Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

A Bicycle Built For Two

by Bill Jones

This story starts with our days at the academy. Larry Moore and I were best friends, classmates and we roomed together several times. We bought a two-seat bicycle (during our second class year, I think) and rode it around the academy grounds, to C-Springs a couple of times and to Denver once. We talked about riding it back east after graduation, but Larry met an exceptional girl and decided to get married after graduation. I bought his share of the bike and it went east in the back seat of my car.

I attended their wedding in St. Charles, Illinois that summer then headed to pilot training in Texas.

I didn't stay in touch with Larry, but several years later when I was assigned to Takhli, Thailand (F-105 pilot) I met Larry who was an electronic warfare officer (EWO) in the EB-66 (same base). We talked a lot (he had two young girls, Mary and Susan), played cards (hearts, probably) and generally caught up on happenings since graduation.

As you probably know, Larry was killed in early December 1967 when one of the EB-66's crashed at the base. He ejected, but barely separated from the seat--no parachute. Of the crew, three survived and three died. I found out about it when I went to his quarters and saw some of his squadron mates gathering his belongings.

His widow, Diane, knew my mother (she was also a widow) and they corresponded some. Diane even went to visit and met the rest of my family. The next summer when I was home on leave, I went to pay my respects. The two girls were precious. We wrote some letters back and forth until I eventually proposed by mail. I sent engagement and wedding rings to her parents and shortly after I returned from Southeast Asia, Diane and I were married in the same church and by the same priest that married Diane and Larry.

I was mostly concerned about her feelings about me flying because Larry was killed as a result of an aircraft crash. She was always supportive and said that I could get run over by a school bus. She even said the same thing after I ejected from an aircraft in 1977. I would have been concerned if she ever got a job driving a school bus

I adopted Mary and Susan and we had two sons (Steve and Brian). They have always been great siblings and Diane deserves ALL the credit for ensuring a safe and happy family.

Editor's Comment:

I asked Bill to publish this story, which he told me in an email, because it is a great tribute to Larry, a testimony to the kinds of bonds we formed as a class, and as one of many examples of how lucky many of us were in finding great life partners.

Al Larson
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