Many of my memories seem amazingly close to those of others who have posted. Of course, we lived in a small world back then — fairly protected and controlled, even if we did think we were now independent and on our own. But i do remember trying out for Allegheny Singers as a freshman — purely on a whim — had no real choir experience in high school. Made it and really enjoyed over 3 years of participation, tours, and overall music appreciation, especially the leadership of Dr. Luvaas. He seemed to direct as much with his eyes as with his hands. Pledging AXP and becoming part of an internal group within the college community. Perhaps unfortunately that made it easy to participate in what I enjoyed most — inter-fraternity sports. Studying took a bit of a back seat to the more fun pastimes –the sports and fishbowls at Teddy’s — even though i shared a study room with Bob Allen, Art Nagel, and Jack Gornall, all who ended up with high professional degrees. But I persevered — actually found my deeper interests in history and other subjects at the very end of senior year and well after establishing Chemistry/pre-med as my official focus. Oh, well. And as others have cited, i very vividly remember standing in formation in the gym during ROTC, having the Major run in, call the group to attention, and announce Kennedy’s assassination, then saying “Now you know why you are wearing those uniforms.” Interesting that I did not pursue ROTC beyond the mandatory initial years, as I would end up in the Air Force for a full career later. All in all, a good four years. Formative and fun.
Education after Allegheny
One should never stop learning. Barely more than a year after graduation, I undertook a completely different learning experience — USAF pilot training. Remember that was the Vietnam era, and I had told my fraternity brothers who completed ROTC and took Commissions that the times were just too dangerous and unpredictable. So here I was following closely in their footsteps without the ROTC Commission. Del Rio, TX was no garden spot, but the training was thrilling. Followed 1970 graduation with training in the C-130 cargo aircraft, and later in the Boeing 737. And I still fly today in my 1962 Beechcraft Bonanza, so something definitely stuck.. Along the way in the AF, I picked up a Masters in Industrial Management from the Univ. of Arkansas and later attended the Air War College. Learning never ends, but that was the extent of the formal part.
Met a wonderful girl, Linda Rademacher, while I was at flight school. Met in October, married one day after graduation in March. She was an “Air Force brat” — grown up and moved all over the place with the Air Force. And we continued that tradition for her — moving everywhere and often. Along the way we had two daughters, Kristine and Karee. Just celebrated 47 great years and going strong.
Where we’ve lived
A lot of different places. Erie, PA for a year before Del Rio, TX for pilot training, then on to Little Rock AFB for a couple years before moving to Taichung, Taiwan. Took the family — Linda and Kristi — and enjoyed the Chinese, living on the economy when not flying in Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia. Back to Little Rock in 1974, then made short stops in San Antonio, TX and Belleville, IL before moving to Springfield VA and serving at the Pentagon for three years. Checked off Abilene, TX, then Montgomery AL and one year — seemed like eternity — in Wrightstown NJ (McGuire AFB) before several years at Warner Robins, GA. Finished the AF at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton OH. Four years and the longest we lived anywhere until retiring and moving to Nashville, TN. Have now been here 22 years.
With my Chemistry degree in hand I landed with Hammermill Paper Company’s research department in Erie, PA. Actually worked a pollution prevention project with Hammermill and the City of Erie. Interesting. But I got wanderlust, so joined the Air Force to see the world. That started in Texas and ended in Ohio. Along the way I was a student pilot, then a Tactical Airlift cargo pilot, instructor, and flight examiner. Flew in Europe and inside the Arctic Circle. Later in and out of a large number of steel, aluminum plank, and dirt runways in Vietnam. Operated out of Thailand, and throughout the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and even into Hanoi. Got involved in staff personnel management planning and assignments;. Participated with the Air National Guard staff at the Pentagon, overseeing Tactical Airlift planning and budgeting. Had the great privilege of Commanding the 774 Tactical Airlift Squadron at Dyess AFB in Abilene. TX before attending the Air War College and then serving as the Deputy Base Commander in New Jersey. Really gained a lot of very valuable experience serving as the C-130 System Program Manager at Robins AFB in Georgia. In that position, I was responsible for long range planning for the sustainment, modernization, and overall program oversight for all C-130 aircraft employed across the USAF as well as advisory services to other nations flying the C-130. I finished my AF career with over four years service as the Base Commander, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton OH. Essentially served as the Mayor and City Manager, providing all base operating support services to what was then the most populous base in the AF with more than 25,000 military, DOD civilian, and dependents.
Was recruited by Waste Management, Inc. to be the Division President of Waste Management of Tennessee/Nashville, providing solid waste collection, disposal and recycling to the Middle TN area. Then became the Director of Transportation and Logistics construction project manager for Tractor Supply Company, the largest retail chain of stores supporting small farmers, ranchers, hobby farmers and others who live the outdoor lifestyle. Was project manager for the building of over 2 million square feet of distribution center space from Lincoln, NE to Hagerstown MD and in between as the company went through explosive growth. Decided to retire in 2007, but failed retirement and was recruited to serve the State of Tennessee as Director of Aeronautics, with responsibilities for the State’s administrative support airplanes and pilots and a staff administering grant funding for airport maintenance, safety, modernization and construction — 79 airports throughout the State. Will complete over 5 years in that role in June — may get retirement right this time.
Our children / grandchildren
Kristine Barker, born in 1971. Auburn University graduate, interior design architect. Lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, Dennis (US Navy, retired) and their two sons, Nicholas (Junior at Christopher Newport University) and Will (high school sophomore).
Karee Nasser, born in 1974. Auburn University graduate, Masters from Middle Tennessee State University, EDD from Tennessee State University. Special Education Professor at McKendree University in IL. Lives in O’Fallon IL with her husband Mitch.
As noted above, I have retired a couple times, and will do so again in another month. In previous retirements I worked hard at improving the golf game — got down to a 2 handicap at one point. But going back to work hurt that, so will focus once again at improving. Age has a way of influencing that, I know, but I’ll give it a good shot. Linda and I plan to travel — a big cruise throughout Southeast Asia and China is upcoming — and I plan to travel more within the US in our airplane. Other than that, no huge plans at the moment.
Current activities / hobbies
Golf, yard work, flying, reading — nothing too earth shattering, but enough to keep busy.
My contact Info
Address: 5013 Native Pony Trail, College Grove, TN 37046