Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Ed's Non-History

Ok, I give up. One of the things I learned at the Academy and the Air Force and on and on and on is that it is usually not a good idea to give in to peer pressure.

Al Larson has been applying that pressure for months. I really do not understand the interest in the history project but here is my contribution.

The other thing I learned in life is not to set a deadline unless you wish to enforce it. I know it has been a “fractious” time for Al but we are now up to at least deadline three… is this the real one?

I do not intend to write a history. I will, however mention a few… mostly passed… classmates and friends that influenced me and my life. I hope that is sufficient.

Jim Curd:

He was the most caring and stable person I have ever known. You could always count on Jim to be there if you needed help or humor. He was good at both. I never had the pleasure of flying with or serving with Jim in the “regular” Air Force but from reports I have heard from his squadron mates he was the consummate pilot.

Bill Sweetay:

Roommate, friend, confidant. Bill was there when you needed him and was a physical and intellectual presence even when you didn't know you needed it. His wrestling prowess was well known. He had a maneuver that once you… or better yet an opponent school member… were in it… well, it was all over. We would watch him work and then all at once… submission. He of course went on to a successful career in the Air Force and Delta Airlines.

Jim White:

Jim was special in his own right but one of his claims to fame was that his brother Ed was the astronaut. It was early in the years that I knew Jim that I found out about his brother and his father… General White. Of the three I have the most respect and compassion for the latter, General White. He was, I believe, the first comptroller of the Air Force. But more to the point he gave both his sons to military service within the space of one year. Ed White died in the Apollo 1 tragedy with Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee. Jim was lost in our unfought war in Laos months later. His body was never recovered.

Dave Williams:

Dave was the solid one, quiet and forceful. Bunked alone for some of the time but had many good friends. He chose Marine Air from the Academy. He considered himself one of the chosen few. Unfortunately that took him directly to Viet Nam and an untimely early death.

George Bruns:

Yep, even George. He lost his life in a car accident too soon after graduation but he was a real piece of work. Athletic, wrestler, maybe not too ethnic conscious, but he was his own man. Intelligent to a fault but seldom recognized for it.

And then there are the fortunate living… like me.

Gary Matthes:

My best man and a true gentleman among us.

Denny Stiles:

Deep, smart, trustworthy.

Ken Helmig:

Friend, room mate, good guy. He would do anything for a friend or classmate. We had good times.

Art Balaz:

Another room mate… maybe it took a lot of people to get me through. Art was always the thinker… but then a lot of us were.

I am going to end this now… close to the end of the page. I survived but did not really enjoy my time at the Academy. Once in I was not going to give up. But I have been in so many different situations since separating from the military that I no longer feel the bonds to the Academy…only to some of the people. If I have left someone out in the above listing… forgive me… my memory is not what it should have been, Duke!

The military and the academy are so different in today's setting that I cannot relate and do not really want to. I do believe in the mission and that the Academy both draws and graduates the best of our society… Good luck and fair winds to you all…

Ed Badenell

March 2011
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