Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Paul's History

PB070004_edited.JPG I was born 24 August 1941 in Bridgeton, NJ, where my father was the district manager for an insurance company. My father and mother were Philadelphia natives, and I still claim Philadelphia as "where I am from". Dad served in the Army Air Corps, 8th AF in England for over three years in WWII and returned to Philadelphia and the insurance claims business. I am the oldest of four. I vividly remember the day in 1951 (age 10) when my father received the package with his new U.S. Air Force blue uniform. He had been recalled to active duty for the Korean War and assigned to Olmstead AFB near Harrisburg PA. That was the day I knew I would go Air Force, like my Dad.

My father was the Reserve Center Commander for the Southwest Virginia/West Virginia Reserve District headquartered in Roanoke, VA from Jun 1955 to July 1959, where I attended Roanoke Catholic High School. I graduated in June 1959 in the top 10% of my class -- 3/30!!! I applied only to the AF Academy. I was first alternate in my district. I had no Plan B for not being accepted to the Academy and was saved by getting invited to enlist in the Air Force Reserve to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory Course at the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School, Bainbridge Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, MD. Along with 99 other qualified alternates (and a few athletes), I went to Lackland AFB for basic, and off to Bainbridge for nine months of SAT prep. In May of 1960 I received a Reserve Category Appointment to the Class of 1964 (Still with no Plan B).

I am a proud member of Twenty Trolls. I can honestly say I 'loved' all my time at the Academy. I like structure and routine (miss it sometimes!!), and the Academy certainly provided enough of that. I was challenged by the Dean's view that all Cadets should achieve balance between the Science & Engineering curriculum and the Social Sciences. I wound up with a dramatic difference in my academics -- although netting to a cum 3.02 (Inadvertently supporting the maxim that "...anything over 3.0 is wasted effort!!"). I faced a Turnout Exam in EE over Christmas of our Junior Year. (See my "Class II in lieu of Class III" story). I faced a major personal dilemma in our Senior Year. I chose not to fly even though I was qualified physically. Lots of reasons, and much deliberation and thought and meeting with the Commandant went into the decision. I made the decision to go non-rated in the Pre-Gulf of Tonkin time frame. I would not even have considered not going on to flying training post-Gulf of Tonkin, but the decision had been made. In retrospect, I am comfortable with my decision to enter the non-rated Air Force.

I suppose because I nearly flunked out of the Academy in EE, the Air Force assigned me to the Electronic Systems Division (ESD) of Air Force Systems Command, Hanscom Field, Bedford MA. (It was "Hanscom Field" back then, became "AFB" much later). I entered the Procurement Career Field, and was a buyer for some major Communications Systems that was responsible for. In my first year ('64 - '65) in the Boston area I roomed with two Classmates, Paul Kaminski and Dennis Madl (both of 13th Sqd), who were attending MIT at that time. In Summer 1966 I was selected as the Aide-de-Camp to Maj Gen John W. O'Neill, the ESD Commander. (See story on how I turned down the 'opportunity' initially). I supported (and learned from) General O'Neill for two years, including transferring with him from ESD to his new command as the first Commander of Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) at Los Angeles Air Force Station (It was "Station" back then, became "AFB" much later). General O'Neill received his third star with the SAMSO command, and for several months I had the distinction of being the only 1LT aide to a 3-Star general. Being an Aide was a very rewarding experience, and General Jack O'Neill was one of the finest men ever to serve our country. (See my WWII War Stories story).

When my time as Aide to General O'Neill was up in Fall 1968 I attended SOS at Maxwell AFB, AL, where I met a beautiful and charming Southern Belle who was a senior at the University of Alabama and who was doing her Physical Therapy internship at the Maxwell Hospital. The encounter with Peggy (at the Snake Pit) led to our marriage in the summer of 1969, in the break between my first and second year getting my MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Soldiers Field, MA, Class of 1970. We have been married for 42 years this year (2011), and have two accomplished daughters -- Lesley and Denise. Lesley is married and has our two grandchildren -- Lucy, 5 years old this year, and Hillard, 4 years old this year. Lesley and Edward live in Colleyville, TX. Denise is married and with her husband, Chris, lives in Fairfax, VA.

From graduate school in Boston, in summer 1970, we reported to the F-15 System Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD), AF Systems Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. In 1973 I was selected for intermediate service school at the Canadian Forces Staff College, Toronto, Canada. We spent a delightful year in Toronto with fantastic schoolmates from Canada, the Commonwealth Countries, and the US Military. Following Staff College, we went on Exchange to the Canadian Forces Headquarters in Ottowa, Canada, for two years (1974 - 1976). I was the Program Manager for the conversion of the CF-115 Buffalo transport fleet into Search & Rescue configuration. From Ottowa, we returned to the ASD (AFSC) at Wright-Patterson in the A-10 SPO, Program Control Office. Great Team!! My next assignment was to the Armament Division (AFSC) at Eglin AFB, Fort Walton, FL in 1981 to establish the Air Base Survivability SPO as Program Control Chief. After just one year at Eglin I went to Air War College at Maxwell AFB, AL, graduating in 1983.

I was assigned to the Pentagon, AF/RD, from AWC in 1983. I was Division Chief of the R&D Programming Division and Chairman of the RDT&E Panel of the Air Force Board Structure overseeing the $9Billion annual Air Force RDT&E Program of the FYDP. Great Job!! After one year in that job I was moved over to HQ Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB, MD, as Deputy Comptroller and Chief of the AFSC POM. Another great job. In 1986, with the Air Force decision to merge AF Systems and Logistics Commands into AF Materiel Command I determined it was time to move into a civilian second career. I retired on 30 September 1986 with 23 years of active service (including the year of Prep School service).

My second career covered exactly 20 years -- 01 October 1986 to 01 October 2006 -- with TASC. Originally TASC was "The Analytic Sciences Company", a privately held, professional services company founded by MIT professors in Boston in 1966. TASC has always had a superb reputation for quality support to the government especially in the intelligence and analytic services area. In my 20 years TASC became a part of Litton Industries (in 1998) which was then acquired by Northrop Grumman (2001). I supported a number of government clients including (from 1994 to 1998) the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO), the DoD manager of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) programs, including the Predator and Global Hawk. I spent more time in The Building" as a contractor than I did while on active duty. I was the Director of the TASC Military Systems Division ($450M annual sales/five locations) when I retired from Northrop Grumman/TASC in October 2006.

I have been happily "retired/retired" ever since October 2006. Peggy retired in December 2008 from her 40-year career as a pioneering school-based/early-childhood Physical Therapist. She served in the Fairfax County Public Schools for 25 years and retired as the Director of the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Program (the largest employer of therapists in Virginia). Peggy was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to a term on the Virginia Physical Therapy Board (2006 - 2010). In 2009 we established a second home in Colleyville, TX, two-doors away from our daughter Lesley's family and the precious grandchildren Lucy and Hillard. We spend time in both locations in three-to-five week increments, traveling between Virginia and Texas sometime by air and sometimes by car. It is a grand life, and we are thankful for our many blessings.

My love and affection for my Classmates and my appreciation for my Air Force Academy experience can not be measured. I treasure the affiliation with classmates and the Academy. I am a proud member of the AOG and Sabre Society.
[ Above Average Cadet Smart-Ass!! ]
[ AF Prep Course at NAPS ]
[ Revenge on an Instructor Years Later ]
[ WWII War Stories ]
[ Home ] [ Table Of Contents ]