Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Harvey's History

harvey1.jpg I had to report to the Air Force Academy even before my high school graduation ceremony. The flight to Denver, Colorado from Hartford, Connecticut was my first time in an airplane. More frightening was the fact that I had to switch planes in Denver for the flight to Colorado Springs and that this tiny plane encountered such turbulence that everyone got sick including the stewardesses who were strapped in the entire flight. This was my first inkling that I might have made a big mistake accepting my appointment to the new Air Force Academy from Congressman Daddario. My summer roommate was John Sowers who thought my name was Harry. We still laugh over the fact that it took us about three weeks before we had a private moment so I could tell him my name was Harvey not Harry.

My first six months of being a fourth classmen were a blur. I felt very fortunate to be assigned to the 19th squadron and to have Jim Sears as a roommate except for the fact that I was constantly harassed by a certain upperclassmen who couldn't tell Jim and me apart. I therefore had to serve both my and Jim's punishments while Jim was at football practice. This upperclassmen needed religious sensitivity training as he had never met anyone Jewish before and even tried to have me ousted from the Academy on an honor violation because I had told him I had never eaten ham. That upperclassman flunked out that first December, making the rest of my first year at the academy bearable.

19th squadron had an awesome freshman basketball team which challenged a combined team of all three upper classes to a game and won despite the upper class team having a player that was on the varsity Academy team. Basketball had been a big part of my life in High School as I was a starter on a team that went to our states basketball championship tournament and it was a big life disappointment to not make the junior varsity team at the academy. It was a rude awakening to how the competition level at the Academy had put me into a whole new level of excellence and an appreciation of how special the class of 1964 really was. Academics were always a struggle for me but I managed to end up square in the middle of the class academically despite having taken a turn out exam in electrical engineering and in astronautics.

Marching in President Kennedy's funeral and passing by his casket in the rotunda was another awakening moment that made me feel that service to country was a special calling and that maybe I had made the correct choice after all. When my father passed away my senior year at the Academy the support from classmates and the Academy was inspiring and made that special bond even more special. For example, I am very proud that I served as best man at both Keith Luchtel's and Jim Sears' weddings and each year I remind them of the fact of what a great job I did.

Upon graduation I went directly to Navigator Training at James Connally AFB, in Waco, Texas. During that year of training I had the distinct pleasure of rooming with classmates Fred Tedesco and Matt Fiertag during different periods of that training. I graduated high enough in my class to get my first choice of C-130's at Sewart AFB, Tenn.

I got to fly missions with classmates Keith Luchtel and Joe Redden which was a joy. I remember in December 1965 during a deployment to Clark AB Philippines, I bumped into classmate Max Manning in Saigon and both of us discussed that we were probably the first 1964 guys to make it to Vietnam because navigator training and helicopter training were shorter than pilot training and weapon system check out that most of our classmates were going through. The greatest part of my Sewart AFB assignment is that I met my wonderful wife Sheila there and as of 2011 we have been married forty three years with three very successful daughters, two son-in-laws and two grandsons of which we are very proud.

During my first engineering career broadening assignment at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, I and several other career broadening missile assigned pilots and navigators were lucky enough to survive a T-29 airplane crash. We were all trying to get our old system flying pay hours. The accident board report helped lead to the career flight pay accrual system still in effect today.

My most rewarding assignment was as Commander of the 47th Civil Engineering Squadron at Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, Texas. I worked for two outstanding Colonels, Anthony J Farrington, Base Commander and Col Chris Divich, Wing commander who both went on to become General officers. They provided me with critical career advice that helped me get selected to Colonel below the zone. During my tenure as Civil Engineering Commander the unit was selected as the top Civil Engineering unit in Air Training command for 1980.

Another career milestone was being selected as the first navigator to become Chief of a Group Aircrew Standardization function. This happened when the 316th Tactical Airlift Group was formed in the Pacific while I was stationed in C-130's at Yokota AFB, Japan. My other flying assignments were C-130's at Little Rock and C-130 gunships at Ubon, Thailand.

My other engineering assignments were at the Combined Forces Command Headquarters in Seoul, Korea, PACAF Headquarters, in Hawaii and Systems Command Headquarters at Andrews AFB, Md. I should also add that although I had struggled academically at the Academy, the Air Force still saw fit to send me to get two Masters Degrees, one at the University of Alabama and one while attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Since retiring from the Air Force I have worked and continue to work during tax season at H & R Block. I also worked for ten years and retired from Wachovia Bank, now Wells Fargo Bank. My wife Sheila and I currently enjoy our mostly retired life in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Go Big Blue!

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