Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

My History

Pete Caldarelli

I grew up in northeastern New Mexico (150 miles south of Colorado Springs) which was a major factor for my interest in the Academy. Its inception in the mid-fifties was making the local news along with the advent of jet engines, and that combination spurred my interest.

I was lucky enough to make it in. After graduation and subsequent pilot training a very self-satisfying military career followed with the focus on aviation. After Vietnam, a most enjoyable five-year tour followed at RAF Bentwaters in England. I seem to always reflect back on the people I served with and enjoyable times we had (not bad spending a week's leave playing golf in Scotland and TDY's to Aviano, Zaragosa, and Sardinia flying range missions, drinking wine and smoking cigars).

After 22 years in the military, another lucky break occurred when airlines started hiring older pilots. I remember thinking that after I turned 32, I was then too old to go with the airlines, and then later at 45, I was actually being considered (go figure). I made the transition, hired on with American Airlines and spent 15 years in a different perspective and mission. I commuted from my final military location (Eglin AFB) to New York and then to Miami when the home base was established there. I made the decision not to move again mainly because two of my three children were in local schools and I already had moved them enough times. (I know I would have refused to leave in the middle of my high school years.)

Most of my military flying time was in the F-4 and as a civilian, in the B-727. I now spend a good part of the summer back in northeast New Mexico where I started, and my winters in northwest Florida. My primary hobby is working on classic cars. I have a few in both New Mexico and Florida. I will probably continue to play golf as long as I can continue to walk the courses.

It's been a memorable flight.

Pete Caldarelli
[ Gone But Not Forgotten ]
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