Checkpoints Summer 2011
Beginning on a somber note, Mark Kargul came home to USAFA as his ashes were buried at the Academy cemetery in a special ceremony on the 30th of June following his tragic Sep 2010 passing. Jack Anthony was able to attend and shared that Mark´s wife Sue, son Mitchell (who placed his father´s ashes in the plot) and Mark's sister Kim were also in attendance as were many other family and friends. In addition, several members of Mark´s squadron, Wolfpack 5 as well as three former RF-4 comrades attended. Jack made special mention of how special the homecoming truly was with special kudos to USAFA Soaring, especially Capt David Ornelas who gave Mark´s family and friends a a wonderful tour of soaring operations that were happening the morning of the ceremony. Mark was a cadet soaring IP and in the mid 80's was OIC for soaring and the soaring team."
Pictured below from left to right are: Tim Collins, Paul Valovcin, Sig Nelsen, Ray Caplinger, Tim Miner, Mitchell Kargul, Sue Kargul, Kevin Chilton ('76 in Wolfpack 5 and fellow RF-4 pilot), Jack Anthony, Rick Carrier (fellow RF-4 pilot), Leo Kowatch, and Ken Montague (fellow RF-4 pilot).
Thanks Jack and all for making this a truly special event for Sue and Mitchell.
Speaking of ´78 highlights, this quarter finds several of us celebrating our progeny who have…uh…decided to take a somewhat altered path than we did to the majestic Colorado Rockies.
Wayne Hemandorfer responded to an e-mail from Mike McMillie who was feeling old as he thought of our 33rd commissioning anniversary after seeing a red…naturally…´ 77 T-Bird with an "antique car" license plate on it. Wayne added that another sign of getting old was "watching your youngest graduate from Hudson High." He sent four photos (unfortunately can only put one here due to space limits), the first being a shot of the Washington Post with a picture of his son trying to shake hands with a classmate during his West Point graduation, the second being the actual photo, the third (appearing below) of Wayne and his son and the fourth was a great family shot with his lovely bride and three exceptional looking sons (wish I could put all of them here). Turns out he and his bride met during a blind date on a 35th Squadron sponsor trip to Grand Forks….and the rest is history. Wayne mentioned that he connected with a couple of ´79ers during graduation week, and suspected there were some 78´ers present but didn´t see any. He did say that Bruce Conard has a son at The Point in the class of 2012, and Winston Churchill is dropping his daughter off in a couple of weeks (class of 2015). Wayne is doing well with Lockheed Martin in Business Development after 15 years as a lobbyist first on USAF fighter programs, but most recently on Navy programs (he said he is actually an Honorary Plank Owner on the USS Freedom!). Great news Wayne, many thanks and congrats!
Not to be outdone, JJ "Harpo" Grupp went to Canoe U this past May as daughter Jessica graduated. As reported a few years ago, we literally ran into one another as our kids were being sworn into USNA 2015. Got to see him four years later in May during the "Color Parade" (analogous to the squadron awards parade at USAFA) where our son was the Brigade Adjutant and JJ´s daughter was 10th Company commander. In JJ´s own words: "Jessica captained Navy's Women's Soccer team her senior year. She won the Ens. Stacy M. Finley Memorial Award and a place in their Soccer Hall of Fame for her overall leadership, team-work and dedication to Navy Soccer. Jess graduated in the top 20% of her class with an Oceanography degree and starts Navy Pilot training at Pensacola in Sep. Other family news: Oldest daughter, Beth pinned on Lt. US Coast Guard right before Jess's graduation. Beth got a great deal; the Coast Guard is paying for a double Master's degree in CE and MBA at the University of Illinois starting this fall. Jason is at UPT in Corpus Christi, got married (1st Grupp for that) on June 12 back home in NY. He will end up flying the Ski C-130 in Greenland and Antarctica with the NY Air Guard. Oldest, Chris nailed a good job as an All-State Insurance Adjuster right before Jess's May 27th USNA Graduation. Finally the youngest Tim is at WPI (Worcester Poly Tech) in MA. He is on a full AFROTC scholarship and is "kicking butt": High Dean's list, Top UPT shot."
Wow! Makes you tired just reading the exceptional things all his kids are doing. Pictured below is JJ and Lt Beth Grupp pinning butter bars on Jessica. Well done JJ!
Some of our kids have seen the light: Brian (uber cheerleader for the 30th reunion football game if anyone remembers) Livie´s son Vince (USAFA '01), pinned on Major in April at Scott air patch. Vince was the Exec for the wing commander and then did a stint in the AMC Commander´s Action Group. He was recently picked up for the C-17 Cross-Flow program and PCS´s to McChord this summer (Altus for training before that). Brian and bride Roberta (Bert) unfortunately will have to suffer through several weeks of grandkids while Vince is in training. Brian and Bert are living the good life in the Springs after AF retirement in ´98. He worked as a manager and corporate exec at an IT company for 12 years (the company was sold at year 9 and merged at year 10) and for the last 1 1/2 years of the 12, he was making the "Denver to Dulles" shuffle every week (lots of frequent flyer miles). His CEO wanted Brian to move to VA, declined and resigned in the Fall of 2009. A year later the company sold again and the stock proceeds allowed Brian to fully retire! He now plays the ukulele, sings in the choir, does volunteer activities, plays "a lot of poker," and visits the grandkids whenever he and Bert get the chance. Daughter Vanessa just turned 30 and is a Software Engineer/Program Manager for Lockheed Martin in Colorado Springs. He also sees Greg Hollister (Sherry) and Mike Couillard (Mary) on a regular basis as well as Joe Bunecke at USAFA football games every once in a while. Terry Kelly drops in when he´s in town and drinks Brian´s best Scotch.
Pictured below after Vince´s pin-on is Brian wearing the "unaltered" Service Dress he retired in, Vince, Vince´s wife Colleen and Bert. Thanks for sharing such a great moment Brian.
Finally, wanted to brag on our kids a bit (you were spared the pix). As I mentioned earlier, son Philip graduated from USNA (top 10% of his class), received his USMC commission and is en-route to Stanford for an Ops Research degree. Goldy and Jeanne Goldfein honored our family by joining Ellie and me on the field during graduation. , We then took son Jonathan to USAFA in June as he entered with 2015. As of this writing, he marched back from Jacks Valley yesterday as we look forward to Parent´s Weekend next month.
Many thanks to everyone for sharing these very special (and touching) moments with the class. May all of you have a great summer.
´78 is Great!
Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 27 Feb 2016