Tim's March 2014 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! Happy 2014! As you check our classmates’ personal chronometers you will note that this is the year the majority of our fellow ‘68ers turn 68. I don’t know whether that information should influence your Power Ball or Bingo card number selections, but it should give you pause to reflect on how far we’ve come since our first muster on the terrazzo nearly 50 years ago. In looking back across the decades, I hope your memories of our collective starting point as cadets are mostly good ones.

    “Colorado Pheasants Did Not Stand a Chance! L-R: Elton Pollock, Don Caughlin, Gary Vasek, Dave Thorburn, Mick                          Edlund, Doug Wilson, Ken Bowers, George Hoffman, Carl Janssen, and Pat Russell.”

MUCHO GRACIAS TO 45TH REUNION COMMITTEE: With instructional videos on reunion events, merchandise, and giving back to our alma mater, the 45th Reunion Committee did a superlative job in keeping all of us in the information loop and organizing a first class event in Colorado Springs. Even the USAFA Football team kicked in by soundly defeating Army in front of the cheering masses. So, from a grateful Class, we thank Al Blumberg (Reunion Chairman), Mike Parkinson (Reunion Vice Chairman), Carl Janssen (Participation/Giving Initiative Chairman and Get-Away Sunday Brunch Host), Neal Starkey (Participation/Giving Campaign Chairman), Gene Rose (Communications Committee Chairman), Dale Oderman (Memorial Service Chairman), Bill Sasz (Venue/Social Committee Chairman), Vince Rusinak (Merchandise Committee Chairman), Barney Mills (Golf Tournament Committee Chairman), Doug Wilson (Pheasant Hunt Committee Chairman), Gary Hoffman (Transportation Committee Chairman), Pat Russell (Class Webmaster), and Sara Dozier (AOG Liaison for 45th Reunion). We sincerely appreciated the time and effort you put into our 45th reunion to make it such a memorable event!

                           “Teeter Shines in Golf Tournament. L-R: Jim Lozito, Gary Teeter, and Bruce Buono.”

GOLF TOURNAMENT: A BATTLE OF WITS, SKILL AND WIND: In what some may describe as a typical day in Colorado, ‘68’s 45th Reunion Golf Tournament featured foursomes of die-hard classmates, spouses and golf clubs doing battle with Mother Nature as they attempted to wend their way through 18 holes on the Eisenhower Silver Golf Course. With winds gusting at more than 30 miles per hour at times, any serious attempts at driving accuracy proved to be a bit illusory. When all was said and done, Gary Teeter came away with the coveted closest to the pin award on the hole selected for the competition. Congrats to Gary for a fine shot and winning round of golf!

              “Shepherd Dresses for Trick or Treat. L-R: Barbara and Bill Shepherd Without and With Halloween Mask.”

HALLOWEEN RECEPTION: Amidst tales of hunting pheasant and battling the golf course, classmates mingled mightily during the reception at the C-Springs Marriott Hotel on Halloween night. The reception was our first opportunity to gather en masse and attempt to remember classmates’ faces without sneaking a peek at their nametags. Based on the non-stop frenzy of conversations, eating, drinking, and table-hopping, the event was a smashing success and left groups of people still catching up with each other long after the food and beverage services were shut down for the night.

   “68er’s Enjoying Camaraderie at 45th Reunion Reception. L-R: Pete & Eva Davis, Buzz & Susan Glade, Doug & Lucy                                                                Batchelor, and Frank & Brenda Moore."

MEMORIAL SERVICE: On Friday morning (1 Nov), the Class was transported from Doolittle Hall to the Cadet Protestant Chapel to participate in a memorial service for deceased classmates. As the roll of the fallen was called, classmates from the same graduating squadron responded with a somber “Absent, Sir.” The scripture and music selected for the service was wholly appropriate and in keeping with the honor and respect we feel for those who are gone but not forgotten.

Following the Memorial Service, we returned to Doolittle Hall for a buffet lunch with the Class of 1988, who was celebrating their 25th reunion. From a strictly age and appearance standpoint, the casual observer would not have too much difficulty discerning which group was from ’68 and which was from ’88, but it was most enjoyable to break bread with those who were 20 years down the trail from us on the Long Blue Line.

After lunch, we boarded the buses, again, to rendezvous with Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson (USAFA Superintendent) and her key staff at Fairchild Hall’s large auditorium. General Johnson was quite candid about the state-of-affairs at the Academy and how the sequestered budget was affecting much needed financing for basic USAFA academics and operations. She also discussed revelations about cadet confidential informants being placed in cadet squadrons by the OSI to ferret out sexual predators and drug users and the Honor Oath where cadets would no longer have to swear “So help me God!” at the end of the oath. As you might imagine, many of us had rather fervent opinions about the use of cadet informants and the honor oath and expressed our views quite explicitly as members of the graduate community.

“Enjoying the Banquet. L-R: Kim Underwood &Tom Harkness and Lorraine & Rich Abramson.”

CLASS SOCIAL AND DINNER: The class social and dinner on Friday night was a premier event! The tables were set with the finest Marriott silver and glassware and the menu choices of steak, chicken, salmon, and vegetarian options were expertly served. The cadet chorale entertained us as former chorale members from the class were encouraged to join the group next to the piano on the dance floor. As a special honor to our classmate, Greg Shuey, the chorale sang an original musical composition Greg wrote called “The Long Blue Line.”

ASCOTS PERFORM WHILE ’68 DANCES: As dessert was being served, ‘68’s very own class band, The Ascots, took to the stage and made 45 years melt away with their strains of “We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place” and a whole registry of songs that were popular “back in the day.” The smiles of days gone by were seen on the faces of 60+ year olds finding their sense of rhythm after a long hiatus. It was a truly transcendent experience!

FALCONS TAME KNIGHTS FOR SECOND WIN OF SEASON: Playing with their third or fourth quarterback of the football season, the Falcons played well in both the first and second halves of their contest with Army’s Black Knights and gave Zoomie grads something to cheer about by winning 42 – 28. The early kickoff at 10:00AM messed up tailgating pretty badly since a morning beer is usually not the beverage of choice, but a victory is a victory with or without a cold beer at 10:00AM!

Since the game was over by early Saturday afternoon (2 Nov), many graduating squadrons took the opportunity to have dinners, buffets, or informal get-togethers before they left the area. I am hoping that those squadrons that got together will send me some photos of those events for a future class column or for our website. On Sunday (3 Nov), Carl and Debbie Janssen hosted a last call get-away brunch for those who were not taking off until Monday. Please see our class website and Joe Michel’s photos of those who attended.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: We are thankful that all who attended our 45th Reunion returned home safe and sound. We pray for classmates and their families who are battling health challenges or the loss of loved ones. We especially pray for Rich Abramson whose 10-minute film about his disease and his swim around Manhattan may be found here. His challenges and resolve to meet them are an inspiration to us all. We also pray for Pete Davis and Jim Estes as they persevere the medical treatments necessary to sustain them. We recognize that life has its priorities and thank all three of them for joining us in Colorado for our 45th.

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. Send photos and stories from our 45th! Ciao for now. Tim

Return to Scribe's Page