Checkpoints Winter 2003
40411 Tesoro Lane
Palmdale, CA 93551
Home: (661) 274-2201
Work: (661) 824-6426
Now, pinch-hitting... yup, as warned in the last installment of the '78 Checkpoints article by K-Bob, I (Greg "KAIS" Kaiser) have again been horns waggled into stepping in as your class scribe for this issue. He did call me just before the football game as reported; however, as the F- 16s were overhead in full A/B, I held the phone up for the missing K-Bob to hear the "sound of freedom." Somewhere in the middle of the F-16 and fan noise he must have asked me if I would write the article for this issue, but I must have missed it until, like you, I read the last issue. That sneaky K-Bob... oh well, let me step up to the plate.
First pitch again, thanks to any and all who had anything to do with making our 25th reunion a success.Those of us who attended, our hats are off to you whoDonors put forth the time and effort to make it a "true class act." It all started for the early arrivals on Wed, the 8th of October with a class casual social. It seemed to be a good turnout for those with vacation/leave to burn. The next day included lunch at Mitchell Hall for those who didn't get enough while we were cadets, a Jack's Valley tour, a prep school mini-reunion, and the official class reception that evening. What a difference five more years makes!
I'll let those of you who were there decide for yourselves what the differences were, but suffice it to say we've changed quite a bit from the 201 to the 25th Friday began for the early risers on the Eisenhower golf course. John Hicks, not only organized and ran our golf tournament, but he got us a beautiful sunrise to begin a wonderful day on the immaculately manicured Silver Course. Who were the winners? Everyone who came out that morning to play. For the non-golfers, there was an open house allowing our "Great Ones," and their friends and families to tour the dorms, the library, and the academic areas. I saw a lot of "familial" faces with familiar names running around with A-jackets having '04, '05, '06, and '07 patches... let's see... Kirchner, Kellenbence, and Livie to name a few. Good thing their offspring are better looking and better behaved than their sires. The "diggers and fillers" would still be replacing the terrazzo blocks. The Sup, the Com, the Dean, and the AD gave briefings which preceded the graduate memorial ceremony. In light of the recent publicity about the Academy, the briefings were most informative, and needless to say, there weren't many dry eyes following the memorial ceremony. The day was brought to a close by our class dinner at the DoubleTree Hotel and the squadron mini-parties and rendezvous that followed, many into the next morning and the dawn of another football Saturday at USAFA.
The AOG put on another terrific tailgate, somehow managed to order another goregous day, and even ordered up a very exciting football game versus UNLV. The Falcons won by a 17-point margin, 24-7, but the game was much closer and more hard-fought than the score reflected. Postgame consisted of more squadron/team/club socials, dinners, and get togethers. I didn't see many faces without smiles, and if they weren't smiles, they were looks of fatigue from too much...in too short of a period of time...from an aging group of "Great Folks". Foul ball... strike one... I know...not enough names and/or pics from the reunion, but I know you'll provide K-Bob with more names, info, and pics than he can physically put in the next article.
Second Pitch... Remember the "lost graduates" list you received in the reunion mailings and reunion folders? Let's make a concerted effort to make the list of "lost graduates" a non-player by our 30th. These are folks that the reunion committee could not contact with reunion information because they had no mailing address. Please encourage our classmates to update their bios and/or join the AOG, and if any of you out there know the address of a "lost graduate," send a card to the AOG so we can contact them for the next reunion. NO ONE should be "uninvited" because WE don't know where they are! Foul ball... strike two... but a good cut...
Third Pitch... Pray for our classmates still proudly serving our great country. I believe there are approximately 300, plus or minus, still doing their duty in one way or another. Pray for our classmates who have been adversely impacted by 911 and all the events since 911. About 650 of us have either separated or retired from the USAF. Pray for the Air Force Academy and its leadership to see it through a difficult period. Most importantly, pray for our country and all of its wonder. It's hard to believe there are forces out there that do not see what our eyes see. We must prevail over the forces of evil! Steeerike three!... but at least I went down swinging!
Time to go to the showers... As I walk off the field head held high, I see... Frank and Patti Gahren... thanks for hosting a CS-22 tailgate in the Falcon Stadium parking lot. Frank didn't get enough of the Academy the four years we were there; now he lives and works there in his post-Air Force life. Good on ya, Frank. Hey, there's Ronnie and Francie Tait... Ronnie's flying for American Airlines, and they live in the Fort Worth area near another CS-22 classmate, Mike and Rita Phelps (Mike's also flying with American). Golly, looks like JR. Inglis too... JR is teaching school in the Boise, ID area. JR, now that I know you're there, I can't steal a trip there! JR should be getting ready for the senior tour, not because he's getting old either. He looks about the same as when we graduated... November Sierra... but his golf game is pretty impressive. Right next to JR are Al Trujillo and Deuce Rice. Al is still on active duty as an air attaché to Chile, and Deuce is a federal prosecutor near Sacramento trying to keep the bad guys off the streets in California. Hey, next time you guys bring Sila and Melinda with you! Speaking of California, there's Doug and Jan Leja. Doug's still flying for American and like JR, seems to have found "the fountain of youth." There's one of those "familial" faces... has an '04 patch on an A-jacket... Kirchner... and the proud parents, Rick and Gail Kirchner. Rick flies for American and tries to keep his son from exceeding his "tours marched record!" Finally, there's Greg and Crystal Kennedy. They're living in Anchorage where Greg is flying FedEx "Mad Dogs" all over the world, and Crystal is breaking into politics at the school board level. Crystal, please get your Senator Stevens in line. He's trying to put Greg and me out of work! A lot of empty seats in that CS-22 section of the 251 reunion section, but we'll fill those during the 30th! Let's fill all the '78 is Great seats. Tip of the cap... and, See you there! KAIS
Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 27 Feb 2016