Tim's December 2016 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! As I write this column, Major League Baseball pennant races are featuring the long-suffering Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, the political landscape is evoking sentiments beyond rational description, and our Mighty Falcons are vying for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. From where I sit, 2016 is shaping up to be a truly historic year where anything is possible. Let’s hope for tomorrows to come that we are all still smiling when the sun comes up and can heartily embrace the blessings of the upcoming holiday season and New Year. AMEN!

                            "J Ferron Lays Down Some Analytic Basics for the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago."

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?! While hanging out with fellow ‘68ers during my pilot training class reunion in Rapid City, South Dakota, I had the opportunity to do some catching up on our gang’s latest comings and goings. Among those I spoke to, our aviator-lawyer-entrepreneur classmate, J Ferron, answered the call of the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago in September to address changes in the automobile industry through 2025. A former partner at J.D. Power and Associates and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, J currently serves as the Chairman of the Society of Automotive Analysts. He and his lovely bride, Lynn, remain ensconced outside Detroit in their home of many years in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

With a tip of the hat to Vince Rusinak for this information, you can now find ALL USAFA yearbooks on the www.usafa.org website. Here is one way that works:
a. You need to log in (you must be a member of the AOG to access this area of the website).
b. On the right side of the page that comes up, under "Connect" click on "Connect with Grads"
c. In the middle of the left side of the page that come up, find "view class sites" and select 1968
d. Near the top of the page that comes up, you'll see "Yearbooks: 1968/1967/1966/1965. Click on any year and you'll be able to view the entire yearbook for that year.
e. If you want a yearbook from another year, you can find it by clicking on the year at the top of the page where it says "Select a Class Year"

   "Reese AFB UPT Class of 70-01’s 47th Reunion Photo In Front of a B-1B Bomber at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.”

Thanks to the outstanding planning and coordination of Reese AFB UPT Class of 70-01’s resident South Dakotans, Tom and Michele Olsen, classmates, spouses, family, and friends were treated to a veritable “Home On The Range” experience where “the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play.” Truth be told, the buffalo were a little more difficult to find than we expected because most of them were hidden in the hills prior to a massive round-up planned by park rangers and local citizenry the week following our tour of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park. In addition to viewing the beautiful countryside and wide-open spaces, the class’ 47th reunion featured a tour of Ellsworth AFB, where we all had the opportunity to climb inside a B-1B bomber. We then visited a “work-in-progress” known as the Crazy Horse Monument, where after five decades of blasting and sculpting the completion date is not anticipated for at least another 50 years. The itinerary also included an evening tour of Mount Rushmore, where members of the class participated in a flag lowering ceremony after the impressive lighting of the monument was completed and the national anthem was sung.

The next day included a visit to the historically notorious town of Deadwood where Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back at Nutall and Mann’s Saloon Number 10 by Jack McCall on August 2nd, 1876 while holding a poker hand of Aces and 8s--now forever known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.” After Deadwood, we took a break at the reunion hotel in Rapid City to catch up on a little senior-citizen rest and recuperation. After the R&R, we rallied for the final evening banquet, where all the pilots had the opportunity to share some snippets of things going on in their lives since the last reunion. One of our number, namely George Hoffman, provided a humor-filled monologue that was better than most of today’s stand-up comics and left us all laughing and crying for more. A really good time was had by all!

                      Richard Abramson’s Memorial Service at USAFA Cemetery, 7 October 2016. L-R: Abe’s son, Greg;                                                   Abe’s wife, Lorraine; Charlie Holland; Abe’s daughter, Jill.”

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: On October 7th, we celebrated the life of our classmate Richard “Abe” Abramson with a memorial service on a beautiful, crisp and clear day at the Air Force Academy Cemetery. Rabbi Sarah Schechter led the prayer service and Abe’s wife, Lorraine, thanked the band of brothers from Black Jack (21st Squadron) and others in attendance for their love and support of Abe and her family. The service was marked by comments about the importance of the Academy in providing Abe with eternal values of honor, self-less service, and integrity that were embodied in his daily living and actions for the rest of his life.
After the service, we carpooled to Gene and Jan Rose’s beautiful home right outside the North Gate to attend a bountiful reception with sumptuous amounts of food, beverages, and desserts. On Saturday morning, Carl Janssen, led the Abramson family and some of the ’68 faithful on a special tour of the Academy to include: the gymnasium’s Olympic-size pool where Abe set so many USAFA swimming records; the Visitors’ Center; the Cadet Chapel; the new Polaris Hall, which houses the Center for Leadership and Character Development; and a cadet-led tour of 21st Squadron in Vandenberg Hall. That evening, Lorraine and her family hosted a farewell dinner at Biaggi’s Restaurant in Colorado Springs, where tributes and remembrances about Abe were offered by his brothers, Lorraine, and classmates from Black Jack. In the sadness of Abe’s passing, comes great joy in the life he led and the people he touched.

I have also been keeping our classmate Jeff Feinstein in my prayers and asked Bill Hoge during the East Coast Reunion to let me know how he is doing. Bill wrote: “Per our conversation at Ed Eberhart’s, I checked on Jeff Feinstein. He is still in the Nursing Section at Covenant Place here in Sumter, South Carolina. His recovery is taking a long time, but he welcomes visitors and inquires. His contact information is as follows: Covenant Place, 2825 Carter Road, Sumter, SC 29150, Cell: 803-469-7007.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We should take time to reflect on the lives of our fallen classmates. Mark Torreano has suggested that we write reminiscences about the “Gone But Not Forgotten” members of our class on our Class Website in the Memoriam section. I agree!

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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