Remembering a Classmate

Earlier this month one of my USAF Academy classmates, Mike Butchko, passed away.  Mike was a pilot training classmate as well as an academy classmate.  His was the only photo of our class that appeared in a Life Magazine article dated June 22, 1959, shortly after the first class (the class of 1959) graduated from the academy.  Here it is:

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The other doolies (fellow fourth classmen) in the photo are not identified and I cannot identify them.  .

And here is a photo made in his later years, after he had retired from the Air Force with the rank of Major General:

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And here he is when we were second lieutenant tablemates in pilot training in the summer of 1963:

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Left to right: Captain Small and 2nd Lts Mike Butchko, Dave Bockelman, me.  It was Straw Hat Day in Big Spring, Texas, and our table drew the short straw.  Mike and Kay Butchko were married shortly after this picture was published.

It does not seem that long ago that Mike, Dave, and I were chasing around the skies over West Texas in our then-new T-38s.

 

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