Checkpoints, Class of 1978, December 2016
As promised last quarter, first out of the chute are two shots of JJ Jackson’s retirement as commander of AF Reserve Command back in July. First shot is SECAF Deborah James, JJ, Barb, Kelly and Tyler.
Second shot is of a group of ‘78ers that made it to the ceremony. However, I need to initially clear up some heinous gross buffoonery on my part. I said last quarter that the CSAF did the retirement honors…not true! Our own Hawk Carlisle retired JJ and I sincerely apologize for messing that up (good help is tough to find). Anyway, from left to right are: Rich Shook, Gary Batinich (was JJ’s two star Mobilization Assistant for the past couple of years) John “Pyro” Weida, JJ, Hawk, Key Sabol, Bach Hollerbach and Andy Cox. It was outstanding that these guys were able to make the ceremony.
Speaking of Hawk, I recently saw that he will now be retiring from the AF. Not sure when his ceremony will be but hopefully the word will get out for folks available to attend. By the time this is published, it might have already happened and I hopefully will have some info and pix for the ceremony next article. JJ and Pyro were kind enough to each send some shots to be included in the article. Unfortunately I don’t have enough space to publish all of them but very much appreciate both of you guys taking the time to send them in.
Received an excellent update from Ken Charpie on what he’s been up to. He retired in the Dayton OH area around ’01 after many years flying bombers as a Nav in SAC/ACC along with working bomber issues in Material Command (to include a stint in the B-2 SPO). Ken did quite a bit of work in aerospace and now teaches scuba at Wright State University as an instructor trainer with NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors). As an interesting aside, we just missed seeing each other at West Point no less when he was there for his annual instructor requal. We were there the following week when our youngest got his class ring (USMA hands them out during the fall Firstie semester). Small world…
Anyway, Ken’s wife encouraged him to attend ground school with her at Wright State which turned into flying lessons at a local aero club. His lessons culminated in obtaining his pilot’s license back in August…congrats Ken! He mentioned that one of his check rides was administered by our own Tom Bell who lives in the area…more evidence of it being a very small world. Ken sent in a great pic of him holding his temporary pilot certificate by the Piper Warrior he did his final check and most of his flying in.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything else to report for the class this quarter. I would however, like to remind everyone of the LinkedIn group that we have (“78 Is Great”…what else?). There currently are 122 members but the more we have, the greater our collective communication, so please consider joining.
My thanks to JJ, John and Ken for taking the time to submit information for the article! We really need more of you guys to do the same…appreciate you thinking about it. I hope everyone has a blessed holiday season and all the best for 2017 (40th Reunion is getting closer!).
‘78 is Great!
Class of 1978 - United States Air Force Academy
as of 29 July 2017