Tim's December 2018 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! What a phenomenal 50-Year Class reunion! It was like going back in Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back Machine to see so many of our classmates with enthusiasm and time-honored dance moves still rocking out to the fabulous Ascots as we all joined in the chorus of “We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place.” From your webmaster, Pat Russell and your humble Scribe, it was an honor and privilege to see so many of you, again. Congrats to Mike Parkinson, our reunion Chairman, and the entire Colorado-based reunion committee. Many thanks for all your hard work. Your collective efforts yielded a smashing success!

CLASS SENATOR NEEDS YOUR VOTE: In February 2019, your AOG will be asking you to vote for the new Board of Directors. As such, Carl Janssen has some thoughts he would like to share with you. Carl writes, “I am enthusiastically serving as Campaign Manager for Garry Dudley as he runs for an elected seat on the AOG Board of Directors. You’ll read about his extensive service to our school in Checkpoints as they announce the February election. You should also know that he took an active part in the very successful Committee effort for our recent 50-year reunion that raised over $600,000 to support the Cadet Cyber Competition Team. I simply do not know another graduate who is better prepared or more willing and able to serve in this capacity. Please spread the word and vote for Garry when you receive your ballot.”

“Colorado Fish Beware! Fly Fishermen: L-R: Steve Staley, Doug Wilson, Jim Bettcher, Howie Towt, and Dave Thorburn”
‘68’S CATCH AND RELEASE ANGLERS PREVAIL: Our Reunion Committee did a great job arranging a host of different activities for our amusement and pleasure. On 4 October, Doug Wilson led a crew of stalwart fly fishermen and tells the tale . . . “All five of us caught fish. Dave Thorburn had several large ones, which I was told were in the 20" range and then he lost those big ones. We had rainbows ranging from 14 inches up to one that was landed that was probably 24" and 5 lbs. Problem was that no one had a camera with them...and that’s no fish story...honor code truth! All said, they very much enjoyed the adventure and were worn out at the end of the day after wading in the two miles of private water on the North Fork of the South Platte, up in Pine, CO (1 hour and 20 minutes from the Springs). We had gorgeous fall weather, about 70 degrees, with one slight five-minute shower in the afternoon. The Guide service provided an excellent lunch and I provided some beers...interesting after late lunch, less fish were caught (h’mmm).”

“Gift Committee with Cyber Competition Team Cadets: L-R: Gary Hoffman, Bill Maywhort, Bill Eckert, Al Price (kneeling), Steve McPhail, Mike Parkinson, Garry Dudley and Cadets Interspersed from the Cyber Competition Team”

CLASS GIFT TO CYBER COMPETITION TEAM EXCEEDS HALF-MILLION DOLLAR GOAL: At a time in our national security debate when grave concerns are being raised about hacking and intrusion from foreign powers into our election process and critical infrastructure, our prescient Class Gift Committee chose to provide critical funding for the Academy’s Cyber Competition Team to forearm current and future Cyber Warriors with the wherewithal to prepare for and combat this serious threat. Through the outstanding leadership of Bill Maywhort and our Gift Committee, we had raised $620,000 by the time our 50th reunion began, and that amount is continuing to grow, as more donations come in. If you have yet to provide funding for this worthy endeavor, or wish to increase your donation, please send your donation to the USAFA Endowment with a designation for the Class of 1968’s Gift to the Cyber Competition Team. Credit cards and/or checks will be gratefully accepted!

INCREDIBLE REUNION ITINERARY: In my estimation, if you could not find some activity on the Thursday through Saturday schedule of events that suited you, then you were probably a strong candidate for either one of Colorado’s famous assisted living or nursing facilities or the local recreational cannabis emporium. Thursday events included: golf, an open air trolley tour and a Segway tour of the Garden of the Gods, a visit to the National WWII Museum of Aviation, an opportunity to see Dave and Jean Allen’s spectacular aircraft at Kelly Airpark, a Prep School mini-reunion, a tour of Falcon Stadium, and an evening Come and Go Social.

Friday began with a Memorial Service at the Cadet Chapel. This was a seminal event at the reunion organized by Dale Oderman and other members of the Memorial Service Committee. Dale presented opening remarks, which were followed by a Scripture Reading from Psalm 46, a message about our Class, and a prayer offered by USAFA Chaplain Quentin Genke. The Chaplain’s remarks were followed by the Reading of the Roll by Bob Denny and Ed Leonard and included the names of all 93 deceased classmates. After each name was called, a classmate from each of the deceased person’s graduating squadron solemnly responded with “Absent, Sir!” When the reading of the roll was complete, there was a moment of silence, the playing of Taps, the singing of the Air Force Hymn (Lord Guard and Guide the Men Who Fly), closing remarks by Dale, and a Benediction by Chaplain Genke.

“Ascots Playing Timeless Rock ‘N Roll While Classmates Find Their Special Groove"

The Memorial Service was followed by a Class photo on the Chapel steps, visits to the Cadet Squadrons and/or Cyber briefings, lunch at either Mitchell Hall or Arnold Hall, briefings about today’s USAFA from Superintendent, Lt Gen Jay Silveria and his staff (to include the new interim Athletic Director, Colonel Jennifer Block--formerly of USAFA Volleyball fame), a special Memorial Marker service for Bob Daley and Pete Davis organized by Doug Batchelor and members of Blackjack and 6th Squadrons, and a Class banquet complete with timeless Rock ‘N Roll music from the Ascots.

“Doolie 7th Squadron Brunch. L-R: Front Row: Jim Reese, Marty Cole, Jim Parker, Gary Vasek, Mike Thompson, Roger Sorensen, Tim Davidson; Back Row: Mike Cassidy, Mike Navarro, Curt Andrus, Dave Kozak (formerly Dellwardt), David Mann, Bill Fridinger, Ray Pettus, and John Rominger."

A COLD COLORADO SATURDAY WITH WARM RESULTS: Under the guidance and inspiration of Art Miller, the inaugural Doolie Brunch was initiated for our 50-Year reunion. Representatives from each original cadet squadron were tasked to find the guys who formed the initial “band of brothers” who went through Basic Summer and Doolie year together and have them gather for a brunch prior to the Air Force – Navy football game. It was a rousing success with grads and non-grads reuniting for the first time in more than 50 years. As in the movie “Little Big Man,” our “hearts soared like a hawk” upon seeing those special people in our lives who went through that special rite of passage with us. All whom I have spoken to during and after the reunion believe that this event was one of the most memorable highlights of the weekend.

“16th Squadron Doolie Brunch at Dick and Kathy Covey’s Home on Cheyenne Mountain. L-R: John Seaman, Doug Wilson, Tom Harkness, Gary Leikam, Dicke Fallon, Dick Covey, and Mike Langley."

FALCONS DRUB SQUIDS: The cold weather couldn’t prevent the heat from rising on the field of friendly strife at Falcon Stadium as Air Force shredded Navy’s defense with long downfield passes and breakaway runs. The incredible score of 35-7 was the largest margin of victory we have ever experienced over Navy. It was a good day to be an Air Force Falcon! Up in the stands, I was seated with Mike and Debby Navarro, Geoff and Teresa Gorsuch, Rick and Antoinette Patterson, and Jeff Parrish. We had a great time with beaucoup high fives to spare.

SUNDAY GOODBYES: I did a lot of “drive-by goodbyes” on my way out of the reunion hotel with promises to see classmates at our 55th. It is my hope and prayer that you will make the same commitment and promise. Of the happy faces on the way out, the two who epitomized the youthful vigor that resides within all of us are shown below as a standing testament that good genes still count—even when you are over 70!

“Du and Don Mrosla from USAFA’s Greatest Class of 1968"

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: With the Memorial Service still seared into my memory from last weekend, I am reminded that others are still suffering from disease and the loss of loved ones. Please pray for peace and comfort for Mercedes Daley and Eva Davis as they mourn the loss of their husbands. Please pray for Larry Funk, Dick Ruffing, Marty Cole, Tom Dreier, Paul Gosnell, Bob Hughes, Colleen Denny, and unnamed others in our extended Class family who are battling health issues. I also ask for your prayers for the Abramson family in the recent passing of Lorraine. May they find peace and comfort in knowing that they are being uplifted in our thoughts and prayers. And, finally, please take time to pray for our country. May we find a way back to reason and peaceful discourse among one another, without partisan and ideological barriers that keep us apart rather than binding us together as one nation under God.

THAT’S A WRAP: FYI: Pat Russell will be building a 50-Year Reunion segment on our Class website that will be a repository for all your photos, stories, and anecdotes. Be sure to include the names of all the people who are pictured in your photos. Mind the flak; keep ‘em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat and me. Ciao for now. Tim

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