Desert High Reunion 2016

Desert High Alumni Reunion 2016

Sponsored by Class of ’61
All classes ’55-’64 invited

Embassy Suites, Palmdale, CA

Special rates available at the Embassy Suites on a 1st come – 1st served basis.
Book before SEPT 1, 2016 for the special rates.
Your group page has been approved and has been published to the web.
DHS Alumni Embassy Suites web page address – CLICK HERE
Group Name:    Desert High School Class of 1961 Reunion
Group Code:    DES
Check-in:    22-SEP-2016
Check-out:    25-SEP-2016
Hotel Name:    Embassy Suites by Hilton Palmdale
Hotel Address:    39375 5th St. West
Palmdale, California 93551
Phone Number:    661.266.3756

Friday, Sept 23 – Tour of EAFB, DHS and the Air Museum
There will be a cost for the tour and transportation based on number attending.
Individual security clearance A MUST.
If you would like to attend, submit your phone number and email address to one of the CONTACTS listed below.
DEADLINE: for  RSVP & individual security clearance info: Monday, AUGUST 8, 2016

Saturday, Sept 24 – Class get togethers. Evening: TBA

Sunday, Sept 25 – Morning farewells and departure.
Breakfast is available in the Embassy Suites restaurant.

Mike Ludeman:  – phone: 915-539-0539
Jim “Tinker” Darr:  – phone: 661-204-1993
Miles Crafton [all classes prior to 1961]:  – phone: 520-989-9605


Vincent Morgan

DHS 2012 Wall of Fame – Vincent Morgan – Class of ’61

Wall of Fame Wall of Fame Wall of Fame
Wall of Fame Wall of Fame Wall of Fame

Yesterday at Desert High was interesting with a VERY full schedule. The day began at 8:30 with small breakfast. Then at 9:00 was a school assembly complete with a red carpet in my honor. The assembly began with the ROTC guys marching in uniform with the US, Calif., and Air Force flags and the pledge of Allegiance. For those on this list who don’t know, Desert High School is located on Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert of California. Following the pledge the school principal read a long list of my accomplishments and then introduced me to the student body. I was to speak 10-15 minutes on why I am famous. Of course, my voice disappeared with almost complete laryngitis. I have been living on cough drops since arriving here. But I did manage to get through the speech and now everyone here really does think that I am famous. Boy, are they delusional!

I was awarded two plaques and a bag of goodies, which include a high school T shirt, some drinking cups and an official DHS coin.

Then following the assembly I was taken around to speak to various classes and allow students to ask questions. The most often question was, “What sports did you play?” I told them, “Stamp club and Latin club.” Neither of those exist now. The only foreign language being taught now is Spanish. Too bad.

Finally, it was time for lunch with the faculty, which was catered Chinese. This was followed by visiting and speaking in more classes.

My camera didn’t work, but don’t fear. Two almost professional students with fancy cameras took hundreds of pictures in every class, in front of the school sign, in the assembly, etc. I hope I didn’t pick my nose. They would have gotten that too.

I was told that this was by far the most elaborate Wall of Fame day ever.

One of the largest clubs on campus is the Bible club. Nearly 1/4 of the students were wearing T shirts with “Got Jesus?” emblazoned on the front and “Because it’s hell without Him.” on the back. In nearly every class students wanted to know when I accepted the Lord, what it is like to be a missionary, etc. I was stunned. This is a secular public Jr. high and high school. To them, a full-time missionary was just about the greatest hero that they could imagine. The school principal is a Mormon, but his son is a member of the Bible club. The principal is 100% FOR a Bible club on campus. He told me that those kid are the best students, the most committed to doing good and never get into trouble. The vice principal and many of the teachers are committed Christians who are VERY active in their churches. One of the students who was responsible for my welfare asked me to pray for her brother who is serving in Afghanistan. At the end of the day we found a quiet spot in the nurse’s station and I was able to pray for him. Then the vice principal asked me to pray for him. At the end of the day I went into his office and he locked the door so we wouldn’t be disturbed. We joined hands and he literally shook for joy when I prayed.

I have never spoken in a Christian high school with so much interest in the Lord, the Bible, etc. I have rarely seen teens so excited about Jesus in a church youth group.

The principal asked to meet with me privately as well. He will be transferring this summer to Boron High, which is in my home town. The current principal in Boron, though a member of a Pentecostal church, is against Bible clubs. The new principal’s first act will be to re-instate the Bible club on that campus.

It has been 51 years since I was graduated from Desert High School. I was asked what was my most memorable event. I think yesterday was.

Our graduation speaker in 1961 was Ronald Reagan. The principal, Mr Nat Adams, showed me a photo of a group of people with Mr. Reagan and asked me to identify those I could. My parents were in that meeting, so they were easy to identify. Some I didn’t know at all. Others looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember their names. He said that he has several more photos of Mr. Reagan at the graduation ceremony, which he had set aside in a special folder for me, but he couldn’t find them. He promised to send them to my home. When I receive them I will be glad to scan them and send copies to whoever wants them.

Heather Lee, who is due to graduate in a week, is the incredible young lady who put this whole program together. It seems that everyone on campus knows and admires her. I expect that one day in the not too distant future she, too, will be honored on the Wall of Fame. She is one truly amazing young woman of many talents, incredible abilities and a terrific positive attitude. Her desire is to serve Christ as a pediatrician. May she go far and encourage and bless many children as she seeks to serve the Lord in that field. It will take several others to fill her shoes as she moves on.

What a day! What an honor! And to think that my voice gave out and I could barely speak. The Lord certainly has a great sense of humor. I am truly blessed.

Vincent Morgan

EAFB Name Change

Name change at base caps 61 years of history

By: Laura Mowry Edwards Afb
from AV Press – 7/21/2012

EDWARDS AFB – After 61 years of rich history and an unwavering commitment to provide the warfighter with the most advanced systems and technologies, the Air Force Flight Test Center, re-designated as the Air Force Test Center, will function as a cornerstone in the Air Force Materiel Command’s five-center organization.

Air Force Test Center will oversee developmental test and evaluation at Edwards, Eglin AFB, Fla., and the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex, Tenn.

This is not the first time developmental test and evaluation processes have experienced transition. Changes to the process began happening before World War II to better meet the needs of the warfighter and nation’s defense.

For example, after historic aviation milestones such as the breaking of the sound barrier, the Air Force Flight Test Center was established to meet the Air Force’s need for more structured flight test.

“The establishment of the Air Force Flight Test Center in June of 1951 acknowledged that this was already the center of Air Force flight test with an experienced group of test professionals,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith, Air Force Test Center historian. “This codified the center’s mission of executing flight test on aircraft and aircraft systems.”

The Air Force Flight Test Center is home to a long list of aviation milestones, such as Pete Knight’s fastest X-15 flight at Mach 6.7.

Under Air Force Flight Test Center leadership, Lt. Col. N.K. Dyson completed more than 50 flights for the highly classified low-observables program, known as HAVE BLUE, which ultimately led to the development of the F-117A Nighthawk program, a revolutionary development in stealth capabilities.

In September 1985, then Maj. Wilbert “Doug” Pearson successfully shot down the P78-1 satellite, orbiting more than 300 miles above. The precise mission required Pearson to fly an F-15 at high subsonic speeds over the Pacific Ocean, climb at a steep angle, and then launch a three-stage anti-satellite missile.

Since its inception more than six decades ago, the Air Force Flight Test Center has overseen the first flights of more than 150 aircraft, responded to time-sensitive needs by developing new weapons systems to be rapidly deployed to the warfighter, and continuously pushed the envelope to make aircraft and systems not only safer, but more capable, efficient and effective.

Although the history of the Air Force Flight Test Center is incredibly rich, developmental test and evaluation for the United States Air Force is an important mission shared by Edwards, Eglin and Arnold.

“For all of the things that have been done at Edwards over the years, you could go to Eglin and find the same story with weapons systems. Often times there’s some overlap in terms of flight test. Things have been tested at Edwards and Eglin. That is why the integration of the developmental test and evaluation community is so important,” said Dr. Joseph Mason, Air Force Test Center chief historian.

Recognizing the benefits of integrating Air Force Materiel Command’s test enterprise, the Air Force Test Center was established, changing the mission for the former Air Force Flight Test Center and broadening its focus.

“The mission has changed and our focus is now the entire test enterprise, not just Edwards. We have to focus on all parts of that enterprise equally and can’t show favoritism to any one of the locations,” said Brig. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander. “We have to look at all aspects of test from early modeling, wind tunnel or ground test, through graduation exercise with weapons drops and flight test. All of these pieces must fit together. That is the center’s focus – the whole spectrum of test activity.”

Transitioning to the Air Force Test Center is a milestone in the evolution of developmental test and evaluation, as for the first time, one center will oversee Air Force Materiel Command’s test enterprise.

Leaders believe it will allow for standardization in processes and the ability to most appropriately allocate funding, allowing for more efficient delivery of capabilities to the warfighter.

“This is an opportunity to look across these very professional organizations and identify best practices in business operations, customer interaction and warfighter support. We will apply those processes across all locations where feasible so we’re more efficient and effective. We intend to improve our performance and what we’re delivering to the program offices and in the end, what AFMC is delivering to the warfighter,” said Bunch.

“AFFTC has done a remarkable job supporting warfighters. We have taken Global Hawks that were in developmental test and when called upon before they were ever finished, deployed testers and contractors down range to support operations. All other locations have done similar things to support the warfighter. The overall impact to the warfighter should be more timely and efficient test execution,” he continued.

Although the journey of transitioning will not happen overnight, Bunch looks forward to working with the men and women throughout Air Force Materiel Command’s test enterprise to put best practices forward and continue the traditions of excellence together.

“I look forward to working with the men and women of the test center to set this off on the right foot so we are successful. This, I believe and many believe, is really a great step to provide better support to the warfighter,” said Bunch. “Our focus is no longer limited to one location. It’s that diversity of mission, culture, and successes that I believe will merge us into a more efficient and effective organization.”

“Each of the locations has a rich history and legacy of professionalism and outstanding support. The AFTC legacy is going to be comprised of all those parts so the AFTC legacy will be even greater because it has the best of all those worlds,” Bunch said.

Michael Deaver

Past Article

Mike DeaverWritten prior to Michael Deaver’s death in 2007.Michael Deaver our alumni who’s been on the cover of Time, wrote several books including one about “Nancy” and is listed in Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia.

Michael Deaver our alumni who’s been on the cover of Time, wrote several books including one about “Nancy” and is listed in Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia

“The Troika” (from left to right) Chief of Staff James Baker III, Counsellor to the President Ed Meese, Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver at the White House. 12/2/81.

Michael Keith Deaver born April 11, 1938 in Bakersfield, California, was a member of President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff serving as Deputy White House Chief of Staff under James Baker III and Donald Regan from January 1981 until May 1985.

While serving on President Reagan’s staff Deaver along with Chief of Staff James Baker and Counsellor to the President Ed Meese were known as “The Troika” by some observers of the White House due to their influence over policy and over all direction the administration took while they served on the White House staff.

Deaver as Deputy White House Chief of Staff worked primarily on media management forming how the public perceived President Reagan some times by engineering press events so that the White House set the networks’ agenda for covering the president.

Deaver resigned from the White House staff in May 1985 under investigation, he would later be convicted of perjury and fined $100,000.[[1]]. Shortly after his White House resignation he formed Michael K. Deaver, Inc. and became an influential lobbyist.

Deaver has written Behind the Scenes (co-written with Mickey Herskowitz) and Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan with a foreward by Nancy Reagan.

He now works for the Washington office of Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm.

More about Michael Deaver


Bill Deaver

printed with permission from the A.V. Press – April 10, 2011
Bill Deaver’s Tribute to his Brother Mike

East Kern Report

Remembering Mike Deaver


A couple weeks ago as I was driving to Desert High School at Edwards Air Force Base to attend a ceremony honing my late brother Michael K. Deaver, I glanced to my left as I drove down Highway 58 near the north entrance to the base.

On a sunny summer day in the mid-1950s, Mike was driving this same road when he happened to glance in the same direction and see an F-104 dive straight into the ground. He learned later that the pilot had punched-out and was safe, but the memory stayed with him as it has with me.

The ceremony at Desert High celebrated Mike’s induction into the school’s “Wall of Fame,” which honors DHS grads that have made significant achievements. The ceremony was something Mike would have been honored to attend.
As I told the students gathered in the “Scorpitorium,” Mike’s years at DHS were some of his happiest. He graduated in the Class of 1956, the school’s second senior class, and attended several class reunions, including one accompanied by a Secret Service detail when he was a member of the White House senior staff. To my recollection, Mike is the only Kern County and Antelope Valley resident who ever served on the White House staff.

April 11 is our family’s “birthday day,” because Mike, sister Susan, and Susan’s daughter Meg, were all born on that day in various years. (It’s also the day in 1981 that Ronald Reagan left George Washington University Hospital after being shot).

Mike and his colleagues in the Reagan White House are also in the news these days with the publication of an excellent book on that assassination attempt which occurred in the early days of his administration, “Rawhide Down,” by Washington Post Writer Del Quentin Wilber.

Mike got to know Reagan in the 1980s when he was one of several people assigned to develop GOP legislative candidates with the goal of taking over the California Legislature, which had been dominated by Democrats for years. That effort was successful because the candidates selected were moderates who could get things done, like the late Bill Ketchum, who went on to represent this area in Congress.

He was hired as a member of Reagan’s staff when the former actor was elected Governor, and ran Reagan’s operations in the years between serving as Governor and his election as President of the United States.
In the White House, Mike was a member of the “Troika” of Jim Baker and Ed Meese that comprised Reagan’s senior staff.

After graduating from Mojave Elementary School and Desert High School, Mike took a degree in public administration at San Jose State.

He worked for IBM in San Jose selling punch cards, which shows how long ago it was! He also played piano in a bar in San Jose, which billed him as “Michael Keith,” because the owner thought “Deaver” sounded “too country.”
When we were growing up our folks encouraged us to play the piano. It stuck with Mike and our sister Susan, but not with me. Both of them have gained a lot over the years tickling the ivories. Mike could hear a song once and play it forever.

At Desert High Mike ran for class offices, probably his first taste of politics. Unlike the rest of the family he never sought an elective office, preferring to help others with their campaigns.

Mike’s particular talent was in handling the news media, which gained him the moniker “Vicar of Video.”

Before Mike, politicians would stand in front of a podium and pontificate. Unless the message was really important or unusual, their messages would be muted if they were even covered at all.

Mike made Reagan’s appearances events. To illustrate a jump in home building, for example, he would take the President to a construction site, put a hard hat on him, and surround him with the guys building the houses.
A life-long entertainer who grew up poor, Reagan identified with just about everyone and it showed. The event would make the evening news in those pre-internet days.

Reagan was also underestimated by his political opponents, which worked to Reagan’s advantage. Mike said he never Reagan board an airplane without a stack of briefing papers, which to this day show his copious notes in the margins. He wrote his own radio scripts and extensively revised the speeches prepared by his staff.
Reagan’s entertainment background was quite evident when he was shot by Hinckley, (who is currently trying to get released).

As soon as he awoke from surgery, he peppered his nurses with notes since a breathing tube in his throat kept him from speaking.

The notes were full of jokes and one-liners, which amazed the nurses. When the breathing tube was finally removed he kept talking to the point that one of his exhausted nurses finally got him to go to sleep for a while!
During his years with the Reagans Mike got to know them as well as anyone. He had an especially close relationship with the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, who could be a handful at times.

Mike had two White House phone lines in his northwest Washington home, and they rang constantly during visits there. Fortunately, cell phones had not become ubiquitous in those days.

No life is perfect and Mike’s was no exception. He struggled with the family disease of alcoholism, which played a role in the trouble he found himself in after leaving the White House.

That led to an indictment from a Special Counsel and a conviction for perjury.
Interestingly, it also led to sobriety for the rest of his life, along with efforts to help others cope with alcoholism. His community service following the conviction was served helping men his own age at a Washington homeless shelter, and to spreading the word of Alcoholics Anonymous around the world, including trips to Russia before and after the Wall came down.

Mike spent the rest of his life running a Washington public relations firm, which took him around the globe. To pass the time during endless flights he read vociferously, sending Susan and I “care packages” of books every couple of months.

He also found time to write several books about his years with the Reagans.

As a person, Mike was fun to be around. He was an inveterate punner, and during a meeting with him and Lyn Nofziger I was in stitches the whole time. Susan’s kids inherited this talent, keeping us all laughing during a recent family gathering.

Sadly, Mike was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away August 18, 2007, at age 69 at his home in Maryland following a final trip to his beloved Lake Tahoe. At the lake, someone suggested a photo of he, Susan, and myself, one that we all knew would be the last of us together.

True to his calling, Mike organized the picture, with the blue lake, trees, and an American flag in the background.