on obtaining our 21st Commander in Chief's Trophy. All the info is on our class Facebook page or our website. –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


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings ’85ers!! They say life goes by in an instant. I guess that must be true to some extent because this summer marked the 36-year point since we first set foot on Academy grounds to start Beast '81. Captains were a rank to fear, and the “Old Timer” grads were only in their 22nd year of active duty. Can you believe it? Fast forward to 2017. Then-upperclassman Heather Wilson is the Secretary of the Air Force, our class has more than 15 general officers, and many of our classmates are in charge of running the Air Force. Perhaps most exciting of all, our classmate Lt. Gen. Jay “Tonto” Silveria is slated to assume command from Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, on Aug. 11, 2017, as the 20th superintendent of USAFA. What an incredible achievement! Congratula132 ·

tions, General! Jay has indicated he considers the promotion a class accomplishment, and has invited all of us to the ceremony and subsequent party at his house -- the superintendent’s house! Would it be a breach of protocol to throw cheese at the ceremony? While the majority of our class is no longer on active duty, that does not mean they have stopped living up to the core values that were instilled in us. I received an e-mail from Marilyn (Garcia) Kott to share with you. Marilyn and her husband, Jim, are now Maryknoll missionaries living full-time in Brazil, and have been since January 2016. Maryknoll is a Catholic missionary organization. (Unfortunately, the majority of pictures Marilyn provided of them doing God’s work weren’t’ able to be included in this article due to clarity Members and resolution requirements. I 45% encourage you to follow her on both her FB page and by visiting marilynmaryknoll.wordpress. com.) “Most of our work is in prison ministry,” says Marilyn. On Saturdays, Marilyn and Jim visit foreign women incarcerSabre Society ated in Brazil, generally due to Donors drug trafficking. On Sundays, 15 they share the Liturgy with Brazilian men in a penitentiary called Pinheiros. During the week, they give classes in English and restorative justice at the same men’s penitentiary. “You might think this kind of work would be depressing,” says Marilyn, “but we usually find ourselves elevated. We’re able to give the prisoners and guards a short break from each other a few days a week. We’re able to turn the prisoners’ attention away from their daily routine toward the outside and the future. Our goal is to lift them up a little, and encourage them to do the same for each other.” It’s not all work! Marilyn reports they’ve been able to see a few of Brazil’s major sites, including beaches and the rain forest, and of course, Rio de Janeiro, up close and personal. They expect to be in Sao Paulo until mid-2019. Marilyn passed along her contact information -- mkott@mklm. org -- for anyone who might find themselves in Sao

Marilyn (Garcia) Kott ministering to Brazilian prisoners.

Paolo before then. Additionally, Marilyn expects to be in the Washington, D.C. area in mid-September to do some Maryknoll outreach. She hopes to watch the Falcon’s game and celebrate the USAFs 70th birthday with other like-minded Zoomies during the weekend of Sept. 16-18. Any takers? ... Wanda Wright informed me that she just graduated the last kid in her house. Her daughter, Jordyn Clark, will be heading to the University of Arizona in the fall. Wanda reports that civilian college is difficult to understand after having experienced the Academy. “Buying comforters and XL twin sheets is something we did not have to worry about.” She will be an empty nester starting in August, and is thankful she is only a couple of hours away. Wanda is still working with veterans as the director for the Arizona Department of Veterans Services. She loves her job and hopes to be doing it for a while.

Wanda Wright and daughter Jordyn. Jim Hayden is proud of his two legacy sons. During yet another renovation of Vandenberg Hall, the CS-16 Proud Chickenhawks graduate plaques were lost. Jim’s sons, Josh ‘16 and Micah ‘18, along with other legacy classmates of theirs, recreated the wall with plaques engraved with names and class crests for every graduating class since '59. Mike Challman shared some sad news back on July 1. His former roommate, and our classmate, Edward Trujillo, passed away at age 53, in Altus, OK. His funeral was held on July 3, 2017, in Oklahoma. Please visit www.kincannonfuneralhome for his official obituary and for condolence information. Here’s a toast... Matt Lynde recently posted that the parachute team was in Great Falls, MT, for the airshow. Matt is the vice chair of the Military Affairs Committee. He welcomed the team by throwing out a "Fast Neat Average." After telling them he was an ’85er, one member reminded him how old we, as a class, are getting, by remarking, “Oh, my parents graduated in ‘87.” Michael Black sent me a senior year picture of him and his son, Clinton, taken 32 years apart. Can you tell them apart? They even have the same swagger. Clinton is heading off to UPT (or is it SUPT now?) at Columbus AFB, MS. He was a systems engineering major and a member of parachute team with more than 550 jumps.

Mike Black and son Clinton '16 Thanks to you “newbies” for your contributions to this edition. Your inputs make a big difference. Right now, Class of '85 AOG membership and Class of '85 FB page membership are both at around 350 members each. No data on the overlap, but I suspect by the time each edition of Checkpoints reaches print, its content is already “old news” to the majority of readers. Remember back in our tenure at the Academy when Checkpoints was 24 pages long, and created in the one-room AOG office in Sijan Hall? Nowadays, it is hard to remember a time when FB was not the dominant medium for sharing class news. How times have changed. For those of you who aren’t already getting your class news as close to fresh as possible, please join our class FB page at USAFA - Class of 1985. Have a great fall season, and keep those inputs coming!! '85....Best Alive! ScottMarilyn (Garcia) Kott ministering to Brazilian prisoners.

Putney relates, with a sense of nostalgia and a need for therapy, his continuing inability to hear the ratchety, syncopated rhythm of a lawn sprinkler without reliving the horror of BCT. Apparently, in some parts of the dorms during basic, the sprinklers would come on about five minutes before the cadre would come beating down our doors -- so in a Pavlovian fit of angst, anytime he hears one, he is driven to jump out of bed, don his PT gear, and get back into bed. His wife, Members after all these many years, has 49% yet to break him of the habit, but his children delight in running out at 0555 on weekends and turning on the sprinklers to this day. You can either go to the gofundme site for John’s therapy dog or an automated Sabre Society Donors sprinkler system.... Keeping with our water 13 theme, Yolandea Wood is on a kayak tour of the Mississippi River. I hope she is going north to south. (I would go east – west and call it good!) Actually, she started out in Jacobson, MI, and is heading for the sea. You can (could) see her progress on Facebook as there is a tracking device on her kayak so that friends and family can keep track of her. At last update she and her shipmates were in St. Louis. Fair winds and following seas classmate! Donald Raines shared a photo from 100th Night.

when the action was opened such item came spinning out to hit the Terrazzo. --Forgot to toss empty whisky bottles out and had to hide them behind CD collection on bookshelf. AOC was a music aficionado and was looking through the titles when he knocked them all over onto the floor. Had he looked he would have seen the empty bottle (a souvenir?) but was embarrassed about knocking them all over and never saw the bottle. --Received cake soaked with rum day before SAMI, hid cake in overhead, but smell was wafting into hallway. AOC and SQ/CC came into room to investigate -- found cake -- and closed door for rest of inspection. --AOC discovered pet ferret in laundry bin when ferret started whistling -- after digging down through all the dirty clothing was bit by startled ferret resulting in a 20-20-2 hit. I put out a hit list for ’85, but found that many of those wounds have healed. Check out this photo of Kevin Palko with his daughter Adele graduating from Ramstein High School this past June. In the photo also is our very own nose tackle, 3-star Dick “Bandstand” Clark who provided the commencement address.

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


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings Classmates! Well it has come to this; I am reduced to scraping through your Facebook missives to provide updates to the masses on all of our comings and goings. It would seem that we do keep in touch quite a bit through Facebook and I would encourage anyone who is reading this (is there anyone reading this?) to join the Facebook group USAFA Class of 1986. You can join, your spouse can join, but nobody from ’85 can join. (We’ve had a few try with the explanation: “I had a lot of friends in ’86.” Yeah right.) So – a few updates from the Internet: Jonathan

Pink Panthers on 100th Night. It isn’t all the Pink Panthers, but the ones that could still walk to the SAR (or were still inspecting room damage… damn freshmen, I’m pretty sure they put my head into a toilet that night… continuing with the water theme…) Memory lane: Who remembers the following and better yet -- who has the recipe? Cherry chocolate chiffon squares, mung, banana pudding, custard pies, and princess slices?  An informal poll revealed these as class favorites (and Mitchell Mountains, duh) but also revealed some interesting events that occurred in the many inspections we endured.   All of the following, with one exception, are “true” as told to the scribe: --Keeping with the water theme, busted during a SAMI for forgetting to turn off the pump to their contraband fish tank hidden behind their bookshelf. --Hiding foreign objects (empty shells, Chap Stick) in a falcon buddy’s rifle prior to an IRI so that

Lt. Gen. Dick Clark, Adele and Kevin Palko. Our last “water-themed” input has classmates in Hawaii enjoying the sun and surf in Waikiki – Gen. TJ “Shags” O’Shaughnessy, PACAFCC with Jan Tavrytzky. It would appear that it is good to be the king, or in this case “the Shags” (or the Tav...).

“Surf’s Up!” That’s it for this update – keep those cards, letters, and Facebook updates coming. (Ferret in the laundry bin, really? Come on....) –Bob Colella, 9247 Northedge Drive, Springfield, VA 22153; (571) 422-0367; Robert.Colella.86@ Checkpoints · September 2017 · 133

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


Hello again ’87. Hope your summer went well! Little light on the inputs this month; that’s okay, with the reunion in October we will have many stories and adventures to share to fill several issues I’m sure. We did receive an input from Robert Levinson who said that he: “Got together on Saturday with Bill Yurek and his wife, Anne, and Brou Gautier. Brou is a contractor in the D.C. area and Bill works for the government on cyber security.” Short and sweet, but an input nonetheless!


TBA Vandy/Sijan open house – must wear name badge, Cadet Area. 1100-1300 Doolittle Hall luncheon, Doolittle Hall. 1130-1230 lunch in Mitch’s (20 slots) – must wear name badge, Mitchell Hall. 1330-1500 USAFA leadership briefings – business casual, Arnold Hall Theater. 1545-1600 class photo, chapel steps. 1630-1715 Memorial Ceremony, Cadet Chapel. 1900-2300 Tuscan tour banquet, no-host bar, Marriott Ballroom. Saturday 14 Oct: 0900-1100 women’s gathering, Lynda Baldauff’s home. TBD tailgate Falcon Stadium, big top tent. TBD football, beat UNLV!, Falcon Stadium. TBD squadron parties, as arranged by squadron reps. TBD late night rejoin, Marriott. Chock full of events and hopefully a big Falcon blowout all around. Hope to see you there! That’s about it for this quarter, fly safe ’87! –John and Carolyn Sammartino, 3107 Woods Cove Lane, Woodbridge, VA 22192; Home (703) 492-5492; Cell: (703) 220-1372; jsammar99@


Speaking of cyber security, saw recently that Maj. Gen. BJ Shwedo, head of AF cyber, recently pinned on his third star, as did Scott Howell -- way to go fellas! We’ll catch up with the others at the reunion. Speaking of the reunion, here is the reunion link with all the info, if you haven’t checked it out already, and below is the tentative schedule. Wednesday, 11 Oct: 15001900 early reunion check-in, Marriott. Thursday, 12 Oct: 0800-1300 golf tournament – shotgun on Blue, Eisenhower Golf Club, Members USAFA. 49% 1030-1300: prep school mini reunion – business casual -- Prep School Husky Theatre – Bldg. 5136. 1300-1900: reunion checkin, Marriott. 1900-2200: Octoberfest reSabre Society Donors ception – no-host bar, Marriott 20 under the big pavilion tent. Friday, 13 Oct: 0800-1600, late reunion check-in, AOG Doolittle Hall second floor. TBA open house – must wear name badge, Cadet Area. TBA CCLD open house – must wear name badge, Cadet Area. 134 ·

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings ’89ers. It is with a sad heart I pass on the loss of one of our own, Brendan Lewis. Brendan was a graduate from CS-02 and passed away in his sleep on 25 May. Condolences may be sent to his family in care of his brothers: Lt Col Brian Lewis; 2920 2nd Ave N; Seattle, WA 98109, and Mr. Dan Lewis; 5613 Harvest Rd; Rocklin, CA 95765. Brendan retired from the Air Members Force in 2014 as a colonel after 52% tours at Williams AFB, AZ as a T-38 instructor pilot; C-12 pilot in Osan AB, Korea (55th ALF); C-141 pilot at McChord AFB, WA (4th then 62nd AS); double masters in astronautical and electrical engineering from the Sabre Society Donors Navy Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA; National Recon15 naissance Office, Chantilly, VA; group exec at Travis AFB, CA (349th OG and 312th AS); chief of logistics, Jerusalem Consulate; Kennedy School of Government Fellowship at Harvard University; legislative liaison, Pentagon; and finally, Office of the Secretary of Defense staff. After the Air Force, he worked for DoD Budget and Appropriations Affairs. Here’s a toast…. Two of our classmates tied the knot on July 5th at the USAFA Cadet Chapel… Bruce Beyerly and Stella Smith! Check out the photos at: https:// sets/72157683743175793/

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated Members career field 48% into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www.usafa. org or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep Sabre Society their profiles updated with Donors career and contact information 25 so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) (Editor's note: We did not receive an input from Tom for this issue. Please send him your information and photos for the next issue.) –Tom Sadlo, thomas.sadlo@gmail; (240) 427-8453

Congrats Bruce and Stella! In other class news, Mary O’Brien took command of 25th Air Force, Pete Gersten is now running the U. S. Air Force Warfare Center, and Jim Hecker is commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan.

That’s a wrap for this quarter. Keep those cards and letters coming. Take care and God bless!

Hoppin, Thomas (Jay) Lennon and Mathew Roush joining in the celebration.

–Paul W. Tibbets IV, 204 Spaatz Ave., Barksdale AFB, La. 71110; (318) 426-6532; Email p2a2@ or; Class Facebook Group: groups/43101356987 (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Hello Red Tags! Much to report on. Let’s get right to updates! The Long Blue Line continues. “Hi! Ron Baldinger here.  After 27 years I figured it was time to make an input to Checkpoints! Two weeks ago we dropped our son, Mike, off at USAFA to begin BCT and his journey through the Zoo.  We’ve seen a few glimpses of him on the web and received a couple letters… so far all sounds like it’s going well.  Also sounds like, while a few things have changed, most things have not.  Definitely an experience no one ever forgets!  I ran into Jon Krause dropping off his son while there and I’m sure there were others as well.”

Ron Baldinger and Mina at son Mike’s first day of Beast! Lynn George Davis added one more to the line: “My son graduated in May. USAFA Class of 2017. Legacy in CS-24. Headed to Tyndall for air battle manager training.” The retirements continue! After 27 years of service, Wes “Stroker” Hallman retired. The ceremony was officiated by General Mike Holmes, ACC commander, as Wes retired from his most recent position as the chief, Air Force House Liaison in Washington, DC, after a career flying F-15Cs and F-22s. Mike was accompanied by wife, Sly, and daughters Camilla, Alessandra and Isabella at the ceremony and a mini-reunion of sorts occurred with Ryan Cecil, Ian Bryan, Kevin Kennedy, Kevin

Wes Hallman retirement in flight suits -- fights on! Ryan Cecil, Ian Bryan, Wes, Kevin Kennedy, Kevin Hoppin and Thomas (Jay) Lennon. Mike Wahler sent this update. “Brig. Gen. Darren James is now the 18 AF/CV. Brig. Gen. Boyd Parker is the mobilization assistant to the commander, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. Colonel Kyle Voigt is getting ready to retire. I believe his ceremony is in early August. Sam Skaggs is still working in AMC/A5/A8. I am working in AMC/SE as Members the deputy chief of the Safety Operations Flight. We func48% tion as the SE office for 18 AF, USAF/EC, 515 AMOW, and 521 AMOW.” Sam Skaggs replied, “None of my kids wanted to go to the Zoo, my cousin’s son in in Beast right now. Like Mike said, I’m currently a GS at Scott, Sabre Society Donors but that’s about to change. My 9 wife, Kari (SMSgt, Ret.), and I are about to close on our house and hit the road. We bought a fifth wheel and new truck, and will travel the U.S. and Canada nine months out of the year and live in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, during the winter. Retirement doesn’t suck!” You must see the pictures on our Facebook page—Sam is having a blast! Finally, I spoke with Chris Whitmire who recently completed his second and final term as a Republican serving in the North Carolina House of Representatives for House District 113. Chris was a champion of active and veteran military service members, among other causes, and was recognized with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Caro-

Outgoing Representative Chris Whitmire is recognized by Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Tim Moore.

lina’s highest honor, by North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore. Chris and wife, Shannon, and their three high/middle school kids will enjoy some more time together while Chris continues to fly as an airline pilot and serve as a colonel in the USAFR as an AFNORTH emergency preparedness liaison officer facilitating military support of emergency response efforts. Congratulations Chris! That’s it for this quarter. I am awed and impressed by all that our classmates have accomplished and continue to accomplish, and I do sincerely appreciate you letting me share your stories with our alumni! Mighty ’90—Flash. –Mike Shepherd, 3801 Derby Circle, Quartz Hill, CA 93536;


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Bold Gold, I just returned from a third exciting year of teaching leadership in a disMembers tinctly USAFA style out in the 53% middle of the Gobi desert (40 06 48 N 95 47 24 E) to 40 very special young adult Chinese. What an amazing experience this continues to be; if any of you speak Chinese and would like to explore partnering with Sabre Society me in this effort, I am now Donors looking at future growth of the 10 effort and look to you all first as those I’d trust to accompany me in excellence.

Commander Tai (Carson Tavenner) waits for the troops to Passssss… Innnnn… Reviewwwwwww! Don Myers (USAFA '80) shared some Bold Gold-related news: His classmate, Ken Radosevich, has a son who just graduated. Angie Supplisson is the son’s sponsor and made Mitch’s Mountains for the graduation party she hosted. Go Angie! The Checkpoints · September 2017 · 135

CLASS NEWS pictures I saw showed they were constructed to picture-perfect specification! And, I dare say, probably MUCH less funding was required than what we were charged at the reunion; am I right?!

Mitch’s Mountains are a Supplisson favorite – let’s all DIG IN! Jason Healey has been a visiting scholar for the summer at Stanford University to continue research on the dynamics of cyber conflict for the DoD, as part of his work as a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. We hope you got through a great amount of exciting research, Jason! CS-26 bros Jim Sheridan and Daryl Sassaman linked up at Old Hickory Golf Course in Woodbridge, VA, where Daryl lives. Jim is a first officer flying for United living in Fredericksburg, VA, and Daryl is a contractor with Headquarters AF Operations working on Air Advisor Policy.

Jim, at left, and Daryl linking up on the links! See you in the fall! –Carson Tavenner, 7912 Carlisle Place, Arlington, WA 98223; (301) 367-8969; Tavenner@hotmail. com (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Awesome! I hope that’s the right word to sum up the reunion since this column will probably 136 ·

come out just after the reunion, but you’ll have to wait for the next column to get any details of the reunion itself. Hopefully, you’re not depending on the next column as a proxy for attending the reunion, but rather you had the chance to attend in person and reconnect and reminisce with many classmates. Members Virtual mail bag. I got an 49% email from David Sutton who was recently hobnobbing with POTUS and the Australian Prime Minister, Turnbull, at the American-Australian Association gala in New York commemorating the 75th anSabre Society Donors niversary of the Battle of the 15 Coral Sea. But those weren’t the ones that impressed David; he was pretty much in awe of the surviving vets who attended. Among the “VIPs” David ran into was Chris McDavid, who is the VP and general counsel for Pratt & Whitney’s military engine division. David had the opportunity to attend this event representing Lockheed Martin from D.C. as the director for International Affairs for Asia. Thanks for the note, David!

David and Chris Ken Callahan got his last issue of Checkpoints and finally decided it was time to send in an update. He’s just finished a three-year tour at Purdue University where he was awarded his PhD in history and is now at Air War College as permanent faculty. He was excited to be back on a USAF base, but I think he was not as enthusiastic about the summer heat in Alabama. Passing the torch. Al Bloir shared news on a few classmates that was long overdue. Al mentioned that Tim Townsend and Mike Maguire are both flying commercially with Mike at FedEx. In June, Al attended the UPT graduation of his sonin-law, Jeff Hill, (USAFA ’15) from Laughlin SUPT class 17-11. Jeff and Al’s oldest daughter, Andrea, are heading to McChord where he’ll fly the C-17. Al tried to rekindle some youth hanging out at the bar and telling his UPT war stories. Actually, he quite

enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time with the newest generation of USAF pilots. Al retired in February 2012 and started working at First Command. He was recently promoted to district advisor and he and the family moved to Biloxi, MS to take the position. Coincidentally, Mike (C-Dot) Smith is the wing commander of the 81st Training Wing at Keesler AFB. Al claims that he and Mike find themselves together at the informal bar only occasionally… Al and Tina have been married for 25 years and they have two other children, Lauren (20), a senior at Mississippi State in AFROTC, and Ryan (17), who is a high school senior. Suzy Streeter is a frequent contributor and wrote to tell me she attended Frank Flores’ retirement at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska. Frank and his wife, Jorgi, are heading back to Guam with their three boys for post-retirement where he’s hoping to be a JROTC instructor at a local high school. Jorgi will be teaching for a year and eventually taking over the family business in real estate/insurance.

Suzy and Frank Suzy is completing group command at JBER and is headed back to Colorado Springs to be a deputy at AFSPC A2/A3/A6. She mentioned that her house-hunting trip to the Springs included 27 May and she reported that it was rainy and stormy that day too, exactly 25 years later. Not trying to brag, but the dwindling ’92 crowd here in Hawaii all went out to dinner on 27 May with our wives and the weather here was the usual Hawaii weather— perfect! That dinner included Mike and Christina Cardoza, James and Kimberly Shigekane, Art and Leslie Primas, and Michelle and I. We had a great dinner in Waikiki, but you’ll just have to take my word for it because there’s no room for the photo in the column…. Shortly thereafter, Mike Cardoza retired in a great ceremony in the Courtyard of Heroes at the HQ PACAF building and then headed back to STRATCOM and Omaha to find a job. Lisa (Horton) Stevenson has been a pretty frequent contributor and shared a photo of the intel career field’s developmental team (DT) who met this summer. The DT consisted of ’92 Intel Officers Tom (Dobber) Dobbs, Shane (Toupe) Hamilton, and Lisa and her husband, Michael (MiG) Stevenson. Also in the picture is Ginger Wallace (’90) who is the outbound career field manager. As Lisa said, “We still gently give her a hard time about terrifying us 29 years ago in 2nd BCT…”

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


From left are Ginger Wallace ('90), Michael (MiG) and Lisa Stevenson, Tom (Dobber) Dobbs, Suzy Streeter and Shane (Toupe) Hamilton. Here’s a Toast... Unfortunately, I got an obituary notice for Terry Duncan who passed away in June. He leaves behind his wife and classmate, Mary Jo (Drozdowski) Duncan, and their four children, Katy, Grace, Michael and Duncan. You can search for Terry’s obituary and post a note to Mary Jo and the family on the funeral home’s website (www. Please keep Mary Jo and their family in your thoughts and prayers. General assignments. Not just general assignments, but actually assignments for generals. I saw a few official announcements for some of the USAF’s newest brigadier generals that I’ve mentioned previously. Chuck (Corky) Corcoran is headed to be the deputy chief of staff, Operations, Headquarters Allied Air Command, Allied Command Operations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Ramstein AB, Germany; Derek France is taking command of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Combat Command, Southwest Asia; and Al Miller is now the director, U. S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center, U. S. Central Command, Southwest Asia. Art Primas just returned to USAFA as the new director of Admissions. This leaves just James Shigekane, John Wilson, Tom Dobbs and me in the local area. For Art, this brings his career full circle and he’ll finish in the Springs where he started so many years before as a preppie. Hey, this may bode well for all of you who have an offspring that is looking at applying to the Academy… 101. I just realized that this is the 101st column since our graduation! Too bad I missed announcing the 100th column last time as that would have been the perfect opening sentence for the column. Well, 101 sounds pretty cool, too. So what sounds longer, 25 years or 101 Checkpoints columns? What do you think? Actually, it’s the same. Until next time. True Blue ’92, James. –James S. Mehta, 117 Julian Ave., Honolulu, HI 96818; (571) 830-7095; jamesmehta@earthlink. net;

Greetings to the best class ever! Fall time means Falcon Football… hopefully we can make it two in a row for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy! We also are about one year away from our 25th reunion as well. A few of you have reached out to me regarding assisting during the reunion (dates TBD) and for that we are grateful. We are in the early planning stages right now, and if you would like to help out please let me know. I’ll add your name to the list of folks who have already volunteered. With our 25th reunion comes our class gift to USAFA. Members As mentioned previously, 88% through discussion at the 20year reunion and email blasts/ surveys, the 1993 gift committee is working with the Association of Graduates to bring more than just a plaque in our honor to the Blue Line that follows. Sabre Society Our goal is to assist in mentorDonors ing, guiding and focusing cadet 14 leadership efforts based on our experiences through the USAFA National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) where outstanding Air Force airmen will meet in roundtable discussions that will strategically connect cadets and USAFA to the exceptional airmen across many career fields in the Air Force. Please visit Give/93ncls to learn more about our class gift or to sign up for a one-time or recurring contribution. I am very thankful for what USAFA has enabled me to do throughout my career and this is a great way for me to give back to our future… Class of 1993, I challenge you to do the same. I recently heard from Shelley Strong, who has moved with her husband, Todd, down to Tampa, FL. He is doing a tour in SOCOM while Shelley is starting her MBA at the University of Tampa. With her vast knowledge of the contract world in the Air Force she has started a business on her own chasing government contracts in the personnel world. She is aptly equipped for this and no doubt the MBA will help her excel even more. Shelley worked with Maren (Hagedorn) Calvert at Andrews while she was a contract officer prior to her retirement and she also saw Tiffany (Handel) Dawson in the halls at Andrews as well. My sponsor brother, Ryan Nichols, also checks in between jobs. He and his wife, Stacey, are doing great. He is an O-6 representing our class very well

in the diplomatic community. Ryan stepped out of the aircraft and into the Pentagon and now is in the world of statecraft. His first assignment as an attaché was at the embassy in Baghdad for the last year… no doubt having a key play in all the goingson over the last year. He is currently enrolled in training to the senior defense official / defense attaché (SDO/DATT) in Kosovo next year. He is currently learning Albanian, but vows it has been easier to learn than Arabic. Another air attaché has checked in; Matt Yocum, who recently left his post in Amman, Jordan, and previously in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is very happy to be returning to the United States where he will be working at CENTCOM Headquarters at MacDill AFB. Here, Matt will be working for General Votel as his Commander’s Action Group (CAG) director. Matt has worked hard and been very persistent showing his dedication to the Air Force and was duly rewarded on his two-above-the-zone promotion to lieutenant colonel two years ago and just found out that he was picked up one above the zone to O-6. In a ceremony while overseas, Matt was pinned on colonel in time to relinquish his duties in Jordan. Here is a picture of Matt and his family at his 31 May 17 pin-on ceremony.

Matt Yocum and his family at his pin-on ceremony. I wish you the very best this fall and can’t wait until our reunion. I’ll have a great update for the next Checkpoints article, as well as a good plan of action for our reunion. Don’t be surprised if you receive a litany of emails from the reunion planning committee on the 2018 25th annual reunion schedule. We welcome your comments and suggestions as we build the reunion program. Until then…you are the best. Mike –Michael D. Sundsted, 1805 Macadams Place, Alexandria, VA 22308; (703) 307-0903; mdsunsted@

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 137

CLASS NEWS (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) What a great summer. I’ve heard from and seen a lot of '94 grads recently and our FB page has been really active. It has been 94 degrees outside in just about every state in the country, based on the cell phone and car dash weather pics posted on there. 94 is an awesome temp, but I’m ready for some cooler weather and we’re about to roll into the best time of year -- football season, which includes an AFA trip to the Big House in Michigan and a stacked Patriots team trying Members to repeat as champs. The Red 80% Sox are also currently in first place, so it could be a wicked fun October. Let me know what you’re up to this fall. Now the news. Speaking of our very active FB page, Joe Huscroft posted a Sabre Society Donors picture of an old COS Gazette Telegraph article that he had 13 saved. The headline read, “Doolie prank turns unruly at Academy -- Ceremony cancelled after spirit mission goes awry.” Such fond memories. It was funny to see that post, when I was also seeing a lot of those same Doolies taking command of groups and wings this summer. Trey Chastain messaged me as he was leaving his job at a deployed location as the 332 EMXG/ CC. He was over there with Charlie Bolton, who was the deployed wing commander, and Doug Edwards, who was the AEG/CC. Trey was on his way back to Ramstein to out-process, then head to another MXG/CC job at Moody. Brig. Gen. Case Cunningham took over the 18th Wing at Kadena this summer. My old roommate, Brian “Hack” Jackson, just took over the F-16-flying 20th Ops Group at Shaw. The wing commander presiding over that change of command was Dan Lasica. Oh, and the vice wing commander there is John “Boz” Bosone, who, like Hack, is a fellow Viking 9 alum. The ACC/CC must be completely unaware of our class reputation to give three Red Hots control of Shaw AFB. Or maybe he is aware of the events described in the Gazette Telegraph and like Gen. Barnicke in Stripes, when he saw Bill Murray’s platoon, he was thinking, “these are exactly the kind of go-getters I want on my EM-50 project!” Another place with '94 grads running the whole show is at Osan AB, Korea. My other old roommate, Cary “Pistol” Culbertson, is the 51 FW/CV


138 ·

there and he sent me a pic of him and four other grads in front of the ROKAF fighter pilot monument which pays tribute to all states that sent air capability to the Korean War. Pictured from left are Jon Rice (363 ISR Wing/CC), Cary “Pistol” Culbertson (51 FW/CV), Paul “Tabal” Kirmis (35 FW/CV), Francisco “Cisco” Gallei (607 AOC/CV), and James “JC” Mock (694 ISRG/CC). It is comforting to know that these unruly pranksters are over there keeping The Chonger up north in check. Pistol finished his message to me saying, “The air quality may not be great here, but the peninsula is safe... just don’t watch the news!”

South Korea’s Red Hot defenders. Tony “Fargo” Retka is another ’94 grad taking command. He’s going to run the F-16-flying Ops Group at Spangahlem in Germany. Colleen and I were fortunate to have the Fargo clan stay with us here in San Antonio as they traveled on their PCS from Colorado Springs to Germany, with a stop at Maxwell for some OG training. Fargo, wife Stephanie, their three kids, two dogs and the family truckster towing a U-Haul stopped by for a night. The Retkas are doing great. Their oldest daughter goes to Northern Colorado and their two younger kids are in for the full-up European vacation experience over at Spang. Keep an eye on your dad at those Oktoberfests! I got an update from Shawn “Gunt” Gunter, which started out with him saying he had another “every eight years” update for me. Sure enough, he tacked it on to an email chain from 2009 when he sent me his last update. Shawn just retired in May from his assignment in USAFE-AFAFRICA/A3O over at Ramstein. Col. John “Twitch” LeClair presided over his aloha-themed retirement ceremony (see pic). Shawn said he, wife, Cindy, and their two kids have moved to Niceville, FL and that he had just been hired by American Airlines. Congrats Shawn!

Shawn Gunter’s retirement.

We have a published author among us now. Mike Haspil sent me a message about his debut novel, Graveyard Shift, which is about two immortals fighting supernatural forces in modern day Miami. He sent me a picture of the book cover, which included a review (bottom right of pic) by Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown, “Gritty urban fantasy and hard-boiled noir packed into a hand grenade of awesome!” The book was released on 18 July at booksellers everywhere and on audio. Check it out. Congrats Mike!

A hand grenade of awesome! A couple other updates I got included a pic from Jeff “JD” Dalrymple with Dave Meggett. JD ran into Dave while on a trip through Ft. Worth. I also got a pic of Todd Hudgins and Dave Gauch, who were hanging out in Memphis. Todd and his family just moved there to his new FedEx base. That sums up what I have this time about the unruly Red Hots. By the way, as stated above, that makes two of my old roommates (Hack and Pistol) whot went on to big leadership positions, which must mean I was a good example... of what not to do. So, my other roommates, Dan “Slim” Veal and JD Dalrymple must be about to wow us with their next venture. I think Slim is crushing it in the Guard and JD is gunning to be the United chief pilot at Chicago O’Hare. Well, if it has been eight years since your last update, or if you’ve never sent an update, shoot me an email. Have a great fall and enjoy football -- Kegger. –Craig Allen, (660) 864-5374; kegsdoolittle@ (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hello everyone! Greetings from the sunny and humid state of Florida. Please feel free to send me your updates for the Class of 1995 via the class email address: I look forward to hearing from you!


There have been several changes of command these past few months – plus a lot of retirements as well! Congrats to all of you who have taken command and had new changes in life! I’ll try to mention a few that I have seen here and that I have been notified of by email (in addition to below -my apologies if I have missed anyone -- please do let me know): Lisa Nemeth 6 OG/CC, MacDill AFB/Tampa, FL; Mike Edwards/retired; Larry Nance 436 OG/CC, Dover AFB, DE; Members Jennifer Grant 50th Space Wing/ 77% Schriever AFB, CO; and Adam Meyers 482 OSS/CC, Homestead ARB, FL. Congrats to all! Cathy and Bill Barrington wrote from Minot AFB where they recently took command. Bill is about one month into Sabre Society Donors command of the 91st Maintenance Group at Minot AFB. 7 Cathy (’97) is the 91 OG/CC and Colin Connor (’95) is the 91st wing commander. The 5th Bomb Wing commander is Matt Brooks (’96), and the incoming vice is Sloan Hollis (’97). I foresee a Checkpoints photo for next time! While Bill was at Maxwell for training, he ran into Tony Babcock, Chad Davis and Ray Millero, as well as Gavin Marks, Mel Cunningham, Pete Gryzen and Hall Sebren. My apologies but I wasn’t able to download the photo from the email that Bill sent me. I’ll ask him to resend it and I’ll post it to Facebook to the USAFA Class of 95 site for everyone to see (if you are on Facebook and aren’t already a member, please request access to that site and the USAFA Class of 1995 20-year reunion site as well!). Tom Ulmer sent this quick update: “We just settled in our brand new home in Monument, CO, and I’m flying with United Airlines (retired from the AF after exactly 22 years on 31 May)” Congrats Tom and best of luck with the new career!

tunate enough to meet and get a pic with Scarlett Johansson just before a cut of all MWR activities following the 2016 attacks. He reunited with his lovely bride, Jenn (Kornacker) Riedel, back at Edwards AFB. Jenn continues to work at a small animal clinic in Santa Clarita.

Trevor Benitone sent in an update: “Col. George Hock just took command of new Special Ops Group at Duke Field. George and I recently returned to USAFA to commission my nephew Oliver Harrison, who is off to Columbus for UPT. I also added a fourth child on Christmas night -- at 44 years old, having a toddler is a ball.” Congrats to the Benitone family and to George on the new command! Kris Vandenberg Goodman, Jenny Mayers Batista, Regina Reinhart Kornmesser met up for a quick 4th of July weekend in Breckenridge, CO. Chris Grosjean sent in an update and is now a civilian! He sent in a photo (unfortunately too small to print in the magazine) of Chris on the day of his fini flight with the Air Force in Wichita, KS. Pictured were his wife, Aleena, his wonderful children, and his mom, dad, and sister, on his memorable day. In February 2016, Chris was hired by FedEx as an MD11 pilot and in March 2017, Chris moved to Monument, CO, with his family. Effective May 2017, Chris retired from the Air Force. Congratulations Chris -- we wish you all the best! OK, that’s all for this edition of the class of gold’s Checkpoints update from here in rainy and humid Homestead, FL. Please don’t forget to send in your updates to the class email address: You can also send me a message via Facebook (listed under Becky Mason Fox). I would love to hear from you and know what you are all up to these days! KTP95 everyone! All the best to everyone and have a great summer. Becky Becky Fox, 646 SE 37th Ave., Homestead, FL 33033;;;; cell: (928) 302-8989 (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) I have no idea where the time goes – has it already been three months? Dale Riedel returned home safely after six months in Afghanistan as the 455 ABW/SJA (senior legal advisor). He was for-

Dale Riedel and Scarlett Johansson Matt Mennell and his wife, Kim, went to Vegas in June for a “workcation” and had dinner with Mike Drowley and his wife, Jamie. They had a great time catching up on life, kids, etc. and all the craziness that comes with balancing it all, etc. Shortly after this dinner (but not because of the dinner) Mike relinquished his command of the Air Force Weapons School and is spending a year Members at Al Udeid as the AFCENT 69% chief of staff. Matt is the UNC-Asheville men’s soccer coach and is excited about the upcoming season as they have made some really cool progress over the past two years and look to Sabre Society Donors be poised to really take off.  He says they still have lots of work 9 to do but is excited about it.  He also put in a good plug for Asheville. Of course he’s biased but compares it to a really good mix of Boulder, Portland and L.A. together with a healthy dose of southern hospitality added in.  Food, good music, amazing natural location, and of course, great people. Good luck this season!


Kevin Johnson wrote and provided this update: “This summer, my family and I moved from Ramstein to Dyess AFB, TX. I took command of the 7 MSG where the 7 BW/CC, Col. David Benson (’93), passed the flag from Col. Wistaria Joseph (’93) to me. I will be working alongside fellow ’95er, Col. Jim Hackbarth (317 OG/CC).” Thank you for providing the photo of your change of command, Kevin, and heartiest congrats to you and your family on the new job and location – best of luck!

Matt and Kim Mennell with Mike and Jamie Drowley Checkpoints · September 2017 · 139

CLASS NEWS Brian Solsbee was recently hired as the executive director/CEO of the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association. This association consists of 59 municipality-owned electric utilities in Tennessee who buy power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and lobbies the state legislature on their behalf. His extensive experience with public power in the valley at municipal utilities and TVA have provided him the knowledge and background necessary to lead TMEPA into the future. Brian has spent the last four years at TVA working in transmission line maintenance and most recently leading the demand response programs in EnergyRight® Solutions. Brian has been married to his lovely bride, Darla, for 20 years and they have two children. What free time he has he spends hiking, running, and watching the Vols! Another recently-named CEO from our class is Lisa (Cherry) Atherton. Lisa was named president and CEO of Textron Systems. She was previously the executive VP of Military Business at Bell Helicopter. Congrats to both of you on your successes—proud to say I completed my SERE trek with Brian and met Lisa on a basketball recruiting trip back in the day. My other trek partner, Allison (Trinklein) Sutter, is now flying the friendly skies for United and on a recent layover in San Juan met up with Ellen Englehart. Ellen and her kids were finishing up an amazing cruise and the two connected over FB.

Ellen Englehart and Allison Trinklein I continue to have fun with all the folks that roll through Texas at some point. Most recently that included Jenn Hammerstedt, when she participated on the 21X career field developmental team; Kerre (Ellis) Meffre and her kiddos, while she visited with her family in Jasper, TX; and an upcoming vacation with Chuck and I in the European Alps with pics to follow next time. We crossed paths with Johnny Vargas in Vegas and he hung out with us several times while he was at Kelly for his F-16 requal. Enjoy the D.C. Guard OG job! Longer-term San Antonio residents Fred and Melissa (Davidson) Cunningham… just arrived on the “Reunited in 2017” tour. A couple of TABs have recently left San Antonio… Joey Gower and his family are headed to New Jersey where he will join the Reserves and work full time in a private practice group. They are moving closer to family. Rob Eller is also transitioning to the Reserves and has relocated to Greenville, SC, where he joined the Greenville Voice Center. Good luck, gentlemen! 140 ·

I also had an opportunity to meet up with Hayley (Parker) Huggins and her family recently in College Station, TX. Unfortunately, I missed my call from Jack Fischer from the ISS… Hope you are doing well—until next time! Andi –Andi Vinyard,; andrea.


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings '97! As always, hope this update finds you well. As has been the custom lately, let’s start with a classmate retirement update. Samantha (Glinski) Weeks shot me a photo from Christine (Callahan) Mau’s retirement. The ’97 contingent at Christine’s retirement included Members Samantha, Todd Lafortune, 75% Shannon Cary and Jack Harman. Todd and Jack recently retired and live in the Destin area. Shannon is a traditional Reservist at Hurlburt flying MQ-9s and a GS civilian at Homestead Air Reserve Base Sabre Society Donors running the F-16 simulators. 12 She is married with four kids, living in the Florida Keys. Samantha is still in group command at Nellis. She and her husband are expecting their second child on Sept. 1 and plan to be at the 20-year class reunion with the little one in tow.

From left are Todd Lafortune, Shannon Cary, Christine Mau, Samantha Weeks and Jack Harman. On 6 May in Puyallup, WA, Tanji Johnson married the love of her life, Dr. Brandon Bridgeman. Classmates Carol (Palmer) Long, Yira Muse, Koreybeth Watkins and Ty Barbery attended. Tanji is now retired from competing as a fitness professional and now speaks at several military bases on “Becoming Champions in Life.” Check out this amazing photo of the new couple and the wedding party.

Introducing Brandon and Tanji Bridgeman! Eric Springer recently gave up command of the 343d Training Squadron at Lackland AFB. As he relinquished command, he handed the guidon to 37th Training Group commander and classmate Bridget (Hall) Gigliotti. Eric and his family are returning to Germany for a joint tour at U.S. Africa Command.

Bridget (Hall) Gigliotti and Eric Springer I received a number of photos this month of classmates but unfortunately couldn’t get them all in this article. Alex Pupich and Lee Guthrie looking clean in their Southwest Airlines uniforms didn’t make it. Brad Holtmeier shot me a photo of Mark Kilgore and Matt Horin hanging out in Destin, FL. Mark is the head of sales for technology firm PRGX and Matt is the chief of a Shell offshore drilling unit. I also got to catch up with Joe Alkire and Anne-Marie (Chaffee) Contreras in June at the retirement ceremony for Clif Hicks (‘93). Joe is on Air Staff working all aspects of personnel recovery and Anne-Marie recently finished Air War College and just joined the Joint Staff J7 in Suffolk, VA. That photo and one of Samantha (Glinski) Weeks and Chris Kay, who retired in July out of Nellis AFB, didn’t make it either. Here are a few last quick updates. Matt Anderson finished SDE at Marshall Center in Garmisch and is now the USAFE Commanders Action Group chief for General Wolters at Ramstein. Julio Negron and family are in the D.C. area -- Julio is with the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, VA. Michael Davis recently retired and now flies for Delta. Renee (Gernandt) Barnes and her family relocated from outside of Boston, MA, to Georgia this past July. Carlos Serna and his family live in Abilene, TX, where Carlos is a supervisor at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

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;


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) ’98… I just checked the inbox and… No updates. Nada, zero, zippo, zilch, nil (for you soccer fans). All work and no updates makes for a dull article. I know what you are feeling. Members It is like when Ralphy from a 69% Christmas Story got his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin. You grabbed your Checkpoints from the mailbox, went running to the bathroom, skipped all the other articles, flipped to this section, and found… nothSabre Society Donors ing. Just an empty space, and now sadness, disappointment. 9 OK, maybe I am being a little bit overly dramatic. In the previous 76 issues, there have been other blank updates. Have you been mentioned in one? If not, now is the time. Just email me at

Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hi Shiners! Let’s start back on those 18,000 acres. Sean Baerman sent me a quick update on those ’99ers training up the next generation, so here is a photo from the 557th (powered flight) change of command, where Travis Keenan took command on 28 April. He joins Jeremy Lushnat, the 94 FTS/CC (soaring), and Sean Baerman, the 98 FTS/CC (Wings of Blue) as the '99 triumvirate of cadet airmanship. Travis’s speech was the longest, most emotional, and most entertaining speech in the history of incoming CCs.  That night, it snowed 10 inches on the airfield, but we’ll try not to see that as a sign of hell freezing over.

The 557th change of command. From left are Jeremy Lushnat, Travis Keenan and Sean Baerman. I also heard from Sergio Anaya, currently at Scott Air Force Base with more proof that ’99 is taking over the Air Force one change of command at a time. Don Landgrebe relinquished command to fellow ’99er Chris Schlachter. Don is headed to SAF/IA. James Chapa is the director of Staff for the 375 AMW and will soon become the DO of the 458th AS (C-21 SQ). Sergio recently relinquished command of AMC’s Air Operations Squadron (AOS) and is headed to the D.C area to attend a fellowship at Georgetown University.

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

1999 Members


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. Sabre Society Donors or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. 12 It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you!

2000 Members


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Sabre Society Profile at or call Donors 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. 12 John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Classmates, Only one news update provided this time, so if you’re reading this, please take 30 seconds to shoot me a note of what you’re up to these days. Matt Russell's change of command had a nice showing of classmates. 

In attendance, from left, are Charissa Koran, Nate Koran, Matt Russell, John Elza and Matt Miller. Lt. Col. Matt Russell took command of the 559th Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB (Joint Base San Antonio). And yes Matt “Mackie” Miller is now in the Navy. Commander Miller is flying out of Miramar, San Diego via the HH-60Hs and trained for the special ops support mission.  Congrats to Matt Russell and all those who took command during the summer months. That is all for now. Please send the news updates! Cueball  –Jason Simmons, 1218B Tomahawk Drive, JB Elmendorf-Richardson, AK 99505;

The 906th ARS Change of Command. From left are Sergio Anaya, Don Landgrebe, Chris Schlachter and James Chapa. Until next time, cheers to Falcon first downs and spirit cheese! -Mary Stewart, Arlington, VA; marybeth 1999@;

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


Checkpoints · September 2017 · 141

CLASS NEWS Hello ’01ers, Michael Reilly ran in to his old roommate Teague Bodley while returning home from a TDY. Teague was the first officer of his American Airlines flight; he saw the familiar face while getting off the plane and grabbed the chance for a photo op!

Roommates reunited! Michael Reilly and Teague Bodley. Rob Marshall is on active Reserve orders teaching at the Center for Character Development at USAFA with Dave Huston. Rob will also be the OIC for the Cadet Mountaineering Club in order to help show the effectiveness of stress inoculation training in improving coping skills and proactive mental health. Carmen Andrews recently came back to USAFA with other members of the Catholic Choir in order to wish Dr. Gary DeKler farewell in his retirement. Every class Members year was represented except 69% two and they enjoyed a lovely picnic (in the rain) and sang at Mass. Derrick Vincent recently took over command of the 54th OSS at Holloman AFB. I got not one but two great updates from Ben Brown! A Sabre Society Donors mini-reunion of sorts took place at the Kentucky Derby 11 this year. Joel Stephens (’95), Bart Robinson (’01), Ben Brown (’01), Geoff Steeves (’01), Brandon Tellez (’01), TJ Sonne (’01) and Tim Rezac (’99) visited their personalized barrels of bourbon while they age at the Four Roses distillery prior to attending the first leg of the Triple Crown. Ben also was able to attend the change of command ceremony where Kelii Chock took command of the 29th Training Systems Squadron from fellow ’01er Brent Bak. Another mini-reunion with Katie and Brian Mills, Brandon Tellez and Kelii Chock. In the top photo from left are Joel Stephens (’95), Bart Robinson (’01), Ben Brown (’01), Geoff Steeves (’01), Brandon Tellez (’01), TJ Sonne (’01), and Tim Rezac (’99) at the Kentucky Derby. In the bottom photo are Ben Brown, Katie Mills, Brian Mills, Brandon Tellez and Kelii Chock after Kelii’s Change of Command Ceremony.

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 winter 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.

Camille Chigi and her family just PCSed to Tyndall, where she is working at AFNORTH. Looking forward to palm trees and sand as she coasts toward 20!

Camille Chigi, husband, Bryan, and kids Mia and Max. Mike and I are doing well. I started a new job last December, working as a project management team leader for Wellmark. Grant and Abby are growing up way too fast and keep our home life busy with soccer, swimming, dance and gymnastics. We went on a Disney cruise over spring break and surprisingly ran into Adrian Gonzalez and his family; such a small world! Thanks again for the updates and keep them coming! Faith –Faith (Hitchcock) Dunn, 6423 NW 94th Court, Johnston, IA 50131; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Class of 2002! I hope everyone is having a great fall full of Falcon football, Halloween candy and colorful leaves. This is just a quick update for the 142 ·

Sam Meinrod, Matt Pommer (’01), Nora (Cho) Rule, Jeremiah Laster (’00), Andy Rule, Anthony Ewers and Brandon Knox at the Sweetwater 420 Music Festival in Atlanta. Class Sightings: Andy Rule had a surprise birthday party at the Sweetwater 420 music festival in Atlanta, GA. It turned into a mini RTB reunion when classmates Sam Meinrod, Anthony Ewers, Brandon Knox, Nora (Cho) Rule showed up with fellow USAFA grads Matt Pommer (’01) and Jeremiah Laster (’00) to help him celebrate. Andy and Nora just moved back to Langley AFB, VA. Andy is flying the F-22 and T-38 and Nora is the Senior Victims Counsel at ACC.

Jake Leonard, Justin Fisher, Joe Browning, Ryan Van Maarth and Josh Burns celebrating Ryan’s bachelor party on Bainbridge Island. Jake Leonard, Justin Fisher, Joe Browning, Josh Burns and Ryan Van Maarth met up for a bachelor party on Bainbridge Island across the Puget Sound from Seattle to celebrate Ryan’s upcoming August wedding. They relived their Kettle Lake glory days by jumping into the 50-degree water, which they reported seemed like a good idea at the time. It might have been helped along with all the cigars and Miller Lite seen at the party. Tim Metz and Matt Meshanko met up in Northern Virginia over Memorial Day Weekend to grill some burgers and brats. Michael Armstrong celebrated the 4th of July at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. David Orleans celebrated his birthday in Charleston popping Grey Goose bottles with Chris Lazidis, Kelly Lazidis, David Colton, Thomas Dirienzo and Bradley

Jump. David also made a quick trip to Raykjavik, Iceland with James Colraine in May. Steven Taylor randomly ran into Patrick Lysaght and his wife, Kat, at the Dragon Hill Inn while visiting Seoul, South Korea.

2003 Members


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Sabre Society Profile at or call Donors 719-472-0300 extension 132, 6 Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Frank and Stacie Biancardi at Frank’s promotion ceremony. Professional Development: Since graduation, Frank Biancardi has completed two flying tours with the 34th Bomb Squadron as a B-1 instructor pilot, and one assignment as an air liaison officer attached to the 82nd Airborne. This past spring, Frank was working at the Pentagon where he pinned on lieutenant colonel. In June, Frank took command of the 11th ASOS, Ft. Hood, TX. Frank and his wife, Stacie, have been married for 11 years and have one son, Trent. They Members are all excited for the move to 67% Texas, but will continue to root for their Boston Red Sox! Anta Plowden completed law school and just finished the bar exam. Matt King was just hired at Southwest and he will Sabre Society be attending their first officer Donors training later this summer. Pat5 rick McBride is in his third year flying at American Airlines. Christopher Adams is currently flying at ExpressJet. Check in with Checkpoints: As always please continue to update me with your latest job moves and family updates anytime something cool happens! Keep taking photos and posting them to Facebook or email me anytime so I can keep our classmates updated on what’s new! We now have a Facebook page and a class page on LinkedIn so come join the party! –Eric Ballew, World Cell: +.850.543.9936;; mil; Class Facebook: USAFA Class of 2002; Class Website:

Hi Bongers; we heard from Daran Gaus. He and JR Gibbens graduated from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business on May 12. Daran will be working as the director of strategic planning for Memorial Hermann’s Texas Medical Center campus. JR will continue as the COO and co-founder of Trumbull Unmanned with his wife, Dyan ('04). A huge congrats to you both!

Daran Gaus and JR Gibbens celebrate graduation from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Have a great fall. Send pics and updates when you can. Take care, Susan –Susan Lynn (Doyle) Maly, Linked In: USAFA 03;; Class Facebook Page: Usafa Zerothree (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Ready for Warriors, we’ve had so much news this past quarter I hardly know where to begin! First, I’d like to highlight that the latest batches of IDE selections and lieutenant colonel BPZ results included a LOT of ’04 names. I was tempted to send a mass “congratulations” email when I realized just how many names, but I’m not sure we’ve been out of the Zoo long enough for anyone to be nostalgic for my days as “email girl,” including me, ha ha. So in this forum, on behalf of the class: CONGRATS! Now, some quick news from me, as I see so many of you (via Facebook) on the road for moves and vacations. I’ll be stationed at McConnell AFB for the next couple years, so if you find yourself passing through Kansas—because let’s face it, few are likely to come to Wichita, vs. through it — please don’t hesitate to give us a call! My husband and I would love to host you and hear some of your latest news in person. Speaking of brief but wonderful visits, Doneda (Perkins) Downs shared a connection story this quarter. In June 2017, Tina Taylor had a little time to fly into Gurnee, IL (north of Chicago), from Los Angeles, CA, and reached out to Doneda. Tina spent the day with the Downs family, and Doneda said it was great to see her and catch up for a few hours. How are they all doing? Well, Tina has been enjoying life as a Reservist and Members recent nursing school graduate. 73% As a Reservist, she supports GPS III space acquisitions efforts at the Space and Missile Systems Center on Los Angeles AFB, CA. She earned her master of science in nursing from the UCLA School of Nursing Sabre Society Donors on 17 June 2017. Amazing! Meanwhile, Doneda’s husband, 6 Brent Downs, is working as the deputy director for the Data Management Center of Selective Service System at Great Lakes Naval Training Base in the Chicago area. Doneda, without whom we wouldn’t know any of this (thank you!), is currently home full time with their three kids: Jonathan (7), Adrianna (5) and Alexis (18 months). Hope you all are still doing well and staying in touch! Speaking of links in the Long Blue Line, Josh Arki, Brandon Shroyer, Ethan Sabin and Clint Hammer (’05) graduated from the Naval War College on 16 June 2017. Josh shared this photo (thank you!) from that momentous occasion: From left are Ethan Sabin, his wife, Stephanie, Clint Hammer, his wife, Kate, and son Bennett, Josh Arki, his wife, Catherine, Katherine Shroyer, with kiddos Caroline and Vera, and Brandon Shroyer.

’04 representatives at Naval War College. Checkpoints · September 2017 · 143

CLASS NEWS So what’s next for these stellar dudes? Josh is off to Hill AFB to fly F-35s; Ethan is off to Nellis AFB to fly F-35s as well. Clint is off to Tinker AFB to fly AWACS, and Brandon is off to Dyess AFB to fly C-130s. Josh noted they thought the year of school was great, but they’re all excited to get back to flying again. I’m sure the AF is ready to have you all back out from behind the desk and up in the air doing the mission--now with greater operational insight and knowledge to share with those young folk out there! In more news of classmates moving onward and upward, Ryan Vorhies has transitioned from the C-17 in Anchorage to a B-737 with United Airlines in Houston. And have you seen the news in other channels about the Thunderbirds? Maj. Eric Gorney is slated to be the newest Thunderbird 7! I know these are only a couple of the big moves happening this year, so fair winds and following seas to Ryan, Eric and all the rest. To conclude this quarter, let me say a belated happy 13th anniversary for our USAFA graduation! To drive home how old that already made me feel, I recently met a group of USAFA cadets on Ops AF who looked as young, confident and bored as ever (in their defense, they were in Kansas in the heat of summer for Ops, ha ha). The next week, I ran into a captain at a leadership symposium who approached me to ask if I was a grad. I thought maybe he recognized my face from some positive interaction, but no, he apparently thought my name sounded familiar because he’d had to memorize it once many moons ago. Sigh. I can’t believe our last group of wee little four degrees is already among us as peers. Very cool… but I feel very old! Thanks again to all those who submitted updates. So great to hear from you! Take care, stay safe, and best of luck to all those settling into new places in the post-summer-move season. –Breezy Long,


checked in recently from South America. Kirby and Kevin were selected last year as two of the Air Force’s five Olmsted Scholars for the 2017 class, and are currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Viña del Mar, Chile.

–John Tamasitis, 825 Kinlock Court, Columbia, SC 29223;; Cell: (803) 3602970

Kirby and Kevin in Chile. Patrick was selected last year and is finishing up his final year in Santiago, Chile.

Pat and Family Kevin and Kirby are F-16 instructor pilots, and TISL is an A-10 IP, and they are now immersed in Latin America, enjoying everything South America has to offer. When they aren’t travelling, surfing or enjoying Chilean/Argentinian food and wine, they are working toward their master’s degrees in international relations, with classes and assignments in 100 percent Spanish. Each will leave IDE complete, ready to get back to their respective fighter jets. The Sanford and Anderson families also linked up for a two-week cruise from Chile to Argentina, hiking around just about every port south of Santiago, and recently went snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands.


Classmates, Three strivers, Maj. Kirby “Fuel” Sanford, Kevin “Tread” Anderson and Patrick “TISL” Parrish, all 144 ·

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Hello 2006. I hope this message finds you well. Just a couple updates from a few classmates, so I will keep the news short this quarter. Up first is Ryan Baker, whom I do not believe has sent in an update before so great to hear about the cool things he is up to. He writes, “I’m currently reading the March issue where you talked about “Animal” flying the F-35 and I can tell you of at least one more classmate, Jondavid “JD” Hertzel who is also a ’35 pilot. As for me, I’m doing well and have recently transferred to the Army Reserves (I cross-commissioned upon graduation) to work with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency as a nuclear officer and am just getting back from a pretty cool course that could be titled, 'verything you ever wanted Members to know about nukes but weren’t 77% allowed to ask.' While in New Mexico, I got to see Mike Bien, who is doing well out at Clovis AFB. On the full time/civilian side I’m still working at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, which is just southeast of D.C. I get Sabre Society Donors to hang out with Josh Stinson, 9 who is still in the D.C. area and on his way to becoming a future general, no doubt. All classmates are welcome to find me on Facebook as they conduct their pilgrimage to the military mecca that is D.C. Hope all is well.” Great narrative and update Ryan. It’s a small Air Force for sure; see you in D.C.! In following the theme of D.C., I received an update from my fellow FMer Amy Justus (Gilliland). “I’m enjoying my maternity leave in Pennsylvania since we sold our house in Ohio. In August we move to D.C. to work at the Pentagon. Judah Levi Justus was born on 10 May. I’m enjoying life with two little boys!” Great update Amy, but let’s be real, you have three boys! Don’t forget about Jake.



(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call Sabre Society 719-472-0300 extension 132, Donors Mr. John Rice. It is important for 6 all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)

room/surfboard/steak dinner to any Striver making it to Chile/Argentina in the next two years! I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable fall, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future. If you ever find yourself at Shaw AFB or anywhere else in South Carolina, please feel free to reach out. Go Falcons. All the best, John Tamasitis.

The Sanfords in the Galapagos. Next up, Kevin and Kirby will take their hack at the Pucón Ironman 70.3 (Chile) in January of 2018. All three grads wish to express their sincere appreciation for the opportunities afforded to them by the Olmsted Foundation and to extend a free


Just to add one more to the list, another FMer is headed to the building. Mike Chua will be arriving this summer to work on the SAF/FM staff. Mike, I’ll be calling looking for more funding bro. And Amy… heads up, if Mike can’t help, I will be calling you, too! #pentagonnetworking #workthebuilding I thought I had another update or two, so if I missed yours, please send it again and I can add it to the next update. Thanks to those who provided updates this time around, and spread the word to others that I will gladly accept more. As for me (Shawn Schuuuuulz), I will continue to support each of you any way I can! Keep those updates alive and flowing! –Shawn “The Schulz” Schulz, 617 E. Wesley Dr., O’Fallon, IL 62269; (915) 309-5612; USAFACAD@; Facebook page: AFA Checkpoints 2006 (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Hi Class of 2007, By the time you read this update, it will be September and we probably just have finished our 10-year reunion. As I sit here and write this update, I’m amazed at everything that has happened in 10 years and can’t wait to hear Members where life has taken each of you. 78% The AOG gives us additional word count and photos for the next edition since we are having our reunion, so I will make sure to write a thorough recap for those who can’t attend. Births: Richard Elmore and Sabre Society Donors his wife, Kelly, wrote in to let us know that they have been at 4 Robins AFB in Georgia for the past eight years where Richard has been flying JSTARS. They will finally be moving at the end of 146 ·

the month to Monterey! Richard was picked up for the RAS/FAO program and will be learning Spanish and studying Latin America for the next few years at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) and Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Their most exciting news, however, was the birth of their first child, Hunter Dale Elmore, on March 14, 2017. Richard and Kelly are hoping to attend the reunion, if Richard’s DLI class schedule will allow it, so everyone can meet Hunter!

The Elmore family. Weddings: Chip Taylor (Class of 1979), father of our classmate, Chris Taylor, sent in the the next photo of all the 2007 grads in attendance at Chris’ wedding on July 2, 2017. From left are 2007 graduates, Grant Stooksbury, who is currently in medical school; Erica (Olson) Stooksbury; Sean McCarthy, who works for a tax lobby firm and is also in the AF Reserves; Chris Taylor (groom), currently an AF test pilot; Dr. Lynne Ellison (bride); Theo Seher, who is flying C-130s in Japan; John Powers, who is flying the F-16 at Luke AFB; and Cody Holland, who is flying the C-17 in the Mississippi Air National Guard in addition to the MD 88 for Delta. Thanks for the awesome update, Chip!

2007 grads at the Taylor/Ellison wedding. Other News: Jimmy Kellenbence sent in an awesome photo of grads from different classes working together on a mission. The photo was taken on a U-28A training flight where the crew stopped at Catalina Island off the coast of California. Pictured are Col. Peter Doty (Class of 1992), deputy director at Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, Washington, D.C.; Rich Harr (Class of 2006), who’s headed to ACSC; Matt Voke (Class of 2006), also headed to ACSC; and Jimmy, who’s a Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) instructor at the 14th Weapons Squadron at Hurlburt Field.

Grads working together. –Casey (Bayne) Whitson, (310) 343-5969; (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at www. or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Class of Zero Eight! There have been a lot of happenings in our class recently -- the selection list for major came out, a few people have separated and have found new jobs, there were a few weddings and a baby or two. Class, you guys are doing some amazing stuff! We had a couple of classmates pin on major earlier this year. Emily Shanes pinned on major in March and is now officially a physician's assistant; oh, and did I mention she’s engaged? Also pinning on a little early was Casey Bustamante and Tiffany Moore. Congrats to Neal and Syna Wendt, who were married in June. A few grads and classmates were in attendance, including Meade Tabata (’08), Anthony Simmons (’08), Bobby Members Giannini (’08), Ty Terrazone 65% (’04), Quenton Croff (’10), Christian Evans (’08), Brian Campbell (’08), Mike Lewis (’09), Zach Walker (’11), Mike Agnew (’08), Lauren Matthews (’08), Alex Henning (’08), Alison Johnson (’07) and Jay Forte Sabre Society Donors (’98), all of whom are in the two 1 photographs. Neal also sends a special thank you to Angelica Cornejo (’08) who is not photographed, but was “critically important to the success of the wedding.” I think a few people saw that not only is our classmate Erik “Speedy” Gonsalves a Thunderbird; he’s Thunderbird #8 and is recovering from that mishap that happened in late June. Also, we had three classmates graduate from Test Pilot School: Fred Meyer, John Wilder and Christin Hart (the 15th woman in history to do it). The three of them will all be stationed at Edwards AFB where they will remain as test pilots. Both photos are from Neal and Syna Wendt’s wedding and feature several USAFA graduates.

If you have noticed an increase in activity on our class Facebook page, then you have noticed that in preparation for planning the class reunion (in only one year!) we need to ensure that the channels of communication are as open as we can get them. If you have not liked us on Facebook… then why not? And everyone knows the proper answer to a “why” question, so “I don’t have Facebook” is not a valid response. But seriously, keep watching the class page for updates, timelines and class input. Please continue to send me your accomplishments and announcements! Until our paths cross again, Christin Brodie.

BABIES: Rich Kenney is in the AF Reserves in Atlanta, working in real estate, expecting a baby girl this fall. Drew Musser is expecting a boy. Emily and Casey Allen, as well as Brad DeWees are also expecting. Nate McCartney is expecting a baby boy in November and is working as an Academy liaison officer for north Mississippi. Vicki McBride is a KC-135 IP at Altus AFB expecting her first kiddo any time now. Brett Kasischke and Cameron Dilts and Chris Smith just had their first! Katie (Riley) Dorey is at Pittsburgh ARB and Josh and Cheri-Lee Mason are Members at Holloman AFB expecting 49% #2 this fall. Cassie (Overman) Troja is still at McConnell and recently added baby #2. Chad and Rachelle (DeShazo) Stoll welcomed baby #2. Jon Yates just took kiddo #2 to their new assignment at Pease ANGB. Sabre Society Donors Jason Correll is expecting baby 0 #3, Ed Berry just had baby #3, and Dan Hendren, not to be outdone, is on baby #4! Can anybody beat that?! MARRIED: Lauren Chaffee and her husband, Chris, are moving to Nellis after the reception!

–Christin Brodie,; Facebook: USAirForceAcademyClassOf2008 (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their nonrated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Like and post it to our Class of 2009, Air Force Academy Facebook Page! We want to know how you’re doing and where you’re going! Let us know if you are PCSing, transitioning out of the Air Force, or anything else exciting you’ve done! Here’s the latest…


Alex Pappalardo, Tony Ferrara, Rich Kenney, Sean Malanowski, Ben McCorkle, Shaun O’Bryant, and Eddie Miltenberger at a July 4th reunion!

In the photo are David Urban ('10), Amanda (Terry) Urban ('12), Benn Slikker ('09), Lauren Chaffee ('09), David Chaffee ('77), Bryn Sowa ('09), Hannah Kosirog ('09), Kate (Riley) Dorey ('09), Dan McLaughlin ('09), Jenny (Flynn) Greer ('12) and Heather (Flynn) Vander Wyst ('09). Leo Kim got hitched and had quite the reunion!

Pictured from ’09 are Adam Teach, Tony Ferrara, Steve Czak, Leo Kim, Brandon Palmer, Dan Sullivan and Matt Gabso. NEW JOBS: Marisa (Whitaker) King just started at the 49th Test Squadron. Nichole (Paget) is out of the AF working for the TSA in C-Springs! Emily Allen took a cost analysis job with the AF Reserves, Fighter & Bomber Directorate at Wright-Pat. Mark Rodrigo finished is MBA at the University of Virginia and is working for Microsoft in San Francisco. Ian Hurdle is living in Tokyo as a Mansfield

Scholar. Eric Evans and Jack Ambridge are headed to Harvard. Weapons Instructor Course (WIC): Derrick Hoxie and David Mackintosh, C-130J; Dan Sullivan, U-28; Mike McVay, Taylor “Waco” Tally, Josh “Navajo” Arnall, Jesse “Ramrod” Horton, Nick “Trojan” Grieco, Don “Link” Davis and Jesse Horton, F-16; Nate Liptak, F-15C; Ryan Sivertson, F-22; Ken Wilkins, HH-60; and Jeremy Fox, Intel. Dan Hendren (F-15E), Andy Davis (F-16), and Lyndon Bartlett (RPA) are all at Nellis AFB teaching as WIC instructors. Catherine (Wonner) Hynie is headed to the Intel WIC! OTHER SPOOGE: Mike Knapp is still baby-free! SHAMELESS PLUGS: Check out! Classmate owned! If you ever need a place to stay in Altus, OK, you need to look no further than the Bat Cave! Yvonne “Evie” Johnston bought Julia Child’s house in Provence! Check out her new venture on Facebook and AirBnB: La Peetch: Center for Food, Culture, and Community. – Forrest Underwood, PSC 80, Box 20284, APO AE 96367,; Facebook: Forrest J. Underwood


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings class! Hope the summer finds you well as we transition into fall! Congratulations are in order to Tori Hight (Lalich) as she and her husband celebrate the birth of daughter #2! Haley (Brewton) Schumann is also expecting, as is Daniel Walker. Brett Killion and wife, Erin (Keane), welcomed their son Joseph Conor on 10 July 2017. Brett, big brother Dean, and Erin are doing well. They are living back in Colorado Springs and love it. Erin is flying gliders with the 94th and Brett is a civilian engineer at Mitre. Lots of academia accomplishments to report this quarter! Indya Vernon graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law on 5 May, and will be assigned to the 2d Bomb Wing Legal Office at Barksdale AFB in August. Jeffrey Hutchins received his MBA from the Sloane School of Management at MIT University in Cambridge, MA, on 8 June. Jeff will work with the internal consulting group at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA, in August. Chloe (Angello) Shea graduated medical school in May from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and is now a family medicine resident at Fort Belvoir. Deanna Franzen graduated from Texas A&M University School of Law in December 2016, took the Texas Bar Exam in February 2017, and passed, and got hired as an Checkpoints · September 2017 · 147

CLASS NEWS assistant criminal district attorney (prosecutor) in Tarrant County, TX (aka Ft Worth). She asked me to pass along thanks to all our classmates that encouraged her and celebrated with her throughout this process! For anyone traveling through the DFW area, give her a shout! Patrick Bergstresser married Caroline Exner on 6 May 2017 in Williamsburg, VA. He is also separating from the Navy (Patrick cross-commissioned upon graduation) and transitioning to a Lean Six Sigma/Black Belt position with TAMKO Building Products, Inc. in Frederick, MD, in August. Sean O’Keefe just started a new job working for Senator John McCain as a staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and has been living the D.C. high life, including visiting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (General Dunford). Members If you’re passing through the 41% D.C./Capitol region, he’s happy to meet up! Metin Alaybeyoglu will separate in April 2018. Jessica (Laco) Whitney is also leaving active duty to be able to spend more time with her growing family, Sabre Society Donors support Tom with his golfing career, and work as a civilian 2 part time. She will be continuing her military service in the Reserves. As for me, I finished up a seven-month stint as the deputy squadron commander/operations officer for the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron at Hurlburt and rejoined the 823 RED HORSE Squadron. Matt Buscemi is also joining the 823 later this year. By the time this update is published, I will likely be wearing OCPs at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, so I may see some of you as you come through on rotation. I am competing for the Education with Industry Program, but if I don’t get picked up, I will have an assignment waiting for me when I return (destination TBD). ’Til next time, blue skies and tailwinds!

Warmest Greetings, Class of Olds! It has been a decade since we started our adult lives together on the footprints. Some of us are at the point where we are starting families while others may be venturing off to be the firsts from their professions. First, JD Feltenberger is doing his anesthesiology residency for various types of trauma surgery and pain management. He only has two more years of residency left in Las Vegas. Send him some words because you never know when you might need a good doctor around. Next, congratulations are in order for classmates getting married and starting families. Congrats to Derrick Luken who recently tied the knot.

Eric Parks, Cody Moorehead, Ahdi Mitchell, Bryce Luken ‘08, Derrick Luken, Brett Satterfield and Doug Parrish celebrating at Derrick’s wedding. Finally, send some words and maybe some diapers also to John Bradley and Holly (Rettig ’10) Bradley, who welcomed their son Bennett into their lives November of last year. John is currently stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB working on the Air Force One Replacement Program.

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their nonrated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.)


Hap, good day and greetings to you all. Before highlighting some of the amazingness that our classmates are accomplishing, I just wanted to remind everyone to stay true to yourself and your dreams. As we all get bigger, the world gets smaller. We have access to more information and more people than ever before. Members Use that availability to affect 27% the people around you. Use that influence to make tomorrow better than today. Follow your passion and make your own path… unless you’re really lost in the woods; then follow the most trustworthy looking path you Sabre Society Donors can find. 1 As is usually the case with Checkpoints, we are celebrating new lives and new adventures. On June 3, 2017, Christina England and Dustin Hayhurst welcomed identical twin daughters Catherine Laura Hayhurst and Sophia Jasmine Hayhurst into the world! Here is the latest family photo dressed for the Fourth of July. Front and center is their OG bundle of joy, Dustin Jr. In this case 1+1=5...

–Todd Gamiles,

2011 Members


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call Sabre Society 719-472-0300 extension 132, Donors Mr. John Rice. It is important for 3 all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) 148 ·

John Bradley, Holly (Rettig ’10) Bradley, and the most adorable one, Bennett Bradley. As always, check in. I’m always curious and happy to hear what marvelous things are happening with our classmates. – David Lam, 1281 9th Ave. Unit 2001, San Diego, CA 92101; (862) 222-6674; Dlam11usafa@gmail. com

The Hayhurst family is looking star-spangled awesome these days! Next up, we enjoy the birth of a new beginning in a different sense—one where 1+1=<3. Andrew Glover married the love of his life, Cassie Toepfer, on 21 May 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. Attended by plenty of bros and bro-ettes, Andy and Cassie are lucky folks and look the part. Congratulations!

2013 Members


The Glover couple making inside jokes, giggle noises, and living HAPpily ever after. Finally, we have the birth—at least a continuation—of a truly HAP-tastic duo. Advocates of airpower since before they could walk, these men have been destined for great things. Fortunately for the world, they achieved “great” very early in their lives and have been working toward “perfect.” Scott “say it like cookie” Stucky and Shawn “don’t call it a comeback” Hempsey celebrate the conclusion of another tournament with The Bomb Squad, an AFA alumni basketball tournament.

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile Sabre Society at or call 719Donors 472-0300 extension 132, Mr. 1 John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) (Editor's note: We did not receive an input from Molly for this issue. Please send her your information and photos for the next magazine.) – Molly (Bush) Travis, USAFA2013news@gmail. com (Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings Zeamer class! This is Hailey Clinton stepping in for class scribe duty – Roed Mejia and I have volunteered to take up the class news mantle. We’ll be tag-teaming the news section from now on, and we’d love to share the amazing things you are doing with the class. Send your life updates our way! I know life gets busy Members when you’re out there hack60% ing the mission, but whether you’re PCSing, getting married, changing jobs, or just returning from a kick-ass vacation, we (and everyone else) would love to hear about it. Now, for a few class updates. Sabre Society Donors First, congratulations to the many 2014ers who were 0 recently married or engaged! April was the month for helicopter pilot weddings. Jarred Strength and Alex Claude (’15) tied the knot and are currently based at Moody AFB. Denny Merideth married Grace Tumminello (an Army pilot!), and is based at F.E. Warren.


Shawn and Scott at The Basketball Tournament (TBT) 2017. Congratulations to all the new families, stories, adventures and friends that everyone in our legendary class has achieved thus far. One of the things that makes our class legendary is the legacy that we will leave behind; the thousand of us will likely change the world in many ways, both good and bad. Unfortunately, some of that impact will fade with time. Paulo Dutra, the 2012 Class president, has published an open letter to the Class of 2012 with the hopes of re-igniting our class legacy project and overall involvement with the AOG. You can reach out to Paulo to discuss this in several ways: Facebook: @USAFA2012LegacyProject; email:; pmdutra. Thank you all for your contributions. Good luck to everyone on their future endeavors. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line, a phone call, or a brief Facebook chat. I wish you all great health and great confidence. Cheers, LeRoi. –LeRoi Edwards,

Jarred and Alex (Claude) Strength at their wedding in April. Many of us in the rated communities are finally out of training and at our first operational assignments. We made it… kind of! I hope you’ve been enjoying the snack-O duties as much as I have. Here’s a shout out to all the non-rated 2014ers who have been making the mission happen since the first day on the job! Finally, I’d like to congratulate everyone who has completed their master’s degree… or their doctorate! By the time you read this, Stefan Zavislan and Andrew Cady will have successfully defended their dissertations at the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, CA, to become our class’s first PhDs. Well done all! Cheers, Hailey Clinton. –Hailey Clinton, –Roed Mejia,

2015 Members


(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call Sabre Society Donors 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for 0 all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) (Editor's note: We did not receive an input from Jonathan or Tim for this issue. Send them your information and photos for the next magazine.) –Jonathan Kay and Tim Thornburg, 2015classnews@gmail

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 149


Trenton Monaghan completed RPA training and will be heading to Nellis AFB, NV. So if you’re in Vegas, give him a call!

(Update Your Profile! Graduates can now enter their non-rated career field into the AFSC title box in their Member Profile at or call 719-472-0300 extension 132, Mr. John Rice. It is important for all grads to keep their profiles updated with career and contact information so we can stay connected with you! Please update your profile today so we have accurate information for the Register of Graduates.) Greetings class of 2016, As the summer is coming to an end, I have found myself reminiscing about 60 days. This time last year, we were catching flights back to the United States, packing up our cars, and heading off to our first duty assignments. There was no better feeling than that of NOT heading back up to The Hill, frantically searching for Members a uniform to check back into 62% our squadrons with. Now as I sit and write this, the Class of 2017 has excitedly taken our place as the newest graduating class (Congrats y’all)! Within a couple of days, they will be Sabre Society moving and in-processing into Donors their follow-on assignments. 0 So, if you see a fellow grad, lend them a helping hand! Now on to the updates! I would like to congratulate Charlotte Kemp and Drew Rosenthal on their recent engagement!

Also, huge congratulations to Caitlin Bonner and Joe Spletzer on their recent engagement on June 9 in Austin, TX!

And that’s all for this quarter! As always, it is awesome to see our class doing great things. Just a friendly reminder that Checkpoints magazine is an AMAZING way for our class to stay connect... besides good ole Facebook, of course! So, please keep in touch. I would love to hear from y’all and include you in the next edition! Until next time! -Bianca –Bianca Franz, (706) 825-6821; Bianca.franz@

2017 Both are stationed at Langley AFB, VA, working hard as logistics officers! Not only are there engagements to congratulate our class on, but also those who are completing their initial training!

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@

(At presstime. Continued from page 106.) At press time we learned of the deaths of the following graduates and Air Training Officer. • Mr. Michael F. Gibbons, Class of 1963, who died on Aug. 15, 2017, in Dallas, Texas. • Col. (Ret) James L. Graham, Jr., Class of 1964, who died on July 19, 2017, in Fairfax Station, Va. • Mr. LeRoy C. Nauton, Jr., Class of 1964, who died on Aug. 7, 2017, in San Diego, Calif. • Mr. Peter A. Brown, Class of 1965, who died on July 17, 2017, in Los Angeles, Calif. • Mr. Barry L. Cox, Class of 1965, who died on May 7, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. • Mr. Edward A. Fausti, Class of 1965, who died on July 6, 2017, in Marietta, Ga. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Roger W. Mortensen, Class of 1965, who died on July 21, 2017, in Olympia, Wash. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Wayne B. Petersen, Class of 1968, who died on July 10, 2017, in Trophy Club, Texas. • Col. (Ret) Daniel I. Spears, Class of 1969, who died on July 25, 2017 in Columbia, S.C. • Col. (Ret) John J. Petty, Class of 1970, who died on July 24, 2017, near Sunset Beach, N.C. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Dale K. Carter, Class of 1972, who died on June 22, 2017, in West Richland, Wash. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Timothy T. Green, Class of 1974, who died on July 20, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz.

150 ·

• •

Brig. Gen. (Ret) Neal T. Robinson, Class of 1974, who died on May 27, 2017. Lt. Col. (Ret) Steven L. Barber, Class of 1975, who died on June 14, 2017, in Howie in the Hills, Fla. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Dennis K. Forinash, Class of 1975, who died on July 7, 2017, in Chicago, Ill. • Col. (Ret) Richard A. McIntosh, Class of 1975, who died on Aug. 14, 2017, in Lakeside, Ore. • Mr. Charlie D. Sargent, Class of 1975, who died on June 4, 2017, in Shoreline, Wash. • Maj. (Ret) Alexander D. Schramm, Class of 1977, who died on Aug. 6, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pa. • Lt. Col. (Ret) Philip H. McBride, Class of 1978, who died on Aug. 5, 2017, in Peachtree City, Ga. • Maj. (Ret) Ronald S. Hunt, Class of 1979, who died on Aug. 10, 2017 in Warner Robins, Ga. • Mr. Edward J. Trujillo, Class of 1985, who died on June 30, 2017, in Altus, Okla. • Col. (Ret) Brendan P. Lewis, Class of 1989, who died on May 25, 2017, in Arlington, Va. • Col. (Ret) Joseph H. Schulz, Class of 1989, who died on Aug. 4, 2017, in Toano, Va. • Mr. Matthew C. Hansen, Class of 1991, who died on June 17, 2017, in Lafayette, Ind. • Mr. Terry S. Duncan, Class of 1992, who died on June 17, 2017, in Vienna, Va. • Mr. Richard Cuervo, Class of 1993, who died on June 7, 2017, in Dallas, Ga. • Mr. Jason L. Hicks, Class of 1998, who died on Aug. 9, 2017, in Bentonville, Ark. • Col. (Ret) Sam B. Barrett, ATO, who died on Aug. 9, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of these graduates and Air Training Officer.

Checkpoints · September 2017 · 151

FINAL APPROACH Look to the Skies The Cadet Wing was out in force Aug. 21, 2017, to drink in the rare solar eclipse on the Terrazzo. (Above) C1C Trent Wiltshire, C1C Michael Chado and C2C Richard Evans use special glasses to view the celestial event. (At left) From left, C3C Kate McHenry and C1C Hannah Rogers use a homemade viewing device to catch a glimpse of the much-anticipated eclipse. (Photos by Ryan Hall)

152 Î&#x2021;


Command 10th Air Base Wing welcomes newest leader


n a hot June morning, the 10th Air Base Wing said goodbye to one commander and welcomed a new one during a change of command ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy. Col. Shawn Campbell assumed command of the Wing from Brig. Gen. (Select) Troy Dunn ’93 at the 10th Air Base Wing headquarters on June 20, 2017. The Wing — consisting of more than 3,000 military, civilian and contract personnel — conduct support activities for the entire USAFA installation, including base security, logistics, communications, chaplaincy, communications, civil engineering, medical, legal and lodging. At the start of the Change of Command ceremony, USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson ’81 took the opportunity to thank all members of the 10th Air Base Wing. “You’re part of everything,” she told the 10th ABW airmen. “It’s no small task, given the wide variety of challenges and responsibilities that are upheld by the 10th Air Base Wing.” She particularly applauded the Wing’s ability to keep the campus open to the public, yet keep cadets and staff safe while they continue to pursue the important mission of the Academy. “You do it amazingly well,” she said. “You should be so proud of Checkpoints Online

“He’s a thoughtful leader and well prepared to take on the complex mission that we have” Lt. Gen. Johnson outlined some of Campbell’s previous Air Force assignments —including his most ACROSS recent job as director of manpower and Col. Shawn Campbell assumes personnel for the U.S. Transportation command of the 10th Air Command and his time as a national Base Wing from USAFA security fellow at Harvard University — Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle while noting that his varied background Johnson ’81 during the June 20, will help him succeed in his new role. 2017, ceremony. “He’s a thoughtful leader and well prepared to take on the complex mission that we have,” she said of Campbell. Lt. Gen. Johnson emphasized that all Air Force journeys are relay races, as command regularly shifts from one leader the mission of this Wing and its to the next. accomplishments.” “This is your leg of the journey,” she She also thanked Dunn for his two told Campbell. “Troy has run his leg well, years of service to the Academy, its staff and is ready to hand off the momentum and its cadets. and foundation that he has established in She singled out several this Wing.” accomplishments during Dunn’s tenure, Prior to the change in command, including improved relationships with Dunn was awarded the Legion of Merit the community, the reopening of the with the first oak leaf cluster for his Santa Fe Trail, the soon-to-be increased distinguished service at the 10th Air Internet bandwidth throughout the base Base Wing. and successful long-ranging planning for In his final moments as 10th ABW facility improvements in the years ahead. commander, Dunn thanked his fellow “These two years have been an airmen for their support and hard work enriching journey working together,” she during his tenure. said. “He’s set strong foundation here “You all … who serve here at the for Col. Campbell and the team to build Air Force Academy truly cherish and on… And you do it all with a smile. Your value this coveted assignment,” he personality simply lights up a room.” said. “That’s why we serve with such Lt. Gen. Johnson also welcomed great pride, high morale and strong the new commander, Campbell, to the conviction.” USAFA team. Dunn assured all in attendance that “I know you will apply your unique his wife, Sonya, both leave feeling good talents and perspectives to this whole about how far the Academy has come enterprise,” Lt. Gen. Johnson said. “You’re going to accelerate the momentum … and and feeling optimistic about the future of the institution. take us to another level.”

“I’ve been honored to serve with you and to serve as your wing commander,” he said. “But, folks, my time is up. Remember this one thing – you’re at the United States Air Force Academy. Be great and be grateful.” Dunn, who has commanded the wing since June 2015, is headed to a new assignment at the Pentagon as the head of the Air Force Personnel and Policy Division. As the change of command took place, Dunn handed the 10th ABW guidon to Lt. Gen. Johnson, who then presented it to new commander Campbell. After assuming command, Campbell offered a few comments for the crowd, gathered at the base of the Front Range. “Here I stand, amazed, appreciative and astounded at the majesty of these mountains,” he said, “at the gravity of this moment, at the importance of this mission.” In his new role as 10th ABW commander, Campbell admitted that he stands on the shoulders of giants who came before him. “We see further because of them,” he said. “And we will continue forging the future as their legacy inspires.” Campbell said he looks forward to being a part of the 10th ABW team and leading in the days ahead. He pledged to follow closely in Dunn’s footsteps — and in the footsteps of others before him — as he seeks to advance the mission of the Wing. “I pledge to you today, to the very best of my ability, to carry forward with the same passion, purpose and promise they displayed,” Campbell said. Checkpoints Online

Plaque dedicated to B-66 crew members A

bout 50 people — former pilots and crew members of the B-66 Douglas Destroyer, along with spouses, friends and fellow USAFA graduates — attended a Unit Wall plaque dedication at the Plaza of Heroes adjacent to Doolittle Hall on Friday, June 2, 2017. According to ceremony emcee Alan Feldkamp, with the B-66 Destroyer Association, the aircraft was in Air Force service for more than 20 years, yet few people in the military know anything about the B-66. John Fer ’62, who was shot down in Southeast Asia after 55 combat missions and was a prisoner of war, provided a few stories about his time in the B-66. He also thanked the group for inviting him to the plaque dedication. “It’s a special feeling for me to be here,” he said. Gerry Parker, president of the B-66 Destroyer Association, and USAFA Association of Graduates Chief Operating Officer Marty Marcolongo conducted the unveiling of the plaque for the crowd. During his brief comments, Marcolongo said each new piece added to the Heritage Trail helps preserve the history of the Southeast Asia war for future generations of cadets to learn about and be inspired by. The plaque is the 10th Unit Wall plaque installed at the Plaza of Heroes along the AOG Heritage Trail. James Nance ’71 was commissioned to complete the B-66 plaque. Listed on the plaque are the names of

Checkpoints Online

three Academy graduates — Theodore W. Johnson ’65, Larry A Moore ’64 and Joseph M. Orlowski ’66 — who were lost to hostile fire or operational accidents. John Fer’s name is listed as one of 12 B-66 crew members who became POWs. Gary Dahlen ’70 told those in attendance that his USAFA class

endeavors to preserve the history and the stories of those who served and sacrificed during the Southeast Asia conflict. Two upcoming plaque dedications have been scheduled at the Plaza of Heroes: the B-26 plaque at 10 a.m. on June 6 and the F-111 dedication at 1:30 p.m. on June 23 .

A USAFA First: Airman’s Coin presented to every basic cadet A

total of 1,186 basic cadets completed their summer Basic Cadet Training on Thursday morning. The Class of 2021 marched back from Jacks Valley and assembled on the Terrazzo for a special Airman’s Coin ceremony. Parents, USAFA graduates and friends were on hand to help celebrate. Two members of the Legacy Class — Class of 1971 graduates Lt. Col. (Ret.) David Keith and Capt. (Ret.) Laurence “Cass” Casada — also were on hand for the event. According to Commandant Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin ’93, the coin ceremony was a first for the Academy. “We’re all excited that this is the first coin ceremony that we are executing here at the United States Air Force Academy and that you’re all a part of it,” she told the basic cadets. “The cadre will present you with a coveted Airman’s Coin — the beginning of the transition from basic cadet to fourth-class cadet. This simple coin symbolizes the history and heritage of our United States airmen — all of those who have preceded us.” She challenged the Class of 2021 to adhere to the Academy’s core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do — as each basic cadet begins their Academy journey and Air Force career. “You are our future … and you will continue our legacy,” Goodwin said. The Thursday ceremony marked the end of the rigorous, six-week basic training period, where the Class of 2021 was evaluated on dormitory performance, military studies, drill and physical training. Checkpoints Online

During the day’s ceremony, eight basic cadets — one each from the eight training squadrons — were recognized as outstanding basics. The honorees were recommended by their squadron Air Officer Commanding, cadet squadron commander and flight commander. The outstanding basics for the Class of 2017 were: Aggressors squadron – Basic Cadet Harrell Henderson, Jr. Barbarians – Basic Cadet Mia Chabanne Cobra – Justin Blasius Demons – Campbell Harris Executioners – Tanner Johnson Flying Tigers – Parker Simington Guts – Benjamin Bollinger Hellcats – Gabriel Silva “You guys have just completed an amazing chapter in your lives,” Goodwin told the basic cadets. “And now you’re about to embark on an incredible adventure. I tell you what, I’m truly honored and humbled to be standing here today as your commandant. We are all proud of you.” She also took the opportunity to thank the cadre and permanent party members who made basic cadet training a success. The basic cadets officially become fourth-class cadets at the conclusion of the Acceptance Parade at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Stillman Parade Field.

F-111A Plaque Dedicated


cool Colorado day didn’t deter a good crowd of former F-111A pilots and crewmembers — along with fellow Air Force veterans, friends and family — from attending a Unit Wall plaque dedication at the Southeast Asia Pavilion on Friday, June 23, 2017. The General Dynamics F-111A flew more than 3,800 combat missions in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during two deployments of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1968, in Combat Lancer, six aircraft were sent for combat evaluation. In 1972, 48 aircraft were deployed as part of Linebacker I and II. In both cases, the aircraft primarily attacked targets that required the use of low-level capabilities to evade radar detection. The F-111A often flew as a single ship, at night and in bad weather. Nine F-111A aircraft and 14 crew members were lost in combat. Two crewmembers became prisoners of war. Many USAFA graduates from the classes of 1959 to 1970 participated in the many missions as crewmembers and in support positions. Rick Sine served as the emcee for the afternoon ceremony, held along the Heritage Trail adjacent to Association of Graduates’ Doolittle Hall at the United States Air Force Academy. “Ours is a unique story as a unit,” Sine said. “A single wing, single aircraft type … but only limited to two deployments in the theater. So a relatively short period of time, but we also think we had a big impact while we were there. We think there are some things to be very, very proud of.” Roger Peterson ’70 and Sine presented the history of the F-111 and the 474th TFW. “Ours is, in fact, one of the links in the chain of the Long Blue Line,” Sine said. Burt Field ’79, vice president of strategy for Lockheed Martin, was on hand to tell the F-111 story. About 563 of the aircraft were built during its history. He told the crowd that it was a challenge finding out about the history of the F-111. “The story of the F-111 is all developed, produced and built in the 1960s, at a time when such a thing was possible,” he said. “Now, of course, there’s no way we could come up with an idea and then operating a unit inside of a decade.” Field said the airplane was developed to meet the needs of the Air Force and Navy together. Eventually the airplane ended up being just an Air Force platform, but the plane wasn’t a perfect fit. Checkpoints Online

“But what it brings to the table is a lot of new technology that is going to influence the rest of fighter aviation,” Field recalled. “This concept of all-weather, all-day, all-night precision bombing was a big deal.” Field recalled that, while his family was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base (1968-72) when he was a teenager, many of his friends had fathers who flew the F-111. Some of them never returned home, which was a motivating factor for Field to eventually attend the Air Force Academy. “I remember when you guys left the base, because we were out there watching. It helped make my decision to go to that school,” he said, pointing to the Academy campus. “So, thank you!” Later in his career, Field served with the 474th on two occasions. Following the presentation, the crowd gathered around the new F-111 plaque and unveiled it. There are now 12 plaques on the Unit Wall, with room for even more in the future.

A Time to Heal ‘The Vietnam War’ recounts a difficult chapter in U.S. history


ny new Ken Burns documentary is usually a highly anticipated event on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). But his most recent effort, which took a decade to film and edit, could be of particular interest to the early graduating classes of United States Air Force Academy. “The Vietnam War” is a 10-part, 18-hour series recounting the events that led up to the conflict and the battles and controversies that followed. It premieres on PBS on Sept. 17. Ken Burns and one of his documentary interviewees, Gen. (Ret.) Merrill McPeak, stopped by Arnold Hall on Thursday night (Aug. 24) to preview the film and answer questions from the assembled audience. A large contingent of USAFA grads and Vietnam veterans was on hand, along with a significant portion of the Cadet Wing, to catch a glimpse of the upcoming project. USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria ’85 set the stage for the evening by calling the Vietnam War a “conflict that changed the nation.” He claimed the “hard lessons” learned during that conflict helped make the American military and particularly the Air Force much stronger and more capable of handling the global challenges that came years later. McPeak, a Vietnam fighter pilot who eventually became the 14th chief of staff of the Air Force during the Desert Storm era, applauded the documentary project for its ability to capture the full breadth of the Vietnam War experience. In the series, Burns tells the stories of U.S. veterans, Checkpoints Online

“It didn’t turn out very well for us, so we tended to bury it and not deal with it. We’ve allowed a lot of its wounds to fester unhealed and remain undiscussed. I felt it was incumbent upon me, after doing [documentaries on] the Civil War and the Second World War, to turn my attention to the Vietnam War.” political leaders, North and South Vietnam soldiers and civilians, anti-war activists and prisoners of war, while also capturing the political gyrations of the times. “The Vietnam War is the most important event in American history since the Second World War,” Burns said. “It didn’t turn out very well for us, so we tended to bury it and not deal with it. We’ve allowed a lot of its wounds to fester unhealed and remain undiscussed. I felt it was incumbent upon me, after doing [documentaries on] the Civil War and the Second World War, to turn my attention to the Vietnam War.” Once he started researching the war, Burns said his preconceived notions about that period were quickly swept away. Because he was a young man during the Vietnam era, Burns was convinced he had a good handle on the facts surrounding the conflict and the civil unrest that it caused. “I felt like I had a head start because

I knew so much about it,” he admitted. “And finding out that I knew nothing was unbelievable humiliating and then exhilarating. We’re asking you to share in our process of discovery, which will be your process of discovery.” McPeak recounted the many advances in warfare that resulted from the Vietnam experience, noting that such technological discoveries as stealth aircraft, precision munitions and infrared equipment used for night fighting helped the U.S. military become a feared opponent on any battlefield. He noted that military training also improved during that era, helping to elevate the armed forces further above our enemies. “Vietnam came along and showed us that we weren’t prepared to fight conventional war,” McPeak remembered. “We were prepared for a deterrence mode. We had to do a massive change in our training programs. The technical lessons that we learned in Vietnam were quite

extensive, and they transferred directly into Desert Storm” Another important lesson from that era, McPeak suggested, is the need for military personnel to be professional while completing the mission. “Personally, I’ve given up on trying to explain the policy decisions of my government. I think it’s a good idea for you to do the same, as long as you’re wearing the uniform,” he told the cadets. “Our job is to go fight when the president says to go fight. If you spend too much time worrying about his motives, instead of worrying about can you actually put a bullet to the target, you’re worrying about the wrong thing. While you’re wearing the uniform, you have to be the best warrior you can be.” Both McPeak and Burns said that lessons from the Vietnam era could be helpful in healing the divisions we find in American society today. McPeak says that he attended a screening of the finished documentary with early anti-war activist Bill Zimmerman and others with divergent

recollections of the war. He said the group was able to discuss each episode — sometimes through heated exchanges — and yet remain respectful and friendly toward each other. “We had some real, knock-down-dragout sessions, as we discussed each episode of the film from our own point of view,” McPeak said. “What it would be nice for the Americans to remember is that we all came out of there as friends.” “The first thing to remember is there’s not one truth, particularly in war,” Burns added. “There are many different perspectives and many different truths. It’s now time to talk about it.” U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had it right when — on March 4, 1861 — he spoke of unifying the divided country during his inauguration speech, Burns said. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies,” Lincoln said. “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory,

stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” It’s good advice for those who refuse to compromise or fail to strive toward the unity of our nation, he suggested. “We do live in particularly divided times right now, but I don’t think anybody really enjoys that,” Burns told the crowd. “We now have arguments for the sake of arguing. But the whole purpose of arguing is to work stuff out — that’s what we’re supposed to do. They aren’t to have somebody get more firmly entrenched. It’s how the country was founded was on compromise. It’s how we’ll get out of the mess we’re in now.” For more information on the new Ken Burns documentary, visit kenburns/the-vietnam-war/home.

Checkpoints Online

Military awards presented a century later Lacey family celebrates the heroism of a U.S. soldier


ick Lacey ’64 and his brother, Pat, realized a years-long dream at a Fort Carson, Colorado, ceremony on Aug. 5, 2017. That day, their father — Sgt. Keith N. Lacey — was posthumously recognized for his bravery during World War I. The Lacey family was presented their father’s Silver Star; Purple Heart; World War I Victory Button-Silver; World War I Victory Medal with France Service Clasp and Montdidier-Noyon, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne Battle and Defensive Clasp; Army of Occupation of Germany Medal; French Fourragere; and Lapel Button for Service Prior to 1939 as well as the 1st
Inf. Div. “Big Red 1” shoulder insignia. Keith Lacey enlisted in the Army one month after the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917. He would serve honorably until July 1919. Keith Lacey eventually landed on the shores of France joining the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division. During WWI, he participated in the Montdidier-Noyon Offensive, the Aisne-Marne Counter Offensive, the St. Mihiel Offensive and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Even though he suffered from the effects of an enemy gas attack, Keith Lacey persevered and fought to the end of the war and occupation of Germany. After returning to the States, Keith Lacey would contract tuberculosis. In 1922, he traveled to Colorado for treatment. He would eventually move to Colorado Springs, marry Ruth Mathis

Checkpoints Online

and together raise eight children. Keith Lacey died on Jan. 22, 1977. His father’s military service would inspire Nick Lacey to attend the Air Force Academy. He went on to fly the F-105, recording 100 combat missions over North Vietnam. In 1967, Nick Lacey was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery.


(From left) Lt. Col. Jon Meredith, commander, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, presents a World War I replica of the “Big Red One” patch in a ceremony at Fort Carson to Keith Lacey’s sons — retired Sgt. 1st Class Pat Lacey and retired Air Force Col. Nick Lacey. (Photo by Dani Johnson, Fort Carson Public Affairs).

Checkpoints - September 2017  

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