Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

The Fifth

by Mitch Cobeaga

Second Class year—a bit more freedom, but no transportation. What a dilemma!! Easily solved. 5 Trolls (Ford Keating, Ray Blunt, Bob “Rolo” Levins, Herb Bevelheimer, and “Charlie Bumaga” Cobeaga) put together a little cash and bought a late ‘50’s Mercury “Woody” station wagon. Then, what to do with it? We sold it to Col. George Bradley, an old family friend assigned to ADC Headquarters in the Springs. We simply sold the aptly named “Fifth” to Col Brad, and he promptly registered it at Ent, picking up a Colonel’s sticker for the front bumper. Now, this gave us a real advantage. While we normally left the Fifth at Brad’s house, we were often more than a little short on time on Saturday nights. No problem, we just parked it in the VIP parking area in front of Arnold Hall where it enjoyed immunity by virtue of the 0-6 sticker on the bumper. And, that lot was a lot closer to 20th Squadron than the other lots down low. What a deal!

Now, the AOC’s were starting to get suspicious of our group (thus taking the heat off other owners, including Evan Joseph), and especially Capt. “Teed” Jensen. In fact, I think he wanted to nail us prior to our becoming Firsties. Fortunately, my Dad came in from Okinawa for our Ring Dining In to present the 20th Trolls with their rings. Thus, we bought a bunch of paint (and beer) and painted the old lady up in the class colors and motto and enlisted Bish White from 65 (he had elected to take his talents elsewhere) as our driver. On went the mess dress uniforms, a few more beers were consumed, and off we went to Mitchell Hall. We went up the ramp, down the terrazzo, and made a few laps around Mitch’s, honking and yelling at all the guys heading for the affair. Now came the OD’s delight—this young Captain came running up shouting, “You man, halt!!” The Fifth ground to a halt, and our driver, Col. Cobeaga, stepped out, in full mess dress with eagles, medals, farts and darts, and whatever. He thanked the Captain for his assistance, advised him that we had a driver, and then turned the keys over to Bish White, asking him to park the car in an appropriate place. The group then proceeded into the dining.

Now, this kind of took the blush off the rose for Capt. Teed, but it only got worse. My Dad was at the head of the table, flanked by Capt. Jensen and Capt. Naber, the head AOC. When the conversation turned to the elephant in the living room, my Dad pointed out that the AOC’s had done a wonderful job instilling spirit and ingenuity into their charges, and that our little adventure with the car is the essence of what the Air Force was looking for in young officers. He then proposed a toast to Capts. Naber and Jensen, and they readily agreed that they joined in with their endorsement of our fine efforts, thus effectively sealing off any potential action against us. Jerry Naber had a real twinkle in his eye; Teed did not.

But, alas, the Fifth was sagging everywhere and the paint job made her probable cause for any police officer who might have spotted her on the highway. Our original plan was to shove her over a cliff, but good sense prevailed (I think it was Keating) and we managed to sell her for enough to cover one good dinner at Nemeth’s.
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