Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Todd's History

Todd_sm.jpg In the 1860s, just off the boat from Norway, my 17-year old great grandfather, Anders, joined the Union army, got wounded and captured, spent the rest of the War in a confederate POW camp – and then lived a long and prosperous life as a farmer in Wisconsin. In the 1890s my grandfather, Frank, served as an officer in the Spanish American War -- then spent decades chasing the Klondike gold rush in Alaska. In the 1940s my father, George, was a naval officer in the bloody battles for Saipan and Okinawa -- then spent decades building little tract homes in Southern California. I myself spent the 1960s in the Academy and SAC -- then made careers in places where the American military has little presence: New York's Sin City and the former Evil Empire. There is a pattern here. Through the generations my family has obviously been drawn to military service; not, however, as life-long warriors, but as short term ‘citizen soldiers.' This has not been intentional. To those of you who have spent long careers in cockpits, alert shacks and command bunkers, please accept the congratulations, thanks and envy of those of us who have also served but have only stood in wait.

I was born in 1941 and raised in a Southern California before bikinis, freeways and surfboards. Being short, small and slow, it was through a series of minor deceptions (I always lied about my weight) that I received a football scholarship to the University of Colorado and then -- after a lucky game against the Academy freshmen team a year later -- I received an appointment to the Academy (Story-1). At the Academy I was proud to be one of the founders of the new 20th Cadet Squadron and its ancient Troll traditions; a regular on the Commandant's List; Captain of the Football team and set designer for the cadet play, and my biggest kick: being named – as a 173-pound guard – to the all-opponent team at the University of Nebraska.

After graduation (1964), I completed pilot training at Craig AFB in the tiny backwater town of Selma, Alabama, which, in 1965 was the site of an historic racial confrontation called ‘Bloody Sunday,' which triggered racial violence throughout out the country, and in which my bride Sherry, classmate Brett Dula and I were the only Whites fleeing that day's infamous KKK attack-dogs and axe-handles (Story-2).

Two years later – following weapons, survival and B-52 training -- I was flying B-52s on a combat crew stationed at Travis AFB. There I was suddenly grounded for medical reasons (Story-3). As a civilian again, I returned my growing family back to Southern California where I became a Project Engineer on the Apollo Project, then a manufacturing plant manager, then a consultant in one of the new breed of international accounting and consulting firms (KPMG).

dadkids_edited_med.jpg In 1971 the laws that the Selma violence helped create were about to be enforced, I was able to assist some large institutions and the word spread. In 1973 I formed my own firm, Jagerson Associates, and soon moved both family and firm to New York City, where I spent the 1970s and 1980s building a consulting client base of over half the Fortune 500 companies and most large public institutions.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Empire began to collapse, and I was asked to join a small group to assess the growing chaos. The atmosphere was electric, I was asked to help, and for reasons my children still debate, I answered, “yes.” What I didn't know was how much of a corrupted financial nightmare the Soviet system had become, and that it would take a dozen years to do my part. From 1989-92, I created the Budapest-based Center for Private Enterprise Development (CEPD), at the time the largest such US effort in Eastern Europe. From 1992-95, I built the Economic Literacy Project, Ltd. (Budapest, Kiev and NYC) to take free market systems into post-Soviet venues. In 1995-96, I led the effort to privatize the economy of Kazakhstan. And from 1996-2001, I led international teams to help rebuild disaster, plague and war-demolished Armenia and Georgia.

In 2001 I arrived back in New York City with a charming new Commie wife -- just in time to be an eye witness to 9/11, and to begin writing a book about my adventures in the Evil Empire. Over the decades I have become a frequent speaker before business, public and international audiences, including, on one odd occasion, in the late 1970s, to members of the British House of Lords. I have spent much of the last 30 years creating and producing proprietary business education and training materials in the US and abroad.

On a personal level, I am the proud father of four and grandfather to nine beautiful cherubs, with a quite odd combination of names that I love to bore people with, oldest to youngest: Adelaide, Clementine, Jasper, Tibor, Eva, Oma, Ayla, Taj and Huck.

My personal interests include ancient history (Roman), pen and ink portraiture work, and portrait sculpture taken to bronze on several occasions. One of my greatest regrets is having been out of the military orbit for so long I have fallen out of touch with many friends and brothers. Hopefully, 2014, our 50th reunion, will be a grand gathering.
[ How I Got In ]
[ Blood-Lust Kamikazes ]
[ Obligatory B-52 Tale ]
[ Why I Got Out ]
[ Evil Empire--Hungary ]
[ Evil Empire--Kazakhstan ]
[ Additional Photos ]
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