Tim's September 2021Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! A house (and a nation) divided against itself, cannot stand. May God bless and protect the USA!

"Keeping Score. Steves Mish and Polk at LPGA Open"

The photo above was taken on 5 June 2021 (53rd anniversary of our USAFA graduation) where classmates Steve Mish and Steve Polk were working for the US Golf Association as scoring supervisors for the US Women’s Open in San Francisco. They were responsible for all the individual walking scorers and all the score boards on the course. The following week, both of them had the same duties for the US Men’s Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. (Scribe Note: This sounds like a great deal!)

OH WHAT A SITE!: If you are feeling nostalgic and looking for remembrances that go back to your college years and forward to the present day, I have a great place for you to meander—our Class website! Kudos to Pat Russell for creating what is truly a “Family Album for the Class of 1968.” There are family newsletters, photos, and my Checkpoints columns going back to 2007; John Mason’s 20-year reunion video and Pat McBride’s 40-year reunion video (with outstanding musical selections); book reviews about Class authors; travelogues from classmates’ adventures around the world; some original songs that I have composed since the 1970s (Bulletin Item #58); and a living memorial tribute to those we have lost but have not forgotten. If you have not visited the site in a while, it is well worth your time.

"Jim and Marcia Reese Celebrate their 53rd Anniversary"

WELL-TRAVELLED ‘68ER FINALLY BACK HOME: A quick summary of Jim Reese’s working life goes like this: 20 years as an AF pilot and staff officer; 16 years as a Delta Airlines pilot; 13 years as a Delta Global Services (DGS) flight simulator instructor; and 2 years working for Soman Air. During Jim’s AF career, Marcia and he were assigned to the US Embassy in New Delhi and, so thoroughly enjoyed the job, that they vowed to have one more ex-pat experience during their lifetimes. After 29 years with Delta Airlines and DGS, when the opportunity to work as the Director of Flight Operations for Somon Air in Dushanbe, Tajikistan arose, Jim and Marcia looked at each other and said, “Let’s go!” Unfortunately, Marcia became ill in 2018 and had to return to the US for treatment. Their driver went to his father, who was a “Haji’ (a Muslim who completes the pilgrimage to Mecca, which conveys high status in the Muslim community). Before long, most of the Muslims in Dushanbe were praying for Marcia’s recovery. As Jim writes, “This experience and others validated our conviction that people around the world, all God’s children, are fundamentally good people once you get past the politics and the fanatics.” Since they returned, Marcia has recovered and tends to her garden while Jim gets in a little golf.

"Charlie and Bonnie Coolidge in front of Portrait of Charlie’s Father, Medal of Honor Recipient, Charles H. Coolidge"

On 6 April 2021, the nation mourned the passing of Charlie Coolidge’s father. (Scribe Note: “Charles Henry Coolidge was a United States Army technical sergeant and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in France during World War II.”) Beyond sending condolences to Charlie and his family, I asked him to provide some reflections of the influence his father had on his life. Charlie writes, “Both of my parents had a huge influence on my life and my decision to attend the AF Academy. My parents’ education and lives had been interrupted by the Great Depression and WWII. Somehow they survived and prospered. We were of modest means, and that meant I either had to pay my own way to college, work my way through (coop), or get a scholarship. Even though my father’s MOH Recipient status meant, I had a “nomination” I knew I still had to earn it. I was under enormous pressure to go to West Point for I attended a Boy’s Military Academy. Dad knew I was feeling the pressure. Plus, I had never been on an airplane. When I asked him what he would do, his answer was typical Dad. ‘It’s your choice and it’s wonderful to have choices.’ He paused a few minutes and then said, ‘well you know I had to walk around Europe for two years. Perhaps you would like to fly.’ That did it! I was off to the AF Academy. Dad knew what I was about to begin. He wrote me a letter (with a Hershey bar enclosed) every day during Basic training. When Mom and he came to Labor Day Weekend, he noted I had lost weight and looked unhappy. He handed me a $100 bill and said, ‘Charlie, if you are unhappy and don’t believe this Academy is the right place, here is the plane fare home.’ And, that was that!”

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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