Biographical Sketches and Photos Supplied by '60 Classmates
Vol. 50, No. 1         FERN CREEK, KENTUCKY - Location of Friendliest School in the County        October 3, 2010
Jack Little and Jane Sawyer were married in May, 1966 in Laredo, Texas.  A short time later Jack deployed to a secret Air Force base in Thailand, during the Vietnam War.
My most vivid memory is Mr. “Wild” Bill Klapheke’s opening and closing statement, during my obligatory pre-graduation counseling session:
“Don’t even consider college.  Get a job using your hands and you might survive.”
My early immature attempts to prove him wrong were futile.  Maybe he was right!
Only after several years of growing up was I able to use his doubts as a prod to help me complete my degree.  He was right about one thing, as a veterinarian for 35 years my hands have helped me have a very good life.
Another pre-graduation meeting led by Mr. Klapheke, discussed rumors of our sabotaging our own graduation with some silly pranks.  He advised our class that it was still possible for us to camouflage a bad cake with good frosting.
Time has proven the cake was better than he thought.
My lesson from these memories is that our teachers and administrators spent more sleepless nights worrying about our future than we did.
For this I send a heartfelt, much belated, THANK YOU.
Submitted by Terry Pike

Editor’s Note:
Here is what one client had to say about Dr. Terry Pike’s skills at his clinic in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky:
“I have been taking my dog there for 4 years now. Very loving and caring folks.  Dr. Pike is the fastest rabies shot on the planet.  I call him The Shot Master. Anyone who can give two shots and draw blood on a squirming, yelping angry rat terrier in under a minute has my vote of confidence for sure. Very clean facility, does not smell. I will continue to take my pets there, as long I'm in the area.”
So he really IS good with his hands.

Terry Pike remembers Mr. Klapheke for something more than his paddle
Marcia and I have been blessed with two great kids and four grandchildren, but we have one grandchild who contracted leukemia and another who is a special needs kid. It has been tough, but they’re doing fine now and getting along.
I’ve been practicing dentistry since 1966 and still love it; although, I’ve cut down to three days a week.
Saltwater fly fishing is our leisure time passion. We fish the Maine and New Hampshite coasts in the summer and the Caribbean in the colder months. Enclosed are some pics of our passion.
Looking forward to seeing you this fall.
Submitted by Larry Albright
Larry and Marcia Albright in tropical hot water
About three years ago, a classmate I haven’t seen or talked to since we graduated from high school in 1960 called my office in Washington, D.C., to enlist my help in finding information about a fellow graduate who died almost 20 years ago. 
Don Pierce planned to nominate Lieutenant Colonel Jon Thomas Little, USAF (Ret.), for nomination to the Fern Creek High School  “Hall of Fame,” but the only information Pierce could find was a brief paragraph listing Little’s military assignments during 23 years of service.
The last time I saw either of these guys was at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky on graduation night, so Pierce’s call came like a “bolt out of the blue.”
Perhaps you’ve received a similar call. Like most of us “cold war kids,” we left home after graduation. Some members of the class, like my buddy Dale Radford, immediately went to work at the Ford plant. Others like Pierce, Little and I went to college and wound up in the military.
Little graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1964.  He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.  
After earning his pilot wings at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, Lt. Little began a serious relationship with a young woman he met there, while playing in the “Ragtops,” a rock and roll band he and other airmen had formed.  
Jack Little married Jane Sawyer in May, 1966 and began his flying career “hauling trash,” a term he used to describe flying C-124 Globemaster IIs for the 23rd Military Airlift Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah. 
The aircraft carried a crew of five and could haul 200 troops.  Pilots called the plane “Old Shakey,” because when they advanced the throttles on the four  3,800 hp Pratt & Whitney engines, the big transport plane literally shook as it lumbered down the runway.  Jack hated flying transports.  While waiting for an F-100 Super Sabre class to begin he was offered an assignment as a Forward Air Controller or FAC in military lingo.  He jumped at the chance to get out of C-124s.
In 1966, First Lieutenant Jon Thomas Little, known as “Jack” to his high school buddies, was assigned to 23rd TASS, a tactical air support squadron in South Vietnam; but, when he arrived in Saigon, he was told he’d be stationed at a clandestine base in Thailand, about eight miles west of Laos.
      The 23rd’s theater of operations was the “Steel Tiger” portion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, one of the most deadly stretches in Hanoi’s critical supply line for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam. 
      “The Trail,” as it was called, was a misnomer. It was a network of roads that snaking their way along the Laotian border. A heavy canopy of jungle trees and foliage concealed truck and troop traffic from the air. It also hid deadly anti-aircraft batteries that protected the NVA lifeline.                             
It took years to prepare Jack Little for the Vietnam War.  His sister, Sue, who still lives in the family home in Kentucky, says her brother always wanted to be a soldier.  Their father was an infantry officer during World War II.  A relative, a West Pointer,  helped Jack gain a Congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy.  Congressman Frank W. Burke sent Jack the congratulatory telegram.
William Murphy first met Cadet Little in September 1962 when they were assigned to the same room in A-2, an old barracks at West Point where Ulysses S. Grant had carved his initials into a ceiling beam.
“When Jack first entered the room, he was carrying a pair of white track shoes and his beloved Fender guitar,” said Murphy.  Jack played in a rock and roll band and sang in the West Point Glee Club, which appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
“He had a good record player and loved to listen to Elvis Presley, Bo Diddly, Slim Harpo and Louisiana Red,” said Murphy, a Montana native who had never heard of the last two artists. 
“Maybe they were popular in Kentucky,” Murphy said.
Little loved to pull pranks in high school, but he took them to new heights at the academy. When two upper classmen returned from a weekend in New York City, they found their room stuffed with paper. While they were gone, Little and Murphy had plebes stuff their room from floor to ceiling with newspapers. As a result, the “firsties” couldn’t change into their uniforms and had to march to the mess hall in civilian clothes. The Officer-of-the-Day was not amused and wrote them up.
Little also loved popcorn, but popcorn poppers were contraband at West Point. That didn’t scare Cadet Little who hung his by a nail inside the chimney of the room’s Civil War-era fireplace.  One night the nail came out of the masonry and the popper fell down the chimney, knocking loose over a hundred years of soot as it fell. The incident occurred just prior to lights out on the eve of a room inspection. Needless to say, the First Classmen in the room below didn’t get any sleep that night, as they worked feverishly to return their room to white glove condition.
“We spent many hours trying to figure out how to get the parade field’s newly installed sprinkler system to come on during a parade,” laughed Murphy. 
At their 20th Reunion, former classmates overheard them talking about that “prank of pranks.”  The next day when the Long Gray Line passed in review, the sprinkler system came on. Someone else had solved the problem, but Little and Murphy were blamed for the incident, which included military policeman desperately to cover the sprinkler heads with their helmets, before the Cadet Corps was soaked to the skin. Because they laughed so hard that day, Little and Murphy were blamed for the prank by their classmates.
During their senior year at West Point, when it came time to bid for a particular branch in the U.S. Army, Jack told Bill he was going to seek a commission in the U.S. Air Force.
“I called him a traitor,” said Murphy, “but he patiently explained to me that by learning to fly, about $110 per month would be added to our Second Lieutenant’s pay of $222.30 monthly.” 
In addition, Little told Murphy pilots weren’t required to sleep in fox holes or tents. But Jack really wanted the extra cash to buy a white 1964 Pontiac Lemans convertible.  Not be outdone by his roommate, Murphy ordered a white 1964 Pontiac Lemans hardtop.
There were only 12 Air Force pilot slots open to the Class of 64 and both Little and Murphy lucked out. Because Murphy had a higher class standing, he was selected to fly fighters. Little had to settle for prop-powered transports, until the “Bird Dog” came along.

The O-1 “Bird Dog” was a single engine, tail dragging aircraft with a cruising speed of about 80 knots, depending on which way the wind was blowing.  Captain Eddie Rickenbacker probably flew faster over the trenches on the Western Front in World War I. 
The Bird Dog was not armed. The only protection for the pilot was a piece of steel plating under the canvas seat. At least Rickenbacker had twin machine guns on his Spad.
The 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron operated out of Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand .  Nakhon Phanom was the brunt of many jokes, being known as “Naked Fanny and Naked Phantom.”  Comedian Bob Hope once said Nakhon Phanom was so secret, “planes landed backwards there.”
“Like Little, we didn’t know where we going until we reached Saigon,” said Colonel Jimmie H. Butler, USAF Ret., who as a Captain flew at least five missions with Little in what became known as the “Secret War in Laos.”
Little arrived in Thailand six weeks or so ahead of Butler, who graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963.  In the first six weeks of  his deployment, three Forward Air Controllers from “Crickets,” the nickname for the 23rd TASS, were shot down over “The Trail.” 
The Crickets’ mission was to keep track of North Vietnamese truck traffic on the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, as it passed through what was supposed to be neutral Laos.  They would mark targets with “Willy Pete,” white phosphorous rockets on launchers under each wing.   Like hawks ready to pounce on their prey, fighter bombers orbiting high in the sky would drop their bombs on the smoke. 
By early 1967, “The Trail” was under observation around the clock.  FACs interrupted repairs during daylight hours while C-130 aircraft lit up the area at night with flares, causing huge bottlenecks. 
      The Crickets christened one of the choke points “Nail Hole,” in honor of their tactical call signs, but someone higher in the chain-of-command at Seventh Air Force renamed it the “HUB.”

Capt. Butler, “Nail 59,” and Lt. Little, “Nail 48,” each flew approximately 240 missions during Operation Steel Tiger, as the trail interdiction was called.  Both earned the Air Medal with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters. 
Little was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic actions in the air over Khe Sanh, South Vietnam on July 1, 1967, his wife’s 20th birthday.
His citation reads, “Lieutenant Little directed several fighter aircraft against hostile troop and gun positions attacking a Special Forces team awaiting extraction. With the added adverse factors of numerous radio difficulties and combat damage to a helicopter gunship, Lieutenant Little persevered in his control of the fighter aircraft, effecting successful extraction of the ground team.”
Flying low over NVA positions in the hills surrounding the Marine base, Little dodged intense enemy ground fire while marking targets so “Fast Movers,” Marine F-4 Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks, out of Da Nang and off aircraft carriers in the South China Sea, could swoop down and destroy the enemy positions with rockets, bombs and napalm. 
     Little’s slow-moving Bird Dog was only hit once by enemy fire when an NVA bullet came through the floor of the aircraft behind his seat.
     When Little began flying over “The Trail,” in early 1966, he flew at about 2,000 feet. At first, he stayed above small arms fire, but the North Vietnamese had massed 37mm anti-aircraft batteries around the major choke points. Anything up to 5,600 feet was dead meat. Later, 57mm radar-controlled batteries could reach above 10,000 feet.
      “A single hit from a 37mm explosive round could blow a significant hole in an O-1,” said Butler who remembered seeing more than his share of golf-ball sized rounds coming at him. 
      “Normally, they had two to four guns firing at once, so you often had a volley of about 60 shells coming up, and one hit would usually take you down,” said Butler.
      After the three air losses in January 1967, the 7th Air Force decided FACs could no longer expect to survive at low altitude; so, over high-threat areas, pilots like Little and Butler were ordered to stay at least 5,600 feet above ground level. The high man stayed 500 feet higher.
      “We couldn’t see as well from that altitude,” said Butler, “but we didn’t lose any more Bird Dogs.

     A typical duty cycle for the Crickets was 24 days on and 4 days off. In early 1967, the 40 pilots in the 23rd TASS were scheduled to fly 32 missions a day. With time off, checkouts, and some initial testing of night vision capabilities, it was common to fly 24-26 three-hour missions in a single 24 day cycle.
Briefings were held one hour before takeoff. Upon leaving the Tactical Unit Operations Center, Little and Butler would go to Personal Equipment to pick up survival vests, M-16 rifles, a .357 Combat Masterpiece revolver, lots of ammunition for both weapons, and a parachute.
Missions over “The Trail” ran about three hours to three and a quarter hours.
“If you went over 3 plus 30, fuel started to be critical,” said Butler who often came back on a wing and a prayer, with only fumes in his fuel tanks.
      Because missions were secret, most pilots didn’t keep any documentation; however, Butler kept a detailed diary of his activities, and shared some of his entries with Special Operations Forces.
“During air strikes along ‘The Trail,’ we kept most of our notes on the side window with a grease pencil,” said Butler, the author of three novels, including, “A Certain Brotherhood,” about FACs.  On the hour-long flight back to Nakhon Phanom, Butler would transcribe data on the window to a 3-ring notebook for debriefings and then stapled the pages in his diary after being debriefed. 
On June 14, 1967, Butler and Little flew a mission to Sector 12, one of the hottest sectors in Laos. It included the Ban Laboy Ford, which as the years passed, became known as “the most bombed spot on the face of the earth.”
“I have a little asterisk in my log book in the column for counters and a note mentioning Route 137. That tells me that Jon and I weren’t ordered to fly a counter across the border that day. 
“On our own initiative, we flew a few miles into North Vietnam,” said Butler, who noted that FACs are known for showing lots of initiative and racing to the sound of battle, “if you can consider 80 knots racing.”
      Asked to describe his late comrade-in-arms, Jimmie Butler, who now lives in Colorado Springs where Jack’s widow also lives, said:  “Talk to vets of ground combat in Vietnam and many have a story about how they survived some desperate battle, because a FAC showed up in a Bird Dog.
       “The VC and their NVA comrades understood that once a FAC arrived, they had better break contact if they could, because help and hurt was on the way.
       “Many of you vets reading this tale may have been saved by brave FACs like Jon Thomas Little who found and helped destroy a truck that carried a bullet with your name on it,” said Colonel Butler.

       After the Vietnam War, Lt. Jack Little returned to Laredo AFB, Texas where he became an instructor pilot in T-37s.  For the next four years, every student pilot wanted to fly with “Jack the Fac.” 
Jack’s wife, Jane, gave birth to two children while at Laredo; a daughter named Jenifer and a son named Daxton. 
 From Laredo, Captain Little went to Malstrom AFB, Montana where he served as a Minuteman missile officer. In 1974, Little entered training to fly U-2 spy planes, but that’s another story.
 “Jack the FAC,” survived the war in Southeast Asia, but succumbed to cancer 20 years later in 1987. 
Today, Class of '60 stalwart Lieutenant Colonel Jon Thomas Little lies in the cemetery at West Point, among classmates, 23 of whom were killed in Vietnam.
They overlook the Hudson River and wait for their final roll call.

Editor' Note:  In 2006, Jack Little was postumously inducted into the Fern Creek Traditional High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

Jack Little chooses danger and becomes "Jack the Fac"
by Ross Simpson, Contributing Editor
Jon Thomas Little in his yearbook photo at Fern Creek.  He was in Beta Club and athletics.  He ran the 100 and 220 yard sprints on the Creeker track team.
Jack as he appeared at his graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1964.  As was common in those days, he chose to be commissioned into the U. S. Air Force.
This photo was taken by Jack's wingman, Jimmie Butler, while on a mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Note that Jack has fired one of his two white phosphorus target marking rockets.
Lt. Jack Little, left, raising a glass of champagne with his Air Force buddies in Thailand, after completing his 100th mission as a FAC, Forward Air Controller.

Shortly before his death in 1987,  Jack, who was a member of the FCHS Varsity Track Team, competed in a track meet at Patrick AFB, Florida where he was vice commander.  He won 6 medals that day and died a few weeks later.
Jack's grave marker at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.  He is among 23 of his classmates who died in the Vietnam War.  Jack died of cancer in his 45th year.
I grew up on a small farm off Beulah Church Road.  Six brothers and one sister went ahead of me through both Fern Creek Elementary and High Schools.  
Leo, Joe and Delmar all served in World War II.  Tom and Charlie were in the army around the time of the Korean Conflict.  John was on the ‘53 Fern Creek county champions football team.  My sister Betty (Showalter) graduated in 1957.  
I took the “business” course at FCHS.  My family couldn’t afford college, although I was thought to be “brainy” as a kid.  
I endured the agony of Ms. Farris’s shorthand classes, remembering especially when she came into the room each year, opened all the windows and announced that “someone in here has BO.”  That was followed by a lecture on personal hygiene.  
I was really good at shorthand but not great as a typist.  Ms. Farris was unique in lots of ways but the significant one for me, in typing class, was that when we had timed writings, she often left the room for a while and “forgot” to come back until after the testing time had long expired.  My typing tests didn’t necessarily reflect my skill.  
After graduation, I spent a brief and not so good six months as a legal secretary. The experience soured me on the field, until 1965 when I went to work for Matt Quinn, a lawyer now deceased.  He practiced mostly criminal law with some estate work and other domestic issues thrown in.
Through him and his buddies, Robert Haddad, Frank Haddad, Bill Colson, Kenny Grantz, several judges, Father John Dalton, the Police Court chaplain and others, I learned a lot about life, way more than I did at Fern Creek or in my family.  Farmers don’t get into this kind of dirt!
Bill Colson was Police Court judge when he picked up the moniker “Wrong Way Bill.”   He got caught for going the wrong way on Fegenbush Lane near General Electric.  He might have had a bit of a problem with alcohol.  It was front page news for a while.  
My desk sat directly opposite the door to Matt’s office and the door had louvers.  One of Matt’s favorite things to do, because I was young, green and from the country, was bring his prostitute clients into his office and loudly discuss with them their criminal charges with emphasis on the details, such as how many tricks they turned each evening, how much they charged and other unmentionables.  After the client left, he took great pleasure in observing of my obvious shock and embarrassment.
One time a man came into our office dressed exactly as you see in old movies - black trench coat, black fedora hat, rather unpleasant face.  After he left, I told Matt, “That guy really scared me.”  
He told me not to worry. “He wouldn’t hurt you, unless he was paid to.”  
I learned later that this scary guy was killed in a shootout in Ohio.  I also learned, to my embarrassment after telling that story many years later, at a family gathering, that he had been the uncle of my niece’s new husband. 
There were also incidents of counting wet money, which I found quite curious.  I was told the cash was wet because it came from a safe that had been blown.  Apparently, a hole would be drilled in a safe and water was sent in through a hose, so the bills wouldn’t burn when the explosives ignited. This appeared to be effective. 
Part of the “salvaged” money would go to the lawyer, to defend the client on the burglary/safe cracking charge.  This was another shock to my small town, Catholic upbringing!    

The remainder of my years as a legal secretary had lots of ups and downs,  but none as interesting as the 60’s and 70’s.  
I was a little bit involved in politics, knew who was sleeping with whose secretary, who was meeting his girlfriend at the Delta Bar and Lounge, who was disappearing for extra long lunch hours—lots of good stuff, most of which I’ve forgotten by now.  Age has its blessings!
The present day finds me retired after 43+ years and lots more stories.  I’m doing what I like to do: reading, making Tee-shirt quilts for others (see my Facebook page if you’re interested), doing crafts, keeping up with friends and walking my dog.  
I’m also deeply involved in the day-to-day care of one of the lawyers I worked for and his wife, who are both in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related ailments.  They had no children and I’ve had to do a lot of things not usually done by a secretary for her employers.  
I never got married.  I can’t explain why, just that it never worked out for me.  I’ve been close a few times, but right now my dog Trina seems to be the best companion I can find.  She’s always happy to see me when I come home, no matter how long I’ve been gone.  
I have 33 nieces and nephews, 60+ great-nieces and nephews, four remaining siblings, lots of friends, and that’s enough for me! 
Besides, sometime after the reunion I’m going to Ireland.  That’s my treat for the year (and probably several years to come).  
I love Fern Creek. It’s still where my heart is, although I live in the Okolona area now.

Here's more from Ann:  I agree with Mike to some extent.  What I left out of the story I posted is that graduation was the beginning of a lifelong battle with periodic depression and anxiety for me, continuing to this time.  It hasn't stopped me from doing well or from enjoying life, but it sure made life more difficult at times.  I was able only last year to put it into written words to my family and friends, and it was a great help to them and to me.  If anybody is interested in reading some of what I wrote to my family, please email me.  
P.S.  I enjoyed the story on Jack Frick and the race.  Back in school I confess that I thought Jack was really hot, as the kids say today!

Ann Marie Hofelich as she appears on her Facebook page.
Ann Hofelich blushed at the hookers, counted the safecracker's money, still takes care of the boss
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After graduating from Princeton I got a Ph.D in Clinical and Community Psychology from Duke. My carreer went from consultation and training for the Boston Univesity Human Relations Laboratory traveling around the country from an office in New York City to management of non-profit agencies providing community mental health services in Dayton Ohio and then drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services in Oakland California. 
I have one daughter, Mollie who lives in Boston. I've been in the San Francisco Bay area since 1985, living first in San Francisco and then in Mill Valley. My wife Christina and I moved to Sonoma in 1995. 
Sorry I won't be able to make it back to the reunion.
Submitted by Jim Small 
Always a man of few words, Jim Small has made of career
of listening to the problems of others and helping them.