Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Personal history of Larry Martin, '64

I arrived at USAFA as a presidential appointment in June, 1960, having been beaten out of the local appointment by Gary Olin, an outstanding future graduate, and high school classmate in San Bernardino, CA.

Coming from a military family, and having already decided on a military career, my main task was to survive the four years at USAFA so I could get on with a career of defending the country, and I did not view my four years as a great time. Except for German, academics were not a problem. In my mind I was just trying to survive, and after being restricted to campus for ridiculous reasons for most of our senior year, I did not leave with a good attitude. I have been back only twice to see my cousin '75, and his son '97 graduate.

Militarily, I did not make a great effort to excel, but somehow I was on the Comm's list eight times so I must have impressed someone. My most enjoyable assignment in my four years was excorting the class of '66 around the US for their domestic tour. I had no problems with them and enjoyed it.

My first roommate was Francis Zavacki, an exceptional man, who taught me a bunch before we graduated, and I was fortunate to have Ken Anderson, Dave Risch and Dick Krobusek as roommates.

After flight training at Reese and finishing precisely in the middle of the class, I was rewarded with a back seat in the RF-4C. Training at Shaw AFB, SC, with classmates Mike Pavich, Leroy Stutz, Bob Dempsey, John Osborne and Bob Clark eventually sent us to Udorn in Thailand for adventures in North Vietnam. I jumped in with both feet, studied enemy defenses and terrain radar returns, and was convinced that, using radar, I could put my RF-4 anywhere my AC wanted it at night, and I did many times.

Unfortunately, I was shot down in the daytime on counter #82, over the Red River valley with a new pilot, and the victim of a golden beebee. After being picked up by Jolly Green pilot Max James in NVN, an event I consider involving a little Divine intervention, and receiving minor injuries in the ejection, I was removed from the flying crew list and sent home to Mountain Home AFB and the 22nd TAC Recce Squadron, where I upgraded to the front seat.

After flying in the front for three years and upgrading to IP and squadron test pilot, I grabbed an assignment at TAC HQ in Recce Requirements, where I had the opportunity to brief Gen Momyer and go to the Pentagon a few times. I ended up doing a LTC's job they couldn't fill.

However, after three years I was totally discouraged, had a moment of personal weakness and resigned, always looking for something better. There are times in our life where we know we screwed up and this was a big one for me. Twice I was offered an opportunity by USAFA to go to grad school in EE and Economics, eventually working with cadets, and turned them down. I later earned my masters in Economics with no assured job.

I worked with Ross Perot's brokerage efforts in the middle of the '74-'76 recession, Rediffusion Simulation for commercial airlines at many overseas installations, and with General Dynamics in Fort Worth, trying to convince them with turning the F-16 into a recce bird. They didn't listen to me.

I eventually developed Eaglewing Research, a private corp focussing on gold investments, but my timing was once again lousy and it is dormant.

I am currently in Roswell, NM, where I was family caretaker for my elderly WWII veteran dad for several years until his passing last year. Personally, I could not have done anything better for the last few years, as we talked about his ten hour B-17 missions to Berlin and my ten minute in and out missions in NVN. I am now updating his many rentals to sell for the family, and can supervise fixing almost anything in any house.

Over the past dozen years, I have launched a serious endeavor, having finished three screenplays for movies, and working on seven others. If anyone is interested in this field, please let me know. Bring financing. There is still no movie out of the Vietnam era worth a damn.

The most rewarding aspects of the Academy to me was the friendships and acquaintances of the exceptional men who I was fortunate to know. I am personally humbled every time I see the results of graduates in our class.
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