Tim's March 2010 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Happy 2010! May the New Year and new decade be good ones to you and yours! If you created a family newsletter for the holidays, please send same to Pat Russell so he can post it on our class website. Thanks!

From September 9-13, classmates, families, and friends from Reese AFB, Texas' 70-01 Undergraduate Pilot Training Class descended on Washington, DC to muster for their 40th reunion. Out of the original graduating class of 55 pilots, 35 were present for roll call and five, who are now deceased, were honored during a stirring tribute at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Reunion events included: visits to the Air Force, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, World War II, and Jefferson Memorials; tour of the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum near Dulles Airport; a Washington Nationals versus Philadelphia Phillies baseball game; tour of the International Spy Museum; a comedic performance by the Capitol Steps troupe; a guided tour of the Presidential aircraft Air Force 2 followed by lunch at Andrews AFB, Maryland; and a closing banquet. Travelers came from as far away as England, Denmark, Alaska, and all points in between to join in the merriment. Members of USAFA '68 in attendance included: Mike Morrison, J Ferron, Tony Eden, Dana Drenkowski, Jim DeFazio, John Sullivan, Rhip Worrell, Tom Dreier, Bill Sasz, Charlie Holland, Bill Gauntt, Bill Drennan, Bob Daley, Geo Roberts, Bob Lutter, Marty Cole, Jim Lozito, George Hoffman, Brian O'Hara, and me.

"70-01 40th Reunion Class Photo at Air Force Memorial"

FROM THE HOLIDAY MAILBAG: Tidings of the season abounded from classmates near and far. Many thanks to all who took the time to stay in touch!

Butch Barclay checked in from Macomb, IL to say that life after US Air has been good-particularly as coach of his local junior high school's track and cross-country teams. One of his cross-country runners came in 11th in the state and then won the state competition during the spring track season at 800 meters and placed second in the 1,600 meter race. Butch's wife, Cheri, is still working at their school district and serves as caregiver to their grandchildren while their children toil at a variety of jobs in the Quad Cities area. For R&R, they trek to their condo at Lake of the Ozarks and they also participated as one of many who cheered Air Force onto victory over Houston at the Armed Forces Bowl.

Manny Bettencourt wrote to say that he is serving as Chairman of the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board, which accords opportunities to visit different cities throughout the year. In 2009, he visited Savannah, Charleston, Columbia, Augusta, Aiken, Idaho Falls, and New Orleans. His children--Aria, Nadia, and Natasha--are attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia with: Aria scheduled to graduate in August; Nadia in her junior year and getting ready to assume duties as President of her AXO Sorority in the fall; and Natasha completing her freshman year as the Social Chairperson for AXO. Wife, Kim, is doing fine and works as a massage therapist in Hilton Head.

Bill and Sue Eckert had a banner year in 2009--beginning last January with a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Onboard amenities included miniature golf, basketball, skating, a surfing wave, and an ice show. Ports of call included San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Labadee, Haiti-where they elected to ride the ½ mile zip-line. In April, Bill traded in his Booz Allen Hamilton badge after seven years and accepted a Civil Service position as Acting Director of the Commander's Action Group in HQ NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Daughter, USAF Captain Katie, is a C-17 instructor pilot stationed at Charleston AFB and managed to pick up her Masters in Diplomacy at Norwich University.

Dan and Kathy Barker dropped a line to say that Dan is still a working stiff at IAP Worldwide Services. IAP provides support services to the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal customers, commercial industry, state, and foreign governments. It specializes in responding to complex emergencies by building and operating remote base camps, providing air traffic control services, generating power for military operations, providing around-the-clock maintenance services, and helping the U.S. Government supply urgently-needed disaster relief supplies to civilians. Their children are spread to the four winds and reside in AL, FL, NC, GA, and England. They have 16 grandchildren, with a 17th due in May 2010. (Scribe Question: Does any classmate have more grandchildren than the Barkers? Until I hear differently, they get to claim the record for now.) Kathy writes, "Papa Dan is still flying his Cessna 210 when he has the time, so he and Grammy can get to the kids and grands a bit faster."

"Bob & Cathy Durham Still Blazing Trails Together"

Bob Durham noted his financial advisor business was like being on a roller coaster in 2009, but he is hopeful that security markets, housing, and employment will continue to improve in 2010. Bob writes, "Cathy continued to golf with her buddies once or twice a week during good weather and now has joined the same group in a bowling league. My wife, the jock!" Last year's travels included a June trip to Ireland, where Cathy relived her family's version of "Roots" and Bob got in a round of golf at Royal County Down in Newcastle. Family visits were made to Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Bob's old stomping grounds in Lamar. Son, Jason, his wife Sara, and their two children Harris (7) and Dani (5), are in Dallas working with Perot Systems (purchased by Dell last September). Daughter, Jennifer, is working in the ER in Houston, and is caring for her son George (3) when she is not in the hospital. Son, Ryan and wife Arria live in Fairfax, VA. Ryan is working for Booz Allen Hamilton in the Homeland Security Business. They have a daughter, Ellie (2), and a baby due sometime in January.

"Bruce and Heather Buono"

'68ERS' BETTER HALF HONORED: Bruce Buono's wife Heather was recently recognized for her service in Iraq. The write-up in the AFA e-News stated: "The US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Port, N.Y., has established an annual logistics award designed to inspire those midshipmen desiring a career in Air Force logistics. The award, which recognizes outstanding USMMA graduates, is named after Lt. Col. Heather Buono, who led the 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron from September 2004 to March 2005. She provided leadership to the first Air Force detachments that conducted convoy escort missions out of Joint Base Balad, Iraq, at a time when such convoy operations were still exceedingly dangerous." Heather, Please accept '68's heartiest congratulations for your stellar service!

THAT'S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. 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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