Fri. Sep. 03, 1993
T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 23:36 EDT
I GO DIVING DOWN 1
I think my handle is very far out. That's cool or hot or bad depending on your generation bias. It comes with a vision of myself in AW. I saw myself cruising around like the Red Baron watching for victims. Since I am new I would cruise the skies of Europe looking for wounded warriors trying to get home. Engine smoking, control cables half shot away, aileron hanging flipping back and forth like Heston in Battle of Midway.
Then down would come the SCAVENGER preying on the helpless getting some easy kills building up his score, becoming a DWEEB to be reckoned with.
Now the name is great. The problem is OLE SCAVENGER is getting his butt shot off roaming the skies of Europe. The only smoke I am see un is coming out the back view of my aircraft. The only control cables half shot away, ailerons flipping seemed to be on MY airplane. Something is wrong with my plan. I was thinking about changing my handle but DEAD DUCK is already taken and then someone might take SCAVENGER and I would never earn it back.
I know I'll change it to SC-avenger (Southern California Avenger). Maybe I could avenge other DWEEBS from the Southern California area. I could stay up really late when you EDT guys are very tired and then I can come diving down. hee hee hee hee
There has to be some way to make this handle work!! Surely I can figure some way where I get to come diving down. This sure isn't like SWOTL where I used to just come diving down alot. But you just wait, one of these days I am going figure out how to come diving down again and then just watch out!!!
Sat Sep 04, 1993
T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 21:28 EDT
I COME DIVING DOWN Part 2:
O.K. so I've been waiting to come diving down like I said so I could do this SCAVENGER thing and bring sorrow and woe to the wives and girlfriends of those poor wounded prey that I come diving down on.
So last weekend I was up there waiting to come diving down right and nothing was showing on my radar. There were a couple of dots here and there when suddenly, below me was a dot that hadn't shown up on my radar but started showing up as an icon that said it was an A-26. Looked like he was sorta sneaken around the mountains trying to, shall we say, remain incognito?
Now that drove this diving down thing into a real frenzy. I mean to tell ya I reaaaaly wanted to go diving down. So I did and just to make sure it was going to work I pulled the trigger at 8,000 ft and just held it down. And just to make sure he wouldn't fly away I had the airspeed indicator pegged out. So with the guns smoken the bullets flyen man did I come diving down. I think I got some hits. I can't be sure cause I went by pretty fast. Then I found out I only had 175 ft. in which to pull out from a 475kt. vertical dive.
Well That's about it. It was over pretty quick and I sorta hope the A-26 guys weren't looken out of the cockpit when I went by but what the heck I finally got to come diving down didn't I?
Sun Sep 05, 1993
T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 13:47 EDT
I GO DIVING DOWN PART 3:
O.K. I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I'm not really upset with anybody. It's just that I'm the sort of person that likes to do things in my own time, if you know what I mean. I like to learn at my own pace and I don't want to be rushed. So if you were the guys I met up with Sunday night I'm not still mad but give a little consideration in the future O.K.?
Sunday night it was quite around C-Land. Didn't seem to be much of anything going on in B-Land either. A couple or three markers were all I saw and since I wasn't having much luck gunning I thought I'd try my hand at dive bombing. So I checked out a P-38 and put on a couple of bombs.
I took off from C-19 and headed over sorta of north west where I remembered seeing a B-Aircraft carrier. I got up to 10,000 ft. and it took a while to get over there and nobody I mean nobody was in sight. Not on radar and not out between all those metal bars that you look through to see out the side of a P-38. So I'm real relaxed about all this, just crusin.
I look at the radar and that carrier is getten real close and its about time to do my thing, that's right, I'm goen to go diving down real soon. I set my sights over to bomb sight with esc-sd-enter and I sorta roll over a little to see the Carrier---and all of a sudden I got red icons showing up. Three of them and they're closing fast. I need a little time here to get set up. But I see one of these ICONS moving around behind me and the numbers are going from 5000 down to about 1800 and I'm getten nervous. I want to see where the other ones are so I use my coolie hat thing on my brand new $66.00 Chips and Bits Thrustmaster FCS, but those big metal things on the side windown of a P-38 are letting me see nothen. I feel like changing my handle again. This time to a [TRAPPED RAT] who is trying to look through the bars of his cage.
So I figure I am not going to last much longer with my bombs unless I get real busy diving down. I'm just about in the right spot so I push it over and down we go. Just then I get the first taka taka taka up my rear view but I'm diving down so the heck with that. The big X is right on the carrier deck but under all this pressure I forgot what you do to drop the bombs. So I hit the help screen and read a bit and put in esc-A-ent and a little message pops up says bombs armed. Then I look up and the X is right in the center of that carrier deck so things are looking real good. I am diving down real fast.
Now this is the question. If the bombs are armed and you put them right in the center of that big carrier deck do you get credit for the hits if the aircraft is still attached to the bombs?
Tue Sep 14, 1993
T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 23:05 EDT
I GO DIVING DOWN PART 4:
I have been on line with Genie since July 27th. I have NEVER EVER experienced NODE problems of any kind. That is until I registered for and received an invitation to, fly a Spit for the RAF in Eagle Day. As a flying sergeant in RAFVR I was called up right out of AWTA to fill in for the shortage of Spitfire pilots. I Was lucky enough to be posted to Sqd 54 at Manston. I even picked up a stove lid to sit on. The night before I got little sleep as one tends to review all that he has learned, wondering how the lessons of school will hold up to the reality of combat.
About 6:00AM I was awakened to the sound of air raid sirens. That was followed closly by the WUMP WUMP WUMP sound of the 550lb bombs from diving JU88s. We could see smoke pouring from the ruins of the El Monte node. I ran quickly to aid with fire control but to no avail. El Monte Node was out of the fight. Then I tried to report in. Over and over I got only---"HHH: His Majesty's Service Interupted".
All day Saturday and Sunday I tried to get into the battle but to no avail. "HHH His Majesty's Service" was out all weekend. All I can do is hope the Germans do not realize the strategic importance of our node network and that they will now leave the El Monte Node alone. If they ever figure out how important the nodes are to vectoring us into AW. Well" Loose Lips Sink Ships" so I will say no more, hint-hint-nudge-nudge, say no more . Lets just hope Goring did his usual poor job of strategic planning.
Secretly it made me feel a bit proud that the Germans would expend that much effort just to keep-- me-- out of the battle.
I GO DIVING DOWN PART 5:
It was one of those lazy summer days in /MO 4. In fact I felt pretty safe as the only dots I could see had little green icons just like mine. I was just lifting off the runway when unusual things started to happen. This time the messenger of death arrived with a friendly greeting.
*6666 Hey! Is that you Scav?
*4444 Scav's Up!
Reluctantly my eyes left the horizon and moved downward to the little black place where the messages come from. It was a place I have ignored as being new meant NO RADIO MESSAGES! Raising the gear was forgotten as I tried to recall the radio procedure. Lets see I am already on Ch#1 so if I just type / and then the reply, yes that's it just / reply.
I type the shortest message I can think of, then my hand races back to the view keys and my eyes back to the horizon as the aircraft begins to buffet. I push the nose back down and then I stab at the views but they no longer work. I am now blind in every direction but forward.
*6666 We sure like reading your posts Scav!
*4444 Yea,They are pretty funny.
*3999 Switch to CH2 Scav!
A cold sweat begins to form on my brow. The airspeed indicator is now going down not up. The buffeting is now being complemented by the stall indicator light as it joyfully blinks on and off. I don't want to be rude, yet I want to live. To fly, to roll and go diving down on some unsuspecting prey. Instead I am less than 200 ft. off the ground rapidly approaching a mountain, staggering on the verge of a stall, landing gear down, views out trying to write a letter with my left hand and fly with my right just because some guy said Hi Scav! Is that you?
I am thinking fast. Why are the views out. My eyes travel to the message line.
sits there waiting to be............... Entered, that's it I have to hit enter to send. I quickly hit the enter and then my hand races back to the views. They work again. Why is my airspeed so low? Oh my God! The flaps are down. I must have hit the flaps when I was pounding on the views trying to get them to work. Flaps Up. Air Speed starts to crawl back up toward 100IAS. The buffeting subsides and the stall light quits blinking. Something is still not right the airspeed is going up but too slowly. Oh, the gear is still down. I think its damaged. I am getting awfully close to that mountain...
I have absolutely no idea who shot me down. I never saw him. Just just as I was trying to type the commands to switch to Channel #2 there were those red flashs going off all over the cockpit as someone put and end to my misery.
I am sure that sending messages back and forth can really be fun. One hand whipping the stick to and fro a roll here and immelman there while with the left hand one sends messages of encouragement, friendship or even invitations to a duel of death. I will learn this. Someday I too will wait high above some DWEEB I will radio Hi Dweeb, Having Fun!!! When he reaches out with that left hand I will see his aircraft begin to wobble. Then, I WILL COME DIVING DOWN!! hehehehehehe
But,For me,today, it was sort of like having the mailman show up just as I am trying to put out a fire in my house. I am naked and running around trying to figure out what room holds the dog and the cat. I hear the fire engines in the distance. They are NOT going to get here in time.
The mailman arrives, holding out a packet of mail and says just sign here. I say excuse me but my house is on fire here! He doesn't go away. He smiles sweetly and says they really enjoy reading your letters.
Reluctantly I reach into my pocket for my pen but I have no cloths on. The dog is howling, the neighbors are watching and I am wishing the fire would come and just take me quickly away.
*Numbers have been changed to accurately represent the confusion
SCAVENGER aka [RADIO MAN]
I GO DIVING DOWN PART 6
T-30 I report to my assigned Attack Sqd. #609 and present my logbook; I receive a hearty welcome and a pleasant round of jolly good banter.
T-20 I am quizzed on my experiences with AWTA; My hours with instructor Bushwacker; and My flying experience in general;
T-18 Everyone gathers in good fellowship to hear my response; I reply that; Actually old chaps, I only took one session with Bushwacker and the ruddy AWTA before my Uncle Dowding pulled me out the class and sent me here; The Sqd seems to gather more closely as I answer more questions about flying the Spit;
T-15 My log book and responses are collected
T-10 I am put under close arrest until someone from intelligence arrives; I am strip searched and required to explain the rules of cricket;
T-07 They are finally satisfied I wasn't parachuted in by the Luftwaffe to sabotage an attack Sqd;
T-06 Someone from Group HQ. escorts me away from the good ole chaps in #609 and flies me over to Patrol Sqd. 610
T-08 Sqd 610 Welcomes me and asks a few questions while examining my log book; They ask me to look at my map and discuss the defence sectors; They listen closely to my answers;
T-06 I am strip searched and required to explain why Edward gave up the Crown
T-04 I am given back my uniform but no parachute and no side arm;
T-03 I am climbing out of B-33, a grin on my face, guns armed, heading for the English Channel to do battle;
T-02 Hdqs requests that I return to the field as Eagle Day has not started yet;
T-01 I am strip searched and required to explain Cromwell's tactics at the Battle of Waterloo.
T-00 The Sqd leader escorts me to my patrol sector
T+1:30 I have seen one enemy aircraft, have not fired my guns and flew 1:30 min on the fence line. The only British casualty in my sector occurs at T+90 when ole man Herms, at the Dairy, looks up to see my plane, trips and falls on his hayfork. But Gentlemen it was Eagle Day and I was there!!
I GO DIVING DOWN 7
Dweebering, oops, During the battle of Munda I, at last, had an opportunity to exit the rands of Dweebdom. The enemy bomber formation tried to sneak around the my patrol route. I caught them redhanded and radioed command where to vector the entire Japanese force to intercept. Only problem was I radioed the wrong sectors and then got shot down. When asked to explain the misshap I wrote the following to command at Christmas 1993.
THE NIGHT BEFORE MUNDA
It was the night before Munda, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring,... no spoons and no mouse. The maps and sectors were put in to place. In hopes that the Scav would make no mistakes. The Scav was nestled all snug in his bed. While visions of enema danced in his head. The take off next day was at T-ZERO. The Scavenger hoped he'd soon be a hero. His mission was to be a good scout. His comrades awaited the sound of his shout. The time passed slowly as onward he flew. The moments grew tense, his anxiety grew. When all of a sudden there arose such a sight. The enema Bomber wing in all of their might. Then down came the fighters they lanced through the sky. Scav. must report, for soon he would die. The radio came on, the message was fast. "Come Kotoshi and Bebop, on Twisted and Crash. To the top of my sector I'm in 2 comma 2. Hurry Grey Eagle, and Bushwacker too. The fighters came down, their tracers flashed red. Scavenger knew, he soon would be dead. The flames then burst from the front of his Zero Yes, he would die, but die as a hero. As he started to burn he heard so much chatter He listened to hear what could be the matter. The radio broadcasted, the words he most feared. Scav, reported the wrong sector, no bombers are here. His earphones turned red as his Commander exclaimed This could cost us the battle, God, Dweebs are a pain!
Because of these the technical articles I have written for Air Warrior-----I am getting requests for more detailed source material. Some of these books will be available from the AWTA Library.
Thirty Seconds Over Anywhere (also titled "Shortest Raids in History")
The history of the DooLittle or nothing raids by Scavenger Covers the 30 second raid over the B-Land Carriers The 12 second raid on an A-26 The 9 second raid on A-16 and much much more.
To Fly and Die
The Eagle Day sequel to Thirty Seconds over Anywhere
Reach for the Ground
The true story of a mentally disadvantaged DWEEB
The day to day diary of Americas first Augernaut.
One Brief Shining Moment
As told to Wm Manchester by Scavenger
A series of recollections just before the wheels left theground.
Unsafe at any Speed
As told to Ralph Nader by Scavenger
A series of recollections just after the wheels left the ground
In depth discussion of combat tactics between Scavenger and Robert DeNiro
Low YoYo High YoYo Walking the Dog Around the World Are you talking to me?
The Bridges at Yoko Ono
Imagine there are no countries, and no radar too.
I hope these selections will help prepare your mind for the tough days ahead.
*Robert Shaw (Mouse) was invited but gratefully declined.
The Divine (hot) Wind
Sun Jun 26, 1994
T.NAUGHTON [Scavenger] at 00:11 EDT
You just don't seem to understand the courage it takes to fly with a 386DX25. I guess you just have to be Japanese as the 386DX25 is the divine (hot) wind machine of Air Warrior. Every night before I take to the field I wrap my head in a 1941 scarf of burlap with the weed emblem above my eyes.I bow to the east and sip my little cup of ginsing mixed with Royal Jelly.
Then with a last salute I fling my leg up and over the printer and settle down into the cockpit. A flip of the start switch, I hear the Hard drive begin to whine. When it reaches peak I yell "contact" and hit the F8 key. The 386DX25 coughs and blue smoke envelopes me as Dos engages, bypasses the config and auto system. My keyboard lights begin to flicker on. I disengage the NUMLOCKs and begin to taxi.I look out of the cockpit once more as I know this will be my one hundreth one way trip this month.
With resolve I push my MarkII WCS to the firewall. The 386DX25 coughs, stalls, and then catches itself as we begin rollout. As I clear the end of the runway for just a moment I can see the smiling faces and hear the cheers of all the other 386ers as they wave me into battle. I know I am reaching take off speed as their faces are beginning to jump around on my screen as the 386 uses all of its energy to fly.
I will face the technology of 1994 with my weapons of 1991. But I will do my duty. I will seek out the enemy and do my best to down some of those (little tiny) aircraft as they go hoppity hoppity hoppity around my screen. If I can end just one of them dam hoppitys the evening will have been a success.
I will GO DIVING DOWN.
Message 154 Tue Jun 14, 1994
T.NAUGHTON [Scavenger] at 01:58 EDT
Being five years old in 1943 meant being a W.W.II child. Having a brother go off to be a bomber pilot fixed my childhood fantasies forever. While other peoples children may have dreamed of cowboys and Indians my fantasy world was filled with fighter planes and bombers, my cowboys were aces, my Indians the Japanese and Germans.
One night when I was about five or six (1943 or 44) We all walked up to the High Point Theater a few blocks from our house. John Wayne was staring in a movie called FLYING TIGERS. I was deeply impressed with the glory of anyone who put on a helmet and goggles and took off into the wild blue yonder. The scene that just stuck in my mind forever was John Wayne sitting in a Flying Tiger P-40 Warhawk fighter as he put on his leather flight helmet and started his engine. His canopy was open and when he was ready to take off he looked to his John Carroll (who played his wingman) in the next plane and gave him a thumbs up. His wingman returned the thumbs up vigorously and John and his squadron rolled out onto the grass field and took off side by side over the heads of the happy coolies working in the rice fields of China. John and his friends where on their way to save China from the Japanese.
That moment of thumbs up seemed to me, as a boy, to symbolize those few men, smart and heroic enough to have earned the right to fly the finest of machines, the fighter plane. For the rest of my childhood the heroes of the world were John Wayne and my brother and anyone else with wings on a leather jacket. That became the only thing that I ever wanted to do. I couldn't wait to graduate from high school and join the elite cadets who were one day going to have wings on their chest.
Mom and Dad, who had already worried through one son flying airplanes were not at all supportive of having another son in the Air Corps. By the time that battle was fought to its conclusion the Air Force was no longer accepting applications for cadet training and the window of opportunity closed. The Atlas Missile program and then the Mercury Space Program came along and I had enough satisfaction from being part of that to gradually see my dream of a flying career slip away first to the back burner and then off the stove completely. Soon I had a wife and then children. The dream of flying became some lessons in a Mooney Air Coupe at Spirit of St. Louis Airfield right across from Kratz field where Bill got his start in '43. Lessons were expensive for a guy with two kids and flying an Aircoupe with the canopy back was not fulfilling the fantasy. Years went by, many years. John Wayne and the Flying Tigers became just an unfulfilled childhood dream remembered vaguely at air shows and flying movies with the kids.
Then in 1981 I read about a new kind of flying. New technology had made what started as a motorized hangglider in to a real flying machine. The aircraft looked much like the Curtis Pusher of 1910-1920 era. Light but extremely strong fabrics and aluminum tubing had created an aircraft that weighed less than 300 lb. powered by an engine that could create a rate of climb of 1500 ft. per minute. Full controls had been developed giving three axis flight. Rudder, aileron, elevator. The pilot sat in the open like the early Curtis.
I decided to go for it. While I was taking my lessons I met a man who flew dive bombers in W.W.II and had spent most of his life as a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft and a commercial pilot. He told me one day, "don't regret the adventure you think you missed. Flying stopped being flying a long time ago. Flying became the act of managing an aircraft" which to him was not flying. He said "Have you ever noticed those tiny windows in modern aircraft"? That's because flying has become something done inside the aircraft with instruments and communications. The modern pilot is not looking out his windows experiencing the joy of flying. He said that was I was learning to do now was more flying than many get in a lifetime. Sitting on a seat, under a wing, with full controls acting and reacting to the elements is the essence of flight.
He had a beautiful new ultralight with a ballistic rocket parachute which could be deployed in an emergency to bring pilot and plane down safely. So I practiced and learned and finally soloed. The next day I was back out at the field to build up my solo time. My friend was also at the field getting used to his new plane. He came over as I was pre-flightiness my aircraft and suggested that we take a little flight together.
Our aircraft were parked side by side on the field. We both climbed aboard. Merl started his engine as did I. We both pulled on our helmets and goggles. A quick control check stick back and forth, right and left, full rudder right and left, engine advance and then back to idle. Merl pulled his goggles down and into place and then looked over to me. He reached out with a gloved hand and then extended his right hand thumb extended indicating his readiness to taxi. I extended my hand and returned a thumbs up to indicate that my dream was, after 50 years, about to become reality. We brought up the throttles and taxied side by side out onto the grass field. As one we advanced our throttles and side by side we moved down the field rapidly picking up speed. Our planes became light, with a slight bounce of wheels we were airborne. We cleared the edge of the field rising toward the setting sun. I looked down to the fields richly bathed in the early evening light. For just a fleeting moment I was sure I could see the coolies waving from the rice fields as we climbed wing to wing for one last battle with the Empire of the Sun.
Message 179 Tue Dec 14, 1993
T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 03:14 EST
======= To: BLUEBARON [BB at Kesmai] =======
- To raise a hue and cry over something that, at worst, is an odd quirk, - and which has no useful application to combat, is in neither of our - best interests.
I wouldnt be so sure it has no useful application to combat. I followed MD and Dustys instructions to the letter. As I came through the cumulus and 52,000 there on top of the cloud layer were DD and Wolfman trying to unravel a snarl in the telephone cables connecting their aircraft.
At 70,000 I found a woman at a giant spinning wheel weaving the great net. It spun invisibly down over the airwarrior terrain. Each time she carded the fabric I could see warps arcing out from the wheel toward the nodes.
Finally at 150,000 ft a great golden light shown on the perspex of my canopy. I saw orange sunbeams dancing across the land below from the great southern sun. A fine castle appeared to sit on clouds of cotton. At the gates sat an Arc Angel and behind him all the books of Air Warrior knowledge guarded by a Roman Centurion. Rows of writings and diagrams by the aces of history. Boxes of sound files, views, hand-crafted joysticks. Stacks and stacks of 486DX66s.
I glided slowly to a stop in front of the Angel. My heart pounded as I realized I had found the source of all knowledge and rewards in Air Warrior. I climbed onto the wing and was about approach the treasure. The great angel stood and walked over to my plane. He reached out to me. In awe I extended my hand in greeting. The angel reached past my extended hand gathering my plane into the folds of his magnificent robes. With a small smile he crushed the wings and flung us over the edge of the cloud and down into the void.
As I fell from the heavens, my plane and I wrapped in our dive of death. I uttered one last question: ...................Dok, ...........Why?.....
Because, my son.......................
You...people down there..... piss... me... off.
ATLAS ICBM AND ATLAS-MERCURY
CHEYENNE, WYOMING ALTUS, OKLAHOMA
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA
MY ADVENTURE IN SPACE FLIGHT
BY TERRY NAUGHTON 1993
I'VE SEEN THINGS YOU PEOPLE WOULDN'T BELIEVE
ATTACK SHIPS ON FIRE OFF THE SHOULDER OF ORION
I WATCHED SEA BEAMS GLITTER IN THE DARK NEAR THE TANHOUSER GATE
ALL THOSE MOMENTS.........WILL BE LOST... IN TIME
LIKE TEARS................IN.. RAIN
Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner
In the summer of 1958 my Dad,an attorney, was very ill with a heart condition. He was so hypertensive that any discussion led to an argument, and any argument endangered his life. Most of the arguments revolved around my life style. I was an angry lad 22 years old. I was back home, in St.Louis Missouri, after six months of Marine Corps reserve training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego and Camp Pendleton, California. I tended to stay out late most nights and do plenty of drinking, carousing, and fighting. My life was filled with Wine, Women, and Song. The fact was, I did very little singing.
The origin of my anger and those arguments began in 1943, when I was six. That was the year my brother, William (Bill) Sarsfield Naughton, joined the United States Army Air Corps. Bill graduated from the Air Cadet program and flew bombers during WWII. Dad was an attorney and could afford to leave his work when he so desired. We visited Bill at all of his base assignments. I spent much of 1943-1945 traveling to Army Air Corps bases, watching bombers fly.
When the Korean conflict came he was called back to active duty. I still have the photographs he sent me of P-51 and F-86 fighters parked on the runways of Korea. While other children played cowboys and Indians I played aviator.
My Dad thought my adoration of Bill was very cute. He obtained a small officers uniform and a pair of my brothers wings. Where-ever we went I received a lot of attention, including salutes from "other men" in uniform. I never had any doubt that I would, some day, wear my brother's wings on a real Air Force uniform.
In 1955 I was ready to follow my bother's footsteps. I would enlist in the Air Force Pilot Training Program right after high school graduation. Dad wouldn't hear of it, and he had to sign the papers if I were to enter before the age of twenty-one. Mom and Dad felt they had spent enough time worrying over a son flying for the Air Force. They would not go along with their youngest son following the same path. They insisted that I attend college, preferably in the field of law. Dad offered a compromise. If I would attend college for two years, he would then sign my enlistment papers, if that was what I still wanted.
Dad's "compromise seemed a betrayal. I had been talking about this choice for twelve years, with no opposition from my family. Now that it was time to go, they had pulled the rug from under me. I devised an angry compromise of my own. I knew Mom and Dad would be very upset if I were thrown out or flunked out of college. They might sign anything just to get me out of their sight for a while. It was immature and disrespectful but it was effective. When Washington University of St. Louis, sent my family a notice stating I was no longer welcome, Dad signed my cadet papers the same week.
I took my tests at Scott AFB, Ill. My scores for pilot training were excellent. The Air Force ordered me to Waco, Texas in sixty days. I spent those two months on an extended "goodby party" with all of my friends. It was a very exciting time. Even the model airplanes, that filled my room, took on a new significance. The Air Force was now flying some very fast equipment and soon I would be too. The frustration and anger I felt, during the three semesters it had taken to get out of college, were forgotten.
Three days before I was to leave for cadet school my Air Force recruiting officer called. The Air Force had just canceled the cadet program. They replaced it with a flight officers program that only accepted college graduates. With great disappointment, I joined the Marine Reserve. If I wasn't to be a fighter pilot I would, at least, be one of the proud and the few. I was trained as an infantryman.
My girlfriend, a law student, was being restrained from my company by her father. For some reason he thought that I wasn't going to amount to anything. He was a very wealthy Kansas pharmacist, who came pretty close to possessing his very own small town.
He was an extremely self-righteous fellow. Yet, he thought nothing of sending his darling daughter bottles of 100 Dexedrine capsules at a time to "help her study." The word speed wasn't in vogue yet. If we both took a couple of those 10 mg. capsules, we could sit at the bar matching everyone drink for drink and then watch them getting drunk, while we seemed to stay sober and alert. We both thought that was great fun. Later experience taught me that she was not a sexually oriented person at that time of her life. She did, however, firmly believe, that I should never go home from our dates with, THAT LITTLE PROBLEM, as she liked to call it.
So, in the summer of 1958 I was very good looking, upper middle class, dilettante. I was playing out my Rebel Without a Cause imitation of life in St. Louis, Missouri. I had more women than I knew what to do with, not yet realizing that even one woman was really, more than I knew what to do with.
My favorite activity was to dress up in my best ivy league threads. They were a white button down shirt and a crew neck sweater, with sharply pressed khakis, and penny loafers. I would then pick up my date and hit a circuit of our favorite clubs, drinking the night away. Inevitably I would find an opponent. Someone who would make the wrong remark or could be provoked to suit my mood. Then I could release my anger and put my Marine Corps conditioning to use. I would come smashing down taking him out with a few punches and retire with my girl. Life was unchallenging, the events of the world were of no matter, the center of the universe was me. Things finally came to a head toward the end of that summer. My Mother became quite frightened that the arguments with my Dad would cause him to have another heart attack. My girl's father was using every means to recover his daughter from my clutches, even cutting off her supply of Dexedrine. I also had a court appearance coming up.
The manager of our "American Graffiti" style, drive in hamburger joint had unwisely stuck his head into my car. He began to lecture me on proper "hanging out at the drive in" behavior. His face was but a few inches from mine. My right hand, resting on the seat had traveled in an arc upwards to the side of his jaw, driving his head up into the roof of my car. Friends outside, watching the episode, said that he suddenly stiffened, his hands and legs splayed out in a Charley Chaplin imitation. Then his head slid out of my car and followed his body down to the ground. I drove away leaving him peacefully sleeping on the parking lot of his domain.
The problem was that Officer Hagar of the Brentwood Police Dept. was making his rounds just then. Flashing red lights followed me to the next stop sign and I was busted!
In 1958, I knew Eisenhower was the President. I had never heard of the military-industrial Complex, The Missile Gap or the Atlas ICBM.
I was driving to Cheyenne, Wyo. in my 1955 VW. The 1955 model had no gas gauge. When it ran out of gas I had to reach down on the floor and turn a little selector lever. Then I could drive on reserve for another 40 miles or so. By the time I reached the five thousand foot alt. of Denver and turned North to Cheyenne that little four cylinder engine was struggling and by the time we reached the seven thousand feet alt. of Cheyenne it was barely running.
My Sister Louise had a home just off the highway and I arrived late in the afternoon. My Brother-in-law, a civil engineer, was the Assistant Project Manager for Fuller Construction. He explained he had a project going and I could work out the summer as a laborer for the electricians union. The Fuller Construction Co. received the primary construction contract to build the first ICBM launching sites in the USA.
My job had very little to do with the Atlas ICBM. When I arrived at the site, I found some very basic concrete buildings. Other than the lack of windows they looked little different from any industrial site. Concrete was being poured and the buildings lacked any fixtures at all. My job was to haul the electrical cables from the warehouse area out to the electricians. The material handler's designation was a good name for day-laborer. When the electricians were on a job that was too short to support an apprentice program they used material handlers as gophers.
I spent my days getting used to working at seven thousand feet alt. We loaded trucks filled with conduit and cable then drove them a half mile or so to a launch pad or launch control center. Then we unloaded the truck and went back for another load. Days merged into weeks, weeks into the last part of summer. The buildings were near completion and the union was phasing out their material handlers. It would soon be time to saddle up and move on. Most of the men had been laid off. I was finishing the cleanup work. Nothing that I had done that summer was different from any other construction job. The buildings, to me were launch buildings in name only. There was nothing about the project to get excited about. Atlas was something far away from me in space and time. This was just another construction site, and I was just one of many laborers.
On the next to last day of my employment I looked up when I heard the sounds of a hard pulling diesel engine. I saw the smoke pouring out of the exhausts and gradually a very heavily loaded semi-trailer emerged from the draw next to the site. As it came fully into view I could see why it was working so hard to come up the draw. The tractor was pulling a 70 ft. trailer with an immense load, covered completely by a great grey shroud.
I jumped into my pickup and arrived at the front gate just as the first Atlas ICBM arrived. Even covered in grey the missile looked powerful, enormous and like something out of a Jules Verne story. Then, in my naivety I was not thinking "big Bomb," I was thinking "space rocket."
From the age of twelve I read all the more popular science fiction writers. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Hal Clement and others took me on many adventures. Two things, other than Wine, Women, and very little song, filled my fantasy life. Aviation and Science Fiction. Science fiction and aviation (Aero-Space) had just pulled up to the front gate.
I knew immediately that I wasn't going home. The thought of leaving without seeing the Atlas unveiled, installed and operational was ridiculous. I knew my future was sitting in front of me. But, I had to find a new job. I learned that the company in charge of this phase was the Convair/ Astronautics Div. of General Dynamics. They were interviewing and hiring the next day, in downtown Cheyenne. The fellow that supplied this information had recently been hired to be a Safety Inspector. He had been about the site for several days, wearing his white safety hat and looking around. I had no qualifications for a safety job but that's what they were hiring and I was there the next afternoon, right after work. My interview was with the Safety Engineer. The fact that I had no experience was painfully clear. Our discussion reached the subject of my academic credentials. I talked around the fact that I had recently been thrown out of college. I rambled on about college mentioning more about fraternity life than about classes and grades. Suddenly my interviewer's face became more animated. He leaned over and said "you and I were in the same fraternity. We were at different colleges and about 20 years apart but the same fraternity." Once that unimportant fact was established I had the job. I drove home as the Safety Inspector for Site 6.
Wearing my newly acquired white, safety hat, I reported the next morning for my employee orientation. The filling out of forms included an FBI and Security Classification questionnaire. I would need a "classified" security level to work on this phase of the project. I doubted that the incident of the Steak and Shake Managers jaw would hold up my clearance. A classified government badge made me feel pretty patriotic and important. I answered every question completely and truthfully.
I then attended an Atlas familiarization course. We studied many aspects of how the Atlas worked. Its propulsion system, guidance systems, and support systems. For the first time in my life I was academically fascinated. I took many notes and studied in depth. Each site would have a central building above ground referred to as the Launch Control Center (LCC). The LCC was surrounded by six "coffin" launch buildings. The launch buildings, or pads, were long, low, rectangular, concrete buildings, open at the top. The roll back steel roof would be installed later. When completed they would house the Atlas D series ICBM which was built in San Diego, by Convair.
The Atlas would rest horizontally within the building. When tested or launched the roof would be rolled back and a gantry, supporting the Atlas, would slowly rise to a vertical position. This would put Atlas into a ready to launch vertical position. When the construction and installation phase was complete the launch buildings would be landscaped. That is, dirt would be pushed against the outer walls until most of the building appeared to be under ground.
The pads were a labyrinth of equipment. Tanks farms held the RP-1 Fuel (rocket propellant #1), a highly refined kerosene. Liquid Oxygen (-293 degrees) would provide the oxidizer for the fuel. Liquid Nitrogen (-320.4 degrees) and Nitrogen gas was used to maintain the internal pressure of the Atlas, and purge pressure for lines and systems.
The Atlas was like a giant, inflated football. Nitrogen pressure kept it inflated. The stainless steel skin was less than the thickness of a dime. The internal baffling separated the various components. They were not strong enough to support the shape of the missile.
When the Atlas classes were completed I went into the field to work with a "more experienced" Safety Inspector. He had been on the job for three weeks before I arrived. The semi-blind led the blind, but we got on well. Soon I was feeling more comfortable. I realized that as little as I knew, those hired even a week after me, knew less. Most of the day was filled with basic safety and reports. A portable, high pressure container left unsecured, could fall over, knock off a valve and cause injury. A man without a safety hat, might catch a wrench on his head from those working above. We looked for basic violations of common sense safety rules.
Then one day, on another pad, a man went into the permanent nitrogen storage tank area and never came out. Two men going in after him were also overcome. A substantial nitrogen leak had occurred. Nitrogen, being heavier than air, had displaced the air at ground level. The men had walked into a nitrogen rich atmosphere and were asphyxiated. They breathed nitrogen until they passed out. Nitrogen was a very silent killer.
It became apparent that I must learn more and learn fast, if I was to be an effective safety man. Technical knowledge might, one day, prevent a death. We must also have more safety training for every employee, contractor and sub-contractor. We also learned we required better protective and emergency equipment.
My site had an ambulance parked 24 hours a day, right next to the Launch Control building. The vehicle was a WWII type four wheel drive with the Red Crosses painted on the sides, top and back. Every few days I climbed aboard and started the engine to make sure it would run when required.
One afternoon an electrician was downed by a severe heart attack. This was a man I knew and had worked with during the construction phase. I ran for the ambulance, got it started and backed it up to the launch pad. We loaded this man into the ambulance and began our race for Cheyenne 26 miles away. I was pleased with our speed of response. We had him on the way to the hospital in less than fifteen minutes.
It soon became clear that this truck could not run more than forty three miles per hour with the pedal on the floor. The red light was on, the siren was on yet we were forced into a leisurely drive into Cheyenne. Soon the day shift ended at the site. The men, driving home from work, were catching up and passing me. They were blowing their horns and shaking their fists. I was torn between stopping the ambulance and switching this man to one of their cars or keep on going. We were, at last, reaching the outskirts of Cheyenne so I kept on rolling. We finally reached the hospital where he died a few minutes later.
The I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) refused to enter any work site until modern ambulances were provided. How many times I had started the engine of that old ambulance, just to make sure it would work, when a need arose. Butnever thought to take it out for a test drive. Some of the electricians, men I had worked shoulder to shoulder with all summer, seemed to hold me responsible. I became determined to learn more, be more observant, and check things out more thoroughly.
Shortly afterwards, on another site, a man was nearly cut in half. A stainless steel high pressure flex hose broke loose. The hose, under thousands of pounds pressure flailed wildly, cutting down anything or anyone in its path. Again the seriousness of what we were to do here was driven home. I spent many late night hours studying to learn more about every aspect of this profession. Poor performance in this college could get someone killed.
The obvious question is why were we, superficially trained people, assigned to watch out for the safety of men in a hazardous environment. The answer is simple. We were all they had.
One day, The Atlas was being designed and built in a plant. The technicians were supervised and protected by a thoroughly trained factory staff. Months later Convair/Astronautics had a contract to take the Atlas Rocket out of the plant and distribute it throughout the United States. The qualified people were used up instantly. Promoted to their "Murphy's level of incompetence". Then the "know nothings" were hired by the car load to go out into the field and make a job safe with a minimum of training. My job should have been manned by someone with years of experience. But there weren't even weeks of experience around. This job had never been done before.
For the first time I was virtually living my work. We got a new Safety Engineer. W.D. Morgan had spent over twenty years in the Navy and retired as a Chief. He knew a lot about motivating young men. He became a second father. It took him a very short time to realize that the written body of safety knowledge on off-site missile operations was virtually non existent. He decided to write the book. I decided to help him.
We gathered every publication he thought would give some direction. The Corps of Engineers had spent many decades in every form of construction. Their rules along with Morgan's Navy regulations and every thing else we could find were extracted, bent, shaped, reformed to meet out needs. General information on explosive hazards, flammability, and high pressure hazards, were examined and debated. Many nights we were still working when the sun came up. We worked hard and fast to fashion new documents covering the hazards the off-site people were confronting.
On those days, when the sun came up, I just put on my safety hat and drove out to the pad. A full day there was often followed by another night with Morgan, writing, reading, and discussing. We had a job to do and not much time to do it. It was hard work and also the most fun I'd ever had. All this for the $1.25 per hour Safety Inspector's wages that were half of my pay as a laborer.
I was doing a walking inspection of the pads when the military showed up. USAF really wasn't on the sites that much during the installation phase. But when they came they always acted as if we were all working for them. I, on the other hand, was working for Convair safety and didn't give a hoot what Air Force thought if they encroached on my safety regulations. So, when this group of six officers strolled leisurely up to one of the missiles, I was quick to note the big guy in the middle had a cigar clenched in his teeth. That was all I needed to see. I made a beeline for these people yelling "get that cigar off this pad" as I approached.
Two of the officers walked quickly toward me. I was intercepted about twenty feet from that cigar. One of the officers tried to stare me down as the other asked " Do you know who that is". My reply was that" he was a man smoking a dam cigar and that was all I needed to know" "This man," said the officer, "is General Curtis Lemay, Chief of Strategic Air Command and the cigar is not lit."
Once we had the fire hazard straightened out I was impressed. Lemay was another of my childhood heros of the WWII Air Corps. Colonel Curtis E. Lemay flew the lead B-17 of the 96th Bombardment Group on the raid to Regensburg, Germany in 1943. Regensburg and Schweinfort were two of the most costly and dangerous raids flown against Germany in WWII.
The officers enjoyed the fact that I was impressed by their boss. I was permitted to approach and welcome him to the site. He shook my hand briefly and said "good job" through the cigar while he looked past me at the Atlas.
While I was working on the Cheyenne project the Wyoming Air National Guard offered me the opportunity to go to flight school in Waco, Texas. I would receive the training to earn my wings and a commission in the Air Force Reserve. I would return to Cheyenne to fly the F-86D jet, all weather interceptor. That was the hardest decision of my twenty two years. I spent an emotional and thought filled month. I finally decided give up the dream of becoming a fighter pilot, and stick with the Atlas.
One day while on a site inspection I happened by some Techs. who were performing electrical tests. I noticed that the installed pad equipment had switches marked "simulators." One in particular was marked "Overhead Missile Door Open." It nagged at me the rest of the day. Finally I went back and asked the Techs. " what are the the simulator switches for?" The reply was that it was a time saver for system checks. Bypassing part of the system, cut hours from a procedure.
I thought that over until the next day. Finally I asked "If you can simulate the missile door open, what keeps you from raising the missile into the closed door." That struck them as humorous. "Design engineering makes that impossible. There are electrical safeguards." they replied. They however, did not know what those safeguards were.
I started looking for those electrical safeguards. It was a question in need of an answer. What I found was, that the people who had the education and the system knowledge, were positive it could not happen. But they were vague about why not. The higher I went the more authority replaced substance in the answers. The replies started to become more strained. One conclusion was that, a locally hired, hourly safety inspector did not know enough to be asking those kinds of questions. My inquiry was a waste of engineering time, said one home office chief engineer. The ex-navy chief, my boss, Don Morgan, saw that I was getting into hot water. He permitted it. He stood behind me when I wrote Impact Reports. Impact reports were filed with both home office and the Air Force. Management had to take them very seriously. My boss was taking a lot of flack.
We finally found ourselves in the Chief of Operations Office. That was as high as you could go at an off-site base. Mr Jeremiah ruled that while I had an interesting issue, the impact reports I wrote had too high a priority for a theory. It was diverting people from the job of getting the Atlas installed and sold off to the Air Force. I got a polite but firm instruction to "button it."
Shortly after, in Kansas in 1959 a "D" series Atlas was raised into the closed overhead doors of the launch building. The simulator switches were found to be the hardware part of the error. The cost was over six million dollars. There was no loss of life or personal injury as the test was being run from the LCC. The Atlas, the gantry and some support systems were destroyed.
Shortly there-after our Chief of Operations was called back to Convair/Astronautics headquarters at Kearny Mesa, Ca. He took me with him. We deplaned at a stopover in Phoenix. While Mr. Jeremiah and I were having a drink the plane taxied off without us. We had missed our flight. Mr. Jeremiah walked up to the ticket counter and pulled some identification from his wallet. He spoke with the attendant for just a moment. Within a few moments the aircraft turned around and taxied back to the departure area. The ramp wasdown and we boarded. I was amazed. I didn't think anyone short of the President could do that. We had first class attention for the rest of the trip.
The next day Jack Garrison, Astro's Chief Safety Engineer took me for a short walk through the plant. I was introduced to the plant safety and medical staff as his Cheyenne Safety Inspector. I wasn't aware that I was being evaluated. The next day I met the Chief of Aviation and Aerospace Medicine for Convair. I was introduced to him as one of Garrison's Safety Engineers. I returned to Cheyenne to pack. My career at Cheyenne was over.
I received a promotion and a new assignment I would head south to Altus, Oklahoma. I was now the youngest Safety Engineer in the Aerospace program. As pleased as I was to hold that distinction it would cause some major problems in the future
Altus along with sites at Roswell, New Mexico, Plattsberg, New York, Salinas, Kansas and elsewhere would receive the new Atlas "F" series silo installations. Now we were going to dig a 152 ft. hole in the ground and put the equivalent of an eight-story superstructure within. My old job had been upgraded in order to attract a higher skill level. I would hire thirty two Safety Technicians for a twelve site operation. My greatest hope was that I would find some of those people with more experience than I had. I wanted employees more knowledgeable then their boss. Maybe in that way I could avoid the consequences of Murphy's Law.
In the early fall of 1960 I drove south from Cheyenne, Wyo. for the state of Oklahoma. Cheyenne had given me a sense of purpose and direction, a small bit of maturity, and a great feeling of good luck and personal fortune. There was nothing I would rather be working on than the Atlas project.
The new car I was driving to Altus, Oklahoma was a British TR-3 Roadster. I purchased it when I returned to St. Louis, for Christmas. If providence had determined that I should still be doing stupid things, that car was the evidence.
I am 6'1" and then weighed about two hundred and ten pounds. The TR-3 was a very small, two seat sports car. I could reach over the side and touch the ground. The first comment I heard after purchasing it was a girl turning to her friend as I drove up. She didn't say nice car, she didn't say wow, she said "tight fit".
In the Cheyenne winter it was miserable. The heater blew hot air on my right kneecap and that was all the heat I had. The snow came in between the vinyl top and the windshield and made a little mound running along the top of my dashboard that never melted. The engine would never start after a freezing night on a missile site. Someone always had to push start me.
The car was very light so the slightest press of the accelerator would cause the rear wheels to spin on snow or ice. The minute I drove it out of the show room I owed more than it was worth so I was stuck with it until many payments were made. I drove that miserable little car in heavy winters for three years.
When I reached Altus A.F.B. the first Convair/Astronautics people were starting to arrive. I met my boss, Nolan Manly, a newly promoted Chief of Industrial Relations from the Convair/ Fort Worth, plant. The project was still in the basic construction phase and the authority and responsibility was with the Corps of Engineers. We were considered, not too welcome, guests at the sites.
I had no experience with chains of command, dealing with the military, trade unions, or with bosses. My "boss" at Cheyenne, Don Morgan, was a leader, not a boss, although at the time I did not know the difference. My Father was a man of great personal integrity. but he ruled as a boss, by decree, not by the charisma of leadership. He owned his own business and reported to no-one. He was the only role model I had for an authority figure. That was the only way I knew how to approach my new job as a Safety Engineer. I was argumentative, inflexible and the holy grail was the safety program. But I was not running my own business, like my Father. I was instantly in big trouble.
Under the rules of engagement between Corps of Engineers, USAF and civilian contractors were agreements called J.O.D. and B.O.D. J.O.D. was Joint Occupancy date and B.O.D. was the beneficial occupancy date. The years have blurred my memory as to which was which but one meant we were guests of the Corps on a site with no authority. We were just looking over their shoulder while they worked. The other gave us the contractual authority as construction phased out an the installation of Atlas hardware began.
We were in the former not the latter when I made my first visit to a site. I was the "guest" of the Corps Safety Engineer. We drove from site to site and he briefed me on the work in progress. Down, underground in the launch control centers the painters were at work. The air was rich with the smell of paint thinner. The air was also rich with the smell of other solvents as the fitters were wiping down stainless steel with Trichlorethylene from fifty five gallon drums. They were also smoking while they worked. We had Convair people down in those LCCs with them.
My newly acquired office was in a converted barracks on base. I rushed back to write my first safety report. It was in the form of a letter to the Corps. I outlined the hazards, specified the regulations, and pointed out the risks to Convair personnel. I listed the remedy, and mentioned that Convair personnel could not continue to be present with these hazards uncorrected. I copied my boss, USAF, my Chief Safety Engineer at the plant, and of course, my Mother and Father.
Within two days my letter hit the fan. The Corps responded with a letter to the Chief of Operations Convair/Astronautics indicating we had no authority onsite and banning me from further visits. They indicated they could also ban all Astronautics personnel until the official turn over date. Astro. must agree to operate within the joint occupancy limits of authority.
This was a big deal. Everyone was very upset. The Chief of Operations called my Chief of Industrial Relations who called me and there was a meeting. I was suspended from any trips to the sites. Jack Garrison was called in from San Diego to deal with me and pull Convair out of the hot water, with the Corps. I didn't have a friend in the world on this matter. My people seemed as outraged by my letter, as the Corps.
Jack Garrison arrived by plane the next day. I knew he was there but he did not call for me or come to see me. He was in meetings with my managers. A joint session was scheduled with Astro, USAF, and Corps on Monday. I was not invited to that meeting either.
Before the meeting occurred and while Jack Garrison was speaking with my supervisors two sites had fires in the LCC.
One was considerably damaged and one very lightly damaged. The fires were the result of solvent saturated debris in contact with a source of combustion. The only logical source of combustion was matches or unextinguished cigarettes. The Corps apologized. The meeting on Monday was a victory meeting for Convair. I was not invited but, I was off the hook.
Now Garrison came to see me, he was all smiles an enthusiasm. Putting a twenty two year old Safety Engineer at Altus had suddenly become a feather in his cap. I learned later that he had definitely come to fire me. Corps rescinded the no visit rule, I would be a welcome "guest". Jack was at ease, relaxed and wanted to see the sites.
As we drove out to the Snyder, Oklahoma site we talked shop. My first hired Safety Technician Bob Powers sat behind us. I was explaining to Jack some of the problems I had found on the sites. I explained how I wished I had come down to Altus sooner, I could have prevented some of the more ridiculous unsafe activities. He was all ears and in a good mood.
I explained one the biggest complaints from our people and one of the most stupid things I had seen onsite. That was our men, staggering around, 100 plus feet in the air, on steel superstructure, wearing safety belts, with heavy logging chains, instead of light steel cable attached. The heavy steel link logging chains swung forward with each step and then swung backward slamming into the men's legs, knocking them off balance. I went on to say if it wasn't so dangerous it would be funny.
Bob Powers agreed with me later that Jack was all ears for my report. He said that as I spoke first the back of Jack's neck and then those ears became beet red. Of course my eyes were on the road so I had no idea what was happening next to me. Suddenly and completely to my surprise Jack exploded. Man was he hot. He told me that those logging chains were approved, purchased and shipped by him. His staff spent a lot of time on that provision, that through the use of logging chains there would be no chance of a fraying or breakage occurring by the sliding of thin cable over the sharp edge of the steel superstructure. My opinion about those chains did not change. But I remembered my Chief of Operations remark in Cheyenne. It was another time to button it.
Once again the importance of what we were to do and the short time available to learn was impressed upon me. I went in to work one day to hear of a major disaster at our Roswell, New Mexico site. There were immense cranes at work on the lip of all the silos. They swung loads of materials out over the edge of the silo and then down to the workmen over one hundred feet below. The crane at Roswell had tipped over into the silo while lowering material. The operator, crane and load plunged one hundred and fifty two feet to the bottom, killing him and a number of workman.
Life went on at Altus. The construction phase was completed and the installation phase began. Convair/Astro. took over. I hired my secretary Sally Presley. Her husband had once been on the coaching staff for the Oilers professional football team. One by one Safety Inspectors from other D series sites like Cheyenne started showing up to be Safety Technicians at Altus. My new hiring was greatly reduced by the availability of these good people from other bases. I hired a former Fire Chief with over twenty years of emergency procedures under his belt. Our staff quickly grew to its full complement.
Each site team was issued a car from the car pool. We were in business. The teams inspected the sites. We also conducted new employee orientation and a rescue team class. Each site foreman was asked to appoint a number of men for site rescue and emergency evacuations. The safety Dept. trained them in use of the M.S.A. safety appliances, Scott Air Breathing apparatus and rehearsed the methods of accessing the silo during a fire or other emergency to rescue those who might be unable to egress on their own.
The training time for these procedures was a hot topic for many site foremen. After all, they were held responsible for getting this job completed on contract date. The Atlas installations were high priority rush jobs. So Safety training time was often considered lost time. Only later did I find that at some bases training was given lip service, but the procedures were never fully rehearsed. At Altus they were fully implemented.
My second trial by fire occurred shortly after we took over the sites. I ordered dozens of Mine Safety Lamps for all sites. These would be put at various levels in the hole. If the oxygen content became dangerously low they would go out notifying everyone to get out of the silo. Nitrogen tank leaks could occur in the silo just as they occurred at Cheyenne.
The new brass lamps arrived at the Safety office. We took the task of filling them with kerosene and sending them out to the sites. One man from each shift was appointed to keep them refilled. I felt very good about having those in the silos.
By the first evening my Safety Techs. started calling in from every site. The lamps were out and the union stewards had ordered all personnel out of the silo until they were relit. Why aren't they being refilled I demanded? No one can get the fuel tank open to put the kerosene in came the replay. That's nuts, how in the hell can that be so hard!
I went back to the office and grabbed a lamp. It was shipped with the fuel canister off the lamp so I took one and put it together just as we had when I fueled them that morning. Then I tried to separate it again. The base turned as if it were unscrewing but would not release. I examined that lamp every way I could think of but it would not come apart again. There was no way to fill it if it couldn't be separated. I had four hundred men out of the silos waiting for an answer and management was hotter than hell. I could not get the tank off.
Finally in desperation I called Don Morgan in Cheyenne. I explained what was going on. He was laughing so hard it took a while to get an answer. Did you get some little metal bars about four inches long with your shipment? I replied that I had but they didn't fit anything so I put them in a bag in the Safety equipment room. That cracked him up some more. Go get one, he instructed, and I walked down the hall and came back with the bag of bars. OK, he said, put a lamp together, now take the metal bar and put it across those two little steel buttons that protrude from the side of the canister. That made no sense to me at all, but I did what I was told. I heard a click and I could unscrew the canister. What the hell?
Those bars are magnets Don explained. They pull the locking pins back so the fuel can is removable. That makes it tamper-proof. Don was still laughing when we hung up. I spent the rest of the night driving to each of twelve sites delivering them their little metal bars. That was one night I really wished I'd had some years in the business before I was made a department head.
I went back to St. Louis at every opportunity. Dad and I had two more Christmases together. He was in very poor health. I always sent Mom and Dad copies of my unclassified reports, directives, and regulations. It kept him informed of the projects progress. That was also my way of letting him know his youngest son was doing all right.
One day, on impulse, I sat down and wrote him a long letter about my respect for him. I gave him credit for having raised three successful children and setting the values that provided for that success. I just wanted him to know how important he was to all of us. Mom told me later that he read just a few lines and then excused himself to go read the rest in private. She came to him in a few minutes, just to see that he was alright. He had the letter in his hand and their were tears streaming down his face. I am so glad I wrote that letter. He died from a heart attack while I was visiting him over the fourth of July 1961.
Astronautics concluded its first year at Altus, Oklahoma without a major accident or incident. The safety section was very gratified when our operation at Altus was awarded the Atlas award for 1961. This was awarded to the off-site facility with the lowest frequency/severity accident rate.
I had become tied to my desk. The amount of paper-review was enormous. Daily reports came in from each Safety Technician. Medical sent us reports on any injury regardless of severity. We received copies of the weekly and monthly reports from every other off-site facility. Material came from home office daily.
Work had become my only activity. A day of work was finished with movement by us all to the base Officer's Club. Altus was a very small town and the Officer's Club became our regular hangout. We drank and talked shop.
One afternoon my secretary made a suggestion. Her husband was forming a semi-professional football league Oklahoma. He would coach the Altus team. It would travel around the state but only have an overnight on weekends. Sally recalled my mentioning how much I loved playing football. She thought it would just be a great idea if I joined the team.
I was very tempted. At twenty two I was sure I would never play again. Now here, unexpectedly, was another chance to play the game. I reported for practice. It took a while to get in shape but I was having a lot more fun than hanging out at the Officer's Club. There were two things I had not taken into consideration.
One was the level of competition. Oklahoma had some of the best " has beens" in the country. Oklahoma had supplied the Sooners, A&M, Rice University and colleges all over the USA with some of it's finest players.
Two, I had not taken my bosse's reaction in to consideration. Nolan was beside himself. It made him very unhappy having his "Safety Man" playing tackle football before the entire Atlas organization and community of Altus, Oklahoma. He thought it set a bad example for safety.
I played that season as a tackle for the Oklahoma Yellow Jackets. They were quite a bunch of "part time" football players. These people were bigger, stronger, and tougher than anything I had seen before, on a football field. I saw many of them remove their false teeth before each game. Our fullback played for the Chicago Bears in his prime. The other tackle was "All American" from Rice University. The quarterback played for the Sooners. The competition was equally qualified. We won our share of games. There were days when I went to work looking like one of the accidents I was trying to prevent. But I was having a very good time.
The Annual Safety Engineers conference was scheduled and I was selected to be a keynote speaker. Altus was one of the first of the F-series silo bases and Jack Garrison felt my input would be helpful to the newer sites. I prepared my speech on "co-occupancy with the Corp of Engineers" After my experience with Corp I felt that would amuse my fellow Safety Engineers. They were also experiencing their share of problems with the Corp.
I climbed on a plane, and flew to Santa Maria, Ca. to spend one day with my sister Louise before flying down to San Diego. My young nephew Nick had a new skate board. I had never been on a skateboard. It looked interesting.
The next day I flew down to San Diego and presented my safety speech. I turned the pages slowly with my left arm. My right arm was in a cast to the shoulder. My boss enjoyed the cast more than the speech. He said explaining me, as a Safety Engineer, to others was becoming quite an exercise in futility.
A USAF Safety Officer, Major Downs was assigned as liaison between Astronautics and Air Force. Most of his enquiries were directed to me. Major Downs and I got along great. His only shock came after working with me for almost a year, he asked me how old I was. When I responded that I was 23 he looked shocked. He had assumed he was working with some experienced hand in his thirties. That was a nice compliment about my work and a lousy crack about my looks.
The paper flow out of my office was equally formidable. I collated every possible hazard from other bases along with engineering studies, and NASA bulletins into a weekly bulletin to the Site Chiefs. We found that the safety documents for off-site operations were coming from so many sources a Site Chief could become very frustrated trying to acquire the information and follow the guidelines.
We spent many office hours collating every source document into one manual. Then we reduced the size down to a pocket book, and titled it The Safety Advisor. We had it distributed throughout the base. The Safety Advisor contained the sections for SOPS (standard operating procedures), TOPS (temp.ops) , BOPS base ops), SRs (safety regulations), and so forth. For the first time a site supervisor preparing to perform any procedure could pull out his manual and see everything there was on that item. It was very well received. We sent a few to home office expecting that they would like to reproduce it for the other sites but heard nothing back.
I found myself losing all personal touch with the sites. Everything I knew about the silo progress was coming in from my safety Techs. They had become experts in the field and I truly trusted their observations. When they asked me to come down on their behalf in an on site safety dispute, they got what they asked for and a bit more.
Safety was frequently a disputed issue. The Astronautics mission was to install this system quickly and effectively and get it turned over to USAF. National Defence and all that. I kept promising myself to put the papers aside and spend a week in the field. It never seemed to happen. The bottom line was things seemed to be going well. We were moving into the second and final year at Altus with no major events.
I assigned one of my Safety Technicians, Pat Robinson to learn the use of emergency rescue equipment for on-site use. He spent days with our Mine Safety Appliance and Scott Air sales reps. He was an extremely bright and quick young man only four years older than me. He also proved to be an excellent instructor and that is a rare talent. We put on a one day class in how to use the emergency equipment to get out of a silo. We offered it to every new hire including all the subcontractor personnel. Then I asked Pat to make a circuit of all the silos and teach a five man crew how to rescue people in a silo emergency.
We wrote a plan whereby the Stand-talker (stationed at the exit tunnel from the silo) would keep a record of every man entering and leaving the silo and what level he was working on. We stationed all these new, expensive rescue devices in a big locker just inside the tunnel, behind the blast doors. I bought horns for every site, to be mounted next to the stand talker. He could activate the horn to evacuate the silo. God at twenty three, how I loved to devise these plans and spend money on gadgets.
Some site-managers were reluctant. Once more Safety was diverting man-hours from production. I heard frequently," Hell, man, we aren't going to be staying here for twenty years." But I was having a good time and we were going to do it right at Altus. My performance reviews had been excellent, I had my boss on my side and I had just been reclassified from Safety Engineer to Safety Supervisor. I was now a RED BADGE.
Safety Engineers had been candy stripes meaning they wore a red and white striped badge and were staff advisors not supervisors. An all red badge meant supervisor. Therefore officially, until then, the Safety Technicians officially worked for my boss, not me. In reality my boss seldom even saw them.
My best friend and counterpart Bill Whitmer was Security Supervisor or Security Officer. Bill was a Red Badge. How I envied his supervisor status. He enjoyed reminding me of that little difference in our position frequently.
The chief of Industrial Relations pinned on my red badge and took me to all the dept. heads. He enjoyed reintroducing me as his new Safety Supervisor. At twenty three did I ever enjoy that day. A small ego was not one of my problems.
While that was going on I was having my third big battle with Operations Management. Pat Robinson had learned of a defective high pressure hydraulic valve installed at every site. Site Management was aware but felt it was a low priority threat. Pat felt it was extremely hazardous. Remembering Don Morgan's backing for me in Cheyenne, I threw in my full support for Pat. He obtained all the documents, went around asking all the questions, and came to the conclusion that we should shut down the system. Since this valve affected hydraulics throughout the silo, that shut down the silo.
That was our recommendation and insistence. Management was horrified. We were talking about a great number of lost man-hours. I was called into meeting by the Chief of Operations.
Every operations and engineering supervisor was present. Safety said shut it down. They said no. I got hot. At twenty three I had no concept of compromise what-so-ever. They offered to build a containment cover that would go over the valve and prevent flying metal or hydraulic spray. I said fine, when they were in place then the silo could go back in operation.
McPheeters, the Chief of Operations said that contractual obligations would not permit us to just stop work. I said, fine, just don't use the hydraulic system. Of course that effectively shut down the silo so engineering and site-ops got hot. It was getting out of control. My boss took me outside. He told me I had said everything I was going to say in this meeting. I was sent off to my office like a misbehaving child would be sent to his room.
I stewed. I called Jack Garrison the Chief Safety Engineer at home office and ranted. He said I had done everything I could do. The final decision to operate the site rested with operations. I said I could red tag the valves. That was the one threat safety always held over management. Technically we were an advisory group. We were staff. We were not in the direct chain of authority. The last trick, of a frustrated safety man, was to use the threat of a red tag. In theory no one could remove a red tag or operate red tagged equipment. On the other hand Safety was advisory not part of operations. So it had always remained just a threat.
I was ready to play our last card. Garrison and my Chief of Industrial Relations were ready to fire me. I was told, no I was warned, not to do it. I calmed down, they calmed down but I felt I had backed off and let my Safety Techs. down. Later I learned everyone was hoping I would calm down and back off a bit. They were afraid for me that I was going too far. But I was only twenty four. I had very little idea of what too far might be.
We continued going around to every site and training those emergency rescue crews on how to get men out of the silo. Late one afternoon, about two weeks after the bruha, I was sitting with Bill Whitmer, the Security Officer. We were having coffee. A call came in from the site security office. There was a major fire at site six Russell. Men were trapped in the silo. We jumped into Bills security vehicle and put it to the floor getting out there in a hurry. By the time we arrived it was almost over. The ambulance was picking up men who had been overcome by smoke inhalation. The silo was a burned out hulk. Just about everything in that hole was wreckage.
What happened was this. That hydraulic valve, still unshielded and uncovered blew. The metal fragments flew out like a hand grenade grazing one man. A fragment hit the explosion proof light above the valve exposing the electrical filaments. The force of the pressure of hydraulic fluid against the broken remnants of valve caused some of the fluid to become a mist. The mist reached the broken lamp and ignited.
The flash fire of the mist quickly raised the temperature of the spewing hydraulic liquid to its ignition point and the now flaming liquid cascaded down into the bowls of the silo, igniting everything in its path. There were about forty men working in the lower levels. The stand talker switched on the evacuation horn. This alerted the emergency rescue team who ran into the LCC tunnel and started putting on Scott Air Packs. They gathered other supplies, lights, rope, extinguishers and moved to the mouth of the silo.
The men in the lower levels were surrounded by fire and smoke. They grabbed Lif-O-Gen bottles hanging from the guard railings. Lif-O-Gens were seven minute compressed oxygen bottles designed for ambulance and sick bed use. All you had to do was stick the little spout in your mouth and press the stem. They also had a little plastic mask and hose if you had the time. They were not made for rescue use but there was nothing else I could find in 1961 to offer a little protection for the large numbers of men we had in silos. So I ordered these in the hundreds as a better than nothing option.
The men tried to come up. They found the elevator would not function. They had seven minutes oxygen supply to climb the spiral ladder up to the LCC tunnel. They made it to the tunnel level only to find access to the tunnel blocked by fire. Just as things were looking hopeless ropes started dropping down from the top of the silo. The emergency rescue crew, moving fast to the overhead missile doors started pulling people up by the ropes.
Two of the younger stronger guys went down into the silo and hooked up the men overcome by smoke. The smoke was beginning to pour from the silo top. The rescue team used their Scott Air Packs to stay at the top and pull men out. They finally fell back from the silo rim, job complete just as the combustibles in the silo caused flames to extend out above the silo doors.
The final count was no deaths, twenty seven men hospitalized with smoke inhalation. They were all released within a few days. The Russell-site was over 50% destroyed. Operations was in a state of shock. My guys were in a state of elation. Phone calls of congratulation were coming in from all our sister sites, and home office. The sites that had dragged their feet on providing men for the rescue crews were now demanding more rescue equipment, more Evac-bottles, and more training.
We scheduled a brief ceremony to honor the rescue crew with many pictures for the company and town newspaper. Needless to say all sites were temporarily shut down until the replacement valves arrived. Pat Robinson was the man of the hour in our office. In spite of my protestations that this was Pat's accomplishment, I got a great deal of credit from my bosses. I did not protest too much. It was very heady stuff. We had their attention for the rest of the Altus project. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If this was a story about personal friendships, I would devote a chapter to my relationship with the Security Officer, Bill Whitmer. Bill arrived at Altus a couple of months after I did. That was because the previous Security Officer had been relieved of duty and shipped out. He became overly involved with the USAF social life at the Officers club and permitted Security to take second place. They brought Bill in as his replacement. Bill was about twenty six when he arrived in Altus. He was married and gave all appearances of being very settled and mature. He had a big job. He was responsible for all security matters at the sites. He would hire and supervise a guard force of over one hundred and fifty personnel.
While Bill was far more mature than I we shared a common bond. For our age and previous experience we were both in way over our head. We also shared the fact that we making a dam good job of it. Often the look on Bill's face when I came up with one of my grand ideas reminded me that other than my responsibilities in Safety, I was, in fact a typical twenty three year old kid. But at twenty six Bill still had enough kid left in him to also appreciate this was one fine adventure. We became the best of friends and Bill's advice often kept me out of trouble.
The biggest thing missing from working on Atlas was that none of us would ever see it launched. It was a very good thing that we wouldn't as it was, after all, installed as an ICBM pointed at The Soviet Union. But, still it would have been very exciting to see one of those rockets blast off into space. Major Downs came into my office one morning and asked me if I could take the time to join him on a little trip.
A little trip to Vandenberg AFB in California to sit in the blockhouse for an actual Atlas firing. I don't remember hearing a more exciting offer in my life. Virtually none of us working on off-site bases would ever participate in a launch. I ran to Nolan for permission to go. I really thought he wasn't going to permit it. Then I got a sly smile and a remark that it would be good for our relationship with USAF, so he supposed I could make the trip.
The trip was right then. I got an hour to run home and pack a bag, get back to the base and board a USAF C-47. We climbed out of Altus, AFB and headed west. There were four officers and myself. Iin heaven flying in a military transport going to a live shot.landed at Vandenberg and the very next day checked in to the launch complex. We were accessed into the LCC and given a briefing.
I was invited to sit with the Range Safety Officer at a console. We were seeing the Atlas via the closed circuit monitors. The countdown began and ran down to T-0 without a hitch. The LCC started to vibrate and a deep rumble came through the concrete walls into the room. The monitor showed the flames shooting down and back out of the flame bucket. Atlas started to lift very slowly out of the gantry. The sustainer and two boosters were causing all the vibration. The verniers at each side moved back and forth maintaining the Atlas in the correct attitude.
I sat there transfixed. Everything I had spent two years working on and reading about was happening out there, on that pad. Atlas moved slowly up into the atmosphere. I heard someone say mark 2 which meant the boosters had correctly shut down and the single sustainer engine was now carrying Atlas into space. The camera caught Atlas becoming a small condensation trail as it moved up and out of the atmosphere. Everyone was elated as Atlas had come through some very hard times with several costly and embarrassing failures. Every successful launch was a very big win.
I came home feeling that if it all ended tomorrow I had now seen everything I dreamed about, back there in Cheyenne, when the first Atlas arrived. I came home to start phasing out at Altus, Oklahoma. We won the Atlas Award again for 1962.
The final phase of the program was to demonstrate to USAF a capability to fully tank the missile. We would transfer fuel (RP- 1) and Liquid Oxygen from the storage tanks, on the silo to the onboard tanks of Atlas. This would occur as the missile was raised from within the silo to a position above ground sitting on the missile elevator ready to launch. The procedure was called a DPL for double propellant tanking.
The LCC was sealed and the pad cleared. My Safety crew and I were "safely" located about 2,500 ft. from the launcher at the Fall Back Area (FBA). This established a reasonable safety area from which fire fighting and medical emergency operations could be launched in the event of a serious incident. I was, as usual, watching with a hand tightly wrapped around a cup of coffee.
The Atlas began its ascent out of the silo. It's nose showed the white frost evident as the missile skin reached sub-zero temperatures. This was caused by the LOX (liquid oxygen) being pumped into the internal tanks. The missile had risen about a third of the way out of the silo when it stopped. That was definitely not part of the DPL procedure. We waited.
The fall back area was in contact with the Test Conductor through a land line. A look in that direction evidenced that a lot of discussion was taking place between the Base Manager and the Test Conductor located under ground at the silo. The site manager beckoned to me so I put my coffee on top of the car and walked over. He handed me the mike. The test conductor was on the other end and wanted me to drive in to the site entrance and come down to the launch control center which was about 70 ft. below ground. He said to move fast and he would brief me when I arrived at the LCC.
No one had ever gone into the 2,500 ft. area before, once a DPL was in progress, at Altus. I was very aware of that as I made a very lonely drive through the guard gate and down the road leading to the Launch Control Center entrance. I reluctantly left the security of the car. I parked it right in front of the door (for a quick getaway) and went down the long tunnel stairs to launch control.
The Test Conductor briefed me that his instruments indicated a loss of pressure in a liquid oxygen line from the storage vessels to the Atlas. So he felt sure LOX was pooling on some level of the silo.
Liquid Oxygen alone is a quick freeze to anything that touches it.with any hydrocarbon (oil, grease, RP1 fuel or lubricants), makes a bluish colored jell that is highly explosive and extremely pressure sensitive. It can be set off by a foot pressure of 5 to 7 lbs. and has five times the explosive force of a similar amount of TNT.
They wanted me to take the site foreman on a complete tour of the silo. The half erected Atlas would be hanging over head boiling off liquid oxygen into gas as it sat there warming up. We were to explore the silo for any sign of the LOX jell. Were the Atlas to move or any machinery activate sufficient energy could be produced to explode a jell and destroy the missile, systems and in fact the entire silo. We would have emergency lighting only as they were afraid of any possibility of an electrical spark. So the Foreman and I were escorted to the blast doors.
The blast doors were located in the tunnel between the LCC and the silo. They weighed about 10,000 pounds and were designed to contain and divert the blast from an explosion inside the silo, keeping it from reaching the men in the LCC. We then stepped to the silo side of those doors and the LCC personnel buttoned up by closing those doors behind us. To this day I can still clearly remember the sound of those doors closing. We had about 70 ft. to go through the tunnel and then we were directly under the aft end of the Atlas sitting on its elevator. The Atlas seemed even larger from this perspective. On the whole, I would have rather been in Philadelphia.
We climbed down the silo ladder one deck at a time reaching the bottom in less than ten minutes. The bottom of the silo held much of the machinery to move the elevator. In the light of our flashlights and the low grade illumination of the emergency lights, we started working our way up one level at a time looking for a lox jell.
We were also hoping the stressed system would not let go as the fluids now sitting stagnant and building pressure in the missile system were meant to be moving at all times into or out of the missile. We both jumped when a safety relief valve popped off on one of the liquid oxygen tanks venting excess pressure.
We spent a tense hour in that silo looking for anything that might explode the missile if it were moved back into the silo. We had both seen the films of the Cape Canaveral Atlas launches that blew on the pad so it was not a joyful hour.
We found nothing unusual and were able to go back to those big blast doors at a walking pace instead of at the speed of sound. When they opened and I was back in I felt I had paid my dues for all the times I meant to visit the site but was too busy. I also paid my dues that day for being in safety, where our job was to "just watch".
The blast doors were slowly swung open and we were able to rejoin the living on the safe side. The missile was very slowly lowered back into the silo and detanked. Another DPL was scheduled and we finally got Snyder sold off to the Air Force with no further hair raising incidents.
Soon I would be laying off my men. We had no more off-site contracts and I would soon follow them to lay off. It was about over. I really thought it was about over. I was very wrong.
In the fall of 1962 Altus was completed. I gave the Safety Technicians a bon-voyage. Each got a good letter of recommendation. I called home office about Pat Robinson hoping they find something for him to do there. I had killed my chances of being transferred.
Jack Garrison called me several months earlier, while Altus was still unfinished. He offered to transfer me in to home office on his staff. When I visited home office safety I thought it was boring. Leaving Altus before the finish, walking around the plant looking for cigarettes in the wastebaskets, was not a future to me. When he told me I would have to "temporarily" give up my ninety dollars a month off-site bonus I was sure I wanted no part of home office. I thanked him but rejected his offer.
My Chief of Industrial Relations was aghast. Nolan could not believe I had just thrown my career away by turning down the ChiefEngineer. It also bothered him that I had not even mentioned the offer until after I turned it down. I was 24. What did I know about all that. I was on a roll. I was having too much fun to see even sixty days ahead. Nolan assured me I had thrown my future away. In emphasis he suggested that I get my resume printed and out to other contractors. I put out around three hundred resumes to every aero-space contractor.
I was packing the last boxes for shipment to Kearny Mesa when I received a call from Jack Garrison's assistant Bill Bordon. Bill wanted to know if I still had those Safety Advisor Manuals. I told him they were packed for shipping but yes they were here. He asked me to unpack that box and put thirty of them in the hands of the next supervisor heading to Kearny Mesa by air. They were in Safety's hands the next day. Later I learned that USAF had confronted Convair about the accident at the Russell Site. They alleged that the silo sites had no integrated, documented plan for silo emergencies and that, in part, accounted for the fire and damages. We, at Altus, were the only site that did have the integrated plan and it was documented in the Safety Advisor. Jack and the San Diego boys went into the meeting with the Safety Advisor. They distributed the copies before the meeting began and took the wind out of USAF's sails.
Then I got another call. Would I pack up and drive to Lincoln, Nebraska right away. Sure I would, what was up. USAF had given Convair a new project called "Clean Sweep". It was a follow-up contract to take the system upgrades to each site and install improvements and correct deficiencies The rumor mill had it that the Air Force Techs had screwed up the systems. Our guys said that if the LCC panel required a green light to go on these Air Force Techs went down into the silo and made sure a green light came on. Even if the way to get the light on was to bypass the system it monitored. Our Engineers remarked that if Atlas had to be operationally launched it would be a great surprise if one out of four actually fired. Omaha, Nebraska was SAC headquarters and we were getting into a pushing match with the Soviet Union over Cuba. Those missiles had better be working.
I drove to Lincoln in early October of 1962. Our crews were moving around all the Sac Atlas sites making repairs and adjustments. They found a lot wrong. We were working twelve to fourteen hour days. We were not reading newspapers about the build up. Most of us were rolling in and out of bed and to and from the sites. The most dramatic event I recall was watching the DefCon numbers going down. We knew what defcons represented. They started at five. This was a relaxed state of readiness. They terminated at one. This was everything ready to launch with the launch officers finger actually poised over the button.
The United States had never been to DefCon 2. We went to defcon two while I was in an Omaha area silo. I wasn't sure if it was good to be in a silo and kiss the world goodby or be in the world and kiss a girl goodby. I decided on the latter.
One of my very best friends and co-workers from Cheyenne was also assigned to Clean Sweep. Alex (Flip) Manzano and his wife Anita were in Lincoln when I arrived. Every minute we were out of the silo Flip and I buddied around. One night we were strolling around a Lincoln, Nebraska Mall. I chanced to look through the window of a full service camera shop. Behind the counter, waiting on a customer, was a beautiful Swedish blonde.
Swedes were new to me and they were very numerous in Nebraska. I thought Swedish women were just great. Flip prodded me into going into the camera shop. With him, looking through the window I approached this beautiful girl. I asked her if she had some sort of camera and she replied that they didn't carry that brand. I said I should probably go to Penny's. She smiled and leaned forward. She said " we don't say Pennys in here." I thought that was a cute answer and suggested she show me around to those other stores the next night. I explained that I was new in town and really did not know my way around.
She looked at me for a moment and then said she had other plans for tomorrow night. Just as I was thinking of my next move she said "but I could show you around tonight." Within fourteen days of our meeting we eloped to Sioux Falls, South Dakota which had no three day waiting period. We were married on Dec 11,1962. Eventually we had two beautiful children, Traci Ann and Shaun Andrew. We remained together until 1971.
The day after I proposed, the Chief of Industrial Relations at home office called. What are you doing in Lincoln? I said I was getting over shaky knees. Well, would you want to go to Cape Canaveral and handle our safety program there? I was too surprised to take it seriously for a moment. He really meant go to the Cape and run Astro. safety for the last Mercury shot.
Gordon Cooper was scheduled to launch in May 1963. It was now Dec 9th 1962. I said I would be there and then asked him if there wasn't a better transfer package for married couples. He paused and then said "you will keep that lousy ninety dollars your so worried about." No, I replied, "Its not about the ninety bucks its about me getting married in two days." He broke up." You sure will go to extremes Naughton, but yes you get one thousand transfer instead of three hundred."" Okay," "I said put me in for a married transfer and I will be at the Cape right after New Year." He said "you will be at the Cape by twenty December"
I had to leave Darlene behind, in Lincoln and go directly to the Cape.
I checked in with Industrial Relations on the 19th of December 1962. Just driving on to the Cape was exciting. As soon as I had my ID I was on my way to Pad 14. This was where Mercury would be launched. The sign on the front gate read
6555TH AEROSPACE GENERAL DYNAMICS NASA TEST CENTER USAF ASTRONAUTICS MANNED SPACE CRAFT SPACE SYSTEMS DIVISION CENTER WELCOME TO COMPLEX 14 THE WORLDS FIRST ICBM THE WORLDS FIRST MAN IN ORBIT
My new supervisor took me around to meet the department heads. T.J. O'Malley was running the Cape office for Atlas. B.G. McNabb, Operations Director was traditionally the last man to shake the Astronauts hand as they stepped from the trailer to the launch pad elevator. Cal Fowler was Test Conductor.
I found an apartment just a block from the beach. The balcony looked out over the ocean. Darlene arrived from Lincoln and we started the marriage adventure. On the nights when a Cape launch was scheduled we just opened our door, walked out on the balcony, looked to the left and watched the arc of flame rising from the pad. It was right out of a Robert Heinlein novel with the slight improvement of being real. I could hardly wait to really get into harness and begin my new job.
Darlene and I went out on a few furniture gathering jaunts buying some rattan like all Cape dwellers. Darlene brought home a tiny Persian kitten that jumped up and sunk it's tiny teeth into my dinner steak and then into my thumb when I tried to recover my dinner. My beautiful and long time buddy Stud died with a kidney infection. Stud came into my life in Cheyenne and had been through the entire adventure with me. He was a handsome sable and white Collie. His life could be the subject for another story, but now he was gone.
I turned over my English TR-3 to Darlene who thoroughly enjoyed running around Cocoa Beach getting a great tan with the top down. She was a swede who never burned, only tanned. With her white gold hair and a dark tan Florida was treating her very well.
We bought a sailboat. I wanted something small and easy to sail.I saw a little twelve foot boat with a single sail it looked just right for a beginner. I spent hours reading all the books on sailing and then went over to the Banana river (intercostal waterway) to give it a try.
I set everything up and in a mild wind launched from the dock. Things happened very fast. The wind filled the sail, the sail swung the boat and in an instant I was floundering around in the water. A dozen tries later I had never made it much past the end of the dock. I was drawing a small crowed. I left my little boat chained to the trailer and came back the next day. The wind had blown the boat off the trailer and the mast was shattered.
Chagrined I brought my little day sailor back to the apartment. The apartment owner looked over my boat and heard my sad story. He really thought it was funny that I bought a racing cat-boat to learn on. It seems I hadn't noticed that the single sail was on a mast almost twice as high as the boat was long. He fiber glassed the break and I spent all of my free time learning to sail.
Each day I would run out to Pad 14 to see what I could see and make my reports. I was working out of a cubby hole that I shared with the Security Officer and his secretary. I spent most of my time at 14 which was were the action was.
Soon I began to sense that I was rubbing my boss, the security officer, and his secretary the wrong way. The Chief of Industrial Relations was trying to reign me in. The security officer, a gentleman in his sixties and ,soon to retire, was trying to get me to quit loading "his" secretary up, with reports to type. His secretary was supposed to be "our secretary" but was pleased to have him stick up for her. My work was left undone.
It came down to this. Mercury had been on line for a while. Cooper's launch in May would be the last Atlas-Mercury launch. After that the manned space flight operation would go over to Martin Marietta with the Titan as launch vehicle. Astronautics would be left with a few science packages to launch with Atlas.
Additionally while Atlas was the launch vehicle, NASA and Pan Am had the site responsibility. They had their own safety people so, according to my boss, Pad 14 was not the focus of attention for Astro/Safety. The assembly and administration areas were my responsibility. This meant my job was to make daily and weekly rounds checking the waste cans for cigarettes, the grinding wheels for proper clearance.
This was the end of the road and they were winding down operations. I came in charged up from running a twelve site project. I had also had a well developed ego from supervising, developing procedures, and briefing top players. In Altus I had my own secretary and rather unlimited resources. So, simply put, these people found me knowledgeable, but abrasive, over eager, and self important. I was also there because home office thought I was the best Safety Engineer in the field. I was now twenty four.
My boss had one other, hidden agenda. The Chief of Industrial Relations in San Diego made him lay-off his Safety Engineer and take me. The man they were forced to lay off was Ken McCabe. He was also in his twenties, had done a fine job. He was part of the original team and was really liked by everyone. He was also my supervisor's personal friend. I had contact with him regularly as he had obtained a Safety Inspector's job with Pan Am.
I found myself in hot water at every turn. My reports were left untyped for days. Getting anything done required an argument followed by another meeting with the Chief of Industrial Relations. Each meeting with him gave others more confidence in their refusal to give me support. Their refusals led to more meetings with my boss. The meetings with my boss turned in to reprimands in my personnel folder.
Within four months I was on probation. My San Diego bosses, Jack Garrison and Kip Williams were calling me to get my side of the story. I did not give it to them. I kept saying everything was fine and there were no major problems. I was applying a lesson learned at Altus. It was the right lesson at the wrong time.
Back in 1960 Jack Garrison had come down to Altus. I had a list of complaints about my boss. He listened and then gave me a serious lecture on loyalty. He said that Nolan had given me an excellent review and was responsible for the support I had received during the flap with Corp Of Engineers.
I decided then, that I would never criticize a supervisor, behind his back, or to higher authority, again. So San Diego got basic reports and no complaints from me. They, of course, knew the situation from my supervisors point of view, so not speaking up added to the his credibility.
I was miserable at the Cape. But there were more important matters. On Complex 14 our people were preparing an Atlas for launch. It was the highest risk area for Astronautics personal. I would inspect all Astro. areas. But I was going spend a lot of time on 14, regardless of who, my boss thought, had the responsibility. In Cheyenne and Altus I paid very little attention to being a "good employee." I paid a lot of attention to being a good safety man.
Gordon Cooper was getting ready to go. I went up to the white room daily. There, I would often stand next to Alan Sheperd who was Cooper's back up. I would listen to the chatter and chime in a bit. I was accepted out on 14. If I was there, I was part of the team.
Alan Sheperd had a new cadillac and Gordo had a Corvette. They all got their cars from G.M Dealer, Jim Rathman. Rathman was the professional driver, who had once won a Indianapolis 500. Alan and Gordon liked to race each other from the pad to Henri Landiworth's Holiday Inn. That was the motel most frequented by the Mercury Astronauts. Coco Beach Police looked the other way. It was fun to watch and know I wasn't the only kid on the pad.
They made regular trips away from the Cape in their assigned service jet fighters. When they flew back from those trips they announced their return by coming over the Cape inverted at about three hundred feet altitude. We all went outside our office buildings to wave them a big welcome back.
Of course, Mercury wasn't the only test site at the Cape. Right next to us was the Gemini stand. Martin Marietta was testing Titan for that program. They had a launch going one afternoon. The missile climbed up about one thousand feet and blew up. A great purple red cloud started to sink back toward the ground. We on 14 were ordered to button up the launch building and stay inside. The blockhouse went on internal air and we sat it out for over an hour, waiting for that cloud to dissipate. The titan was fueled by with dimethylhydrozine. A nasty and highly toxic chemical.
One night I was returning to Coco Beach from Coco on the causeway headed east. To my left and several miles away was the Cape. I saw a trail of flame signifying a launch. Within a few moments the entire area was lit up like a thousand high powered floodlights had been turned on. It was very eerie. A minute man had exploded on launch. Gigantic pieces of missile and solid propellant were strewn about the pad. The solid propellant burned like a million sparklers going of at once, casting a brilliant artificial light about the Cape.
The day was quickly approaching for the Cooper launch. I was spending my time at Complex 14 looking for problems. I noted in a report that the elevator used to move the Astronaut from ground level to the capsule had only one cable and did not appear to have any safety mechanism or backup if that cable failed. It was a legitimate concern.
I turned this report in at once and soon got a call from my Chief of Industrial Relations. When I arrived at his office he had the report on his desk. I received a fifteen minute chewing about being overly interested in 14 and sticking my nose into areas that were not my responsibility. The launch was in a few days. He banned me from the site.
I have a photograph taken by my wife. It is 8:04 AM May 15th, 1963. I am standing, dressed in a white shirt and tie, on the beach, a mile away from the Cape. I am pointing up, to the last Mercury-Atlas, MA-9, Faith 7 as it rises from Complex 14 with Gordon Cooper aboard. I have a big smile on my face. My smile is for the camera. This page of my story could be titled, I Was Almost There!
Later I received a pocket size copy of the Test Conductors manual for that flight. It is dated May 17,1963 and reads " Thanks for your assistance on Faith 7" signed Cal Fowler, Test Conductor. Cal had no idea how much that meant to me. I was far more accepted on Complex 14 than among my peers and supervisor in the Industrial Relations office.
The important thing is that MA-9, Faith 7 was successful. MA-9 flew 22.5 orbits over a 34:19:49 period. There was a complete loss of power in the automated re-entry system, and loss of all altitude readings, which forced Cooper to make the first completely manual re-entry. He landed within four miles of the recovery ship, Kearsarge.
Shortly thereafter my Chief of Industrial Relations called me in to his office. Ken McKabe was there. He asked me to spend some time with Ken, briefing him on the various state of affairs in Safety. He explained that he had received approval to increase the size of the safety dept and that Ken and I would be working together.
I spent a week working with Ken. Ken was an interesting and likeable man. At the end of a week I received another call to see my boss. He quickly reviewed my past six months performance. He fired me and then escorted me around to turn in my badge, pick up my final check and get off the Cape. Ken McKabe was my replacement.
While I was working on the Cape I went to a joint Air Force, NASA, Pan American safety meeting. There I met a Colonel Steel who was the top Safety man for USAF at Patrick AFB. He had responsibility for USAF Cape operations. He offered me a job with his Safety team. It was a GS-12 government job.
I called him the next day an accepted his offer. He said he was glad to have me and directed me to the GS applications office. I filled out the various government forms. Colonel Steel was out of the country for a meeting. After waiting a week I called to ask when to report. I was referred back to the employment office.
They told me that I did not qualify for a GS-12 job. I was five months short in total education and time on the job. I had four and a half years in the program. Five were required. I said the Colonel had already hired me. Employment explained that the Col. couldn't hire anyone for a GS job. That was the employment office responsibility. Calls to Colonel Steel, in Mexico, went unreturned.
Darlene and I packed up and moved back to my home town of St. Louis, Missouri. The great adventure was over. So was the money. I was considered over paid, too young and over qualified for most industrial safety jobs. I finally got a job as a investigator for General Motors. I kept my resume in with all the aero-space contractors. I never received an offer.
Jimmy Doolittle's biography is titled "I could never be so lucky again." That sums up my recollections of the space flight program.
Historical portrayals of the voyage of Columbus to the New World usually focus on Columbus, the major players, and his project. There were many others who worked on the Columbus Program. Most shared in only part of the adventure. Some may have died, some were laid off. A few may have upset Columbus and were fired.
But they were there. They were the carpenters, laborers, sail makers, clean-up men, and maybe... there was a kid, from a good family. A kid who was wasting his life, getting into trouble, drinking too much and had no direction in his life. A kid who found his dream, when he had the opportunity to play a small part on the Columbus project. I would understand and, identify with, that kid.
During a "brief shining moment" in history, when Kennedy was President, and mankind took its first steps toward the stars.
I was there.
MPGames RT Category 3, Topic 8 Message 199 Fri Jan 14, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 01:15 EST
======= To: D.CHRIEST [--)-VF--] =======
> Can somebody please explain to me why so many new people enter their > first messages all in CAPS?? =========================== They are in California or Maine and you are in Canada. Very exciting to talk to someone so far away. Must type big to get message all the way to Canada. Big black screen, much space to fill. Not much to say. New folks aren't usually going to write a page its just...
HYE! I AM NEW TO AIR WARRIOR AND I DONT KNOW MY A$$ FROM HOLE IN THE GROUND. I BOUGHT THE SVGA BOX FOR $200.00 FROM A MAN IN NEW YORK. I HAVE A 8088 MONOCHROME A "REAL" IBM COMPUTER WITH 20 MEGS OF HARD DRIVE. CAN YOU HELP ME GET STARTED. I KEEP GETTING "OUT OF MIND" MESSAGE WHEN I TRY TO MAKE IT GO ON. I AM IN ICELAND. IT IS VERY COLD HERE. MY SISTER IS VERY COLD ALSO. THANKS TO ALL MY NEW FRIENDS!!. SEE YOU IN THE SKY HA HA HA HA.
MPGames RT Category 23, Topic 5 Message 89 Fri Feb 11, o994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 00:25 EST
======= To: J.FISHER18 [Shaky Stick] =======
> So the patrols were pansy ass, huh? I can still have you shot! > C'mon guys...I need numbers and kills and all that stuff...this is for > the MVP. =========================== See thats how it should work. First Dok says that the 870 mentality of people getting in scenarios just to get kills suks. Then when everybody understands that, he says patrolling is pansy ass. That way, we get people who just want to get kills willing to patrol. Then so we don't get everyone wanting to just patrol rather than get kills he says patroling is pansy ass. Makes sence to me!!
MPGames RT Category 23, Topic 6 Message 78 Sat Jan 22, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 19:22 EST
TEST PILOT REPORT: AUTO PILOT DEFICIENCY Problem; 1.Autopilot is set for straight and level flight and can not be set for any degree of climb.
2. Autopilot does not maintain straight and level at high alt. Autopilot tends to lose alt. at over 30k.
Background: During long climbs to high alt. pilot must stay on the stick constantly to 1. maintain rate of climb 2. avoid stalls. The this total commitment to stick management makes use of the MODEL 1 ( interprestal digitation radio) more difficult. The autopilot is of no assistance.
At 40k with lower throttle settings a/c management becomes increasingly difficult. Using the radio while turning at low power can easily result in a stall. Again the autopilot is of little value as it tends to permit the aircraft to lose alt. at 40k. Flying at that alt becomes a constant jockey of stick,power,autopilot,radio.
Solution: I tried several methods. The one that works best was the most simple solution. Get two 3 3/4 by 1/4 inch rubber bands. Drop the bands over the stick handle down to the bottom of the handle stem (where the handle goes into the base). Stretch the bands back toward you to the left and right corners of the base. Pull the bands down over those corners just enough to hold. Now you have a rubber band triangle running across the front of the base, looping around the two corners and running along the top of the base to and around the joystick stem.
On my TH FCS with autopilot set ON it put just enough tension on the stick that I could hold exactally any rate of climb set. At 35k I slipped one band off and the darn thing worked like a precision tool. With one band I could just set the auto to hold exact level and throttle down to 80%. Then I could perform rudder only (3 click) turns and get a 4:44 360. I could forget about the stick, airspeed, and maximize fuel, make turns and type command thier reports.
'Hello there Ch#2, this is JG1, we way up here where we are, down there we aren't any more.
'Yup We got fuel, its going in the motor up front, just fine, thanks for asking!
'Heading? We are going mostly up and some frontwards too. Suns at my back so must be going East.
'Whats Hector? No hes not here, want to talk to BG?
'Buff report? Well lets see. BG and Axe both work out. I'm pretty much a couch potatoe myself.
'Ican? Well sure and thanks, I've always wanted too.
'Well its been nice talking to you too. Well I just hate to see a grown man cry.
/JG1 to flight. Those guys are having a bad time of it down there. It sounded like they was all in tears.
Hope this helps high alt. performance. I did this while sitting around waiting to hear how you guys won the battle, I hope
Sun Feb 27, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [Scavenger] ======= To: J.FALLON2 [Ratchet ^TH^] =======
> Hey Scav, Welcome to B div!! Got any money? =========================== Well I had some but getting a royal comission in the Turkey Hams is not an inexpensive proposition. Family connections can only take one so far.
Sat Apr 16, 1994 Now that I have my "band of brothers" to fly with...Give me regular feedback based on your observations regarding anything you see that would improve my combat performance. I notice I am already having a dramatic plus value to the squad. It is obvious to me that the time it is taking the enemy to shoot me down first is costing them ammunition and diverting his attention for a moment or two. While I am enjoying the exhalted position of the Turkey, Ham and "Sacraficial Lamb" I do hope to improve and go from a defensive posture to an agressive offence soon.
Mon May 30, 1994 Sunday night with a few Hams over B-5,3 and Cland was a blast. My best single night on AW. Pulled down five enemy without being killed. I put up a film for Ho's review. Your suggestions on gaining alt between fights was major in the results. Also your prompt about missed opportunities and failure to shoot was a real contribution. I hadn't realized I was failing to take the bubble into consideration on a shot. You will see that I opened up even if the pipper was slightly off target and the hits showed the result.
Who knows, maybe I was just having a good day and it would have been good with a 190 but I dont think so. Let me know what you think of the film. I cut them alot, maybe to much but it will take less of your time.
Tue Jun 07, 1994 Got two and two got me. Things are looking up. Something wonderful has happened between my TH joystick, the scaling curve and the Hellcat.
Sun Jun 19, 1994 Was fun this Sunday night Mr. Ho. Got three kills. Two before anyone got me. Sure is better when I am flying in support rather than all alone just going out to be hunted.
Tue Jun 21, 1994 Lets have a small scenario type battle plan. Why, because I am an anal retentive person and I like to have a schedule even for dieing.
Actually the reason is that I have to fly 5 abridiged mode almost all the time or everyone becomes jumping little rabbits. So I am following people to places I don't see and getting into fights over places I don't know I'm there so when I get shot down I don't know where I was and have problems getting back there again to help out. See it's simple isn't it!
When I radio for directions sometimes you are busy staying alive and so I can't get a fast answer which means I am slow getting back to where I was to help you stay where you are.
---------- The roster said Doc,Rach,EB,Hp,QT,Pappy and I were all up but I could not figure out what we were doing as a squad. After one hour of my own confusion and being shot down 4 times trying to join up I went home.
Much to my surprise, I found out I was home. I tried to get some coffee but by this time I could not remember where the kitchen was. I thought I heard my son in the bedroom but when I went there it was the dog. I called out for my son but I guess he had gone while I was looking for Ho and QT.
I decided to just gather my wits or at least half of them and just sit down and watch a rental movie but either I couldn't find it or my son took it with him. I went out in the backyard and took a look around. I thought I would plant a bush I bought. When I finished diggin I got the plant and brought it back to my dig. But, when I looked down I couldn't tell if I was looking at my a$$ or a hole in the ground. So, I just left the plant for tomorrow.
Are Squad nights usually pretty confusing or was this a bit more than usual.
MPGames RT Category 3, Topic 9 Message 10 Fri Sep 17, 1993 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 01:40 EDT
After reading thru the comm.commands it appeared some revision was in order for those of us who are new to AW.
Manuevers: B-Bail Out Now R-Bail Out to the Right L-Bail Out to the Left D-Push the Stick like Device Forward&127 S-Split,Leave,Run,Escape,Book,Boogie,Bug Out L-Pull the Stick Like Thing Backward Until Things look Again Like ' They Do Now. C-Cover Your Eyes It will be over in a moment +-Climb Up on Your Seat to Bail Out *-Spiral Notebooks are good for Taking Notes
Engagement Coordination O-Out (Out,Out,Out as in Hurry Up and Bail Out) I-In (as in stay in your aircraft you are drawing their fire away from us) N-On ( Turn the engine on) T-Take (your finger off the trigger when I am in front of you) U-You $%#%^#$ shot me down M-me As in Do Not Shoot Me W-we (As in We who are about to die salute you) O-see (ok, they are gone now. You can uncover your eyes) ------------
Category 4, Topic 18 Message 202 Mon Feb 21, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 20:36 EST
If your at all like me you are always looking for the final fix. That one artfile, soundfile that will make all others pale in comparison. Something that once you have it you will never want any other and can therefore, be at peace with yourself and be in the center of the universe.
Well, I think I have stolen enough original thinking from Frenchie, Sniv,Thrust Dude, to offer that file. It is, of course, called SCAVS.ADV. It is written for fighters using keyboard rudder control, WCS MARKII's with the NEW chip and uses all but 1 little byte. It works of course with the FCS analog in the game card, the WCS digital. The revised KEYMAP.TXT is just to remove the + holdown remark from the views and then install the new text in KEYMAP.EXE with KEYMAP C /1
GAME 1 100 BTN 1 /U /P h g k ENT /R h g ENT /M 8 9 /D ESC s d ENT REM /U LEFT FRWD UP * LEFT FRWD /M ENGINE (S)* CAM /D SET CCIP SIGHT BTN 2 /U /P l g k ENT /R l g ENT /M ; ESC t 2 ENT /D Esc a ENT REM /U RIGHT FRWD UP * RIGHT FRWD /M RAISE GEAR * TUNE 2 /D ARM BOMBS BTN 3 /U /P h k ENT /R l k ENT /M . /D ESC s g ENT REM /U UP LEFT* UP RIGHT /M DROP FLAPS 1 /D GUN SIGHT BTN 4 a REM L RUDDER BTN 5 d REM R RUDDER BTN 6 /U /T /P /N F1 /R ESC m 0 ENT /T /P /N ESC m 2 ENT /R F1 REM /U RADAR LONG/SHORT/LONG/BACK TO VIEW /M ESC w ENT s , , , , REM /M SECTOR LOCATION * CENTER RUDDER * RAISE FLAPS TO FULL UP /D /T SHF F10 /T SHF F10 REM /D PRESS=MAP VIEW * RELEASE=BACK TO A/C THR 16 1 c v 0 0 7 7
Now don't panic when you are using all those extra views on your WCS. You wont have to fly the entire mission looking left/forward or right/up. Come on, would I steal one part of someone elses work without stealing the other? All you have to do is tap the castle and your back looking out of the front view.
I mentioned that I left you 1 little byte. It just came out that way you may say, cause you don't think Scav knows his #@#!@@#A$$ from a hole in the ground. (Cookie, I hope that hides the bad word like you requested) You may say that, however, when you wish to switch from using a one digit comm. channel (like 2) and go to a two digit comm channel (like 9) you will thank me. Don't pay any attention to those extra comm commands. They just broadcast certain info on channel one that I need for data collection, test purposes.
Of course I realize that after a few of the old hands download this and figure out ten things that are wrong with it I will have to rename it DWEEBS.ADV.
But until then;) Go forth my son's, may the FARCE BE WITH YOU.
Obie Wannabee Ka-no-be. Scav.
MPGames RT Category 23, Topic 5 Message 38 Thu Jan 20, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 21:10 EST
"LUFTWAFFE'S HINDMOST FLIGHT LEADER FAILS SPEED TYPING EXAMS" Read all about it...... FL Hindmost ez von kaputten heiny...
Flight was uneventful up and into patrol are. We got on station flying the M,N,O beepers looking North. P-51's were sighted in sector seven noth of the lake on two occasions but were avoided did come down in vis.
We were seperated into individual aircraft and reassigned to fly the column lines south at 1,7, 2,7, 3,7, 4,7 and 5,7 This pue us at varying locations N and South depending on where we were at the turn and 48 miles apart as a flight.
We got the intercept order and due to the distance between aircraft we were only able to reform as Rottes. Crash and I got into the fight and I got fire on one P-51 and 1 B-17. The B-17 was under fire from a FW190 and exploded. There were more P-51's than I had ever seen and only a very few German at that moment. I drew a healthy bead, winced as my typebroken fingers squeezed the trigger and promptly ran out of fuel.
The problems we had with the patrol were covered in e-mail. As FL I had major communication and coordination problems. About 40 min. into the flight I went into radio shock (a unusual form of shell shock and combat fatigue) from which I did not recover until I reached the enemy.
I spent most of my time head down in the cockpit trying to keep up with the radio and wiping half typed messages off the message line as others who could type and/or think a bit faster than me answered for me or added thier inquiry to the inquirys I was already working on therby doubling the amount of replies I was required to address or radioed orders to my flight that I was typing too slow to countermand. (almost undetectable grin)
I failed typing 1 miserably and at one point with Antoine de Saint-Exupery's death in remembrance was hoping a P-51 would slide up unseen and put me out of my misery as I headed to the East, out of my patrol area, on auto-pilot with my broken and wounded fingers still trying to defend the Reich. The best review of that is in my films which cover the entire patrol minus about 1 min.
I am working on some system where I can get enemy aircraft and the sector information as well as locations of all friendlys to appear in the typing buffer instead of the radar or outside as a dot. If I am going to view this war in the typing buffer I should at least see the whole thing there.
I will be attending tde AWTA for the next six weeks and that should improve my radio comm skills. Thats the Air Warrior Typing Acadamy.
MPGames RT Category 23, Topic 3 Message 62 Fri Jan 14, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 21:06 EST
reprinted from the tactics topic with permission of the family of FL.Arnold Scaveneger.
FL. Scaveneger's body was found next to the burned out wreckage of his Bf109 late Thursday Jan 13th 1944. He was shot down over B-36 while engaging FW190A8s in preperation for BOG. A badly charred map was found in his hand, next to his compass. It appeared he had ripped the compass from his instrument panel and was smashing it against the canopy when he augered. This message was all that was left of his radio.
The vectors and the sectors made me listen in the mission. But the Hun in the sun was the name of the game.
MPGames RT Category 3, Topic 11 Message 38 Sat Feb 26, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [Scavenger] at 21:21 EST
======= To: K.HACKER [DeadDuck GF] =======
> To me the interplay of angle and speed is a subtle dance that goes on > here and I havent quite figured out how to manipulate this. If I get > an epihany on the subject Ill post. =========================== I knew sooner or later someone was going to post something on the problems I have experienced in AW. It's the "interplay of angle and speed as a subtle dance". I am having exactally that problem. Frequently while I am working very hard on my interplay of angle and speed someone subtly rams a bucket of hot lead up my six. Man-O-Man does that make me dance!!;) ------------
MPGames RT Category 6, Topic 2 Message 74 Fri Dec 24, 1993 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 17:27 EST
AN IRISH AIRMAN FORESEES HIS DEATH
I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love; My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltarten's poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. No law, nor duty bade me fight, No public men, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death.
Merry Christmas Air Warriors Scav.
Air Warrior is like the Empire State building. And Air Warriors are like monkeys.
When ya first start you're a little, organ-grinder size monkey standing on the street outside. Looking up you see a building swarming with hostile monkeys of all different shapes and sizes. Monkeys are born to climb, and there ain't no Fay Wrays standin on the street, so instinct takes over and soon you're jousting for a handhold and making yer way up the wall.
Some are Fast Monkeys. A bit of natural ability combined with an in depth knowledge of climbin. They become familiar with the cracks and crevices of the particular building and begin to apply their knowledge within those parameters. Soon they are climbing, dodging, or scramblin right over some of the bigger monkeys and snatching bananas from the slower ones, growing bigger.
Others are Scrappy Monkeys. These monkeys spend extra time practicing. They ask lots of questions and live for the chance to go toe to toe with the bigger monkeys. They punch, kick, bite, claw, and spit at the monkeys above them. Scarred, bloody, and with big ol'chunks of fur ripped out they monkey butts they keep hammerin. Occasionally they land a good blow, right in the monkey 'nards, and topple a bigger monkey. This inspires them to fight even harder. Soon they learn where to hit and when to duck. They begin to take their share of bananas.
Then there's the Hungry Monkeys. "Mo 'nanas!, mo 'nanas!" they chant as they cling to the wall from 6:01 pm til 7:59 am. Calculating that mo 'nanas go to the monkeys with mo hangtime they know that if the hang long enough they will get mo then their share of the 'nanas. Of course they need deep pockets to sustain this frenzy, can't eat all them 'nanas at once, and are prone to the dreaded "Banana Split". They must be very careful, lest they wind up another furry puddle of monkey guts in some alley off 34th street.
Also, ya got yer Techno Monkeys. Bumpy FrankenSchwanz in each paw, electrode catheters up their tail, anti-lock stainless steel vine swingers attached to their feet, gold plated groin clamps feeding g-inducing jugular valves hooked into the fastest system available, with the biggest monitor, tuned to peak performance and cranking out thru a megagigawatt, 3D, multi-usual Krakatoa Banana Blaster, these monkeys spend alot of time diddlin with their gadgets and tweaking their way up the wall.
And, we got MacGyver Monkeys. Riding systems that time forgot with nothing more than a handful of Froot Loops and a pile of bat guano they use every trick in the book, and plenty that ain't, to squirm their way heavenward. Always heavy, uncovering obscure and hidden bananas, they invent their way along using every micro-ounce of every banana that they managed to ensnare, even to the point of using the peels for clothing and shelter.
Advancing their altitudinous aspirations, AW Monkeys invariably encounter the various denizens of the virtual Jungle.
Most encounter the Hurler Monkeys first. Kinda like chimps, these sociable chaps gather in large communal halls, spending their time practicing monkey yells and poking each other in the navel. Once in awhile they venture out for a climb but are much happier chillin with their mates on the middle floors, flingin monkey turds and grinnin at all what pass by.
Out on the wall a common first encounter is with a Sumo Monkey. These are the veteran Hungry Monkeys. They've been there twice, done that backwards. All the nonessential flotsam has been skimmed and the essence of the climb congealed to a Zen like "See monkey, knock monkey down" philosophy. When ya hear "Monkey X took my 'nana 16 times in a row one day", Monkey X is most likely a Sumo.
No avoiding it, eventually every climber crosses ledges with Tribal Monkeys. Wearing the skins of ded monkeys, gathering in private branches painted in various warlike colors, they belch, fart, thump n headbutt their way around looking for other to belch, fart, thump n headbutt with. An astute climber can get a good belly full a slightly bruised 'nanas by finding an area where 2 or more groups of tribal monkeys have been thump n headbuttin.
Look way up there, see that fuzzy lil dot? That there's a Vulcher Monkey. High above the crowd, with a 10k alt advantage on next week, they float. Looking for the unsuspecting or hurtin climber, sporting k/ds over 8000 and k/ss round .0125, their motto is - "where there's smoke... we fire! (but only after the monkey what caused the smoke has been kilt first)".
Legend has it that in the penthouses are the Wrinkled Monkeys. Rarely climbing, (hey yer in the penthouse, why climb more?) they only venture out under dark glasses. They have the rare and exotic 'nanas. Highly sought but useless to but a few climbers that are twisted enough to understand their full meaning, the Wrinks are content to live on past glory. They enjoy tossing an occasional 'nana out the window just to see how many climbers fall off trying to grab it.
AND, of course, The Kong Monkeys. At the peak of prosperity, clinging to the radio tower, chest pounding, Fay grabbin, teeth gnashing, flicking planes away as tho they were insects, we find the Kings. Keelin, scorin, the anchors of their respective tribal units, when a climber sees a Kong Monkey on the wall he heads for another country. Whole tribal units have been de-'nana-ed by single Kong Monkeys. Just when Joe Avg Monkey thinks he's seen everything, along comes a Kong Monkey and gives that girl a twirl and makes her whole wurl swirl. Clashes between Kongs can sometimes alter the entire shape of the wall, cause the climb to take a whole nuther direction, provide lotsa ammo for the Hurlers...
Leona and Harry Kesmai proudly announce the opening of the New Real Building at 870;2 Arena 4.
The 'Nanas are fresher and sweeter and as of now there aren't many Kongs to keep ya from those Hooter laden Fays.
Fast Monkeys can get a preview of every nook and cranny. Scrappy Monkeys can test their mettle on a bigger, steeper wall. Hungry Monkeys? Mo 'nanas, nuf said. Hey Techno Monkeys git out yer tweakers, plenty mo stuff to calculate. The MacGyver's been over there already, gatherin trinkets.
Tis a regular simian shower over 870 as monkeys of all sizes leap off and make their way crosstown.
NOW FIGHT LIKE APES!
Ho-THar of Atlantis
MP Games RT Category 23, Topic 5 Message 76 Tue Feb 08, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 03:17 EST
JG1---It wasn't easy for a group of fighter pilots to resign themselves to being patrol pilots. We watched our fuel run out while the fight was usually elsewhere.
The discipline shown by JG1 in the execution of it's patrol orders deserved a great measure of respect. It marked a difference between being great in an 870 environment vs. being great in a scenario
The Buffs found out early it wasn't easy to get by AXEMAN on the Western Border.
BG downed a buff for JG1,
Drum got a Buff while acting as both a alternate and a glider pilot for JG1. On that same mission he saved his FL from an angry swarm of '51's.
MD also took out Ho for JG1's final kill of the scenario. b The best part of flying with JG1 for me was thier positive attitude. Constant Patrol was a mission that could have dropped moral and disintegrated a unit into no-shows and gripes.
I'll fly with this bunch again anytime, anywhere !!! MESSAGE TO COMMAND: REMEMBER THOSE WHO SERVED PATROL DUTY IN BOG WHEN IT IS TIME TO ASSIGN THE HOT FIGHTER ATTACK SPOTS IN THE NEXT SCENARIO!!! AXEMAN BULLGATOR VERTEX CRASH HOLLYWOOD Scav. JG1 FL
Category 6, Topic 18 Message 87 Tue Sep 20, 1994 L.SHAW4 [Louise] at 00:50 EDT
Wow, can't believe I found all of you but got the Cat & Topic from the message from Bluebaron. I've spent 2 1/2 days editing the Games headers from all of your messages for distribution to all the family of Terry's but found the one from Bluebaron that I hadn't edited out. Almost 100 pages so had to cut out those MPGAMES.... No NAMES were edited. Tonight I finished reading all the messages posted here and had to tell you all how much it has meant to me. I know you all. From Dok, Dusty, Bluebaron, the Posts from Hamcat by Holmes, the story on the 386DX25 of Terry's from the HD of Phantom, the great poems posted by so many, and the one from Gray Eagle. Then Bebop and Rabid, Ranger, Slug and Quarters and many many more. Your posts are beautiful. Wish I could name you all, but it is all of you that I thank for giving me and others so much laughter. And yes, Shadow Demon, I think everyone in Heaven is laughing and enjoying his company. DARN! I miss him here. From NoBaddy, I couldn't stop laughting at that "Scav was, hands down, the worst dweeb it has ever been my misfortune to try and train," (Dweeb has become part of my vocabulary) and thanks also Tadpole for "digging out the JG1 and Luftflotte Reich posts. Thank you Centurion for asking for all the old Posts. You will all be loved by so many family members when they see this HUGE addition to their Memory Book which was mostly funny stories from here, like "Flying Down, etc.") You will never know how much all of this has meant, but then you probably do. Only all of you brought out this humor in Terry- he felt free to write how he felt, and yes comfortable with you in doing so. Terry's sister, Louise
MPGames RT Category 23, Topic 3 Message 20 Tue Jan 04, 1994 T.NAUGHTON [SCAVENGER] at 23:18 EST
I just read the post by command stating that the aircraft selections will be decided by ability and experience rather then on a first come first serve basis. I think that this is unfair. My 3.00 per hour is just as good as the next man's regardless of ability or experience. I am willing to be flexible on this issue but I see no way around the problem this presents.
1. What flight is willing to tie up a first class fighter to tow me to the intercept altitude.
2.Until we arrive at the release point the towplane is defenseless and we will both be exceedingly vulnerable to attack.
3. At release the Grunau Baby has a marked tendency to slowdown due to high drag and will not be able to keep up with the bombers.
4. As legendary as these planes are in Luftwaffe history they were never armed.
5.Westerholt and the Borkenberge is to far from the intercept area.
6. I don't have my 34 second "A" lapel badge yet.
I hope command will reconsider this unfair decision.;)
(Thud) >by the by...did you ever find that film of the Scav's last ride. I >will give left nut for that baby.
(Holmes) yikes! No need to get that extreme.... I've attached it to this message,know if it makes it to you ok. A little explanation - Scav flew AW on a budget, and he was good about sticking to it (unlike most of us "one more sortie" types;). He loved the scenarios, the whole persona bit, reliving history and all that... so he flew in the scenarios and with me in training but didn't do much flying in the arena. We were going to wing together in a scenario called Salerno, as 109 pilots, but for some reason (I forget why, maybe an impending AW upgrade or something) Salerno was cancelled. So the Scav had some budgeted time to make a few trips into the arena. At this time I was heavily involved in the training program. My schedule was - instructor for Tuesday night training, AWTA class on Monday and another on Thursday, training with Scav on Friday. This left Sun and Wed open for scenarios and Sat for free-flying. Heh, no wonder I caught a case of the burnout.
Scav had "found" the Hellcat, and was starting to rack up some multi-keel missions. He wasn't King Kong or anything, but he also wasn't embarrassing himself much anymore... and we were making a few arena sorties now and again.
Two of my students decided to form a squadron (much like the formation of the Turkey Hams, with me, Quarters and PoohTao all students in the same class. Btw, Hams just celebrated their 4th birthday;), Rail and TK started the Seven Screaming Dizbusters. They recruited a few folks and made a plan for a divebomb mission or something... sorta their first ever "squadnight". I went along and grabbed Scav to come with us. We were both made honorary Dizbusters :) So we show up and I tell em (pointing to Scav) "he's here to keep the enemas off of ME!"... kinda like some sorta bigshot, arriving with his own personal bodyguard/wingman, heh, we had a good chuckle with that... and, well off we went. You'll see in the radio chatter that he does just that, blasting some Ki that was just about to put my lights out. He wound up with 2 keels in this, I had 4, and he sorta sacrificed himself to get me out and landed. Ending is a bit of a bummer... and it was the last I ever saw of the Scavenger... such is life sometimes. The film unzips as sdbmis1.cam (for SDB's first mission)
cheers, Ho next: The SCAVENGER Remembered
Terry Naughton (Scavenger) died, suddenly and unexpectedly, just a few months after he was inducted into the Turkey Ham squad. But not before he became known throughout Air Warrior as the man who spoke so eloquently from the heart and shared the fun, the wisecracks, the tremendous egos so easily spoofed and the hidden dreams that many of us live out through the toughest and greatest air combat simulation ever created.
Air Warrior had never seen a guy like Scav. There won't be another. He loved this game but he loved something even more. He loved the company of other dreamers. He loved the camaraderie, the boasting, the passion and the friendship. Scav though we were just about the best bunch of idiots he'd ever met in his all-too-brief life. He was right. We are. It was.
- Slug *TH*
A tribute to Terry Naughton (a.k.a. Scavenger)
Terry Naughton passed away July 2nd 1994, he was in the mid-fifties. I never had the chance of meeting him personally, i only knew him from his many and often funny messages on the GEnie electronical bulliten board and from some "radio messages" on a game called Air Warrior. We were both AW pilots, like hundreds of other flight-sim fans, we were enjoying recreating what it was like to be a World War II pilot, we fought for a Country, we were part of a Squadron, we were flying electronic replicas of WW II planes in a cyber sky. All in the comfort of our homes but it was the closest we could get to live.... our common dream.
Terry Naughton was known in the AW community as "Scavenger" of the Turkey Ham squadron. He wasn't the best 'pilot' in terms of flyin skills but he was the most universally liked person online. The announcement of his death brought sadness to all who had the chance to knew him, many of us felt we had lost a close friend.
His messages on the bulliten board were often funny, sometimes moving, and always friendly. It came as a fresh breeze after all the eggo-bashing, flame-throwing, chest-pounding messages that pretty much were the norm, at least in the famous Crash & Burn Cafe :)
It's been nearly two years now that he left us, but the posts are still in the memories of those who knew him... They always are a pleasure to re-read and they still bring us emotions. I decided to put some of them on my Web pages so to make them even more present to people who already have them on disks and to make them available to new flight-sim enthusiasts who didn't had the priviledge of being there.
Thank you again Scav!
Nice Guy ++KZIN++ (Ret.)(AW)