Tim's March 2008 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Dateline: July 1964. Place: United States Air Force Academy. Event: The loudspeakers on the terrazzo begin to blare the Four Preps' hit tune "I was a big man yesterday, but boy you ought to see me now." The newly formed Class of 1968 marches into Mitchell Hall for a "relaxing" meal (while the Class of 1965 instills officer and gentleman-like table manners and conducts trivia contests) and the rest, as they say, is history. To relive those thrilling days of yesteryear and to add to tall-tale embellishments that only come with age (and a touch of senility), join us for our 40th Reunion from 1-4 October at the Embassy Suites. To receive the latest information, please check the Class Website at www.usafa68.org.

C-Springs Summer Visit

"John Longenecker Catching a Breather in Herat, Afghanistan."

'68 GRAD ON SECOND AFGHAN TOUR: In the midst of political tit for tat in the US Presidential debates, it is often difficult to comprehend what the candidates are vowing to resolve and the plans they have at-the-ready for saving the republic. For classmate John Longenecker, however, the need for national and international security is not some rhetorical campaign abstraction. After originally retiring from the Air Force in 1998 and being recalled to Active Duty in 2002 to serve as our first Air Attaché to Afghanistan, John served with distinction, returned to the US, and was recalled in 2007 to serve in Afghanistan for a second tour. John, your classmates thank you for your continued service on the frontlines. Our prayers go with you for your safe return.

Bob Mirabello checked in to say since retiring from DIA he has been the program manager for the Intelligence Community Officer Course. His duties include leading a small team in delivering a two-week, professional development program for selected Intelligence Community GS-14s and 15s working for the Office of the Director for National Intelligence. The course consists of an intensive, integrated curriculum of discussions, case studies, guest speakers, panels, local area field trips, and short group exercises, all designed to develop a more "joint" perspective and to help prepare his students for more senior responsibilities. It is clear to me that Bob does not understand the meaning of the word "retirement!"

"16th Squadron Practice Reunion." Couples from L-R: Benny & Jeanne Veteto, Bob & Jane Pavelko, Steve & Henrietta Polk, Bill & Geri Bowman, and John & Charlotte Sullivan.

Bob Pavelko told me of a 16th Squadron practice reunion hosted by Steve and Henrietta Polk at their estate in San Antonio, Texas last November. He noted that a few greenbacks exchanged hands following some "uncompetitive" golfing events, but they were all able to remain financially solvent despite their aforementioned gambling endeavors. Bob opined that the practice reunion went smoothly, but a second may be required to insure a successful 40th reunion at USAFA in the fall.

Bob Pauli wrote that Sue and he are doing well and he is still slogging it out as a Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman TASC in Chantilly, Virginia. One son, Billy, is a 1Lt in Communications at AIA in San Antonio and his youngest son, Aaron, is a 2Lt maintenance officer at Kirtland. His oldest son, Sgt Rob Pauli, is an Army intelligence analyst currently stationed at Camp Victory in Iraq. So far, the most dangerous thing to happen to Rob occurred when he rounded a corner and nearly knocked over General Petraeus. He's now known as General Petraeus' personal IED. Bob's daughter, Robin, and her husband, Major Ara Maranian, left Wilford Hall and the Air Force during the summer of 2007 and his son-in-law joined a cardiology clinic in Manassas, Virginia. They have two children Elizabeth (3) and Peter (1), so Bob gets to be a real Grandpa now along with receiving free heart evaluations. He said he is looking forward to seeing everyone at the '68 reunion.

"The Parkers of Waunakee, WI." L-R: Anne--now Capt Anne Ridlon, USAF, Janice, Jen, and Jim.

One of my 7th Squadron roommates, Jim Parker, dropped a few lines to provide an update on his life as a retired FBI "Drugbuster." He said his oldest daughter Anne, is now a USAF captain assigned to the AWACs program as an Air Battle Management Officer stationed at Kadena AB, Okinawa. Her husband is a '98 USAFA grad, an F-15 pilot, currently stationed in Korea. They are both due to rotate in June '08 and are hoping that the AF sees fit to station them together.

Wife, Janice; youngest daughter, Jen; and Jim ventured to Okinawa to visit Anne in April 2007 and had a great time touring some of the WW II battle sites and taking in some of the local culture. The trip home included a few days in Tokyo. Jen lives in Los Angeles and works for the RAND Corporation. She has applied for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and hopes to move to a law enforcement career in the near future.

Janice still works as a nurse at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in the Oncology, Hematology, and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. She still loves her work and will probably stay there for a few more years. Jim has tried to get her to cross train into geriatric care, so she can look after him, but, while he can't remember her exact words, he remembers the phrase "and the horse you rode in on" was part of her reply.

Since leaving the FBI, Jim claims to be reasonably healthy and keeps moderately busy with hunting, fishing, riding his Harley, and watching the world go by. He said he never could understand why so many people retire from the military or FBI, only to immediately go back to a full time job. But according to Jim, he has never had the 70-inch plasma view of the "big picture." Best wishes on enjoying your own version of the big picture, Jim!

Speaking of former 7th Squadron compatriots, I had a nice Christmas card and note from Mike Navarro, who checked in to say that he got married in August 2007 to Debby and that he has been thoroughly enjoying his retirement from United Airlines. Mike said he will be trading in the cold weather of Minnesota for the much warmer climes of Fort Myers, Florida next June.

As I was completing this winter column I learned that our classmate, Dr. Larry Pigg, passed away on December 16, 2007 at University Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

THAT'S A WRAP: Please clear you calendars at the beginning of October so you can join us for our 40th reunion. Make your reservations, today! Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Please go to the class website to see photos included in this column in color and in full size. Ciao for now. Tim

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