Tim's September 2022 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68! I hope you are all finding the faith and patience to cope with the incessant barrage of “The sky is falling!” news and our economy’s wide swings of ups and downs. You may recall that the year we graduated was quite turbulent, as well. In reflection, our class motto seems as appropriate now as it did in 1968. We all need to carry on with “Wings and Courage.”

"68’s 55-Year Reunion Committee. L-R: Doug Wilson, Gary Vasek, Gary Hoffman, Bill Wood, Carl Janssen, and Dale Oderman"

55-YEAR REUNION IS AROUND THE CORNER: In an email from our 55-Year Reunion Chairman, Gary Hoffman, he writes: “The photo above was taken during Bill Gauntt’s memorial service at the USAFA Cemetery in April. The reunion committee kicked off planning on April 14, 2022. Members include: Gary Hoffman (Chair), Bill Crimmel (Vice-Chair), Dave Allen, Garry Dudley, Carl Janssen, Ed Leonard, Bill Maywhort, Dale Oderman, Mike Parkinson, Gene Rose, Vince Rusinak, Ben Stevens, Mark Torreano, Gary Vasek, Doug Wilson, and Bill Wood. Current Academy policy is to sponsor three reunion weekends each fall. Using the reunion survey results as guidance, we selected the first reunion weekend in September 2023 for our 55th. If the Academy offers support for a summer reunion at a later date, we will reconsider our options. Watch our class website (and Checkpoints column) for updates as we grow closer to September 2023.” Many thanks to Gary and our Colorado-based ‘68 contingent for their efforts to provide us with the opportunity to renew our lifelong relationships with one another.

FINAL REMINDER: The Reese AFB Class of 70-01’s 53-Year reunion is scheduled from 27-30 October 2022 at the St. Pete Beach, Florida Hilton Garden Inn. POCs for the event are Charlie Holland and me.

‘68ER DRIVES ALONG DANIEL BOONE’S WILDERNESS TRAIL: In May, I received a wonderful travelogue from our classmate, Bill Eckert, describing his historic retracing of Daniel Boone’s exploratory work along the Cumberland Gap. Bill writes: “All my life I’d assumed that the famous Cumberland Gap—from when our western frontier was the Appalachians, which runs from Canada down to Alabama—was somewhere north of Virginia, like along the valley of one of the three rivers at Pittsburgh or likely around the well-named town of Cumberland in western Maryland. Nope!” After some diligent research, he learned more about the real location and the history that goes with it. Bill’s incredible journey is captured in his article, with photos, that may be found on our class website in Bulletin #62. I highly encourage you to check it out and enjoy the “tale of the trail.”

"7th Squadron Doolie Roommates. L-R: Scribe and Jim Parker"

In June, I received a phone call from our classmate, Jim Parker, who is a retired FBI counternarcotics agent living in Madison, Wisconsin. He told me that he would be visiting his daughter in Alexandria, Virginia during the last week in June and wondered whether we could get together while he was in my neck-of-the-woods. We chose to rendezvous on June 29th, exactly 58 years after our first meeting in 1964 (in either olive drab fatigues or blue bathrobes--I can’t remember which) as members of USAFA’s Basic Summer’s 7th Flight of Cougar Squadron. We had a good time catching up and acknowledging we were big men yesterday, but boy you ought to see us now!

"Daddy’s Little Girl is a General! L-R: Fred & Melissa Cunningham & Scribe"

On 2 June 2022, with members of my family and a very small group of friends gathered in my living room, my daughter, Melissa (Davidson) Cunningham, (USAFA ’96), was promoted to brigadier general. She was one of two women in the Air Force selected for promotion to brigadier general in 2021 and it took nearly 18 months to pin on her new rank after the list was first published. She has had a stellar career in Communications and Cybersecurity and has excelled at all levels of command and staff. The promotion ceremony was orchestrated by Melissa’s husband, Fred Cunningham (USAFA ’94) and her promotion official was Brigadier General Debra Lovette (USAFA ’94). We are very proud of Melissa’s accomplishments, faith, and humility and trust that God will continue to bless her with opportunities to serve him and our country for many years to come.

We are very thankful for our Colorado classmates who have offered so much love and support to the families of our fallen comrades as they are interred or memorialized at the USAFA cemetery. A special thanks to Carl Janssen and Gene Rose for leading in this effort. Please remember our classmates and their families who are ill or grieving and remember them in your prayers.

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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