Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Glenn's History

glenn.jpg March 2011: Here I sit, back home in the great state of Texas, 68 and pretty worn out. No feeling in my lower legs, pre-diabetic, bald and bored…probably not that much different from most of us. But it's been a good ride…and the future looks great.

After Graduation, I went to Flight School in a program designed to increase the number of chopper pilots for Viet Nam…T-28s at Randolph and then chopper school at Reno. I stayed on as an IP in H-19s and then upgraded to H-3s. I was reassigned to the 21st Helicopter Sqdn forming up in SC to go to NKP Thailand where we supported McNamara's Electronic Fence down through Laos to cut down the traffic on the Ho Chi Mihn Trail. We put in electronic listening devices to look for truck parks and ‘road watch' teams. McN's plan was to stop the resupply of NVA troops by cutting the trail…good in theory, but who knows the results??? We did a bunch of other trash hauling missions and supported the Marines at Khe Sahn.

rifle_450.jpg It was exciting with lots of bullet holes and a couple of DFCs. I over-flew a 37mm on the S-turn just south of Tchepone at about 100 feet [too close for him to draw a bead], chased bad-guy choppers out of Thailand back into Laos and NVN and even got involved in a number of rescues. Most were our gomers on the run after being discovered reporting trucks on the trail. We were Special Ops and left the aircrew rescue scene whenever the Jolly Greens got there. They were the pros at that. We generally gassed or shot up everything and brought home everyone who wasn't wearing black pajamas. We flew with Air America and a variety of other ‘civilians' that we had no clue of their allegiance or nationality. Interesting…yes! Productive…probably to those whom we brought home.

Since we were not ‘jet qualified' having gone through this weird UPT program, our assignment out of SEA was back to Randolph for T-38s. It was a blast. We were all happy to just be alive. I stayed on there as an IP and then off to Grad School. I was selected to return to the Academy to teach Aero, so off to Georgia Tech for a Masters. I put on my uniform once during the two years and got one haircut…but it was no big deal since I was mostly bald and it was the 70s.

Teaching at the Academy was the best of all worlds. I also taught flying in the T-41. The hours were terrible, but the association with the Cadets was worth it. They finally threw me out of that 3-year assignment after I'd been there for five. I would still be there today if I could have pulled it off. There were tons of interesting stories, but the one I will document involves the Commandant, BG Vandenberg, who had been my Wing Commander in 38s. I was the rotary wing guy in the Aero Department and told my chopper stories to the Cadets in class. As it turned out, I was having more impact than I had expected. Vandenberg called me to his office and chewed my butt for talking up helicopters. Too many of his top Cadets were wanting to go to choppers…and I didn't blame them. It was an honorable career of service and rescue. Vandenberg told me to shut up and stop talking up choppers…and, of course, I followed orders. Not! There are many stories about Vandenberg, but few I would put in print.

From there, it was working with the Civil Air Patrol and their search and rescue efforts and flying a desk at Sheppard. I retired after 20 and a couple of days as a LTC.

Texas Instruments picked me up as an Aero Engineer, but I was really a Knowledge Engineer [?] designing AI based flight control systems. It was still airplane stuff, so I was happy and the pay was good. I even got a patent along the way. After four years of working on defense systems, perhaps the best job in the world, next to AFA, opened up…Director of Ethics Communications and Education. In the next ten years, I designed ethics tools and programs, taught in 17 countries, created a course to train new ethics officers at Bentley College in Boston and wrote my first book. It was a wonderful hitch. We were at the leading edge of this new ethics movement, and nothing was off limits at TI. They are a wonderfully led company with a true dedication to their ethic and values. I left to take the position of the EDS Ethics Officer. It was a totally different environment at corporate EDS where the CEO and I seemed unable to agree on much of anything regarding ethics. After three years, thankfully, he fired me. Not long after, I hear they fired him.

Since then I have been doing some real estate stuff with my wife and basically just putsing around. My pacemaker in '98 took away flying and electric welding [I was restoring old cars and building street rods]…so I took up the hobby of electric trains. I built an 11x16 room in the attic called Cloudland for my layout…and I spend a lot of time there. I still have my old cars in a warehouse we purchased downtown [actually, it was the old Ford dealership]. Cars include two Model T Fords, '39 Cadillac 4-door, '46 Chevy pickup on a Camaro clip, '69 Olds 98 convertible with a 455 and a small tractor to move trailers around. I also ride a Spyder Can-Am 3-wheel motorcycle. So life isn't so bad.

But retirement still sucks. I think most of us judge the value of our lives by the value we add to society. Right no, I feel that I am just taking up space and air. I love being a grandfather, with both kids and some of my grandsons nearby. Helen and I will celebrate our 47th anniversary in August. She was the girl next door and the perfect military wife.

I have published one book, The Return to Stanley Canyon, with another on the way. This book tells the story of two young men who come to the Academy and then into combat. If you chose to read it, you will find lots of stories about our days as Cadets…and will probably recognize some of the characters. It IS a novel...but the meaner-than-hell upperclassman is named Stebinski. [I sent Charlie the first copy…and he liked it!...and ordered three more copies.]

So what does the future hold? My gene pool predicts I will live to be quite old. I will continue to write but wish I could find an agent. I work out regularly and keep my weight down, am active with Kiwanis Club and church, love antique shopping and restoration, good bourbon and good friends…and of course, my planes, trains and automobile. I acknowledge what the Academy has done to me and for me…and honor that. I encourage all of our classmates to do the same. Just consider how you life would be if it weren't for USAFA. I'd probably be out selling girdles, slide rules or mutual funds…
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