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Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend with the Dills




     This weekend revolved around the family of Jim and Joette Dill.  In 1970 my father knew the Dill family and heard that young Jim was interested in going to the Air Force Academy.  At that time I was home on leave from my faculty job at USAFA.  A meeting was arranged between Jim and me at my folks' house in Athol, MA.  Jim then spent a year at a prep school prior to joining the class of '75 in July of '71.  We became his sponsor and surrogate parents during his plebe year. At the end of his second year he came to my office in Fairchild Hall and declared that he wanted to major in Electrical Engineering.  I was very skeptical.  His cumulative GPA was 2.09 which did not bode well for the EE major.  I felt that since I was the only faculty member with whom he had a personal relationship, he was letting that influence his thinking.  He was persuasive enough that I went to the department head to obtain permission to sign him up as an EE on a probationary basis.  Long story short...he finished with a 3.8 in EE and a cum GPA comfortably above 3.0.  He was on a roll with orders to go to pilot training at Williams AFB with an subsequent expectation of F-15s when, during a game of team handball, he suffered a concussion which cost him his flying status.  By then I was at Wright-Patterson AFB when he called and said,"Help!"  I arranged for him to come work for me, and he did a great job as a communications engineer on the B-1A.  I then went to Hanscom AFB for my last USAF assignment before retirement.  The fickle fates stepped in again.  Carter canceled the B-1 and again I found Jim a job at Hanscom initially working for me.  Once out from under my wing his career blossomed.  He had three base commander jobs, Thule, Onizuka and Edwards where he was the only non-rated wing commander they ever had.
     That's probably too much information, but this weekend Durelle played golf with him Saturday, and Sunday we went to his handsome home in Colorado Springs for a barbecue with his extended clan.  There must have been twenty pounds of marinated skirt steak grilled for fajitas with all the usual Hispanic accessories.  Jim makes a mean guacamole!
     The first picture is Jim and Durelle on the 18th green of the Blue course at USAFA.  The second is a repeat picture of the USAFA ladies golf trophy showing Durelle's name as their tenth champion (she missed by a stroke on an earlier one).  The third picture shows a large part of the extended Dill clan.  Jim is seated.  Durelle is in pink.  Finally, I went to their deck and took a picture of Pikes Peak.  It was too late to have the sun behind me and too early for a sunset, but you can see that they enjoy quite a view.
     The weather has been hot.  It got to 96!, and we had to use an air conditioner, but the humidity is low and we can open up all the windows at night.
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