December 1999

Hi Redtags! It’s September and the Space Shuttle fleet will not launch again until possibly November. The wiring problems put a dent in our launch schedule. Once they are fixed, we will be ready to launch again. But until then, we’ll keep preparing for a surge in launch activity. First, got an email from a voice out of the past. Ed MARTINELLI writes: "Jack, A short while ago I came upon a Red Tag page on the net and was intrigued by its contents. Thanks to any of you RTBs who had a role in its birth and life. I have been able to catch up on some things I have long missed. I do not have a computer at home, gave that up a little while ago when my son’s went tango uniform. He is currently in a Ph.D. program at Auburn University and obviously needed the computer more than I or Bonnie did. We are living in Navarre, up in Northwest Florida; working for Boeing in support of the SOF 130’s at Hurlburt Field. I came out here from the Edwards AFB area in July 1994 when Rockwell first started delivering the AC-130U. Currently I am the guy responsible for integrating and executing the modification efforts for these aircraft. As I said, my son, Ed Jr., is up at Auburn with his wife, Laurel, and daughter, Emma (3). My daughter, Lynne, also lives in Navarre, with husband Glen, son Cameron(2), and daughter Megan (10 months).

Bonnie and I celebrated our 37th this past June 7th. Can’t remember who got married on the 6th, but they do not have us beat by too much. Seeing your news items, reunion news/pictures, etc, has been a joy and delight and I wish I could add to it, but I have very little contact with any of the class of ’62. Did make contact with Bob Hopkins on the e-mail system and he was in the process of moving back to California- promised he’d make contact once he got settled into his new job. Take care and maybe we can make it your way one of these years. My family lives down in the Hollywood/Pembroke Pines area."

He signed it "Ed Martinelli, 1170K." Nice e-mail Ed. Thanks for bringing us up to date on your life. I hope we can get together sometime.

Got this from Hesh ALTMAN: "Just a quick note to let ya’ll know I cheated death again and am settling in to the new job with SAIC just north of Baltimore. Should be an interesting couple of years ahead to say the least. Place is full of Canoe U Grads, mostly ex-submariners. Hired myself and another ex-AF F-4 jock (Bill Lucas if any of you know him) to do their business development. Wonder if I should read anything into that. Speaking of Navy, any kind of mass happenings planned for the AF-Navy game? Hesh."

Got an email from Jim GALLAGHER: "Just got my Checkpoints and felt compelled to write. Hey, if ‘60 and ‘61 can have ski weekends, why can’t we? They are older and creakier than we are. I still can’t figure out how to get into a chat room. It’s probably only a couple of clicks through Netscape, and I’ll keep trying. Is there an RTB web site or what?

My # 2 son, the Florida boy, is now married with one and a half kids, flying for American Eagle and living near Orlando. The other four are out of college, three married and all working. I think often of your wife’s rejection by her mother and have to be grateful for the professional woman who arranged the sensitive reunion between my mother and me. I’ll bet your wife’s mother has spent nights awake crying because of her hasty actions.

I spent an enjoyable weekend last month with my new brother driving big John Deere and planting 6500 trees on his farm. It has been great having another family. Later."   Thanks Jim for those sensitive thoughts.

Got this one from Sam (Denny) DEHNE: " Hey Guys, one of the best kept secrets of the Class of 62 is ‘Piano Man’, Jim Gallagher. What a musical genius. He was able to get into every song I played within 1 to 2 verses, from ‘San Antonio Rose’ to ‘Sloop John B’ to ‘Running Bear’ to ‘Blue Swede Shoes’ to ‘Bee Bop A LuLu’ and everything in between. Jim we missed our calling." Sam also wrote: "" Looking back on it in this day and age, I should have had video cameras going from beginning to end. But that’s the way it usually goes, thinking of important stuff after it’s too late. Some of those songs Gallagher and I were doing were top 10 material and that is with no rehearsal."

What Sam is alluding to is Bob FELTS’ 60th Birthday Bash at his home in Northern California. Bob’s family provided special hospitality to the guests including the Redtags. Gail & Peggy PECK flew in from Las Vegas with Jim Gallagher while Sam Dehne and his trusty sidekick, Dexter (Pet dog), drove in from Reno. Sam brought his guitar and Jim accompanied on the piano.

Here’s Bob Felts’ reaction to the event : "Sam, Jim, Gail & Peggy – So very happy and privileged to have had you here to help me celebrate. My apologies for not spending more time with all of you- I was spread pretty thin. Dexter was great. Sam plays a mean guitar, Jim a similar piano, and Evil is cool as ever, not to mention Peggy and her patience in putting up with all the activity. Thanks you guys for flying in and Sam for driving down –definitely a day for memories.

Jack Jamba – we had three cameras and a 4th flash camera whose batteries all died, leaving us at the middle of the party with 9 rolls of film and no way to take pictures. Many pictures were taken, but not one of the 4 of us together, I don’t think. Will know for sure when they all get developed. Ted (NEFF), Chuck(CHEESEMAN) and others – thanks for the well wishes. Enjoyed the quotes! Wish all of you could have been here. We’d better all make an effort to be at the 40th – or sooner." And finally, another note from Jim Gallagher: "There is no way a short message could convey what a wonderful time I had at Bob’s. Good food, good friends, good war stories, good flight, good weather, good dog, good music, good God I wish more of you could have enjoyed it with us. ‘He played it eight-to-the-bar’, Sam, I can’t get that song out of my head. We gotta do this more often. Thanks Bob, Gail and everybody else who made this happen. You too, Tom (YOUNG). I think you may have been an instigator and speaking of gators, you better drag your sorry back part out of gatorland for the next one wherever it may be."

Mentioning get togethers, I got a picture from Don SHEPPERD with this note: "Enclosed photos are from the 60th birthday party for Ted Dykes at his home in Great Falls, VA on his ‘Tara’ staircase which he built by hand. Marcy invited the upper half of Virginia, the lower half of Maryland and eastern West Virginia – all attended. It was a great time with a "This is Your Life – Ted Dykes" skit from grade school through dotage. Everyone wanted to know what "RTB" meant – Ken NEEDHAM explained in delicate terms, the only time he has ever been accused of delicacy. Ken never changes – he’s not even fat or bald. Dick SMULL and wife had to leave early before the picture was taken. Dick sells wine and needed a nap."

I got this item from Chuck ALLPORT. "A member of the Engineers Club Board of Governors and administrator and faculty member at Cedarville College, Chuck Allport was recently honored as the Outstanding Faculty Advisor in the 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge program. Chuck received a $1000 award and his program received $9000. Chuck has advised the Cedarville alternative fuel teams for the past six years, and in his 10 years at Cedarville has advised more than 30 various intercollegiate competition teams." Great achievement, Chuck. Congratulations.

I was elected the District 47 Governor in Toastmasters this past May and took office on July 1st. Our district is the largest in Toastmasters with 238 clubs in Florida and the Bahamas. And "No" they don’t pay for any travel to the Bahamas. I’ve been up until midnight almost every weeknight since July, and getting up at my usual 5:30 AM. Thank goodness for weekend catch-ups. Had a free weekend 2 weeks ago and stopped into the Cove for a drink and some chatting with Colin RICHARDSON. Also had dinner a while back with Bunky and Connie REEVES and Nancy and Willie GRAY. We got a tour of Willie and Nancy’s new retirement home in Melbourne. Bunky and Connie are waiting for their new home to be completed.

I guess that’s it. By the time you read this it will be just before Christmas. Don’t forget to send me your Christmas Newsletters. They can fill up two class columns. I don’t have to think of what to write for two issues of Checkpoints. Be good. Go Redtags!