by Ed S.
As a youngster in the early 1960s, I was one of many who would rush outside when the loud rumble of a missile launch echoed throughout the otherwise quiet valley in which Lompoc, California, is situated. I remember gazing skyward and wondering just how brilliant were the men and women who could make those things fly those awesome vehicles with powerful names like Thor, Atlas and Titan.
Flash forward to October 19, 2005. I find myself with my coworkers at Vandenberg Air Base, standing outside a building in which I had worked for almost 10 of the last 23 years. Once again, I am gazing skyward at an awesome launch vehicle with a powerful name—Titan IV B-26. This time, however, there are at least two significant differences. It is the last time I will ever see a Titan Space Launch Vehicle rising majestically over the hills of this same Lompoc Valley. And this time, I no longer wonder how brilliant those people are, because I have worked with and known many of them!
As I watched B-26 climb into that crystal-clear blue sky, I felt extremely proud to be an employee of Lockheed Martin! I will miss that feeling, but I will remember it as long as I live. Thank you Titan team and thank you Lockheed Martin! Farewell, good luck and Godspeed to all who made you fly!