Tim's September 2016 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Talked to some millennials the other day. They gazed up from their smart phones and X-Box controls just long enough to ask me "What election?" For all the faithful out in Checkpoints Land, don't forget to vote!!

"Three USAFA Generations" L-R: Marcus Antonio Christian Ecung-Deyss (16 mos)-seeking early admission to the Class of 2036; Maj Allison M. Ecung, USAFA 2003; Maj Melanie Ecung-Deyss, MD, USAFA 2001; and Grandpa Maurice Ecung, USAFA 1968.

'68ER WORKING ON MOVIE DEAL: My daughter, Melissa, and I were delighted to host Maurice and Antonia Ecung for an afternoon visit during their house-hunting trip to the D.C. area in March. We were captivated by Maurice's unvarnished memories of things he witnessed and/or instigated during his cadet days at our alma mater and told him that he ought to write a book. As it turns out, Maurice wrote a semi-autobiographical novel/movie script entitled "The Prince of the Blue Zoo" several years ago and is now working to bring his work to a theater near you.

'68ERS GIVE OATH OF OFFICE ATOP VOLCANIC CRATER: Vic Bonfiglio and Mark Torreano climbed to the top of Koko Crater in Hawaii on 28 May to swear in USAFA grads from the Class of 2014 on the occasion of their promotion to 1st Lieutenant. The trail up the crater is actually an old funicular railway that goes straight up the 1,200-foot volcanic peak at an angle that looks like a dive bombing pass. Vic said there are 1,048 steps-but who is counting?!

                                  "KEE-YAH! Dave Kozak at American Ninja Warrior starting line in Philadelphia."

'68ER COMPETES IN AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR CONTEST: Our classmate, Dave Kozak, channeled his inner Doolie in June to compete on NBC's American Ninja Warrior television show. Dave was the second oldest contestant to appear in eight seasons and the Ninja Community dubbed him as "The Ageless Ninja." Due to some major health issues such as a total right hip replacement in January 2015; a partial bicep detachment in July 2015; and a steel plate installed to fix a fractured left heel and ankle in November 2015, it took Dave 6 months just to get in sufficient shape to compete. Unfortunately, he slipped on the 4th step and was eliminated from the 2016 competition. Dave intends to give it another try next year at age 70. Way to go, Grasshopper! (Reference: David Carradine on TV show Kung Fu.)

'68ER WRITES CHILDREN'S BOOK ABOUT FLIGHT: Move over Ratatouille and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. During the 2016 springtime snowstorms, Bill Eckert wrote a new children's book titled Wilbur, Orville, and Simone. As Bill describes, "In this heartwarming historical fiction story, after Wilbur saves her life, the permanently-injured seagull Simone helps the Wright brothers learn to fly. You get the expert gull's-eye view of humans achieving what most consider impossible. Step-by-step, Simone guides Will and Orv from steering a kite through kiting a glider, manned glider flight, and finally powered flight. The action is real history, and the gull-to-human dialogue is both aeronautically insightful and emotionally sensitive. As Simone says, 'After all, these guys were only human.' You go, gull!" The book may be purchased in hard-cover, soft-cover, and as an E-book and is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

CLASS NOTAMS: Legacy Class opportunities include the following: 10 August 2016 - Sit and dine with the Class of 2018 as they celebrate their "Commitment" to the Air Force. 19 May 2017 - Sit with your spouse and dine with Class of 2018 has they receive their Class Rings. If you have any questions about Legacy Class activities, please contact our Class Senator, Garry Dudley.

The Reese AFB UPT Class of 70-01 will be holding its 47-year reunion in Rapid City, SD from 22-24 September at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. Those '68ers from the Reese UPT Class of 70-01 seeking further information should contact Bob Daley or me

"2016 East Coast Reunion: L-R: Lew Read, Al Dunkerley, Mick Edlund, Warren Lamont, Bob Pauli, Bob Mirabello, Ed Eberhart, Mike Bednarz, Bob Durham, Dennis McLain, Bill Hoge, Bill Drennan, Roger Sorensen, John Gonda, Charlie Coolidge, Pat Heinig, and Scribe."

EAST COAST REUNION NOTES: Classmates held muster at Ed and Karen Eberhart's home in Arlington, VA on June 18th for another practice mini-reunion before our 50th in Colorado in 2018. The food and beverages were graciously provided by our host and hostess and the conversations went non-stop for about three hours. At the end of the evening, we gathered around the family's huge dining room table and shared war stories and tales of valor. We are truly blessed in this country to have so many great, patriotic Americans!

We were saddened by the loss of our classmate Elton Pollock, who passed away on May 25, 2016 after a courageous 16-year battle with cancer related to the effects of Agent Orange. Elton was a pilot's pilot with some 3,700 flying hours in 30 different aircraft. He loved his high school sweetheart and wife, Janet, his children, and grandchildren, and savored his adventures in the great outdoors. Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, his two daughters: Sheila Baker and Trisha Best; his two sons in law: Bruce Baker and Lawrence Best; his seven grandchildren: George, Alexis, Victoria, Thomas, Emily, Caroline and William and his three younger siblings, Edmund Pollock, Roberta Wallace and Janice Young.

We hold Bob Pohlman in our thoughts and prayers with the passing of his wife Annie in April and pray for Bob's peace, comfort, and loving memories to sustain him.

We pray for Bill Markham in his battle with esophageal and lymphoma cancer and pray that his faith and medical treatment will help him to be healed.

                                 "Selfie in the Mirror of Dave Helgevold Working Out to Raise Awareness of ALS."

We give thanks for Dave Helgevold who participated in an LA Fitness Day class dedicated to raising awareness of ALS in honor of his former roommate, Phil Stitzer, who died of ALS more than six years ago. Phil's wife Valerie wrote the following about Dave's efforts: "Dave, you are taking action, not merely talking the talk. You're walking the walk. In the middle of your own personal health challenges, you elected to participate and dedicate a class to ALS awareness. You are steadfast in your faithful remembrance of your former roommate. You and your 20th Squadron classmates gave generously to the ALS Foundation in memory of Phil. I believe that generosity has a greater impact than any of us know. I believe your squadron classmates would be very proud of you. I am."

You should know that Dave has been dealing with a diagnosis of Stage 4 melanoma cancer since October 2014 and is, himself, in need of prayers and healing.

We should take time to reflect on the lives of our fallen classmates. Please see Mark Torreano's suggestion for writing reminiscences on the Class Website in the Memoriam section.

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. Ciao for now. Tim

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