Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

A Ride from Denver

Jim Graham

Think: late on a Saturday night, Denver, October 1963. The Valley Highway, I-25 southbound side, Colorado Boulevard ramp. It’s sometime around 12:45 a.m., and as a firstie, I’m happy to be on a weekend pass, but tired. The opportunities in Denver and my energy had dried up at about the same time, and I just felt like getting back for a night’s sleep in my own bed in the Cadet Area. Hitchhiking was routine in those days, at least for me.

Fortunately, along comes a nice dark-colored old-style Jaguar coupe, probably an XK-140… My classmate driving it was kind enough to stop and offer me a ride, and we chatted for a while about this and that as we made our way on down the interstate. As we passed Castle Rock and got down toward Larkspur, on that long gentle curve probably still 20-25 miles away from the Academy Cadet Area, he asked me what time it was, and I told him it was 1:12 a.m. O-M-G !! The light dawned on him only then. He was on an ODP, had to sign in that night by 1:30, and we were NOT going to make it. He put his foot on the floor, and the speedometer needle climbed and eventually came all the way around toward the high end. No seat belts in that particular model. Ultimately the speedometer showed us doing 135 mph on the straightaway, as it was in the center of the dash and I could see it all too clearly. We flew down the north gate boulevard at probably 60-65, which was way too fast for the APs on duty there. But slow down he did not. All the way to the cadet area, pulling in under the A-B section of Vandenberg Hall. Time: 1:31 a.m. He rushed up the stairs to sign in only a few minutes late as I walked away leisurely to disappear into one hallway or another. It was then I looked back and saw the flashing lights pulling in behind that Jag.

I do not remember who the owner of that Jaguar was, but he treated me to a milestone experience that night, one that probably neither of us has forgotten in all these past 48 years. I would love to know who he was, but that night, his name was just not part of the story.
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