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transparent Checkpoints Spring 2015

Greetings 78ers…

I hope the warm weather enveloping the country finds all of you well. I would like to start out by thanking Tom Kroboth, the Checkpoints Class News/Obituary editor at the AOG, for his “above and beyond” help with last quarter’s article. As you can see from the “preamble,” a software glitch (that Tom researched for us) deleted the most important portion of last quarter’s article. You received an e-mail from the Association directing you to our class website where Cliff Huff had posted the entire article (thanks Cliff). Tom also ensured that an explanation was posted this quarter.

Unfortunately, this installment is a bit briefer than usual (with no pictures) due to a lack of inputs (kind of like the CA drought with regards to water)! So please send me stuff in order for everyone to have something to look at. To y’all’s credit though, I haven’t had to shamelessly plead for several quarters… ’nuff said.

I did hear from Dick Newton after I commented on a LinkedIn blast I had received. Turns out he and Rick Searfoss are faculty members with the Thayer Leader Development Group (www.thayerleaderdevelopment.com). If you aren’t familiar with it, TLDG is one of the premier leadership education organizations in the country made up primarily of USMA grads and retired Army officers. Dick and Rick are the only two AF officers/USAFA grads on an incredibly distinguished faculty… well done you guys! Dick’s full time job is the Executive Director of the Union League Club in New Your City. Rick continues speaking throughout the nation as well as providing high level consulting to several aerospace firms. Only fitting that ’78 leads the way on this.

I reported previously that Brett Vance had left the Test Pilot School at Edwards air patch where he was a civilian instructor pilot for a flight test position with big FAA. He drove back “up the hill” to his old haunts back in February to provide a tremendous presentation to our local Daedalian group on FAA flight test. It was an extremely informative presentation — he’s having way too much fun obviously. Brett is certainly living the high life testing/certifying several civilian airplane variants while suffering in a high rise condo on the beach. Someone has to do that I suppose. Thanks for the great work Brett.

Mr. Faithful, aka Mike “Smacko” McMillie dutifully sent out an e-mail blast on 9 April reminding us of that faithful day when… well, better I let Smacko’s own words shake up some cobwebs:

Gentlemen

40 years ago, we were mired in not getting one those precious privileges we so dearly wanted and knew we had earned… the ability to dress in something other than a uniform and to listen to music.

The message went out, we were going to do something.

We broke ranks at the noon meal formation.

We charged the hill at lunch with "Stereos and Civie Clothes, 78 is late". No marching to lunch that day, we acted as a class to let the 'enemy' (upper class leadership) know we were upset.

We clearly demonstrated we were a class… a coherent group that believed in each other and worked with each other.

A few days later… after an appreciable amount of 'cooling off time'… April 15th, 1975… the Noon meal announcement from the tower and said we could now have the desired prize. As a class, we had made the decision not to celebrate and remain 'rocks' when this happened. Another class act by a class acting like a class (and pissing off the upper classes).

I have always thought that was a turning point for us… a defining moment. 40 years ago, today.

A salute to you and those of our classmates no longer with us to celebrate.

'78 is great! Always has been, Always will.

As you can imagine, Smacko’s tome generated a great deal of response reminding us not only of that feat but another one during Hell Week up on a certain “hill” called Flatiron. A feat still to be equaled I’m willing to bet. Great job as always Smacko!

Finally, and I usually hesitate to do this, I received an unsolicited e-mail from a USNA grad (Rick Campbell) who was pitching a novel he wrote last year called The Trident Deception. He offered to send me a hard copy and asked if I’d be willing to pitch it to the class (fairly creative way to get exposure). I took him up on the offer but told him I would only plug it if I liked it. As promised, I read it a couple of weeks ago while in Korea on business. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately ordered the e-book of his recently published sequel, Empire Rising. Both books were meticulously researched (the author was a submariner) and are severe page-turners! I read the second one on the flight back from Korea last week and enjoyed it thoroughly. If you enjoy the Tom Clancy/Stephen Coonts genre of writing I highly recommend giving one or both of these a look.

Well gents, that’s a wrap for this quarter. Again, please consider sending updates, especially if you haven’t before or recently… it greatly helps the finished product. May you all have a great Spring and Summer while residing in our great nation.

God Bless

´78 is Great!


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