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Michael Foster, 1954-2015

Posted on March 9, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Curt LaFond

With great sadness, the National Cadet Team announces the passing of one of its own, Lt Col Michael Foster, CAP, our national college and flight scholarships manager. Michael died suddenly at his home on March 6th. He was 59 years old.

While Michael was an instructor at Air Command and Staff College here at Maxwell in the late 1990s, he had a chance encounter with my predecessor, Col. Ray Bean USAF (Ret.), which lead to Michael taking an active role in the Cadet Officer School program that Col. Bean was rebuilding. For a dozen years or more, Michael served as a seminar leader at COS, then later as chief of curriculum, and finally as COS director (’09-‘11). Michael treated the curriculum and director positions as virtually full-time, year-round commitments, and the school’s academic rigor only grew as a result.

After Col. Bean retired, Michael and I would meet for a couple full days each winter to confer about the coming year’s COS. Every time, he’d bring a breakfast or snack or a new Apple gadget for me in appreciation for my making myself available to him. Yes, he was the sort of volunteer – thanking the paid staff for the opportunity to donate his time and talents . . . such a generous person.

His self-effacing humor was great. He was a top cadet in his ROTC detachment, but he never let on as to why. He loved to relate how the cadre once summoned him and asked, “Cadet Foster, you’re doing exceedingly well in ROTC, how are you able to outshine everyone so well?” Michael would point to his cadet handbook and reply, “Sir, everything I need to know to succeed is right here in this manual you provided me.” He never let on that he was CAP’s 1975 National Cadet of the Year and Spaatz #312.

Most of all, Michael thought of himself as a bridge builder, and would often share a poem by that title with his friends and CAP colleagues. He’d tell you that it’s kind of a sappy poem, but the message of helping others was True and Real and Important.

You gave your all, Michael, and you left us too soon.

- Curt LaFond

The Bridge Builder
by Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

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