Welcome to the Official Web Page of USAF Pilot Training Class 55-India!

    We are a group of USAF veterans who went into pilot training in the 1950’s, ending our training on February 24, 1955.  The aircraft pictured here are some of the planes we flew during our primary and basic training.
    We all started in the Piper Super Cub, the PA-18.  After about 20 hours in the Super Cub, we progressed to the North American T-6G, a World War II vintage trainer. Our primary training was conducted by civilian flight schools, and we were based at several sites for this phase: Malden, Missouri; Marianna, Florida; and Columbus, Mississippi.
     Graduates from primary spread to several different bases for what was known as “Basic Training.”  Students were divided in those days into two groups: Single Engine Jet, and Multi-engine.  This was near the beginning of the Jet Age, and those of us assigned to Single Engine Jets went to Greenville AFB, Greenville, Mississippi; Webb AFB, Big Spring, Texas; and Williams AFB, Chandler (near Phoenix), Arizona.  6 Pilots went from Greenville to Laredo AFB, Texas to complete training.  The aircraft we flew were the piston-engine North American T-28A, followed by the venerable Lockheed T-33A. The “T Bird” was an outgrowth of the P/F-80 “Shooting Star,” the first operational jet fighter used by the USAF.
    Multi-engine students went to Vance AFB, Enid Oklahoma, and Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, Texas.  Multi students also started basic in the T-28 then did their multi-engine training in the twin engine World War II medium Bomber, the North American B-25 Mitchell (the same airplane used by Doolittle’s Raiders).
    After primary and basic training, the class scattered to the winds and the four corners of the world. We did not meet again as a group until October of 1998, when we held our first reunion, attended by nearly 90 members of the original class.
    In the intervening years, our members flew just about every aircraft in the USAF inventory, not to mention some Navy and NATO types. A large percentage of the class stayed in the service as a career, and most served at least one tour in Vietnam. We lost many members over the years in airplane crashes; eight of our members were KIA in Vietnam, two were POWs, and four attained the rank of General (2 one- star, 1 two-stars, and 1 four-stars). Our numbers diminish now due to the ravages of time, but we get together now and then to relive those days of youth and glory.
    The period of training was definitive in most of our lives: it was a turning point, a place where we started on a great lifetime adventure that now has faded into distant but distinct and cherished memories. We have a bond that cannot be broken; we are well into the “Golden Years” but all that falls away at our reunions, when we are once again young, brave, handsome, and “The Best Damned Pilots In The World.”










A picture containing plane, yellow, sky, outdoor

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In Primary Pilot Training
All Pilots began with the Piper Super Cub PA-18 above

We then tested our skill in the T-6 Texan


Those who graduated from Primary Pilot Training advanced to Basic Flight Training
Pilots chose either single-engine or multi-engine training.

Both single-engine and multi-engine pilots flew the T-28 in Basic Flight Training

We learned the basics of formation flying in the T-28

Multi-engine pilots then flew the B-25 shown below



The pilots who chose single-engine training first flew the T-28 and then
the T-33 aircraft shown below




Four beautiful T-33s on a beautiful day


Association Officers


President & Treasurer-  Ron Weinert 

Vice President-  Carl “Chet” Rawie 

Vice PresidentEdd G. Barnes 

Secretary -  Robert Klimek Jr. 



Association Committees

Membership Roster & Website-  Darrell Schmidt

Snail-mail - “Toni” Pyatt


Missing:  Status Unknown

USAF Pilot Training Class 55-India was one of the larger classes trained in the 1950's.  Our research has come up with a total over 600 names, gleaned from class yearbooks, Preflight group pictures, and various official orders. Of these,  more than 100 are known to be deceased, and close to 250 have been located. The names on this list represent the "missing," not all of whom were members of the USAF Pilot Training Class 55-India.
    Preflight at Lackland AFB,Texas, included pilot candidates and navigator candidates. Anyone who entered Preflight for the purpose of becoming a pilot, whether he SIEd (Self initiated elimination) or washed out, was, is, and will always be a member of Class 55-India.
    We solicit anyone who knows of the whereabouts of any of these men.  Either contact us with their address, or, if you prefer, contact the individual and ask him to get in touch with his old classmates.  Also, if you recognize that a name on our missing list was a navigator candidate, send me that information and I'll remove that name from the list.

        Please click on the shortcut below and view the list of "missing" classmates.  It's a big job to locate them.  Please choose some classmates to search for.  Click on the (Me) envelope icon below and send me an email with the name(s) of those you will attempt to find.   I will place an asterisk before the names of those who I have been told already have someone looking for them.  This should help avoid multiple attempts that could irritate people being contacted.  Thanks for all your help.

Missing 55-I Classmates

Darrell Schmidt



If any of you are interested, Ron Weinert and Bob Klimek both are interested in another reunion.  They’re considering holding it inScottsdale, AZ on 24 Feb, 2023.  If you’re interested email me at

We have had ten reunions to date, in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. They have been great get-togethers, swapping old stories and reviving old memories.

I have uploaded videos of some the reunions to YouTube.  You can view them by clicking on the appropriate link below. While you are viewing them you may see a little window open with an ad.  Just click on the X in the upper right corner of the ad and it will disappear.  (but don't click the X in the upper right corner of the video as that will close out the whole video.)  The videos may pause while loading more data and that will depend on your internet connection speed.  If you wish you can view them full screen by clicking on the window icon at the lower right of the video.  The screen will go dark for a small amount of time while it changes to full screen.  Background music will play during the video so have your sound on.  At the end of each video click on the back arrow to return to this web page.  Note that if you had changed to full screen you have to hit the Esc key to return to smaller screen size so you can see the back arrow.   If you just close out the YouTube video you will probably have to reopen our web site to continue.


1998 Laughlin Reunion


2000 Colorado Springs Reunion


2003 Fort Walton Beach Reunion


2005 San Antonio Reunion


2007 Albuquerque Reunion


2009 DCA (Washington) Reunion


2011 DAY (Dayton, OH) Reunion


Many of the pictures in both the videos above and the .jpgs below were taken by

Russ Rickard and his sons, David & Mark.  We should all thank them for their efforts.


[More reunion pictures are on links below.  Several of them are more than one page.

Look at the bottom left of the border and you can click on additional pages.

When you're finished use the back arrow at the top left to return to our web site.]


Albuquerque Pictures

(Most by Dick Arnold)  2 pages


Albuquerque Pictures (More)

These by Bev Janson) 3 pages


DCA Pictures (2009)


DCA Pictures(More)


Dayton Pictures (2011)






55-I REUNION 2017


Our 2017 reunion took place as scheduled at the Tuscany Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on May 23d through May 25th.  We had 27 people in attendance which included 12 classmates and families.  An excellent time was had by all.  Since it was a rather small group we all stuck together in the hospitality room and mostly ate together and played together.


Ron Weinert

Chet and Carolyn Rawie

Jerry Larson

Howard Crites and Marge

Toni Pyatt

Darrell Schmidt

Ray Nasypany and Shiuvaun

Bob Klimek and Lucia Casale

Neil and Audry Young (Klimek's folks)

Ben and Basak Brown

Russ Rickard and Mary Ann

Mark Rickard

David Rickard (I forget which wife was there, but her name was Shelia Maybe Mark was the cook.  If   so     Shelia was his wife.)

Rex Lawson and Mardell

Vic Fagalan and Alice

Dave and Effie Bidelman




This year's reunion in Knoxville was PERFECT. Although only a few members were able to make it, Russ Rickard made it work well. Here is a picture of the group at dinner.  Some of the attendees are children of members.  The two “kids” in front are Russ’s sons.






Darold  (Kozy) Korzan + Holly

Ron Weinert

Toni Pyatt

Gerald (Jerry) Larson + Josie

Robert Klimek + Lucia

Chet Rawie + Carolyn

Darrell Schmidt (my connecting flight at DFW was cancelled.  I didn’t make it.)

Russ Rickard + Mary Anne, Shelia, Fran, Dave, Mark

Ed (Jerry) Baker + Shawnee

Pete Zuras + Jo Ann

Connie Conway


And as probably figured we attempted no reunion

In 2021 due to the Pandemic.


We will consider another reunion in 2023.  It seems rather

doubtful since we are all getting a little too old to be galloping

Around the country going to renunions.





Since our active membership is declining, your Class “wheels” have decided to quit paying for our current home page...especially since hardly anyone visits it anymore.  To provide us all with the means to converse online I have established a group in FaceBook for us.  The name of our group is

“Air Force Pilot Class 55-I”.  I have chosen to make it a “secret” group, which requires you to be invited.  That way I can publish things like our current class roster which we’d not want strangers to view.  First of all you must go to FaceBook and establish an account there.  It’s free.  Then send me an email advising me that you are on FaceBook now and let me know what email address you listed there.   I will then use that email address to send you an “invite” to our FaceBook group.  You need only to click on the link in your invite to go there. 


Once you’re there you can make that a “favorite” page so you can find it again easily or, if you wish, highlight that URL line and copy it. (ctrl-C)  In Windows you can right click your desktop and choose paste that URL there (Ctrl-V),  and give it a name you will remember.  Then you just double click that shortcut to go directly to our 55-I group.  I’m not an Apple guy so those of you using Apple will have to experiment on how to do it in that mode.


If, after joining our group you wish to go again to our group on your own.  On the left side of the FaceBook page under EXPLORE you will see GROUPS.  Click on GROUPS and a new page will open for all the groups.  It would take lots of searching to find our group “Air Force Pilot Class 55-I”.  But at the top of the page you’ll see an entry for Search FaceBook.  You only need to type in 55-I and it will then show you our group and you can enter it. 


As always your fearless computer nut (me) stands by to give you any help you might need.


Darrell R. Schmidt




55-I Airplane Pictures

55-I People Pictures

USAF Museum


(Interactive display.  Click on the MAP in the upper right hand corner to bring down a visual menu of the different sites within the museum, then click on a dot within that site to view the exhibits from that camera angle and then follow (click on) the arrows. You can run your mouse over the aircraft and it can tell you what it is and in some cases you can click it and find out even more on the plane. Clicking the button with 4 arrows coming in from the corners puts you into full screen mode. "Esc" will bring you back. WARNING: Time flies when you get immersed in this tour!)






 55-I Notam #7 (old but has good content)  

(Use back arrow to return)


 New Guestbook

Don't be confused by the line asking for web site address:

That is only if you maintain your own web site and want to list it.


NOTE:  the older guest books below require you to click on open when a page appears.


OLD Guest book

(2006-2012) Have patience, it will take a minute to load.


Read Older Guestbook


Most recent edit is 20 June, 2021


My B-58 Hustler Web Site

(If you should visit this web site sign the Guest Book there, too)

Aviation Cadet Web Site




55-I Pilots who attended the Laughlin, NV Reunion in 1998


55-I Pilots who attended the Colorado Springs Reunion in 2000


(Note: the rows are a little off due to the many steps that we’re standing on)


Front Row: Howard Crites, Ben Brown, Jim Monk, Russ Rickard

2nd Row: Warren Green, x, Ed Unser, Dick Wyatt, Darrell Schmidt

3rd Row: John Burnett, Harvey Kimsey, Dick Blair, Bob Klimeck, x, Ron Weinert, Hans Terpstra

4th Row: Ron Atwood, Pete Chinburg, Gene Cox, John Owens

5th Row: Ray Nasypany, Joe Sperhac, Lee Wolfe, Kozy Korzan, Dale Dyson,    Pete Zuras, Jim Hicks, Jay Hess

6th Row: Dave Bidleman, Wayne Wootten


Pilots at DCA, 2009


(Note: No group picture was taken but we have a picture of our Hospitality “shack” below)

Dick and Susan Arnold, Edd and Linda Barnes, Eldon (Barney) and Joan Barnes, Merle and Yvonne Bechthold, Don and Nancy Blair, George Bracke, Ben and Basak Brown, John and Jetta Burnett, Whee and Ginny Cameron, Pete and Ellen Chinberg, Bill and Phyllis Edwards. Ron Frink. Don Gierard, Warren and Grace Green, Don and Carol Hamm, Chuck Hoggatt, Hoyt and Betty Hook, Glenn and Beverly Janson. Ralph (Bud) and Mae Jensen and Daughter, Merlyn (Bud)  Johnson, Ed Kane, Harvey Kimsey, Bob and Lucia Klimek, Darold (Kozy) and Holly Korzan, Armand (Skip) and   Jeanne LaRocque,  Ramon and Nona Lefevre, Bill and Suzie Lessard, Chuck and Pat Mielke, Jim and Shirley Monk,  Steve O’Brien, John and Gwen Owens, Phil Phillips and Evelyn, RasRastall, Chet Rawie, Russ and Mary Anne Rickard, George Rowcliffe, Tom and Faith Sawyer, Darrell Schmidt, Marvin Skeen, Joe Sperhac, Bill Sturts, Ed Unser, Ron Weinert and Ruth Jordan, John Whipple, Bob and Anne Willis, Lee and Jan Wolfe, Wayne and Doris Wootton, Pete and Jo Ann Zuras







I hope there's a place, way up in the sky,
Where pilots can go, when they have to die-
A place where a guy can go and buy a cold beer
For a friend and comrade, whose memory is dear;
A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread,
Nor management type would ere be caught dead;
Just a quaint little place, kinda dark and full of smoke,
Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke;
The kind of place where a lady could go
And feel safe and protected, by the men she would know.

There must be a place where old pilots go,
When their paining is finished, and their airspeed gets low,
Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young,
And the songs about flying and dying are sung,
Where you'd see all the fellows who'd flown west before.
And they'd call out your name, as you came through the door;
Who would buy you a drink if your thirst should be bad,
And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!"

And then through the mist, you'd spot an old guy
You had not seen for years, though he taught you to fly.
He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear,
And say, "Welcome, my son, I'm pleased that you're here.
"For this is the place where true flyers come,
"When the journey is over, and the war has been won
"They've come here at last to be safe and alone
From the government clerk and the management clone,
"Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise
Where the hours are happy, and these good ol' boys
"Can relax with a cool one, and a well-deserved rest;
"This is Heaven, my son -- you've passed your last test!"



55-I Deceased Classmates


 Adkisson, Robert B.

 Alexander, Billy G.

 Alitz, Laverne W. 
 Alper, Zeki 

 Archer, Frances E.

 Armstrong, Edwin A
 Armstrong, Frank Alton III

 Augustus, Micheal 

 Ayudin, Umit 
 Bane, Robert L.

 Barnes, Eldon 
 Barry, William R. 
 Bartley, John P. 

 Bechtold, Merle A.
 Bell Jr., James A. 

 Belson, Joseph E.

 Biagioni, Guido

 Birmingham, Herbert T. 
 Boatman, Tom 

 Bohn, Warren R.
 Bond, Jerome H. 

 Bondurant, James A.  
 Bose, Wesley C. 
 Bostrom, Frank (Pete) P. 
 Boutet, Edward 
 Breish, Harold A.

 Briley, James R. 
 Brooks, William L. 
 Brown, Robert A. 
 Buckley Jr., Paul R.

 Buckey, Richard B.

 Burleson,  Donald R, (Ray)

 Burnett, John
 Cade, John Drew 
 Campbell, Stanley C.

 Cameron, Wheelock 

 Carothers, Vance J.
 Choquette, Clayton J. 
 Christensen, John A. 
 Ciccarelli, Quirino 
 Clark, William A.

 Clem, Sanford P. 
 Colburn Jr., Earl A.

 Colvin, Wayne

 Corcoran, Charles H.

 Corbin, Neal H. 

 Cramer, Leonard W. 

 Cuccinello, James G.

 Dean, Scott E

 Devanney, Michael J.

 Devoe, Garner

 Dohogne, James

 Duncan, John H. 

 Dupont, Holbrook B. 

 Durst, William R.
 Echenique, Francis D. 
 Edson, Donald G.

 Edwards, William B. 
 Elliot, Robert M. 

 Ellwanger, Robert S.

 Fletcher, William H.
 Flower Jr., Donald J.

 Fontenot, Alvin R. 

 Ford, Clyde M.
 Ford Jr., Charles F.

 Foster, Lemuel E. 
 Frisch, Jerome A.

 Garbe, John P.

 Gearon, Joseph M. Jr.  

 George , Robert A.

 Gero Kenneth W.

 Gimenez, Manuel Jr.

 Gladish, Richard

 Glasheen, Daniel
 Goeltz, Francis S. 
 Goode, Thomas W.

 Goss, Richard D  

 Green, Franklin C. 
 Haff, David C.

 Halbach, Eugene (Smokey)

 Hamm, Donald P. 

 Hanks, Paul T.

 Hansen, Tage Bolt

 Hardin, Marion S. 
 Hart, Edward 

 Hartley, Roger D.

 Hedeen, Robert L.

 Heisley, Don W. 

 Hines, Prince Nolan Sr

 Hitchcock, Center

 Hoggatt, Charles V.

 Jansen, Glenn R.


 Jensen, Jens P. 

 Jensen, Orla Holm

 Johns, Paul F.

 Johnson, Merlyn (Bud)

 Kane, Edward 

 Kelley, Vernon B.

 Kimsey, Harvey

 Kjos, Neil A. Jr.
 Kirkpatrick, Lowell R. 
 Koyn, Daniel W.

 Laguzzi,  Silvio

 Lambeth, William J.

 Larsen, Ole Ronald
 Locke  Jr., Alexander 

 Loeffler, Fred

 Madsen, Erik S.

 Madsen, Johannes A.

 Matthews, William H.
 Maxwell, Samuel C. 
 McBeth, Orrin L. 

 McDonald, Jerry  L.

 McHardy, Earl 
 Michaels, Donald L.

 Mielke, Charles L. Sr.

 Miller, Julian 

 Miller, Robert J.

 Mohrs, Paul A.

 Monk, James G.  
 Monroe, Don R. 

 Montalvo, Sanbenito, B

 Morton, Norman E.
 Moyer, Larry E. 
 Mueller, Don F.

 Nelson, Don L.

 Nelson, Stanley F.

 Nohl, Louis E. Jr.

 Norris, Robert G. 
 Nuss, Charles H.

 Orban, Richard L. 
 Orth, Donald N. 

 Owens, John E.

 Pease, Aldridge H.  
 Parker Jr., Dewey C. 

 Paoletti, Mario

 Pearson, Leroy M.
 Pehrsson, Robert R. 
 Petersen, Richard S. 
 Petersen  Jr., George H. 

 Philipski, Robert F.

 Pinell, Richard D.
 Pitstick, William F.

 Pyatt, Robert C. 

 Rogers, James K.
 Rowcliffe, George S.

 Saporito, Joseph W.

 Sawyer, Thomas W. 
 Schmitt, Charles G. 
 Schroeder, Aaron R

 Shelton, Robert L.

 Simpson, Richard O.

 Sligh, Charles H.

 Smead, Jerry S.

 Smith, Harold Victor 
 Snowden, Wendell

 Sperhac, Joseph

 Staggs, Glenn 
 Stephens, Billy 
 Stuart, Virgil C.

 Sturts, William M.

 Terling, Christian

 Thompson, Wayne H.
 Topcu, Mehmet 

 Valgaeren, Georges F.
 Van Heusen, George 
 VanRee, Harold G.

 Van de Velde, Marcel

 Van Winkle, Thomas R. Jr.

 Veschini, Oscar 
 Vesser, Samuel F. 
 Walker, William O.

 Wallick, Jesse

 Ward, George T. 

 Weatherwax, John J.

 Whipple, John D.  
 Wickard, Jack D. 
 Willig, Eugene 

 Windom, Charles

 Womble, Floyd A.   
 Wood, Larry 

 Wooton, Wayne F. 

 Zell, Kenneth

 Zobrack, Marcel J.