The "Cold War" actually started at the Allied Conferences at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam before the end of the "Hot War" (WWII) in 1945. But it didn't really get rolling until the 1950's, when the two Dulles boys ( John and Allen) from the CIA and State, finished brainwashing Harry, the haberdasher and piano player from Missouri.
It was a lot different than the 'Terrorist War" we are currently engaged in.
There was little general public fear. Except on one occassion during the "Cuban Missile Crisis", when the public image of the UN shoe banging Kruschev had to be allayed. We survived it and eventually the "Cold War" burnt itself out or melted. Economic power and military power proved to be related. Free variable market economy proved superior to fixed variable central economy.
In Washington, however, there was great sensitivity and timidity and trembling concerning national decisions. Threat and counter-threat and bluff and counter-bluff ruled the day. Consumate poker players achieved high positions in top administrations.
In addition to the "Dulles Boys", George Kennon, the anonymous author of the famous "X" paper in the prestigous Journal of Foreign Affairs, also helped lay the foundation for the "Cold War" when he described the "Iron Curtain" descending on Europe.
Winston Churchill, coined the phrase "Cold War". Winnie never trusted "Uncle Joe" Stalin, even when they were fighting on the same side. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) thought he could control Stalin. He never got the chance to prove it, however, since he died at Warm Springs, Georgia before the war ended. I think he would have had about as much luck controlling Stalin as Hitler's General Staff had in controlling Hitler. Hitler made his generals dance on piano wire.
On July 16, 1945, President Truman, who was in Potsdam, Russia at the time, busy carving up the post-war world with Stalin and Churchill, authorized General Leslie Groves, Head of the $2 billion "Manhattan Project" to explode the "Trinity" test shot in the New Mexico desert at Alamogordo. It worked. The "Atomic Age" was born
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, Chief of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, quoted from the Baghavad Gita, "We have unleashed Siva, the destroyer of worlds".
He was right.
Hiroshima got "Little Boy", the uranium 235 bomb (about13 kilotons) on August 6, 1945. Nagasaki got "Fat Man", the plutonium 239 bomb (about 20 KT) on August 9, 1945. 200,000 people died to prove how mighty these 2 bombs were.
The "Son of Heaven" sued for peace the next day. The Japanese Empire formerly surrendered.4 days later, on August 14, 1945.
I rode the IRT subway downtown to 42nd street and Grand Central Station, caught the shuttle over to "Times Square", climbed a few lamp-posts, kissed a few girls, and yelled and screamed with the wild crowd. It was "V-J" day. The war was over. We won.
Where do we go from here? Peace and prosperity forever? Maybe. But, the genie was out of the bottle.
4 years later, in 1949, thanks to Dr. Klaus Fuchs, and others, the Russians also had an atomic fission weapon.
5 years later, in 1954, thanks to Dr. Eward Teller, and others, the U.S. had an atomic fusion weapon, which was 1000 times more powerful than the fission weapons which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I graduated from college in 1954 with a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering. Eisenhower was President, and Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were waiting in the wings.
The "Cold War" was heating up. The demand for engineers, of any kind, was at its height. Since I had graduated from a Maritime Academy, I went to sea as a shipboard officer. Six months later, I came ashore, got married, and entered the Aerospace field as a "Cold War" warrior.
Within a decade, both Russia and China had thermonuclear wepons. The Russians, thanks to the assistance of the German rocket scientists they had scooped up from Peenemunde at the end of WW II, also had inter-continental ballistic missile systems (ICBM's) to deliver their nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, anytime they chose to. The Chinese, on the other hand, did not yet have this delivery capability. Even though they invented rockets, way back when (before Marco Polo), they had not kept up with technological devekopment. Werner von Broun was way ahead of them. Dr. Hsui Tsien was still working in the U.S. at that time.
The 1950's, the 1960's, the 1970's and the 1980's became a bipolar world, with nuclear armed camps in both parts. The U.S. and Allies in the "West". The U.S.S.R. and Allies in the "East".
During the four decades from 1950 to 1990, both sides entered an arms race, which became known as the "Cold War". Both sides managed to accumulate approximately 20,000 nuclear weapons, each, during this period.
While the race was on, each side claimed superiority from time to time, until someone started to question what superiority meant. To his credit, that influential person was Dr. Henry Kissinger, Chief of the National Security Council, and later Secretary of State to Richard Nixon. Although I didn't agree with anyone's foreign policy at that time, and considered myself apolitical, I did respect Dr. Kissinger's reasoning. Dr. Kisssinger was the first to introduce the word "sufficiency" into the nuclear war lexicon in 1970. It was too late, however. Inertia had taken over. No one was at the helm of the "arms race".
Was "superiority" really a definable word for 2 nuclear armed camps, each having the power to deliver 20,000 thermonuclear weapons on target, anywhere in the world?
How many targets were there? In the U.S. alone, by the time the Russians got 1/2 way down their target list, they would be dropping nuclear bombs on Holly Springs and "Green Acres". It would be even harder for the U.S. to find 20,000 targets in Russia.
By the time each side reached the end of their target lists, they would be shooting at ghosts and dead people.
Remember that just one thermonuclear weapon is 1000 times more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The current crop of bombs could destroy any city, anywhere, anytime. Even after allowing for imperfections in the weapon delivery systems, and double or triple targetting to increase "kill probability", it is obvious that both sides were engaged in a run-a-way arms race This was what the "Cold War" was all about. Each side was striving to secure a superiority which didn't exist, or at least, was undefinable.
Who could win a nuclear war? There were many in government, and outside of government, who thought they could define the terms under which we could win. There were quite a few "Dr. Strangelove's" and "General Hardcore's" who thought they could define the terms, or die trying. The trouble is, they were too willing to take the rest of us along with them.
Kissinger was accused of being a "Dr. Strangelove" (in fact, the movie character was a caricature of him). I don't believe he was. A better character would have been Dr. Herman Kahn, the founder of the Hudson Institute, a "Think Tank" on the Hudson River, above New York City. Dr. Kahn wrote two controversial books, "Thermonuclear War" and "Thinking About the Unthinkable". He believed that, with adequate preparation, we could not only survive a nuclear war but even lead "sane and happy lives" in the glowing aftermath. For this view, he was roundly condemned in print. Even one of his publishers, Norman Podhoretz, who printed several of his articles in "Commonwealth", a leading Jewish, intellectual magazine of the period, questioned his views.
Several years later, around 1960, I had occassion to meet Dr. Kahn at a small gathering of nuclear weapons scientists in Boston. He was still smarting from the bad press he had received for his views, expressed in his books. Since he was the star attraction at the meeting, he posed this hypothetical question to the audience, "If you had the power to determine the outcome of a nuclear war with China.(this was a safe choice for him, since China, even though it had the bomb, did not yet have the delivery systems to wage inter-continental nuclear war) wherein you had two choices of outcomes: (1) The U.S. suffers 10,000,000 casualties and China suffers 10,000,000 casualties, or (2) The U.S. suffers 1,000,000 casualties and China suffers 100,000,000 casualties. Which would you pick?"
The question was not quite as hypothetical as it sounds, since there were many in the room who believed we had such capability.
The answer was surprizing, however. The overwhelming choice, almost unanimous, was outcome 2.
The accused warmonger, Dr. Kahn, now had his revenge. He stepped up onto a high moral plane and denounced his audience for being so inhumane and racist as to believe that in order to save the life of one American baby it was worth killing nine Chinese babies.
Throughout the "Cold War" period, many interesting philosophical questions were raised and argued in the venue of the times. The bulk of the scientific and engineering community, however, including me, stayed out of it and just kept plodding on in the arms race. They paid us, and we dellivered what they asked for.
Under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960's, "National Survival" depended on a doctrine of "Mutual Assured Destruction". This was the so called "MAD" doctrine of defense. It meant that even if the Russians throw all of their nuclear wepons at us, and kill us all, we will still be able to push some buttons of our own and kill them all. It was and still is a "revenge from the grave" national strategy.
The "Cold War" era was a "games players" heaven. The possibilities were almost endless.
Superiority in weapons delivery systems design was real. Offense and defense strategies were real. Attack measures and defense measures and attack counter-measures and defense counter-measures and counter-counter-measures and counter-counter-counter measures were all real possibilities. I spent most of my time implementing such tactics.
The possibility of limited success with some of the above tactics was de-stabilizing to the "Mexican Standoff" position of the "MAD" doctrine upon which "National Survival" depended.
The "Cold War" was real. Futile, but real. The Civilian Defense drills of the period, in which both school children and working adults were instructed to seek shelter under a heavy table or desk and bend over and stick your head between your legs (and kiss your butt goodbye) were futile and real. Governments are notorious in furnishing mis-information to their populace. An atomic wind is a bit more than a hurricane.
Unlike the propaganda of WW I, which was a dress rehearsal for WW II, no one claimed that WW II was "The War to End All Wars". Apparently, some politicians and generals envisioned the possibility of a WW III.
Fortunately, however, there were both politicians and statesmen. Thanks to some of the latter we were able to avoid some of the mistakes of the aftermath of WW I, such as imposing severe reparations on the defeated nations and failing to install a workable version of Woodrow Wilson's ill fated "League of Nations". Roosevelt and Churchill built a strong foundation, during the war, for a "United Nations" after the war. The conferences at Yalta and Potsdam avoided immediate confrontations, and the General George C. "Marshall Plan" began the restoration of Europe.
In the Pacific, the "American Shogun", General Douglas A. McArthur began the restoration of Japan.
Of course, it wasn't perfect. Few things are.
"Freedom, Egalite and Fraternite" do not endure forever.
Only the major players were granted Security Council status in the new UN. Only they had the right of "veto". The Major Powers were not about to relinquish national sovereignty, or any part of it.
Still, it was better than nothing, which was what came out of WW I aspirations. Fifty six years later, the UN is still trying to prove its worth. Some things take time. "Rome wasn't built in a day". Even the universe took several days, and it may not be complete, yet.
So, the "hot war" ended and the "cold war" began.
From the U.S. vantage point, the "hot war" took 4 years to complete, the "cold war" took 40 years to complete.
I was 17 when the "hot war" ended. I was 57 when the "cold war" ended.
I did not fight at all in the "hot war". I spent 15 years fighting in the "cold war".
The rest of this narrative describes in sketchy detail some of the weapons systems I helped to create as a "Cold War" warrior, while I managed to remain aloof from the major historical events swirling around me during those four tumultous decades.
The hot war ended. Stalin stole the secrets of the bomb. The cold war started. Herman Goering, the WW I fighter ace, WW II Luftwaffe Chief, and post war criminal, who was sentenced to be hanged at the Nazi trials in Nuremburg, was right when he said to his judges, "you will soon be at each other's throats". Then he cheated the hangman by taking his cyanide pill, and rested in peace while the "Cold War" raged.
Forty years of cold war lay ahead, 1950 to1990. I participated actively in about half of it, from 1955 to 1970. In 1971 I rejoined the civilian ranks as a hostage in the MAD (mutual assured destruction) world I had helped create and tried not to think about it.
Most people didn't have my problem. They either didn't know they were being held hostage in a MAD nuclear world, or were too jaded to care "Wolf" had been cried too often. The world was drifting into a blend of western materialism and eastern fatalism.
The decades progressed as we went through the Truman/Dulles years, the Marshall Plan years, Korea, Old General's fading away at the Waldorf, I like Ike, Mc Carthy, Hollywood black lists, Kennedy/ Camelot, the Berlin Wall, Cuba, Kruschev, Molotov (left over from WW II), the U2, Gary Francis Powers (who didn't take his cyanide pill like a good boy, like Herman the German), November 22, 1963, when Camelot crashed at the book depository in Dallas, then Bobby at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, then Martin at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, then Lyndon and the "Great Society" and the choices between butter and guns, then Saigon, and LBJ heads back to the ranch, and Nixon and Henry the "K" solve the riddles of the Middle East and the enigmas of the Far East, but can't find the key to open the door at Watergate, and Jerry Ford holds the line, and Jimmy C suffers the agony of the hostages in Teheran, and Ronny R comes riding in on a white horse, wearing a white hat, and saves the day by spending us into a double digit inflationary spiral, while scaring the Russians sufficiently to get them to allow their empire to crumble without a fight, and then slick Willy, the Rhodes Scholar, straightens it all out, but gets caught with his pants down.
So, here we are. When all else fails, just remember, "Where ever you go - There you are".
We made it through the hot war, and the cold war, with a pot-pourri of leaders. We will probably survive at least a few more years. This is the backdrop to my career as a "cold war" hero, which I will now tell you about.
I graduated from college with a B.S in Marine Engineering in 1954. It was a time when there was a great demand for engineers - any kind of engineer. Although my training at King's Point Merchant Marine Academy was longer on leadership qualities than academic qualities, I qualified for whatever was out there. I spent a few months running bananas from Central America and Ecuador to Los Angeles and New Orleans and then I headed back to New York and married the girl I met at the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro three years before.
Settling down in Long Island, New York, I took my first job with Fairchild Engine Division in Farmingdale. Fairchild made small jet engines to power decoy drones for jet bombers. My first assignment was as a test engineer for the J44 engine. I never completed that assignment. I volunteered to assist one of the Senior Engineers do performance analysis. No one else wanted the job. It was viewed as dog work. I was to be a step and fetch it boy. But, I didn't see it that way. I saw it as an opportunity to learn.
I knew less than the other engineers to start, since Marine Engineering is not the same as Aeronautical Engineering. In Marine Engineering, fluid flow was primarily concerned with incompressible fluids (water). In Aeronautical Engineering, fluid flow was concerned primarily with compressible fluids (air: nitrogen and oxygen gases ). Still, the first and second laws of thermodynamics, Newton's three laws of motion, equations of state, Charle's Law, and Boyle's Law, enthalpy and entropy, and conservation of mass and energy and momentum, all still applied. And so I was off and running under the direction of Reese Hensley, a Southern gentleman of the old school from Virginia. I learned a lot about the off-design performance of jet engines from Reese.
And then a young Ph.D. from Cal Tech (the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena) came on board and I was assigned to help him. My learning pace accelerated. Walt Swan was an impatient young engineer who could barely tolerate the way jet engines were currently being designed: tedious elementary models to achieve near design point performance, followed by drawn out slow and costly testing and modifying to achieve acceptable design point and off design point performance. Walt regarded the current design methods as slow, inefficient and too costly. He was right. He could build a better mousetrap, cheaper.
I became one of his team of three assistants. The other two assistants were Algirdas Maciuliatis, a Lithuanian refugee from WW II and a Ph. D. candidate in Aeronautical Engineering at M.I.T. and Gil Kelley, a Boston Brahmin and a graduate engineer from Brown University in Rhode Island with a Master's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. I was in fast company.
Only two things allowed me to survive in this fast company. One, nobody had ever done what Walt set out to do, he was basically doing a post-doc research program on his dissertation thesis. We were all at the starting line together.
And two, I started to bone up on math and science. Since I was living in Manhattan, down on the lower east side at 322 East 11th Street, I went to Columbia, N.Y.U. and C.C.N.Y simultaneously, taking select courses in differential equations, physics, gas turbine design and computer programming. Plus, when I moved out to Forest Hills and Huntington, in Long Island, I followed up with courses in Theory of Numbers, Quantum Mechanics, gas dynamics, boundary layer theory, magneto-hydrodynamics, and aerothermodynamics at Hofstra University, Adelphi university and Brooklyn Polythechnic Institute. I was literally inhaling science courses. Plus, Walt started an in house training progrm for the engineers at Faircild and had me and Gil and Al act as T.A.'s (teaching assistants). Naturally, we learned more than any one else.
Then Walt sent the three of us to Columbia University in Manhattan to take an accelerated course in fortran and basic programming on the newly developed IBM 360. We spent about 100 hours a week at the old Watson mansion on Morningside Heights, which now served as an IBM computer laboratory.
Once we became proficient on the large vacuum tube machine, Fairchild bought one for us to use We had to install it in the basement to keep it cool. It was primitive by today's standards, but a vast improvement over 50 girls pounding Friden mechanical calculaters. We were state of the art in 1955/56.
In three years we programmed a simultaneous solution to a set of complex partial differential equations for the design of a non-isentropic, complete radial equilibrium, multi-streamline, multi-stage, trans-sonic inlet, axial-flow compressor. We did it on the IBM 360 using punch cards. It was quite a feat and a definite advance in the state of the art of jet engine compressor design. We had the hottest compressor design program in the country, and maybe in the world. The old NACA (NASA's predecessor) at the U.S.A.F. Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio published our results.
The compressor is the heart of the jet engine, and the most difficult component to design as it faces an adverse pressure gradient and is subject to relatively large friction losses. The efficiency of the compressor design, measured in terms of work input minus friction losses, is the primary determinant of the efficiency of the overall engine, both with regard to fuel consumption and weight and of course, performance at design point and off design point.
Under Walt's leadership, we built and tested the best axial flow compressor design program in the U.S. and probably in the world at that time, 1959. Essentially, what we accomplished was to change the way axial flow compressors were being designed. Up to now, 1959, following a preliminary design, the final design was accomplished in an engine test cell, with the prototype compressor hooked up to banks of pressure manometers and temperature gauges. Test engineers physically made small geometry changes to the rotor and stator blades to achieve higher pressure at various speeds until satisfactory results were obtained. This was a tedious and costly process and could take years. After our test demonstration, months and even years could be shaved off the design process by making changes and achieving maximum design efficiency inside an electronic digital computer. This was a much quicker and cheaper way to design, and a definite advance in the "state of the art".
We received high praise and many kudos for our work, and then we were laid off. I didn't know it then, but I soon found out, this is one of the hallmarks of the Aerospace Industry - feast & famine - and follow the contracts. We were "high tech" migrant workers.
Fairchild folded for lack of contracts. Management sent us home at the end of 1959 for a two week Christmas vacation, with pay. Then, they told us to take off the rest of the month of January, 1960, with pay. I went skiing up in Vermont with my 3 month old infant son, Brian and my wife, Sonia. Brian didn't ski; he was too young. Sonia was not an enthusiastic skier, but she liked the ski-lodge atmosphere. We stayed at the "Trapp Family Singer's Lodge" in Stowe, Vermont. That's the same von-Trapp family who escaped the Nazi's in Austria in WW II, and were immortalized in Hollywood's "The Sound of Music".
When I returned back to New York, there was a letter from Fairchild telling me that the extended vacation was permanent, without pay.
The Air Force cancelled the Bomber that needed the drone that needed the jet engine that needed the compressor that we built. "C'est la vie". That was life in Aerospace, as I was to find out, again and again.
I wasn't worried. I was young (the key word) and sassy and I knew a lot more and was worth a lot more than when I started at Fairchild, four and a half years before. A month later, after another vacation down in Palm Beach and Miami, courtesy of snow-bird job interviews, I was employed as a "Heat Transfer Specialist" at the TRW (Thompson Ramo Wooldridge) Research Laboratory in Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
My first job at TRW was working on solid propellant rocket nozzles for Thiokol. What I did was design pyrolitic graphite inserts to be inserted into the composite material lining the throat of Thiokol's solid propellant missile rockets. The idea was to provide different heat transfer coefficients in the lateral and transverse directions to prevent burn through and catastrophic rocket failure that was plagueing Thiokol's tests down the Atlantic Missile Test Range off Cape Canaveral (later to be renamed Cape Kennedy).
Again, I wasn't really an expert in heat transfer. But I became one, by reading German textbooks (mostly mathematics) on rocket design, and taking graduate courses on heat and mass transfer at Case Institute of Technology in downtown Cleveland.
While working at TRW, I lived in Shaker Heights, an interesting community founded by the Shakers when they migrated from Pennsylvania. In 1960, it was a planned community, built by the Van Sweringen brothers to provide a safe haven for rich Cleveland industrialists. It had a direct line railroad straight to the financial heart of Cleveland. In 1960, it was the highest per capita income city in the U.S. My daughter, Deirdre was born there in 1960.
My new boss at TRW was an interesting character. Dr. Hans Eichenberger was a Swiss national, graduate of the Technological Institute in Zurich, and an avid admirer of undersea warfare. How he came by such devotion in Switzerland, I'll never know, but maybe that's why. One of his traits was to join us in the cafeteria at lunchtime and conduct a freeflowing academic seminar. He was always looking for new ideas. I remember him saying at one such luncheon, to a group of about 10 staff members, "Look ! There are 10 of us. If we each submit one idea a week, that's over 500 ideas a year. At least one of them must be worthwhile". He was a small man in stature, but a giant in energy, intellect and enthusiasm.
My next assignment at TRW was to assist Dr. Nick Fatica, from Ohio State, to design a mono-propellant fuel system for a space capsule on a short duration earth orbital mission. This was early 1960, after Sputnik, but before Yuri Gagarin and John Glenn went up. So far, only a dog and a monkey had gone into space, and neither of them had survived. We were still in the era of grapefruit and basketball size satellites. Low weight, low orbit, low duration missions were the order of the day. Our job was to make a man comfortable in space for three days.
Dr. Fatica was a chemist. After a search of umpteen compounds to use for a power source, we settled on the obvious - hydrogen and oxygen. The output from this reaction in a cryogenic fuel cell was water. Something the man needed to survive. We were extremely conscious of weight. The fuel cell, with cryogenic storage tanks, was an ideal power source. We also designed a moisture retrieval system for body exhalations and urine. We stopped at feces retrieval. For a three day mission, it wasn't critical. We also considered the possibility of making space capsule components out of digestible material. Again, it was non critical for a three day mission. On longer missions the space capsule is a little earth and must act accordingly. On short duration missions, you can cut corners.
The biggest problem we faced was temperature control. Our goal was to provide a shirt sleeve environment to our astronaut (we had astronauts, the Soviets had cosmonauts). Again, the capsule was a little earth, hot in the daytime and cold at night, as a function of solar radiation. Plus we had internal heat generation from the man and from the machine (fuel cell). We needed an integrated man/machine design, with each component having different tolerances. Also, due to the extreme variation in black body radition from the sun and the capsule, cooling was more of a problem than heating.
Eventually we completed our design study and submitted it to the NACA at Wright-Patterson. NASA was still struggling to get off the ground.
One interesting by-product of this study was my introduction to primary data on human destuct testing.
While I was continuing my studies on heat transfer at the Case Institute of Technology, I had occassion to use the library at Western Reserve, which was right next door (the two universities have since merged). While researching in the stacks, I came across captured German documents describing German medical research on extreme temperature and gravity effects on high altitude pilots. The German doctors used human guinea pigs (untermenchen captives) to collect this data. Closing my eyes and nose to the moral stench, I used the data to set boundary conditions.
It was pleasant living in the Shaker Heights suburb of Cleveland. I particularly enjoyed listening to the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra under George Zell. The acoustics in Severance Hall were extraordinary. But, I missed the hub-bub of New York.
Having been burned once during my first outing at Fairchild, I quickly learned the Aerospace survival tactic of always keeping a few resumes floating around. Without really angling for them, I got two interesting bites from the Boston area. One was from General Electric's Small Jet Engine Division in Lynn, Massachusettes, the other was from Avco Research and Advanced Development (Avco RAD) in Wilmington, Mass. I went up on a double interview with both.
The people at Lynn were familiar with my work with Walt Swan on our family of compressor design programs ranging from isentropic radial equilibrium (ISRE), non-isentropic radial equilibrium (NISRE), isentropic complete radial equilibrium (ICRE), to non-isentropic complete radial equilibrium (NICRE). They were impressed, and made me an offer they thought I could not refuse. They topped themselves three times during the interview. I refused. My heart was out of the atmosphere and into space.
I took the job at Avco for less money, but an opportunity to work on the Apollo re-entry capsule, the command module for the lunar mission. It was 1961, and Kennedy hadn't announced it yet, but I knew we were going to the moon. I wanted to be part of it.
Returning from the moon was the problem. The re-entry heating at the stagnation point on the surface of the capsule was hotter than the surface of the sun. How to get the capsule to survive during the 22 degree re-entry through the earth's atmosphere was the challenge. We solved it with ablative material. The teflon heat shield traded mass for heat without changing its critical shape. There was no liquid phase, it went directly from solid to gas preserving geometrical integrity as ablated. Dr. George Waldman was the lead scientist on this project. Dr. "Dutch" Detra was the Head of the Lab. Dr.Abe Kantrowitz was the CEO of the Company.
I went to MIT while I was employed at Avco RAD. I took courses in gasdynamics, relativity, and complex variables. It was a hard school, very competitive. My course in gas dynamics had two full professors, one of whom was Holt Ashley, a giant of a man, plus three doctoral candidate TA's. It was the make or break course for an advanced degree in Astronautical Science as opposed to what was previously Aeronautical Engineering. MIT, the quintessential engineering school was breaking new ground in science. When you're counting atoms pinging on the surface of your craft, and you're no longer flying in a continuum atmosphere under equilibtium conditions, it's time for science. My title at Avco was Senior Scientist. I began using dot and del products to shorten my mathematical notation. The analysis at Avco was pioneering and very heady.
in Aerospace, however, the name of the game is contracts. When our re-entry capsule design was handed off to North American, the Apollo Mission prime contractor, there was a lull in our research. I was invited to join a special projects team under Maury Eisenstein, a lansman from New York. I wasn't really a "lansman", not being Jewish, but as Maury said, "everyone from New York is a little bit Jewish", and so, I was adopted into the tribe.
Maury was a good looking dapper young man from the garment industry in Manhattan. He also had a Master's Degree in Mathematics from Boston University, but his real skill came from eight avenue. He was a talker, a salesman, a thinker, a schemer, a con-man, a goniff, and charming, amusing, and thoughtful and a good leader. He was also daring and had "chutzpah" to spare. He made life interesting. I really enjoyed my two years with Maury. We were the two Maurice's from New York. To simplify things at work, he was "Maury" and I was "Moishe".
There were two other people on our team: Ron Blecher, our mathematician, and Dr.Paul Lindsay, our physicist. Paul was "the Man in the White Suit" (named after an Alec Guinness movie of the time). He was unflappable and unruffable. A southerner from Georgia Tech, he was a cross between Rhett Butler and Robert Oppenheimer. He was also my sailing companion on several intrepid voyages out of Marblehead up to Gloucester and Bear Skin Neck.
One stormy night we were out in a Barnegatt and were late returning to Marblehead, when we got caught in a squall and got lost in the low visibility, fog ridden inky blackness of the Atlantic Ocean north of Boston and Cape Cod. We sailed around in the dark, hurriedly coming about in the stiff north-east blow, whenever we heard ourselves coming up on breakers crashing onto the rocky New England shore. Paul, as usual, was unruffled, he had faith in me. But, we had another passenger in our boat, Murray Friedman, a house guest from New York, who had never sailed before. He was getting a fine introduction to sailing in adverse weather, as the darkness continued to increase and the storm cloud ceiling continued to decrease.
As his panic increased, Murray began to offer me financial incentives to put him ashore. Of course, I couldn't. I couldn't put myself ashore. I told him I would gladly take his money if I could put him ashore, but that it was impossible right now without endangering the boat. I told him not to worry, we were safe as long as we stayed out to sea.
Of course, I was worried myself, but I couldn't let him see that. He was near hysterical.
The wind was blowing hard, about 30 or 40 knots and I didn't know what direction we were sailing in. We had no compass, no sea anchor, and no lights. We had set out on a day sail only.
Everytime I heard breakers hitting rocks, I reversed course. After a while, I stopped hearing breakers, but I didn't know whether I was sailing north , east, or south. There were no stars. Only inky blackness, and it was getting cold.
We sailed till dawn. When sunrise came, we saw a long line of fishing trawlers heading out onto the Grand Banks. We back-tracked these Portuguese fishermen until we reached Gloucester. The first thing we did was call our wives and tell them where we were. Murray's wife Freida was as bad off as Murray. They told us that the Coast Gaurd had been out looking for us.
When we told them that the storm had calmed down and we were sailing back to Marblehead, Freida told Murray not to get back into the boat, she would drive to Gloucester and get him. He was an obedient husband.
Me and Paul got ready to sail back, but first we called the yacht yard from which we had rented the boat. They were mad as hell that we had sailed out of Marblehead Bay. They told us to leave the boat tied up where it was, they would send a man after it.
So we all waited a couple of hours for Freida and Sonia to drive up to Gloucester and pick us up. I was hoping they would get there before the boat-yard people. They did. Freida jumped out of the car and ran over to hug Murray. The first thing he said to her was, "Freida, get my map out of the car and draw a circle around Beverly and Marblehead. We're never coming within a hundred miles of this place, again". I haven't seen him since.
Back to work again, the first task I engaged in with my new team mates, Maury, Paul, and Ron, was to help them write an invited paper on the use of multiple warhead payloads to be presented at the upcoming Anti Missile Research Advisory Council (AMRAC) symposium to be held at the secure Naval Air Station in San Diego in September, 1962.
AMRAC was headquarted in Washington, D.C., with publishing and archives maintained at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan
The subject of our paper was multiple warhead delivery systems. The title of our paper was "CLAW", which stood for "Clustered Atomic Warheads". We delivered this paper at a top secret restricted session of AMRAC at the secure Naval Station in San Diego in 1962. It was the first paper of its type advocating multiple warhead payloads. MIRV hadn't been invented yet. The capability for Multiple Independently Targetted Re-enetry Vehicles didn't exist in 1962. Our system could deliver multiple warheads, but only on a single target in a circular or elliptical pattern. This was an advance in the state of the art at that time.
There were only two companies in the U.S. designing and producung nuclear warhead re-entry vehicles (RV's) for the Air Force at that time. One was Avco RAD in Wilmington, Massachusettes and the other was G.E. Space and Missile Center at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Between them, they had designed about half a dozen RV's to carry thermonuclear warheads ranging from one to nine megatons. The more recent designs were in the lower megaton range.
Similar to RV production and design, there were only two nuclear research labs designing and producing nuclear warheads (WH's). The WH's and RV's had to be integrated, so we worked very closely with the nuclear labs at Los Alamos (the original nuclear lab, set up by Oppenheimer) and the Lawrence Radiation Lab (LRL), later renamed the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) to sanitize in print the radiation stigmata. LRL was the stronghold of Dr. Edward Teller, the father of the H bomb (a title he was very proud of). We made many trips from Boston to the nuclear lab facilities in New Mexico and California.
We also made many trips from Boston to the U.S.A.F.'s Space and Missile Systems Office (SAMSO) in San Bernardino, California. I flew an average of 20 to 30,000 miles a month. Too bad that was before frequent flyer miles and travel bonuses.
The reason we flew so much is that we were not allowed to communicate with our customer (the U.S.A.F.) over insecure telephone lines. This required frequent flying for program reviews, and changes.
Our team became well known at several topless bars in Colorado and Southern California. I also became a frequent skier at Mammoth, driving up from LAX, through the high desert country, Lone Pine and Bishop and then over to Mammoth Lakes. We worked hard, and we played hard. Sometimes we made trips "back to back". This meant we worked a full 8 to 5 day in Boston, caught the 6 PM flight from Logan to LAX, arriving in time for the "Topless" entertainment from nine to midnight, or sometimes till 2 in the morning; up at dawn, at SAMSO by 9 AM, work till 6, dinner and another "Topless" show till 11 PM, then catch the "Red-eye" (the midnite plane) back to Boston, arrive in time for another 8 to 5 day at homebase and then catch the 6 PM again from Logan to LAX and repeat the sequence with the new urgent changes. It wasn't that we were in a time warp, we were simply burning the candle at both ends. Calisthenics and stamina were required to do this cutting edge hi-tech job.
Eventually, everyone in the group got divorced. I was the last.
Contrary to developments in Russia, where the design philosophy seemed to be "bigger is better" (they actually exploded a 35 megaton weapon), the U. S. philosophy (strongly advocated in our seminal paper on multiple warheads) was to build smaller and smaller nuclear weapons. There were two reasons for this. One, we had the capability to miniaturize electronics and concentrate on guidance and reduced radar cross section. Two, there was a basic law of physics and mathematics that gave a cube/squre advantage to smaller explosions. The atom bomb is like a small sun. It radiates homogeneously in every direction. It fills volume (a cubed dimension) with energy. The target that it is designed to kill with over-pressure is flat (two dimensional). It is a waste of energy to lay a cubic volune of energy on a flat square target. From a target impact efficiency viewpoint, it is similar to calculating the percentage of the sun's energy that actually falls on earth.
Following the success of our AMRAC paper, I was promoted to Project Engineer for the design of a heavy payload system, 39,000 pounds on top of a Titan III missile. The mission was to negate the Leningrad SAM defense system to allow our B 52's access to the target. My liaison officer was a U.S.A.F. major, who was a B 52 pilot. His idea was that when we softened up the target with our nuclear barrage, he would fly in and finish it off.
Me and my team designed a three tiered payload with 13 one megaton Mark 11 RV's in each tier (39 total) which would be spun out in space and impact the Leningrad defenses in three concentric elliptical rings. Our liaison officer was ecstatic, his bomb run would be unopposed. What he didn't seem to realize was that there would be nothing left to bomb after we laid down a barrage equal to 2000 times the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima.
No one has ever experienced the direct impact of a thermonuclear weapon (the "Lucky Dragon" fishermen experienced only the "black rain", a hundred miles from Kwajelein). The impact of an H bomb is awsome beyond belief or understanding. So perhaps our B 52 pilot can be forgiven for not understanding. But what about us who gave him the weapon he asked for ?.
While I worked in Boston, I lived in Beverly, the home of Henry Cabot Lodge, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.. In Beverly, the Lodges spoke only to the Cabots and the Cabots spoke only to God.
My second son, Michael, who later became a Physics Professor at Boston University, was born in Beverly in 1961. We were now a family of five. We lived in a very nice $13,000 three bedroom house at 47 Brimbal Avenue, just off the electronic highway (128) that rings Boston. This was Boston's equivalent of the peninsula's Silicon Valley, before there was a "Silicon Valley".
For $13,000 I not only got a beautiful house but my own private ice skating pond in the woods behind the house. These were famous woods. They were called "the Witches Wood". During the witch hunts in Salem in the 1600's, the woods behind our house was on the escape route used by the witches and warlocks fleeing for their lives through the woods over to Gloucester.
Needing a little respite from the accelerated pace at RAD, I asked Dr. Detra if I could attend a summer seminar in systems analysis and operations research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Reluctantly, he agreed. At first, he wanted me to attend a similar conference at MIT. But I argued that I really wanted to get out of town, and so he let me go.
When I arrived in Ann Arbor, I lived in the dormitory at UM and embraced the hippy culture that was flourishing in Ann Arbor at that time. I stopped shaving and let my hair grow long and lived in sandals and a torn shirt and lederhosen and hung out at the Pretzal Bell German Beer Hall. It reminded me of my old days in Bremen and Bremerhaven.
I met Dr. Robert E. Machol at the university. He was teaching the math course I was taking. He was a dynamic lecturer, and an elegant dresser. His wife drove a white cadillac, dressed in her mink coat. They lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. He invited me to lunch in my hippy regalia. After lunch he invited me to tour the small new firm that he and several other science and math professors had set up in town. I went with him, as I was, smelly, unshaven, torn shirt, short pants, floppy sandals, long hair and dirty fingernails. Little did I know I was going on a job interview and I would be working as his assistant before the year was out.
Conductron was the name of their company.
Conductron had been founded by Keeve M. ("Kip") Siegal, a former professor and former head of the Radiation Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Kip was a figure bigger than life. He played on a grand scale.
When there was a periodic cutback in government spending, accompanied by a slowdown in university research, Kip bolted from UM and took about a dozen faculty with him.
Ann Arbor is a town divided into two parts: Town and Gown. Kip moved over to main street with his faculty entourage and set up shop on top of a Turkish - Armenian restaurant called "The Rubaiyat". Kip was Jewish and from New York and he loved food. Eventually it killed him in his early fifties, but he lived on a grand scale before he went. He made $60 million dollars while I was with him, in 1962 dollars. Conductron stock went from $4 a share to $90 a share while I was there. Why ain't I rich ? It's a short sad story. It can be summed up in three words - lack of faith. Kip had faith in me, but I guess I was too immature to have faith in him. Nevertheless, he treated me royally.
I started working at Conductron as Bob Machol's assistant. Bob was one of the professors that Kip had dragged over from the U of M in 1960. He was the Vice President of Systems Analysis at Conductron. He had written two books before joining Conductron, one on mathematics, with Harry Goode, another professor at UM, recently deceased from an auto crash, and one on Systems Analysis, with himself as the main author. He was also the current Head of ORSA, the Operations Research Society of America and President of TIMS, the Information Managment Society. He was a highly credentialed individual, as were all of the Conductron Vice Presidents, who shared a double row of offices leading up to Kip's lair at the end of the hall, above the Rubaiyat. They had all written books and many scientific papers (Kip had over two hundred) and they were all leaders in their field. I was in a "hot" company. Dr. Machol hired me because I had designed offense weapon systems in one of the two Air Force companies doing so in the U.S. Conductron had worked on one or two test bed research vehicles, but no production models, as Avco had.
Bob was not the easiest person to work for or with. Unlike Maury and the team at Avco, he was not one to share glory or credit. As many people in the business in those days, he had an inflated ego. In his case, however, it could be argued he deserved it. When he was younger, he supported himself by writing articles for the Encyclopedia Americana. He claimed to have covered most subjects from A to M and by virtue of cross indexing was also knowledgable in subjects from N to Z. The trouble was, he practiced this belief in ordinary conversation, with amazing dexterity and seeming veracity.
As you may have surmized, he was on the verge of being a colossal bore. He was not very popular at Conductron and I soon found out that I was his staff of one, because no one else would work with him.
Still, he was very interesting to me. I admired him, and was influenced by him, and I learned a lot while I was with him.
I stayed with Bob for almost a year. Then, he went on a "round the world tour" for about a month, presenting papers in Tokyo and Helsinki, in his official capacity as Head of TIMS and ORSA. While he was gone, I took a chance and violated protocol by sending a memo directly to Kip Siegal, CEO of Conductron. The memo was an outline of the projects I had been working on and a precis of the "State of the Art" in my area of expertise.
That night, I received a phone call at home. It was Kip. He asked me to come to his office tomorrow morning for a chat. As I suspected, he was unaware of exactly what my contributions to the company were.
Bright and early the next morning, his secretary ushered me down the Vice Presidential corridor into the "Big Man's" office. Kip was rather large in physical bulk as well as in scientific and business stature. He was also a very busy man. A ten minute conversation with him generally took an hour, due to the frequent necessary interruptions. On this occassion, however, he had reserved about an hour for me.
We started off with him asking me how I liked Conductron and working with Bob Machol. We then swung into my education and work experience, and finally into my thoughts on current offense and defense strategies and what I considered to be "the state of the art" in both offense and defense technologies, and where I thought we were heading from here.
Kip told me a little about himself. He was from New York, same as me. But that's where the similarity stopped. He came from a wealthy business family in Manhattan. He supported himself through Rennselaer Polythechnic Institute (RPI) by playing bridge for money. I told him I had won a Naval scholarship to RPI but had gone to USAF Pilot School, instead. I found out he had obtained his initial financing to launch Conductron through his family's connections with Paramount Studio in Hollywood (Paramount got a large chunk of non-voting stock). Kip owned 51% of the voting stock, which opened at twelve dollars a share in 1960. Kip bought 120,000 shares at par value, $0.10 a share, for which he paid $1200 plus a promissory note for the remainder. When the stock opened, he was an instant millionaire. Eventually the stock soared into the 90's and Kip sold the company to McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis. Mc Donnell later merged with Douglas in Santa Monica and Long Beach, California and formed Mc Donnell Douglas (affectionately known as Mc Donald Duck). Years later I went to wrk for the duck at the Mc Donnell Douglas Space Research Center in Huntington Beach, California.
At the end of our conversation, Kip offered me two proposals:
(1) He wanted to create a small Aerodynamics Department in his electronics company. He asked me if I would like to become the new Department Head.. I would. He then gave me "carte blanche" to hire three aeronautical engineers or scientists. I asked a foolish question, "How much can I pay them ?" "Whatever they deserve", was his short answer.
(2) He wanted me to join the in-house CTPC (Conductron's Corporate Technical Planning Committee). This was the most elite group in Conductron, composed entirely of Vice Presidents and Department Heads. I asked another foolish question, "Why do you want to put me on that committee ?" "Why not ?', he said. "Don't you think you deserve it ?" With a quick "Yes", I started looking for the door. It was getting a little too heady for me in there. I wanted to get out before I asked anymore stupid questions. I think Kip liked drama and surprise.
He also liked me. We had frequent meetings following that first momentous one, for me at least. Some of them were late at night and on weekends. As I said, Kip was a busy man. Although our company was small (about 200 to 300 employees), Kip aimed high and fully intended to pass the 500 mark delineating big business. As he said, "If I wanted to remain small, I wouldn't have bothered." He held onto his Vice Presidents with generous 5 year stock options. Only one Vice President quit before the first 5 years.
Kip was on President Kennedy's Scientific Advisory Board. Some of our night and weekend meetings involved that activity. He let me write a paper for him to present to that committee on the relative advantage balance between nuclear offense and defense. During these extra-curricular meetings he gave me the keys to his Thunderbird, for my personal use, and told me to take my wife out to dinner anytime at the "Rubaiyat" and put it on his tab.
In return, I gave him entry into complete system subcontracting for penetration aids packages to accompany both the Polaris and Poseidon weapon systems.
Up to this time, 1962, Conductron had been supplying only analysis and component parts to either increase or decrease the radar cross section of offense system components. Conductron's expertize was in radar signature analysis. They could make objects in space seem larger or smaller than they really were. They could also estimate an object's weight from the ionized wake that it left as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere. Conductron, although only a small company (about 200 employees), was the leading company in the U.S. doing this type of analysis at that time, 1962. Remember, this was more than 30 years before the "Stealth Bomber" flew in Iraq.
What I offered Kip, with our new Aerodynamic Department, was a way to design the complete package - radar corner reflector, plus decoy delivery system. The idea here was to make a 12 pound re-entry decoy appear on radar as a 400 pound nuclear armed re-entry vehicle (RV). And then to follow this up by enclosing both the real RV's and the decoys in an ellipsoidal "chaff" (electric dipoles cut to provide broad band coverage) cloud that could survive down to 120,000 feet. This would sufficiently confuse the defense radars so that they would be unable to rely on a two tier defense strategy, employing both high and low altitude interceptors.
Besides being an accomplished scientist, Kip was very attuned to making money. Conductron was too small to manufacture RV's, and there was only so much money to be made in selling analyses. Kip was intrigued by the idea of manufacturing patented decoy and chaff penetration aid packages. Kip already had a big reputation for making things look small, particularly over a broad band of the electromagnetic spectrum. He was known as the "King of Invisibility from DC to daylight". Broadband coverage was important because we didn't know precisely what part of the spectrum the enemy would be using to observe us.
Before I left Conductron, I secured two research contracts for the new Conductron Aerodynamics Department to design decoy and chaff penetration aids for Lockheed's Polaris and Poseidon weapons systems. This was worth about $900,000 to Conductron, but the potential was much higher if the systems were ever put into production.
I also became one of Kip's alter egos, attending conferences and symposiums, he was too busy to attend. This came about after one particular meeting down at Los Alamos, where I presented Conductron's new concepts in penetration aids design, and at the aend of the session, when the lights came up, one grizzled old Air Force General stood up and in a gruff voice asked, "How do you know that's going to work ?" It was a show stopping question, but me being from New York, and benefitting from my days with Maury, and having some "chutspah" of my own, answered, "Because it's our business to make it work". The answer satisfied him and he sat down. I stopped holding my breath. Later, outside the meeting, Kip, who had attended this one, came up to me and threw his arm around my shoulder and whispered in my ear, "Great answer."
I also made many trips to ARPA, the Department of Defense Advanced Reearch Projects Agency in Washington, D.C. in my capacity as a member of Conductron's CTPC. I collaborated with Dr. Dudley Fitz, Director of ARPA, in writing proposals for penetration aid sysytems research projects. Most of this type of research was done on a loss leader basis since it provided the company with a pipeline into DOD (Department of Defense) current thinking. Generally these contracts were under the $100,000 limit for sole source bidding. We got our share at $99K.
Two things happened that eventually led me to leave Conductron. But not before I bought a lovely three bedroom house, complete with screened in porch and a "ginko tree" in the back yard. I grew up in the concrete jungles of New York. I didn't know what a "ginko tree" was, but people came from miles around to see it. And that wasn't all. There were many other botanical wonders surrounding my $17,000 Ann Arbor home purchase. None of it was due to my efforts. It all cane from Professor Sussman, Head of the Botany Department at the University of Michigan. I had purchased the home from him, as is.
My oldest son, Brian, learned to ride a two wheel bicycle in Ann Arbor. My youngest son Michael almost perished from an extremely high fever he contracted from a severe flu epidemic that I brought home from a ski trip in Vermont. While skiing at Stowe and enjoying the communal dining at the Trapp family lodge, I contracted the flu from a young lady at our table. When I got back to New York at my parents house, I could barely stand. Nevertheless, ignoring all good advice, I had my brother-in-law, Eddy, drive me out to La Guardia and pour me onto the American flight to Willow Run. After infecting everyone on the plane, I landed in Detroit and crawled home to bed in Ann Arbor.
The next day, everyone in our house: me, Sonia, Brian, Deirdre, and Michael, our one year old baby, were all in bed with the flu. It was a highly virulent strain. Sometime during the day, we managed to take Michael's temperature and the mercury was up to the top of the thermometer. In a panic, both Sonia's and my temperature broke and we went running down the street to get help. Everyone on our street was a doctor. They were all associated with the UM Med School. Next door was a plastic surgeon. I skipped him and went to the next house where there was a young doctor I played chess with. He came immediately and threw Michael into the bath tub and covered him with ice cubes. Michael didn't like it, but his fever broke. Apparently, there were no ill after-effects. He is now a professor at Berkely and married to a cardiologist.
The two events that preceded my departure from Conductron were: First, due to my extensive traveling, I met a lot of people in the business, who were also doing exciting work and always looking for help. It was a job shopper's market. Second, I got involved in a job related political rivalry with another Department Head, a Conductron heavyweight.
The first event had both comic and serious overtones. In 1963 I announced my plans to leave Conductron and join Stanford Research Institute (SRI) on their MDAP (Missile Defense Analysis Project) for the U.S. Army Command at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. I still didn't believe in defense versus offense, but I was very impressed by the caliber of the personnel on the project, particularly Dr. Irv Yabroff, Director of the project, and Dr. Ron Easley, his Assistant. I had met both of them at the Pentagon in Washington.
My group threw a farewll party for me at the Rubaiyat, with several other company employees invited, including Dr. Bob Machol, we were still friends.
About a half hour before the farewell luncheon, Kip called me, he had been pretty quite up to this point, and asked me if I would stop by his office on my way to the luncheon. His office was right upstairs from the restaurant. I said, "O.K".
As soon as I walked into his office, he looked up from behind his large desk and said, "Would you like to get a Ph.D. ?" I said, "Sure, who wouldn't". He said, "It's all set, I spoke to Arnie and he's going to be your Advisor". (Arnie was Dr. Arnold Kuethe, a senior professor at the University of Michigan, holding an endowed chair in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was my consultant. We had collaborated during the year on my Lockheed research projects. He sprinkled holy water on my reports. His eminence and prestige shielded me from too adverse criticism).
I said, "Wait a minute. They don't just give you a Ph.D. like that. You have to work for it." He said, "Yes. You will.. You'll take about 12 courses and I'll finance your dissertation. It will be on something of benefit to the company."
Kip was always a dramatic person. I was starting to reel a little. I said, "What about Irv and SRI ? I'm supposed to be leaving today. Everybody is waiting for me downstairs at my farewell luncheon. Besides, I gave Irv my word, I accepted his offer in writing. I'm committed." "No, you're not." he said. "Call Irv. He'll understand."
We called Irv from the squawk-box on his desk and had a three way conversation about Kip's offer and my dilemma. Just as Kip said, Irv did understand. He wished me luck and said if it didn't work out, his offer would still be open. There are few gentlemen like Irv in the Aerospace business.
While all this was going on, my head was calculating furiously, how much of a cut in pay could I afford to take for the opportunity to go to school half time and work half time. There were no evening classes at UM, and a full academic load of 3 courses per semester would mean I could only work about 20 hrs. a week. I couldn't tolerate a 50% cut in pay. Before I could open my mouth and tell Kip that I needed at least 75% of my pay, he said, "Oh, by the way, I'm giving you a 20% increase in pay." My mouth fell open. I said "Thank you." Turning to leave and get some air, I said, "Are you coming down to the luncheon ?" "No", he said, "You tell them."
I went down to the luncheon and ate and joked and listened to some backhanded and some sincere compliments at the half roast/ half farewell dinner , with everyone saying how much they would miss me. Then came my turn to speak. I stood up and said, "You have all been so nice to me, I've decided to stay"..
I then told them that Kip had made me an offer I couldn't refuse. As soon as the disbelief turned to belief, they wanted their farewell gift back. It was a very nice brown leather briefcase. I kept it.
Of course, it didn't work out. Irv was far sighted and Kip had given me one of those Greek gifts. The kind you have to watch out for. "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes". We hadn't adequately defined half-time work and half-time school. It turned out to be more like time-and-a-half work and time-and-a-half school. I wasn't faster than a speeding bullet and I could only jump over small buildings. Within a year, I dropped from 3 courses per semester to 1 course per semester. The Ph.D. was slipping over the horizen.
The final blow, however, the second event, was my in-house political struggle with another senior Department Head at Conductron.
My decoy contract called for a hypersonic wind tunnel test of my proto-type design. Conductron had no wind tunnel, so I had to subcontract this test. I awarded the contract to a laboratory called "Fluidyne" in Milwaukee, which was fairly close to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dave Raybin, Head of the Electronics Department, wanted me to award the contract to Lockheed, Georgia, with whom he was already doing some business. I refused and got Professor Kuethe to back me up. I won the argument and the contract went to Fluidyne.
It was a Phyrric victory, however. Within a year, my relations with the Electronic Department deteriorated to the point where I believed it was no longer worth my effort to remain at Conductron. Plus the fact that the Ph.D. program was being dragged out.
So, I re-contacted Irv at SRI. He was a man of his word. The job was still there for me. My second farewell lunch was without fanfare and sans farewell gift. I still had the briefcase I had received the year before.
I moved down to Huntsville, Alabama in September, 1964 and joined SRI's Missile Defense Analysis Project (MDAP) reporting to the U.S. Army Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal. In 1964, it was the Army, not the Air Force, that had the responsibility to defend the continental United States (CONUS) against a ballistic missile attack from the U.S.S.R. Service rivalry was rampant. As a former offense expert for the U.S. Air Force, I was very welcome on the U.S. Army defense team. In all weapon system design, the first step is to evaluate the threat. To the army, I was an expert in potential threat technology. I was very welcome indeed.
Despite my welcome by SRI and the Army, I was still not a believer in defense against nuclear ballistic missile attacks. But, I was willing to give it a try, and I knew I was joining the best defense team in the country.
Dr. Irving Yabroff had an impeccable reputation. I never heard a negative word said about him. That was rare in Aerospace. Irv had a BA in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford. SRI had at one time been linked to Stanford University (its retirement plan still was), but was now a separate entity, even though headquarters was still at 333 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park, California. The reason the Missile Defense Analysis Project (MDAP) was in Hunstville was that this was a number one priority project with the Army and they wanted "on call" immediate response from their primary consultant, SRI. So, we all stayed down in Alabama just a few miles outside of the Army Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal.
SRI was an interesting place to work. It was a non-profit "think tank". This allowed us entry to a wide variety of data, including not only secret, restricted data, but proprietary data as well. We weren't competing with anyone, except our country's enemies. We also had no manufacturing facilities. If we were not as "pure as the driven snow", we were the closest thing you could get to unbiased.
Essentially , our job was similar to that of a mosquito on the butt of an elephant. We were to sting the big behemoths (the large defense prime contractors) into action. The Army didn't have enough scientific manpower (or brainpower) to ensure that they were getting value for their dollar. In this case, mega-dollars. (The cost of the first operational system was estimated at $72 Billion, in 1964 dollars).
75% of SRI's staff had Ph.D.'s. And then, there were a few like me, who had special knowledge.
I wrote 3 major reports while I was employed at SRI. Two on penetration aids, "Chaff" and "Decoys", and one on the utility of optical equipment in an active defense system. The latter report was a negative one, since the "state of the art" in 1966, and continuing into the next decade, was judged to be insufficient to deal with offense strategies involving "ladder down nuclear attacks". The concept here was to precurse your way to the target by a series of sequenced altitude nuclear explosions that would negate the use of optical equipment for intercept (for that matter, it would also negate radar intercept).
One of the major weaknesses of defense systems at this time (the 1960's, and by extension, the 1970's) was their inability to process, in real time, the tremendous amount of information they would be be faced with in a sophisticated (i.e., a multiple independently targetted RV attack with penetration aids) offense attack. In addition, there was the problem that the defense had to be almost perfect. It's like being a little bit pregnant or having a slight touch of cancer. The terms are oxymoronic, like military intelligence, or smart cops, or unbiased traffic court judges.
While in Huntsville, I lived in a "Yankee enclave" in the southeast corner of town. I had a beautiful three bedroom ranch with separate enclosed family room, dining room and living room, all centrally air conditioned, for $25,000. Our entertainment in Huntsville was at the country club. We were in the top 1% income group and lived accordingly. I continued skiing at Mammoth, California and charted a 10 day private cruise in the Bahamas for me and my wife, Sonia, and our circle of friends, which included the town's only Black millionaire, John Cashin, who later ran for Governor of Alabama. He lost.
While I was busy with scientific pursuits, I developed a yen for Social Studies and Liberal Arts. To slake this thirst for the Humanities, I enrolled in two classes at the University of Alabama Extension in Huntsville. One of the classes was "Oil Painting" (with live nude models). When I told the guys back at the ranch about this class, they all wanted to enroll, but it was too late. The academic bulletin had not described the subject matter of the class, and enrollment was closed on the first day of classes. Believe it or not, the nude models were merely a study in lighting. It was a technical problem, not an erotic phantasy. Half way through this class, I formed a local artists group to exhibit our work at local fairs. At the end of the semester, I transported one of the models, Marty, an Alabama "flower child" to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. The year was 1967. The Haight was at its height.
The other class I enrolled in was "Creative Writing". In this class, the instructor had us read our compositions to the class for group criticism. What made it particularly interesting to me was that the class was composed mostly of older women (I was only 39 at the time) who were the wives of the German Rocket Scientists who had escaped capture by the Russians at Peenemunde in 1945, at the end of WW II.
It turned out that when Werner von Braun led his contingent of German Rocket Scientists down a dirt road in northern Germany at the end of WW II and surrendered to an American sargeant, the Army shipped them all down to Huntsville and set them up on the top of a 500 foot flat-top mountain called Monte Sano, about 5 miles outside of town. They even built them a small Bavarian village on top of the mountain to make them feel at home. They were still there when I arrived in 1964. Their contribution to the design of our military missiles was no where as great as their former colleagues' contributions were to the Russian missile designs.
It was interesting to me, however, to listen to the compositions of their wives in my writing class, reminiscing about their lives in the scientific community of Peenemunde. It was similar to the experiences of American wives at Los Alamos or any scientific community engaged in a relentless high tech, high stakes research program. The big difference was that Peenemunde suffered from high level inspection visits by Hitler and Goering and day and night bombing raids by British and American planes. It was harder to work at Peenemunde.
Still, the work accomplished at Peenemunde, under adverse conditions, was exactly what propelled both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. into their missile race.
In WW II, the nuclear weapons exploded at Hiroshima and Nagaski were delivered by U.S. Army Air Force B-29 Bombers. In the potentially threatening WW III, these weapons would be delivered by U.S. Air Force inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM's), not too dissimilar from the German V-2's developed at Peenemunde, only bigger and better. That's the story of engineering design, bigger (or smaller) and always better. As they say in the trade, "more bang for the buck".
To round out my affair with the arts, I also joined the local Civic Theatre group in Huntsville. I was the "playboy" in Neil Simon's "Sundays in New York". This was my one and only off-Broadway run. The play ran for two weekd. I got great reviews. The drama critic of the Huntsville Times was my writing class instructor at the University of Alabama.
While I was burning the candle at both ends (the scientific end at SRI's MDAP, and the liberal arts end at UA and the Civic Theatre), momentous events were happening all around me. I was either oblivious to or uninvolved in most of them. But, not all. My second daughter, Maeve, was born in Ann Arbor, shortly after I reported to SRI in Huntsville. I couldn't charge the hospital expenses to SRI. I hadn't been there long enough. I charged them to Conductron, the locus of conception. It was my farewell gift from Kip. Instead of "win one for the Gipper", it was "have one on the Kipper". She was a beautiful child. We were now a family of six, two boys and two girls.
Other things that happened in the world around me at that time were: the famous march by Martin Luther King in Alabama from Selma to Birmingham, the second attempt by the Russians to scare the Allies out of Berlin by dive bombing the Bundestag meeting in West Berlin with supersonic jet fighters, the Le Mans was won by an American driving a Ferrari, Ed White walked out of Gemini IV and into history by performing the first space walk by an American, Julie Andrews won an oscar in the von Trapps "Sound of Music", Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison starred in G.B. Shaw's "My Fair Lady", the 101st Airborne landed at Camroon Bay and American troop strenght in Vietnam increased from 79,000 to 125,000 (we were no longer merely advisors), Medicare was added to Social Security as part of LBJ's "Great Society" program, Mariner IV flew to Mars (135 million miles away), Malcom X was assassinated, 25 million people in New York lived through the Niagra Grid blackout without harming each other, while 14,000 Federal troops had to be sent to Watts in Los Angeles to keep the 25 thousand people there from harming each other.
During each of the four years I was in Huntsville (1964,1965,1966 and 1967), McNamara and the Department of Defense (DOD) made the decision not to make a decision on the Nike X Anti Ballistic Missile Defense System. We kept working on it, however, and the uncertainty about whether or not we could make it work created ulcers in Moscow. After I left SRI, the Nike X was traded away for a nuclear test ban treaty in space and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1972 (SALT I). As Kenny Rogers says "you've got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them".
The concept of building a workable ICBM Defense System is highly destabilizing to a bipolar nuclear arms balance built on a MAD doctrine. It reinforces a "First Strike" mentality.
All throughout the "Cold War" there were advocates of first strike, some in high places. Lucky, it didn't happen. But, there were a few close calls (Cuba for one, Mc Arthur in Korea for another, and even in campaign rhetoric concerning Vietnam during the Goldwater years). What was visible was only the tip of the iceberg. We were surely lucky that saner heads prevailed in both camps. I admire the Russians as well as the Americans who preserved the peace.
Today, in the year 2000, arguments on ICBM defenses still exist. Congress and the Administration are currently mulling over the idea of building a limited defense system that would be effective against limited attacks from madmen, terrorists and blackmailers, and perhaps even from misfirings.
The arguments against building such a system are as familiar as the arguments for building it. It is true that technology has improved (this is true on both sides, defense and offense), but re-entering the arguments brings a sense of "deja vu".
It is unlikely that the world will remain unipolar in military strenght for long. Tripartite divisions of military strenght are possible, but probably not stable. Just as the fundamental electromagnetic and weak forces in nature can combine to produce an electroweak force and may even go further to produce a superforce combining the electroweak force with the strong force, my gut (not GUT) instinct tells me that sooner or later, geopolitics will resolve into 2 opposing forces. The world is still not small enough to allow a "League of Nations" or a "United Nations" to function as a "One World" government. I believe a "One World" government needs an external threat to make it happen. So far, there is no substantial external threat. Ocean pollution, ozone layer depletion and CO-2 hot-house effects atill have not reached recognizable epic proportions. Asteroid impacts and enemy aliens are still in the realm of science fiction.
So, if the military balance remains bi-polar, arguments such as the fictitous "Chinese Blackmail Threat" that we invoked during the 1960's to keep alive the faltering Nike X system, will fall on deaf ears.
It is ironic that a fictitous threat of the 1960's could become (and probably will become) a very real threat of the new millenium. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".
In 1967 I received some enticing phone calls at SRI from "the other Maurice". He had left Avco in Boston, while I was at Conductron in Ann Arbor, and he was now basking in the sunshine in California, with Mc Donnell Douglas at their Missile and Space Center in Huntington Beach. He was the Manager of Systems Analysis, reporting directly to the CEO. He wanted me to come and join him.
Skiing, sailing, big city life, key to the executive parking lot, interesting work and more money, how could I refuse. He was right, I couldn't. So, after a few polite demurrers, I accepted his proposal.
When I asked him why he needed me, when he had all that California talent out there, he gave me the straight answer. He wanted some one he could trust. He wanted his own team. One that he built, not one handed to him. In my case, he wanted one of his old team that had served him well in the past.
I took a one month vacation from SRI, sailed out to Spanish Wells, in the outer Bahamas, on a 75 foot yacht, flew back to Atlanta, drove to Huntsville in my red 3.4 liter Jaguar, picked up Marty, the model from the oil painting class, and drove straight to Aspen.
Skin diving was great in the Bahamas and skiing was great in Aspen. Marty didn't ski and she was becoming a drag, so I put her on a plane in Denver that would take her direct to San Francisco. I told her I would meet her in Haight Ashbury, when I finshed skiing.
From Aspen I drove over to Vail, where the stars and the illuminati skied. The skiing wasn't any better, but the accomodations and dining and apres skiing was.
I left Vail, and headed for California. Coming down the Snake River, I hit a 200 pound buck in the butt. The ornamental jaguar on the hood of my car had a mouthful of deer meat and hide. The rest of the engine hood and the windshield were covered with deer dung. The buck let loose when I hit him in the butt.
I drove straight to San Francisco and stopped off to visit Marty in the Haight as promised. The Haight was wild and Marty was wilder. The flower children were in full bloom.
I drove down the Great Highway (US 1) to Big Sur and Nepenthe's and then on to Los Angeles and Long Beach, where I took a room at the Beach Terrace Motel on Pacific Coast Highway. The Motel is built on the side of a cliff, below street level, with large glass windows and doors, offering a spectacular view of the ocean. It is very quiet at night. When you look out the window or door, you see only the stars and the moonlite on the water. Lying in bed, you hear only the Pacific Ocean waves crashing onto the beach.
This is where I met my second wife, Brenda, on March 10, 1967.
We had an idyllic California romance: quick getaways to the Beach Terrace, the Briarcliff and the Ambassador in the Los Angeles area, the Fairmount, the Hopkins, and the Highland Inn in San Francisco and Carmel, Big Sur and Lime Kiln Creek and Nepenthe's on Highway 1, and the Del Monte Lodge at Pebble Beach, and Suasalito and Tiburon, and Vegas and Tia Juana for a change of pace.
Shortly after I reported to Maury Eisenstein at McDonnell Douglas, in Huntington Beach, California, he loaned me back to Irv Yabroff, who was representing SRI at a high level working conference at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) in Washington, D.C.
The work session at IDA was to scope out for the Department of Defense (DOD), in the Pentagon, the next generation of offense weapons that would carry the U.S. into the 1980's.
The team, called the "STRAT X Study" was composed of approximately 75 high ranking scientists and engineers from all areas of the Aerospace industry and included some academics, on leave. I would not have been invited if it were not for Irv's prominence and Maury's willingness to fund my leave from McDonnell Douglas.
It took about three months of round the clock effort to complete the study. We started in April 1967 and finished by July. We created the first high security military internet to assist us in performing our calculations.
To field a new strategic weapon system takes about 12 years, and then you expect it to be operational for at least 10 years. This time span carried us from the Johnson/Nixon and McNamara/Kissinger years of the1960's, through the Ford/Carter years of the 1970's, into the Reagan years of the 1980's.
While this high powered study was going on, I lived in three states simultaneously. I had a house in Huntsville, Alabama, where my kids lived, while Sonia was tryong to sell the house, plus my apartment in Long Beach, California, which Maury was paying for, plus my apartment in Arlington, Virginia (across the Potomac from the Pentagon), which Maury was also paying for, plus cars in each location. I was living high on the hog, with unlimited expense account. I was burning the candle on both ends and in the middle.
At the end of the "STRAT-X STUDY", the participants were treated to a farewell banquet and awarded silver tie clasps engraved with "STRAT X - 67". I still have mine.
What Maury got out of this arrangement with me and Irv, was a pipeline into the Pentagon (me). I guess it was worth it to him.
When I returned to California, I wrote up all my experiences for him and he forwarded them to the Director.
McDonnell Douglas was working on a high altitude interceptor called the "Spartan". It was part of a two tiered defense, accompanied by a low altitude interceptor called the "Sprint", which was being designed by Martin-Marrieta. Both of these missiles were candidates for "Nike-X". I wrote several papers at McDonnell Douglas showing how these systems might interact with penetration aids. I also looked into mid-course detection and inter-diction. It wasn't clear, however, how far the Army's CONUS jurisdiction extended beyond U.S. borders. Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's) were the Air Force's priority.
While I was at McDonnel Douglas, we also considered the problems of nuclear proliferation and terrorist attacks. This was in 1968.
By 1969, Maury, who had a keen nose for which way the political wind blows, suddenly took off for a secure job at the State Department in Washington, D.C.
One Maury (me) left alone in the Aerospace jungle in California, was not enough to survive.
Maury E. was right. Shortly after he flew away, the Aerospace wind stopped blowing and the green grass stopped growing. I was laid off, for the second time. Only, this time it was harder. I was older, over 40, and I now had 8 kids and 2 wives to support. Ski season was over, so I went sailing.
I went on unemployment insurance and found out how to survive without money. Cheat.
But, once again, fortune smiled on me.
In an employment market tighter than the proverbial (you know what) I found a job. How I found this job is a story in itself.
Several years before I got laid off from McDonnell Duck in Huntington Beach in 1969, I attended an Anti Missile Research Advisory Council (AMRAC) meeting at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1966, while I was still employed by SRI. I was staying in the honeymoon suite at the Del Monte Lodge at Pebble Beach with another engineer from SRI. Our luxurious surroundings, overlooking the 19th green inspired me to hold an open house cocktail party for select conference attendees.
The idea of a hospitality suite wasn't new. It was only new with me. I had attended several before, but I had never hosted one.
The expense account justification for throwing a cocktail party was to learn from the guests during informal cocktail party conversations, what they really thought about the material that was being presented to them in the formal conference sessions, and collaterally, what they were working on. These informal extra-curricular gatherings bordered on violating security, but they were common practice at scientific meetings. Most experienced scientists knew where to draw the line in casual conversation. Classified meetings could be arranged for a later date. In addition, most guests were known to each other and it was virtually impossible for an individual without high security clearance to be in attendance.
One of my guests at the Pebble Beach party was Fritz Hallowell from the General Electric Missile and Space Center at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. I didn't know him personally at that time. He was introduced to me as the Manager of Systems Analysis at GE.
Three years later, when I was desperately looking for a job in the Aerospace drought job market of 1969, Fritz invited me in for an interview at Valley Forge. I didn't remember him too well from the drinking party in Pebble Beach in 1966, but he remembered me. I was hired as an in-house Consulting Engineer in GE's Missile Group at Valley Forge. It just goes to show that the old parable about "casting bread upon the waters" is true. Only, this time, I had cast lobster and champaigne upon the water, so I got a bigger return.
Of course, it also helped that I knew a little about nuclear warfare.
Before I left California, I bought a three bedroom house with a sunken living room with a big field-stone fire-place and a wet bar. Plus a two bedroom apartment above a four car garage, out back. Plus a brand new Volkswagen station wagon with a Blaupunkt stereo. I signed everything over to my first wife, Sonia, and filed for divorce. I agreed that everything should be in her name, to help her take care of the kids, Brian, Deirdre, Michael and Maeve.
I figured the kids would be better off with their mother, who could provide a more stable environment than I could. I also provided $400 per month while I was employed. The mortgage payment on the property was slightly less than $100 per month, when the income from the apartment and garage out back was deducted.
Brenda and I, and my new family, James, Denise, Keith and Lori went down to Mexico where I completed rhe papers for my divorce from Sonia and my marriage to Brenda. There was no waiting period in Mexico. (Several years later, I repeated the process in California.)
I was due to report in Valley Forge on August 1, 1969.
Brenda and I and the kids piled into an old caddy that I bought and headed for Valley Forge. It was a liesurely trip. First stop - Las Vegas. We got two suites at the El Dorado. One for me and Brenda and one for the kids. It was fun and games all the way. The kids loved dining at poolside, and Brenda and I loved the nightlife extravaganza floor shows.
I also won $3000 at the crap tables.
Next stop was Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We got there on July 4th and rode the ski gondola up to the top of the Grand Tetons. It was snowing up there. Down in the valleys, we tramped around in the woods and drank from the pure mountain streams and came close to a few black bears and watched the deer and the antelope play.
From Jackson Hole we went to Yellowstone and saw "Old Faithful".
We then drove up to Mt. Rushmore and photographed our smiling faces posed opposite the stern visages of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
We stopped by at Sturgis for the big motorcycle rally, and laughed at the old motorcycle mama's from the forties and fifties, who were now themselves forty and fifty, and had to be helped up onto the back of the bikes behind their macho men.
We rode up to "Custer's Last Stand" and climbed the grassy knoll where old "Yellow Hair"and the finest brigade in the 7th cavalry met their doom and we wondered what delayed Major Reno.
We then moved on to Chicago and Michigan, where we visited Brenda's family.
From Michigan, it was smooth riding down the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. Finally, we arrived at Valley Forge in the middle of the summer of 1969. It was a lot warmer and more hospitable than when General Washington and his troops arrived in the winter of 1778.
We climbed the earth-works and layed down in the small wooden bunk beds in the replicas of the log cabins that Washington's troops occupied. Then we drove down the road and visited the beautiful old colonial mansion where Washington slept.
I went to work as a Consulting Engineer at General Electric's Space Research Center in Valley Forge.
Within a month I was Project Leader for the Concept Development and Mission Analysis of an Advanced Post Boost System Definition Study (APBS). The idea was to loft a space platform or space "bus" that could drop off nuclear warhead missiles that were targeted to different sites, i.e., multiple independently targetted re-entry vehicles (MIRV).
I did a great job and when it was finished I got a commendation, a promotion, a raise and a lay off notice. It was my third and final strike-out in the Aerospace industry. I was ready to call it a game and head for the showers, but first, I needed some traveling money. I had been living up to my income and I had nothing saved. I figured I'd strike it rich and make a pile of money some day and that beat saving it the hard way, one dollar at a time. Well, as Bobby Burns said, "the best laid plans gang aft a'gley". So, my plans went aft.
Fritz gave me a couple of months on the payroll to see what I could find. There was nothing to find. Aerospace funding had dried up. It was drier than a witches' toenail.
So, I went skiing again. I think if I knew the world was going to end next month, I'd find some place to go sking. It's a great sport. It takes your mind off all other problems. All you have to think about is how to get down the mountain alive. It keeps you focused, briefly.
Fritz found something for me. He found me a consulting job with the "Keystone Kops".
Keystone Computers was a small computing company in Norristown, Pennsylvania that had performed some subcontracting work for GE. I guess they owed Fritz a favor, and he owed me one, so they took me on at $500/day, for a six month contract. The trouble was, I only worked one day a week.
In reality, I only worked about 2 hours a week. I came in on Mondays around 10 a.m and held a two hour conference with the Keystone engineers between coffee break and lunch. They were working on a decision model for target selection during a nuclear attack. I helped guide them to areas I thought were fruitful.
$500/week for two hours work wasn't bad, but it wasn't enough to sustain me in the 4 bedroom tri-level home I had rented in King of Prussia, where you could watch the red-coated gentry riding after the hounds, chasing the fox over the hills and into the woods.
I moved to a more working class village over in Norristown (the home of Joe Walcott, formerly known as "Jersey Joe").
During the next six months, I tried one last "Hurrah". Together with a couple of other ex-GE engineers, I helped formulate a proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to solve one of their current problems, created with the advent of the new big wide body jets like the Boeing 747. The problem was how to space out the big jumbo jets in the turbulent environment they created at major airports. Actually, the problem was how to space them in, by alleviating the turbulence, and thus shortening the wait for landing and circling over congested airports. The amount of fuel saved from the hundreds of thousands of landings was well worth the $1 million tab we put on the study. For each of the three principals involved, including me, it was their retirement effort.
We put together a consortium that included my old buddy and former Advisor, Professor Arnold Kuethe from the University of Michigan (he had written one of the early textbooks on "Turbulence"), plus a younger Professor from Princeton, who was also a recognized authority on turbulent flow, plus my recent contacts at Keystone Computers, and a large data processing firm in Austin, Texas. Working out of our briefcases, we had the semblance of a fairly large firm. I was copying the "Conductron" model. What the hell, it worked for Kip, it might work for us. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
It didn't work.
One big difference between Kip and us - he had resources, we had none.
We failed because of a singular incompatibility between time and money. The funds weren't immediately available and I couldn't wait.
Giving up on science temporarily, I tried another non-scientific, exotic approach to raising money. Inspired by a recent movie I had seen starring James Coburn, I put an ad in the Philadelphia Enquirer, "Flint for Hire". That's all. Just three words. I wanted to see what would happen. Strange things happened, but none were sufficiently legitimate to alleviate my cash flow problem. It's a good thing I didn't try to immitate a much later Hollywood release starring Jane Fonda and George Siegal, called "Fun with Dick and Jane". The plot was much closer to my real life. The opening scene shows Ed Mc Mann (Johnny Carson's old side-kick) playing an Aerospace executive who is in the process of laying off one of his senior engineers who has provided excellent service to the company. George Siegel played this role. His name in the movie was Dick. His wife's name is Jane, played by Jane Fonda. After Dick (George Siegal) gets laid off from the Aerospace firm by his boss (Ed Mc Mann), he and his wife Jane (Jane Fonda) go on a bank robbing spree (because that's where the money is). They are a slapstick "Bonny and Clyde" duo, who manage to susvive and eventually take over the Aerospace firm and fire Ed Mc Mann. It's another "only in Hollywood" plot, with some amusing scenes resembling "real life" experiences.
Lucky for all of us, Aerospace engineers are a more mature group than teenagers, or mafia characters. If they can't make it as "Flint", they try something more mundane.
One anomaly that did occurr during the Aerospace depression of the early 70's, was a small Federally sponsered program to retrain Aerospace Enginers as Medical Doctors. It was primarily available only to younger engineers, and due to limited enrollments in medical schools, it was not broad based. I was unable to take advantage of this program, and I am not sure I would have, if I could have.
Finally, the time had come either to fade away like an old general, or run away and live to fight another day. I chose the latter.
So, once more we became road gypsys.
But before we burned our bridges behund us, we let our four young children at home, James, Denise, Keith, and Lori, stay with their grandmother in Michigan for a month, while we flew in our two oldest children, Brian and Deirdre, from California and took them on a Roman holiday to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Atlantic City. We bought them all new clothes and brand new luggage and took off on our scenic adventure on the east coast. We knew we would be leaving soon and so we wanted to see it one last time in style. We stayed in the best hotels and ate in the best restaurants.
Our bridges to conspicuous consumption were our credit cards (and we had many). We knew our credit was doomed, so in the spirit of the old Roman Gladiators (Te moriaturi salutamus) we went out in a blaze of glory. After this the deluge.
The rest of this never-ending story is not part of the Aerospace years. They ended in 1971. The follow-on years, 1971 to 1974, were the entrpreneur years, or "Life after Aerospace" years, which are presented in the next appendix, Appendix I, of this chronicle.
This is the end of this chapter.
Slight revisions and addittions may be made in the future, if required.
Other-wise, this section is ...........FINIS.