September (SUMMER) 2002
Well the 40th Reunion is drawing closer. Its the middle of June and I have my room reservations in C Springs and will do the airline reservations this month. I surely hope we will see many Redtags this year. Jim Mack and the committee are doing a great job making the arrangements.
Got this email from Fran Lee about Dave LEE. " As previously noted, Dave retired from the University of Dayton last June and was awarded the status of Professor Emeritus with lots of nice perks. He taught this past year on a special contract with UD and is now officially really retired. I was just getting used to the idea of Dave retiring (even though I felt like he was semi-retired while teaching at UD he worked at home a lot!) when he changed direction. In January, he embarked on a third career (even though he denies it) and accepted the position as Executive Director of the Montgomery County Veterans Service Center here in Dayton. The Center provides financial assistance to veterans and eligible family members as the need arises. In the past month they assisted 600 veterans/family members, so you can see that it is a very successful program. I dont think Dave could have found a more worthwhile job.
We are looking forward to the 40th Reunion and seeing you and Caroline and all the other RTBs. As always, we know it will be a wonderful time! See you then." Thanks, Fran, for the update. See Dave and you in October.
Got this short sweet email from Dick HOFFERT. "On Nov 16, 2001, Helen and I were married on the shores of Boggy Bayou, Valparaiso, FL. Dick." Congratulations to you both. Maybe well hear some newly-wed stories at the 40th Reunion if you dont have senior moments like I do. My most often-used line to my wife is "What did you say your name was? Have I met you before?"
Got this email from Bill HAUGEN. "On 3 June, seven Redtags had a San Antonio "40th June Week get together to sort of warm up for the main event in October. I was in town for a visit and Kinney Smith put together a party. The attached picture of Redtags (and their RTBabes) from left to right are: Kinney Smith, Jim DENTREMONT, John DINSMORE, Grant LANNON, Niels JENSEN, Bill Haugen and Butch VICCELLIO. (I didnt get the names of the guys in the very back.)
Also attached is a picture of three intrepid aviators (Haugen, Lannon and Smith). Grant Lannon is in the Confederate Air Force and owns a T-6 in which he gave Kinney and I rides. Great fun! Cant wait to see all in October. Invictus Virtute! Cheers." Great pictures Bill. And thanks for the news. Sounds like you all had a great evening. See you in October.
From Mike Butchko comes this email: "Im having fun running a company called Space Gateway Support that has the overall Ops & Support contract for the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Spaceport. In addition to Spaceport Security (an interesting challenge since September 11), the company provides everything from Roads and Grounds to the largest propellant facility of its kind in the world. We also operate two airfields - that only space guys would call a "landing facility" and a "Skid Strip". Im looking forward to sharing different kinds of war stories at the 40th this fall." I run into Mike occasionally at the Center. I work with several of his employees on a project. I can say that he and Kay are well liked and respected by the troops.
Got this email from Bob Lightsey. "Thought I would add a note on recent events that might be of general interest. I have been riding bicycles for exercise ever since I had a knee operation several years ago. This year I decided to enter the Virginia Senior Games (athletic events for old-timers held in most states) and won both the 10K time trial and the 20K road race for my age category. Placing in the top slot for the state gets me entry into those events at the U.S. National Senior Olympics next year. Something else to keep me going. By the way, I noticed that Brad Hosmer (59) had finished well up in the Senior Olympic cycling events a year ago.
Also, a friend of mine (West Point grad) and I have written a book which will be co-published by McGraw-Hill and Aviation Week Books later this year probably about October. The title is "The Battle of Britain Illustrated." My friend did the illustrations and I wrote the text. Obviously about the Battle of Britain, the book looks at the development of technology and tactics during the period between the wars, the impact they had on the battle, and the relationships between technology and tactics in air warfare. My fundamental conclusion is that writing books for fairly narrow markets is not the path to riches, but it sure keeps you off the streets at night.
My wife, Susan, and I will see you all at the reunion. See you this fall. Bob" Thanks for the input Bob. Very interesting development with the biking.
And now an email from Randy Schamberger. "OK, Jack. If you're really that hard up. I had rotator cuff surgery in January from playing too much tennis. When it got so I couldn't raise my arm above shoulder level without excruciating pain, I figured it was time to surrender to the surgeon (although I had vowed to never let ANYONE cut on me!). I spent about two months in rehab and it still isn't as good as I thought it would be. I'm playing tennis again but not with the enthusiasm and gusto that I had before all this started. I'm still withholding any recommendations for anyone else that might be considering this type of surgery. The doctor also said I had some arthritis in the shoulder (a good excuse if it didn't turn out as I had hoped). Ain't old age wonderful? We're really looking forward to the 40th. Got our Northwest Airlines miles all ready to cash in. We were in Las Vegas in May and tried to look up Gail and Peggy PECK, but they were right in the middle of their move to new digs after being pushed out of their old home by the McCarren Airport expansion. We tried to get together, but they were both exhausted by the move at the end of the week. My next move, if there is one, will leave everything in the house, as is, and take one suitcase! My last move in '86 was only about 1/2 mile, but I did it by myself with the help of a strong 16 year-old (not mine, he's not into heavy lifting)! I'll never do that again!" Thanks, Randy. I had rotator cuff surgery three years ago but it was caused by arthritis. It took a few months to get the full movement back but it seems to be OK. I dont play any repetitive motion sports so I dont know if I have fully tested it yet.
Just got this from Phil Merkel. "Okay Jack, I'll contribute a minor bit. .Phil and Cis Merkel are back home in Virginia after a wonderful week in June on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with all three daughters, their husbands and all six grandchildren (ages 1 - 13). If any RedTags out there want some free advice on either NC beach vacations for large families or radical prostatectomies as a cure for cancer, they should feel free to get in touch as Phil no longer has any secrets. Sorry Jack, no pictures of the incision!! Cheers, Phil" Thanks for that tidbit, Phil.
Got this from Bob Hackney and thought you would all like to read his message. "This is from Bob Hackney, non-grad RTB alumni, AOG Associate Life Member #620742. I thought this might be of interest for input to the Checkpoints column. I just returned to Seattle from a wedding in Manchester, NH & while there (using the AOG Directory & the internet) was able to contact my roommate from our Doolie year, Richard Hodgkinson, who lives in nearby Londonderry. I didn't have too much spare time due to other family duties so Richard came to the hotel where I was staying & we had a GREAT (albeit short) mini-reunion. While it was a little difficult in the couple of hours we spent together to get fully caught up on all of the various happenings in our respective lives over the past 42 years (I left the Academy in Mar '60), I surely appreciated the time he took to come to the hotel & the opportunity to share a little of our lives over these past several decades. I joined the AOG as the direct result of the effort the class took to reach out to us nongrads & the warm reception accorded us at the 35th reunion. I look forward to the upcoming 40th & the opportunity to renew other friendships from my time at the Academy. I appreciate your efforts in keeping us all advised of our current comings & goings. See you in October. Best Regards from Robert R (Bob) Hackney." Thanks, Bob. It was overwhelming to see the number of non-grads that responded to the invitation to the 35th reunion. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. I hope we see more of the old non-grads at the 40th. See you then.
Tom YOUNG sent some pictures along with this email. "HI Jack, the rams were shot in Florida, fair chase, meaning not on a reserve (fenced area)---the location is a highly guarded secret, because the area is open to the public for hunting, but only a handful of people know of the rams being there----and it is very wild and difficult to get to and from---and it's within 2.5 hrs from you. Anyway, I shot a large one at 225 yds, a small one at 420 yds, and my pastor shot one at 250 yds. (See picture of Tom and one ram. Tom is the one wearing the hat.) We went a total of 11 times, and took 5 rams (2 on one hunt) so we were unsuccessful 7 times. Also, Fred HENDRYX went with us once and shot a hog; but we didn't see any rams that day. Best to you, and your work on Checkpoints. Tom Y" Tom. Im intrigued by the fact that there are rams like that in Florida. Are those Rocky Mountain Sheep? Is that really Florida? Where are the alligators? Im suspicious. Anyway, thanks for the update and the pictures.
Got this update on 19 June from Jim Mack on the 40th Reunion plans. "Things aren't going so well here as we are all greatly distracted by the huge fire that's just West of us and threatening several Redtag homes. However, perhaps you could put a short reminder in checkpoints as follows:
This is LAST CALL from your friendly Reunion committee for those procrastinators among us torejoin and relive those crazy days of yesteryear during REDTAG REUNION 40, Oct 2-6. Navy will provide the on field entertainment Oct 5 for our Falcons while the rest of the reunion time is set up for us to renew old acquaintances and make new friends again. If you haven't signed up, and want to be HERE in beautiful Colorado, contact the AOG or Jim & Penny Mack at (719) 488-9522 for assistance. You can find the schedule of events on the www.aog-usafa.org website. Jack, hope this isn't too late and hope all's well in your world. Thanks for your ever present patience." Thanks for the reunion update, Jim. Caroline and I are arriving in C Springs a couple of days early so that we can have a relaxing vacation before the festivities start. Im looking forward to buying some of that sharp looking merchandise the team has put together. Ive heard a lot about the Flying W Ranch and am anticipating a fun evening. Caroline just has to spend time shopping in Old Colorado City. The lunch with the Cadet Wing will be a treat; those kids are too young to be out of high school already. And well have all that time to get acquainted with old friends. Its priceless. Im really anxious to see the next few months slip by so that the 40th rolls in. See all of you there.
Thats it for now. Go Redtags!