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
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by traditional elderly attributes of out-of-date clothes, rocking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
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
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,