Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Lee's History

lee.jpg The son of a career Navy CPO, I was born in New York and raised in Rhode Island. The day I received my notice of entry into the Academy I had my acceptance letter in my hand to mail to Penn State. What a difference that day made in the course of my life!

A few months after throwing my hat in the air and getting a bath in the Academy air gardens, I headed east for pilot training at Craig AFB. Little did I know at the time that a long connection to Alabama was in my future.

After graduation from Craig I headed west to McChord AFB to enjoy the thrill of lumbering across the Pacific at 10-12,000 feet in the right seat of a C-124. In less than a year I had orders to Vietnam to fly EC-47s. After short stints at Hurlburt Field in Florida and England AFB in Louisiana and several months for the Air Force to figure out whether or not I would experience the joy of ferrying a Gooney Bird to the South Pacific, I arrived for a year tour at Nha Trang AB.

Back to the States in 1968 I went to Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah to renew my acquaintance with Old Shakey. Shortly thereafter I finally rejoined the modern world of jets and was assigned to Norton AFB in San Bernardino, California to fly C-141s. Later, I volunteered for and was assigned to the wing command post, but after only a few months I was back in Alabama at Maxwell AFB attending Squadron Officers School. As soon as I returned to Norton, I learned I was approved for an AF program to work on a masters degree with subsequent duty in AFROTC. I attended San Diego State University for a degree in political science, went to Maxwell for Academic Instructor School and was fortunate to stay in San Diego teaching for the next three years.

Then it was back to Alabama for Air Command and Staff College. After graduation I was assigned to Travis AFB in Vacaville, California to fly C-5s. Later the Air Force decided I needed to spend a few years overseas, so I was off to Yokota AB in Japan where I was in charge of the group airlift command post. To ease the shock of going directly to the States, I subsequently spent a tour at Hickam AB in Hawaii as the assistant director of operations for the airlift division. One of the best parts of the job was that I was also in charge of the Air Force portion of Operation Deep Freeze and spent several weeks each year for four years in Christchurch, New Zealand and on one occasion was able to fly to McMurdo in Antarctica. Upon leaving Hawaii I made my final trip to Alabama with an assignment to the AF Wargaming Center at Maxwell.

I retired from the Air Force in 1989. One Friday I wore an AF blue suit and on Monday I wore a civilian suit running the professional development office of Continuing Education at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). Three years later I shifted to the non-profit world as the Executive Director for the Montgomery Area Council on Aging. Seems like I could not escape the need to change employers every few years so after three, I became the Executive Director of the Montgomery Association for Retarded Citizens and then the Executive Director of Montgomery Area Services for Persons with Mental Retardation. In 2008 I traded full-time employment for two part-time jobs which I could primarily complete from the comfort of my home office. Not being much of a golfer, tennis player or devotee to some special personal interest, I now spend my “free” time working on home projects or chipping away at a to-do list I will probably never complete.

On the family front, I married my first wife, Jamie, while at McChord and we parted ways in 1975 while in San Diego. We had two children. Our daughter Kimerlee is a retired AF Colonel and is married to a retired 0-6 AF doctor. She holds the distinctions of being the first female aide to a four star general in the Air Force and was the aide to General Ralston, the Vice Chief of the JCS, for a number of years. They live in Oklahoma City where she spends her time playing tennis and prepping for Ironman competitions. Her brother, Ryan, is an AF Lieutenant Colonel and is stationed at Keesler AFB in Mississippi. His wife, Darcy, is a 1999 AFA graduate, was an AWACS pilot and is now a full-time mom. I met my wife Joan at Air Command and Staff College and we were married in 1976 in Montgomery. We have a son, Matthew who graduated from Auburn University Montgomery. He broke the AF mold and is employed with the Alabama Department of Public Health as an environmentalist. We have eight grandkids (six boys and two girls) - two are in Oklahoma, two in Montgomery and four in Mississippi.

Not a real exciting tale but then I am not a real exciting guy. Like many others, I have enjoyed the ups of my life; tried to make the best of the downs; met and worked with some terrific people and had experiences I would never trade with anyone (not too many people can say they have been in Scott's hut in Antarctica). Without a doubt, the experiences I had and the lessons I learned at the Academy helped write the chapters of my life story.
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