Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Dan 's History

CadetDanSm.jpg Dan Kearns attended the United States Air Force Academy through a competitive appointment from US Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania. Dan earned distinction at his high school - Nether Providence High School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles southeast of Philadelphia - as Student Body President, captain of a league-winning championship football team, and honors student.

Dan graduated high school in June 1960 and went directly to the USAF Academy to be a part of the Class of 1964 with approximately 772 fourth class cadets on entrance – to be later reduced to about 499 cadets receiving final degrees at graduation.

At the Air Force Academy Dan was very active in sports – coaching the 1964 19th Squadron rugby team to a wing championship in very tough competition with other squadron rugby teams. The competition was intense as many of these teams had intercollegiate level football players playing intramural rugby.

One key contributor to that championship was classmate Frank Bartlett – Outstanding Rugby Scrum Halfback and Top League Rugby Scorer. Frank was Dan’s roommate while both were attending school. Frank was a very accomplished athlete, and among other honors he was chosen unanimously from all voting sources as All State High School Football Halfback in New Hampshire for 1960.

Dan was also active on the gymnastics team / parallel bars, and the Intercollegiate Cheering Team.

Upon graduation from the USAF Academy in June 1964, Dan and best friend - classmate Ron Bliss went to Europe before signing onto their first post-graduation assignments. Ron and Dan were dedicated to get to Europe and have the graduation present they both figured they deserved. Ron wanted to revisit German friends he had made 2 years before in 1962. Dan and Ron both wanted to spend time after graduation and see Europe.

Military space available from the US to Europe took Dan and Ron on separate paths – starting and splitting at McGuire AFB then travelling through England and France. Dan and Ron reunited in Munich, bought motor bikes, and were off to see the country and meet old friends. Dan and Ron quickly ran out of money, got part time jobs at the Munich airport, and paid close attention to learn the German brand of fun. Ron left Europe in early August for pilot training at Reese AFB in Texas, and eventually got his T-38 which morphed later of course into an F-105.

Dan stayed a couple of weeks longer to climb the Dreitorspitze - one of the highest Alpine three-peak combinations on the southern German border. When Dan climbed this route there were only rock handholds. During Dan’s climb he met a very friendly German climber from Stuttgart - who graciously helped Dan and mentioned "You are in excellent shape but have no climbing experience, follow me." Dan was fortunate to have met this fellow, and they both returned safely to watch other climbers take on the challenge. Since 1964, the climb has been made more safe with cables and graded trails.

In the Fall of 1964 Dan went to NYU for meteorology undergraduate training.

Dan wrote Ron Bliss in Thailand several times and was shocked to get a summary courts martial answer back in one response, only to discover - that's how POW communications are identified. Over time, as is now well known, Ron was an inspiration to fellow pilots and a proven leader in POW camp. Ron returned to Charlene, his loving wife, and family after 6 years.

After NYU, Dan was stationed at Larson AFB, a Strategic Air Command Base in Moses Lake, Washington for one year providing meteorological services for SAC crews. After Larson closed, Dan was assigned to Scott AFB for base weather station work and later to the Military Airlift Command (MAC) Command Post for daily international weather briefings for MAC command and operations personnel.

After these assignments, Dan resigned his commission and accepted a position as a sales engineer for IBM in the Philadelphia Process Office.

After 2 years, Dan returned to the Pacific Northwest he had discovered in previous trips, and worked for Hewlett-Packard as Regional Sales and Marketing Manager in their Computer Systems Division, and also helped several small software and hardware systems integrators. Dan acclimated well to the corporate environment, during the years of computer systems development / application implementation. He never finished lower than 180% of annual quota per year in new business development and generation, with a few years over 300%.

While Dan lived in the Northwest, he successfully invested in real estate and timber, and he developed his business networks and skill sets for commercial real estate and agriculture.

In 2011, Dan was based in Oregon and worked out of his own independent consulting firm with several high tech biomedical and software firms performing market research, sales and market planning, and sales training.

Dan has a daughter, Melissa, who graduated from the Portland Art Institute with a Bachelors Degree in Design Research.

Dan Kearns, March 21, 2011
PO Box 1348
Estacada, OR 97023
503 630 3341
[ Gone But Not Forgotten ]
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