Tim's December 2014 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! As I write this column our Falcon football team has defeated Boise State and Navy and are playing Hudson High this weekend. My spider senses are predicting a Commander-in-Chief Trophy for our alma mater in 2014. Go Air Force! Beat Army!!

“‘68ers at Class of 2018 Acceptance Parade.” L-R: Front Row and Contrails Presenters: Al Blumberg, Dan Hites, Bill Wood, Bill Maywhort, Bill Crimmel, Bill Eckert, Garry Dudley, and Carl Janssen. Back Row: Ken Swanger, Doc Holaday, Chuck Jones, Bruce Buono, and Vince Rusinak. Not pictured: Bill Begert”

LEGACY CLASS ACCEPTANCE PARADE FOR 2018: With thanks to our Class Senator Garry Dudley, his on-the-scene account tells the tale. “The Acceptance Day Parade for the Class of 2018 went very well. The ‘doolies’ were happy to be finished with basic training and excited to be a part of the cadet wing and wearing shoulder boards.

Tuesday morning, Bill Begert addressed the entire cadet wing and academy leadership to deliver a superb speech that addressed the Class of ’68 as well as the Class of 2018. History, circumstances, and personal commitment to the core values were all tied together in his remarks. Contrails were then delivered to one recognized basic for each of the eight summer squadron. In addition to the eight official presenters from our class, we had another five classmates who served as backup in the stands--all wearing their official 45 Reunion hats. Finally, we appreciated the support from the wives who attended--Tina Dudley, Wendy Hites, Sue Eckert and Bea Crimmel.” For all our classmates and spouses who participated in this event—both directly and indirectly, we give our thanks. It was truly a “Class” act!

Last September, I winged my way to Albuquerque to attend my Reese AFB Pilot Training Class of 70-01’s 45-Year reunion. Since I was in the neighborhood of classmates who I had not seen for a long time, I set up some long overdue visitations with Darrel Knutson and Charles Price. (Note: The Reese AFB 70-01 reunion will be covered in greater detail in my winter 2015 column.)

                                              “Albuquerque Residents Darrel Knutson and Wife, Sandra Sandien."

THE PLANES WE FLEW AND THE MISSIONS WE REMEMBER: Prior to my trip to New Mexico, Darrel Knutson sent me some information about the planes he flew. In his own words: “Haven’t had occasion to write before but when I saw the list and pictures of “Planes We Flew” on the class website I thought I could add two that haven’t been mentioned yet.

The first is the venerable C-141 as it turned out later the A model. I was able to select the AC-47 as my choice out of pilot training. I talked the powers that be into switching my Survival School and a week leave so I could stay at Vance AFB for my son to be born. The day he was born I got a call that I had been switched to the C-141. I finished training at Altas AFB and reported to McGuire AFB NJ on 24 Nov 1969. Between my first mission on 3 December 1969 and landing off my last mission on 12 October 1970 I logged just over 900 hours flying time. I landed in Vietnam at least once a month during that time. I was selected for the mission to Antarctica the summer of 1971 but “the dart on the wall” nailed me while I was flying my last mission, so I came home to orders for school on the way to Vietnam.

The next aircraft was the Super Jolly Green Giant, HH-53C. One of my most memorable flights was my last flight in Vietnam in May of 72. We flew the 3rd attempt on a Marine F-4 back-seater. I led a flight of 2 Jollies and 4 Sandy’s up past Khe Sanh where the Sandy’s left to go to the site while we continued north across the DMZ and then button hooked back down to the site. The Marine had punched out and lost everything off his survival vest except his radio. He misunderstood the directions from the night before and was at the top of a ridge. The Sandy’s told him to hustle down as quickly as he could. In the process, he picked up his flares and other items from his survival vest as he literally stumbled across them. He came out of the tree line in a little ravine just as I pulled into a hover. Had to use the penetrator because I couldn’t land. My Flight Engineer pulled him off the penetrator and pointed to a stanchion and told him to hang on while he got the mini-gun back in the door. We left as soon as the FE announced he was on board. In and out I may have gotten over 10 feet off the ground but it sure wasn’t 15. During the egress the Pararescue (PJ) tossed the Marine a canteen of water. It bounced off his hand and landed on the other side of the cabin. So the Marine quickly jumped to the other side and grabbed the canteen and stanchion. At almost that same instant we took a single small arms rifle bullet through the floor exactly where the Marine had been sitting. I was lucky because that was the only battle damage I had throughout my tour in Vietnam.” Darrel also wrote about a local group of grads who meet once a month including Jim Terry and Felix Morgan from our class, some grads from ’69 and others ranging from ’66 to ’78.

                                             "Albuquerque Attorney Charles Price and Wife/Artist, Kate Hollander."

While in Albuquerque, I had a sumptuous steak and wine dinner at Charles Price and Kate Hollander’s beautiful home the night before my pilot training reunion kicked off. Today, Charles has a private law practice that includes the representation of real estate investors, developers and lenders in all aspects of development. In addition, he currently serves as a member of the City of Albuquerque Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1987.

Kate is a local New Mexico artist who has a degree in Architecture and a minor in Art from the University of New Mexico. Her mediums for art expression include: weaving, textiles, silver, fine bead work, paint, metals, and mixed media. She is a commissioned artist for the City of Albuquerque and some of her works are on display in the downtown area.

Charles, Steve Staley, and I were great friends during our cadet days at 3rd Squadron and it was wonderful to share some reminiscing about our glory days.

Please keep Charles Price in your prayers in the loss of his youngest son, Ethan.

               “’68 and ’69 Scribes Break Bread Together. L-R: Lindsey Parris, Tom O’Beirne, and Tim Davidson."

Lindsey Parris and I managed to get together for lunch with the able coordination of our classmate Tom O’Beirne. Catch Lindsey’s column below to hear about ‘69’s 45th reunion.

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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