Airplane Ii? No, Dorothy Hamill's Sending Love Dean-Paul Martin into the Air National Guard

updated 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

"Just days after the Republican landslide, Hollywood showed that it favors beefing up the armed forces, if not necessarily cutting back on government waste. Dean-Paul Martin is becoming an Air Force fighter pilot—and an all-star crew turned out at fianceé Dorothy Hamill's Sunset Boulevard pad to send their boy off to war. Or rather to weekend war. At 29, the fifth of Dino's seven children has entered the Air National Guard's officer training school in Knoxville, Tenn. in his latest career vector.

Dean-Paul has already been a teenage rock idol (with the '60s group Dino, Desi and Billy), an on-again, off-again college student (at both UCLA and USC), a minor league football player, a pro tennis player, an auto racer and a movie actor (opposite Ali MacGraw in last year's bomb, Players). "He's tried everything," his dad says fondly. "He just didn't know what to do."

Now, at last, Dean-Paul thinks he knows. If he makes it through the one-year training program, he will gain second lieutenant's bars and a one-weekend-a-month commitment to fly jet fighters for the National Guard. A helicopter pilot at 16, he took to fixed-wing flying soon thereafter. Now he will go supersonic. "I feel like a semipro football player given a chance to play in the Super Bowl," he exults. Martin found his new calling when he attended an open house at Edwards Air Force Base last year, and Lt. Col. Bobby Howard took him up for a spin. Cracked Dean-Paul's old man: "I felt like a wife who's been cheated on. I was the last to know." But Mom (the second of Dino's three ex-wives) took it more for granted. "All the men in my family were pilots," noted Jeanne Biegger Martin, who will spend weekends watching Alexander, Dean-Paul's 7-year-old son by his ex, Olivia Hussey, while Daddy does his duty.

For her going-away party, Hamill took time off from preparing her new Las Vegas act to assemble a this-is-your-life guest list. It included Pete Conrad, the ex-astronaut, DC-10 TV pitchman and Martin's auto-racing buddy, who turned up in his NASA flight suit. Dean-Paul's kid brother Ricci, 27, was also there observing that "Dean has always been an Army type of guy." But Dean-Paul reassured his friends that the silver screen would not be losing him forever to the wild blue yonder. "Acting is my career," declared the new $625-a-month air cadet. "But this is an opportunity to do something worthwhile for my country and myself."

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