Rambling travelogs from a world traveler

Thursday, December 6, 2012


     "The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation  between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its  fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards."  ~ Sir William Francis Butler

Gentle Readers and Loved Ones, 

This blog has - for the most part - been a place where I write about the things I see while doing my job.  I try for a lighthearted and flippant attitude, occasionally succeeding.  Last week, Ann and I traveled to Colorado Springs to attend my 35th year Air Force Academy Reunion.  We did some things that have a have a 'Gaddaboutish' nature to them and I may well write about them in a few days.  But this reunion was different and I want to share it with you.

Normally, reunions - especially military academy reunions where the vast majority of us have completed our military careers and either started new ones or are retired - are friendly and nostalgic affairs.  This one was different. We usually have limited contact with the individual cadets, but this time we got to spend time with them and I really enjoyed it.

The USAFA Cadet Wing is divided into four Groups and each Group into ten Cadet Squadrons.  A cadet spends the fourth class year in one squadron and then is moved into another squadron for the three remaining upper class years.  I suppose in many ways a squadron is like a fraternity or sorority - but it is also very different. You grow close to your fellows in the squadron in the long years that the institution molds and changes you.  I spent my upper class years in CS-25 Redeyes and remain close to many of my classmates. 

Saturday mornings at USAFA are often reserved for the cadets to receive military training.  This can be anything thing from briefings to inspections and testing.  This time CS-25 invited us to come visit with the cadets in the squadron area and then they took us to lunch – the idea being for us to share some of the ‘experience and wisdom’ we supposedly have gained from surviving to the point where we are able to attend a 35 year reunion.  It was my privilege to talk with the youngsters who will start pilot training next year.  They were full of questions and I tried to answer them.  But I found myself often asking questions of them in return.  The Institution has changed in detail but I think not in the main from the academy I graduated from.  I was warmed and impressed with the intelligence, enthusiasm and good sense of the young people I met.  It was about the best time I’ve had over a meal in a long time. 

I’ve saved what I think is the best for last here.  I had two long term roommates at the ‘Zoo’.  I choose not to post names on the blog anymore because of its’ public and ‘googleable’ nature.  Those who know me know who my roomies were.  They are impressive, intelligent and accomplished individuals and it is my privilege to be their friend.

The daughter of one is a 'Firsty' and will graduate next summer.  She hopes to go to pilot training and was one of the cadets I spent the most time with. She is intelligent and my observation was that she is a leader in the squadron and comfortable with accepting the responsibility of command. 

The mission of the Air Force Academy is to produce young officers who know how to be followers when obedience is required and know how to lead when leadership is required.  Even more importantly, they have the foundation of education and training to accept increasing responsibility in the defense of our nation as they progress through life. While this concept does not apply so well in my humble case, this weekend I think I saw a generation of young people that have taken this ethos to heart and immersed themselves in it.   

Gentle Readers, I think you should be very proud of the young folks I saw.

On that note, I remain,

Dad / Geoff

 "However much you may wish for peace, never forget military skill if
you do not wish to suffer the same fate as the Byzantine Monarchy."Peter The Great

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