Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Revenge on an Instructor Years Later

By Paul Belmont

When I arrived at Maxwell AFB, AL, for Air War College (Fall '82), on the first day they had assigned us individually to classrooms and placed our name tags at the table. Through fate I was seated immediately next to Bruce Fister, Classmate/Squadron mate. Naturally they opened this first session by going around the room and having each member of the Section share some info about ourselves with each other and with the LtCol who was the faculty member .... and also with a Visiting Military History Professor from BYU, Mr. Phillip Flammer, who was assigned to our Section.

When it was Bruce's turn he did his usual masterful job of "total understatement" about his exploits, particularly about his pivotal role in the Grenada campaign -- he allowed as how he had been involved with Grenada but neglected to mention that he was the Air Boss and a really big deal that made the Grenada operation a success. Bruce acknowledged he had attended USAFA.

Next it was to me --- and I did the "yada, yada, acquisition, F-15 SPO, etc" and I said I was Bruce's Classmate and Squadron mate at the Academy.......and then 'SLOWLY I TURNED.......' and said, "And You, Capt Flammer, gave me a B+ in the Military History Class I took with you and that B+ kept me from making the Dean's List that semester!!" His eyes got big, and he started to laugh (as I think the rest of the class did too). He allowed that I looked familiar and he was pretty sure it was the AFA connection. We later shared some stories from his time at USAFA. But, it was a fun moment for me -- after 20 years to be able to have a fun shot at him. He was a really good instructor at AFA. And he appreciated the humor of the situation.

I remember Flammer for two big reasons: one was the B+ course grade (I got an A+ on the paper and an A on the term exam -- but he lowered my overall grade because I did not participate in classroom discussions enough -- do you believe??). The second reason was because he was one of the three officers I sought out for counsel at the time I was deliberating whether to pursue a flying career versus a non-rated career. He was my example of rated person who was grounded/no longer on flying status. (I also consulted with a rated officer, still on flying status and a (one of the very few) non-rated officer assigned to the Academy. But, that is another story.)
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