Daniel Paul Hites
Col. Daniel Paul Hites, USAF (Ret), passed away Feb. 12, 2016. He
graduated from the USAFA in 1968 with a B.S. in aeronautical engineering
and from the University of California, Irvine, with an MBA. Dan was
the first Commander of Cadet Squadron 25; he was honored on the Commandant's
and Dean's Lists.
Dan and I grew up about a mile apart in Cincinnati, Ohio. We attended different schools so we didn't meet until we applied for the academy, sharing time at LO sessions and riding together up to Wight Pat for our medical screening and physical fitness tests. It was the first time we were in the same barracks together, leading to a 4 year stint in Vandenberg Hall.
Our paths crossed infrequently at USAFA but we shared many C-119 flights home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the Christmas holidays, we worked together on the annual meeting with candidates and their parents organized by our LO crew.
Our lives finally intersected again Firsty summer when we were selected for the commander and deputy commander slots for the Class of 1970 Air Base Security program in Jack's Valley. We had a great time organizing our leadership team, developing ops plans and running the operations. And it was a treat to work professionally with Dan and see his strong work ethic and leadership skills in action. I was pretty proud of the "Cincinnati Kids!"
When the ABS program ended we had separate duty assignments for the second 3 week period but decided we would spend our 3 week leave period hopping around the Far East together.
Since my duty was in Japan on an exchange program with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, Dan hopped out to Japan where we would begin our rampage thru Asia!
He showed up right on time and we hopped out of Tachikawa AB just west of Tokyo on a C-118 to Kadena, where we caught another flight to Bangkok. After a few days at the Chao Phya hotel, we hopped on an RAF Argosy to RAF Changi in Singapore.
Singapore was a vibrant and chaotic new world for us, so different from the well ordered RAF base where we stayed in the officers' closed mess and had to borrow long sleeved shirts and ties to eat in the mess. I recall asking the bartender in the mess for a Singapore Sling and he didn't know what it was. That still seems so wrong after all these years. I also lost my wallet and a couple days later it showed up at the mess, without my money but my ID was there!
Somehow, Dan struck up a conversation with a senior British officer's wife who became our tour guide around Singapore the next several days. We went everywhere and sampled the street vendor food without becoming incapacitated!
Our next flight was a Royal New Zealand AF Bristol Freighter (a step down from a C-119!) to Borneo for fuel and on to Manila. It took 12 hours!
After a few more days enjoying Manila, we hopped back to Fairchild AFB and were told we would be more successful hopping out of McChord on the other side of the state. We decided to hitchike and got out to I-90 at dusk in uniform, figuring we would sleep overnight in a nice car. But traffic was light and no one thought picking up two male hitch hikers at night was a good idea so we spent the night under the stars waiting for dawn. It got damn chilly!
Once the sky lightened, a kind soul soon picked us up and we got to McChord in time to catch a flight to Scott AFB. With no flights expected to Wright Pat we decided to use our hitchhiking skills again and soon we were home in Cincy from our most excellent adventure.
Over the next 40 plus years our paths crossed infrequently at our reunions where the seven Cincy classmates (Hites, Pohlman, Sallee, DeFazio, Moran, Behr and me) would usually gather for a photo. At the 40th, Dan and Wendy and I were part of the contingent who took a rafting trip on the Arkansas River, having a great time acting like we were young adventurers again.
Now my classmate and friend from pre USAFA days has taken his final hop, and I am thankful for his service, his friendship and our happy journey together.