VOLUME 1, ISSUE 2             MAY 28TH, 2002
  -165 Payton Avenue-Warwick RI 02889 -401-732-0072

First Newsletter-20MAY02



On May 24th and 25th, 2002 , 22 people ( see photograph for details) attended a wonderful get together sponsored by the Space A Travel Board held on Chaleston Air Force Base, Charleston South Carolina. There were two scheduled events: a reception at the Charleston AFB All Ranks Club at 20:00 on the 24th and a cookout in the Charleston AFB Recreation Area at 14:00 on the 25th. Bob Mergle and Dirk Pepperd are to congratulated for their efforts for making this event a very rewarding experience for all of us. A special thanks to Ellen Ramsey for wonderful photographs of the event.
Ed Prifogle


PHOTOS-courtesy of Ellen Ramsey
Attendees-(from Left to Right, kneeling-Starting from the bottom row) Dirk Pepperd, his son, and Kevin the CHS PAX Rep. First Row- standing, L to R. Ellen Ramsey,, Mrs Ransom and Carter, Peggy Davis, Nancy Zimmerman, Kathy Pepperd and Daughter, Barbara Flynn, Me, Kevins Wife, and Al Zimmerman. The back row left to right are Bonnie and Lewis Wirfs, Tom~D (in sunglasses), Louis Davis, Ann Miller, Bob Mergle, Rick Miller, and Bob Flynn. 


Dirk asked me to write the "Official" CHS OUTING Report. To think that I had second thoughts about attending the CHS Outing even after purchasing the airline ticket. The room was not booked until the morning of the trip. John Doyle was passing through my area and had considered cancelling and having lunch with him in Providence RI. Upon reflection, what a dreadful mistake it would have been to cancel. Meeting and sharing life experiences with you 22 wonderful people truly enriched my life. Thanks to all of you.


"Get up Jeep!", I shouted. "We are late."

My son and I had awakened late on Thursday morning. It was 6:00 am. There was no way we were going to make the 6:40 am flight from Boston to Charleston SC. I live 70 miles away in Warwick RI. My son was driving me to the airport.

Looking at the clock, I said to him, "Go back to bed"

I went on-line to check the prices for a last minute flight. Found a $1,200 round trip price on Orbitz ($680.00 one way). Boy, do the airlines like to stick it to you in emergency situations. On a whim, called my carrier, United Airlines. To my surprise, I was eligible for the next flight on a standby basis. Woke up my son and caught the next flight to Charleston. at 11:30 am. I guess I was supposed to go.

I expressed my gratitude quietly to myself, "God is good. Thank you."

Arrived early Thursday evening and checked into at the Riverview Comfort Inn, Charleston, about 15 miles from Charleston AFB.


Thank goodness for Bob Mergle. I do not drive any more. He picked me up the next morning and drove me to CHS. Bob lives and works for the SBA in Columbia SC about 100 miles from Charleston. He was the key person for making this whole event successful. We stopped at the base ITT office to confirm the location for the cookout. After, he checked into the Charleston Inn.

We met Louis ((EDAVIS) and Peggy Davis from near Huntsville Alabama. Louis shared about meeting Werner Von Braun during an incident when he was directing traffic when a hot power line had fallen across the road. Werner just drove right over the line as if it were nothing. Mentioned to him that I had worked at Cape Canaveral in the late 50s and had met Werner several times during the Redstone and Jupiter C launches.

Had some interesting talks with Bob Mergle. We discussed the SBA and his many years of service. Related to him how in my younger days I written several documents for the SBA relating to technology transfer.

A short time later, Dirk, and Kathy Pepperd arrived with their two beautiful children. They were unable to find quarters at the Charleston Inn. Fortunately for them, Louis Davis had booked a room at the local Super 8 as backup. He graciously gave the reservation to them. I often wonder about such situations. We think we are doing A, when in fact it's for B.

THE CHS Dining room was excellent. Its menu was better than most 4 star restaurants. The prices were very, very reasonable. At the CHS Dining Hall, we met Bob and Barbara Flynn. They were unable to get lodgings at the Charleston Inn, and had brought a tent and decided to camp out on the base recreational area.. We met Tomi~D at the dining hall and he had quarters at the Charleston Inn.


After dinner, we went to the All Ranks Club. Joining us there were Nancy and Al Zimmerman, Ann and Rick Miller, friends of Bob Mergle and Bonnie and Lewis Wirfs. The conversations were very informative. Bob Flynn is a Physics professor at South Florida University. He and his wife are frequent Space A Travelers. On one occasion they had to RON in Goose Bay Labrador because of engine trouble. They recounted how this turned out to be one of their best Space A experiences.

They recounted how on one occasion, when they were scheduled to go to Ramstein, they had to land at Westover AFB because of aircraft trouble. While waiting for their plane to be fixed, they called home and learned that his mother had passed away less than 100 miles from Westover. This incident caused him to renew his spiritual values.

Lewis Wirfs who is 79 and his lovely wife, Bonnie recounted that he was in the Navy, stateside when Pearl Harbor occurred. The bartender shut him off and informed him that he had to report back to his base. His only comment was "Where in the hell is Pearl Harbor."

Dirk Pepperd is a US Army recruiting supervisor stationed in North Carolina, and will be retiring in about two years. He and his gorgeous wife, Kathy, described how they metwhen they were located Scott AFB, Illinois.

Nancy and Al Zimmerman's home is located near Willow Grove PA. and both are retirees. Nancy is a very vivaricous person and entertained us with some excellent stories.

Bob Flynn and Dirk asked me what I thought about all the perks that the military offered especially to the families. I expressed my feeling on the matter, stating that in my opinion, military families can not be compensated enough for the sacrifices and inconvienences they endure while serving and protecting our country. I also said that our society greatly undervalues the contributions of the military by preserving our way of life.


Bob picked me up in Charleston around 9:30 and we went to the base commissary to pick up odds and ends for the cookout. The Dining Hall supervisor had kindly permitted us to do our food preparation in their kitchen. They even cooked the macaroni salad for us. Tomi~D had the flight line kitchen prepare the fried chicken for him. Bob, and Dirk prepared the food for the cookout while I watched. Bob transported it over to the recreation area around 12:30. Bob grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and a superb special Kielbasa that he got from his former home in Buffalo NY.

Tommy~D drove 10 hours from Dayton Ohio to CHS. What a delightful man. He provided the fried chicken, and a case of "original" Guinesses Stout (from Ireland) to the cookout. He honored us with many stories about his military life in Vietnam, Thailand, and Greece. He shared with us many of his Space A adventures and wonderful traveling tips.

Lewis and Bonnie Wirfs are from Gainsville Georgia. They provided enough soft drinks for 100 people. Lewis was the featured Cookout speaker. He provided us with valuable lessons on how to book reservations on military installations when traveling Space A.

Kevin, the PAX rep and his lovely wife arirved during the proceedings. We discussed the Philippines where he was stationed at Clark AFB. He met and married his wife there. I asked him if they were still selling Bloots in Angeles while he was there. I recalled my experience in Angeles being woken up in the middle of the night by the Bloot vendor. Kevin arranged a tour of the C-17 Aircraft for seven members of our group prior to departing to go on a fishing trip. It turned out to be more of an adventure than anticipated as the security forces were not fully alerted about the tour.

Al Zimmermen and I had several discussions about our military and civilian experiences. He recalled being stationed in Billings Montana near the Canadian border on a BMEWS site. Mentioned that I had written several technical manuals on the system. He also talked about his military reserve experience and how he met his wife, Nancy.

Rick Miller, John and I discussed various military aircraft. I recounted my C-119 experiences and Rick discussed his military intelligence background.

Carter Ransom left his portable chair at the cookout. I am sure he and Bob have resolved that problem

The group had a discussion about where to hold the next outing, and the general consensus favored holding it next year in Florida. One suggestion was that we rent a Condo from the Armed Forces Vacation Club in Florida, and invite everyone down. A great time was had by all. See you all next year.