56M Reunion Website

Varnum B. Irvine

Our Purpose
56M 2016 Dayton Reunion Agenda
Calendar of Events
San Antonio Fiesta Calendar of Events
Members Page
Dutch Members
Bainbridge Unknowns
Bartow Airbase Unknowns
Spence Air Base Unknowns
Dutch Unknowns
Contact Us
Members' Photo Album
Members Photo Album 2
Members Photo Album 3
T-28s, T-33s
David H. Adrian
Fred D. Bartleson, Jr.
Ed T. Battle
Wynn H. Beidleman
Clifford C. Bizek
Luke H. Boykin
Ronald F. Boyle
John W. Brophy
Byron W. Carell
Thomas B. Case
Tim T. Daugherty
Donald E. Elliott
Thomas W. Fischer
Elmer Funderburk
Randolph Galt
John E. Gillen
Jerome R. Goebel
Fred Horky
Varnum B. Irvine
Roland Brock Jackson
James H. Jenkins, Jr
Lou Karibo
Eugene F. Kranz
Kirby A. Krbec
Kenneth Hood Mackay, Jr.
Delbert L. Mansfield
Leo A. Meyer
Ray Miller
John F. Mitchell
Byron H. Morrill
Samuel A. Munch, Jr
Daniel J. Paukstis
Harry Pawlik
Wilbur L. Robinson
James G. Ross
Robert E. Ruppel
James D. Ryan
Galen B. Sargent
Carl B. Schutz
John A. Sells
Tilden M. Shanahan
John (Jack) R. Sladkey
Wayne D. Smith
Jerry D. Spearman
Jack Sullivan
Neil Tousley
William F. Treichel
James Trice
Andrew T. Vassios
Roger A. Wert
Howard F. Wray
Don A. Zaike

Varnum B. Irvine

I earned the right to be assigned to Bartow Air
Base in Florida, along with two other singles (Kirby
Krbec and ????) by writing a letter to our section
leader at Lackland AFB. After that I went to Williams
AFB to learn how to steer a front wheel bird. Then it
was on to the garden spot of Texas, Laughlin AFB in
beautiful Del Rio. Following graduation, John Brophy,
Bob Erger, Charlie Pfeiffer and I took a little
vacation to Mexico City and Acapulco for 4-5 days. It
was fun, but there was a varying degree of revenge.

I did not sign up for an extended tour; but,
instead I received orders to Armament Officers School
at Lowery AFB in Denver, CO. John Brophy and I shared
a class with about ten or so other eager souls. At
the end of the session, I received orders to the
Pacific area, specifically Okinawa. This was a stroke
of good fortune.

I was assigned to the 67th fighter-bomber
squadron at Kadina as a pilot and armament officer.
The CO was appalled I wasn'tt checked out in the F-86
and was determined to remedy that quickly. That was
fine with me. It wasn't long before I was on the way
to Korea for MTD training at K-8 (Osan). I returned
and started the series of ten transition flights and
got about halfway through (and starting to get
comfortable) when some new orders arrived.

The new group was the 12th FBS. They had a
different mission: that of a nuclear bomb group. They
were to transition into the F-100D and the process was
to start very soon. My new CO assured me I would be
able to check out in the F-100, but he didn't want to
mess with getting me into the F-84. Fine, I wasn't
interested either; I could get my flying time in the
squadron T-33s. Other schools were also necessary.
Finally, after finishing MTD, the checkout series of
ten flights started and I got through number three
(not comfortable yet) when some new orders arrived.

This time the whole squadron was involved. We
were moving in total to Clark Air Base in the
Philippines. This transfer took place in August 1957.

On the way down, the CO, flying lead, became
involved in a mid-air collision and was killed. We
finished the move, but it took several weeks to get a
new CO. He didn't want me to continue with the F-100
because of training needs of the front line pilots.
We had lost a lot of training time and there was a
huge push to get back to a state of readiness.
However, he did want me to continue as an instructor
pilot in the T-33. OK, I was becoming a "short timer"

My rotation back to the states was moved up from
Feb 1958 to late Dec 1957. I finally arrived back in
the US in early 1958. I separated from active duty
soon after and returned to Michigan. Then I started
plans to make a grand tour of Europe. I got back in
touch with John Brophy (56-M er), who had spent his
tour of duty in Alaska. He decided to tour Europe
also. We sailed over (and back) and spent 3.5 to 4
months checking out the action all over the free part
of the continent. It was a great time to see that
part of the world.

Back in the real world, I did take some time to
interview at a few airlines, but I was not encouraged.
I was told that there was a huge number of furloughed
pilots at the time. Finally I went back to General
Motors. I worked at Fisher Body in public relations.
I grew tired of that, So I switched to the newly
formed sales section of Cadillac Division.

I married my bride - recently of 40 years - in
April 1965 and received some new orders in June to
help set up a zone office for Cadillac in Denver. We
lived in Denver until August 1970 when I quit GM after
11+ years. Jac had just received her teaching degree
from the Univ. of Denver, so it was easy to cut loose.

We moved to Arizona and I went into the real
estate business; while Jac went into education. We
bought an old mobile home park, expanded it by adding
spaces for additional rentals and other upgrades, but
sold it before it was finished. I started the
graduate business program at Arizona State Univ.
before the GI Bill ran out. I finished my MBA in May
1977. I then planned a deluxe travel trailer resort
but ran into problems when interest rates spiked up in
the late seventies and early eighties. Later, I sold
the land and the project plans.

In need of greater cash flow, I bought a small
local accounting practice in 1982 and decided to
expand into financial planning. I became a Certified
Financial Planner (CFP) in May 1998, and specialized
in tax planning, retirement planning and estate
planning. This lasted until Jan 2004, when I started
transferring my tax practice to an interested CPA. We
are still in transition, a process that will last for
another year. Jacquetta had been teaching in the Mesa
Unified School District for all but five years so she
decided it was time to retire also. Now, we both are
again interested in aspects of real estate in this
area wide very hot market. We have no clue where it
will lead.

We have one daughter - Katie - and she has given
us two grandchildren. It sure is a lot easier being

What a fascinating time to be involved in this
world. Business is always intriguing because of the
ever-changing parameters in which we operate and live.
In technology, just look at what the last 100 years
have done to aviation. Astounding. Have we been
lucky, or what?