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Recent News & Happenings

Happy Fourth Of July
from Bob Zarfoss and John Simpson


            Our wonderful baritone player John Simpson has purchased a one valve Getzen baritone bugle with a slide, not unlike the ones we used in the Corps in the '50s and '60s. He's had it restored and silver coated. Here's John playing a song with special meaning for most of us, as you'll hear. 

            Click on the black bar, on the play arrow at the left side of the bar.

            Happy Fourth of July, from John and from me. Be safe and well.

Bob Zarfoss
"I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places."


Go to the Mul.ti-Media Page to hear the Air Force Snare Drum Quartet at the USARD Convention in Harrisburg, PA. It just gets better and better !

            Skip Groff will be inducted in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in Rochester over Labor Day weekend. For those of us who played with Skip, heard him perform, heard his arrangements, or taught with him as did I with more than a few corps, there's recognition that this award is well justified and long overdue. 

            For those of us who partied with Skip in the barracks or overseas, or heard him play with the Sklyarks in many an NCO or Airmen's Club, there are even better memories. Skip could be in several party HOFs, without a doubt!

            I've mentioned often that I miss Skip. Would that he could be there to accept this award.




USARD Convention

A nice Weekend in April


     Sometimes the stars align, or moon is in proper phase, or enough AF drummers appear at one place, and foolishness and drumming occur. (Rest assured that those two things are not always one and the same, regardless of what non drummers may think.)
     Thanks to the efforts of our own Steve Young, as well as many other drummers, a new drum club has been formed, and the first "event' was held this past weekend. One beneficent result of that event was the descent on our home last Thursday of Bill Mojica, John Bosworth, Eric Landis, and Steve Young. The purported purpose was to drum; the reality was to eat, drink, and laugh, with drumming occurring occasionally. Those moments are sheer madness, and to be appreciated for what they are as well as for what they aren't.

      Friday morning we spent more time here, then headed for Harrisburg and more drumming, and much more fun. Saturday was the day of performances, and we AF guys played, and at times even played well. There was endless conjecture that our playing was "clean" for various reasons. Among them was the old, "We were really terrible while practicing, thus a good performance." (And I mean, really, really terrible.) There was talk that we were better because Bos opted to watch from the sidelines, burned out by drumming too long in the sun in Oman, or because Dick Filkins didn't show up and drop a stick, or because Bobby Peterson, a superb non AF drummer from Hawthorne, didn't join us as usual and confuse us by playing better than we do. Our improved play might have been the result of Eric's son playing bass for us, thus keeping us from rushing our tempos into drumming oblivion. Or, as may have been the case, it could have been that volcano erupting in Iceland during a certain phase of the moon.

      The important things seem to be that we were together again, even joined by Jimmy Dinkins, a strange visitor from the south, and by a spectating Nev Wise, whose grandson was playing with the Lancers.

      Several conclusions might be drawn from such an event. That where some of us gather, all of you are with us in spirit, and often in conversation; that next year is a reunion year, and we'll try to drum more at that event than we did the past few reunions and see everyone again; that next year will be another drum club, and another chance to make fools of ourselves with sticks in our hands; and finally, that there is always, always joy in simply being with old AF friends.

      One important aside. Attending the drum club were three gentlemen from the Old Guard, including their snare drum leader, Mark Reilly. If we were fifty years ago the leaders in military drumming, know that that torch has been passed to Mark and his drummers in the Old Guard. Know, too, that the torch is carried higher, faster, stronger, by younger men who drum in a fashion of which we can but dream, and in one in which we can find pride and see the remnants of our own efforts. In their competent hands, rudimental drumming flourishes still.

      As I so often say, "I'll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places," and in some unusual ones as well.


This newspaper clipping was found by John Bosworth in April of 2010

Comments to: Send Bob Z. or Ben C.

"Forty-four years after the dedication of Bolling Field, the last airplane departed July 1, 1962, carrying 33 passengers and six crew members bound for Andrews."

Thanks to Jerry Cashion for the above photo

Mort Langstaff


We regretfully report that we have lost yet another of our fellow Airmen.  Mort Langstaff passed away on December 7, 2009.  Mort will always be remembered as a wonderful musician and he was always ready at the piano for the entertainment of all.

Mort and his orchestras were fixtures in the Northen Virginia entertainment scene and for nearly four decades he enjoyed playing Dixieland Piano with the "Not So Modern Jazz Quartet(2)" in the Alexandria, VA. area.  Those of us that attended the 2007 reunion in Gettysburg will remember Mort jamming with Bill Mojica right outside the cocktail lounge (much to the delight of the 'paid' entertainer of the evening). He joined Roger Quiron (on the gut bucket bass) in an impromptu set following his accompaniment of the glee club.

Mort was always ready to entertain on the piano, he attended most if not all the reunions and he will be missed.


Lu Crawford and John Dowlan

Both Lu and John have had some recent health challenges, but it is happily reported that both are at home, and are in the process of healing.  Thanks to Bob Zarfoss for keeping us all up to date on the health and welfare of our members and their families.


Tom "Gibby" Gibbs

An icey and very slippery driveway snuck up on Gibby, and down he went...  It is reported that other than an over-all soreness, his episode left him with no major injuries.  Not bad for a hard landing on his back.  The report further suggests there is concern that the underlying concrete driveway sustained major damages.  Gibby....  BE CAREFUL!

Report From Switzerland (11NOV09)


On Saturday I had a phone call from our Oman/Switzerland drumming friend, John Bosworth. It was a rather bizarre conversation. Let me replay it for you, at least in part.
"Hi, Bob, this is John."
"Great to hear from you, John. Where are you?"
"Switzerland. I am here with Jimmy Dinkins; I wanted you to hear some authentic Basil drumming."
"Rup a dup dup, Diddle diddle diddle. Etc."
"John, how are you?"
"Rup a dup dup, Diddle, diddle, diddle."
More questions, more "Diddle, diddle, diddle." Finally, "John, when are you coming home?"
"December 15. Diddle rumpa didle. They're going inside, I have to go. Rumpa rumpa diddle."
"Nice talking to you John; I'll see you in December."
"Rumpa diddle, click!" It was good to hear from Bos. It really was.

One thing when corresponding with Bos, who has no computer; there's no chance or practicality to closing with "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places!"


In Our Prayers

Many of our group are battling family illness and some serious injuries and need our prayers. During the Holliday Season, please remember to include all of your former Airman Buddies, and their families, in your thoughts.


Those of you that might have missed the email exchange will enjoy the following account.....

     Here's our friend KB, waving Merry Christmas to all his AF friends while he takes a break from shoveling. There's about six inches on the ground, with another six to twelve inches coming. The second photo shows KB being rescued by his "granddog". The only thing missing is the keg around the dog's neck.

     I think his message to KB is "Follow me, I'll show you where Bob keeps his wine." Stay warm, wherever you are.

Merry Christmas,
Bob and KB

Christmas Snow in York - 2009
KB Hard At Work

    Thanks for the flicks of my sister KB. While I always enjoy seeing flicks of Sis I must admit I find these somewhat appalling. Apparently her hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    Her standing there in the snow holding a snow shovel projecting the "Look what I've just done" image is akin to me standing beside a cardboard standup of Nicole Kidman saying "Look with whom I just crawled out of the sack." Her predisposition for receiving undue credit is legendary. With her penchant for enjoying others' free wine it is entirely possible that Vash, KB's dog, is indeed saying, "Follow me, I'll show you where Bob keeps his wine." However, I would rather think that what Vash is attempting to communicate is, "Come quick, come quick - Liz can't get off the couch . . . something about her back going out because of all that *#!#*#@! snow shoveling."     

   KB, what a sister; you gotta love her in spite of all her oddities.   



My AF friends and Sister Jan...............

     After shoveling my way through 18 inches of snow on Sat. with my grand dog Vash, I come into the house to be greeted by an e-mail from Sister Jan. I am not sure just what he had to say, cause I was cold and somewhat numb from my outdoor activity, but I am sure it was complimentary, cause we only think the best of each other.

     At the same time I received a phone call from my daughter Angela, who was skiing in Colorado, telling me about the picture of me and my grand dog in the snow, which she received on her Blackberry or was a Strawberry? I told her I hadn't seen it yet, but Sister Jan had something in his e-mail about me and my best pal Vash and the snow. What an amazeing world we live in. A friend takes a picture from across the street, while I am shoveling snow. The picture is sent out on the internet and before I get back in the house, I get a phone call from the Colorado mountains, telling how good it was to see me in the big snow on Greendale Road.

     Thanks to the internet we can keep in touch and wish each other well. Here's wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY NEW YEAR.


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