| Bill Buford
After graduation I went through Nav training at Mather AFB, Ca, followed by EC-47s at DaNang and a tour in the C-142 at Charleston AFB, SC as a nav and instructor nav. I separated in 1974, but continued as an instructor nav in the Reserves at Travis AFB, CA.
Elaine and I were married in 1970 and we had three daughters - Alice born in 1971 (she was a month old when I returned from Viet Nam), Valerie born in 1976, and Scarlett born in 1979. Alice and her husband, Ben have five kids: 4 girls and a boy, ages 6 through 14 (they live near us in SW Houston). Valerie and her husband, Chris, have three daughters (ages 3 to 7) and they live in Battle Mountain, Nevada. Scarlett is single and living in NYC, working at the Metropolitan Opera and she previously danced three years with the Rockettes.
I received an MS in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Cal State University in 1978, became a Registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana (Electrical Engineering) in 1980, and followed that with a PhD in Interdepartmental Engineering from LSU in 1984.
From '76-'82 I was a Biomedical Engineer, Rehabilitation Research at the National Hansen's Disease Center (NHDC) in Baton Rouge, LA. That center is involved with Leprosy. After that I was the Director, Paul W. Brand Department of Rehabilitation Research at the NHDC fro '84-'91.
From there I moved to Galveston, TX , where I was Assistant Professor and Director in Biomechanics Research, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Medical Branch. In 1997 I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. In 2003 I was promoted to Professor. From 1999-2013 I was the Director, Division of Research.
On Aug 31, 2013 I retired.
I miss my Jag XK150, but I've kept a Honda S2000 for
From June, 1974 to December, 1975 I was at Wright Patterson AFB, OH getting my MSEE at AFIT. I was then assigned to the AF Armament Lab at Eglin AFB, Fl. I met, and married, Kathy at Eglin.
In May, 1979 I finally got a fighter assignment and, following fighter lead in training, went through F-4 RTU at Homestead AFB, Fl. In June, 1979 our first son, Tommy, was born. There were complications and he suffered severe brain damage at birth and was severely handicapped all his life. In September, 1979 we were assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, NC where I flew the F-4 until February 1981. Then off to Sembach AB Germany in OV-10s. In December, 1982 our second son was born. This time Kathys water broke on Christmas Eve so she spent 6 days in the hospital. On December 30th, John was delivered and weighed in at 3 pounds, 7.5 oz. John is now 6 foot 1 inch and is a financial advisor with his MBA.
In September 1984 they shut down the OV-10s in Germany and I led the 2nd 7 ship of OV-10s flying from Sembach to George AFB, CAtook us a week. The C-130s escorting us (one rescue and one maintenance) had to fly with flaps down so we could keep up. Then I came to Wright-Patterson AFB, OH as a program manager.
In 1987 I was assigned as the Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations for the 4950th Test Wing. In December 1987 I went to the Defense Systems Management College at Ft Belvour, VA. Following graduation, I came back to Wright Pat and was assigned to the Black World as a Program Manger. In October 1988 our 3rd son, Mike, was born (this time everything went ok)but you can imagine our surprise when we found out Kath was pregnantI was 45 then!! Mike is currently getting his Phd in Materials Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. In November 1990 our first son died while in the care of the county respite centerKath and I were in Florida for her parents 50th wedding anniversary.
In May 1991 I retired from the AF and became a support contractor and we stayed here in Dayton. I supported various programs and, in 2000 was assigned as a Test Manager for the Global Hawk UAV program and remained in this position for the next 12 years. I did convert to Civil Service in 2009.
In December, 2012, I figured it was time to leave the
AF and decide what I wanted to do when I grow up. So, now Im trying
to improve my golf game but am still keeping the fairways in good shape
by playing in the right rough. I also fly radio controlled aircraft
but by RC record isnt like my AF flying record. Ive managed
to total 2 Piper Cubs, 2 Cirrus 22s and severely damage a P-51 and a
My first assignment after commissioning was to attend "The Basic School", which was followed by Navy pilot training. After that I had to suffer through an assignment to an F-4J squadron in Hawaii. After learning to fly the F-4 I deployed to Da Nang.
From 73-75 I was with the Navy at Mira Mar, CA, and had one deployment on the USS Ranger in the western Pacific. After that it was back to the Marines at El Toro, CA, which included a tour on the USS Midway.
In 1978 I started an F-4E exchange tour with the 50th
TFW at Hahn AB, West Germany where I served as a flight commander for
the 496th TFS and Assistant Chief of Wing Stan Eval.
In March of 1983 I was selected for promotion to Lieutenant
Colonel and given command of an F-4S squadron in Beaufort, SC.
I followed that with a tour as a Group Ops Officer in Japan and then a desk job (Fighter Requirements Project Officer) at the Pentagon. I was able to escape from that back to Pax River as the F/A-18 chief test pilot. I retired from that position in August 1989 with 21 years, 3 months of active duty.
Hired by Westinghouse I flew BAC 1-11 and Sabreliners
configured to test military equipment. After 9 years of this I managed
to join NASAs Dryden High Speed Flight Research Center at Edwards,
AFB. There I was lucky enough to fly everything from the T-34 to the
B-52, staying current in 5 aircraft at a time. My primary aircraft was
the F/A-18. I flew research projects until I turned 65 when they recommended
I fly only airplanes without ejection seats and with "bathrooms"
in them. My second main aircraft was a DC-8 NASA operates for worldwide
science research missions. I flew the DC-8 for 15 years taking scientists
and their experiments over both the North Pole and the South Pole and
lots of places in between. I retired from NASA on 31 May 2013 and now
the only thing I fly is my own Cessna 210.
We also have a daughter who is married and living in Telluride, CO with her husband and two more (6 year old and 4 year old) granddaughters.
I think the one thing that has stuck with me over the years is the F-105 flyby that broke all the windows at the start of our June Week. I was so pumped up to get to pilot training and fly something like the F-105 that I damn near had an orgasm from the rush of the event. I can picture it even today and got a chance to nearly replicate the moment at the 40th reunion, however, I kept my F/A-18 sub-sonic.Sharon and I live in Palmdale, California. We expect to move to a "final resting place" soon, but are now still searching.
a. 1968 Lowry AFB, Denver, CO
b. 1968-1970 Ching Chuan Kang AB, Taiwan; Cam Rahn Bay AB, Vietnam
c. 1970-1971 England AFB, Alexandria, LA
d. 1971-1973 AFIT, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA
e. 1973-1977 HQ USAFE, Ramstein AB, Germany
Post AF Locations
f. 1977-2011: Redondo Beach, CA; Norwalk, CN; Manhattan Beach, CA;
g. Worked 1977-2011 in System Engineering and Program Management at TRW/Northrup-Grumman. Retired September 2011.
Biggest/most humorous/most influential event
h. Most humorous event that I remember was the noon fly-by by the F-105's from McConnell AFB that broke most of the windows in Mitchell Hall and several in Vandenberg Hall then Gen Olds laughing until the Superintendent looked over at him at which time he very quickly adopted a stone face!
i. The most memorable event I remember is coming back to the Academy after being in the Rocky Mountain National forest on survival training Dooley summer and after being told that we could expect a steak feast, getting cold cheese sandwiches because of the flooding of the Platte River at that time. What a HUGE disappointment that was after surviving on very little for those days. Bummer!
j. The most influential events were actually the two big honor scandals during our four years at the Academy. One after we returned from Christmas vacation Dooley year (first class to do so) and the other during either our second class or first class year. It happened when a member of our squadron who was also a member of the football team admitted he had tolerated someone's cheating on a test.
What I'm doing now and where I live
k. Retired and living in Santa Ana, CA 92706
First and Last USAF Assignment: Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), El Segundo, CA (5 years). Performed as a SMC Chief Engineer staff officer specializing in writing engineering requirements into spacecraft and launch vehicle contracts, specifically for reliability and electromagnetic compatibility (2 years). Subsequently joined DOD Comsat System Program Office as a project engineer for various DOD and British MOD communication spacecraft programs (3 years). Also, was one of the founding officers of the Los Angeles Armed Forces Management Association Chapter and served on the SMC Commanders Junior Officer Executive Council. After separating from the AF, I spent 20 years at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Hughes Space Systems (now Boeing), and TRW(now Northrop Grumman) mostly serving as an Assistant Program Manager for Product Assurance, on 5 major spacecraft programs for DOD, the National Reconnaissance Office( NRO), NASA, and a commercial Comsat program called Telstar III for Hughes Space Communications Division. Since 1993 I have been a staff senior product assurance engineer for The Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, CA providing technical direction to various DOD and NRO spacecraft and launch vehicle programs. I also served on a select committee to evaluate the construction of the first 2 segments of the International Space Station for NASA. Over the course of my career, I have had the pleasure of working at Cape Canaveral, NASA Houston, and at all the major spacecraft builders and subcontractors in the U.S. My claim to fame is that I wrote the current Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Quality Assurance Requirements document that has been instituted on various programs from GPS to the largest NRO programs. It is known as SMC Standard-003.
I retired in 2008 but have continued as a consultant for The Aerospace Corporation.
"Moon over the Western Skies Motel" is my most humorous AFA event. The F-105 Mach 1 blow out of many windows in Vandenberg Hall at graduation was probably the biggest event we all experienced. Watching Father Fighter (Robin Olds) and Chappie James pee in the sink at out 100th night celebration because the urinals were too busy, was right up there with "I remember whens". I was the Pistol Team Captain senior year and was named to the NCAA All American Pistol Team for 2 years.
Oh yeah, I led Elephant Squadron on the "Rock and Back Run" when I was a Firstie during Doolie summer for the Class of 1971. We were the only squadron to run all the way and back, and I was the only Firstie to lead Elephant Squadron for the entire run.
I have lived in Manhattan Beach, California for almost 40 years and love it. Have a second home in northwest Tucson for a diversion and some great hiking in the surrounding mountains and desert. Been married twice but no kids and have been single for 30 years. I love running and hiking and have run in the Manhattan Beach 10K every year since it started in 1978. I also have been a gym rat since 1980 and have been a member of the original Gold's Gym in Venice, CA for the last 14 years. My greatest fun is taking hip hop dance classes which I have been doing for 23 years. I have been in numerous dance performances over the years.
Headed to UPT with a number of Trolls where we were wined and dined by Steve McPhail's Mom and Dad and learned that "there's a loaf of bread in every bottle" from the Sarge so there was no need to eat really. Got married to Fancy Nancy right after UPT and clearly it is what saved me from a life of wretched debaucher. Went to RVN in C-130. Flew about 2000 sorties in nearly 2 years, mainly milk runs but a few exciting days. Got an F-100 assignment to go back but they gave all the Huns to the Guard so I ended up at Willy flying T-38's and going to Grad school. Survived both but got grounded by the Rated supp and went to Wright-Patt learning how to make B-1's. Called it a day for active duty and moved back to AZ for a job in the desert where I did OK working for Garrett AiResearch and its successor owners, Signal, AlliedSignal and Honeywell. Moved around --- Phoenix, LA, Taiwan, Baltimore, Seattle and back to Phoenix. Took early retirement in 97 after life as a fixer (turnaround specialist) became ugly. Had a few other ventures till former Vice Chairman from AlliedSignal enticed us to Santa Barbara in 2001 to turn around a Raytheon operation which was truly a professional hi-lite. Retired again in 2007 after 6 years in SB. Have a small consulting shop and serve on some PE Boards but mostly play bad golf, go fishing travel and try to be a role model (no really) for my grandkids.
We have two wonderful sons who avoided jail and married two wonderful women who turned them into citizens who in turn have given us 4 grandkids, 2 girls, 12 and 10, and 2 boys, 4 and 2. The girls, Alana and Eden are pictured with their Mom and Dad, Justin and Andrea with us at lake Powell. Ethan, Amy, Finn and Reef were in Montana where Ethan runs the Montana Board of Investment Private Equity and Alternative Investment operation
Nancy, of course, runs the show cuts me ample slack but ultimately on the straight and narrow. She is deeply involved in the community where she has been the Junior League president , a Master docent at the Phoenix Art Museum and is currently the Pope of the Presbyterians at Valley Presbyterian Church. Her crowning achievement even beyond staying married to me for 44 years is being the indisputable world's best Grandmother or at least in a dead heat tie with all the other world class grams out there
We just downsized from a nice home on the mountain to a smaller home a mile away looking at the mountain in Paradise Valley, AZ come and see us anytime.
1. Snapshot Derek hiking on Burroughs Mtn, NE corner of Mt Rainier
2. Assignments/work history:
4. Current Location: Retired from Boeing in 2012 and
continue to live in Kent, WA where Ive lived the last 29 yrs.
Enjoying life with my wife of 44 years what a great gift she
has been to me.
'68 - '69: Grad school in Boston.
- Hanscom AFB, Ma. C-130A
Second semester, 1st class year, I was an element
leader in 20th. I had 3 of my doolies (class of 71) living
in a single room across the hall. One was a small kid from Oregon who
struggled with the 4th class system. His classmates consistently rated
him at the bottom on their peer reviews and he was always on some upper
classmans xxxx list. Sometime mid-semester, I was called into
a Commandants board where they were reviewing his performance
record prior to dismissing him for his low ratings (in spite of his
torment, he was doing well academically). I remember sitting in front
of several colonels and assorted other Academy officers as a witness.
One colonel asked me for my opinion as his element leader. I told the
panel that this kid had several strikes against him when he showed up
the previous summer. First, his last name was Greenleaf, he probably
weighed less than 140 lbs and wore black rimmed glasses. He was naïve
(never heard of Bear Bryant or Woody Hayes) and scared. Several upper
classmen were intent on running him out of the place. He
ran more, endured more special inspections, and served more confinements
than any other of his 71 classmates, yet was still here.
I ended my comments telling the panel to give him the opportunity to
continue he had earned it. Several days later, Major Bill Francke
(20th AOC), stopped me in the hall, shook my hand, and said Greenleaf
was staying. So, wherever you are, Garrison Lee Greenleaf, class of
1971, thats the rest of the story. Oh, one more thing.
One of the colonels on the panel wrote me up for out of limit sideburns.
My last Form 10.
Im working 20-30 hours/week as a part time SME
(Subject Matter Expert) for Jacobs Engineering supporting conventional
and nuclear cruise missile interface definition and aircraft integration,
Eglin AFB, Fl. Marilyn and I live in Bluewater Bay (east of Niceville,
FL), play golf, spend time at our Alabama lake house (Lake Martin),
visit kids/grandkids, plan/work Kiwanis and church projects.
After leaving the AF, I worked in the pilot liaison office at the GE Aircraft Engine Group in Cincinnati before being hired at Southwest Airlines as the #200 pilot. At SWA I got into union work and served as a domicile rep, grievance chairman, negotiator and vice-president. We lived in Dallas (SWAs only base when I was hired in Dec 80) and I commuted to Houston for 24 years. I was mandatorily retired by the FAA on 6/6/6, the day before my 60th birthday.
I am now retired and Judi and I live in Manchester Center, VT, Judis hometown of 3500. We travel a lot - last fall sailing in Australia for 2 months, winter skiing in Breckinridge, summer canoe trip in British Columbia. I try to improve my fly fishing and lower my golf handicap (25.4) as yet to no avail. We both spend a lot of time in SFO and BWI babysitting 4 grandchildren.In the spring of 68 I had given Maj Rodee my word that there would be NO alcohol at Farish. Unfortunately, my date (from DU) didnt think I was serious and after we had left the wine skin in her car she went back in the snow and got it. Maj Rodee saw it under her cot and brought that to my attention on Monday. He called me to his office and I got privately issued restrictions and important advice to pick a good woman and stick with her (which I did).
1968-69 Laughlin AFB, TX - pilot training
After pilot training I flew the C-130 until I retired in 1990 - my brother Duane and I were stationed together from 1962 -1973 (enlisted/prep school/academy/pilot training/Pope AFB/and CCK AB) Du got out of the AF in 1973 and got out of the guard in 1998. The most exciting flying I did was from Feb 71-Apr 75 in Nam (from both CCK and Clark).
As for academy life - it was not very exciting - being
on ac-pro 7 out of 8 semesters. The biggest event I remember is our
mach 1+ fly-by before graduation.
Moved to Fairfield, CA when I retired from the AF -
flew 10+ years with Southwest and had to retire when I hit 60--have
been playing racquetball 4-5 times a week at Travis AFB-have made a
few trips to China with the wife and made more trips to Southern Cal
to visit sons/grandchildren/family.
A transfer to the Pentagon in 71 convinced me I was not cut out for an AF career and I separated in November of 1973. While I was at the Pentagon I finished an MA and continued graduate school after separation. After changing schools each time I was transferred Marie finally finished her BS at American University while I was at the Pentagon.
I did not fly in the AF but got a private pilots license while at the Academy. I still fly and have a Beech Debonair.
After separating in 1973 I began work on a Ph.D. and Marie began her law degree at the University of Oklahoma. We both graduated and left OU in 1978. From there we both took jobs in Illinois. I was a professor at SIU and graduated from law school at SIU in 1987. Marie was a prosecuting attorney and later started a private practice. I joined her practice part-time between 1987 and 1999.
In 1999 I retired from SIU and took a job at Texas Tech. At Tech I became the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Mass Communications. At Tech Marie taught political science, constitutional law and mass communication law.
I was able to retire from Tech in 2009 because they give credit toward their retirement for military service.
Im continually embarrassed when people ask me about my academic record at the Academy. I had a 2.45 GPA but became a career professor with over 100 academic publications including three books.
After retirement we moved to Colorado Springs and bought
a view with a house attached. Im doing volunteer work for the
Endowment and am president of a local homeowners association. Marie
describes her life as developing the fine art of doing nothing.
He flew for Continental Airlines out of Denver, El Paso and Houston. He then transitioned to Southwest Airlines out of Houston.
At age 55 Wayne was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's
Disease. He is currently in a memory care facility in Houston. His wife,
Charlotte continues to live in Houston.
I initially established a private practice in Gyn Oncology
in Jacksonville, FL based out of Baptist Medical Center, Downtown. My
3rd son, Dillon (1st child with Liz) was born in 1989. My 4th child,
and first daughter, Emma (2nd child with Liz), was born in 1991. I remained
in a solo private practice until about 1999 when I joined a group of
Gyn Oncologists in Jacksonville. I remained with this group until July
2005 when I joined the University of Florida Medical School in Jacksonville
to teach Gyn Oncology and Gyn surgery to UF medical students and Ob-Gyn
Residents. I remain in this position. I have one grandchild, Benjamin,
who was born in 2011 to Brad and Lisa in Washington, DC.
After pilot training at Craig AFB, AL, and B-52 training at Castle AFB, CA we settled at Beale AFB, CA. I had one tour at Utapao RTAFB and managed to become a B-52G aircraft commander right after I made Captain.
In 1972, being a gung-ho fool, I volunteered for a PCS combat tour and flew EB-66s out of Korat RTAFB. Fun aircraft--just a big fighter really. Hairiest moment was over downtown Hanoi in the middle of the night when I lost complete AC power at the bottom of a SAM break.
Anyway, I came back to B-52Gs at Loring AFB, ME where I was lucky enough to be Chief of Stan Eval and then Squadron Ops Officer. After three winters in Northern Maine I was sent to the Pentagon to be an exec in Force Development. I also worked on the National Military Command Structure Study and the Defense Agency Study. After three years there I realized that I did not want to do what the generals I worked for did (my apologies to all our general classmates) so I resigned and went across I-95 to National Airport to fly B-727s for Eastern Airlines. You might have noticed that except for the Pentagon and Beale, all my bases have closed (most of the planes I flew are in the boneyard too - guess that's one way to notice age).
Flying for Eastern was the best job ever until we were hijacked by Frank Lorenzo and the airline was looted into bankruptcy.
After that I moved into sales of information technology, and worked for companies big and small (International Computer Networks, Nynex Business Systems, Sears Business Centers, Inacom, back to ICN, and GE Capital). After Nynex I was in sales management, but after three years at GE I tried working with an old boss in an executive search firm (headhunting). When cash flow caught up with me I went back to computers as the Vice President of Sales and Operations for AvcomEast. In 2011 I once again decided that was enough and retired. After living in Fairfax, VA for 35 years it was time to move to better weather.
Lynn and I now live in Northern California and work
at tending a small apple orchard, restoring a 65 year old house, and
camping, kayaking and hiking in as many state and national parks in
the West that we can get to. We have a son in Virginia and another one
here in CA near us. I still do a little consulting for my old headhunting
firm, which keeps the old brain working. Come see us anytime - we're
only ten minutes from the beach.
Major "Troll" moment in Snakes life:
Having not spoken to Vern McGraw for over 44 years, I recently was able to remind him of a short conversation that we had long ago. He did not remember it, but I certainly did maybe as many as several thousand times!
Back in our senior year, final semester, I signed up for the new T-41 course. Because I had a high GPA I was assigned as the only student of a colonel in charge of the overall program. My flying progress during the first 10 hours was good except for one minor phase of flight the landing. I became very proficient at the art of porpoising, bouncing, ballooning, etc. Despite the best instructional efforts of my colonel instructor, I was never able to perform a normal landing. He eventually and reluctantly had to give up on me and schedule me for a final wash-out evaluation with a young captain check pilot.
On the evening before the seemingly inevitable end of my short flying career, I was dispiritedly walking down the squadron hallway when I caught a glimpse of Vern in his room at his desk. I knew that Vern was a private pilot and had quite a few flying hours with the Aero Club. I also knew that he would lend a sympathetic ear to my predicament. I told him my problem. After listening to my situation, he simply asked me if I could perform a normal descent and level off. No problem, I said. He then suggested that as I flew over the runway threshold, I should simply perform a level off several inches above the runway, while smoothly retarding the throttle and using the far end of the runway and the horizon as my visual reference.
The next day I followed Verns suggestion. All of my landings were very good and I passed without any problems. The young captain check pilot appeared perplexed as to why I had been scheduled for a termination flight. The colonel was equally perplexed when the captain reported to him how well I had done. And me? I was extremely relieved to be able to continue in the program.
In just several minutes of conversation, Vern had unknowingly saved my nascent career in aviation and provided a technique for making smooth landings (several thousand) for both me and my future students for years to come. Thanks, Vern