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transparent Checkpoints Fall 2015

Greetings 78ers…

Sadly, the news of Steve Smith’s passing leads off this quarter. The AOG sent out the announcement back on 22 July with Steve’s death being on the 19th in Niceville. Steve had been an engineer in the aerospace business for many years in the Destin/Eglin area. His parents would still appreciate condolences I’m sure made out to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Smith; 213 Windsong Ct; Niceville, FL 32578-4806. Please consider sending something to them.

Several class heroes responded to my shameless plea for inputs leading off with Mike Spain. Mike is a A320 Delta captain and sent this great shot of four 78ers hanging out in the Salt Lake City Delta Pilot Lounge. From left to right fellow Reese 80-02 alum (talk about another galaxy far, far away) Terry Kelly, Tim Parker, Mace Goodhand, and Mike. Terry and Tim are 777 Captains and Mace is a 767 Captain. Looks like Delta is literally in good hands! Many thanks Mike…fly safe.

Also responding to my wimpering was Scott “Ferg” Ferguson. Ferg “retired” (emphasis his) from Microsoft in 1998 and has been a self professed “bum” ever since. He does enjoys giving back by being active with the Alzheimer’s association as a donor with the Zenith Society and an ambassador advocating Alzheimer’s legislative initiatives in both Washington State, where he lives (near Seattle), and Washington D.C.

In his own words: “I’ve been an avid road cyclist for some time, finishing the two-day, 200-mile STP (Seattle-to-Portland) classic the past nine years and the RSVP (Seattle to Vancouver, BC) three of the past four years. [This year I missed the RSVP due to a dislocated finger after a hit-and-run incident with a car!] A good friend’s wife, Ann, has been on a quest the past eight years to ride from coast to coast in stages, a few states each year. Two years ago we joined her and I rode with her from Grand Forks, ND to Milwaukee, WI. Last year we rode from there to Pittsburgh. This year we rode on via the Great Allegheny Passage Train and the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath train to D.C. and on to the Delaware coast to finish her goal. My total for the three years was about 1900 miles, about half the country. Her 8-year total was over 3800 miles. My wife, Mary, switched off between doing some cycling and driving the “SAG” wagon. It was a great trip and we saw some beautiful scenery! The attached pic is of Ann’s daughter Bridget (also along for this year’s ride), Ann and me, in my Air Force cycling jersey, at the National Mall in D.C.!”

Picture of the intrepid cyclists below…great job Ferg, much appreciate the submission and am truly impressed with how good of shape you’re staying in!

Our next hero is fellow Torrejon Rhino aviator Alex Trujillo. Alex didn’t want to see a Phormer Phantom Phlyer whine too much so he sent in this very cool shot of him by the River Palace in Jaipur, India. The photo was taken a few years back while he was a contractor in Kabul and he was able to “escape” for a quick trip to India.

He retired from the AF as an O-6 in 2006 and worked as a contractor at USSOUTHCOM for three years in Miami. He married a Peruvian lady in 2009 moving to Lima, Perú where his bride is a partner in her own law firm (smart move Alex!). In 2010 he did a six-month stint at Camp Eggers as mentor to the Afghanistan Minister of Defense then returned to Lima where he started an import business. He augments his time doing some adventure traveling, fishing when he can, and finishing the restoration of his '65 Mustang convertible. They are hoping to move back to the Sates to Angel Fire, NM, in 2017. Thanks for the great pic and news Alex...good luck on the move.

Also ran into Rick Reaser at the not so swell AF v Navy game a couple of weekends ago. Rick is the VP for the LA AOG Chapter where he does a tremendous job of working events and keeping people informed. He’s been a senior manager at Raytheon in El Segundo (space programs) for many years after retiring as an O-6 back in 2006 (is there a trend here?). The LA County USAFA Parents Club joined Rick’s AOG Chapter along with the USNA Parents Club for a joint gamewatch party. We of course did pushups when AF scored but unfortunately (wouldn’t say this under any other circumstances!) we didn’t do very many. The Navy guys just about killed themselves with all that they did though! All in all however everyone had a great time with several USAFA grads in attendance along with quite a few parents (more than Navy!). We have another joint gamewatch scheduled for the AF v Army game in November when hopefully the AF side will do a bit more work.

Had a great dinner with Fred and Cheryl Zeitz when they came through town last month. Fred has been a Chief Engineer with BAE Systems since 2005 in the area of dynamic mission planning. He finds his way out to Vegas and Palmdale on occasion as he works rapid mission planning systems for aircraft that permit a single pilot to plan for and control multiple aircraft. We have this excellent Brazilian Bar B Que restaurant in town where (unfortunately) they keep bringing you a variety of exceptionally prepared meats (and other kinds of food) until you say uncle…a true carnivore’s delight. Fred and I decided to show our long suffering wives how much we could put away…big mistake. It took me a couple of days to recover but we sure enjoyed the experience. Speaking of shameless plugs, wanted to give a shout out to our just graduated Zoomie son (the one in the pic last quarter) who is continuing the family biz by signing up with his best fried to be the 2015 Scribe! His first article is this quarter (with only minor arm twisting from the old man) and am confident that he’ll write much better than I do. Am very proud of him for taking up the challenge and I can only hope he enjoys writing his columns as much as I do here.

Am happy to say that I am about out of space so that’ll do it for this quarter. My thanks again to you guys who made submissions and will continue asking for more of you guys to send stuff in. Stay warm this winter!

God Bless

´78 is Great!


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