Checkpoints Summer 2003
2386 Cherry Hills Loop
Alamogordo, NM 88311
Work: (505) 572-5382
Email: email@example.com or
It was with great sadness that I received an e-mail from Rick Searfoss concerning Ron Rosepink. Ron was paragliding near Tehachapi CA (close to Edwards AFB) and had been missing since the end of June. The search was called off on July 9 with Ron presumed dead. Our thoughts and prayers go to Deborah and the family during this tragic time. Ron served our nation and Air Force - with distinction for many years in the test pilot community. After separating from active duty several years back, he remained active with testing as a Reserve Test Pilot School flight instructor. He was on one of his tours when the accident occurred... we'll miss you Ron.
This has been an extremely busy summer in the hot desert of New Mexico. One place where it's fairly nice however, is C Springs. Took my two oldest sons up in June for USAFA basketball sports camp and we made a family vacation out of it. Due to advancing senility and maybe some repression, I forgot how beautiful it is. Those of you who live there truly have it made.
While we were in the area, my wife and I no-noticed John Weida and he graciously ushered us into his office, had his exec bring us some cof- fee and treated us like he didn't have anything else to do. We only took 20 minutes of his time but I can assure you that he's on top of the situa- tion. Was proud to see a classmate not only with a star on his shoulder but sitting in Gen Beck's office... brought back a few memories to be sure.
While we were in the Springs, I was looking through the Gazette Metro section and saw a huge picture of Larry lames during his change of command (his replacement came up to his shoulders). As I reported last article, Larry gave up his job as boss of the 5011, Space Wing at Schreiver. The article mentioned that Larry oversaw the coordination of all space assets at the CAOC in Saudi... no small task. I tried to get a hold of him after I saw the article but in his new job at Space Command XP he's one busy person and wasn't in the office. Congrats on a job well done Larry and all the best in your new job.
Guess I read too much but also saw an article in the Early Bird on one Tanker Snyder who was called the commander of MacDill air patch (6th Air Mobility Wing commander... hmmm, does that mean CENTCOM is a tenant?). He was commenting on his wing getting 32 of the new KC-767s in the next few years along with a couple hundred million dollars for military construction. Tanker was understandably happy and proud of his gang for showing the AF that this made sense.
The Denver Post published an article in May on the challenging issues that '03 had to deal with this past year. One cadet who was quoted exten- sively was C1C (now 2 LT) Justin Bronder, son of T.J. Bronder. The Post seemed to be trying to bait Justin but he stood his ground and remarked that the class was leaving with their heads held high. His certainly is after graduating with a 3.95 and winning a full-ride scholarship to Harvard next year. After reading the article (and sending TJ a "congrats" e-mail), I asked the AOG if they had a list of other classmates who have progeny at the Zoo. Turns out there are quite a few '78 second generation members who either just graduated with'03 or are still there: Already mentioned TJ and Justin, Todd Cienski (Caleb, '06), Andy Cox (Ryan, '06), Del Eulberg (Kasey "06), Steve Goldfein (Alex, '05), Glenn Gruner (Christopher, '03), fellow Bulldawg Steve Hocking (Christopher, '06). Wayne Kellenbence (Christopher '06), Phil McBride (Matthew, '05), Ken Rachocki (Julie, '06) Randy Reed (Trevin, '06), Bob Steel (lames, '06), Matt VanSteenwyk (son... didn't get his name, '07), Dave Wetlesen (Michael, '07) and Keith Zdeb (Wynn, '03). Congrats to all you guys!
Being involved with the reunion has generated some great e-mails from you guys... thanks! Already mentioned Man VanSteenwyk who was medically retired in '85 and "went into business taking dead or dying companies and turning them around. Some good successes to date, and some outright 'crash and burns, but it is fun and as intense as I want to make it!"
Greg Hoffister lives in the Springs with both daughters going to UCCS and his wife student teaching at a local elementary school. I forgot to ask him if he won the city council seat he ran for.., hope he did. TJ Whitehalr told me that he has recently undergone treatment for colon cancer. I asked him if I could share it with you all and ask for continued prayer support. He's hanging in there and started chemo in June. He said he's feeling pretty decent and is confident that he's going to beat this thing. We're pulling for you TJ!
Ron Magnus sent an update on his position. He was recently selected to lead all combined consulting business for his large consulting firm in Denver. They rolled up all manufacturing, contractors, leader develop- ment and owner market segment into one. His plate just got very full but I'm sure he'll do well. Congrats Ron.
Fellow UPT classmate Gary Dean has been the 142nd FW CC at Portand Oregon ANG (F-15 Unit) for 2 1/2 years. He thinks he might move to on to State Headquarters later this summer. Wife (Lisa), four daughters, and coaching Girls 6th grade Basketball keep him busy. Mark Werthman has been living the hardship life in Bavaria the past few years and PCSd in August to Mountain Home AFB to work in wing XP He hated to leave Germany but was glad to get back to the land of the big BX. Former Drum and Bugle Corps refugee Ken Gronewald has been flying for Alaska Airlines for several years and enjoys life in the Puget Sound area. John Hicks lives in Shawnee KS and works for Honeywell as the manger for the Defense Systems Program Office.
Hadn't heard from former Bulldawger Ted Roush in a few years... he lives in Tucson and is the Regional Director for Academic Programs for Pima Community College. He also taught school and was a school prin- cipal for three years before taking his current position. Steve Slick is the Mission Support Group Commander in the Reserves at Dover and loves the area but is thinking about trying to relocate back here to the Southwest (think about it Slicker, it was 104 degrees yesterday here in lovely Alamogordo).
In closing, this should get to you guys in September, a few weeks before our 25th reunion. It should be a great time... for those of you who have signed up, see you there. For those of you who have decided not to go or are still waffling.., be there! The initial showing has been promising, this is an event that you don't want to miss.
Until next time: God bless all of you and your families and God bless America.
Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 27 Feb 2016