Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Frank's History

Not much to tell. I am a pretty average guy, and have lived a pretty average life, with none of the achievements or recognition of our smarter and more gifted classmates. I first came to the Academy with the Class of '63, got to Colorado Springs the night before entering to get an early start on the first day, and had an accident which destroyed an eardrum and disqualified me before ever starting. The Air Force checked me at the AFA dispensary, said 'Sorry about that', and I hitchhiked back to New York with the clothes on my back and $20 in my pocket.

Spent the next year in Real College while growing a new eardrum, and got another appointment (from a different state) with the Class of '64. Made it through the door on the second try, and the four years were pretty much like everyone else's.

I was not an outstanding athlete like Terry, Parke, Brett or Al, but did manage to letter in three sports as a Doolie, ran in the NCAA championships (cross country) as a Third Classman, competed on the Academy Modern Pentathlon team for two years, and boxed Wing Open first class year (lost in finals).

Definitely not a genius like a Bob Sansom or Bob Lodge, but stayed on Dean's List four years getting two majors and writing a thesis in metallurgy. (Academics not really my thing).

Went to Phoenix (Williams AFB) for pilot training, and loved Arizona and every minute of T-37 and T-38 time (except an engine fire on my T-38 cross country check flight. We put it down in El Paso, Texas (Biggs AFB), and I rode back to Phoenix on a Greyhound bus in my flying suit. Whoopee!)

Like many guys not named Diefenbach, McArtor, or Radusch (a brilliant German flyer in my UPT class) my expectations of being the world's greatest fighter pilot met the reality of being a really average student pilot. Got a C-124 transport slot at McChord, Washington, and headed from the desert to the great northwest, which I also loved.

Went to Oklahoma for a couple of weeks for Fat Bird School (to learn about propellers), and while there was told to stop by the School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio on the way back to McChord for a comprehensive physical. After a week of every medical and psycological test known to man was told that I was very fit and emotionally average (?), but had a funny little brain wave pattern for which I was permanently grounded with no chance for appeal. (Sorry about that, duex.) The remaining drive back to Washington was pretty sober.

After getting a ground pounding AFSC at McChord and the minimum experience required for a combat assignment, I got orders for Viet Nam, starting at Nha Trang. That was followed by a series of assignments doing various air stuff in Ban Me Thout, Dalat City, Cam Ranh Bay, Saigon, and a final four months with at Marine Corp Bases at Dong Ha and Khe Sanh.

Left a couple of weeks before Tet, and went from Southeast Asia to a year on the coast of Italy (Livorno), which I recommend to anyone trying to forget jungles and wars. Awesome people, awesome culture, awesome life!

Followed that with a year in Germany (Sembach) where I finished my Air force commitment (while skiing in Switzerland and chasing the Formula 1 circuit all over Europe). From Germany, accepted Australia's offer to migrate Down Under and help them populate their continent (they had a program for that then, and paid my way!).

Spent five wonderful years travelling the Oz, got married, started a family, and tried to learn something about work in the civilian world. At that point decided it was time to grow up, so found a nice place to settle and raise a family (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and spent the next 24 years behind a white picket fence raising four amazing kids (all much smarter than their dad), paying the bills, and living the American Dream.

When the last one finished college in '99, Sheryl and I decided it was time to go out and play again, so we quit our jobs, rented our house, and trekked the Andes for 2 years from Equador to Tierra del Fuego with back packs and sleeping bags. Probably not as comfortable as Milt Rutter doing it in a van, but I recommend it for the fresh air, unmatched views, and amazing amount of quiet time with your wife. When you don't see another human being for weeks at a time, you tend to do a lot of sharing, and the memories are sublime. (Obviously really important to have the right wife; I have the best ever).

Had so much fun we came home, washed our sox, and went to Europe for two more years (in a car this time, Milt), with a year in Italy, a summer in London, and various travels throughout the rest of the Continent for the remainder. We finally returned home older(!), wiser(?), and definitely happy, and have spent the years since limiting our travels to 3 to 4 month adventures (Spain, China, Eastern Europe), visiting grandkids around the country, and having more fun than two old goats should probably be allowed.

Looking forward to another 20 years of the same fun and frolic to see if we can improve on what has come before, so if any '64 types are planning a trip through Albuquerque in the future, we offer a guest room and a welcome, and would love a chance to sit by the pool and share stories over a glass of wine. We'll keep the light on for you!

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