A native of Magnolia North Carolina, I was born 15 January 1931. As an AF ROTC Cadet
I graduated from East Carolina University as a 2nd Lt. with a degree in Political
Science. With AF assistance I also graduated from George Washington University with
a master's degree in public administration. My master's thesis was-"Will NASA or Department
of Defense Ultimately Control Space." The answer now has clairvoyance. My military
education includes the 14 week Air University Squadron Officer Course, their academic
year of Command and Staff College and the senior officers academic year at the Naval
War College where I was the senior AF student Officer and earned a Master's degree
in Strategic Planning.
At flight school I met Wilma Lehman of TX. In 1955 we married and have two sons. We
are extremely fortunate, all four of us are on the topside and marriage holds with
65 years and counting. In our military career of 25 family years, Wilma counts 17
homes we opened and closed.
Early career years were aircrew assignments here in the Midwest. First the KC97, then
the KC135. Picked up a new KC-135 in Seattle and flew it to Omaha, it was named the
city of Omaha and is still flying today without the name. From Command and Staff College
I transitioned to the B-52H model. I accumulated about 3,800 flight hours in the Strategic
Air Command. But soon in my junior years I was being moved from Squadron level to
higher Headquarter assignments. From the KC-135 Sq., against my wishes, I was transferred
to HQ SAC Inspector General's team. I was wrong- General Wells was correct. Two years
later I was one of the several Captains selected below rank to attend Command and
Staff College. At the Air University I was excited to see two of the Captains were
After about six months at the 8-52 Sq. I was pulled to Wing Hqs. - maintained flight
status but my primary job was Director of Reports and Analysis of crew performance.
The Wing Commander had been fired. The new Wg. CC was kicking butts and taking names,
we met each Saturday to review performance. He fixed "thing" and within the year my
orders read HQ 8th AF Westover AFB MA. Director of Crew Training and Weapons Control
Center. This was a serious high pressure demanding tough assignment.
After two years I had my first command - Squadron Commander Seymore Johnson AFB, NC.
Fourteen months later the offer was "waive early notification and we will assign you
Deputy Commander of Maintenance @ Nakhon Phenom - NKP Thailand." This would be a major
move - I agreed. Arrived Christmas Eve. I had been promoted to Lt. Col. at Westover
AFB. My NKP boss, Col. Mentecki, was the best I had ever served with ... he knew I
did not know ... and I knew I could not fake it. He pushed me out front on the learning
curve of maintenance. Took me about six months to understand - but not to express-
this war is a bunch of crap.
At NKP I was selected two years below the zone to Colonel - I was one surprised boy.
I was also on the list to attend senior officers War College . I had reported in Dec.
thus I returned to home plate in Dec. This placed me out of cycle and my holding pattern
was Commander Maintenance Whitman AFB. A Minuteman Missile Base- I had never seen
a Minuteman Missile. I had requested Naval War College, again I was incredibly pleased
and excited about the assignment. War College was academically challenging- professors
were all civilians and particularly good. We had top of the line guest speakers, as
senior AF Officer I had lunch or dinner with them including the other Server Branch
Chiefs. We had academic freedom to express oneself and so did the speakers. One was
not allowed to be quoted without written permission. The entire College was enhanced
by the large number of Vietnam POW class members My June graduation orders read report
to McConnell AFB as Vice Wing Commander.
The Wing Commander was Jimmy Scott, he and his wife Jo were truly top of the line
- we had never met but became the best of friends. The wing had 18 Titan Missiles
with Top Secret warheads and targets ... Also 18 KC-135 tanks and host base to the
184th KS National Guard. Our change of command ceremony was beautiful and landed me
on the moon. Years later both Jimmy and Jo developed a fatal cancer situation. With
Jimmy first and Jo following, I delivered their funeral eulogy. A tough assignment.
In 1978 I was on the other end of changing Command and was moving to Offutt AFB Neb.
as Director of SAC worldwide Police and Security Forces. We were authorized 14,000
and had on board an average of 13,000 plus. It was a Brig. Gen. slot reporting directly
to General Ellis, Commander in Chief of SAC. I had zero experience in Security Forces
.... but Gen. Ellis specifically directed what he wanted to happen. A change of culture.
In May 1980, at 49 years old and almost 27 years of duty, I retired from the AF for
a new career. Along the way I had earned the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, twice,
two Air Medals, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Air force Commendation Medal,
Combat Readiness Medal and Vietnam Commendation Medal.
I joined my brother at lnman's Corp. as Vice President Director of Operations. In
1984 I was not a happy camper. In January, Wilson Cadman, President, CEO and Chairman
of Board Kansas Gas and Electric called . In March I returned to Wichita. Initially,
I was Special Assistant to Mr. Cadman and member of the Policy Group. In August I
was appointed Director of Operation for KG&E - we were building Wolf Creek Nuclear
Plant. There never had been a non-engineer director of operation. Lots of folks believed
there never should be!! The AF had well prepared me ... l had never seen a Minuteman
Missile, I had never climbed down the hole of a Titan Missile, nor had I been in Security
Police. Of course, I had not climbed a light pole and could not spell kilowatts. Wilson
Cadman had spent his adult life at KG&E. When I was Commander McConnell, he was Wichita
Chairman of Military Affairs. Wilson was a great leader who could see around the corner.
He knew to modernize his company he needed a new set of eyeballs and a culture change.
For eleven years we worked the process and became specials friends. At his funeral
Bob Reeves presented his professional life. I covered Wilson the man. Yes, I admired,
respected, and appreciated him.
During my active years, with Wilson pushing, I was continually active in civic and
political activities. I waIt has been a wonderful long-long trail a-winding into the
land of my dreams—with lots of stories to be shared ...s on the Founders Executive
Committee of The Kansas Food Bank Warehouse, Executive Board Quivira Council of the
Boy Scouts of America, Vice President and President of Kansas American Automobile
Association, President of Paul Revere Foundation, Director of Friends of McConnell
Foundation, Chairman Wichita Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, Founder
and Chairman of Area VI Kansas Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, Board of
Director Kansas Diabetes Association, President of Crestview Country Club Improvement
District. Member of Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Rotary Club.
It has been a wonderful long-long trail a-winding into the land of my dreams -- with
lots of stories to be shared ...