Tim's December 2021 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68! The times, “they are a-changin’.” Here’s hoping you are all safe and well!

“Vic Bonfiglio, Shows Female Student Group the Sites.”

‘68ER SERVES AS PART-TIME HAWAIIAN TOUR GUIDE: For the first couple of weeks of July, our classmate, Vic Bonfiglio, was employed as a tour guide leader, instructor, lifeguard, and chaperone by a student tour company, which usually offers tours in Europe. The photo above was taken on a Sunday morning at Eternity Beach. Vic says, “The students were a very personable and respectful group who seemed to enjoy Oahu very much. During our two-week operation, I really learned a lot. Had a lot of fun too!” Vic’s email to me was titled “Life is a Beach!”

In an email from Carl Janssen, he writes: “The Vietnam POWs held a reunion here in Colorado Springs from 14-17 June. These men and their families are a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit. (A group of our classmates) ran the hospitality suite from 2PM till midnight each day. We truly enjoyed each others company and their stories were amazing! Gary Hoffman, Geo Roberts, Ben Stevens, Mark Torreano, Howie Towt, Gary Vasek, Doug Wilson, and I pulled shifts there, and Garry Dudley helped with their visit to Doolittle Hall and the Southeast Asia Pavilion.” Many thanks to Carl et al for their support of our POWs!

"John Longenecker and a Young Marine at the US Embassy in Kabul After 9/11."

‘68ER REFLECTS ON ATTACHE' DUTY IN KABUL: Given today’s headlines about Afghanistan, I thought it would be enlightening to hear from our classmate, John Longenecker, who served as the first Air Attaché to the US Embassy in Kabul after 9/11. John writes: “Post 9/11, I was eager to help where ever I could be of service. Thanks to my numerous assignments in the Defense Attaché System, I wound up as the Defense Attaché in Kabul for two years. The times were complicated for all who served in Afghanistan during the early years.  

The government, the military and society in general were fractured.  The United States, of course, tried to hold everything together. I spent a good deal of my time working with coalition partners and the United Nations. Trips with the UN included visits and discussions with all the provincial chiefs, Warlords. These individuals held all the power then and sadly I think they continue to hold on to power now. The Warlords never wanted or were willing to relinquish control to a central government powerless over the provinces. The United States and coalition partners spent a good deal of time and treasure building up Afghanistan's military, police and central government with only limited success. The struggle for unity will continue without, I fear, much success. The ethnic, tribal and religious differences will persist. There is a tale about good intentions, a swamp and alligators which unfortunately would seem to apply to world's efforts in Afghanistan.

Joyce and I continue enjoy living in northern Virginia while trying to avoid the Covid-19.” My thanks to John for sharing his memories of this historic time in our nation’s history.

“Surprise Birthday Party Guests & East Coast Mini-Reunion. L-R: Tom McDaniel, Jim Seevers, Norty Schwartz (USAFA ’73), Marty Cole, Brooke Bailey, Bob Durham, Tom O’Beirne, Brian O’Hara, Scribe, Bill Drennan, David Prevost, Charlie Coolidge, Bill Eckert, Mike Navarro, Buck McCants, and Bob Johnston.”

Through native skill and skullduggery of children who were raised in a special ops family, I was thoroughly surprised by a three-day birthday bash they executed from 12-14 August for my 75th birthday. The event brought in family from Ohio, New York, Alabama, and Virginia; elementary school, high school, and USAFA classmates from all over the country; and friends from near and far. I remain humbled and greatly honored by those who attended the celebrations and all who took time to call or write to me. It was a wonderful sharing of a lifetime of love, loyalty, friendship, and support.

In thinking back across the years as to what is really important in life, I have a few observations that I offer for your consideration. (1) Life is precious and fragile. Mortality is real and there are no guarantees about the time we get to spend on the planet. How we spend that time, however, is very important. (2) In my order of priority, we need to acknowledge our blessings of faith, family, friends, education, and fulfilling work. All of these things bring great stability, order, and meaning to our lives.

My mother died on Veteran’s Day in 1979. I was only 33 at the time and was consumed by grief. In my troubled sleep she came to me and said, “Tim, You will never have enough chances to tell people that you love them.” Those words are seared into my memory and my very being. Please accept them as I express that love to all of you.

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

Return to Scribe's Page