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transparent Checkpoints Spring 2014

Greetings 78ers…

I hope this finds you well as we emerge from hibernation around the world. Here in the California desert we really only have two seasons, cold and hot although it’s actually been fairly pleasant the past couple of weeks. Since this column is being published on line versus in a printed copy (as well as being posted on the class web site) I hope most of the class is able to read it. This was done due to the USAFA 60th Anniversary special edition of Checkpoints as most of you probably are aware of.

I was concerned that I would have some bad news but thankfully it’s become very good concerning Frank Gahren. Frank lives in Denver and has literally been fighting for his life since February when he was admitted into the UC (in Aurora) hospital ICU with severe complications from a liver transplant and subsequent rejection/infections. Son Frank Jr. has been keeping several people posted and Kip Warton has faithfully been passing information on to many classmates. In early April, Frank started to significantly improve and actually was moved out of ICU by the middle of the month (last week as I’m writing this on 21 April). He was eating solid food for a bit and was accepting visitors in very limited shifts for a brief time. He unfortunately went back into ICU a couple of days before Easter with a possible new infection and wasn’t getting enough oxygen. As of today, he’s scheduled to be released from ICU due to his very strong recovery. The family is asking for classmates to send e-mails to Frank Jr. at: frank.gahrenjr@gmail.com so he in turn can read them to Frank. For those of you living on the front range, Frank Jr. will hopefully be able to inform you when his dad might be able to accept visitors again. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers as Frank keeps up the good fight.

Jack Anthony spent 4+ years in the USAFA Astro Lab and is now looking to get back into the space business. To stay engaged he’s doing temporary substitute teaching in math, science, history and PE as he gets to know the kids and gains a “healthy appreciation of the world our hard working teachers serve in” (my daughter is a sub and can readily attest to that as well!). He was in a coffee shop in late March to meet a fellow history buff (Jack still lectures on Springs and surrounding communities history) and ran into Jay Lindell and Dave Scott. The chance encounter turned into a great catching up session with commitments to meet again soon. Also heard from Jay and Dave as to their current goings on. Dave is living in the Springs and is VP of International Programs for Merlin RAMCo Inc. which works most areas of Manned and Unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems Support. He says that it is definitely keeping him busy and on the road quite a bit. Jay is truly living the good life in Castle Pines working for the State of Colorado. Essentially, his job is “to promote the aerospace and defense industry sector in Colorado to create jobs. I am having a lot of fun and working with some outstanding people and I get to live in Colorado.” Sure sounds like a great move to me! Too bad we don’t have guys like Jay doing that for the industry here in California (at least we don’t know of any). Jack included a great “selfie” of the guys after their meeting. From L to R is Dave, Jay and Jack.

Also heard from Mike Whyte who it turns out lives less about 50 miles away! Back in ’99 Mike was the AFROTC commander for Northern AZ University in Flagstaff when the AF wanted to send him to be the Base Commander in Guam. So armed with a PhD, he shot out some resumes and became the Provost at Azusa Pacific University for about a decade. He ended up traveling quite a but and had open heart surgery in 2010 so wisely decided to go back to teaching in 2011. He says life is truly great with three grandchildren, he loves LA, and “God is still at the center of our lives.” I couldn’t have said it better myself…we’re hoping to meet for lunch as well one day soon when our schedules will accommodate it.

Speaking of great jobs, Dano Philips recently was selected as the Director under the National Cemetery Administration managing the Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio and Kerrville National Cemeteries. Wow…talk about giving back and doing something significant. Well done Dano!

Lynn “Bach” Hollerbach is one proud dad and with good reason. His son Nick (USAF Capt) is now working at the NRO recently returning from SOS. Bach heard from a bud that the NRO Director personally announced Nick winning the Non-Major Systems Acquisition Program Manage award at the Director of National Intelligence Level 2013 Intel Community Acquisition Awards…WOW! Turns out that the annual award is competed across all 16 members of the Intel Community and will (“was” by the time you guys read this) be presented to him in late April by the DNI, Lt Gen(ret) Clapper. Now that’s impressive…am sure Bach is quite the proud dad. Congrats Bach and Nick!

Speaking of proud dad, you guys know how hesitant I am to put my family stuff in this article but am under strict orders from JJ Grupp to post this–plus I am incredibly proud of these kids. We had the pleasure of staying with him and Kathy again in March while we were at USMA for Plebe Parent Weekend. I have to admit after seeing Parent’s Weekends at USAFA and USNA the Army has got this right. The upper class is cleared off for Spring Break and the freshmen stay behind and run the place while the parents are in town. Makes for a special time with your son or daughter while they show off the place. Those of you who have experienced this would probably agree. Anyhow, the shot below is actually from the L.A. All Academies Military Ball that we attended back in December. Had all three military boys in town which is extremely rare these days. Our Marine is an infantry platoon commander currently deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan as things wind down over there. Sounds like he’s still pretty busy from the little bit he can tell us. Our Zoomie is a junior and flies like crazy as a glider IP and our Plebe is just over a month away from Recognition and being a real person. Our daughter works for my bride in her business and our oldest son wisely spent Christmas with his wife’s family. I am truly a blessed man!

That’s a wrap for this month, again, please keep Frank in your thoughts and prayers!

God Bless

´78 is Great!


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Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 27 Feb 2016