Plattsburgh Air Force Base ROTC Field Training 1986

Remembering F-Flight On Veterans Day.

I was in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) from 1984-1988 while a student at MIT, commissioned in 1988 as a second lieutenant, served on active duty until 1992, and was in the Inactive Ready Reserves (IRR) until 2006.

I always think of my service, and the people I served with, on this day, Veterans Day. No matter how important you become in the military, the military will live on without you, so it is clear that the military needs nobody. But as we fight with enemies foreign and domestic, tangible and intangible, it is also clear that everybody needs the military.

The photo above was taken at my four-week Air Force ROTC field training at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York, summer 1986. (Plattsburgh AFB closed in 1995.) Many names I have forgotten, but some names and nicknames I remember, like Mr. Beautiful (front row, 2nd from right), Marine guy (front row, far left; yelled in his sleep in a fox hole), Kilper(sp) (fell asleep on the bus), astronomy guy (back row, far right; knew enough about the stars to get us lost in a swamp), Dave Doucet (front row, second from left), and Jeff Pennington (second row, far right). I’m in the middle, second row. I recently learned that Jeff Pennington is now Col. Jeffrey T. Pennington, which is awesome. So, ladies and gentleman of F-Flight, maybe you can help fill in the gaps on this photo for me.

I am also in touch with several folks who served on active duty with me and remember them on this day as well. See links below.

I don’t really celebrate Veterans Day; I contemplate it. I always come to the same conclusion: I am glad that I served, I am blessed for the friends I made, and I am thankful for those who continue to serve in these troubled times.


Erik J. Heels is an MIT engineer; trademark, domain name, and patent lawyer; Red Sox fan; and music lover. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at ErikJHeels.com.

Related Posts

5 Replies to “Plattsburgh Air Force Base ROTC Field Training 1986”

  1. From a friend in F Flight, we now have more names:

    Pete Lazzari (Lazer) – 3rd row, 4th from left
    Pat Morasco – carrying guidon
    Dan Witt – back row, 3rd from left
    John Cherry – 2nd row, far left
    Chuck Pothier – 3rd row, far left

  2. I was at field training 1978. We stayed in the old barracks that Civil War soldiers used before heading off to the war. I remember the photos of the Union soldiers on the wall. I barely remember a weekend road trip 7 of us cadets made to Montreal. There was some drinking involved. I was nearly shot by the MP guarding the nuclear bomb bunkers. I was on survival training on a hot day with a T-shirt pulled over my head to stay cool. Must have looked like a terrorist. The MP pulled me out of the woods at gunpoint (with one gun shoved in my back). Overall though, it was good training.

  3. Erik – I stumbled across your AFROTC Field Training picture (and Blog) while looking for photos of Plattsburgh AFB. The faces in the picture all look very familiar. I was in Field Training at the same time. One person whose name I do know is Barre Seguin. Barre is in the 2nd row, 3rd from the left. Barre is now a Brig Gen and the Wing Commander at Aviano.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *