Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

John's History


My father was a tank destroyer/commander in General Patton's 3rd Army who covered 65 miles north from Metz to the Southeast of the Bastogne Bulge on 21 December 1944. After returning to Pittsburgh in 1945 he did not talk about WWII but his handwritten daily log was fascinating when I read it after his death at 82 in 1997. Following law school at Duquesne University he joined the Army Missile Command in Pittsburgh and in 1959 moved to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama where he gravitated to NASA under Wernher von Braun and joined the team that contracted development of the Saturn booster.

My direction to Vanderbilt Medical School was derailed by my USAFA selection and the potential for pilot training. That was derailed by my vision in the second year. After being made unwelcome on many occasions by Dean McDermott, Hugh Smith and I were approved to apply and to attend medical school on an “extended leave of absence.”

Immense USAFA memories include:
? Lost 30 lbs. by the end of basic summer and survival training.
? Marching in President Kennedy's 1960 Inauguration
? Standing in Mitchell Hall with the announcement of the President's death in Dallas.
? Sprints from Denver (missing the Monument State Patrols) to the North Gate.
? Denied flight training – Medical School approved.
? Unbelievable quality of classmates in their commitment, academic accomplishments, athletics and leadership.
? Fortunate to be assigned to 13th squadron with cadets committed to strive for and to achieve honor squadron (1961, 1962, 1964).
? The immense satisfaction at graduation and the anticipation of what would follow.

Following medical school at the University of Alabama Medical College in Birmingham, we completed the five year Wilford Hall Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program followed by a terrific assignment at Hill AFB Hospital and then a two year fellowship in the new subspecialty of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (high risk pregnancies) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. We returned to Wilford Hall in 1976. I was the initial Air Force Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist and that combined with stoppage of the medical draft resulted in our tour at Willy ending with retirement in 1987 (23 years). Our colleagues were exceptional and our missions included Women's Reproductive Health for our Air Force families and staff as well as for the large retiree population in San Antonio. We trained residents, and medical students for the Uniformed Services Military Medical School and accomplished research in high risk pregnancy care and prevention. Both of our families had a military tradition (Jane's father was also Army) which enhanced our enjoyment of Air Force life. Sons Christopher and Stephen attended Texas Military Institute and Chris joined the USAFA class of 1988 (the first graduate of graduates). He continues to excel in his Air Force career – currently a TriCom 06 at Scott Air Force Base and scheduled for Kabul (NATO TriCom) April 1, 2011. Stephen joined our University Hospital in nurse anesthesia in 2005. Our seven grandchildren (one girl) are treasured and are the reasons why!

In January 1987 we returned to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to provide Maternal-Fetal Medicine care, education of medical students, residents, and fellows and to develop nationally funded (NIH/NICHD) and research programs. Our faculty and subspecialty divisions have excelled at the described missions and that success has been recognized nationally and by our UAB and University of Alabama leadership with their commitment to develop a new UAB Women and Infants Center of Alabama (our referral population). The $200 million hospital opened in February 2010 and I have continued to smile as I walk the floors. (Always available to provide tours.) In August 2009 I stepped down from chairman and retired December 31, 2010 (two 23 year careers). I continue part-time to lecture, research, and to mentor fellows and faculty. In 2014, our family has been greatly honored by my lifetime colleagues with two distinctions. An endowed Hauth Lectureship was established within the Armed Forces District of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Alabama Section of ACOG selected me for induction into the “Alabama Legends” for contributions to obstetrics and gynecology. Suzzon and I attended the USAFA 45th in November 2009 which was a timely opportunity for “64” 13th squadron to reminisce and to toast our colleagues Bill Wittress and Bob Sansom. We will be at the 50th USAFA 64 in September 2014.

Col. USAF (Ret.)


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