My deepest sympathy to everyone who knew Mike Joyal, Lt Col, USAF, Ret., AFA Class of 1987. During a week that three American warriors were killed in Afghanistan, a drunk driver killed Joyal here at home as he road his bicycle. If you wish to honor him, you can make a donation to the college fund for his children, Jackie and Katherine, at Joyal Children’s College Fund, 15954 Jackson Creek Pkwy Ste B, Box 316, Monument, Colo., 80132 (make checks payable to Suzanne Roseberry).
I never met Mike Joyal, but he was a frequent reader and commenter on this blog and our careers were very similar. We both graduated from the United States Air Force Academy (me seven years earlier than he), we both flew C-141s, and we both flew for Vice Presidents in Air Force 2 (he flew the B-757s). You can read more about his life in this Idaho obituary. I will miss his discernment and dedication to our alma mater.
You can read Mike’s thoughts about USAFA and service below.
On my speculative article, “Tragic Death Requires Investigation,” Mike Joyal said:
|Unless you have inside information you’re not sharing here, it seems like you are really grasping at straws trying to tie this to something deeper, even in speculation. Why do you not think it might not be just a young man driving too fast for the conditions? Thinking this kid was troubled by the child abuse scandal at Penn State seems like a stretch. And the fact that he was in CS-20 and a football manager like Henning doesn’t seem damning. I’d like to hear the results of the investigation to see if alcohol was involved, but even then, college-aged kids drink, troubled or not. Is there something else you know that you’re not divulging? If not, I don’t think there’s enough here to draw conclusions.|
|Just curious what your 10 reasons were for staying. I’m a USAFA grad, too. Today I retire after more than 23 years of active duty and I’m spending some time thinking back on my career. Hope it was worthwhile for you. I don’t regret my times at the zoo although it was no cake walk at times.|
|Anne, thanks for posting these. While I know you had some bad experiences there, I hope overall USAFA was a worthwhile endeavor for you. Being at the end of my 23+ year career and stationed here now, I have reflected on my time as a cadet and really feel it was a good thing for me. It would be very interesting to speak to female cadets (25% of the doolies!) now to see what has changed and what hasn’t since you were there.|
|For what it’s worth, I’ll tell you about my experience with women in my doolie squadron that I think is a good representation of my experience with USAFA cadets in general. We had three women in our doolie squadron – Kelly, Kerri, and Chris. Kelly was a standout in everything she did. She was on the basketball team, a straight A student, and a great contributor. Last time I saw her years ago in a base ops in Europe somewhere she was getting ready to go to test pilot school. Kerri was the middle-of-the-packer, much like me. We struggled to get through the doolie year like most others, but managed to do OK. I was so happy to see her teaching in my daughter’s school at my last assignment at Andrews AFB that I gave her a big hug after not seeing her for 20+ years. That bond we all have after going through the zoo, and especially the doolie year, never goes away. Chris was the screw-up of the bunch and frankly, I don’t know that she cared. We dreaded seeing her name alongside ours on the table assignments for the week because we knew we weren’t going to eat much with her at our table. She ended up getting kicked out of the Academy – for what, I don’t recall. My point is the women ran the gamut, just like the guys. But for the most part, the women I encountered in my career were great officers and aviators, from Beth Martin, one of the best T-38 IPs I flew with in UPT, to Beth Burda, my primary instructor in the Twin Otter in my last assignment back at USAFA. I was proud to serve with them.|