Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

John's History


Sabres 15-Migs 2.It was 1953. I was 13 and became enamored with fighters and dogfights. The daily newspapers kept me up-to-date with the "box score". I decided I wanted to become a fighter pilot.

Then, in 1954, the President (DDE)signed the law to authorize USAFA. I saw my path!

I aced all the math and science courses my little country school offered. I took the SAT's for entry to USAFA with the Class of '62. However, when the Proctors asked if I wanted to take the SAT to include "higher math", I erred in selecting that... . Who knew that dv/dt did not equal v/t? (You don't know what you don't know.) I had never heard of calculus!

Having missed my chance to become an "RTB", I did score high enough the following year to gain entry in 1959 with the Class of '63. But it was not to be: I fought the Dean all Doolie year, but in the second Semester of my 3rd class year, my mother was killed in an auto accident in Feb 1961. My parents had come out to the Springs over Christmas 1959.(Back then, of course, 4th Classmen stayed at the Academy). They met my Officer Sponsor and then stayed in touch with them. In Feb 1961, my father called my Sponsor to break the news to me of my mother's death. After that, my grades tanked and I was sent home, pending a Review Board.

That summer, I received a telegram that said "due to circumstances, you will be re-admitted to USAFA as a member of the Class of 1964", repeating my 3rd Class year. In the Fall of 1963, my Sponsor was responsible for introducing me to a beautiful young lady whom I married in July 1964.

Jane was my soul-mate She became my “hero”, the “wind beneath my wings”; she endured **7-8 six month (+) TDY's, raised two children (one of whom she bore while I was TDY!) by herself...without complaint...and always proud to be my Bride! She redefined “brave." I lost her six weeks short of our 49th Anniversary.

Following graduation, I qualified for UPT and went to Del Rio, where I subsequently washed out, pre-solo.So much for becoming a fighter pilot!

I accepted an assignment to UNT, then NBT, finally joining my first line unit, the 28thBMW/77th BS at Ellsworth. The unit flew B-52D's and was deployed to SEA when I arrived at Ellsworth in Oct 1966.

Over the next six years and **7-8 ArcLight/Linebacker tours, I flew 248 combat missions. In 1969 on the occasion of our 5th Class Reunion, I took the time to visit the Nav Dep't. At that time, I was the Navigator on the crew of the Chief, Stan/Eval for the 28th. They remembered me as a near wash-out (because of my problems with Aero, Astro, EE, etc, I spent my study time on those courses, neglecting my Nav course).They were astounded with how successful I had become!

In 1972 I volunteered for an accompanied tour to 8th AF in Guam.They needed experienced people to set up a training unit for the G model crews soon to arrive.I became the youngest Division Chief in any numbered AF. I soon was named the main briefing officer for the 8th AF/CC, Lt Gen Gerald Johnson. When Pres Nixon announced he would be stopping at Andersen en route to China, Gen Johnson directed me to develop and be prepared to deliver a Presidential briefing on ArcLight. I had 72 hours notice! I completed the task but, at the last minute, the President departed Guam early and the briefing was scrubbed.

I was nearing the end of my controlled tour and had secured an extension, when I received a "by name" assignment to First Combat Evaluation Group (CEG) at Barksdale. Gen Johnson's Chief of Staff (a Navigator) urged me to take the assignment as a "career building" move. Within a few months, the AF adopted the Controlled OER system. I found myself in direct competition with the XO for the CC/CEG. Thus, was born the myth (which ranks right up there with "of course I'll respect you in the morning... !") that you can get promoted with a "3".

After two years and two passovers, the COS from Guam had moved to HQ SAC as an Exec in the Command Section. Aware of my situation, I got orders to work in the Command Section, HQ SAC, where I served a 3 year tour. I took another passover shortly after reporting. I decided to resign my Commission.

Minutes after signing my resignation paperwork, I had a note on my desk upon returning from Personnel: "the Vice CINC wants to see you". Bottom line: In return for pulling my papers, he would give me my choice of any maintenance squadron in SAC. I thought long and hard about it (about 1.2 giga-seconds!!) and pulled my papers! Before assuming my command, I was promoted; funny how that happened... !

I served as CC/96 AMS/96 BMW at Dyess. After 2 years, because I was still a Bomb Nav guy, a critical AFSC, I was tabbed to return to a line B-52 crew within the 96th BS as a Flight Commander.

I had to requalify in the D model, requiring my return to CCTS, then qualify in the new Digital Bomb Nav System being installed in a few of our D's. After qualifying in that system, the AF stationed a few B-52G's at Dyess, requiring qualification in THAT a/c as well, because they never knew which a/c we'd be assigned when pulling Alert, requiring multiple currency all 3 a/c. But the training was not finished.

A few months after my Stan/Eval check in the G model, I ascended the ladder to become the top rated Bombardier in the Squadron. Then, AF announced that Dyess would become the first B-1 base in the AF. That was the last straw:I decided to retire. My last move came about when the Wing Commander (a '72 grad who was to become a 4-star) flew with me and later marveled at what I was doing on an aircrew... he needed a Chief of Social Actions...a job Nobody wanted! I served in that capacity for about 10 months before I ultimately retired.


Photos



WEDDING.JPG

Jane and I on Our Wedding Day


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Me Hitting the Books 2nd Class Year


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Myself and Jerry Schlegel In Austria

Al Larson took the photo. The three of us bicycled into Austria during our stop in the Swiss Alps on the European Field Trip


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