Tim's March 2007 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! For classmates from the West Coast to the Prairie States and New England, welcome to the 2007 version of "Meteorological Twilight Zone" and your own déjà vu experience of USAFA's Dark Ages! Talk about a winter blast!! Hope you were able to draw on our class' infamous sense of humor to persevere the weeks of snow, ice, and loss of electrical power.

Dick Ewers

"Look Ma! No Hands!!." Front Seat: NASA '68er Pilot Dick Ewers, Back Seat: NASA Flight Engineer Marty Trout

BUCK ROGERS' AIR REFUELING DEPT: Whilst we mere mortals putter around on the planet's surface in our sleek sports cars and seat-warmed SUVs, some of our classmates are still engaged with throttles to the firewall testing technologies akin to a Buck Rogers movie. Dick Ewers definitely falls into the latter category and was kind enough to send a letter about the historic flight test shown in the accompanying DARPA photo and, along with a video clip, may be found at website: http://www.darpa.mil/body/news/current/index.asp. (Note: After reaching the website, scroll down to the air refueling event dated September 7, 2006.)

Dick's letter goes like this . . . "I just had to write to let the class know that even though we are all turning 60, which is the death knell to the airline pilots, some of us are still flying for a living. Here at Dryden, Edwards AFB, we have two '68ers, Bill Brockett and myself. Bill is our program pilot for an atmospheric research DC-8 that NASA sponsors through the University of North Dakota. He is currently out with that airplane for a month flying off the Cape Verde Islands just west of Africa. His mission is to monitor the air mass structure in that area which is responsible for the Atlantic-borne hurricanes. I am still getting to fly the F/A-18, which is unbelievable for guys our age. My major project is flight control work for unmanned aircraft, specifically, regarding automated air refueling. After loading the systems onto the aircraft, I play safety pilot while the airplane acts like a UAV. (Maude, You know that flyboy is just showing off with all that technical jargon. I heard Katie Couric say that a "UAV" is one of those new-fangled terms for "unmanned air vehicle.") While it sounds fairly incredible, and admittedly I was a doubter, I am beginning to believe that pilots will be going the way of the slide rule." Many thanks, Dick, for serving as our "class rep" to infinity and beyond!

TIME TO VOTE DEPT: For all in Checkpoints Land enthralled by the latest round of Presidential and Congressional wrangling, it may be refreshing to realize that not all politics are covered on TV. As a one-time good deal for 2007, it's time for you to hit the Zoomie News website and check out your candidates for our next AOG Board of Directors. In the upcoming election, there are 19 candidates to fill 6 positions. The website contains the candidates' photos, brief biographies, and a brief personal message of why each candidate is seeking your vote. Please take the time to review the slate and cast your vote after receiving your ballot. Thank you for your attention to this unpaid Scribe public service announcement.

John Lambert & Family

"John Lambert & Family Celebrate Big Retirement" L to R: John's mother, Claire; John; wife, Marty; son-in-law, Jeff Edmunds; daughter, Jennifer Edmunds; son, Ethan; Ethan's fiancé, Carrie Johnson; and first grandchild, Alana.

40-YEAR RETIREMENT DEPT: When it comes to maximizing federal service time toward retirement, few of us can claim to be as adroit as classmate John Lambert. John writes, "I turned 60 in November 2006 and received my first military retirement check on December 1st. As background, I retired as a Reservist in 1994. In addition, I retired from Civil Service on January 3rd, 2007 with 40 years combined federal service time because Civil Service counts our Academy time, too. Immediate changes noted are that I no longer have to set the alarm clock and am just enjoying time off. I spent 24 years at the Air Force Reserve Center and served as the Command Airspace Manager during the last 14 of those years." For family news John noted, "My daughter, Jennifer, is about to complete her Ph.D. in Education and my son, Ethan, is a Marine Corps veteran who, with his finance, Carrie, blessed Marty and me with our first grandchild, Alana, on December 7th. My part time hobby for the past few years has been woodworking and I am now putting on the final finish to a crib for my granddaughter." Thanks for your letter and photo, John, and congratulations on your big retirement.

HOLIDAY MAILBAG DEPT: The bounty of holiday greetings for 2006 tallied as follows: cards from many, letters from a few, and photos from a handful. For those who did not include photos or letters in their correspondence, but are comfortable with e-mail, please feel free to send same to your humble scribe at your convenience. Thanks!

The first greeting is from Alan and Marlee Price. Al said that Marlee and he spent Christmas in Israel with their daughter (who plans to wed this summer). They also took a voyage by boat on the Tennessee River from Chattanooga to Knoxville to watch the Tennessee-USAFA football game last fall.

Bill and Jody Begert checked in to say that Bill is enjoying his job with Pratt & Whitney and they are both enjoying Connecticut. Jody noted that Bill travels so often with his job that he half expects to go through security when they go to the movies, and he's disappointed when the theater doesn't upgrade him to first class seats. The highlight of their year was taking care of grandchildren Hannah (5) and Will (2) while their parents, Joe and Kary, took a 7-day cruise.

Gary McDonald & Sons

"Gary McDonald & Sons. L to R: Connor, Gary, and Lucas."

Gary McDonald writes that all is well and he and sons, Connor (14) and Lucas (11) are doing "fantastic!"

Mike and Karen King greeted all with a composite photo in their family newsletter that showed Santa's reindeer pulling a brand new red Corvette. This Santa-like driver looked lively and quick, but we knew with no whiskers it wasn't Saint Nick. After pondering a spell and seeing a class ring, we knew in a moment it must be Mike King! Mike is now working for Northrop Grumman in Fairfax, VA. His job involves support for the Kinetic Interceptors Program for the Missile Defense Agency. The family enjoys time on the golf course and they were actively involved in the annual Washington Capitals Charity Golf Tournament. Son, Brian, turned 21 and joined the local company of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Son, Kevin continues to build his reputation in community theater for set design, lighting, and sound.

I am sorry to report news of our classmate John Rand's passing on 13 January in Sun City, CA. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Donna, and his family and friends.

THAT'S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in. Please write to Pat Russell to help populate our new Class website. Ciao for now. Tim

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