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Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas
3759th Student Squadron

Most of the population of the Class
September through December 28, 1956
N   B
 Thumbnail: Barracks mates at Sheppard AFB, TX, 1956  First of two  CLICK for Standard size     Thumbnail: Barracks mates at Sheppard AFB, TX, 1956  Second of two  CLICK for Standard size  B   N
Photos ©

CLICK the photo for a Standard size view, with legible faces
CLICK the "B" for a BIG photo with legible faces
CLICK the "N" for a BIG photo with legible faces and NAMES
(Once again I can name most of them)
(and cheating is not an issue)
(Where would I go for the information?)

These are scans from 3x5 prints. One of my daydreams is that all these 35mm negatives are somewhere on my current premises. If I recall, they are wound on the spool from a 100' roll of Tri-X as used in radarscope photography. Just another of the irritating little tickles that cause me to spend the odd interval standing and staring into the depths of the garage.

The second photo is most complete. Let me put the names of the ones I know, more-or-less from left to right, top row first:

Homer Barrett; Ronald Lupien; Tom Arakaki; Troy Nation; James Hunt; William Kane; Unkown; Melvin Thomas*; Conrad Ward; Bill Fraysure; ? Ingle;

Harold Strange; James Ferlin; Paul Meier; Curtis Chapman;

Bob Chiarito**; Ron Forella.

 * Conrad Ward wrote to say the formerly Unknown #2 is Melvin Thomas, with whom he corresponded in 1961. Melvin was at his home in Martinsville, VA. Conrad is retired and un-retired and in a second career in Chattanooga, TN.

** Bob Chiarito's daughter wrote to say Bob died of cancer 13 years ago. He'd had a career in commercial illustration, eventually opening his own successful firm and producing some memorable and well-known designs, including the "Screaming Yellow Zonkers" box.

   Thumbnail: Chiarito mugs as Barrett looks on.                                     Thumbnail: Cielinski walks towrd us past the BX entrance

Robert Chiarito of Yonkers NY, if I recall. He said he had a brother working as an animator at a Hollywood studio. Sure enough, I saw a Chiarito in the credits for a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Bob was a bit of an actor, himself: here he is halfway into his hat-pulled-down idiot character. Homer Barrett is enjoying the performance, Ferlin peeks in.


View past the Base Exchange entrance (behind fence at right) as Airman Third Class Cielinski of PA whistles his way us-ward. My note on the back says the dark Mercury with the light top had a California license with a Santa Monica frame. The Beer Garden entrance was off that cross-street down there.
   Thumbnail: Chapman looks as pleasant as he is                                      Thumbnail: Harbor is serious in the overlit Beer Garden

Curtis A. Chapman, of Oakland CA. A rare literary companion in this place. The thing above his right shoulder is a speaker. This is pre-stereo. The song of choice was "Don't Be Cruel." The thing at Chapman's right side is a photo booth. I almost talked Reba the counter girl in there for a session. Almost.

Jack Harbor, who made an earlier appearance in the Flight 289 Parks AFB picture. I don't remember that he was in Photo Interpretation school. The venue here and with Chapman, above, is the Beer Garden. No age limits, Miller Hi-Life is 20 cents. Quite an experience for the 17-year-olds. This place was super-saturated with fluorescent light.

Bob Bakyta (left) and Homer Barrett doing spit-shine duty
All photos ©

I have messages from Lori Anne R., who wrote:

I was doing a web search for Bakyta, my maiden name, and I came across a picture on your web site. Bakyta in the Air Force in TX. I believe this is my father Bob Bakyta. It sure does look exactly like him? ... He died in 1990. He used to talk about the service and wouldn't tell of all of his "top secret" missions. I actually have his Air force picture hanging in my office. When I saw that picture I was sure it was him. I showed it to my mom and there is no question that it is my Dad ..

I answered:

" ... The fellow in the photograph was indeed named Bakyta. I thought his name was Bob, but wasn't sure enough to write it that way. People called each other by last names only, unless there were more than one with the same surname, so it may be that I didn't get enough rehearsal connecting the two.

"This Bakyta was a very pleasant, cheerful guy who enjoyed the company of his friends. I remember he seemed to be able to get along with everyone, and to smooth out conflicts between others. We were lucky to have someone like that in the squadron.

"At the time we were all together there was a record played on the radio a couple of times an hour. I don't remember the artist or the name of the "song", but it was a little drama in which an announcer read a "news" story and the punch lines to each segment were well-known phrases from current hit songs. For example,

So, Mr Little Richard, what did you do when you saw the spacemen land?

Little Richard:
I jumped back in the alley! (From 'Long Tall Sally')

"The announcer was a parody of John Cameron Swazey (?), and the spoof signature was, 'This is John Cameron Cameron, downnn townnn ... 'As it happened, Bakyta could mimic him perfectly, and somehow the phrase morphed into 'This is Bakyta Bakyta, downnn townnn ... 'Thereafter he was known as Bakytabakyta.

"All of which is pretty close to the sum total of what I remember about him. I'd like to know where he went and what he did in his life ... "

Her response:

Your story is funny, when he returned from the service a few years later he was actually a radio announcer on the local radio. My Dad returned to NY where he married my mom. He had 3 Children: Stephanie, who is 40 now, David who is 38 and me, Lori and I am 33. He was a salesman for the leather industry up in NY. My sister and I live in FL now and David lives outside NY city. Unfortunately my Dad passed away before any of us had children. My brother has 2 daughters, my sister had 1 daughter and I have 2 daughters.

More from the same base, and maybe a little different interest: Mamie Van Doren Page

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