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January 2013

 

 

Jerry Gill said that his sweet, strong, and beautiful Dorothy died on Christmas day after 50_ years as a loving wife and mother. After 27 years, the breast cancer finally won. Dorothy Swann Gill, 72, of Roswell, GA passed away on Christmas Day 2012. She was born on Valentine's Day in 1940 to Adolph and Ruby Waller Swann in Roanoke, AL and grew up in Birmingham. After graduating from Auburn University in 1962, she traveled the world for 26 years as an Air Force wife then settled in Roswell. She was active in the Roswell UMC choir family for 23 years. She is survived by her devoted husband of 50 years, Col. Jerry Gill, 3 daughters and their families - Susan & Clay Saunders; Leigh Ann & Jim Kane and Beth & Andy Wren; 8 grandchildren - Hillary, Meredith, Olivia, Trevor, Max, Wesley, Drew, Sarah; and sister - Nancy & her husband, Tom Brechin.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org in her honor. Neal Westbrook, Mike Rawlins, Jimmy Poole, Johnny Caughman, and Sam Barazzone attended Dorothy’s services.

Our class is quite proud of Mark Anderson’s recognition by the AOG as a Distinguished Graduate. Congratulations from all of us, Mark. It was well deserved! Mark will receive his 2013 DGA at the Founders' Day Dinner scheduled for Friday, April 5, 2013.  It would a wonderful tribute to Mark and his family for as many of his classmates as possible to attend.  Please watch for the appropriate AOG e-mails announcing the time and place of the presentation or simply go to www.usafa.org and register yourself and a spouse/guest for this special event.

Terry Storm’s Chairman’s Journal in this issue of Checkpoints is his last, since his term on the AOG Board of Directors is ending.  He greatly appreciates all of the support of our classmates in his efforts to enhance the effectiveness and cost-efficiencies of the AOG. We all thank you for your many efforts on behalf of our AOG and Academy, Terry.

Hector Negroni reports that the Class of 1961 DC Bunch held their November Luncheon at the Springfield Country Club, Springfield, VA.   Once again, through the courtesy of Charley Dixon, they were treated royally at his Country Club.   After a beautiful prayer by their Chaplain (Twy Williams), they had a status of the DC Bunch report by Lowell Jones and a report by Bill Foster on the activities during the most recent Air Force-Army game.   Bill was not able to give them a total description of the tanks that rolled over Air Force during the game, but he said that the Air Force cadets did not know what hit them.   During the meal, they discussed the normal litany of ailments and medical problems by our class members.  While they seem to be aging gracefully, their visits to the doctors are more frequent.   Charley Dixon gave them a scalpel-by scalpel account of his recent eye surgery.   He claims that his vision is 20/20, but his hearing has not improved.   They took turns yelling into his good ear.  For a bunch of 70-year-olds, they are doing pretty well.

Mark Anderson said that Jim Ulm, Bob Wagner, and he are starting to work on a reunion of their Reese pilot training class: 63B.  They have never held a reunion and decided if they don't get moving, it will be a small group!  Tentative plans are late spring, early summer of 2014 in San Antonio.  More info will be forthcoming to those involved.

John Boesch is 3 weeks into the "hip replacement flight."  All is well so far.  John is also currently serving as "tech advisor" to Frank Kiszley, who is soon to join that flight.  John has been sworn in as 1st VP for the local MOAA Chapter, and serves on the Board with (past President) Jerry Lefton.

Stu and Marnie Boyd are struggling with an addiction and need your help.  They are addicted to Les Miz.  Six stage performances and the movies of course—and they just got the original movie made in 1934, which runs for close to five hours and is in French (subtitles, thankfully). If one of you knows of a good program, let them know. 

Because people continue to inquire, Bob Brickey provided a very short update on their granddaughter, MiaBella Brickey.  Mia is doing beautifully in every regard.  She is enjoying school, ballet lessons, and her Soo Bahk Do martial arts in which she is not allowed to do the sparring.  She must always stay away from people who are ill, due to her immunosuppressed body, which keeps her new heart healthy. They are still ever grateful to so many who have expressed concern, prayers, and aid for Mia.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley continue to enjoy their endless summer in Satellite Beach, FL. Pat’s hip joint resurfacing is healing well, and he is approaching 3 miles at 6 mph on the elliptical strider as well as enjoying dips in the Atlantic Ocean for some swim exercise. Pat and Marilyn attended an alumni group television session to watch the Air Force/Army game. They had a good time, except the score! Being an optimist, Pat organized a Space Coast Alumni session to watch the Air Force/Rice Armed Forces Bowl game at the local Beef O’Brady’s. They and the 30 grads had a good time, except for the score, again! Otherwise, they have had relaxed time at home, except for all the doctor’s appointments. Pat and Marilyn will be going to the UK, Italy, and Spain in February and March. They will be at their Spanish home on the Costa del Sol (Velez-Malaga) from 26 Feb to mid March with two empty bedrooms (maybe) if anyone is in southern Spain and wants to visit.

Doug and Dee Cairns report that they are still in Montgomery, AL, enjoying full, uncomplicated retirement. Last year they enjoyed watching their eldest grandson, Chris, graduate, take a real job, get married, and move his bride from Wetumpka, AL, to the big city of San Francisco. That those two kids seem to enjoy living in the strange land of Congresswoman Pelosi is of concern to most of the Cairns family who are retaining their Southern roots. Cathy, Chris’s mom, is a nurse who directs a crew of cardiologists in town and maintains a watchful eye on Doug and Dee. Chris’s and Jordan’s wedding was cause for the other two grandkids to come for a month’s visit from their home in Italy. Nathan and Katye are teenagers and attend the DoD Naples American High School. This then became a grand “re-Americanizing” month for the kids since they have been over there for 8+ years, and counting. Rob seems to have become the indispensible man on the staff of CINCNAVEUR, so they may never come home.  Doug enjoys monthly golf with Steve Ho, Jimmy Poole, and Ron Jones.

Michele Cowan, AOG Customer Service Supervisor, realized that Trel and Dick Coppock had lost their complete collection of AOG Christmas ornaments in the 26 June wildfire.  She sought out a benefactor willing to purchase all she could find in her limited stock of past ornaments and sent them along to the Coppocks.  She found a generous spirit who, wishing to remain anonymous, purchased some 10 ornaments, including the Class of 1961 "jewel," and asked that they be sent to Dick and Trel with a simple Merry Christmas.  They arrived just as the Coppocks were decorating their tree in the (Saint) Nick of time.   The "usual suspects" prevail, and they are so very grateful to both Michele and their very own Santa.  The true Christmas spirit was indeed evident to Dick and Trel, and they are touched by such generosity.  They wish all classmates and their families all the blessings of the New Year.

   In June 2012 Randy Cubero was selected to run another charitable foundation called Parents Challenge, a 501C3, in Colorado Springs.  This charity provides low income families with financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants to move their children to a better performing school or to enhance their child's academic performance in their current school with supplemental materials and programs, like tutoring and purchasing a computer.  Parents Challenge is part of the National School Choice Movement, which believes strongly that parents need to be more engaged and empowered in their child's education and that they alone should make the educational choices that will give their child the best chances for success. Randy indicated that it has been a real eye-opener to understand what has happened to our K-12 public education system, especially after so many years of running the Falcon Foundation and dealing with only top tiered academically performing students trying to enter the Air Force Academy.

Dick Davis enjoyed the hospitality of Carl Granberry and his new wife, Lura, a high school chum. Carl has a well-fed herd of horses on his Winona, TX, property.  And Heather, Dick’s horse, is joining that herd as a guest. They spent the day together, and Carl showed Dick his family’s metal-bending plant where they make rings for brooms and mops. He also showed Dick the improvements he has designed into his metal-bending operation.  They are formidable accomplishments, demonstrating applications of his education in mechanical engineering and Double E. Very impressive.

Bob Dean said he is into doing a lot of exercises.  To exercise his legs, he walks back and forth from the kitchen to the computer room 30 times a day. His bending exercises include bending over 5-6 times a day picking up Golden Retriever puppy poop. To exercise his arms, at 4:30 p.m. every afternoon he lifts a heavy glass of vodka with an olive in it 30-40 times. For some reason, he can't remember what he does after 5:30 p.m.

Tom and Anne Eller spent a couple of weeks starting with Thanksgiving in the UK with son Rob Eller and family (USAFA '96), then hosted their other children and grandchildren in Colorado for Christmas. Tom and Anne plan to spend several weeks in Kauai this winter before going to Atlanta and back to the UK at the end of May to celebrate their 50th with all of their children.

Richard Fairlamb has been Flight Captain of the Order of Daedalians Flight #23/DFW since mid-year 2011.   This flight has the same number as the F-4 squadron Richard commanded at Spangdahlem AB, Germany in the late 1970s—23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron.   Flight 23 is one of the largest of the 70+ flights in the international Order of Daedalians at 209 members—holding steady over the past few years.   The flight hosted the National Convention in October 2011 and has supported two academic university-level scholarships, a CAP cadet solo program, and CFIP high school AFJROTC cadet solo program annually during recent years.   Flight 23, under Richard’s leadership, was awarded the “2012 Jimmy Doolittle Award” by Daedalian National HQ.   This is the second time Flight 23 has received the Doolittle Award, the last time being in 1997.   Just to keep out of trouble, and out of local watering holes, Richard continues to generate some revenue as a Business Continuity and Recovery consultant and teacher, and finds a little time to keep VFR and IFR current in his 1957 Cessna 182.

Paul Hinton ran a Half-Marathon at Disneyland with his oldest granddaughter. The thing started at 0500, and they had to be in place at 0430. When he got up, he thought,  "Exactly what the devil is it that made you agree to this?" Save for the hour, however, it was a delight. It was grand but what a comment on time.

Highlights from Henry and Peggy Howe are the memories they have of their five-week trip down under last fall. They spent four days aboard the Coral Princess II on the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling some of the loveliest waters they had ever seen. They explored the Daintree National Park by four-wheel tour bus and encountered the salt-water crocodiles and flightless emus. Then they went to Darwin and lived in Karnda National Park with the kangaroos, wallabies, and more crocodiles. They spent a week driving (yes - on the wrong side of the road) through the outback around Alice Springs, Ularu (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon, and Kata Tjuta. They topped off the Australian adventure with a week in Sydney seeing the local sights and the Blue Mountains. They visited only the North Island in New Zealand, where they spent another week climbing the trails around Mt Ruapehu and rafting on the Tarangi River, then lounging in the hot thermal pools. Their underground adventure took them into the glow-worm caves.

Sometimes Don McCarter feels his and Johnnie’s daily activities have become so routine that making a change is a real challenge. They have been blessed to have their kids living close by. They get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with everyone in attendance with no long distance travel. It is also convenient for them to participate in grandchildren’s activities. Each summer they travel to Hendersonville, NC, for a reunion with Don’s brothers and sister and their families. The group size increases every year. Johnnie and Don love the North Carolina mountains. They especially enjoy the trails in the national parks where the trails are blazed to prevent them from getting lost. Don’t laugh. A lot of people take the wrong turn in those hills. Walking, tennis, and workouts at the YMCA help to keep the body upright and mobile. John and Kathy Dates and Jim and Judy Tulis visit Florida occasionally, and Don and Johnnie really enjoy the time with them. Don took a master gardening course at the Florida Extension service and has been certified as a Florida Master Gardener. He spends a lot of time coordinating the activities of the community garden sponsored by their church, and he volunteers about seventy hours a year at the Orange County plant clinic. Gardening in Florida is an eye opening and mind-boggling experience.

In January, Sam Barazzone, plus Gwen, and Charlie Neel and Dean Jones wowed the cold-weather skiers and brought Breckenridge slopes to their knees. Lynda Neel and Jo Jones remained grounded.

As is their custom, Hector and Joan Negroni will be spending the winter (Jan-May 2013) at their Bonita Springs, Florida, home.

Al and Becky Nunn said that their daughter, Ashley, was married last October. Her husband, Charlie King, is the father of two children, Sophie, age 10, and Henry, age 7. They were married at "The Quack Shack" in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Becky and Al rented the "shack" for a week for her wedding party and "30 of their closest fiends" to stay during the preliminaries to the festivities. While there, Al was treated to an unexpected and unplanned ride in the Rescue Squad van and admitted to the local hospital after experiencing a period of disassociation. Diagnosis was Transient Global Amnesia, a condition which shows symptoms similar to those of a stroke, but is temporary in nature, with no after-affects, and occurs to perhaps one in 300,000 persons. He was the one this time and was released the next day, following the diagnosis. Wedding went off without a hitch. Ashley lives with her husband and his children in Falls Church, VA, so that's close enough for frequent phone calls and occasional visits. Al’s recently resigned from the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross there.  Becky continues her activities with theater, having directed four plays for the local theater group, The Lancaster Players. She is currently in rehearsal as director for "How the Other Half Loves," opening March 8.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear had a wonderful Christmas season, starting with spending several days over Christmas with their daughter and her family in Michigan. Then, they enjoyed several days when their younger son’s family visited them in Granger, IN, along with their older son’s family, who also live in Granger. They also celebrated their sons and daughters-in-law anniversaries with a special evening at a very nice local restaurant. Wrapping it up, on New Year’s Eve, their oldest granddaughter and her boyfriend flew from Virginia to spend a couple of days with Nelson and Teri in Granger and Chicago.

Thanks for all who contributed. We hope to hear from you others next time.

 

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April 2013

 

Terry Norris, our class basketball and baseball star, lost his last challenge to cancer on April 10 in Locust Grove, VA. At Terry’s Celebration of Life on April 15, his younger brother reminded everyone of the competitive nature of his oldest brother, who perfected his athletic prowess in his family’s barn.   A picture of Terry as a Doolie    ‘eating square’ appeared with a   Steven Strasburg-like poster of Terry pitching at the Academy.    Charlie Dixon, Bill Foster, Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Spike Nunn, Bill Stackhouse, and Twy Williams represented our class. Their stirring singing of “A Toast to the Host” and the U.S. Air Force Song as a farewell to Terry touched the attendees.     Theda Foster and Pat Milnes, Dick’s widow, also attended.    Terry's wife, Sandy, was most gracious to everyone there and truly showed   her love for our stellar classmate. Cheers to his memory! His obituary will appear in the next issue of Checkpoints. Contributions to Terry’s memory can be made to the Orange County Animal Shelter, 11362 Porter Road, Orange, VA 22960.

Dave Carlstrom is in Intensive Care with Parkinson’s Disease. Please keep him and Lily in your thoughts and prayers.

Congratulations, again, to Mark Anderson for his selection as a Distinguished Graduate.

Mark and Ginger Anderson joined their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter for a week at Disney World in February.    They had a great time, and the weather cooperated; however, they had forgotten how much walking and standing was required.    It took them several days to recover!    They plan to visit Big Bend National Park in May. It's only about 350 miles away, but they've never been.

Stu Boyd passed on command responsibilities for Civil Air Patrol’s Green Flag Program, and he and Marnie are settling into life with a new focus.    They continue to function with their local church in facilitating stronger relationships in families and marriages.    Hill AFB will be especially hard hit with the sequester, and they will be offering financial classes to the local community to help families weather the major financial challenges they will face.    The civilian work force of more than 10,000 personnel will receive a three-week pay cut between June and the end of September.    As the snow melts, Stu and Marnie are also looking forward to trips to the mountains on their equestrian pals.   

Pat and Marilyn Buckley are back in their Satellite Beach, FL, home with two empty bedrooms if anyone is passing by or wants to visit and enjoy the sun, sand, sea, food, and drink.    Pat’s 17 October right hip resurfacing appears to be fully healed, and his doctor has cleared him for the full range of activities.    In January Pat and Marilyn flew from Orlando to England to visit family and friends for four weeks, with a 1-week ski break in Valle d’Aosta, Italy.    Since Pat was not yet cleared for skiing, he did six days of snowshoeing 3 to 8 miles a day up, down, and around the mountain.    The last week of February they flew to Malaga, Spain, and spent four weeks in their Velez-Malaga (Costa del Sol)   home doing some maintenance and making improvements--kind of like owning a boat. See http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/spainb/S16748.htm   for a description and photos.    They enjoyed the Andalucian climate, food, wine, music, etc.    And they caught the beginning of the Holy Week processions that are very elaborate and a visual feast.       Pat got his new permanent upper teeth to go on the July 2012 implants.    Then they drove to US Navy Station Rota on the Bay of Cadiz to catch Space-A back to the USA.    After less than a 20-hour wait, they got seats on a Navy C-40 (B 737-700) to Navy Oceana, overnight at Norfolk Navy Lodge, and then Navy C-40 to Jacksonville, FL, and rental car home.    They are back to sun and swimming in the pool at 76_F and the ocean at 70_F.    Life is Good!

Dick Davis spent 15 years with his horse, Heather, who died peacefully after being put out to pasture. The horse took two years to bond with Dick, but in the end, she was quite trusting and   trustable.    He will miss his smart horse.

As a recent widower, Jerry Gill decided to take a trip to places that he lived or flew into often during his early Air Force days. First, to Okinawa where Dot and he honeymooned and lived for three years and where oldest daughter, Susan, was born; then, to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) where he was stationed, leaving Dot in Birmingham with 3 daughters, age 5 and under; next, to Bangkok, his favorite city with fabulous steaks, pineapples, and bananas; then, to Hong Kong, the most beautiful city with the mountains and water filled with Chinese Junks and where final approach curved; and finally, to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, near where the Air Force had a practice parachute drop zone. There he stayed with Jerry’s doctor friend and his family. The trip went well with no problems.    The changes in 40-50 years were incredible. The food was great. The governmental anti-American propaganda in Saigon was hard to take, but the people were okay. Thai people are still great!    If Jerry ever gets his pictures organized, he’ll post them somewhere if anyone is interested.

Peter Holmes-Ray’s wife, Janice, had breast cancer,   was operated on, and then had chemotherapy. She just had a PET scan, which came back clear, so she no longer has cancer.    They are very happy with those results and are now planning to attend Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp in June. Peter plays acoustic flatpick guitar and really enjoys his week at Kaufman’s Kamp.    Jan’s recovery from cancer makes it possible for them to once again go.

Lowell Jones said that despite some heavy morning rain, the ’61 DC luncheon was held on March 12th at the Springfield Country Club, again at the courtesy of club member Charley Dixon. Attending were (left to right in the picture below): John & Joan Kohout, Charley Dixon, Lowell & Sandy Jones, Jack & Diane McDonough, Bill Stackhouse, Bill Foster, and Spike Nunn.    Sorry about the bad reflections on the left and right.    Wrong location choice to take the picture.    Spike Nunn gave them some good advice about getting VA assistance under a program relating to Vietnam era illnesses caused primarily by Agent Orange.    His brother is getting coverage with this new program.    Contact Spike if you want more details.    On a lighter note, Bill Foster is organizing ticket purchases for the October 5, 2013 Air Force - Navy game.    He and Theda plan to throw a victory party after the game at their home (as usual). Please contact Bill by May 1st if you want to join a great group to cheer on the Falcons!

Bob Kellock continued his retirement activity since 28 February/1 March 2012, after handing off System Safety and T&E duties, and then changing his medical plan over to Medicare/Tricare.      Bob and Samantha enjoyed the "new" Jabiru S250-SP, somewhat hampered by a failed radio.      They participated   in the 99s Tucson Treasure Hunt, an annual airborne and airport lunch (at Benson, AZ) exercise testing navigation and observation skills.    In March,   they were off to Hobbs, NM, to visit Samantha's aunt who is planning a wedding for June 6.    Easily navigating the Mexican border and refueling at Dona Ana Airport near El Paso, they continued to Hobbs.    After dealing with   mountain waves   successfully, a "variable at six" right-cross tailwind resulted in a ground loop, which took the plane off the runway again.    It just barely left the runway this time, with prop, wheel fairing, and wingtip damage, and ended up on all three gear.    As last time, they were uninjured, called the tower for help, shut it down, and exited in the manner that any landing you can walk away from is a good one.       The plane is currently in repair planning, with the engine headed for the factory at Shelbyville, TN, and the plane to be repaired either in Hobbs or Odessa, TX.      Commercial air or car will take them to the wedding.    They hope to pick up the airplane in June and return it to   its permanent station   at Patagonia, AZ (actually Nogales International Airport).    They will   probably attend the FAC Association rededication of the memorial in Colorado Springs for the added ground FACs on   4 and 5 July.      After visiting northern Florida last winter for brother and sister visits, they plan to go to Lake Ontario (Henderson Harbor) during the summer to visit other family   and friends.    Even with the end of their boat partnership May first, they are busier in retirement than when Bob was working!

Hector and Joan Negroni returned to Vienna, VA, on 15 April and will return to their Florida Winter Quarters in January 2014.

Charlie and Sarah Stebbins continue to enjoy life. Charlie retired (again) from the University of Charleston to play more golf but seems to have accumulated four pages of unaccomplished Honey-Do items over the years. He made no mention of how he hopes to balance those items with his golf. Perhaps he will reveal all in his autobiography, “Mein Book”. Reportedly, Sarah’s Bunko and Bridge winnings are keeping them off food stamps, but that brings up the issue of declaring her winnings. Here’s hoping no one tips off the IRS (or, more properly, that she declared them).

Dennis and Iva Ray work out regularly and take hot yoga classes. Bayonet training was easier. Dennis is part of a start-up team based in Austin, TX, and Portugal focused on providing services to technology-based university spin-off ventures. Son Mishka, age 7, plays ice hockey in Aliso Viejo for a travel team that includes sons of two NHL players. They played older teams from Anaheim, Las Vegas, Tucson, and New Mexico over spring break and came away with 2 wins. Mishka was thrilled to take part in the opening ceremonies at Honda Center for the Ducks-Oilers game on April 8. Dennis and Mishka will start training in June for a bicycle tour in New Zealand in December. Dennis has taken eight such bike tours to New Zealand but fears if he waits much longer to take Mishka, he won’t be able to handle the climbs.

While Bud and Judy Utendorf spent their winter in Florida, he had the opportunity to fly a PT-17 open-cockpit biplane. A charity has a B-25, T-6, and this Stearman/Boeing primary trainer of the WWII era. For a donation, contributors can ride in any of them. They use the donations to recover the remains of WWII pilots who were shot down in remote areas and return them to the United States for re-burial. The Utendorfs thought this was a very worthy cause, so he signed up. Bud has always wanted to fly in an open-cockpit airplane, even if only for 15 minutes. The instructor asked if Bud had any aviation experience, especially in trainer types, so Bud told him: T-34, T-28 (remember pilot indoctrination?), T-37, and T-38. The instructor did the take-off, and as soon as they broke ground, he said "Your airplane". Bud had not had a "stick" in his hands since USAF pilot training in 1962. He was thrilled as he had hoped to do at least an aileron roll. The instructor said the PT-17 was not good for aileron rolls because of the two wings and small ailerons, but a barrel roll was OK. That turned into loops, spins, Immelmans, etc, and Bud’s 15 minutes became 30 minutes. There was a little placard on the instrument panel saying tips were appreciated. Indeed, Bud did! Judy took some pictures of the preparation, take-off, and landing that Bud will treasure forever.   

 

Bob and Winnie Wagner enjoyed a weekend visit at the best B&B in the South, the home of Doug and Dee Cairns. After a good dose of nostalgia at the Hank Williams museum (Your Cheatin' Heart...), Jimmy and Susan Poole and Neal and Gwen Westbrook joined them for a nice dinner and great catching up. They are starting the planning process for a Gray Tag Redneck Riviera Reunion some time in mid-to-late September. Stay tuned!

Tom and Judy Wilson’s two grandchildren cadets are scheduled to graduate in the Class of 2013 and join the Long Blue Line. To-be-2/Lt. Michael Powell was scheduled to attend Maryland University as a graduate student in Acquisitions and International Relations—until he received word that Rand Corporation had selected him as one of three 2013 USAFA graduates for a Fellowship to the Pardee Rand Graduate (PhD) Program.    To-be-2/Lt. Haley Wilson has been trying to decide between a Master's (Behavior Science) program at San Diego State University or an assignment to Wright-Paterson AFB, OH, in the same discipline. The SDSU offer is not yet firm, but the decision deadline comes after this Checkpoints deadline. Judy and Tom are extremely proud of these two new graduates, as you can imagine. They plan to attend their graduation and are looking forward to all the festivities, including pinning on the 2/Lt bars.

With the generous help and companionship of her children, Gayle Zompa was able to join her Colorado children on an amazing up-close African safari and a great time in Cape Town—truly a lifetime experience.    It was one more check mark on her bucket list.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed a couple of weeks in Arizona with his sister and brother-in-law. That helped reduce the effects of winter in Indiana although this spring has been much cooler than last year. It’s been difficult to golf much, so far.

Lin Bothwell (USAFA ’64 but not a graduate) dedicated his book Lessons in Honor to the Classes of 1961-1967. Of its 16 reviews on Amazon, 13 have awarded 5-stars, and three awarded 4-stars.    Our Clair Carling awarded it 5-stars.    Although I have not yet read this book, it is now on my reading list for the future.    Then-Mister Bothwell was in my cadet squadron.    His biography indicates that he was the first First Classman to have been expelled for academics; however, he then proceeded to earn degrees (through his doctorate) from Harvard.    An interesting and very productive personal journey then followed.

 

 

January 2013

 

Jerry Gill said that his sweet, strong, and beautiful Dorothy died on Christmas day after 50 years as a loving wife and mother. After 27 years, the breast cancer finally won. Dorothy Swann Gill, 72, of Roswell, GA passed away on Christmas Day 2012. She was born on Valentine's Day in 1940 to Adolph and Ruby Waller Swann in Roanoke, AL and grew up in Birmingham. After graduating from Auburn University in 1962, she traveled the world for 26 years as an Air Force wife then settled in Roswell. She was active in the Roswell UMC choir family for 23 years. She is survived by her devoted husband of 50 years, Col. Jerry Gill, 3 daughters and their families - Susan & Clay Saunders; Leigh Ann & Jim Kane and Beth & Andy Wren; 8 grandchildren - Hillary, Meredith, Olivia, Trevor, Max, Wesley, Drew, Sarah; and sister - Nancy & her husband, Tom Brechin.    Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org in her honor. Neal Westbrook, Mike Rawlins, Jimmy Poole, Johnny Caughman, and Sam Barazzone attended Dorothy’s services.

Our class is quite proud of Mark Anderson’s recognition by the AOG as a Distinguished Graduate. Congratulations from all of us, Mark. It was well deserved! Mark will receive his 2013 DGA at the Founders' Day Dinner scheduled for Friday, April 5, 2013.    It would a wonderful tribute to Mark and his family for as many of his classmates as possible to attend.    Please watch for the appropriate AOG e-mails announcing the time and place of the presentation or simply go to www.usafa.org and register yourself and a spouse/guest for this special event.

Terry Storm’s Chairman’s Journal in this issue of Checkpoints is his last, since his term on the AOG Board of Directors is ending.    He greatly appreciates all of the support of our classmates in his efforts to enhance the effectiveness and cost-efficiencies of the AOG. We all thank you for your many efforts on behalf of our AOG and Academy, Terry.

Hector Negroni reports that the Class of 1961 DC Bunch held their November Luncheon at the Springfield Country Club, Springfield, VA.       Once again, through the courtesy of Charley Dixon, they were treated royally at his Country Club.       After a beautiful prayer by their Chaplain (Twy Williams), they had a status of the DC Bunch report by Lowell Jones and a report by Bill Foster on the activities during the most recent Air Force-Army game.       Bill was not able to give them a total description of the tanks that rolled over Air Force during the game, but he said that the Air Force cadets did not know what hit them.       During the meal, they discussed the normal litany of ailments and medical problems by our class members.    While they seem to be aging gracefully, their visits to the doctors are more frequent.       Charley Dixon gave them a scalpel-by scalpel account of his recent eye surgery.       He claims that his vision is 20/20, but his hearing has not improved.       They took turns yelling into his good ear.    For a bunch of 70-year-olds, they are doing pretty well.

Mark Anderson said that Jim Ulm, Bob Wagner, and he are starting to work on a reunion of their Reese   pilot training class: 63B.    They have never held a reunion and decided if they don't get moving, it will be a small group!    Tentative plans are late spring, early summer of 2014 in San Antonio.    More info will be forthcoming to those involved.  

John Boesch is 3 weeks into the "hip replacement flight."    All is well so far.    John is also currently serving as "tech advisor" to Frank Kiszley, who is soon to join that flight.    John has been sworn in as 1st VP for the local MOAA Chapter, and serves on the Board with (past President) Jerry Lefton.  

Stu and Marnie Boyd are struggling with an addiction and need your help.    They are addicted to Les Miz.    Six stage performances and the movies of course—and they just got the original movie made in 1934, which runs for close to five hours and is in French (subtitles, thankfully).   If one of you knows of a good program, let them know.   

Because people continue to inquire, Bob Brickey provided a very short update on their granddaughter, MiaBella Brickey.    Mia is doing beautifully in every regard.    She is enjoying school, ballet lessons, and her Soo Bahk Do martial arts in which she is not allowed to do the sparring.    She must always   stay away from people who are ill, due to her immunosuppressed body, which keeps her new heart healthy. They are still ever grateful to so many who have expressed concern, prayers, and aid for Mia.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley continue to enjoy their endless summer in Satellite Beach, FL. Pat’s hip joint resurfacing is healing well, and he is approaching 3 miles at 6 mph on the elliptical strider as well as enjoying dips in the Atlantic Ocean for some swim exercise. Pat and Marilyn attended an alumni group television session to watch the Air Force/Army game. They had a good time, except the score! Being an optimist, Pat organized a Space Coast Alumni session to watch the Air Force/Rice Armed Forces Bowl game at the local Beef O’Brady’s. They and the 30 grads had a good time, except for the score, again! Otherwise, they have had relaxed time at home, except for all the doctor’s appointments. Pat and Marilyn will be going to the UK, Italy, and Spain in February and March. They will be at their Spanish home on the Costa del Sol (Velez-Malaga) from 26 Feb to mid March with two empty bedrooms (maybe) if anyone is in southern Spain and wants to visit.

Doug and Dee Cairns report that they are still in Montgomery, AL, enjoying full, uncomplicated retirement. Last year they enjoyed watching their eldest grandson, Chris, graduate, take a real job, get married, and move his bride from Wetumpka, AL, to the big city of San Francisco. That those two kids seem to enjoy living in the strange land of Congresswoman Pelosi is of concern to most of the Cairns family who are retaining their Southern roots. Cathy, Chris’s mom, is a nurse who directs a crew of cardiologists in town and maintains a watchful eye on Doug and Dee. Chris’s and Jordan’s wedding was cause for the other two grandkids to come for a month’s visit from their home in Italy. Nathan and Katye are teenagers and attend the DoD Naples American High School. This then became a grand “re-Americanizing” month for the kids since they have been over there for 8+ years, and counting. Rob seems to have become the indispensible man on the staff of CINCNAVEUR, so they may never come home.    Doug enjoys monthly golf with Steve Ho, Jimmy Poole, and Ron Jones.

Michele Cowan, AOG Customer Service Supervisor, realized that Trel and Dick Coppock had lost their complete collection of AOG Christmas ornaments in the 26 June wildfire.    She sought out a benefactor willing to purchase all she could find in her limited stock of past ornaments and sent them along to the Coppocks.    She found a generous spirit who,   wishing to remain anonymous,   purchased some 10 ornaments, including the Class of 1961 "jewel,"   and asked that they be sent to Dick and Trel with a simple Merry Christmas.    They arrived just as the Coppocks were decorating their tree in the (Saint) Nick of time.       The "usual suspects" prevail, and they are so very grateful to both Michele and their very own Santa.    The true Christmas spirit was indeed evident to Dick and Trel, and they are touched by such generosity.    They wish all classmates and their families all the blessings of the New Year.

       In June 2012 Randy Cubero was selected to run another charitable foundation called Parents Challenge, a 501C3, in Colorado Springs.    This charity provides low income families with financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants to move their children to a better performing school or to enhance their child's academic performance in their current school with supplemental materials and programs, like tutoring and purchasing a computer.    Parents Challenge is part of the National School Choice Movement, which believes strongly that parents need to be more engaged and empowered in their child's education and that they alone should make the educational choices that will give their child the best chances for success. Randy indicated that it has been a real eye-opener to understand what has happened to our K-12 public education system, especially after so many years of running the Falcon Foundation and dealing with only top tiered academically performing students trying to enter the Air Force Academy.

Dick Davis enjoyed the hospitality of Carl Granberry and his new wife, Lura, a high school chum. Carl has a well-fed herd of horses on his Winona, TX, property.    And Heather, Dick’s horse, is joining that herd as a guest. They spent the day together, and Carl showed Dick his   family’s metal-bending plant where they make rings for brooms and mops. He also showed Dick the improvements he has designed into his metal-bending operation.    They are formidable accomplishments, demonstrating applications of his education in mechanical engineering and Double E. Very impressive.

Bob Dean said he is into doing a lot of exercises.    To exercise his legs, he walks back and forth from the kitchen to the computer room 30 times a day. His bending exercises include bending over 5-6 times a day picking up Golden Retriever puppy poop. To exercise his arms, at 4:30 p.m.   every afternoon he lifts a heavy glass of vodka with an olive in it 30-40 times. For some reason, he can't remember what he does after 5:30 p.m.

Tom and Anne Eller spent a couple of weeks   starting with Thanksgiving   in the UK with son Rob Eller and family (USAFA '96), then hosted their other children and grandchildren in Colorado for Christmas. Tom and Anne plan to spend several weeks in Kauai this winter before going to Atlanta and back to the UK at the end of May to celebrate their 50th with all of their children.

Richard Fairlamb has been Flight Captain of the Order of Daedalians Flight #23/DFW since mid-year 2011.       This flight has the same number as the F-4 squadron Richard commanded at Spangdahlem AB, Germany in the late 1970s—23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron.       Flight 23 is one of the largest of the 70+ flights in the international Order of Daedalians at 209 members—holding steady over the past few years.       The flight hosted the National Convention in October 2011 and has supported two academic university-level scholarships, a CAP cadet solo program, and CFIP high school AFJROTC cadet solo program annually during recent years.       Flight 23, under Richard’s leadership, was awarded the “2012 Jimmy Doolittle Award” by Daedalian National HQ.       This is the second time Flight 23 has received the Doolittle Award, the last time being in 1997.       Just to keep out of trouble, and out of local watering holes, Richard continues to generate some revenue as a Business Continuity and Recovery consultant and teacher, and finds a little time to keep VFR and IFR current in his 1957 Cessna 182.

Paul Hinton ran a Half-Marathon at Disneyland with his oldest granddaughter. The thing started at 0500, and they had to be in place at 0430. When he got up, he thought,    "Exactly what the devil is it that made you agree to this?" Save for the hour, however, it was a delight. It was grand but what a comment on time.

Highlights from Henry and Peggy Howe are the memories they have of their five-week trip down under last fall. They spent four days aboard the Coral Princess II on the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling some of the loveliest waters they had ever seen. They explored the Daintree National Park by four-wheel tour bus   and encountered the salt-water crocodiles and flightless emus. Then they went to Darwin and lived in Karnda National Park with the kangaroos, wallabies, and more crocodiles. They spent a week driving (yes - on the wrong side of the road) through the outback around Alice Springs, Ularu (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon, and Kata Tjuta. They topped off the Australian adventure with a week in Sydney seeing the local sights and the Blue Mountains. They visited only the North Island in New Zealand, where they spent another week climbing the trails around Mt Ruapehu and rafting on the Tarangi River, then lounging in the hot thermal pools. Their underground adventure took them into the glow-worm caves.

Sometimes Don McCarter feels his and Johnnie’s daily activities have become so routine that making a change is a real challenge. They have been blessed to have their kids living close by. They get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with everyone in attendance with no long distance travel. It is also convenient for them to participate in grandchildren’s activities. Each summer they travel to Hendersonville, NC, for a reunion with Don’s brothers and sister and their families. The group size increases every year. Johnnie and Don love the North Carolina mountains. They especially enjoy the trails in the national parks where the trails are blazed to prevent them from getting lost. Don’t laugh. A lot of people take the wrong turn in those hills. Walking, tennis, and workouts at the YMCA help to keep the body upright and mobile. John and Kathy Dates and Jim and Judy Tulis visit Florida occasionally, and Don and Johnnie really enjoy the time with them. Don took a master gardening course at the Florida Extension service and has been certified as a Florida Master Gardener. He spends a lot of time coordinating the activities of the community garden sponsored by their church, and he volunteers about seventy hours a year at the Orange County plant clinic. Gardening in Florida is an eye opening and mind-boggling experience.

In January, Sam Barazzone, plus Gwen, and Charlie Neel and Dean Jones wowed the cold-weather skiers and brought   Breckenridge slopes to their knees. Lynda Neel and Jo Jones remained grounded.

As is their custom, Hector and Joan Negroni will be spending the winter (Jan-May 2013) at their Bonita Springs, Florida, home.

Al and Becky Nunn said that their daughter, Ashley, was married last October. Her husband, Charlie King, is   the father of two children, Sophie, age 10, and Henry, age 7. They were married at "The Quack Shack" in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Becky and Al rented the "shack" for a week for her wedding party and "30 of their closest fiends" to stay during the preliminaries to the   festivities.   While there, Al was treated to an unexpected and unplanned ride in the Rescue Squad   van and   admitted to the local hospital after experiencing a period of disassociation. Diagnosis was Transient Global Amnesia, a condition which shows symptoms similar to those of a stroke, but is temporary in nature, with no after-affects, and occurs to perhaps one in 300,000 persons. He was the one this time and was released the next day, following the diagnosis. Wedding went off without a hitch. Ashley lives with her husband and his children in Falls Church, VA, so that's close enough for frequent phone calls and occasional visits.   Al’s recently resigned from the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross there.    Becky continues her activities with theater, having directed four plays for the local theater group, The Lancaster Players. She is currently in rehearsal as director for "How the Other Half Loves," opening March 8.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear had a wonderful Christmas season, starting with spending several days over Christmas with their daughter and her family in Michigan. Then, they enjoyed several days when their younger son’s family visited them in Granger, IN, along with their older son’s family, who also live in Granger. They also celebrated their sons and daughters-in-law anniversaries with a special evening at a very nice local restaurant. Wrapping it up, on New Year’s Eve, their oldest granddaughter and her boyfriend flew from Virginia to spend a couple of days with Nelson and Teri in Granger and Chicago.

Thanks for all who contributed. We hope to hear from you others next time.

 

October 2012

After battling pancreatic cancer for four months—the last three weeks in hospice—lucid and upbeat until the end, Larry Karnowski passed away on 8 October. Dick Coppock said that Jerry and Sue Lefton, and Trel and he attended the "Polish Pond" service for Larry on Saturday, 20 October.   They were welcomed by Larry’s three sons/spouses, his sister,  and loved ones and friends.   Following special words from his family and friends, some of Larry's ashes  were scattered in his beloved pond, an Air Force honor guard folded the flag, and Taps was played and volleys fired to  honor our good friend and class leader.     With the family's permission, Jerry and Dick sang the chorus of the Air Force Song in the tradition of our class.   It was a moving occasion and a joyous celebration of his very special life.   They were proud and honored to represent our class.

[

Larry and Jim Wilhelm, from Larry’s last ride in July

Sheila Stephen, Paul’s wife of 51 years, passed away on 9 October. It was sudden and unexpected, as no threatening illness was known. Their daughters were all there. Sheila’s funeral mass was Saturday, 13 October. Paul said that he truly appreciated the numerous messages of condolence from ‘61. The Class flowers were beautiful. His entire family was there, and that made it easier to obtain closure. He is back at work now. Paul and Sheila will remain in Illinois until they can both be buried at USAFA. Again, Paul’s sincerest thanks to the greatest of all classes: 1961.

Our class now has 170 living graduates. Including Sid Abbott and Bill Gibbons, 49 have passed on.

Mark and Ginger Anderson enjoyed a nice trip in September  across the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver to Calgary, part on the Rocky Mountaineer train, and part by coach.   It offered beautiful scenery and a nice temperature change from south Texas.   Bob and Winnie Wagner stopped through their area in late September and their locals wined and dined them.   Attending were Larry and Kathy Freeman, John and Casey Goodley, Jack  Bright with date (Nancy), Richard and Carolyn Smith, Jim and Jeanne Ulm, and the Andersons.

Owing to 50+ years of physical activity outside the normal envelope, Howard Bodenhamer’s right hip joint threatened to quit working; whereupon, consistent with his superior Air Force and Stanford Business School training, he elected to have it replaced with a newer, more functional model on 15 August.   Some two months later, he is about 80 percent back to normal levels of activity and delighted with the results to date.   His surgeon, Dr. Steven Weeden of the Texas Hip and Knee clinic in Fort Worth, was world class.   Howard encourages any of our classmates contemplating a similar operation to do their due diligence and get it done before Obamacare is fully operative and while Medicare/Tricare still have funds available for the significant cost.   Pat Buckley and he shared experiences and their due diligence with good results for both of them, using different solutions.  

Bob and Jan Brickey wanted to share their granddaughter’s, MiaBella Brickey’s, progress since so many of us have inquired. She is doing very well!   Her new heart passed it's year-old date on June 11, 2012, and she is enjoying school, Children's Dance Theater (modern dance classes), Tae Kwon Do martial arts (but no actual sparring), and playing bass guitar in the school band. She is a very happy and thankful young lady—and so is her family!   Bob and Jan are so thankful for the class of 1961.

Jack Bright has recovered well from his surgery and is now receiving radiation therapy daily to his upper left chest for the next 6-7 weeks.   He has started to play some golf again, but only 9 holes at an outing.   He played with John and Casey Goodley this week.   (Watch out for John...he plays to win!)   Jack thanks the Class for all the support given him over the last two months.   In his words, “You are the Greatest!”  

From 18 July Pat and Marilyn Buckley visited their Spanish home in Velez-Malaga, AndalucÌa for some sun, sand, music, food, and wine. Pat got upper jaw implants and a new, better set of upper teeth. Plus some work time to prepare their home for prospective renters in August and September. From 8 to 21 August, back to the UK to visit family and friends. Good weather and all day Olympics coverage on TV. 22 to 29 August back to Boston to visit family and friends. Labor Day weekend in the Washington DC area visiting family and two nights with Bill and Theda Foster and Saturday night dinner and dancing with Bill and Theda at the Ft Meyers Officers’ Club. Bill conducted a guided tour of the Udvar-Hazy Museum at Dulles. (See photos) Then back to Satellite Beach, FL, for a week to rest. From 11 to 14 September to Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA for the Pilot Training Class 63B 50th Reunion. USAFA Classmates included: Pat and Marilyn Buckley, Richard Fairlamb and Carol, Tom and Bonnie Williams, Bill Stackhouse, Charlie Dixon, and Paul Dean. Dick Fairlamb did a great job of planning and organizing. The active duty support at Moody AFB was terrific.   The 23rd Fighter Wing (successors to The Flying Tigers of China fame) operates A-10s, combat rescue HC-130s, and UH-60 Blackhawks.   They provided a full mission briefing and static displays for 63B attendees.   Great to see our Air Force is still a very capable and professional organization (even without all of us).   Class 63B also enjoyed a joint dinner with the local MOAA (Military Officers Assn of America) chapter.   Additionally, they had a small golf tourney, great times in the Hospitality Suite, and retold all the great “there I was! stories, plus some new ones Pat had not heard before.   As usual, “The older we get, the better we were!”   Afterwards, Marilyn and Pat drove in and around the Okefenokee Swamp.   They stayed overnight at a camp just outside the eastern entrance and did a sunrise departure for a half-day guided motor boat tour of some of the eastern part of the swamp, which was very enjoyable. On 15 October they drove to Columbia, SC, to get Pat’s right hip joint resurfaced on 17 October,  checked out of the hospital on 19 October, and drove home on 20 October. Pat had the expected amount of bruising, swelling, and pain but not bad. On 21 October the hip was working okay with one or two crutches. Pat knows everyone wants to see a close up visual of his pelvis so a copy of the post op X-ray showing his brand new steel molybdenum right hip joint is available if you want to contact him <patrickbuckley1961@yahoo.com>. [I do not want to begin sharing xrays and surgical procedures via our web site—Nelson.] Anyone interested in hip joint resurfacing vs hip joint replacement see the following url:   http://www.midlandsortho.com/pted.htm     select Patient Education, select Hip and view the videos for replacement vs resurface.   For anyone really interested in getting resurfacing see Dr Gross’ website at:     http://www.grossortho.com/   and explore to your heart’s content.   And Pat will be happy to share his experience with anyone who is interested.

 

 

Trel and Dick Coppock thank all who expressed concern and offered assistance as they progressed through their "incident", i.e., the loss of their home/possessions in the Colorado Springs Waldo Canyon Wildfire on 26 June.   They  evacuated with only a few trash bags of clothing, important papers, a (very) few mementos, and, most importantly, themselves and precious Shih Tzu, Charlie.   Good fortune smiled on them, and they immediately purchased a single-level condo in his (Dick’s) hometown of Salem, OH.   Fully- furnished, it was a bargain—courtesy of two of his married high school classmates who occupied the dwelling in a private community for only two-three weeks a year when visiting family, attending reunions, etc.   The Coppocks arrived on 18 July and closed on 20 July; cash does wonders!   They wish that all of their evacuated neighbors could have been so fortunate. Dick and Trel’s daughter and family, including three of their four children, plus a great granddaughter now live within five minutes of them.   In the final analysis, the majority of their loss was just "stuff"—except for their friends and neighbors of some 29 years and, of course, all of you.   They are so grateful to Jim and Nancy Wilhelm for handling so many of their communications as they tried to "get it together."   They are safe, happy, and well on their way to complete recovery.

Gene and Judy Davis unexpectedly ran into classmate Corky Cochrane and wife, Pat, in Paris in September. Both couples were celebrating their fiftieth anniversaries with a boat tour down the Seine River. The last time Gene was in Paris was on the 1959 cadet field trip. Howie Bodenhamer, Dick McMonigal, (I think) and I were lying under the Eiffel Tower at three in the morning enjoying the Paris evening. A highlight of the river tour was seeing the installations and beaches at Normandy. Most touching was laying a flower on the grave on one our brave warriors in the American Cemetery. Even having seen the movie, The Longest Day, and the book, Omaha Beach, it is hard to imagine the savagery of the fighting, the courage of the troops, and the incredible victory of our forces on D-Day, especially with the calm serenity of the beaches today. The excellent British Museum, which highlights the floating harbors that were towed across the channel and put in place, and the residual German pill boxes and defense installations do bring back echoes of that great battle. The river cruise itself was delightful. Friends Jane and Jim Templeton joined Pat, Corky, Judy, and Gene in visiting Monet’s Estate, several small French villages, and, of course, the sights of Paris – The Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, and the Arch de Triumph. The food was fantastic and the company very companionable.

 

Tom Eller reported on their UPT Class Reunion in San Antonio the last weekend in September. USAFA classmates attending were: Hanson Scott, Byron Theurer, Phil Lane, Paul Hinton, and Tom Eller. The special guest for Friday night’s dinner was 2nd Lt. Barrett Schake, Tom's grandson, USAFA '11, a student pilot at Del Rio. In case they couldn't remember what they looked like 50 years ago, all they had to do was to look at Barrett in his flight suit.

 

Pat and Don Grant continue to enjoy life and good health. Since his heart attack and aortal surgery, all seems to be going well. They are still enjoying golf and traveling, but like most of us, their priority is with their kids and grandchildren. Their two girls moved to Salt Lake City about a year ago—one from Chicago and one from Jackson Hole, WY. Don and Pat spent the last two months getting them situated in homes they purchased—one on the East Bench of SLC and one in Park City (site of SLC Olympics). Their winter plans are now changed, effective last year from Florida to St George in SW Utah (a beautiful area). The girls both are after them to relocate to Utah, and they probably will. Don continues to follow the lives of ‘61er's and feels the emptiness left in his heart as we lose a member of our unique class of graduates. He feels very proud to be a part of this group.

Bill and Linda Griffis recently traveled from South Florida to Northern Georgia (Hiawassee) to visit an old friend from Airborne Command Post ("Looking Glass") days at Offuttt AFB in Omaha, NE.   Lots of mountains and lakes plus terrific weather.   Had a great time.   Also got to stop along the way at St. Augustine, FL, Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC.   Oldest son Lt. Col. John Griffis (West Point '88) returns to California from Stuttgart, Germany, assignment with Special Ops outfit.   Still savoring warm memories from last November's Class of 1961 Reunion.

Since Labor Day, Lowell and Sandy Jones have spent six weeks on the ocean at
Myrtle Beach, SC, and one week on the road to Montgomery, AL, to visit friends before returning home 21 October.   They really enjoy this little adventure every year.

Wayne and Mary Jones went on a month-long, 4,100 mile driving trip to the Northwest US, over to Yellowstone National Park, and down I-15 in August and September.   They saw many friends, relatives, and beautiful countryside along the way, including a fun rendezvous with ‘61ers (Kerrs, Cochranes, G. Hopp, and Taylors) in Seattle, as well as the Brickeys in Salt Lake City and Theurers in St. George.   Wayne and Mary also spent three wonderful  days on Orcas Island in the San Juans  with family.   They finally got to see the incredible Grand Coulee Dam and had not been back to Yellowstone since their honeymoon 51 years ago!   Thankfully, it was just as amazing and beautiful as they remembered it.   They have plenty of room at their B&B in Ramona, so they ask everyone to come see them any time. 

Bob Kellock picked up his repaired Jabiru 250 on 18 September and flew it to its home base at  Nogales International Airport where Samantha and their dog, Shoshone, were waiting.   The original trip started on 28 April, but the aircraft had to detour back to the factory by truck for repairs after an encounter with a dust devil at Hobbs, NM, on 3 May.   Retirement is a continuous series of reunions—about nine in three years.   Samantha's 50th for high school graduation and the 6th  bi-annual Forward Air Controllers reunion were both held in Tucson in October.   Bob and Samantha were going to fly to them, but their aircraft  radio decided they weren't.   They are getting into their scheme of three weeks in Patagonia, three weeks in Long Beach, and three weeks on the road with their plane (Juliette) and the Dog (Shoshone).   The rotations are subject to a lot of alterations to meet holidays, birthdays, obligations, and Samantha's test dates for her Health Information Technology degree program.   They are always ready to respond to classmate activities.

Doug McConnell wanted to recognize the top fishing expertise earned (with oak leaf clusters) by Charlie Neel during his visit to Doug’s lake as the "group of 6" relaxed following their five days in Oshkosh for the EAA AirVenture convention. This high achievement was witnessed by George Buchner, Dean Jones, and Bob Wagner (and Doug).

 

John Moore went to the AF-Michigan game and experienced the thrill of sitting with 114,000 fans watching OUR team do themselves proud.   At the hotel, John had the pleasure of running into John Miltner, '59.   John Moore was impressed with the show of patriotism put on by the folks at Michigan before the game and at half time.   It was heart-warming to see Americans honoring the military.   However, the highlight came during the national anthem, to which all 114,000 were singing.    Somewhere in the middle of the anthem, the B-2 loomed over the south rim of the stadium and began its flyover.   Between the ramparts and the rockets' red glare, the singing abruptly changed to an audible gasp, followed by numerous exclamations ranging from astonishment to reverence.   The combined spectacle of air power and patriotism took John’s breath away.  

Hector and Joan Negroni’s sons, Hector Emilio and Xavier Andres, left Wall Street major investment banks to pursue brighter horizons.   Hector Emilio was the head of municipal bond trading at Goldman Sachs.   He left to become the  co-CEO of Fundamental Credit Opportunities, which will look for “structural inefficiencies” in the muni market. The fund is starting up at a time when cities and states remain under enormous financial pressure, offering what they  view as new opportunities to make distressed investments.   Xavier Andres was a Managing Director at JP Morgan and left to be Managing Director and Broker-Dealer Agent for  Pierpont Securities LLC, an independent, privately-owned company that provides to institutional clients’ liquidity, execution services, and strategic advice pertaining to the US Treasury, federal agency, and repurchase markets.     But more important to Hector and Joan is that they are good husbands, good parents, are not workaholics, and are fully engaged in all family activities.   Hector places family above job all the time.

Hector also summarized our DC Group’s August luncheon: Once again, the dining room of the exclusive Springfield Country Club was graced by the presence of a select group of members of the United States Air Force Academy Class of 1961 and spouses.   Those attending, seen in the photo below, included Lowell and Sandy Jones, John and Joan Kohout, Charlie Dixon, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, John and Diane McDonough, Twy Williams, Bill Foster, Cathy Muller and Hector Negroni.   Lowell Jones did his normal extraordinary job of bringing everyone up to speed with class news and of insuring that the bill was paid in full.   Once again we thank Charlie Dixon for allowing us to use his Country Club.   By unanimous consent, Twy Williams was elevated to the prestigious position of DC '61 Group Chaplain. He led the group in praying for the health of our classmates who were facing severe health issues, particularly Terry Norris and Larry Karnowski.   

 

Some of those attending inquired about the plans for the Army-Air Force Football Game.   Below is the program. If you want further information contact Bill Kosco, 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron (Mythical) Adjutant at  (billkosco@aol.com). He still has some game tickets left. Also, we have rooms at the Montvale Courtyard and room on the bus and at Upper Saddle River and West Point activities. Brice is coordinating the 1 and 4 November NYC events and Harvard Club lodging, and he is  now locked in with his numbers.

Re-Attention to Deployment Orders

                                This is to reiterate our plans to deploy to the shores of the Hudson to celebrate another 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron Reunion on the occasion of the 2012 Army-Air Force Football Game--now officially set for 1200 hours   Saturday, 3 November 2012 at West Point's Michie Stadium.

There are now 50 squadron members, mates, misfits, and  drifters without a reputation to protect registered to attend.    We have  reserved a block of rooms at the Courtyard by Marriott Montvale for the nights of 2 and 3 November. The rate is a reasonable $105/double before taxes. You may go to www.montvalecourtyard.com to book online. The code for a king size bed is SSRSSRA and for 2 beds is SSRSSRB. If you prefer to call, the toll free number is 866-630-0709.

Prior to and after USR and West Point core activities, Brice will be scheduling a winemakers dinner at the Harvard Club on Thursday; and then on Sunday we will take in a Broadway show (Nice work if you can get it). Regarding the Academy-centric agenda, the following applies:


1. Friday, 2 November


       a. Deploy yourselves to Upper Saddle River (USR), NJ. A map to the hotel and the Magro's will be provided.


       b. Kathleen and Mike Magro's Reunion Headquarters will open for drinks and a catered dinner at 1800

2. Saturday, 3 November


      a. Depart Montvale lodging on chartered bus for West Point at 0730

      b. Attend Parade on the Plain at 0900

      c. Attend USAFA AOG Tailgate at the West Point Officers’ Club: 1000

     d. Attend A-AF Game from 1200-1530

     e. Report to South Dock at 1630 by shuttle bus and embark on The Pride of the Hudson for a river cruise and refreshments. Our party will disembark in Cold Springs and walk to Cathryn's Tuscan Grill for dinner.

      f. Board bus at  2200 at Cathryn's for transportation back to the Montvale Courtyard.

3. Sunday, 4 November


      a. Coffee, rolls, and Fighter Pilot Stew at Reunion Headquarters 0900-1200

      b. Wheels up at 1201 for NYC or HOR.

Request: Please respond below to this deployment notice in a timely manner.  Your  immediate response would be appreciated and will help the reunion committee of one to effectively plan.   Forward this e-mail back to me with the following responses:


               1. Name (s):______________
               2. We anticipate that we will or will not be able to attend USR-Academy Activities 2-4 November :___________
               3. I/we will need football tickets (yes or no and how many if yes):___________

John and Mary Payne are continuing to enjoy their retirement in Oxford, MS.   John made a big mistake in June when he agreed to serve one term as president of his subdivision’s homeowners association.   It is like going back to work.   The subdivision is new and still growing, with building continuing in the back section.   John has to monitor the builders, handle complaints from homeowners, etc.   It is really cutting into his loafing and traveling.   John did manage to get to the 55th reunion of his old high school class in South Mississippi.   He found many of his classmates still well and enjoying life.   Greetings to all our USAFA classmates, and don’t forget to enjoy every day.

The Carleen and Terry Storms' daughter, Shari, came through her fourth serious back operation, hopefully successful this time. Before going to Denver on 19 October, to be there for Shari’s operation, Terry took part in the groundbreaking for the new Center for Character and Leadership Development at the Academy.

Neal Westbrook said that UPT Class 63B, Craig AFB, held a reunion in October at San Destin, FL, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its graduation.   Eight of 15 from our USAFA Class ’61 were able to attend:   Doug Cairns plus Dee, Bobbie Grace plus Anne, Sam Hardage, Dave Hmiel, Worth McCue plus Joan, Jimmy Poole plus Susan, Neal Westbrook plus Gwen, and Tom Wilson plus Judy.   Charlie Neel and Linda were allowed to join the festivities even though Charlie did not graduate with 63B due to the high standards set by the class and the fact that a bridge was not where it was supposed to be.   They ate lots of seafood, told of exploits, made some appropriate toasts, and enjoyed each other as comrades do.   All sorely missed those who could not attend.   They are looking forward to their 55th in 2017.

A visit by Charlie and Sarah Stebbins to Colorado Springs required a ‘61 party.   The Wilhelms hosted a football weekend party at their home on Thursday before the New Mexico game.   Great time had by all.   Those in attendance:   The Stebbins, Ellers, Conleys, Cuberos, Harings, McCues, Willis, Hulls, and Terry Storm.   Terry said that Jim Wilhelm gave him a model of General Goodpaster's   European command aircraft, which Larry Karnowski piloted, to display in the ’61 area of the AOG lounge.   The model had been General Goodpaster’s departing gift to Larry. Jim also showed off his beautifully  restored 1963 Thunderbird—something grand to replace the '61 bus all of us enjoyed at the tailgates in the past.   Terry had to leave early, before the following pictures were taken.

 

Wayne Whalen, chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation presented the traveling Lincoln Trophy to Eureka College, winners of the Lincoln Bowl, on 1 September at Knox College in Galesburg, IL.   The schools have competed in football for over 110 years.   Knox and Eureka were two of the three colleges Lincoln visited during his life (the third was Coopers Union in New York).   The Eureka College quarterback set the all time NCAA passing record of 736 yards.

Tom and Judy Wilson thoroughly enjoyed attending Tom's 50th Class 63B Pilot Training reunion in late September.   It was held at the Hilton SanDestin Hotel in Destin, FL and was attended by most of the "remaining" grads, some of whom they hadn't seen in a number of years.   Tom had forgotten how good they really were as Pilot Trainees and how they have contributed to "saving the World!"   What a great time they had.

Teri and Nelson O’Rear enjoyed 9 days in northern Italy in October, mostly in Venice. Using boats (called vaporettos) as buses to go to the different islands was unique. Of course, the obligatory gondola ride was fun. The food was great, as were the Italian people. All in all, however, they are glad to spend their time on solid ground once again. (Nelson has always been grateful that enough Americans like to spend time at sea that the Navy never sought his services.) Adjusting to their local time zone seems to take longer after each successive overseas trip.

Thanks again to all who contributed. If you have not done so recently, we particularly want to hear from you.

 

 

July 2012

After battling brain cancer, Donna White (Bob’s widow) passed away on 8 June with her entire family at her side. Both were interred at the Air Force Academy Cemetery, on 20 June, with a graveside ceremony. Tom Conley, Charlie Neel, Terry Storm, Jim Wilhelm, and Frank Willis attended, representing our class and singing "Here's a Toast" at the end of the service.

Mark Anderson joined Randy Cubero, Mike Quinlan, and Jim Hinkle for a round of golf in May at Randy's home course (Pine Creek) -- and lost money!   Ginger and Mark will join Richard and Carolyn Smith and other graduates  on an AOG-sponsored Great Lakes Cruise in mid-August.   They were looking forward to leaving the 100-degree August heat in South Texas and seeing some beautiful scenery "up North". 

The Government of Albania invited Pat and Marilyn Buckley back to attend the formal dedication and opening of Albania’s new Air Traffic Control Center and Airport Tower on 14 May 2012.   This was the final major task in Albania’s National Airspace Modernization Project.   Pat spent the last 7 years of his working life as the Lockheed Martin Managing Director and Country Manager, developing the concept, getting it approved by Albania, Lockheed Martin and Eurocontrol, getting it financed by the US Export Import Bank and BNP Paribas, and then getting it contracted and built by an international consortium led by Lockheed Martin.   When Pat first became involved, Albania’s primitive air traffic control system was controlling about 7,000 aircraft movements per year with revenues of about $700,000 per year.   When Pat retired, Albania’s modern, safe system of radars, radios, navigation aids, computers, software, and trained operators and maintainers were controlling over 225,000 aircraft movements per year with revenues over $25,000,000 per year.   The remaining major task was construction completion of the new Control Center and Tower.   They went operational in April of 2012.     Attached are photos of the new building and Pat receiving congratulations from the Honorable Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania.   On 25 June Pat and Marilyn began their 2012 Odyssey from Florida to Boston to England to Spain and back along the same route.   Drove from Florida to Boston and visited family and friends along the way.   Pat and Marilyn descended on the Washington DC area for a visit on 28 June with the thunderbolts of Zeus.   On 29 June the power went out for millions between North Carolina and Connecticut.   On 30 June, despite the turmoil, Jack and Diane McDonough and John and Joan Kohout met Pat and Marilyn for dinner at The Wharf, in Alexandria, VA and a good time was had by all.   After Pat and Marilyn departed, the power was slowly restored.   They flew from Boston to London on 11/12 July to visit family and friends in the Brighton area.   Then to Spain on 18 July for 3 weeks in their Spanish home in Velez-Malaga, Andalucia, Spain.   See the following URL for photos and a description of their Spanish home.   http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/spain/s16748.htm   Visitors welcome!   Meanwhile, Pat decided it was time to fix his arthritic right hip.   Since April he has consulted with six reportedly expert surgeons, and after 3 months of research and consultation decided to have hip resurfacing done by Dr Gross in Columbia, SC.   Resurfacing vs replacement should restore more function.   See following url for all you ever wanted to know about hip replacement and resurfacing.   http://www.grossortho.com/   Last good news, 2 years after prostate cancer treatment Pat’s PSA is still less than 0.1.   Hooray!!!

 

Judy and Gene Davis had a great spring: Granddaughter Daniel Davis (daughter of Chris and Robbi Davis, both Class of 1985) was married on the SMU Campus to classmate Jon McDonald in April. Granddaughter Samantha Davis (same parents) graduated from Oklahoma University in Norman in May. The day after Gene and Judy arrived in Fort Worth, Gene flew with his son to Fort Jackson, SC, to witness the graduation of Gene’s grandson Russell Cole Davis from Army boot camp. While in Fort Worth/Dallas, Richard Fairlamb set up a dinner with Dick Davis, Pete and Pat Lane, Tom and Bonnie Williams, Phil Woods, and Gene and Judy. They had a great Mexican dinner, Margaritas, and an evening of war stories. When they returned to Florida, Jerry and Sue Lefton invited them to their Pompano Beach resort timeshare. Jim and Linda Rogers, and Tom and Mimi Skilling joined them for a pleasant couple of days. Judy and Gene celebrated 50 wonderful wedded years on June 9th. The Buckleys joined them for dinner. Judy and Gene are planning a September trip to France and Normandy to celebrate their anniversary.

 

 

Howard Bodenhamer will be having his right hip replaced in Fort Worth on 15 August.   He said it is the result of too many miles and bad broncs.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley, Paul Dean, Tom Williams and Richard "Dick" Fairlamb will be at Moody AFB, Valdosta, GA, on the day of their graduation from UPT in Class 63B, 50 years ago—12 Sept 2012.     Even some of their German Air Force/Luftwaffe classmates will participate.     It will be a great fun re-join with classmates, reliving those days, and again terrorizing the facilities at Moody.   They are still hoping that Chuck Croll, Charley Dixon, Johnny Harris, Tom Skilling, and Bill Stackhouse will be able to be there with them.

Wayne and Erna Haring ended a 16-day cruise on Princess Cruise Lines to the land of the midnight sun just as the fires in the Colorado Springs area were abating.  They sailed from  England around Norway to 79 degrees North (450 miles from the North Pole). The port there consisted of 10 different countries’ weather stations. Then they sailed south around the western coast of Norway with stops along the way, into and out of the many fjords, ending back in Dover, England.

Steve Ho and Lynn attended a recent McCrum family reunion (her maiden name) at Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland.   They called the Stebbins while driving through Charleston, WV, but did not make contact.   Steve and Lynn were caught in the fast-moving summer storm on the evening of 29 June that cut power to millions of customers from Ohio to the East Coast.   Their car survived the night when a large tree toppled within  feet of it.   They continued the trip by visiting Washington, D.C., and it was very sporting driving through many busy intersections without working traffic lights.   A little shaken but none the worse for wear, they returned to Birmingham, AL, without incident. After returning, Steve contacted the Stebbins and was told that after the storm, they were without power for a week and had to totally restock.

Gene Hopp would like to thank the entire class for the outpouring of help, as well as the class gift to the high school that helped immeasurably getting him into USAFA.   After the passing of Annette, he has spent the summer back in Washington, got a contract to sell that house, and will move full time to Arizona by September.

Bob Kellock executed his retirement activity as of 28 February/1 March, according to Boeing's processes.   He handed off his System Safety and T&E  duties responsibly, and then changed his company medical plan over to Medicare/Tricare  after three visits to the SS office.   As predicted, he needed a Light Sport Aircraft to make all of his planned visits.   He bought a Jabiru S250 in April, intending to pick it up in Mt. Vernon, IL, and go to the retirement/museum entry of C-17 T-1 in Dayton.    (He beat T-1 to retirement!)   The Jabiru  wasn't quite ready, so Samantha and Bob drove to the T-1 ceremony from Mt. Vernon and returned  to get it (it is N606J, to be specific!).   First destination was Colorado Springs (son Edward) after four hops  in three days, threading  their way among thunderstorms and tornados.   After a day's visit, they were off to Hobbs, NM, to visit Samantha's recently widowed aunt.   Easily negotiating Raton Pass and refueling at Raton, they continued to Hobbs.   After dealing with tornados successfully, a dust devil in the flare took the plane off the runway, ran it along on one wheel and the nose gear or wingtip awhile, and dropped the nose and prop into the sand, unceremoniously, but classically at rest, tail up, nose down.   They were uninjured, called the tower for help, shut it down, and exited in the manner that any landing you can walk away from is a good one.   Samantha's Health Information Technology course does not offer a class during the summer, so she attacked the garage and two storage areas to make sense of their stuff, and eliminate one storage area.   The plane is currently nearly repaired in the factory at Shelbyville, TN, and they are off to Henderson Harbor, NY, via commercial air on Jul 31st for family visits and Bob's 55th high school reunion in Watertown, Aug 3-4.   They hope to pick up the airplane about Aug 10th and retrace their original route to permanently station the aircraft at Patagonia, AZ (actually Nogales International Airport).   They will celebrate Samantha's birthday in September, and attend two  reunions in Tucson in October  - Samantha's 50th high school and Bob's FAC Association.   If all of that goes well, they'll be off to Idaho for Samantha's aunt's 94th birthday in December, and  northern Florida in the winter  for brother and sister visits.   They report that they are busier in retirement than when Bob was working!

Doug McConnell sent the following picture of ‘61ers at Oshkosh 2012. Tom Cruise and Steve Canyon look-a-likes at Oshkosh 2012: Doug McConnell, Bob Wagner, Dean Jones, George Buchner, Gene O'Baker (honorary social chair) and Charlie  Neel.

John and Sherry Moore  celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in July by taking their entire family (eleven adults and two  great grand babies)  on a beach vacation in Laguna Beach, CA.   They rented a beach house that purported to sleep twelve, but apparently that  didn't mean all at the same time because three of the  young adults  had to curl up on couches.    Basking in the California weather and warm sand, and  challenging the  seven-foot breakers of Laguna made up for any inconveniences, however.   Plus, John and Sherry  occupied the master suite, far away from the two o'clock feeding.   One of the many highlights of the week was the visit of Wyatt and Deborah Cash, who drove four hours from Atascadero to spend the day.   Wyatt is fully retired now from the law business and tends their cats, dogs, and chickens (yes, chickens) while his wife is busy being the public affairs director for San Luis Obispo.   As can be seen in the photo, neither Wyatt nor John has changed--much.

Hector Negroni wrote that for the last 20 years, members of the Air Force Academy Class of 1961 have been holding quarterly luncheons in the Washington DC area.   The large group of class members in the Northern Neck area of Virginia decided to host June's luncheon at the Commodore Room of the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club and invited spouses as well as class friends from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Also attending was a son of Karl Whitaker.   The luncheon was organized by Spike Nunn (member of the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club), Twy Williams, and Bill Stackhouse.   Those attending are shown below and included: Tony Blackstone (West Point Class of 1960) and his wife Joan, Charlie Dixon, Lowell and Sandy Jones, John and Joan Kohout, Jack and Diane McDonough, Hector and Joan Negroni, Spike and Rebecca Nunn, Wayne Ploger (West Point class of 1961) and his wife Judie, Bill Sanzenbacher, Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse, Twy and Nancy Williams, and Jeffrey Whitaker. The site of the present clubhouse was the former residence of Rebecca Nunn's grandparents.   It was a special "homecoming" for Rebecca because the present Commodore Room was the dining room for Rebecca's grandparents' home. After the superb luncheon, the group adjourned to the home of Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse at Wicomico Church for some "special refreshments."

 

 

Paul Stephen sent a quick note on the Midwest drought. Since he no longer farms, there is no great impact to him and Sheila; however, family members and neighbors who still farm will see huge deficits. Mother nature  has produced the second driest summer in southern Illinois since 1895: second only to 1936.   Their grandchildren keep them busy. The oldest has spent the summer with them while her husband was in Afghanistan. She will return to Ft. Bragg when he returns in August. The remaining nine (K-10) keep them busy. Sheila and Paul are fine, with only old-age problems. Any traveling they do is centered around their grandchildren. If they knew they were this much fun, they would have had them first. Cheers to all.

Terry Storm said that the Waldo Canyon Fire in NW Colorado Springs was a cataclysmic event that touched most in the City.   Eight USAFA graduates lost their homes, including Dick and Trel Coppock, who have already moved into a fully furnished home back in Ohio.   Many others (32,000 total) were evacuated, including Randy and Jan Cubero, who nevertheless hosted a '61 4th of July party, attended by the Conleys, Ellers, Dean and Jo Jones, McCues, Neels, Quinlans, Storms, and Wilhelms.   The Storms met the Tabors for dinner in Evergreen as they returned from a business trip to Grand Lake.   Dale  still  works a couple of times a week raising money for the Denver United Way.   The Storms were in France for a river cruise from Paris to Normandy, a very touching experience.   Unfortunately, the dinners at the Lido and Moulon Rouge  didn't include touching.   A highlight was learning that Lawrence of Arabia got his start as such at the ruins of a castle on the Seine. The Storms' daughter, Shari, continues to  address the issues from her three serious back surgeries at the end of last year.   She must wear a contraption to assist bone growth around her spine and the cadaver bone they inserted, and she continues the heavy doses of antibiotics because the staph infection hasn't yet been eliminated.

In May, Jack and Linda Taylor attended the Class of 2012's graduation where
he had the honor to administer the Oath of Office at the commissioning of 2012 graduate, Megan Wyngarden, daughter of their neighbor in Puyallup, WA.   Megan was a Distinguished Graduate and will attend pilot training at Laughlin AFB, TX.   She's mentioned that her current choice is to fly the A-10.   (Of course we know how that can go!) In July, Corky and Pat Cochrane hosted the Taylors, Art Kerr and Gene Hopp
at their Bellingham, WA, condo for libations and rations. Gene was getting ready to return to his Sun City, AZ, home after selling his summer quarters in Bellevue, recently.   The Puget Sounders will no longer be able to label Gene a Washington "Snow Bird" now that he's just a plain-old Arizona Roadrunner.

Byron Theurer, aka Chicken Teriyaki, TWOKP, and Grendel, the troll who lives under the bridge,  announces his return to unpowered flight. In July 2011, CT swapped out his flesh-and-blood left knee for one of the titanium preference. After about eight months of convalescence, he conned the senior instructor at his soaring club to sign off his flight review, thus allowing him to terrorize the locals. After an emotional reunion with Miss Iron Butterfly, his faithful Schweizer glider, he is happily misleading his fellow club members by circling in sink.

For those of you not aware, Erik Vettergren says that he is now doing really, really great: playing golf and tennis, working out, and is in fabulous shape, with his brain getting better after too many Chemo Cocktails. All told he feels 20 years younger, and the depression from his battles with cancer is gone.

   Rees and Pauline Wagner are now residents of New Jersey.   They moved at the end of May with furniture, 173 boxes, and 6 large bins.   Thanks to kind friends, everything arrived safely, in spite of pouring rain.   They still have a lot to do to make their new home presentable, but they are getting there. Their new address is 170 Prospect Avenue (#4R), Hackensack, NJ 07601.

Once again, Gwen and Neal Westbrook took grandsons, this time Daniel, Nick, and Ben, along the Lewis and Clark  Trail to Three Forks, Montana, 5,500 miles round trip.   The Top of the Arch at night is breathtaking, the water is cold at headwaters, and seeing grizzly in Yellowstone is exciting.   They happened to be at USAFA on 4 July, 55 years after reporting to Lowry on that date.   They were sorry to miss festivities with the Colorado Springs folks, but they had to be in Amarillo that night or their daughters-in-law would send the police.   What can you say about fires?   Most were lucky;  Dick and Trel were not.   Our hearts ache for them. 

Jim Wilhelm said that Larry Karnowski is fighting a good fight against his cancer.   Cards and letters are still appreciated: 3284 S Preble County Line Rd, Farmersville, OH   45325.   Jim will keep us posted on Larry’s progress.   The Coppocks had a good trip to Salem, OH, and are settling in to their new home.   After buying a condo, sight unseen, it was everything they had hoped it would be.   They are getting great help from friends and family.   It's difficult to imagine trying to start over after losing everything in the fire.   Their new address is 1956-2 S Lincoln Ave,  Salem, OH 44460.   No phone yet, but that will come soon. They send greetings to everyone and loads of "Thanks" for everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

Grant "BG" Willis writes that he is single again at 72 (actually was at 70, as Sarah died 3/31/11 after putting up with him for almost 23 years).   No children, but a lovely stepdaughter Beth, at 34 not only a newly minted Ph.D. but also the mother of one-year-old Will,  who  sadly was  born only 2 months after Sarah, his not-yet-a-grandma-for-the-first-time, passed away at age 59 (from lung cancer).   But the remaining family carries on, as families do. Grant wrote this just after Beth, Will, and Beth's husband Owen treated him to more Italian sausage sandwiches, fried dough, cotton candy, etc., than he’s probably ever consumed during a single day of his earthly existence, at their annual county fair there on Cape Cod.   They live "off-Cape" in Attleboro, MA, so they not only treated but traveled two hours to be with the old geezer. (Grant still hasn’t gotten used to that newfangled title "Grandpa" yet, but he’s working on it).  The executive summary:   basically no complaints, life is good, sure wishes he could retire and  enjoy that European Field Trip he missed by detouring to Fort Benning that summer  many moons  ago, but he apparently missed the Financial Planning class in law school!   So, come to beautiful Cape Cod and get in trouble---he will give you competent legal defense at a special GTN discount.   Or, as they say in his office:   "Reasonable doubt at a reasonable price."

Tom Wilson said that all is well in SUNNY Minnesota -- notice the SUNNY!!!   He feels like he has spent the entire summer in Montgomery -- not there in Stillwater.   Come on Fall and the Levis and sweatshirts... Tom is looking forward to the Craig AFB, 63B Pilot Training Class Reunion in late Sept.   Will be fun to see his classmates again.   Cheers to all.

Gayle Zompa is still marveling over the finding of her lost and found ring.   She is venturing to Ireland for 3 weeks of touring.  

Nelson and Teri O’Rear’s oldest grandson married his high school sweetheart in June. Both subsequently graduated from Purdue. Sometimes, it’s difficult to believe that we were all that young once, full of vim and vinegar for what lay ahead. It is interesting and fulfilling to watch all of our grandchildren mature—although the youngest is still only 4—and tackle life’s challenges. It brings back many good memories.

Thanks again to all who contributed. If you have not done so recently, we particularly want to hear from you.

 

April 2012

 

Gene Hopp’s wife, Annette Langille, passed away due to a brain tumor on February 27th.  On March 22nd, Tom Eller, PB O'Connor, and Jim Wilhelm rode with Jerry Mason from Tucson to Sun City West for Annette's Mass. While they were there, Haven Hill and his wife and sister-in-law, who were visiting Phoenix from San Diego, also arrived. It was a very nice service and luncheon. Annette will be inurned at USAFA at a date yet to be determined. She asked for that location as a result of the tremendous bond she noticed among our classmates at a couple of reunions. Gene said that he wants to thank our class from the bottom of his heart for their generous moral support, as well as the kind scholarship gift to his high school.

Dick “Doc” Arnold said that the most exciting thing to happen to Marty and him this quarter was to attend the Founders' Day Dinner Friday evening, April 13th, with 11 other classmates and assorted other dignitaries when BGen Ruben A. “Randy” Cubero was honored as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.  Dick McConn, '66, was also honored.  A very fitting recognition for Randy, and a fine meal and stirring evening that was put together by the AOG.  Very well done.  Terry Storm was the man to drape Randy with the huge medallion, and then all were regaled with a serious Randy on video, followed by stories of the many "groups" to which Randy belongs:  some savory, some unmentionable.  Several other classmates also attended: Mark Anderson, Brice Jones, John Moore, Jack and Diane McDonough, and Wayne Whalen flew in for the special occasion, and locals Tom and Anne Eller, Mike and Ruth Quinlan, the three Hinkles, and Charlie and Lynda Neel. Of course Carleen Storm and Jan Cubero, plus many Cubero relatives were there. The next day Doc and Marty attended the Cadet Parade where Randy and Dick McConn were the reviewing officers.  (Doc’s sure they both had sore elbows at the end of the day.)  The cadets looked so young, but 40 Squadrons Passed in Review, which is always a stirring spectacle.  Our warmest Congratulations to Randy and Jan.  And thank you, Mark Anderson for nominating Randy for this deserved award.

 

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Mark Anderson got-in five days of skiing this winter (above average), shot his age in golf on March 28th (a surprise!), and made it to the Founder's Day Dinner at the Academy on April 13th to see Randy Cubero receive the Distinguished Graduate Award (which was well deserved). He plans to partake in the AOG-sponsored Great Lakes Cruise in August and hopes some other '61ers will be there. It is much greener in south Texas this spring after they finally got some rain!

Bob Brickey said that he and Jan get a lot of queries about Mia, so he wanted to give us an update. MiaBella is doing extremely well!  The week of April 9th she had her heart biopsy which showed no rejection and no infection!  What a blessing.  She is now off steroids, so her face no longer has that puffy look.  She is in school full time (though she must continue to wear her surgical mask), and is doing very well in school - carrying all A's and one B, and she's loving her debate class!  Mia is taking bass guitar lessons and Soo Bahk Do (martial art, in which she earned her black belt just before getting ill); she is enjoying life and friends and family, and they are all so grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support!

Pat & Marilyn Buckley departed C Springs after the 50th Reunion for Shoreham-by-Sea, UK and visited with Marilyn’s Mum preparing for Marilyn’s 3rd grandchild, Ralphie, who was born 18 Nov 11. Then visited Spanish home 3 thru 12 Dec. Flew back to Orlando, FL, on Aer Lingus with 1 night stopover in Dublin for some fresh Guinness and a night of Irish music and dancing. Holidays were with Pat’s brother Mike (USMA ‘64) and wife, June. 27 Dec Pat drove to Tampa for lunch with Ken Macaulay at his Yacht Club on Tampa Bay and talked about all our classmates who were not there. 16 Jan 12 Pat & Marilyn flew to US Virgin Islands to meet Pat’s brother Mike and wife June for a 1 week sail cruise in the Caribbean. A wonderful week! With invite from Burke Mucho (USMA ‘61), on 28 Jan, Pat & Marilyn joined a USMA Class of ‘61 reunion in Orlando, FL, for a good time and renewed acquaintance with Doug Cairns’ cousin who was in attendance. In Jan & Feb they had a patio and Florida Room added to the back of the Satellite Beach, FL, home to double the useable living space. On 4 Feb 12, Pat & Marilyn were off to Shoreham-by-Sea for Marilyn’s Mum’s 92nd birthday. On 14 Feb Marilyn’s Mum flew back with them for a three-week visit to Florida (her first USA visit). On 13 March, Pat & Marilyn arrived at Brice Jones’ modest ski chalet in Telluride, CO. Soon joined by Sally Bushing, Charley & Lynda Neel, Neal and Gwen Westbrook, and Sam Barazzone. The first several days they had sun and warm temperatures, resulting in Spring skiing with corn snow in the mornings and slower wet snow in the afternoons. 17 and 18 Mar they got new snow. 19 & 20 they had new snow, full sun, and moderate temperatures. Great skiing. Meanwhile they ate well and drank adequate quantities of great wine. On 20 Mar, Pat & Marilyn departed for a taster tour of the Southwest USA. They started with the Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings in SW Colorado, then Hovenweep National Monument (more Anasazi/Pueblo Peoples’ 1,000 year-old ruins). They visited 4 Corners and stood on the marker with _ foot each in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Then they traveled through and around Monument Valley, UT, with dramatic viewing of the desert terrain and high shaped Buttes that have served as the setting for the movie “Stagecoach” and many other US Western movies. They stayed over in Mexican Hat, UT (named after the nearby Butte shaped like a Mexican Sombrero). Then, they were on to Gooseneck State Park, UT, named for a section of the San Juan River in a deep canyon that forms a series of big gooseneck bends before joining the Colorado River at Lake Powell. It is very dramatic. The stopped to view the Little Colorado River Canyon leading into the Grand Canyon. The spent two days at Grand Canyon Nat’l Park (South Rim in AZ), including a mule ride to the edge of the canyon and sunset bus tour of several viewing points. They must be seen in person to fully appreciate it. Then to Hoover Dam and the new road bridge that bypasses the dam. They stopped for a few hours to tour/view Hoover Dam and walk across the new bridge (completed in 2010) that is just downstream of the dam and provides a great bird’s-eye view of the dam and both the upstream and downstream sides. Bridge builders did a good job of documenting the design and construction of the bridge on a set of all-weather plaques. In another hour they were in Las Vegas and the Circus Circus Hotel/Casino. Walked “The Strip” (about 7 miles round trip). As expected it is even more glitzy than ever. Saw the Bellagio Dancing Fountains (from three different viewpoints over two days) and the Treasure Island sea battle (two times from two different viewpoints.) Saw Zumanity (an “adult” version of Circue du Soleil) and walked The Strip back to CircusCircus. Drove out to Grand Canyon West (Hualapai Indian Reservation) where they have Grand Canyon overlooks, airplane and helicopter flights, mule rides, overnight cabins, rafting trips, etc. Got a late start so did not participate but will try for a several-day side trip when they do their Southern California tour. Back to Vegas for “V The Variety Show” and after the show went up in the _ scale Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. Saw Bellagio Dancing Fountains from the Tower. They took the monorail back to CircusCircus. 29 Mar 12. First to helicopter flight ops just West of the Hoover dam. Took flight down through Black Canyon (downstream of the dam), figure eight over the dam and quick tour of part of Lake Meade). Good ride! Then to visit Chaco Canyon, NM, with the largest Ansazi/Pueblo people ruins, built up between 700 AD and 1200 AD and then abandoned. From this and the previous visits Pat learned they had much greater construction technology than he previously knew they possessed. Then to Albuquerque on 30 March for overnight in the Old Town. Met Hanson Scott and Bob Boedeker for dinner and had several hours of fun discussion and a superb roast lamb dinner. Next day to the Sandia cable car up to the top of Sandia Peak. At about 2_ miles, the longest cable car ride in the world, rising from about 6,500 feet at the base to 10,000 feet at the top. Then up to Old Santa Fe for a several-hour walking tour of Old Santa Fe and the Ore House for a good prime rib dinner. (Pat was there once 25 years ago and had to go back to see if it was still good. It was.) 1 Apr 12, up to ski Santa Fe Mountain on the last day of the ski season, so _ price and lots of sunshine had skiers in shorts, kilts, and various dress. Late spring conditions with slushy snow but still great fun. Then 6-hour drive to Denver/Aurora, CO, and overnight with Jim & Peggy Hinkle and daughter, Christina, who continues to grow and mature into a lovely young lady. An afternoon of catching up and then Peggy prepared great lamb chops for dinner (In case you have not caught on Pat & Marilyn love lamb, but it is hard to find in the USA). Got out the laptop and showed video of Pat & Marilyn’s wedding in Oct 2007 at Jimmy Pool/Neal Westbrook organized Red Neck Riviera in Orange Beach, AL, (thanks to Sam Barazzone, who did the video with his cell phone!) 3 Apr 12. Up at 0430 to catch United flight (just ahead of the snow) to Orlando, FL (85_F)and drive home to Satellite Beach. Slept late on 4 April! A week at home to rest up and then more visitors with Marilyn’s son Paul and family of four, Pat’s brother Mike and wife June and their daughter Dawn with family of four. Come 21 April all visitors will be gone and Pat & Marilyn will settle down for a rest period until mid June. But any Florida visitors between 21 April and mid June should email or call ahead to schedule hospitality visit.

Judy and Jim Cassidy enjoyed a very pleasant lunch with Sam and Vivian Hardage. Jim said that Sam was in Philadephia for two days in the middle of April, and they were able to get together. He further said that both Vivian and Sam looked good, and it was great to see them. Not too many lies or BS, just a lot of catching up.

Jerry Gill said that Dot has recovered from her surgery and is undergoing chemotherapy once weekly. The support from ‘61ers has been astounding!

Bob Heriza said that things are going well there in Eastern Oregon.  Judy's and his eyes have been opening every morning, and their names haven't appeared in the obituaries. Anthonylakes.com has reinstituted its 70-and-over ski-for-free policy.  Check it out. Perhaps a place for a mini-reunion in the future?

Jerry Mason said that when he, Tom, Paul, and Jim drove from Tucson to the Phoenix area for the memorial service honoring Annette, both Tom and Jim brought their portable units along because Jerry's old van doesn't have GPS. With four rated navigators and two GPS units aboard, every turn called for a committee meeting. Still, they made it with nary a slip. Jerry also sent along a picture taken at Jerry and Jo's annual Super Bowl party. Attending were Paul & Marilyn O'Connor, Jim & Nance Wilhelm, Ron & Jeri Fullerton, Tom & Anne Eller, Jerry and Sue Lefton, Dave and Kathy (Mize) Beck, and George Buchner and guest Sue.

 

 

Hector Negroni said that he is alive, doing well, and still kicking. He also submitted the after-action report for the DC-area luncheon on Tuesday, March 13th at the fashionable Springfield Country Club in Springfield, VA. Those attending included Diane and Jack McDonough, Bill Foster, Joan and John Kohout, Hector, Bill Stackhouse, Lowell Jones, Charley Dixon, and Twy Williams.  Bill Stackhouse and Twy Williams will form a planning committee for an outing to their "neck of the woods."

 

Jimmy Poole said that the four Alabama classmates, Doug Cairns, Steve Ho, Reb Jones, and Jimmy continue to enjoy their bi-monthly golf outing at various locations from Montgomery to Birmingham. When you are passing through, call ahead and join in playing at one of the beautiful Robert Trent Jones courses. Jimmy was on a mission trip to Cuba with his church in late April – lots of automobiles that we all covet and wonderful people. One day soon they will be back in the orbit of the USA.

Ross Shulmister found a website on-line where they create coffee cups (and other items) personalized with your awards & decorations, and they can also add some other stuff like two unit logos, your name and rank, and even wings and a couple of small airplane icons.  It's at MyServicePride.com If you want more information, contact Ross at MRoss849@hotmail.com

Charlie Stebbins returned to the University of Charleston to merge its undergraduate and graduate business programs and to start some new ones. This stint will end this summer, but he’ll stay on as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. Sarah will have some interesting scars to show off at the beach this summer after having surgery in late September for a ruptured appendix. A few days before the attack, she had put lots of fake tattoos all over her arms and chest as her costume for a “Biker-Babe” Bunko party. (Did our Bikers, Larry Karnowski and Jim Wilhelm, provide tips on that look?) The darn things were tough to remove, but she worked through the pain and removed them, narrowly avoiding having to explain her appearance to a disapproving hospital staff.

 

While Sarah was in the hospital, Charlie learned a bunch of new skills—how to run the dishwasher, the clothes washer and dryer, etc. He did have to call Sarah to find out how to peel the little plasticky-looking covers off of dishwasher detergent pellets. (For those who don’t do dishes, please note that the covers dissolve in the dishwasher—you don’t have to peel them off.)

John “Smoky” Stover said that all of his children joined him for the 50th Reunion. It was a time of joy and a time of sorrow. They were all together for Sunday, 6 November, the first anniversary of their Susie's death. That was good, but also a time of sorrow. They were together, and that made everything as good as it could have possibly been. In March, Smoky took a trip to one of the outer islands of the Bahamas to fly fish for bonefish. They are really sneaky devils, and he thinks of them as the ghosts of the flats. He got rained on big time and had to fight some big winds, but he did catch a few.

Tom and Judy Wilson admit to a possible mistake this year by traveling to Florida over the month of March since the weather in Minnesota was almost as nice as it was in Bonita Springs and Sarasota!  They could have saved a bunch of dollars, but who knew?  Their local Chapter of the AOG hosted their first Founders Day Dinner while Tom and Judy were gone.  The event went so well that it has been suggested that they not attend next year, either.  Do you think the members are trying to tell Tom something? They are looking forward to attending their 63-B Pilot Training Class reunion in Destin, FL, in late September.  Otherwise, life in Minnesota is relatively back to "normal."  (It was 70 degrees on April 15th, with snowflakes on the 16th!) All y'all have an open invitation to come visit the Wilsons. 

Nelson and Teri O’Rear spent a week in Tennessee, four days in the Sevierville/Gatlinburg area, and three in Nashville. They had never spent any time in either area and thoroughly enjoyed it although they had not been prepared for the wall-to-wall entertainment/restaurant establishments lining the main thoroughfare in the former. (They had envisioned a pastoral environment in the Smoky Mountains.) They were also pleasantly surprised at the skyline of Nashville but had time to enjoy only a few of its offerings and probably should return for another visit. They went to dinner with Tom and Liz Hill on the evening of April 22nd (for their gathering of the local classmates).  Tom is still helping coach his local high school’s baseball team, which is having a very successful season.  Their team this year is #1 in their division in Indiana, 9-1, so far.

For those who may not be aware, in January Gayle Zompa let us know that she had lost her miniature USAFA Class of 1961 class ring during our 50th Class Reunion in November, probably near Ed's grave.  She had contacted some at the AOG, who had tried to help, but to no avail with their available resources.  Other classmates offered suggestions, and Charlie Neel went above and beyond, volunteering to take up the effort in Colorado, coordinating his efforts with the AOG, Academy Staff, and a Colorado Springs group who use metal detectors to help others find lost objects. Members of the Pikes Peak Adventurers League rallied to our call for help with four men and three metal detectors. They were organized by Bob DeWitt, and "the man of the day" was Richard Walker of Woodland Park, a skillful finder of lost jewelry, who once again proved his skills by finding the ring, undamaged. Emma Ross, our perfect 50th Reunion Coordinator, received the ring and put it in fast mail to Gayle that same afternoon. Gayle’s response was:

      My heartfelt thanks for all your efforts to find my missing mini-treasure.  You will never know how much this ring means to me – and to my daughter who had claimed it as her inheritance. I am truly overwhelmed as I thought it would never return.  I have truly been blessed to have been a part of the military family for so many years and to have it continue on even today is even more incredible.  Many thanks to all of you.

Our grateful thanks go to the Pikes Peak Adventurers League (PPAL) for their willing support of our community. The commanders and base support staffs (Col Tom Gibson, 10th Air Base Wing Commander, Col Mickey Addison, 10th Mission Support Group Commander and Janet Edwards, USAFA Mortuary Affairs Officer, supported this effort from the beginning; we recognize their cooperation. We will try to get the PPAL onto a USAFA area of their choice for an "electronic archeological" outing of their club, when they wish. The PPAL provides a fine community service, now greatly appreciated by the USAFA Class of 1961.

 

 

 

January 2012

 

Our ranks were further diminished with the loss of Charlie Thomas on November 2nd.  You can read some of the highlights of his life in the GBNF section of this issue of Checkpoints.  We will miss him and his friendly demeanor.  His wife, Gina, thanks all the wonderful classmates for the beautiful flowers, cards, phone calls, and especially those who attended Charlie’s service, which meant so much to her and their children.  Charlie thought that our class was so special, and he was proud to be a member of such a wonderful group.

Our 50th Class Reunion on November 2-6, 2011, highlighted this past quarter. It was undoubtedly the best reunion we have ever had. It definitely was the best attended. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to our Reunion Committee Chairman, Charlie Neel, and our classmates in Colorado Springs, as well as the USAFA and AOG staff (especially, Emma Ross) for all their hard work in making it so. Those attending included 110 of our 171 living graduates (about 64%), with another 10% unable to attend because of medical issues. We were happy that another eight classmates who began with our class in 1957 also attended, and especially pleased that eight widows joined us: Rosalind Apodaca Holloman, Dianne Bouquet, Margy Dingle, Karen Mandel Gilbert, Carolyn Moulton, Cathy Muller, Musa Wolcott, and Gayle Zompa. Additionally, many family members participated. A total of nearly 300 attended our banquet Friday evening. For a summary of our reunion, plus some pictures, go to http://usafa1961.org/products.htm Our class gift to the Academy is dedicated to the service of all those who lie in USAFA’s cemetery and to the solace of their loved ones. The sculptures Airman on the Meadow and Winged Refuge, pictured below, are in the Academy’s cemetery.

We extend special congratulations to a classmate whom the Air Force Academy selected as one of its two 2011 Distinguished Graduates for his exemplary accomplishments: Randy Cubero. The award “…recognizes exceptional graduates who have [made] extraordinarily significant contributions to our nation and/or their communities…whose accomplishments are inspirational and elevate the reputation and the standing of the U.S. Air Force Academy.” Well done, Randy.

Stu Boyd has been appointed Group Commander of Civil Air Patrol's Green Flag program with squadrons in Las Vegas and Alexandria, Louisiana. They use Cessna 182/206 aircraft modified to simulate Predator and Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft. Their Civil Air Patrol volunteer crews work with Army, Marine, and Air Force units being trained for deployment to southwest Asia. They are replacing contractor efforts that were providing similar training, but are providing this training at about 25% of the cost the government was previously paying. They support monthly Green Flag exercises at Fort Irwin, CA and Fort Polk, LA, as well as Joint unconventional warfare exercises. They will also be flying in support of a major Special Operations exercise in March and will be working with Luke AFB to train F-16 pilots before they are sent to combat squadrons. These aircraft have also been used to assist in local natural disasters by linking their surveillance capabilities into local emergency response networks.

Corky Cochrane, on the recommendation of Bill Griffis, downloaded Warren Kozak's book about General LeMay to his Kindle and read it. He got a surprise when he got to page 67 and read, "The Air Corps needed a new route to Africa via South America. LeMay was again chosen, along with veterans C.V. Haynes and C. J. Cochrane. He now belonged to a very small and select group of top pilots in the Air Corps chosen for all the big assignments." C. J. Cochrane is Corky’s father, now deceased, and it was nice to see him mentioned in that context. Since Corky was born into the 2nd Bomb Group (B-10s), Langley Field, VA, and grew up in bombers with the 20th Air Force and with SAC, much of the book brought back fond memories.

Some classmates who flew for American Airlines might remember Dick Coppock’s brother Don or recall seeing his name on the seniority list.  He retired from American in December 1998 as a very senior captain - number seven on the seniority list, as Dick recalls. He passed away at age 82 at his home in San Clemente, CA on 6 January after a six-month struggle with cancer of the face. For the last 15 years or so of his career he captained DC-10s on the Los Angeles to Honolulu and Maui routes. In his career with Flying Tiger and American Airlines, he flew aircraft ranging from the C-46, DC-3,4,6, and 7 to the Boeing 707, 720 and DC-10. Lots, probably 30,000 plus flying hours. He will be missed.

On 22 Jan 2012, Jim and Joy Darnauer set foot on their seventh continent at "Brown Bluff" on the northeast tip of the Antarctica peninsula. Unfortunately, Joy lost her footing after exiting the zodiac and came ashore soaking wet. It was sort of a polar plunge, but she was safe. After a shower, they returned to enjoy the event. They have been quite busy. Jim is still working on his videos from the reunion but promises to have his versions available within a few months for anyone that would like some of them. He will let us know.

Paul Dean said that their son, Mike Dean will be taking his choir, (the Trinity High School Choir) to San Antonio as the honor choir for the Texas Music Educators Association. Their granddaughter Kendall will be going with his choir and as well as a selectee of the Texas All-State Choir. Their family is really proud of Mike and his daughter, Kendall.

Anne and Tom Eller spent Christmas in England with their son Robert (USAFA '96) and his family, where Rob is a Lt Col (Select) Head and Neck Surgeon at Lakenheath. Their daughter Elizabeth met them all in London for a couple of days of fun. Anne and Tom are spending three months in Tucson as their first venture into being Snow Birds. Julie's son, Barrett (USAFA '11), is in pilot training in Del Rio and her son, Connor, is a sophomore at Grinnell College in Iowa.

Tom Hill said that he feels he owes the Class of ‘61 a thank you for having so willingly accepted him. In his opinion '61 is the best class. The next best class is '64, and we trained them. So, Tom says, “Thanks, Gents, with best regards. Stay well.”

Over the Christmas holidays Peter Holmes-Ray got to spend a little time with Charlie and Lynda Neel. Charlie and Peter were roommates back in the day. Back then Peter thought Charlie was a great guy, and now all these years later he still thinks so. The men of Class of ‘61 are an exceptional group. Peter really wishes he had been able to make the reunion and renew contact with them since he is honored to have been a member.

Lowell Jones sent a summary of their Christmas luncheon on December 6, which Hector had submitted earlier. Those attending at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, VA, were: John and Joan Kohout, Charley Dixon, Bill Sanzenbacher, Lowell and Sandy Jones, Cathy Muller, Bill Foster, Terry Norris, Jack and Diane McDonough, and Hector and Joan Negroni. Lowell read the names of our departed classmates with their DOD, and they toasted them. The names included: James Dickson (03/13/89), Norm Campbell (11/18/96), Karl Kellerman (03/29/00), Darrell Koerner (03/27/02), Dick Milnes (04/09/03), Karl Whitaker (01/08/07), Ron Muller (05/21/10), Roger Woodbury (11/08/10), and also a past DC member and frequent visitor, Charlie Thomas (11/02/11). Bill Foster discussed the forthcoming Military Bowl Game between Air Force and Toledo to be played at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, which many of them planned to attend. Special thanks to Charley Dixon for arranging the luncheon at his country club.

Sue and Jerry Lefton are in Tucson for the months of January and February. In March, they are going to San Diego and Las Vegas before heading back to North Carolina.

Jerry and Jo (Sucherman) Mason sent this update on three of their children:

      Todd, who is the drummer in the band Styx, has released a companion book and second DVD in his highly acclaimed instructional series. He is also featured in November's Drumhead magazine with a full-page cover photo and an 18-page interview.

      Dave purchased a 100,000 square foot building outside LA for his booming autoclave company (250 strong), and has also opened offices in China and England.

      Mike launched Zentila, a booking website for hotels and meeting planners; so far he has signed up nearly 1,000 hotels. (Sam, are you interested?)

Doug McConnell reports that he is still very active with the International Aerobatic Club (Division of the EAA) being Past President and currently the Chair of Membership Development. This gives him a chance to still utilize his MBA marketing skills just for fun. He has a real home there since he is also known for having created the "Decathlon" competition aerobatic aircraft when VP Marketing and test pilot for Champion Aircraft back in the early 70's. The Decathlon was recently named one of the ten most successful aircraft ever developed. Doug is facing hip replacement in January and knee replacement in April, no doubt caused by being on the championship USAFA football team! Doug needs to get "bionic" for the European tour that he and Carol plan to take in 2013 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!

Hector and Joan Negroni are in Naples, FL, escaping from the cold. They will be there from 9 January to 29 February and hope the Northeast gets at least 50" of snow while they are away.

2011 was a hard time for Richard and Carolyn Smith. The highlight was the 50th Mini Reunion to celebrate the Class of 2011's Graduation. They also planned to be at the big 50th Reunion but had to miss it when Richard had a major fall in his driveway late one evening. He had severe cuts on his hand and head. They went to the ER, and they bandaged him up with a lot of stitches. Then they went to their family doctor who treated the cuts. He wanted Richard to have an MRI to insure that he had not broken his cheekbone. While the MRI showed that it was fine, it also showed that he had excess water in his brain—a condition called NPH. It causes loss of memory function, unsteady walking, and all of the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. Many people are committed to an Assisted Living Facility with NPH. Richard went to a neurosurgeon and had surgery on December 14th and went home on the 15th. The surgery involved drilling a hole the size of a nickel in his head and installing a drain tube down to the intestine. It also came with a lot of restrictions like no driving and constant supervision by Carolyn for at least 4 weeks. Then Carolyn, on the 10th of January had a spell with her gall bladder and had it surgically removed. Their daughter, who lives across the street from them, is probably getting tired of being their transportation and caregiver. They are both on the verge of being healthy and living a normal life for the remainder of 2012.

Terry Storm said that many of our classmates and spouses/significant others know his and Carleen’s 40-year old daughter, Shari, from her singing at two previous reunions and attending the banquet with her husband at our 50th. She had a serious back fusion/rebuild operation in November, followed by another to remove a bad blood clot in early December, and followed by another to try to remove a serious staph infection, which has progressed into her bones. After those three hospital stays, she is at home with a hospital bed. She self-injects strong antibiotics three times a day. They won’t know for several weeks whether the infection is gone; supposedly this particular staph won’t kill her. She perhaps will have to face a couple of more operations to remove and then reinsert the hardware. The surgeon/hospital are paying for everything since the original surgery, probably trying to forego a lawsuit, which certainly is a possibility; five others also contracted the staph in that operating room the same day. Carleen spends part of each week helping to take care of Shari and their three children, who live in Castle Rock about an hour away. Shari’s family also receives lots of help from friends and neighbors, especially since her husband’s job requires a lot of travel. He spent weeks in Dubai during 2011. Terry and Carleen appreciate all positive thoughts and prayers.

Tom Wilson is still working to continue development of the Minnesota chapter of the AOG. They have had USAFA football and hockey tailgates/socials this fall with some success and a "get-acquainted" dinner. The biggest news is that they have successfully scheduled the CSAF to be the speaker for their First Annual Founders Day Dinner in late March. That is quite a coup for them! Their two USAFA cadet grandchildren are only a year and half from graduation. It’s scary how quickly time goes by.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed extended visits with family over the holidays, starting with their daughter and her family joining them from Iowa over Thanksgiving. About a week before Christmas, their Louisville son and his family spent 5 days with them. Their local son and his family joined them during those visits, as well as around the Christmas tree before departing on a family trip to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Their Virginia granddaughter joined them over the New Year, but cut her visit a day short to avoid the heavy snow that began falling in Indiana. (Didn't we use to have the energy that our grandchildren display?) Although Nelson and Teri had considered renting a house in Arizona for February with his sister and her husband, when Nelson began looking in August, he could not find a suitable place. Obviously, one needs to begin searching sooner than August. So far, the winter weather in Granger, Indiana, has been much nicer than normal. Hopefully, that will continue so that he is not in too much trouble for his tardiness in making those Arizona arrangements.

 

 

October 2011

Jack Wolcott left our worldly midst on August 7th. Dave Hmiel, Art and  Holly Kerr, and Charlie Thomas (Jack’s roommate at both the Academy and during UPT) attended Jack’s memorial services on August 13th at St. Cyril's Catholic Church in Wilsonville, Oregon. Both of Jack’s daughters spoke fondly of their father at his services. Jack’s wife, Musa, plans to attend our reunion. See the GBNF section of this issue of Checkpoints for information on Jack’s life.

Our class now has a distinction that no other is ever likely to match: 100% of our living graduates contributed to our 50th reunion class gift to USAFA. Many other classmates and family members of deceased graduates also contributed. Thanks to all in helping us achieve this noteworthy goal, and a special thanks to Brice Jones for his perseverance in leading this unprecedented effort to success.

Reunion Information: As of 23 October, 123 had registered to attend our reunion https://www1.usafa.org/Events/Attendees.aspx?id=242. Information provided for name tags shows that 94 wives planned to be there, as of 18 October. With your assistance, we anticipate having a post-game summary of the reunion activities on our Class Web Site by 30 November for everyone to read.

A special thanks to our Colorado Springs contingent for their monumental efforts to make not only this, but also our past reunions, such a success. Additionally, we are grateful to our past class scribes these 50 years for keeping us in touch with each other: Randy Cubero, Tom Eller, Hanson Scott, Tom Sutton, and Ed Zompa.

This quarter has been eventful for Mary Jane and Jim Ahmann and family. Their son, Patrick, retired from the Air Force and went right back to work at Offutt AFB as a civilian. Their daughter (Dianna's) husband, Dave Fresella (AFA ‘90), also retired from the Air Force at Tinker AFB. Mary Jane and Jim spent two weeks in Kyrgyzstan to encourage the Kyrgyz Military Christian Fellowship (MCF) and visited as many of their old students and families as possible.

Bill Aylsworth’s three brothers and a sister, plus their spouses, recently returned (10/03/11) from a two-week vacation in England. These ten people first invaded London for the obligatory visit to the Tower of London and a few other castles. After a week there, they moved on to pillage Gloucestershire County in the Cotswolds hill country west of the capital. During their week there, they stayed at the Aylworth Manor, former center of the Aylworth estate, and walked to the site of the corresponding Aylworth village, which is no longer inhabited. They explored a thousand-year-old church and a similarly-aged town connected with the family name, enjoying the general countryside where ancestors trod. You will note the difference in the spelling of the family name, which enjoyed several variations even before their direct ancestor left England in the 1600s (probably just ahead of the King’s men). Bill would venture to say that their trip was a great success, as all ten travelers are still talking to one another.

John and Lydia Boesch have had a busy several months. They attended the US Open Golf Tournament at Congressional (near DC) inJune to cheer for their friend Paul Casey. In July, they volunteered atthe Men's and Women's North & South Golf Tournaments, in Pinehurst. In August, they sold their dog-grooming store.Theycontinued to support their friend Paulby attending the Wyndham Tournament in Greensboro, NC and the PGA Tournament in Atlanta. In September, they rescued a Black Lab to keep their rescued Yellow Lab company.October found them in California, for Fleet Week festivities in San Francisco, a short visit with Brice Jones,and the Frys.ComChampionship (San Martin, CA). The next week they attended Lydia's NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Board meeting in Mt. Mitchell, NC followed by supporting Paul at theMcGladrey Classic (St. Simon's Island, GA). They are looking forward to the reunion next month.

Bob Brickey believes that the true measure of fellowship, friendship, and fraternal respect shines brightly through the past 50 years when he reflects on the love, concern,andsupport given for his and Jan’s granddaughter MiaBella and the Brickey family. Mia is doing well. She is home and attending her 7th grade class via Skype until her immune system is not so compromised (probably January). She receives physical therapy three times a week, is growing stronger, and is a happy twelve-year-old. Thanks to all the classmates for your gifts, prayers, and kindness given to their family, and may God bless all the Class of 1961. Those who have supported Mia’s heart issues may want to read the letter--An open letter to Parents, Family and Friends of Mia's donor and All of You--that their son Tom placed on Mia’s website. Tom, Heidi (his wife), and son Eli wanted to express their great thankfulness for the heart donor for Mia and to others who have supported them. (When you read it, keep your handkerchief handy.)

miabellabrickey.com/journal


 

Pat and Marilyn Buckley visited with Jerry and Dot Gill in Atlanta. All of them and Mike Rawlins got together for an enjoyable dinner. Then, the Buckleys spent two days wandering the mountains along the southern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway from North Carolina to West Virginia and met Dick Duke for dinner, in Wexford, PA. They then drove to Hull, MA, to visit with Pat’s brother Mike and his wife, June. They visited Pat’s father’s grave and Pat’s daughter, Deirdre, and family in Brookline, MA, to get worn out by a grandson and granddaughter. In Alexandria, VA, they stayed with John & Joan Kohout, along with Bill & Rhoda Stackhouse. After Air Force beat Navy in overtime, they celebrated at a Victory Party hosted by Bill & Theda Foster with many Academy classmates. (See Bill Foster’s account, below.) Next, they

Drove to the Northern Neck of Virginia and enjoyed two days with the Stackhouses. After driving to New Bern, NC, to help Pat’s Aunt Elizabeth celebrate her 92nd birthday, they visited his Mom’s grave and drove back to Satellite Beach, FL. On October 15th, they sailed on Carnival Dream out of Port Canaveral for a one-week Caribbean cruise. After enjoying Pat’s 50th Class Reunion in Colorado Springs, they are headed to Shoreham-by-Sea, UK to visit Marilyn’s family and be there for Marilyn’s daughter Sharon to deliver Marilyn’s 3rd grandchild on or about 19 November. Afterwards, they may make a quick visit to their Spanish home and return to Florida by mid December.

Doug Cairns said that there’s not much new news for them. He and Dee remain in Montgomery, their daughter is in that area, and their son continues to be in Naples, Italy. Doug and Dee have been battling an unusual immune system deficiency problem that makes Dee very vulnerable with especially severe reactions to mosquito bites. The result has been travel and lifestyle restrictions directed toward avoiding mosquitoes. The good news is that they do not expect any mosquitoes to be in Falcon Stadium, so they look forward to seeing all at the reunion.

Tom and Anne Eller expect their two daughters and one son-in-law to join them for the 50th Reunion. Tom and Anne plan to spend Christmas in England with their son and his family and then to winter in Tucson from January to early April: their first experience as snowbirds.

Bill Foster said that the DC contingent had a lot to celebrate after the noteworthy victory of Air Force over Navy in Annapolis on October 1. It could have been the 34seats(the first three rows on the 30 yard line) provided to the group by the Naval Academy Athletic Department (to help promote harmony and reciprocation in the future during these inter-service contests). Not only did the group have an up-close view of the Air Force cheerleaders, but they also were seated adjacent to the blocked extra point in overtime for the 35-34 win. That was the topic of conversation at the victory party hosted byBill and Theda Foster. Attending the celebration were Kenand Dean Ballien, Pat and Marilyn Buckley,Gene Davis, Charlie Dixon and guest Liz, Sandy and Lowell Jones, John and Joan Kohout, Jerry and Sue Lefton, Jack and Diane McDonough, Hector and Joan Negroni, Ross Shulmister and his daughter Meryl, and Bill and Rhoda Stackhouse. Tom Conley attended the game only and missed the good food and adrenaline flow. Hector had watched the game on TV from his living room in Virginia, and yet was the most elated fan: he had promised to stay away from the game until Air Force won at Navy, and they finally did.

Haven Hill said at the end of September that he and Roberta had just returned from a riverboat cruise and some touring on their own: 5 days in Lucerne and the Alps, 2 days in Basel and boarding the128-passenger boat to cruise down the Rhine into France, then Germany, up the Mosel into Luxemburg; then back down to the Rhine with multiple stops en route to Antwerp, Netherlands;then to Ghent and Bruges, Belgium, for 4 more days. They arrived back in San Diego after 25 days broke and groggy with jet-lag. But They'll be OK by the time they leave for the reunion. Until then, it's more tennis and golf.

Tom Hill helps coach a high school baseball team, primarily composed of and dominated by sophomores, which finished the season with a 23-6 record, and continued their performance with a sectional championship and runner-up position in the regional. They subsequently finished the American Legion season in a league of teams with many seniors and college freshmen. Their final record was 30-8. He and the other coaches must keep the team’s attention on the task at hand next year because great success will be expected, and they will be a target as never before. This is fun for an old man.

Terry Jorris said that he is still sending regular CARE packages to his son Tim (LtCol USAF), deployed to an unnamed Middle-East country.

 

Note that he has the same steely-eyed warrior look as his father.

Lowell Jones sent Hector’s summary of the DC Gray Tag August luncheon. They held their monthly luncheon at the fashionable Springfield Country Club, Springfield, VA. Charley Dixon, Bill Foster, Lowell Jones, John Kohout, Jack McDonough, Hector Negroni, and Bill Stackhouse attended, while Pat Buckley joined them via telephone. Lowell gave them a briefing on the Falcons Landing Retirement Community, where he and Sandy just moved this summer for rest of their lives. Hey, our classmates look pretty healthy.

Note that Bill Foster still has hair.

During the luncheon they discussed the August 2011 issue of Forbes that listed USAFA as the 10th best "First Class College" in the Nation.  West Point was 3rd and Annapolis, 17th.  Forbes states that the cost of a USAFA education is $415,000. They also discussed the GRE scores for Hector’s class (since he is the "record keeper"), and he promised to share the true poop. Here are the GRE scores for our class:


      Natural Sciences: 635 (90% national percentile)
      Social Sciences: 562 (70% national percentile)
      Humanities: 553 (80% national percentile)
      Total: 1750 (Higher than 1959 and 1960)


Bill Foster also briefed the group on Operation Air Force-Navy Football game
and the Victory Party to follow at the Foster's home. They anticipated a large
number of classmates for the game and the party.

Bob Kellock's retirement picture has brightened significantly in the past few months. After waiting for nearly two years for someone to train as System Safety technical lead (Bob’s second job for 2 1/2 years) and another to become T&E (Test and Evaluation) senior staff and the test safety focal person (his real job for 22+ years), the System Safety role is filling with a very smart individual. A near-clone of Bob (who came out of another program unexpectedly) will move to T&E. After tying up some minor details, Bob may throw off the Boeing traces early next year. And he needs to: what with our Reunion, Thanksgiving (Patagonia, AZ), Samantha's aunt's 94th birthday (Nampa, ID), the Christmas holidays (Patagonia again), and some expiring vacation plan weeks, there's little time to work anyway. Samantha's family has reentered her life nicely after about 20 years, and that adds more opportunities for travel and visits. And then there are visits to Bob's family near Eglin AFB and White Springs, FL, and more visits to family and friends in northern New York State. (Bob's guessing he'll need a light sport aircraft to get around.) He was recently honored by an invitation to offer brief remarks at the AF Flight Test Center’s 20th anniversary celebration of C-17 test aircraft T-1’s first flight on September 15th. He started with the AMST (Advanced Medium STOL Transport) contract announcement he saw in the LA Times in November 1972, and traced his and its history to the present day, all in about seven minutes! He ended by saying now it's back to the races to see whether he or it retires first. Since the C-17 T-1 will fly to the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in April, Bob should win this one easily.

Since January this year, Art Kerr has had numerous medical challenges and has logged a bunch of hospital time. It's been truly wonderful to receive good wishes, thoughts, and prayers from his fellow GTs! Thanks very much. And Burke, USMA '61, of our Reese pilot training class, keeps this UPT class wired together. Consequently, Art was fortunate to receive "best wishes" phone calls from their German Air Force UPT classmates. Of all the strange things that seemed to pop up out of no-where, the most serious was the growth in Art’s brain that necessitated an emergency craniotomy, which very fortunately solved that part of the overall complex problem. At the moment, Art is back in the hospital for a few weeks of follow-ups on all the various issues, as well as intensive physical therapy to help regain some strength that's been lost as a result of a longer term problem with polymyositis. So, he is still stuck in a wheelchair but working on getting back to a mode of assisted walking. Holly and Art are very much looking forward to our GT 50th Reunion. Many thanks to our C'Springs '61 contingent for the huge amount of work they are putting into preparations for the reunion.

Pete and Patty Laneheard that the Jones twins were visiting the Dallas /Fort Worth area to attend the Daedalian Convention, so they decided to get the local classmates and friends together on September 23rd. They had a great meal and renewed special friendships with each other. The Lanes, Blaisdells, Dick Fairlamb, Howes, Joneses, Taylors(‘60), Tom Williamses, and Phil Woods attended.

Jerry and Jo (Sucherman) Mason completed a 4900 mile road trip visiting friends and relatives in the Great Lakes area, including a great dinner with Wayne Whalen at his favorite Chicago restaurant. What's better than riding with a beautiful blonde in a red Mustang convertible?

Joan and Hector Negroni bought a winter home in Naples, FL.

Albert "Spike" and Rebecca (nÈ Tebbs) Nunn of Kilmarnock, VA, announce the wedding of their daughter, Ashley, to Charles King, of Falls Church, VA. The bride and groom first met while both were attending Virginia Commonwealth University some 20 years ago. Their paths diverged, and re-converged approximately a year ago. Their engagement was announced some six months ago. Their marriage was solemnized at a "Destination Wedding" at the Outer Banks in Duck, North Carolina, on October 15, 2011.

Mike Rawlins said there is good and bad newsfrom their homefront. Ginny had a root canal last week and he needs two root canals and two crowns before our reunion, which he plans to attend. The food he enjoys may be limited although he looks forward to the reunion. Ginny is taking her daughter and two grandboys on a week-long cruise Thanksgiving week for her youngest grandson's birthday on November 25. They are out of school for the week and requested to go to Grand Cayman Islands, so she is taking them on a Western Caribbean cruise. Mike’s vacation for the month is of course, the Academy. They plan to go back to Cabo San Lucas in February, Hilton Head in May, and possibly Alaska in July/August on a cruise. They look forward to seeing everyone attending our reunion in November. Time really goes fast!

Pat and Bob Smith returned to cruising after Pat recovered from her heart attack in November 2010. They took a cruise along the west coast to San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. Now, they are planning on a gambling trip to an Indian casino in San Diego County in late October

Terry Storm said that on September 27th, Tom Conley, Tom Eller, Charlie Neel, Jim Wilhelm, and he installed Polaris medallions on the cement pavers of our deceased classmates in front of Doolittle Hall, so they can be observed during our 50th Class Reunion. At the August AOG Board of Directors meeting, Terry Storm was elected to a second, and final, two-year term as Chairman of the Board. He greatly appreciates the support of the USAFA community, including our classmates.

Charlie and Gina Thomas made a second trip to Italy this year. This time, they visited the Venice and Trieste areas. They look forward to sharing travel stories at the 50th.

Rosie and Ad Thompson just returned from 3 weeks in Spain and Portugal. Quite an interesting trip to say the least. With some areas of Spain advertising 30+% unemployment, and Spain/Portugal on the list of potential defaults after Greece, there was no indication of those kinds of economic problems while we were there. People still go out every night to eat, drink, and be merry. Businesses were still open and apparently doing OK. They came back to the USA with a freebie though - both came down with a severe cough and cold. Ad plan to recycle in time for our Reunion.

Bob and Winnie Wagner took a sixteen-day, small-group tour to South America. In Peru they were joined by a great group of fellow travelers and enjoyed getting to know the history and culture of the people in that part of the Aneds

        

The highlight was hiking among the ruins at Machu Picchu

The Andes offer an excellent respite to the heat and humidity of August in Florida! After a day in Quito, Ecuador, they spent four days on a small ship touring the Galapagos. Great hiking and snorkeling among the flora and fauna. It was all a wonderful experience. Throughout the summer they also spent time with son Scott's daughter Kate (10) and daughter Valerie's two boys, Davis (10) and Landon (6).

Twy and Nancy Williams continue to enjoy living near the water in the historic, rural northern neck of Virginia. They are both active in their local (30 miles away) church. This fall they have been repairing relatively minor damage from Hurricane Irene. They have had very little sailing this year and are looking forward to visiting with all who attend the reunion.

Like so many others in our class, Judy and Tom Wilson celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary this year. Their first "surprise" was in late May. They were set to have a "birthday" dinner for their son Todd's wife, Jaimi, at a local restaurant. When they arrived, Todd and Jaimi were already there, so they sat down and started talking with them. Immediately, they were interrupted by a couple who asked if they could join their party. It was their oldest son, Tom, from Dallas and their daughter from Milwaukee. Guess who squealed the loudest? What a delightful surprise. There was hardly a dry eye in the restaurant when they left to continue their visit late into the night at their home in Stillwater. Then came the real anniversary on 17 June. Judy and Tom spent a wonderful week in San Diego on Coronado Island. They did not even rent a car once, touring SD on the trolleys. They had a marvelous dinner the night of the 17th and walked all over Coronado Island. They visited the Navy beach where Seal training is held and had no real time commitments. They highly recommend San Diego to all. Finally, in late July at their annual family get-together, their family again surprised Judy and Tom. The last night of their togetherness, they were asked to sit for a little family "talent show." Their granddaughter, Lauren, had written a song for them, which she sang. After wiping away the tears, they started to get up when their family sat them down to watch a 50-year video of their married life, set to music by another granddaughter, Erica, and her boyfriend. The icing on the cake came next when they were presented with a large family photo of all of their children and grandchildren, arranged from the oldest to the youngest. That was no small feat since everyone was scattered over four different states. ("Photo-shopping" is a marvelous invention!) TO SAY THEY WERE SPEECHLESS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! It was a perfect ending to an absolutely delightful reunion. They were feeling really good about all these Anniversary events until one of their civilian "friends" stated that most of their "Funeral Board" has now been completed. They have the video if y'all want to see it...

Gayle Zompa is looking forward to seeing old friends at the reunion. Her daughter, Kristin, will be with her part of the time.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed re-visiting unique Mackinac Island in September, where they spent their honeymoon. (Thanks to Thom Schutt for the recommendation.) Their stay at the Grand Hotel, with the elegant dining, accompanied by music, and the many other special touches were wonderful. On August 31st, Nelson was quite surprised—but probably not as much as his playing partner—to get his first hole-in-one, on the local golf course where he plays. Darrell Koerner had to be smiling at Nelson’s improbable feat. Their son-in-law has just returned to active duty, from Reserve status, as a Navy JAG for a year in Stuttgart, Germany.

Thanks to all who contributed. It’s always great to catch up on what others are doing. Hoping to see you at the reunion!

 

 

 

July 2011

On May 9th ten classmates attended the graveside service for Oleg Komarnitsky at the USAFA Cemetery. On a beautiful day, they gathered with Oleg and Betsy's extended family to hear Taps and our Alma Mater, sung by Tom Conley, Dick Coppock, Randy Cubero, Tom Eller, Pat Gregory, Wayne Haring,Dean Jones, Worth McCue, Charlie Neel, and Jim Wilhelm. Jan Cubero and Joan McCue also attended. Oleg's final resting place is immediately adjacent to that of Burke Morgan:They were roommates, and Burke was best man atOleg and Betsy's wedding.

Grant “BG” Willis says that nothing too exciting has happened to him since "retiring" to his hometown of Falmouth, MA, to be a Cape Cod lawyer. Sadly, his wife Sarah passed away on March 31st after 23 years of a vibrant married life. He is planning to attend our 50th.

Jan and Bob Brickey wish to express their gratitude and heart felt love to all members of the Class for their support, prayers, and comfort for their granddaughter, MiaBella Brickey. She is out of intensive care—managing several therapies—a twelve year old "Miracle-girl"--In HIS Love, Bob n Jan

Thirty eight—14 local and 24 out-of-town—classmates, participated in our Mini-Reunion, May 23rd-25th. They gathered on Monday, May 23rd, for a BBQ at Randy and Jan Cubero’s house to socialize and to review the ROE for the next two days. Since the graduation parade was canceled on Tuesday due to inclement weather, most of the class enjoyed visiting friends or staying indoors out of the rain. Late that afternoon our classmates attended all 40 pinning-on ceremonies throughout the Academy grounds. The USAFA planned for two general squadron pinning-on sessions: 22 squadrons at 1630 hours and 18 squadrons at 1900 hours. Our classmates divided themselves into pairs so that each was the primary presenter at one of the pinning-on sessions and then the assistant to the presenter for the other session. The normal flow of events for the pinning on ceremonies was that early in the ceremony the Class of 1961 presenter was asked to say a few words about the significance of this heritage program of having the 50th graduation class present the current class with their first set of gold bars. After the short speech, each graduate was sworn in by a person of his/her choosing. As the graduates departed the stage, our class presenter and assistant shook hands with them and gave them their first set of gold bars. Each set of gold bars was inscribed with ’61-’11 on the back of each bar, and the set was placed in a small jewelry box with a gold top (2011’s color) and a silver bottom (1961’s color) or vice versa. Most felt that this was truly a very poignant part of the wondrous event of graduating from USAFA. On Wednesday, May 25th, Graduation Day, all participants were treated to the Superintendent’s morning VIP Brunch in the Press Box of Falcon Stadium. Our classmates felt particularly honored at the Graduation Ceremony after being introduced by the Superintendent to 20,000 graduation spectators at Falcon Stadium and by being seated on the floor of the Stadium, within arm’s reach of the graduates as they marched into the Stadium to take their seats. After that ceremony, most participants met at a local Irish Pub, Jack Quinn’s, in Colorado Springs for their final wind-down lunch and to say good-bye to everyone who attended. The planners of the Mini-reunion are hoping to show the rest of the class some pictures and videos taken during that mini-reunion at our 50th reunion in November. Kudos to Randy Cubero and our Mini-Reunion Organization Committee in Colorado Springs for organizing and coordinating our participation.

Richard “Dick” Fairlamb said that four days after our 1961 Heritage Class participated in the Graduation and Commissioning Ceremonies for the Class of 2011, fifteen classmates and spouses of the Class of 1961 partied hearty at Ferrari’s Italian Villa, in Grapevine, TX. Four members of the Class of 1960 and their spouses joined them. Good wine, good food, good stories—good old friends. Carl Renoud drove down from Tulsa, just for the party, and stayed with Paul and Donna Dean. His fiance, Marilyn could not get away from Calgary, Alberta, for the party! Carl Granberry drove in from Georgetown, via Winona, TX, and Wichita, KS. Jim Clark (’60) and Jean Walbridge attended. Bill Taylor (’60) and wife Kitty joined the North Texas Gray Tags for the first time, having just moved into North Dallas from Virginia. Henry and Peggy Howe drove down from Sanger, TX; Peggy has just retired from her church, and they are looking to re-locate down to the Temple area. Paul Dean brought Carl Renoud as his date—sounds like Summer Field Trip, doesn’t it? Allan and Skeeter Blaisdell were their usual selves—quiet and unassuming. Pete and Patty Lane, Tom and Bonnie Williams, and Dick made up for that with a bit of noise. Of course, the most noise was made in “Telling Stories”—you really must remember to ask Tom Williams, next time you see him, to relate the story of “The Flying Pig”—it brought the house down! Rich and Lorin Ann Mayo had a prior engagement in the Houston area; maybe next time. Howie Bodenhamer just couldn’t tear himself free from Deep West Texas Abilene! Phil and Nancy Lane were probably preparing for Phil’s retirement ceremonies from the Federal Bench in Abilene—sounds like it was to be a mobile party between Abilene and San Angelo on 6th June 2011, after—how many years was that, Phil? (at least 40)

As you all know we are accustomed to seeing photos of the DC area luncheons. The guys in Colorado Springs are too busy to go to lunch, so their ladies do that for them. Besides, they look better than the guys would. Here are photos of their Victorian Tea on 21 June. http://www.usafa1961.org/50th%20Anniversary.htm.

Mark and Ginger Anderson participated in the Mini-Reunion in late May, along with a lot of other folks. Mark thinks the Class of 2011 really appreciatedreceiving the engraved gold bars from our class. He and Ginger have no big trips until late August when they are venturing to South Africa for two weeks, which will include visiting three wildlife areas.They look forward to seeing the "big cats" and others up close.

Doc and Marty Arnold are living quietly in Grand Junction (except for his expletives-deleted rounds of futile golf). Highlights of the quarter was the May graduation of their granddaughter from the 5th Grade in Colorado Springs; the graduation of their daughter, Elizabeth, from the nursing graduate program at UCCS; and theMini-Reunion at the Academy—all in six days. Of course, the hail storm at the Academy before the canceled graduation parade brought back memories. The many talents and accomplishments of the Academy grads are very impressive. AFSEC Donley saluted and shook hands with each graduate! We don't know if he needed liniment on his hand and elbow the next week! Randy and the Colorado Springs classmates took good care of all who attended the Mini-Reunion. And, the Arnolds were honored to be visited by Pat and Marilyn Buckley in June during their Grand Tour of the western US and its park system. Pat and Marilyn regaled them with the tales and videos of their wedding ceremony and Pat's significant accomplishments in bringing the Albanian ATC system into the modern age. Doc and Marty showed them the many sculptures and art displays in downtown GJ, found someSpanish wine they drink inSpain,and hiked in the Colorado National Monument. It was a fun visit with an enthusiastic, youthful couple. Doc and Marty went to Dillon, CO, to join Jim ('63)and Maureen Hannam to hear the Air Academy Band and the National Repertory Orchestra play over the weekend of July 4th. Lots of golf and fireworks in the mountains. The Hannams joined the Arnolds in GJ for more golf and a trip to scenic Gateway and Discovery Channel's Hendricks' Car Museum. It wasan enjoyable time with long-time friends.

After leaving the AFA in 1959, Gary Atkins married and had two boys. He began a career in industry in technical air filtration which lasted 21 years in plant and sales management. He finished a degree in business administration at the University ofLouisville.Gary divorced in 1980, moved out West, and began a career in law enforcement at age 40. He remarried in 1983and is looking forward to his 29th anniversary next June. Garyretired as Deputy Chief of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board (the casino police for the state) in 2000, then worked for the District Court system, and fully retired in 2010. He enjoys four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, good health, camping, traveling, shooting, reading, building scale model boats, and quiet times with his wife. Gary can be reached at 775-677-7779 or atkinsdesign@gmail.com

Pat and Marilyn Buckley spent Holy Week at their new European home in Velez-Malaga, Spain. Gene and Judy Davis stopped by for a short visit on 24 and 25 April. They saw one of the Easter processions, and a good time was had by all. Then Pat and Marilyn were off to Albania to attend the dedication of the new National Air Traffic Control Center and International Airport Tower and celebrate with old friends. Then, it was back to Satellite Beach, FL, to host Marilyn’s son and family for 10 days. They flew to Colorado on 19 May to attend the Class of 2011 Graduation and 1961 Mini-Reunion and enjoyed it all. Kudos to all the Colorado guys that made it happen. Then they embarked on a Northwest USA Taster Tour: Mt Rushmore, Wounded Knee, Little Big Horn. They met Charlie and Lynda Neel at a cabin near the northeast corner of Yellowstone for 4 days and saw the sights including Old Faithful, bubbling mud pots, spectacular waterfalls, moose, elk, antelope, bison, black bears, and a running grizzly bear. The foursome drove to Jackson Hole, WY, to see the Grand Tetons.

 

 Then Pat and Marilyn headed across Idaho to visit Bob and Judy Heriza in Baker City, OR, and other friends nearby. Then they went across to Bend, OR, for white-water rafting and kayaking on the Deschutes River, followed by a visit to Crater Lake and then Gold Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Then they visited California’s redwoods and friends in San Francisco area, (missing Brice Jones, who was in France), Yosemite for really, really spectacular waterfalls with all the snowmelt maxing out, Reno to visit Bill and Lori Shepherd (Class 63B Pilot Training Classmate at Moody AFB), then Utah for Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands Parks. Then overnight with Doc and Marty Arnold to see the highlights of Grand Junction, CO, and the Colorado National Monument.

 

 

On 29 June Pat and Marilyn flew back to Orlando, FL, and settled into their Satellite Beach home to rest and catch up They had good seats to watch the last Space Shuttle launch. It was a beauty! They are looking forward to the reunions for the Navy and Army Games.

Paul and Donna Dean celebrated their 50th anniversary on June 8th. Their children gave them a nice party and made a great DVD for them. In May Paul went to Las Vegas for a high school reunion. It was an all-school reunion of those who attended school in Bremerhaven, Germany. Since it was a pretty small school (rarely more than 50 in the high school at a time) their reunions are for everyone they can find who went to school there. Attendees included 5 from the ‘40s, 6 from the ‘50s, and the later years had about 15 to 20. All were military brats. Paul still hasn't found out if any other Bremerhaven grads ever went to USAFA. He knows of some Navy grads and Army grads, but he knows of no Zoomies. Anyway, Blackhawks forever!

On July 4th Jerry Gill ran his 22nd Peachtree Roadrace (10K) along with daughters Leigh Ann and Beth—and 13 year-old grandson Trevor. They all beat him, and his time is Top Secret, but he finished vertical!

John Goodley said that his wife, Casey, enjoyed two weeks in Poland and the Ukraine this summer, but he didn’t go. He and Jack Bright have been heading to the golf course about once a week about daybreak to avoid the heat. I forgot to ask whether those golf matches funded Casey’s trip.

Don and Pat Grant have been enjoying their retirement playing golf, spending time with friends, and traveling. They sold their condo in Sarasota, but still enjoy St. Thomas and visiting their daughter in Jackson Hole, WY, and their son in Los Angeles. They just moved a daughter from Chicago to Salt Lake City to work with Mike Leavitt, the former Governor. Don’s health has been good since a heart attack, an almost complete replacement of his aorta, and a complete repair of his stomach muscle (because he started playing golf too soon after his aortal surgery). They will probably not make the 50th since November in Colorado is very iffy, and Don would rather watch it on TV than freeze in the stands. Needless to say, he hopes everyone has a great time. Don plans to look up Bob Brickey when he visits his daughter in Salt Lake City.

Tom and Liz Hill celebrated their 50th anniversary with a surprise reception organized by their children on July 9th. Nelson and Teri O’Rear attended and met many of their friends and relatives. Their children organized dinners on several nights, with friends from as far away as South Carolina. (In case you didn’t know, Clemson is in South Carolina.) Tom once again this year coached both high school and American Legion baseball. He loves being around the young men, who seem to appreciate the life lessons he teaches them, in addition to the baseball. At least one of those at their reception was the parent of one of his players.

Bob Heriza had a great time at the mini-reunion during May-Week. He enjoyed the get-together at Randy and Jan’s, although Bob was suffering from culture shock having to drive from Peterson Field. Those Colorado Springs drivers are bizarre. It doesn’t help coming from a town of 9,500 and trying to survive the traffic. Bob thoroughly enjoyed the swearing-in ceremonies for 16th and 17th Squadrons. He checked the weather for the graduation parade and decided correctly to pass. Then he got to thinking about driving all the way out there from Peterson Field and finding that the graduation ceremonies had been moved inside, and he wouldn’t be able to attend. Pat Buckley told him that he was written up for missing a formation! Judy and Bob will see everyone in November unless he’s on restriction due to the write-up. Bob’s book was delayed because his publisher had been giving him fits. He has changed publishers and the book, “Man’s Flight Through Life”, should be out in about a month—he promises.

Mert Hull says that he is probably in the wrong business—construction and development—so he is still working full time, mostly away from Colorado Springs. His and Maxine’s family is doing well. With seven children and 24 grandchildren, they spend most of their time at soccer, baseball, and lacrosse games, as well as birthday parties. May the Lord bless all Gray Tags. See you at the reunion.

Dean and Jo, and Wayne and Mary Jones gathered with 19 family members in Miami, FL, to depart on a joint50th Wedding Anniversary Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean from June 11-18 on the Carnival ship "Liberty". They had good weather and calm seas for the whole itinerary of Half Moon Cay, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk Island. They enjoyed a lot of beautiful scenery along the way, learned some interesting pre-UShistory, and had a blast on the ship. A week later, many of the same group traveled to St. Joseph, MO, for the Jones Family Reunion, attended by some 80 folks from all over the country. These occur only about every 10 years, and a good time was had by all at the two-day event.

Sandy and Lowell Jones have moved to Falcons Landing in northern Virginia. It has been a hectic time of selling, moving, and now unpacking. They have had a great welcome from many residents, including HT Johnson ('59) who lives in the same apartment building. Their new address and phone number are: 20550 Falcons Landing Circle, #5504, Potomac Falls, VA 20165, (703) 444-9530.

Terry Jorris said that he had to leave Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) in May after 20 years because they ran out of projects he could do with his slide rule. He started a new job with AT&T Government Solutions in June in support of Space and Missile Center Space Superiority Systems; however, he was disappointed that AT&T didn't issue him those boots with spikes on them so he could climb telephone poles.
His eldest son Tim, LtCol USAF, was deployed to Iraq in July. Terry’s not sure why they need a PhD to do administrative work there, but then he never did understand AF personnel policies.

Lee and Joanie McCleskey enjoyed a magnificent time in the Arkansas Ozarks, with their entire family, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in July. Yes, it would have been closer to 21 June, but the schools in Northern Virginia don't get out until the end of June. All four children, their spouses, and 14 grandchildren were able to make it, so they had 24 in attendance. They were able to rent an entire compound of three cabins and two houses. This worked extremely well with families sharing daily devotionals and meal preparations. The week was packed with activities, including exploring forest land, swimming and picnicking on the Buffalo River, touring caves, visiting the local museum in Harrison, AR, and seeing the fantastic musical"Noah" in Branson, MO. All made it home safely to Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas. No injuries and no illnesses, a real blessing! They are looking forward to November.

Tom Owens (TP) is happily ensconced in Anchorage, AK, enjoying a second career as a mediator, arbitrator, attorney/psychologist, conflict consultant and executive coach. Details at www.mediate.com/owens.

John Payne said that it has been a quiet week in Oxford, MS. No tornados, no floods, only a heat wave with heat indexes in the triple digits. They had their up-close-and-personal tornado experience on April 27th. Fortunately they had only minor damage to their home, but weeks later he was still waiting on a roofer to repair the damage. They are all busy on bigger repair jobs. The day after the tornado, John wrote a few words to his brothers and sister: Yesterday was a very long and stressful day for us. The day started at 3:00 am with loud noise, hail, and the house shaking slightly. The first tornado of the day had arrived. It did a lot of damage in our subdivision, but fortunately, I have not found any major damage on our home. Lost big trees in the back yard, but again fortunately, they fell away from the house. No homes in our subdivision were destroyed. A few suffered loss of shingles and minor structural damage. At 9:30 there was another small funnel cloud in West Oxford, and at 1:40 another system passed through the southern part of town into the Holly Springs National Forest where the driver of an 18-wheeler was killed. In comparison to the damage and death in Alabama we were spared. I could tell you all the trivial little things that tornados do in addition to the big things, but I don’t have the mental incentive this morning. I am just tired and not looking forward to the clean up process. We are reminded again of how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. On a brighter note, John managed to get away in June to the mountains west of Brevard, NC.

 

Three remaining brothers of the Gordon and Johnnie Payne Family. One brother, Vic, passed in 2003. They met in the mountains just west of Brevard, NC. They have been trout fishing in those mountains since the early 1980’s. Rod, the brother on the left, is a retired USAF colonel. He was also an F-4 driver. Van, on the right, has worked for the Southern Baptist Mission Board since about 1975. He has more air miles than Rod and John put together. John hopes to see many of you in November.

Jimmy and Susan Poole sold their Alabama beach condo and purchased a seasonal home in Waynesville, NC. Altitude is 3,500 feet, and cool temperatures are a welcome respite from the hot Alabama summer. If any of you are traveling through western North Carolina, be sure to give Jimmy a call, as they welcome visitors. In June they joined the Boeschs, Kiszleys, Kohouts, and Negronis celebrating Charlie and Sarah Stebbins 50th anniversary in Charleston, WV.

Mike and Ginny Rawlins report that Mike stopped flying Charter Jets in October 2009, so they continue to stay busy chasing 6 out of 7 grandchildren close by and staying involved in their activities: soccer, karate, guitar lessons, softball, and lacrosse—as well as sleepovers, etc. Mike plays tennis on two teams 2-3 times a week, as well as volunteering at the local hospital one day a week, and golfing when time permits.

They belong to a fitness center close by, so that also consumes a bit of their time.

Although they have not traveled a lot this year, that will change in 2012 with several trips planned to include going abroad. Mike looks forward to the 50th reunion although Ginny will not be attending due to altitude sickness, by the time she acclimates; it will be time to go home. They feel very fortunate that their health remains good.

Dennis and Iva Ray and 6-year-old son Mishka moved in a 24’ Budget truck from Victoria, BC, at the end of July to their home in Laguna Niguel, CA. Dennis retired from Royal Roads University on June 30th. In 2010 he designed a Master of Global Management program that is now operating, and in 2009 he redesigned the school’s MBA programs in China. Dennis is working with a not-for-profit institute focused on entrepreneurship education and hopes to do his 7th bicycle tour in New Zealand early next year with Mishka.

Jim Rogers and Linda have been traveling. They were in Virginia and Maryland in June, where they marshalled the US Open golf tournament. It was a great experience. Then, at the beginning of July, they went to "good old" Ohio to visit Jim’s sister. Interesting time! From there, they went to Naperville, IL, to visit Linda's daughter. On July 18th, they went to Pompano Beach, FL, to visit Tom and Mimi Skilling for a few days.

Les Schneider is still working full time at Flight Safety International in St. Louis as a simulator instructor on the Embraer 170/190. His wife, Debbie, was recalled to American Airlines after having been furloughed for 8 years (former Ozark/TWA flight attendant). After training, she was assigned Miami as her base! She is now a commuter. Not the best of circumstances, but she is very happy to be back. That leaves Les as Mr. Mom for the four they still have at home: Ellie (19) just graduated from high school and is working and attending St Louis Community College; Heidi (17) is home-schooling; Leslie Anne (13) is in the 8th grade; and Troy (10) is in the 5th! Son Andre (27) is in Kansas City, working in finance managing mutual funds, and son Paul (22) is a missile technician n a Trident submarine, based outside of Seattle. All that keeps Les rather busy and enjoying life to the fullest. He is looking forward to seeing you all in November.

Tom and Mimi Skilling have moved permanently to Naples, FL, as of January. They are working on adjusting to Florida’s summer weather. They live a short distance from Jim Rogers and Linda Cain and see them frequently. The two couples enjoyed a 13-day transatlantic cruise in November. They flew to London, spent two days there, then boarded the ship in Southampton, and set sail across the sea. They had three lovely stops, and then six days at sea to arrive in Miami. It was a great trip, with wonderful weather. They would recommend it to anyone who likes to cruise. They live on a golf course in a community of active men and women who enthusiastically participate in golf or tennis. They are always motivated to lower their handicaps.

Sarah Stebbins sent a photo of the ‘61ers who helped them celebrate their anniversary in June.

 

left to right: Joan Kohout, John Kohout, Patsy Kiszely, Frank Kiszely, Sarah Stebbins, Charlie Stebbins, Joan Negroni, Hector Negroni (hiding?), Lydia Boesch, John Boesch, Susan Poole, Jimmy Poole.

 

They had a great “mini-mini-reunion” with them at the awesome party hosted by the Stebbins’ children. Right after that, they enjoyed their annual Nags Head vacation with kids and grandkids. Now they are looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion in November!

Terry Storm thanks everyone who voted in the AOG election, passing the updated bylaws, and electing Directors. He has been elected to a second term as Chairman, knowing he will receive the continuing support of our classmates. He would also appreciate any constructive criticism about his Chairman’s Journal articles in our quarterly Checkpoints.

Jack Taylor, after retiring from the Air Force, taught high school: American government, world history, some sophomore English, and early on, five years in special education programs for the learning disabled high school students. He retired from Spanaway Lake High School, Spanaway, WA, in 2004, and his wife, Linda, retired from teaching special education students at Kalles JHS, Puyallup, WA. The year Jack retired from teaching, he also retired from refereeing soccer as an instructor referee and "State Referee" in the U.S. Soccer Association. He officiated more than 2,000 games that included all ages and levels of skill; professional, college and youth/amateur soccer. At one time he was a local official of the professional Major Indoor Soccer League, now defunct. During their retirement years, they've traveled all over the U.S. and also enjoyed their time share property at the Pueblo Bonito Rose in Los Cabos, Mexico. But their favorite times have been spent on multiple trips to Hawaii, to Denver to visit their son and his family in Littleton, CO, another son in Nashville, family on the East Coast, and another son and his family just up the road in Bellingham, WA. Last summer they took the three grandchildren to NY City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.; two weeks of great fun with the then age 15, 13, and 11 year-old grandchildren. Recently, Linda and Jack attended events in Kansas City when his UPT Class 63A, Craig AFB, gathered, and later enjoyed a week with Jack’s cousin and his wife at the four Disneyland and two Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, FL. Jack also travels frequently because of his position in several organizations. He is a member of Afifi Shrine, Tacoma, WA, the Scottish Rite, and he is a Master Mason. Jack was also commander of the Legion of Honor, one of the units in the Shriners, and is now also a member of the Jesters, another unit for Shriners, serving this year as Director of their Court. Jack is also active in the Puyallup Valley VFW Post 2224, where he and two others are the Post's special events planners. They develop the annual Memorial and Veterans’ Day programs that involve the City of Puyallup, the American Legion, and Fleet Reserve Association. These are major, well-attended public events for the City of Puyallup which includes suburban comunities, a population of 54,000 or so, adjacent to Tacoma, WA, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and several suburban Seattle communities. Jack is also a season ticket holder of the Seattle Sounders, Major League Soccer, so he attends the 15 home games and summer exhibition games at Century-Link Field, joining the 36,000 plus other Sounders fans that regularly attend. To sum it up, they travel (a lot), participate in numerous community events, and continue to enjoy not having a specific reason to set the alarm clock to get up in the morning. They recommend retirement.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear took a 13- and a 14-year-old grandson to Paris in June. They visited most of the usual touristy sights, including Versailles. By the time they left, the boys were becoming pros at navigating Paris’ Metro system. In August, they took another 13-year-old grandson to French-speaking Quebec City and Montreal, Canada. The trips made for great times and good memories. Their three children and their families helped them celebrate their 50th anniversary at the end of July. The celebration will continue into September, when they will re-visit Mackinac Island, where they spent their honeymoon. This time, though, they will stay at the Grand Hotel, courtesy of their children.

Thanks to all who contributed. It’s always great to catch up on what others are doing. Hope to see most of you at the reunion!

 

 

April 2011

As of press time, about 36 classmates/guests planned to participate in the mini-reunion during graduation week and help forge a 50-year-long link in the Long Blue Line with the Class of 2011. The two guests include one individual who started with us but did not graduate, and one is the son of a deceased grad.   The main events for the Mini-Reunion union will be the presenting the graduates from the class of 2011 with their first set of engraved gold bars (’61-’11) and being with the graduates on the floor of  Falcon Stadium for their graduation ceremony. Planning is well along for the main 50th Reunion, 2 - 6 November. Be sure to check the reunion website http://www.usafa.org/reunion/1961/1961.aspx and the Class Website http://usafa1961.org/products.htm for the latest information. Hope to see all of you in November.

A reminder to all that we should keep Jim Cassidy’s son, Jim; Gene Hopp’s wife, Annette; plus Art Kerr, as well as their families, in our thoughts and prayers as they deal with health issues.

If you have not already done so, all members should vote NLT 2 May in the AOG’s elections for/against amending our bylaws and for members of our Board. At least 25% of AOG’s members must vote for the amendments to be in effect; at last count only 7% had voted.

Mark and Ginger Anderson are working on a new goal: visit more National Parks in our great country.   In mid-April they took a five-day swing through Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and a side-trip to Sedona, AZ:   Great scenery. Kudos go to the Park Service for the quality of the facilities and cleanliness of the grounds.   Mark and Ginger also look forward to seeing the classmates at  May’s Mini-Reunion.

Bill Aylsworth observed that getting old is hell! 2009 was the year for replacement of both his hips.   He survived that pretty well, but it distracted from an otherwise good year. 2010 was the year for recovery from the two hip replacements, and he spent most of the year trying to get his tennis game back in order (utter futility). Now, in 2011 Bill has been challenged by a detached retina in the left eye that has already required two surgeries and will require a third operation to replace the lens when the eye has healed. It has not been fun doing things with full vision in only one eye.   On the other hand, Bill is now looking to join a community of blind people, where he shall be king! All said and done, Lil and Bill are both doing well.   They are blessed, and they hope that you are as well.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley were off to Jolly Olde England in mid-February for Marilyn’s Mum’s 91st birthday.   Then, they received word from Spain that the house purchase in Velez-Malaga (about 30 miles east of Malaga on the Costa del Sol) was ready to complete.   So, they went there to close the purchase on 3 March, moved in on 4 March, and had five days to ready it for living and renting.   It is a Village House in the ancient part of the Old City near the top of the hill and the old castle but nicely refurbished with modern amenities.   Photos of 3 level exterior, roof terrace, and views of the Med and the Mountains enclosed.   Then, they flew back to Brice Jones' Telluride ski chalet on 23 March to join Brice and Sally, Jimmy and Susan Poole, Charlie and Lynda Neel, Neal and Gwen Westbrook, and Sam Barazzone for five days of skiing, eating, drinking, playing, and companionship.   Highlights included the Telluride slopes and snow, meals prepared by the ladies accompanied by Brice's excellent Emeritus Vineyards wines, Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman DVD, an Elvis Presley Vegas Show DVD, Charlie Neel's Scotch Samplers, and numerous other activities with Brice Jones in Telluride.  

 

After they returned to Satellite Beach for a few days, they received an invitation from the Government of Albania to attend the Dedication Ceremony for the new Nene Tereza Airport Tower and Air Traffic Control Center.   They returned to England on 16 April to say hello to Marilyn’s family and are now in their new home in Velez-Malaga for Holy Week processions and waiting on a short visit from Gene and Judy Davis.   They will go to Albania on 27 April and return to Satellite   Beach Florida on 2 May to get ready for visitors arriving on 4 May.

 

 

            Buckley's Spanish home                                                   Street view of Buckley's Spanish home

Doug Cairns reports that one of the highlights of his life is that each month is the monthly Alabama Gray Tag golf match. Steve Ho and  Ron (Reb) Jones rendezvous with Jimmy Poole and Doug at select, high-class golf links around Birmingham and Montgomery.   Their format is two-man scramble, rotating partners each six holes with liberal ball placement adjustments. They invite you to join in when you pass through the state.

With just over a year into retirement, Jim Darnauer is enjoying it but has barely gotten started cleaning out the 30 years of accumulation of stuff in this house. With travel and remodeling, Joy and I have stayed busy. While skeptical about man-caused global warming, we have gone somewhat "green" with the installation of solar power generation and being one of the first owners of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. I don't have to worry about the pump price!

Dick Davis enjoyed parents' weekend at College Station visiting his son and his family.   Dick has two grandsons in the Corps at A&M.   The eldest, completing  his junior year, received some unusual recognition in the award for outstanding  First Sergeant and The American Legion Award for Military Excellence. He will be company commander next year.   Dick could not be prouder.

Tom and Anne Eller, and Terry and Carleen Storm enjoyed each other's company on a cruise to New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia in February and March: beautiful weather and nice people. Tom and Anne visited the Wilhelms and the O'Connors in Tucson for a few hours in early April. In late May all of Tom and Anne's children and their families will be in the Colorado Springs area to celebrate three things: Daughter Julie gets her MBA on a Friday. Grandson Barrett graduates from USAFA on the following Wednesday. And in early June, son Dr. Robert (Lt Col select) and his family, Dr. Kristen, Anna Katherine (5), and Jeremiah Thomas (2) PCS to Lakenheath.  In late July, Tom and Anne head to Girdwood, Alaska, for Tom's last AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialists Conference as chair of the AAS Space Flight Mechanics Committee.

Richard Fairlamb and Byron (By) “Pops” Theurer spent a few hours during two days in late March/early April “shooting at wrist watches with their hands”—you know, OLD fighter pilot tales, supplemented with 3-dimensional hand maneuvering, just like they were STILL doing it today!   By, perfect gentleman that he is, gave Richard a photo of the F-102 Upgrade Class from early 1962.    Six GrayTag lieutenants trying to keep one captain/ex-F-89/F-101B navigator/RIO in line—Clair Carling;  Dick Fairlamb; Rich Mayo; Bud McCollum; Smokey Stover;  and By Theurer. It was a key addition to Richard’s historical files, as he did not have any pictures from that era. Byron and Pat are doing quite well.   By is still flying his Schweitzer I-35, “Iron Butterfly” on a regular basis, and very happy “to slip the surly bonds….”     Pat loves her afternoon naps but is full of energy when she arrives on scene.    They are both doing very well in the “high-rent district” of St. George, UT, enjoying life and the great Utah outdoors.     Richard was passing through, en route to/from Springdale, UT, for his oldest daughter’s 40th birthday.    

Kate and Lou Hablas just returned from Georgia, where his son, Lou, took Lou and his grandson, Patrick, to the Wednesday practice round of the Masters golf tournament.   It was a great day, and they saw many of the top golfers  on the tour, including Phil Mickelson; but they missed Tiger Woods because he had already teed off on the back nine, and they wanted to get Patrick over to the par three course where many of the pros play in a fun tourney, including having their little ones "caddy" for them.   (Young autograph seekers had a hole where there was a special place roped off  for them to  seek autographs as the pros passed from one green to the next tee.   Patrick, age 10, had a blast!) Kate and Lou have a pretty full schedule for the next two months.   In May they are going to Virginia to visit  their children and grandchildren.   The main purpose of the trip is to attend his granddaughter's First Communion, and to celebrate his grandson's Confirmation and another granddaughter's birthday.   That will wind up May. In June they head to Cape Liberty, NJ, where they will board a cruise ship for a seven day trip to Bermuda.   After that, they will be resting until October, when Lou’s six sisters, surviving spouses, and Kate and I have a reunion in St. Paul, where the "matriarch (86)" of the family lives, quite actively. Then comes November, and they are looking forward to seeing as many of  our classmates in Colorado as is possible.

Bob Heriza said things are going well there in God's Country.   Judy is doing well with her decorating business, and he is working with two disabled clients.   Skiing wasn't as good as previous years; he got in only 101 runs.   Bob did complete his Magnum Opus (Man's Flight Through Life),  and at this writing, it is at the publisher's. He hopes to have it available for the mini-reunion during May Week (aka June Week), but it will be  available to read prior to November when everyone can talk about what he got wrong. Details later.

Larry Hollie recently joined the GTN and wanted to update us on what he has been doing. After graduating from USAFA, he spent 28 years in the rated arena: flying, manpower, aircraft delivery, and staff jobs.   His wife (Gloria) and three sons, Frank, Lee, and Andrew, followed him to various assignments: Germany (twice), Colorado (twice), Alabama, and Georgia.     After retiring from the Air Force in 1989, they all moved back to  the Memphis, TN area, where Larry and Gloria both still had family.   Larry worked for two years managing a dry cleaning shop, two years managing a Pizza Hut restaurant, and ten years with a non-profit organization that worked with  mentally challenged individuals.   Larry fully retired in 2005, and now golfs as often as he can. Gloria started working for Civil Service on their second tour in Germany in the personnel area.   She finally retired from the government in January 2010 after 31 years, the last with the FAA at the Memphis ARTCC.   They now travel a lot, mostly visiting family.   Larry’s youngest son, Andrew, joined the Navy after graduating from high school in 1990, and will retire as a Chief Petty Officer in May 2011.   His oldest son, Frank, joined the USAF shortly after Andrew joined the Navy, and he will retire this month as a lieutenant colonel.   His middle son, Lee, is an electrician in the Memphis area.   Except for various growing pains (or growing older pains), Gloria and Larry are in good health.   Gloria had a partial hip replacement last November after she suffered a fall the day after Thanksgiving.   She is doing quite well in her rehab.

Peter Holmes-Ray and Charlie Neel enjoyed their reunion in Crystal River in March. Although they had not seen each other for about 30 years, they seemed to take up right where they left off.   Peter thinks of Charlie and Lynda as two of his best friends ever and hopes to see them again later this year.   Another thrill for Peter is watching his granddaughter, Haliey, progress in her acoustic guitar playing. They will be going to Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp in June, where she will receive some more great instruction and have fun jamming in the evenings.

Gene Hopp’s wife, Annette has finished her 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and is now waiting a few weeks for a final MRI and diagnosis.   They want to thank everyone for the concern, calls, and cards.   Annette has always been in awe of this particular “Band of Brothers!”

It is with great joy that Henry Howe reports that on 1 July 2011, his spouse of 44+ years will be joining him in retirement. Peggy announced on Sunday that she would retire from active ministry. They are now planning to start looking for a place to live a little closer to their granddaughter in Georgetown, TX. Their immediate plans are for an early July tour to the Lutheran heritage sites in the former East Germany, where Henry’s security clearances would not permit him or his family to travel, and then to Colorado in late July for a Lutheran Men’s Gathering in Denver and visiting Peggy’s father in Ft Collins. They also hope to visit their daughter, who should be at her new assignment as a C-130J squadron DO at Kirtland AFB.

Dean and Jo Jones, and Wayne and Mary Jones linked up in Southern California in March for a week of golf in Palm Desert, followed by a weeklong visit with some classmates in Tucson. While in Palm Desert, they also attended the LPGA major women's tournament at Mission Hills. It was a little humbling to see those 120-pound Koreans pound it out there 250 yards plus. In Tucson, they enjoyed a good visit with Paul and Marilyn O'Connor, Jim and Nancy Wilhelm, and Tom and Susan Conley. With the enthusiasm for which '61 parties are famous, the Tucson Group and some friends hosted a fine evening at the O'Connors, complete with a super buffet, refreshing adult libations, and of course an Arizona sunset! Wayne and Dean also toured the Pima Air Museum, which has one of the largest and finest collections of military aircraft in the world. A lot of nostalgia was in the air as they saw many of the airplanes they flew, now in their final resting place.

Terry Jorris went to Space Division at Los Angeles AFB  in 1983 to work the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) program, retired in 1989, consulted for two years, and then went with SAIC, where he just received his 20-year pin. His older son is a PhD AF Lt Col at the Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, about to deploy to Iraq. His younger son has a degree in Economics and is currently job hunting in Seattle. Terry’s daughter is a Mechanical Engineer in a power plant in Wyoming, supplying us all with electricity. Life is good in Southern California so he will probably retire there someday.

Bob Kellock and Samantha Carlson are going to Hawaii in July to watch the finish of  Transpac 2011.   Bob was there in 2009, but Samantha finished next to last on the Tall Ship Lynx, missing most of the other finishers.   She and Bob  will arrive on Hawaiian Air  this time, and enjoy the  ten days  of finishes  together.   Bob's still looking for the opportunity to retire without just walking out, and is making some progress in casting off the Boeing traces.   Samantha is continuing with her studies in Health Information Technology (HIT) to become a HIT woman.   They're both looking forward to our 50th year festivities.

After a couple of months in the hospital, and receiving many good wishes and being in the prayers of so many Gray Tags, Art Kerr returned to a home magnificently modified by Holly to handle his new wheelchair situation. And all is quite well with that.   Physical therapists have started to make calls at his home with the objective of helping Art move toward his first goal of abandoning the wheelchair.   They are working on it.

Chess and Patsy Mizell’s highlight last year was a September 17-day eastern Mediterranean cruise with ports of call in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt—highlighting Biblical sites, which they thoroughly enjoyed. They spent four weeks this past winter enjoying the sun and beach at a timeshare resort they own near Acapulco, Mexico.   Next year they plan to go to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Since they live on a TVA lake, their summer activities are boating oriented.   Every Saturday they have a raft-off with 20 to 24 boats, socializing and swimming, and in the late afternoon passing food from boat to boat. About half of the Friday nights, their Yacht Club has informal dances, which they attend if they are in town.   December was a very busy month with two formal dances and several other parties, including New Year's Eve. Chess and Patsy visited one of their sons in Dallas for Christmas. Chess hunted in Tennessee and West Virginia, and fished in Tennessee and Alabama—all without without much luck.   However, his luck was good fishing on inland waters in Florida for panfish and crappie. A lot of their friends in Tennessee around their age are having health problems, but luckily both Chess and Patsy are okay. Their three sons and their families, including 12 grandchildren, will help them celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this summer. Chess and Patsy look forward to attending our reunion in November, as well as the 20th the Fighter Squadron reunion in San Antonio just before our Academy reunion.

 

In March, John Moore had the pleasure of attending the first birthday party of his great granddaughter.     She is his daughter’s granddaughter.   Of Air Force interest, John’s daughter (Kristy Kniest) is Boeing's Director of Presidential Airlift (responsible for Air Force One, Air Force Two, and fourteen other large-size Boeing aircraft). Although he does not envy her 24x7  job, vicariously  John and his wife, Sherry,  get small glimpses into  the interrelationship between Boeing,  the  Presidential Airlift Wing, and the White House.   Meanwhile, John is content to play a little pool or a round of golf with  local Air Force retirees, including Jim Tulis, who lives three blocks away. 

Hector and Joan Negroni just returned from a 7-day family Caribbean Disney Cruise.   They went to Key West, Turk and Caicos, Cozumel, and Bermuda.    Hector may have to take a week to recover.   His five grandkids ran him ragged! Hector also reports that on Tuesday, 5 April 2011, the Class of 1961 DC Bunch held a luncheon meeting at the elegant and prestigious Springfield Country Club in Northern Virginia.

 

Those attending included, from left to right: John Kohout, Charlie Dixon, Hector, Bill Foster. Bill Stackhouse, Lowell Jones and Jack McDonough.

As you can see in the photo [see note above], everyone looks healthy.   They have decided that how long one lives has nothing to do with how long one will be dead.   Therefore, they have adopted a Pro-Life Stand.   There was limited time to solve the world problems since they spent most their time relating their war experiences.   All agreed that, even though they had heard the war stories before, they get better and more embellished with the passage of time. Jimmy Rogers commented from Florida, “Miss the DC lunches.   Everybody looks good.   Life is boring here—85 degrees everyday with sunshine.”

Sarah Stebbins has proven that ice skating on their front porch steps during a recent global-warming-induced snowstorm can be dangerous. Although her sprained ankle presented many different colors as it was healing, she said that it has since returned to earth tones.

Carleen and Terry Storm greatly enjoyed an almost month-long vacation to Maui, New Zealand, Australia, and Honolulu.   Coincidentally, Anne and Tom Eller were on the same cruise around NZ and Australia, making that time even better.   The weather was perfect.   Tasmania was even more beautiful than NZ!   The Christchurch stop wasn’t possible due to the recent earthquake, as well as the one there last fall.   The Japan earthquake and tsunami had no impact on them.

Charlie Thomas was honored to commission his cousin's grandson at Stevens Institute on May 21st, following which he was their guest speaker. After that, Charlie and Gina left for four days in Rome and a week in Sicily.

All is well with  Tom and Judy Wilson.    They recently returned  from their five week "Senior Citizens" Spring Break in Siesta Key, FL, to snow, wind,  and cold --  NOT FUN!   Tom is working on establishing a Minnesota Chapter of the AOG and should have completed the initial organizational meeting by press time. Hard to believe that their grandchildren, Mick Powell and Haley Wilson, are about half-way through the Academy; both are doing well.   Tom and Judy have several trips planned during 2011,  topped off and highlighted with attendance at our USAFA 50th reunion in November.   They hope to see all of our classmates there, too.

Nelson and Teri O’Rear flew from Indiana in February to enjoy 10 days of warmer weather in Arizona—7 of those days with his sister and brother-in-law. The wind chill was 15 degrees below zero when they departed Indiana; temperatures in the 60s welcomed them to Arizona. Teri’s 98-year-old mother succumbed from pneumonia, (the old person’s release, as she used to call it) on 13 April, 11 days after a fall that left her in a lot of pain. Although one of her comments about living so long was that she was outliving most of her friends, leaving few to attend her funeral, her fears were unfounded since many of her younger friends accompanied her few remaining older ones in attendance.

 

January 2011

Our class was diminished by the loss of Sue Stover (6 November), Bob White (13 December), and Roger Woodbury (8 November) this past quarter. Additionally, we learned of the passing of Vic Apodaca’s sister, Dolores Alfond, who was deeply involved with POW/MIA issues, and one of our most memorable ATOs, Joe Yeager.

John “Smokey” Stover and his family celebrated Sue’s life on 20 November, with a reception later at their daughter Laura’s house, both in Phoenix, AZ. George Buchner, Gene Hopp, Jerry Mason, and Fred Wohrman attended the celebration of Sue’s life. Smokey appreciated their attendance and also the e-mails, notes, and phone calls from other classmates and wives. He said that things are slowly getting better, but it's kind of like climbing above 40,000 feet in the T-Bird:  by the time you get there, it seems like you are almost out of fuel.  

Pat Buckley and Hector Negroni attended the memorial for Roger Woodbury in New Jersey on 13 November.   Pat made an eloquent short  speech about Roger and the Class of 1961.   At the end of the service Mary Sue invited  them to the front and  they stood by the casket.   Hector made some introductory remarks  about our class and the significance of the Air Force chorus, and then the two of them sang "Here's a toast...." for the attendees.   Nelson O’Rear and Paul Stephen attended Roger’s military burial services at a family cemetery near Secor, IL, and the following reception on 20 November, paying their respects to his family.

Bob White passed from our midst on 13 December.   Donna, his widow, and his family held private funeral services in Colorado Springs.  

50th Reunion Plans, as reported by Charlie  Neel: 23-25 May 2011 -- Mini-reunion at USAFA during "Graduation Week." Key events are  having a class getting together at Cubero's the evening of 23 May, sitting together and being recognized at the Graduation Parade 0930, 24 May, presenting gold 2nd Lieutenant's bars to the graduates later that day, and sitting on the field during Graduation on 25 May.   Uniform TBD.   02-06 Nov 2011 -- 50th Class Reunion, Marriott Hotel. Key events: dedicating the class gift, holding a memorial service,  beating Army, and visiting with each other. Check our class web site <http://usafa1961.org/> for the latest information on these events.   We are striving for 100% attendance of all classmates who started at Lowry on 5 Jul 57, those who joined our class from earlier classes, those who drifted on, lost souls, widows, next-of-kin and children, spouses: everybody associated with the Class of 1961.

Brice Jones said that fund raising for the class gift for our 50th reunion has been very successful, thanks to all of you. Cash on hand and pledges currently total just over $350,000. Moreover, counting all pledges and “undecideds,” we will be very close to the almost unimaginable goal of 100% participation. Brice has set up a web site that reflects participation of the class, <USAFA61fiftiethreuniongift.org>. Only two classmates have not responded to our attempts to communicate with them. We are now asking for help from the class: roommates, squadron–mates, team–mates, friends, or anyone just willing to assist. The two are Richard Goddard (PO box 503384, San Diego, CA 92150-3384); and Albert Johansen (530 Deer Lake, Wimberly, TX 78578-5800). Brice believes that we will achieve our 100% participation goal; we just need these last three men to respond. Please consider how you might be able to assist with one or more of these two classmates, and keep Brice <brice@emeritusvineyards.com> apprised of your efforts. Brice also asks that those of you with pledges outstanding give thought to bringing them current. All are good as gold, and we have a few months before needing all the cash in—just a reminder.

The DC bunch had a luncheon at Springfield Country Club on Thursday, 11 November (Veterans Day). Attendees included Pat Buckley, Charley Dixon (host), Lowell Jones, Jack McDonough, Hector Negroni, Spike Nunn, Bill Sanzenbacher, Bill Stackhouse, and Twy Williams.    Bill Foster was still recovering from his latest bout with his pacemaker, so he was a rare absentee.  They drank a USAFA toast to the memory of Roger and paid their respects to his widow, Mary Sue, and three daughters.   Hector looked very good from his bout with a new knee and a tough hernia operation. He can still tell good stories.   He gave a good update on the class 50th gift.   Pat Buckley (both he and Marilyn all the way from Florida) told them about  their new vacation digs in Spain on the Mediterranean.    He also updated them on the activities and classmates that attended the Army game.

Stu Boyd has decided that the term “retirement” just isn’t ever going to work for him. Last year Marnie declared 2010 the year of the “NO.” Since Stu didn’t do too well, she has declared 2011 the year of the “BIGGER NO.” Stu has flown a number of missions with the Civil Air Patrol training Army and Air Force personnel prior to their deployment to Afghanistan. He is still Wing Chaplain for the Utah Civil Air Patrol, on the pastoral staff at their church, and fills in at the Hill AFB Chapel when requested. His latest effort involves a company that has developed technologies that can be used to locate low-strength radio signals. Both the Army and Homeland Security are interested, and they are bidding on several government contracts. He and Marnie continue to work with both married and engaged couples, and share the responsibility for the Relational Connections Ministry at their church, which focuses on developing strong relationships within the various church groups. They still love having their three big, beautiful barn occupants. Their “baby” is now a stunning mare with the personality of a playful teen. CeCe will undergo hip replacement surgery this month to correct a long-term dysphasia. Over the past two years her mobility has deteriorated and pain increased. They would appreciate your prayers. They enjoyed an extended time with their grandchildren last summer, both in Utah and in Colorado. A high-note at year-end was singing a choir that was recorded as part of a new CD by their friend Wendy Jepsen. It was a totally delightful experience.

Pat and Marilyn Buckley headed south after the victorious AF/Army game.   They visited Pat’s cousin in Dover, DE, where his cousin’s son (USAFA ’87) is the C-17 Reserve Squadron Operations Officer and arranged for Pat to fly an hour in the C-17 simulator!   A few touch and goes, an attempted inflight refueling and a low level pass of USAFA followed by a 360 degree overhead into Colorado Springs!   Lots of Fun!   Then they stayed with Charley Dixon in Virginia for a few days and made the Washington DC Lunch Bunch event.   They visited another cousin in Wilmington, NC, and then terminated their 4-month trip upon arriving in Satellite Beach, FL.   They enjoyed Thanksgiving with another cousin and Pat’s brother (USMA ‘64) in Orlando.   They shared Christmas dinner with Gene and Judy Davis, 5 miles down the road in Indian Harbor, FL.   They are now enjoying quiet time at home with exercise and dieting, trying to take off the pounds gained on their 4-month trip, and they are waiting for the Velez-Malaga City Hall to produce the last piece of paper needed to close the purchase of their alternate home in Spain.

Doug and Dee Cairns went to Italy for Spring Break, where their son, Rob, and his family live, and returned for an Alpine Christmas. Rob is a GS 15 now. Cathy and her family still live near the Cairns. Chris is a senior in electrical engineering and computer science at Auburn. His summer internship was in cyber security. Doug’s mother continues doing well in Alexandria, VA, and they enjoy visiting her.

After many years of unsuccessful elk hunting, this was Clair Carling’s year.   He drew out for a limited area bull elk hunt in the far southeast part of Utah, called the San Juan unit.   It was for muzzleloader rifles  only.   So, during the last part of September, his three sons, and seven of his young grandsons headed for San Juan.   Clair was the only one with a permit and rifle.    On the second day he shot a huge bull elk--the biggest he had ever seen, anywhere, any time.   It was also the first bull elk he had ever shot.   It turned out to have been the biggest elk killed in Utah in 2010, and the second largest ever killed in Utah with a muzzleloader.   It is also  the 6th largest ever killed in the world with  a muzzleloader.    For those hunters interested in Boon and Crocket numbers, it scored  415⅜ inches.   The mount will be on display at the Western Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City the first week of February. Clair attached a couple of photos and a write-up that was featured in  a recent quarterly Sportsman's publication.  All else is well with the Carlings.

Richard “Dick” Cooper called to say ‘hi’ to everyone. He is living in California (333 First St. #E302 Seal Beach, CA 90740) and hopes to make our 50th reunion.

Bill Foster has recovered from his bouts of renal failure and endocarditis in 2010 and is healthy and back to volunteering multiple days per week. In addition to the two days of volunteer work at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Bill adds the duties as the elected president of the 1,200-member auxiliary. One day a week, Bill also volunteers at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum where he wows tourists with his knowledge and enthusiasm about the wild blue yonder (wonder how he knows about airplanes). Bill and Theda's son has joined the ranks of retired military. As of October, Chris ('89) is the assistant men's soccer coach at the Academy.

This past November, Casey and John Goodley flew to Australia and took a cruise ship back to Los Angeles stopping at places like New Zealand, Tahiti, Pago Pago, Bora Bora, and Hawaii. They spent 29 days on that darn ship. In Bora Bora they ordered a Coca Cola at a small  sidewalk cafÈ: 2 cokes for $9 US dollars, but that included ice. John worked up enough courage to ask about a hamburger: $18 US dollars for one burger, but he’s not sure if that included a pickle. Needless to say, they held off on the burger.

Erna and Wayne Haring just finished a 29-day cruise. They went to the Holy  Land and visited Patmos and Ephesus, and then had two stops in Israel visiting Bethlehem,  Jerusalem, Nazareth, Galilee and sites at those locations. Then they went to Cairo and Alexandria. After the Bible cruise, they went to Sorrento and Rome, Italy and toured Pisa. Then, it was on to Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Spanish Morocco, Casablanca, the Azores. Bermuda, Fort Lauderdale, and home. They flew to Athens to start the cruise and spent two nights there before getting on the ship. Naturally they visited the Acropolis and another location there. It was a great trip.

Henry and Peggy Howe are looking forward to a quieter new year. 2010 finished with a blur of activity. Their daughter’s scheduled elopement with Tom Bickerstaff turned into a small wedding with both sets of parents, Peggy’s sister and husband, and Tom’s brother and family all in attendance along with Tricia’s college roommate and her husband and Tom’s college roommate. The wedding was in Bellingham, WA, on 15 October, as it was the mid-point for the bride coming from Hawaii and the groom coming from Florida. It was a lovely wedding. (What father would not say that?)

 Henry and Peggy spent another day in Bellingham to check out the area, which is reported to be one of the best retirement locations in the country. November found them in Fort Collins to spend Thanksgiving with Peggy’s father. Right after their return from Colorado, they were off to Hawaii for Tricia’s Lt Col pinning, which was a bit different.

 (Henry expects they may be going to Florida sometime soon for Tom’s Lt Col pinning.) December is always a very busy time in the life of the congregation and life of the pastor, and this year proved to be no exception. Right after Christmas, they did slip away for a couple of days of relaxing in Austin and had a couple of days in Galveston with seven-year-old granddaughter, Acadia, before returning to host their traditional New Year’s Eve bridge party.

In October, Lynda and Charlie Neel cruised the Canal du Midi in southern France, in a 5-barge flotilla, three Misty FAC couples per barge, for a week. Bud Day was on Charlie’s barge (really, a floating, low-powered RV). Lynda and Charlie  also toured for two weeks around Provence, Aquitaine, the Pyrenees, and Barcelona. In November, they attended the USAFA/USMA game, in New York  with the usual suspects and their significant others (Anderson, Boesch (ex-61), Boyington (60), Buckley, Cairns, Cubero, Eller, Jones (Brice and Dean), Lane, McConnell, Negroni, Dennis Parks (78), Saunders, Gene and Doe Stringer, and Wagner (Bob and Rees)) [For Hector’s summary of attendees and their activities, go to our class web site.] Later, Lynda and Charlie enjoyed Thanksgiving with family in Steamboat. The skiing was good. In December they enjoyed lots of  dinner parties, including one with  our local classmates,  hosted by Tom and Anne Eller. They spent Christmas week in Scottsdale. Life is fattening.

Joan and Hector Negroni spent the Christmas holidays surrounded by children, grandchildren, and snow in upstate New York.   Now they are packing up and heading for Naples, FL, for a couple of months.   There they will meet with the Rogers, the Skillings, and anyone else escaping the cold.   Joan and Hector wish you all a lot of snow while they think of you "warmly."    Here is a photo of Hector, Joan, and the grandkids:

December was supposed to be a fun month for Bob and Pat Smith, with another cruise scheduled. Instead Pat spent two trips to the ICU at a local hospital with severe respiratory problems and a mild heart attack while in the ICU. She is recovering slowly, but the high point was a visit by all three of her children for New Years celebrations, for the first time in a very long while. Bob was elected president of the board of directors of the local Health Care District. He has been on the board for 28 years.

Terry Storm asks everyone to PLEASE VOTE in the upcoming AOG election for the Bylaws Update/Revision and Board candidates. He said that we especially need Bob Munson and Jack Fry, our current Secretary and Treasurer to be elected, and there are many good candidates for the other open positions.  [Nelson is good friends with John Gross (’65) and heartily endorses his candidacy, too. John stays closely in touch with USAFA and IMO would be a good addition to our AOG Board.] Carleen is finally healing from her hip replacement surgery, shingles, and fractured pelvis from Terry’s wrecking their Jaguar, which they now have back.   Carleen and Terry are joining Anne and Tom Eller on a New Zealand-Australia cruise at the end of February.   The Ellers’ hosted a delightful ’61 Christmas party at their beautifully decorated home in Woodland Park.   The Colorado Springs contingent is diligently preparing our 50th Class Reunion, 2-6 November this year; y’all, please come.

Charlie and Gina Thomas are off again on another cruise. This time, they travel from San Francisco to several Mexican ports, through the Panama Canal, then a stop in Cartagena, and on to Miami. After disembarking in Miami, they will spend a week in Florida visiting Gina's aunt, who will be 100 in May, as well as other friends.

Neal Westbrook said that if anyone is stumped for a gift for his spouse,  a ride on a B-17, B-24, or B-25 offers an exciting and memorable choice.   For her birthday, he gifted Gwen with a flight on a Commemorative Air Force B-17, so she now has a first-hand connection with "Twelve O'clock High'" and "Memphis Belle".   (The P-51 was a little costly.)   Neal took three of his grandsons, David, Phillip, and Christopher, to the Independence Bowl and saw Carl Granberry, and they recognized each other. They thought they looked pretty much like they did 50 years ago.   Neal was sorry he didn't see more classmates there.     He also got a trophy "U of Oregon" cap from Dan Bates as a result of Auburn winning the BCS Championship game.   He gets a lot of comments on that cap, Dan.   Neal is looking forward to the 50th and hopes we can get all who entered to be there.   He suggests working your former roommates wherever they may be.   

Nelson and Teri O’Rear enjoyed a lot of time over the holidays with their children and their families. Their son Brian (’87) and his family joined them from Louisville for a week before Christmas; their Virginia granddaughter came just before Christmas and stayed five days; and their daughter’s family arrived from Iowa shortly after Christmas for a week’s visit. Their local son’s family also was there a lot of the time. Nelson and Teri are now current on game-playing, including those associated with Kinect. The biggest news for them over the holidays was their oldest grandchild, a senior at Purdue, becoming engaged to the woman he first began dating in high school.