It's great when a plan comes together. Even when the plan unfolds on its own from a "guiding hand" for people committed to doing some good. So It happened that Russ McKnight and his wife Janie were on the way for Russ to run in the Hood to Coast Relay and on the way stopped to visit their friends Bunnie and Paul in St. Louis. Russ met Paul through the 95th Bomb Group Memorial Foundation.
what on this way to the Hood to Coast Relay, So thanks to "Ollie" — who's Ollie? — Russ McKnight and his wife Janie learned through friends Bunny and Paul in the 95th Bomb Group Memorial Foundation that Paul’s dad was a POW during World War II. Paul had accordingly undertaken to establish a POW-MIA museum now under development in Jefferson Barracks Park just south of St. Louis.
Jefferson Barracks was established in 1826 and is the oldest military facility west of the Mississippi. The post cemetery became a National Cemetery in 1866, and that is now the resting place for Classmate Mike Blassie after his 14-year interment at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
Mike is now honored at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, including a street named for him. In addition, Mike will be among those honored in the new POW-MIA Museum, where USAFA70 will play a further role ,
It came to light that further renovation was needed to ready the Museum for opening, So our Winded Warriors rose to the challenge — recalling that all USAFA70 en masse are considered Winded Warrior team members (link here and scroll down to Classmates R'Us). Again, '70 rose to the occasion as we have done for so many good causes over the years such as the Southeast Asia Memorial Pavilion; the Center for Character and Leadership Development; the Hood to Coast relay race where we set a race record for fund raising to fight cancer; our recent Mick Rosenblatt Memorial Bike & Run; the AllAcademyChallenge where '70 has led the way year after year; and now the new POW/MIA Museum.
The Museum Board of Directors has in turn decided to dedicate the entry room at the Museum to Mike and all our KIAs, as well as our two returned POW brothers Bill Reich and Jocko Trimble. Below is the design of our memorial plaque
Some of us learned of Classmate Mick Rosenblatt's passing when we received an email last May from Dave Sterling notifying us that Mick would be among those honored at the annual USAFA Memorial Service at the Air Force Monument adjacent to the Pentagon. Later in June, Mick's wife Donna held a memorial reception for Mick at Dave's home in Northern Virginia. It's very sad to learn of a Classmate's passing, and those of us who knew Mick know he was (and remains) one of the good guys!
As with many of our Classmates, most of us saw him the last time at our 45th Reunion proudly with Donna catching up from his days as Squadron Commander for the CS-19 "Playboys!" Politically correct? Shmickly Verclept'! (You have to get a very rare, mythical Yiddish dictionary to figure that one out.) Anyway, once a Playboy, always a Playboy. A nice one like Mick ... although some still wonder what those guys were doing down there!
It was training for that ride when Mick "slipped the surly bonds of earth. And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings ... ." He went with his boots — that is, his bicycle toe clips — on. Mick joins the ranks of departed Classmates, including names at the Southeast Asia Memorial Pavilion.
It's not like Mick to slouch away, however, and we remember not only the smiles seen above as Mick and Donna primed to beat Army all by themselves. But also to finish what Mick started, Donna recently got in touch to invite Classmates to help go the distance, on bicycle or foot, to remember Mick and his nefarious plan to remind "some of us" to improve our diet and exercise!
In Donna's words transmitting the photo below:
But that's not all ...
Hat's off to USAFA70 Winded Warriors for a truly great showing at the 2018 "Hood to Coast" mother of all relays. As included on The Team page, every member of the Class of 1970 is a partner and teammate with our guys who covered the 199 miles. Our Team raised a RECORD $61,698.99 in support of "Finishing Cancer."
L- R BJ Bjorklund,,John Stringfellow, Grady Cash, Clark Nichols, hidden but cap brim barely visible Bob Welbaum, Ted Coulson, Don Rushing, Lance Ammon Gary Covington, Tom Stein, "Mulf" Mulford, Mark Bean, Mike Landers, Russ McKnight. Guys behind the scenes not in photo, Charles Black, Team Captain; Mike Gregersen, John Hale, Mike Lambert, Larry Tieman, Jocko Trimble
The USAFA70 Winded Warriors have done enormous good. Coming in at a total time of about 34 hours and 55 minutes (let that sink in for a moment ... that's heck of a lot of non-stop running for guys all aged 70+), they have set an example for family, cadets and others to come. They have exemplified character, optimism and healthy aging. And they have honored those we know who are still fighting cancer or who have left us in loving memory.
Thank you, Gentlemen.
ESPECIALLY, THANK YOU TO ALL OUR DONORS! Thanks to their generosity, USAFA70 Winded Warriors have raised a record amount of more than $61,000 to #FINISHCANCER.
Due to landslide demand!
The USAFA70 WINDED WARRIORS have decided as another act of public generosity to make their COLLECTORS EDITION Trading Cards available for free! These rare and highly coveted pieces of paper (once you print them out) have gone up in value by 702 % just in the time it has take you to read this. GET THESE HEIRLOOM QUALITY ARTWORKS WHILE YOU CAN!
Last map posted the guys were in the vicinity south of St. Helens. Marker shows how far they went overnight. Tired and some very tough running. I don't know about you, I barely made it from my home office to the bathroom and back.
Anyway, they can practically smell the finish line on the beach in Seaside! Please text or email any of these guys you know and LET THEM KNOW HOW PROUD WE ARE OF THEM!
Classmate Hugh "Hugger" Peteet just posted:
"John, thanks for reporting! I was just looking at overall finish results so far and the #1 (so far) finishers had pace of 5:10, #32 finishers (last so far) had 8:42 pace. Our guys are not only impressing EVERYONE but they have been keeping a pace that current cadets would be proud of!"
This is no cake walk
Runners are tired. One Classmate removed himself from the rotation due to hip injury. Excercising caution so everybody joins the Team crossing the finish line weary and worn, but healthy. Running schedule adjusted as shown in the matrix on Team homepage.
Team is in the vicinity south of St. Helens, OR. Red dot is where we started at 0800 yesterday morning. The beach circled at Seaside, OR is where we cross the Finish Line. Runners are in the dark and will run through dawn and until about 1700 hrs PST. Running across the Coastal range will be tough!
Not for the faint of heart. At this moment, Team has raised record $57,916.47 -- top team in the nation -- to fight cancer.
KATU Channel 2 / Fox News / Portland
Ted Coulson,Chares Black, Tom Stein
BULLETIN: Russ McKnight has stepped out of the rotation due to hip issue.
Important to exercise caution, so we have Russ healthy to cross the Finish Line in good order with the Team. Kudos to Russ for "gutting it out" through Leg 10. This is a tough race.
-- Lance Ammon picked up as normal on Leg 11, handed off to Mulf Mulford at 1824 hrs PST. Mulf handed the baton to Clark who started Leg 13 at 1938 hrs. Long race: two-thirds left to go.
-- Beginning Leg 22 all runners will simply move up a slot -- reflected in updated tracking matrix on the Team homepage: www.usafa70.com
-- Shout-out to Russ! You've done a ton of work to help get the Team this far. It will be an honor to cross the Finish Line with you!
Tracking Table Added to Homepage
There seems to be a rift arisen between the dollars-and-cents faction on the team and the bleeding-heart faction. The bleeding=heart faction has won. Or so they think. The dollars-and-cents faction has now countered by offering even more than the weak-kneed guys. As noted in this bulletin from the Team FB page.
READY TO COPY:
We were planning to get you hooked on following the runners. Then at about the 10th Leg tell you that if you wanted to follow them further, you'd have to pay. All "donations" go to fighting cancer. But we figured this would be an extra "tax" that would line our pockets. The decent guys on the Team have prevailed, however, and we would like to report that you will NOT have to pay extra to keep tracking the race.
Then the commercially aggressive faction decided that this would make them look worse by comparison to the weak-kneed faction. Instead, they are counter-attacking. They are even MORE GENEROUS than the other ones. So if you go to the Team website, you will see an EXCLUSIVE BONUS. A table for not only tracking who's on deck and so forth -- but also if you click on the Leg number, you can get a detailed look at the specific Leg features and location.
You're really welcome.
Tools of Agitprop/Fake News
If anybody wants to know, or knows somebody who wants to know.
Put together in haste, but good enough ;-)
DIrector of Agitprop/Fake News
Truth in Advertising
Reporters, editors, foreign intelligence agents & ladies we flatter ourselves to think are preparing marriage proposals (the married guys will let them down kindly) -- be advised:
We see you coming!
We are prepared. Following is our 1-page "Whoppers to Tell" field manual. We will deny having it. If you ask, we will give name, rank, serial number and long story
about our favorite craft beer. Period.
This is a work-in-progress ... cross-posted also on the Winded Warrior FB page
Leg 1: Clark Nichols started at 0800 PST, handed off to Grady <times shorly>
Leg 2: Grady Cash finished in good order
Leg 3: Mike Landers finished in good order
Leg 4: Don Rushing on the pavement now
Kudos to Grady Cash for putting this together ...
This is the detailed pre-race template showing runner assignments and estimated times. Team Members are in the Vans right now recording actual data in the yellow cells. Data in the yellow cells in the "HTC Master Spreadsheet" attached are dummy numbers/estimates.
HTC MASTER SPREADSHEET ►
Heading for the starting line !
WE HAVE NOW SURPASSED OUR TEAM GOAL: $50,000
Let's be frank ...
Our guys really are 70+ years old, and they really are going to run 199 miles in 36 hours, daylight and dark, uphill and downhill, hot or cold, rain or shine. Most of us would not take that on, but our Winded Warrior runners are committed. We are committed to representing our Class of 1970, as well as honoring all who have served in the United States Air Force. And if you look at the list of those honored on our #FINISHCANCER webpage, you will see we are just as committed to helping the Providence Cancer Center to #FINISHCANCER. Please consider even a small donation via our "Donate" button below. Thank you!
PS, so far, so good!!! < AS OF 9 AUG 18 >
Please click the button below taking you to the site processing our donations to the Providence Cancer Center. On that site you can click to see all our Team Members and decide which one through whom to donate. Some guys started later than others. Or just throw a dart and pick that guy! ;-) It's not about the details. It's about doing together all we can to #FINISHCANCER. Thanks again!
Enough with the "rah rah" and rhetoric. This is what the Winded Warriors are going to do.
Any USAFA Grad will understand how hard and methodically these guys have been training for the past three months. It has not been a piece of cake. As expected of any team preparing for the "mother of all relays," there have been injuries and setbacks -- not to mention for the oldest-ever team to meet this challenge! The roster has had to be adjusted, as guys have encountered running and personal setbacks. In addition to injuries, for example, along the way one highly prepared Team member stepped back from all races for the next year in order to care for his daughter who has just required significant cancer surgery. (Good thing all donations are going to support cancer research and treatment!) But every Team member, whether runner or support, has worked many hours toward the same goal. It takes a lot of logistics to help a team of runners cover 199 miles without stopping. Following is a work-in-progress, but shows current expected runners.
Drilling down to indicate the challenge involved, here's an earlier breakdown on running assignments. Not for the faint of heart.
While we hit the pavement in your behalf ...
The US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (AOG) has stepped up to help the "Winded Warriors" support Providence Medical Center in the quest to #FINISHCANCER. AOG Chairwoman Cathy McLain (82 - "Best in Blue") and CEO Marty Marcolongo (88) have personally pitched in along with the AOG as a unit — advancing the Long Blue Line to the top of the Hood-to-Coast charity leaderboard.
"This is heartening to our guys," responded Team "Getaway Driver" Tom Stein (just kidding, actually leading Team logistics) who has coordinated with the AOG. "We are pressing just as hard to raise the bar fighting cancer as we are to train for crossing the finish line. But," Stein added, “there is no finish line for service to others."
Well said, Classmate!
Mike's story ► is just one of the stories we honor among our nine Classmates who were killed in action. Classmate Mike Lambert, MD, (Col, USAF ret) made sure that they were all recognized this past Memorial Day on national news. We stand and render our Classmates & friends a slow hand salute. When our band of runners crosses the HTC finish line carrying our "70 Battle Flag," these nine brothers will be there with us!
PS, in Jim Mulford's bio below is the plaque honoring our Classmates killed in action.
The AOG has established the tradition of each Class having a "heritage" Class fifty years down the Long Blue Line. Our heritage Class is 2020. Some of us, including members of our Winded Warriors Team, were privileged to be on hand when the Class of 2020 completed Basic Cadet Training,. and we stepped forward to help welcome them into the Air Force Cadet Wing. Our Classmate "Speedy" Martin, retired 4-star general, addressed the Class at their "Recognition Ceremony." (FYI, you may notice all the red below. Every Class that enters the Academy has a class color that will mark their basic training ball caps, blankets and similar items. The colors rotate through red, blue, silver and gold. USAFA70 is a "red" class, thus all the "Red Tags" in the photos below.)
Civilian: 15 years in the publishing business (Tomart Corp. in Moraine, OH), 13 years (so far) as a substitute school teacher. Author of five books, edited others
Running: Began running as a sport in 1980. Ran five marathons 1982-85, and have run 14 since 2007, including Boston, New York, Athens, Berlin, Tokyo, Amazing Maasai (Kenya), Great Wall (China), and Thunder Dragon (Bhutan)
Cancer: I lost my paternal grandmother to cancer. My father had cancer of the esophagus and it indirectly led to his death (the tumor interfered with his heart). My mother also had non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and survived.
Mike Brown, Rick Humke, Jocko Trimble and Tommy Thompson
In the groups above there are multiple metal hips and knees, hypertension and delusions of grandeur (extreme), unconquerable spirits and cancer survivors. Truly a part of the cadre of Winded Warriors. Support the drive, donate for the cause! Jocko
Tommy Thompson’s wife Cookie [above] started jogging a little bit after retiring and someone asked if she could swim. Now she is ranked nationally for her age group in triathlons and competing at Kailua-Kona in the Iron Man in August. Team Member Ted Coulson's wife Jeanne has done the Hood-to-Coast Relay twice and is signed up this year as a team alternate. Team Member John Stringfellow's wife and Lance Ammon's wife are both accomplished athletes. Other wives don't run or lift weights, but they've conquered a thousand moves and other challenges way beyond our ability to thank them. Thanks so much, anyway, Ladies!
NOTE: Jocko here re: "70 Battle Flag":
I made the flag after all the local commercial outfits whined and made lame excuses. I actually tried to use the emblem in our class yearbook Polaris. But I think I finally found one on the AOG website. I enlarged it, retraced the lines, printed it on iron-on paper, essentially melted it into the heavy red material (same with USAFA!). Added fringe with the help of a Vietnamese seamstress whose son is at USAFA now. It looks pretty good. On the back will be a picture of Ron Volkmar [note: see below] on his Trans-National bike quest and the four classmates (Trimble, Thompson, Brown and Humke) who challenged Kilimanjaro. I called it our Battle Flag because I knew we already had a formal flag and this one is meant to go, folded against a classmates’ breast into the fray. Hopefully a photo with it and all classmates involved will exist. lso, it’s meant to document our individual or group achievements after we entered our seventieth year. Volkmar being the only exception because of the nature of his achievement. Running marathons, playing 36 holes of golf, climbing Pike’s Peak even walking the entire Hadrian’s Wall (though close) don’t make the cut. [ha, ha] The Hood to the Coast run sounds worthy. The Centennial bike race would be. Mick’s 70 mile race near Waco would have been. There are lot’s of you guys who are planning phenomenal feats and should be proud. Try to get a team. Also, sometimes the battle flag cannot be a part of every endeavor. Bruce French is a member of a Sierra wilderness rescue team. If you have a shot and a story, submit it. Photo shop works.
Get the word out. I’m CIC [Cadet-in-Charge] of the flag and it is OURS so please just let me know when and where. BJ should get it for the Coast run. Questions?
May the wind be at your back and the road rise up to meet your feet.
As to Jocko's BIO ... for more of his awkward silences and slapdash excuses ... click READ MORE ► for the Real Story
CIVILIAN: Thirty-five years leading software development at various companies including American Airlines, GE, Dun & Bradstreet, and FedEx.
RUNNING: For years I was an ultra-distance cyclist changing four years ago to triathlons. In triathlons running is the last event and the event that shows the effectiveness of training and race plan execution. Similarly with treating cancer; the effectiveness of treating the cancer comes from research, experiments, trails, and treatment plans. I am committed to helping those doing this important work.
CANCER: I lost my sister to cancer in her 40’s. My daughter, 33, is fighting cancer. I have lost friends to cancer. But I have seen cancer beaten in friends, too. Let’s finish cancer.
Click READ MORE for the "REAL STORY" ... with wild abandon and sudden insight ...
Role Model: USAFA Professor Larson Wiley – Radiation Biology (one of the top 3 authorities in the world)
Civilian Stuff: Lots of racing (motorcycles, cars, go karts). Controller and CFO in a number of high tech companies.
Running: Learned to run late in life (55) so I could get fast enough to play soccer. 15 or so half marathons and one Triathlon.
Healthy Body: Mother-in-law spent the last 4 months of her life with us before passing from cancer. I became a student of the history of the fight against cancer and the many nutritional and biological aspects of the disease.
Click READ MORE for the "REAL STORY" ... world-class tennis and steamy romance ...
In 1976 he served as a program manager for the development and integration of the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine for the F-16. Tom left active duty in 1978, but continued his military career as a Reservist. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1994 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In the private sector, Tom distinguished himself in the commercial construction industry. For more than 25 years he has been involved in many of Oregon’s signature construction projects, including the Oregon Convention Center, Fox Tower, PDX Airport expansions, as well as many college and university projects throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. As Operations Vice President for Hoffman Construction, Tom has overseen multi-million dollar construction projects for Fortune 500 client companies that included Nike, Intel, Boeing, Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Tom serves as a director on the Board of the USAFA Endowment.
But that's not all! Click READ MORE ► for the Real Story ... plus how to turn wheelies and speed away while kidnapping relay runners ...
The "Winded Warriors" Team
Follow Winded Warriors all the way to the finish line!