Tim's September 2010Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! It's 90+ degrees outside with more of the same promised for the rest of the week and I am beginning to wonder whether it is global warming or a local meteorological phenomenon related to the hot air flowing from our Nation's Capitol only 18 miles from my humble abode in Vienna, Virginia. No matter which of these theories is correct, it is clear that we all need some relief from the heat!

Start Spreading the News: '68's Dick "Abe" Abramson Does Manhattan. L-R: Steve Reiss, Steve Bookbinder, Richard Abramson (USAFA '68), and Jeff Bodenmann.

68'S SWIMMING LEGEND TAKES A DIP IN THE HUDSON AND MORE: While not grabbing quite the same national and international attention that USAFA '73's Sully Sullenberger received when he made his splash in the Hudson in 2009, our very own Dick "Abe" Abramson accomplished quite a feat of his own on 12 June 2010. For you faithful readers of this column, you may recall that Abe and some of his New York compatriots swam the English Channel in 2008. To demonstrate that his senior-citizen years would not be defined by traditional elderly attributes of out-of-date clothes, rocking chairs, and dysfunctional urinary-related episodes, Dick decided that he and his swimming colleagues would swim around Manhattan. The account of Abe's experience, as originally written in his company's magazine, is quoted below for your enjoyment.

"On Saturday June 12th, Richard Abramson participated in a relay swim that circled around Manhattan Island-known as the NYC Marathon Swim. The race consisted of four swimmers that rotated through the 28.5 miles of the course. Each swimmer swam approximately 7 miles. The Marathon had a total of 70 people participating with 26 solo swimmers and the rest in relays.

Abramson, the oldest swimmer in the race, participated 'to celebrate a few important milestones in my life: First my 42nd wedding anniversary, my 65th birthday, and my 31st year at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. I was nervous going into the race. My wife and many of my friends questioned my sanity. But I was determined to do it. I knew from the English Channel swim that the same team did in August 2008 that I could do it. Each river offered a different challenge. We started in the East River where the temperature was 63 degrees. The temperature got as high as 68 degrees in the Hudson. Initially when you get in the water it takes a few minutes to adjust to the cold but it was actually quite refreshing. My first rotation occurred on the East River just above Gracie Mansion in the low 100's in an area known as Hells Gate. This is where the currents come together from different waterways. The team made great progress until this point, when you hit a wall. You swim and swim and go nowhere until you finally break through the currents. My next rotation was in the Harlem River. The East River was surprisingly clean but the Harlem River less so. You need an acquired taste for the Harlem. It has a nutty texture! The Harlem River was flat and the temperature of the water was rising. When we passed through Spuyten Duyvil where the Harlem meets the Hudson, we were just a little more than half way through the race. The Hudson was long and angry. At this point the winds had picked up and the strong current was going south at about 3 mph and the wind was coming up from the South. This made for waves of about two feet. I had to adjust my stroke to roll under and over the waves.'"

Abe, Congratulations from your classmates and thanks for showing us that age is a state of mind and not a stereotype of others' expectations.

"Aloha! From Mark and Mimi Torreano"

I received an e-mail from Mark Torreano in July that he would be hanging up his spurs from career number two with Lockheed Martin. In reply, I asked him to send me a few words to reflect on all that has happened from USAFA forward. A portion of those highlights are printed below and a full account may be found on our class website. In Mark's own words:

"My road to USAFA began in Detroit in Aug 46, just after my Dad's WWII duty in the Army Air Forces. At the 1960 Boy Scout Jamboree in C-Springs I saw the purple mountain majesties and the Cadet Area for the first time. Later, a high school upperclassman I really admired got an USAFA appointment (Pete Johnson, '66) and I resolved to follow him. I had great roommates--Evanoff, Dave Phillips x 2, Freeman, Vail, Gary Hoffman, McPherson, and Gurley--who were outstanding floor buffing partners!

My best USAFA memories include 3rd Lt at Homestead AFB with Col Jabara's 31st TFW, driving my brother Mike's ('70) chin in, only Contrails Calendar editor to sneak a skinny dipping photo in, Firsty summer field trip to Japan, and the F-105 finale!. Saddest moment was Pete Johnson's Mar '66 death in a parachuting accident, but my best cadet moment also was around then when I met Mimi ("She's still the one . . ."), with thanks to Garry Dudley for his assist!

My 27-year career flew by, with assignments in Intel, USAFA Poly Sci instructor, Japan, Space Command, Hong Kong, and PACOM. A 15-year business development career at Lockheed Martin has just closed out, after a bunch of interesting jobs in the DC area and then in Hawaii as the corporate rep. Hard to believe I am only 44!

Immediate plans are to embrace retirement. I don't have grand goals of starting my own business, consulting or even aspire to WalMart greeter. I'm going to focus on getting in shape and healthier (#1 goal--win the Class of '68 handstand contest at the Jan 2011 Gymnastics Team reunion), learn some new "tricks," continue as a reading tutor, get active in supporting political candidates, take some Space A hops, and establish a "sustainable" retirement relationship with Mimi (I've already been home with her for lunch!).
There are lots of adventures ahead!"

Thanks, Mark, for your service to the Air Force, Industry, and 13 years as our Class Scribe. Best wishes to Mimi and you as you take on new adventures.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: It is my sad duty to report the loss of our classmate Phillip Stitzer who died on 4 January 2010. He is survived by his wife, Valerie G. Stitzer, two daughters: Jennifer Hedrick of Columbia, South Carolina and Katie Gardinier of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and two grandchildren: Victoria Hedrick and Phillip Hedrick. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Stitzer family. If you would like to contact Valerie, her new address is: 427 Glacier Way, Columbia, SC 29229.

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 full size by clicking on Scribe's Page. Many thanks to Checkpoints Editor, Tom Kroboth, for getting the photos in our class columns printed in color. Ciao for now. Tim

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