Checkpoints Spring 2013
This is probably the most difficult article I have ever attempted to write. Those of us with children in the military, which is a significant amount of our class, deal with a challenging situation. On one hand, we have the pride of seeing the continuing legacy of service before self. On the other hand, we know they may be required to go into harm's way. That was tragically brought home to Bob and Dee Steele on April 3rd when their son James (USAFA 2006) was lost in an F-16 accident in Afghanistan. James was stationed at Shaw with the 77th Fighter Squadron and was on his first deployment. A funeral service is to be held on Friday May 3rd at Fort Myer Memorial Chapel (will have been held by the time this is published) with full military honors internment at Arlington. Dee's cousin, Father Bob Morris was to conduct the service. In lieu of flowers, Dee and Bob have asked for donations to be made to the Yellow Ribbon Fund in memory of James. Even though a couple of months will have passed since I've written this (21 Apr) please consider making a donation and definitely keep Bob and Dee in your prayers. A superb article was published in the AF Force Times 14 Apr 2013 that is well worth reading if you haven't seen it already that hopefully will be available when you read this.
Bob and Dee are truly an inspirational Air Force family. Dee was in '80 and they have two other children who are also grads. Further, one of their sons is a Joint Terminal Attack Controller at Kadena. Steve Dalbey and several other classmates have been rounding up the class living in the D.C. area for a strong class showing at the funeral.
Another inspirational AF family is John and Suzanne Paterson. John shared a similar loss under different circumstances but tragic none the less. He and Suzanne raised two daughters and a son with oldest daughter Nicole marrying Lt Anthony Riggan, (class of 2007 and had been the 1st Group commander as a cadet) in March of 2009, the weekend of a major blizzard. Tragically they were both killed in a light plane crash while flying to Colorado Springs for Christmas on Dec 22, 2010. Their son Gabriel, Class 2012, CS-15, then married Sara Cleaver (Colorado Springs resident and high school sweetheart) at the USAFA chapel, June 25th, 2012 the day before the Academy was evacuated due to the Waldo Canyon fire. Their daughter Danielle married Gabe's classmate and squadron mate, Lt Bryan Rivera, last September 8th, 2012 also at the USAFA chapel. Gabe and Bryan are now at pilot training together at Columbus AFB. The picture below is a beautiful family shot of Nicole and Anthony's wedding in 2009.
Another great family shot at Gabe's wedding.
John lives in the Springs but flies international for Delta (was with Northwest for many years) out of Seattle. He enjoys the flying and international travel quite a bit and says the merger is progressing well so far. Thanks John for sharing such a touching and personal story.
Trying to pick things up some, you all heard about Gordy Curphy's latest leadership book last year called "The Rocket Model." In a bit of an interesting twist, a friend asked Gordy for another copy as he gave his only one to former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on an airplane ride. It's not every day that you see that but I'm sure Gordy complied. Great work and congratulations Gordy!
Bill Hadaway is a two star in the Guard and has enjoyed a very enviable career with the Guard and with Delta. Turns out that he was 14 days from retirement a Guard retirement date of 1 Jan 2013 when he was selected as the new Air National Guard Director of Logistics and Engineering (J-4). He decided to stay on and serve 8-10 days per month at the ANG HQ in Arlington VA while commuting back and forth between his home in Tulsa and his Delta (777 Captain flying ultra long range flights) Atlanta domicile. Bill said that his Zoomie CE degree plus his NORTHCOM stint at Tyndall dealing with Defense Support of Civil Authorities (domestic response issues) paid off. This past February, Bill represented the ANG at the Fifth Anniversary of the Kosovo Independence reception. Congrats and very well done Bill…all the best in the new position.
I hadn't seen the news yet but Dano Philips sent an e-mail with the news that Larry James is hanging it up as the AF Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A2) after a stellar career. Not sure what is next for Larry but he sure has earned a rest.
In a very special ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex yesterday (20 April), our own Curt Brown joined the aforementioned Buzz Aldrin as he was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Curt joined Eileen Collins and Bonnie Dunbar Brown and Bonnie Dunbar, Collins joined the elite ranks of space exploration heroes, including Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell, Sally Ride and Scott Carpenter. The 2013 class is the first to include two women.
The ceremony drew hundreds of attendees, including family and friends of inductees and more than a dozen Hall of Fame members. Among them: moonwalkers Buzz Aldrin, Edgar Mitchell and Charlie Duke; veteran shuttle pilot and mission commander Robert Crippen; and Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator.
We'll be taking our son to West Point this July and will be staying with JJ and Kath Grupp. They live just outside West Point "Jack's Valley" equivalent. As reported in a past article, the Grupp's daughter Jessica (just graduated from Navy UPT with a helicopter assignment) and our son Philip were USNA classmates together (2011). JJ is still an American captain with several military children as well.
As I mentioned last quarter Wayne "Bees" Kellenbence is leading the charge with 35th Class Reunion with able help from Punch Moulton, Dave Scott, Jay Lindell. Our class president, Steve Dalbey will be in the loop from the Beltway. Watch for details on our 78 is Great Class website or the "78 is Great" LinkedIn group.
´78 is Great!
Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 27 Feb 2016