Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Art and Science of Aviation

It was natural that one would want to work for Glenn L. Martin
by David B.
At the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River Maryland, in 1951, Mr. E. E. (Pete) Clark, the chief of aerodynamics, interviewed me for several hours, including lunch and afterwards. We agreed I should work there. It was the gift of a lifetime! Mr. Clark found out that I had built model airplanes all my life and had worked at a grass strip airport covering wings, welding and riveting, repairing, inspecting and modifying light planes. He found out, too, that I had earned a Bachelor of Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in aeronautical engineering. I had graduated with honors, and was placed number one in the class. I felt lucky to be hired.

Starting on August 2, 1951, the company assigned me to the Canberra project in the aerodynamics group. Joe Burghardt was the project engineer and Howard E. (Howie) Schick was in charge of stability and control, so I sat next to him. The English Electric Company had earlier delivered three Canberra aircraft to be used at Martin, and we still had WD932 and WD940, in the effort to turn it into the United States Air Force B-57. It required not just changing skin gauges and rivet sizes, but meeting MIL-SPEC-F-8785 ASG, the flying quality spec for piloted aircraft. It was said, at the time, that this was something to do with the balance of payments abroad, having to do with the war. This was hard to swallow, as we still had a Martin XB-S1 on the field, a really advanced aircraft with swept wings, two pod-mounted jet engines, a high T-tail, bicycle landing gear and other features to make it a really high-speed bomber. Later, it became clear that the Canberra had the greatest ratio of low speed to high speed of anything in the inventory, and this became increasingly important as we improved the high subsonic capability in flight test and then were invited to build a special purpose high-altitude variant. Wing Commander W. E. W. Petter had designed a beautifully streamlined, low-drag airframe with lightweight structure. He had chosen the equivalent of a NACA 0012 airfoil, inboard, which had plenty of room for deep spars but also avoided the early Mach problems over the upper surface of cambered airfoils. Contributing to low weight, he had avoided hydraulics on the controls, and used geared and spring tabs on the ailerons, elevator and rudder. All of this later enabled us to use the aircraft in a special high altitude variant—the BS7D.

These are my first memories at Martin. Thank you!

The Martin B-57 Canberra

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It’s a True Honor

Helping defend our nation is motivation enough
by Albert  Y.

Working for Lockheed Martin has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in my career. There are very few people who get the opportunity to work on technologies and products of the future; and even fewer who have the honor of producing the tools and the means that defend our people, our homes, our soldiers, but most importantly our nation. When I get up for work, I am motivated to produce my best effort; not only because I find the work exciting and interesting, but also because our nation and our soldiers deserve and need the best we can offer. It is with a sense of pride and appreciation that I am able to claim that I help defend my country; that I work at Lockheed Martin.

P.S. I learned to fly an airplane before I learned to drive a car!

Pride Boiled Over

My career began on December 31, 1941
by Tudor D.

Thank you for the privilege of sharing my story. I was sworn in as an Apprentice Seaman in the United States Navy at the Old Seaman’s Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was December 31, 1941. I participated in the Murmansk Patrols and the invasion of Africa and Casablanca. I later served on the USS Halibut (SS 232) on its 5th through 10th war patrols. After World War II, I remained in the Navy and served on submarines. In April 1958, I was accepted for Polaris Training School, in Sunnyvale, California. I graduated in September 1958, and assigned to the USS Observation Island (EAG 154) to proof Polaris launch system. At the time, I had the good fortune to work with Lockheed engineers on the ship and in the shops at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Little did I know, my future was being planted, and a new career was in the making!

We commissioned the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) on December 30, 1959, and proofed all 16 launch tubes and the remainder of the missile system. We eventually loaded out the Polaris A1 missiles and went on patrol. We loaded out in Charleston, South Carolina. Our skipper took us on the first patrol. After more than 60 days at sea, in places unknown to the majority of us, we returned to New London, Connecticut. After going through the boat with our reliefs, we were assigned new orders. Some of us went on to more schools at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and other companies involved with the intricate parts of the missile.

I was fortunate to be accepted by Lockheed. J.T. McFarlane, supervisor at the office in Groton, Connecticut, explained my future, location of where I would be assigned and other job details. I was assigned to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and reported aboard in early 1961 with my wife and two daughters in tow. We were on our way to more adventures with Lockheed. The beginning of a second career was about to commence!

We had three shifts on the SSBNs, which we helped prepare for commissioning. Three to five men were on a shift—depending on the amount of testing to be performed. At times, the home office at Sunnyvale would send assistance to support us on seven-day workweeks. We observed and supervised all active/inert missile movements for testing in the 16 launch tubes in preparation for sell-off by the shipyard to the Special Projects Office and United States Navy.

I worked on the submarine tender USS Hunley (AS 31) as my first assignment. The greatest feeling on the job effort was being at commissioning ceremonies after many hours of testing, frustration with changes in operations and performing SPALT changes—pride boiled over.

In 1972, I retired, though not for long. Lockheed called me back in 1976, and I was sent to POMFPAC in Bremerton, Washington, as the logistic rep between POMFPAC, POMPFLANT, the shipyards, the training centers and Lockheed’s Sunnyvale office. I had the good fortune of a two-year assignment at POMFPAC. I witnessed its transformation into the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC). I was promoted to supervisor of warehouse operations, and then retired in 1987.

How lucky we were as a family! So much good fortune was bestowed upon us. Thank you, God, the United States Navy and Lockheed Martin!

Here I am in SWFPAC.

Expecting the Unexpected

I learned to maintain a wild field of view at work and at play
by Rich F.

I began working at Martin Marietta in 1985 as an hourly production control expediter on the LANTIRN program. I later worked in product support for TADS/PNVS. I was known as a sort of “Radar O’Reilly,” because I was the requisition expediter for worldwide Apache operations, including Army bases, Special Repair Activities and foreign military service units. I enjoyed the whirlwind demand for repair parts' and maintenance compounds. They were vital for keeping the Apache fleet in the air across the globe. How did I deal with the job stress? I loved to ride my Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I still put the rubber to the road.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Hitched My Career to a Star

I was there from the Golden Age of Aviation to the Space Age
by George D.

In the late 1930s, I was “shaping up” in various aircraft manufacturer employment lines while working as a night watchman at Paramount Studios in Burbank, California. On February 28, 1939, Lockheed’s winged star became my lodestar.

Lockheed played a key role in my home life. In 1940, I met my future wife, Margaret Harris, when we both worked in spare parts sales. My children—Bonnie, Gary and Marsha—were all born in Dayton, Ohio, when I was assigned at Wright Field.

Wright Field and Lockheed also played a part in a remarkable experience for me in 1943. Lockheed sponsored a photo opportunity on the tarmac at Wright Field, and I saw Orville Wright peering out the pilot’s window of a C-69 military Constellation!

My career developed through field offices, soared through the aircraft industry’s mass production Golden Age and flew into the 1960s Space Age era. After 35 years, I retired from Lockheed in 1974. But I’ve never forgotten the thrill of the projects I worked on—the B-47 joint modernization programs involving Lockheed with Douglas and Boeing; the 1957 United States Air Force X-7 Ram Jet test vehicles and Q-5 Drones and the United States advanced satellite reconnaissance satellite system of the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, revisiting those epic times makes me feel proud to having been part of aerospace history. I am grateful for my long and productive career at the core of a great company. I am glad I followed that lodestar.

I met Margaret at Lockheed!

A Testament to Hard Work

The sacrifice was well worth it
by Mrs. Charles C.

I am going to tell this story as if my husband were speaking it to you. He was the Lockheed employee.

“During the building of the C-5 Galaxy, we were so busy that, one year, I worked 352 days. That is a long haul with no time off. I was a supervisor and pushed hard to meet our deadlines. Of course, I was present at the roll out of that big monster. I also worked on the C-141. We worked hard, but the results were worth the effort."

A Bit of Middle River History

My father worked on every major project there
by Ed W.

My father, John, worked at Martin Marietta in Middle River. During his tenure, from 1936 to 1973, he worked on every major project there, including the M-130 China Clipper, the B-26, the PBM Mariner, the Martin Mars and the P6M SeaMaster Supersonic Seaplane. He also worked on the early guided missiles Martin developed, as well as the Titan rockets. He loved his job and the company. His Martin ring was buried with my brother in 1987.

A Wealth of Talent and Brainpower

I worked at Palmdale for over 40 years
by David F.

I worked at the Palmdale, California, facility my entire Lockheed Martin career. I was there from August 1969 through December 2011, and was the second Palmdale employee hired in to support the L-1011 TriStar program. My first assignment was to coordinate the setting up the ID office at the old Caravan Inn. During my career, I worked in several different organizations including finance, shortage control, facilities and last but not least, material management as a purchasing representative. While each position had its challenges and rewards, my most memorable would be my time in material management, supporting our materials and process group. What a challenger that was! However, the rewards were great in working with such a dynamic group of engineers and scientists.

My favorite plane still is the SR-71. The gatherings that would take place on the corner of Sierra Highway and Avenue North to watch the Blackbird take off were second to none. I’ll never forget the sight and sound! While the SR-71 is my favorite, all of our programs are near and dear to me. My hat is off to the people who came before me, the men and women with whom I worked and those who will continue to carry the torch.

A Brilliant Opportunity

It was a prestigious education about the world and life
by Pauline L.

Martin Marietta Vice President of Operations Roger Coleman offered my most important career opportunity in 1973. The company was in the process of moving its headquarters from Torrance, California, to 18th and K in Washington, D.C. A brilliant and inspiring person, Mr. Coleman always focused on the essential, always able to see the larger picture. Working with him proved an education in itself!

In the Washington office, I met Gayle Chin, my dearest friend. She was a recent graduate of studies in Paris. When she applied for a position in the executive suite, I was asked to introduce her to the various areas of the company. She often said that I taught her "all she knew." My hunch is that we shared interest in many of the same things—art, travel, cooking and dining among them. When my husband accepted a position with the Association of Theological Schools in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Coleman made my transfer easy to the company's Central Region Sales Office there.

After 10 years, my career at Martin ended with early retirement in the summer of 1983. However, my friendship with Gayle continues to this day, as does that with close friends from the regional office, John Meek and Sheila Sideroff. My memories of Lockheed Martin are fond, and its stewardship, retirement income and health benefits have contributed significantly to my life. I am grateful for the experience and proud to be a "graduate" of the company."

Thank you, Lockeed Martin!

The C-130 Was “My Airplane”

Thanks Lockheed Martin, for this wonderful aircraft
by Bill I.

I retired from the United States Air Force in 1989. During my military career, I was an enlisted crewman aboard the EC-130 ABCCC aircraft when it was at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. When I found out that I was going to be on flying status, I was very excited. I was really hoping to fly on one of the EC-135 aircraft. After getting to Keesler and getting qualified to fly my position by myself, I couldn't have been happier. The C-130, to me, was the best aircraft for the mission we had. I accumulated almost 700 hours of flying time while at Keesler, going to 10 different countries and 10 or 15 different states.

From there I went to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where I was assigned to a unit that flew JC-130Bs, which were older than the EC-130s. Again, it was a great aircraft for a great mission, which was satellite recovery. I do not allow anyone to bad mouth "my airplane" in my presence. If they do, I quickly correct them and point out that, yes, they might be slow and noisy, but I always felt safe. I was in Vietnam in the early 1970s and had friends who flew gunship and airborne command post-missions on that venerable aircraft. No one time did I ever hear a derogatory word. I hope Lockheed Martin keeps building and updating the C-130 for years to come. I can't imagine my Air Force without it!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae"

This is the story of two of aviation’s finest
by Eugene P.

Kelly Johnson's high altitude expertise goes back further than the U-2. I was one of the CIA engineers in the program office that managed the U-2, A-12 Oxcart and Corona. Having a lifelong interest in aviation, I learned of Kelly Johnson's earliest high-altitude project in which he modified Wiley Post's Winnie Mae to attempt altitude and speed records in 1934. Wiley bet Kelly a new K&E slide rule he would set a new world record. Kelly knew that would be possible only if Wiley found the jet stream. Wiley didn't make the record, and would later fly off with Will Rogers to Point Barrow, Alaska, where they crashed and were killed. When Kelley learned of Wiley's death, he is reported to have said, "Why that Wiley never did give me that slide rule.”

I am the president of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

Wings for the Eagle

Lockheed had a starring role
by Wes C.

Mike McDaniel came into possession of a big stack of old Lockheed newsletters and publications. Idly thumbing through one from 1942, he came across mention of a Warner Brothers movie of that year that was shot in and around the plant, using actual Lockheed workers: “Wings for the Eagle.” What? A film shot at Lockheed? We were both immediately intrigued—after all, both my father and I had worked in the plant and knew it well.

I checked Netflix and YouTube for copies. Nothing! Then I checked with my film noir buddy who specializes in hard-to find movies—nothing there, either. But he happened to notice that TCM was broadcasting it the very next day (! So, he recorded it for me and I watched it.

The film is corny and propagandistic by today's standards, and contains many film clich├ęs. (For instance, when somebody in a film turns on a radio in 1941, you know you're about to hear a flash bulletin announcing the bombing of Pearl Harbor.) But think back. In 1942, we were fighting for our survival, and films of this type were well received with the general public. They were even necessary. As for me, I'm grateful that there's such good film documentation of what it took it build aircraft at Lockheed in the 1940s. I love the interior plant shots—it reminds me of when I worked there in 1979 and 1980.

The World’s Best Father

I worked alongside my dad one summer
by Lisa L.

My father started working for Martin Marietta in January 1962. His salary was $132 a week, which was considered very good at that time. Today, it would be well below the poverty level!

Dad worked on the Bullpup, Pershing and Sprint missile programs and on various research and development tasks. However, his most memorable program was TADS/PNVS. He was program director for PNVS and was technical director for TADS. He was selected as engineer of the year in 1979. A few years later, I worked for Martin Marietta during the summer of 1982 in the test program set arena where we wrote test programs for testing TADS/PNVS. It was a father-and-daughter scenario!

TADS/PNVS was the main weapon system used at the start of the Gulf War to neutralize Iraq’s air defense system. It worked to perfection with the entire Iraqi air defense systems destroyed in one evening engagement. My father was so proud of that system! It would be months later when he would get to see actual video from that engagement.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Life Well Lived

Around the world, Hunt made a lasting impression
by Linda, Keli, and Jennifer C.

Hunt had the attitude of John Wayne, the style of James Bond and the brainpower of a rocket scientist. On his first day at work at Martin Marietta, Orlando, he may have expected to be greeted by his boss with "Welcome aboard!" Instead, he heard, "Who are you?" Why are you here?"

Throughout his 35-year career with Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin, from Advanced Programs in Orlando to the Vertical Launching System (VLS) program in Baltimore, he excelled at his job. He flew over one million miles and traveled to six continents as he successfully marketed VLS internationally. He was known worldwide as a talented and fair businessman, for his excellent technical knowledge of the product and for his understanding of and respect for other cultures. He became lifelong friends with many of his customers.

Hunt always had time for his family. He was a great husband, dad and grandfather. He took the family around the world when he could. When he couldn't, he and wife Linda created their own legendary family adventures at Mount Rushmore, Key West, Niagara Falls, Canadian Rockies and so many more.

After retiring as Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin's Naval Electronics and Surveillance Division in Baltimore, Hunt and Linda returned to Florida. As a retiree, he became involved in the Orlando community with the Kiwanis Club of Orlando. To his surprise, one year he was awarded the club's esteemed Kiwanian of the Year award for his service.

Thank you for this forum to share Hunt’s story, and thank you, Hunt, for making the world a better place.

A life well lived and a job well done!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Optimism and Purpose

I learned important values at Lockheed
by Carol L.

I started working at Lockheed Missile and Space Division in Sunnyvale in April 1959. I was 18 years of age. I started in blueprint files, then material planning and material checking. I worked in Buildings 102, NIROP, 151, 152, 153 and 126. I became a lead at the age of 21. Lockheed gave me the chance to learn, promote and realize the importance of a work ethic. That core value helped me throughout my career. I was laid off in June 1970. I still claim that Lockheed was the best place I ever worked, and I am grateful that I started my career there.

Adventures in Science

I was an EPL lab technician
by Darrell W.

I worked on many, many systems and was sent to Huntsville, Alabama, to work on a secret project. I returned and was offered to go to another country with another company. Now, years later and 16 countries under my belt, I have hung up the coat and settled down in my old back yard. Thanks Martin Marietta for the adventure!

The Lockheed Warning Star

I continue to wonder why I was stateside
by Raoul L.

As an electrical flight line supervisor at Lockheed Aircraft Services in New York, I was assigned to lead a group of Lockheed aircraft technicians to perform maintenance on the WV-2 aircraft at the United States Navy Airbase in Atsugi, Japan. My group included a fine bunch of guys who were sharp technicians. They were also a lot of fun, as attested to by the Northwest Airlines flight attendants who were on our Tokyo-bound flight. They refused to serve us, so we had to take the beverages ourselves—all of the beverages.

We had a group of Navy aircraft that we did maintenance on, performed modifications and then flew on the “check-out" flights. It was part of our duty to fly over the Sea of Japan on the routine test flights after work was completed. I flew on many of these.

After several months, I had to return to our corporate headquarters for a brief period. This was in the fall of 1965. During the month of November, while I was in the United States, my crew as usual, performed their duties. I was shocked to hear that a "foreign" fighter shot down our WV-2! I was stateside. I often think of my friends and wonder why I was in the States during that incident.

We Helped Defeat Communism

It was like being a member of a family
by Ronald L.

I was at Sunnyvale for almost 16 years (just 2 weeks short) from 1979 to 1995. Work meant having projects done according to Lockheed’s high standards. I worked with colleagues even after normal work hours; I worked whenever I was needed. Jobs well done caused communism to collapse. There was a reduced need for the United States Armed Forces to procure more Lockheed top-quality products; hence, there were massive layoffs, which affected me.

We had the opportunity to participate in activities during off-hours, including Toastmasters to improve talking in front of groups, the management association to listen to accomplished individuals, annual picnics and a 5K fun run. LERA was a way to doing other things, such as taking hang gliding lessons and going on a cruise where I met my wife. I am proud to be part of the Lockheed Martin family. Thank you.

Discovering the Plasma Universe

I was a research scientist at Palo Alto Research Laboratories
by David K.

In the mid-1980s, I joined Lockheed’s Palo Alto Research Laboratories as a research scientist. I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the country's most highly regarded senior space physicists. Among them were Joseph Reagan, Edward Shelley, Richard Johnson and Martin Walt. I was privileged to be affiliated with "The Labs" for a decade-and-a-half. My colleagues in the Space Plasmas Laboratory and the closely related Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory produced some of the most sophisticated spaceflight instruments ever developed to understand the geospace and solar plasma environments. The participation by a corporate aerospace giant in fundamental discoveries of the plasma universe was an enigma for a field of study typified by university and government laboratories and represents a real feather in the cap for Lockheed Martin.

Looking West toward the Horizon and the Future

Dad began at “the plant” in 1941
by Bonnie C.

The year was 1941. My dad, a newlywed, was working at Retail Merchants in downtown Ft. Worth, Texas, making $85 a month. At lunch, he would sit in the stairwell looking west toward the horizon. There, "the plant" was being constructed. Soon, he would have the opportunity to interview there and was hired in at $100 a month. He told his boss that he was taking "the plant" job because he really needed the extra money. His boss' reply was, “You better stay with us son, that's a 'fly-by-night' operation."

When General Dynamics developed its TFR system to prevent planes from flying into a mountain at night, Dad remembered and chuckled over the irony of his former boss' words. Dad retired from "the plant" after almost 36 years. He was always thankful that he gambled on that "fly-by-night" company!

Dad was known as "Jim" by his peers. He is still going strong at 90 years of age. In addition to his sense of humor, his co-workers might remember his brown bag lunches, which would cover the top of his desk! Mom packed them fresh each morning at 5 a.m. It is a known fact that several of his peers tried to get him to swap lunches with them on a daily basis.

Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime!

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Remarkable F-117

Our stealth technology proved out
by David F.

Prior to my current assignment to the F-22 program, I worked on the F-117 out of Palmdale, California. While there, Derek Kaufman of the 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs published an article on Air Force Online News on March 10, 2008. In it, he recounts the remarkable story of Major General Greg Feest, on the first night of Desert Storm and how they held their breath waiting for each F-117 return, and then their realization that stealth really works! 

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

I was part of a wonderful Lockheed family
by Sharon T.

I was 19, and had just finished college. In May 1961, started working for Lockheed in Burbank, California. I started at $1.92 cent an hour, and most of my friends were earning $1.25 an hour at that time. The facility was huge! I was sent to Lockheed’s very own hospital for my physical health checkup. The company also had its own fire department. We were a family!

I started working in the arts and publications department. I worked there off and on for 30 years. I bought my first new car, got married, had my baby and grew up while working for Lockheed. I actually grew up with all the same people with whom I started in 1961. I was there until the doors closed.

I learned so much, more than you can imagine. I experienced the proud completion of many Government programs. I treasure those years, and have remained friends with many of the people with whom I worked along the way. Thank you, Lockheed Martin, for letting me be a part of something so very wonderful.

The Lockheed Star

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Right from the Start

We served our customers with total commitment
by Duane L.

I retired from Lockheed in January 1995. I was the lead electrician on the MC-130E, 64-0566. I am proud of my crew who did such a great job. I am also proud of my work on Navy’s S-3A trainer. I also worked on the L-1011 and many other aircraft. We did our job and we did it right.

Before Pearl Harbor

We found my father’s original badge and an uncashed check
by Susan Ross McN.

From the early to the present-day Lockheed Martin, the company has been a part of our family. Walter, my father, started working for the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1940, and the company employed him until he retired in 1982. After his death, we discovered his original Martin "star" badge and an uncashed payroll check for ten cents. We donated these items, as well as some other Martin memorabilia, to the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum in Baltimore..

Following my graduation from Kenwood High School in 1955, I was employed in the nuclear division and later in the presentations department. My husband, James, started working for the company in 1956 in the nuclear division. His employment continued on and off, until his retirement in 1994. We are both proud to be associated with Lockheed Martin.

We donated my father's "star" badge to the museum.

Keeping the Peace

I am proud of my work and my team
by Bobby E.

After 30 years in the United States Air Force, I started working at Martin Marietta in October 1985. My first experience in test engineering was at the plant in Littleton, Colorado. I was sent by the director of the IFSS Peacekeeper to work in test operations, and shortly thereafter, I became a test conductor for that system. After 18 months, the program was certified, and I became a test conductor for Defense Systems. I worked on classified satellites until 1997, and then worked on the Titan Centaur. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the professionals in every aspect of test engineering and will always remember, with the pride, the accomplishments of the test team.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hired in 1936

I worked in aviation’s “Golden Age”
By Robert H.

I was born on February 25, 1914, and I am now 99 years old. I was the recipient of two scholarships. One was a Pittsburgh Honor Scholarship of $150 a year from Central Catholic High School; the other was from  the State of Pennsylvania of $100 a year. I was able to enroll at Carnegie Institute of Technology where the tuition was $300 a year. I majored in mechanical aeronautics and was selected to three honor societies.

I was hired by the Glenn L. Martin Company in June 1936 as a junior stress engineer at 62-1/2 cents an hour ($110 per month). I worked on the structures on all Martin planes during my tenure. I eventually became chief structural engineer.

At age 53, I left Martin to join Goddard Space Flight Center to work on satellites. I retired at age 65. I enjoyed all my work.

Martin's China Clipper

It Was the Greatest Company Ever

Nearly my whole family worked at Lockheed-California
by John McE.

I had the privilege of working at Lockheed-California Company in Burbank. Several family members, including two cousins, Estalee and Roberta; my brother, Gene and his wife; and two sisters, Bonnie and Carol, all worked there. Added up, our Lockheed legacy is more than 150 years!

I hired in at the B-1 Plant as a sandblaster, working on parts for the L-1011, the C-130 and the C-5A. I was laid off for a short season, and I was then called back to work as a security officer in both the “white and dark worlds.” I worked mostly in classified programs and was required to have a Security Clearance for the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk and the F-22 Raptor. I worked for Chief Peavy and Director Ken Mims.

I worked as much time as I could, and when the company left Burbank and moved to Georgia, I was laid off. All of the guys who had more seniority said, “Mac, we are really sorry to see you go because you taught us all how to work overtime.” A lot of days were double shift.

I want to say I really enjoyed my tenure with Lockheed beyond description.

The Story behind the “Sailplane”

Something curious happened one spring morning
by Ray B.

Early in the spring of 1955, I was not yet a Lockheed Missile Systems Division employee. I lived just south of the Burbank Airport, across the street from the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. My father was in charge of the FAA office at Lockheed Burbank at that time.

I was out in the front yard when I heard the sound of a large jet engine on the airport. I knew aircraft were limited from operating from the airport at that time. I wondered what I was hearing and seeing. I looked toward the airport to see what I was hearing taking off.

I saw what looked like a sailplane go straight up into the low cloud layer. I listened and watched until it went north, out of range of my hearing. It was an unusual bit of flying. It climbed straight up in to the clouds, then rolled out on top and went on his way. I put the incident in my memory and went on with what I was doing and to my job at Pacific Airmotive Corporation. At about 9:45 a.m., I called my father and asked him what I had seen. He said, "You know sailplanes can't go straight up," and slammed the phone down. I knew I had seen something special.

In 1955, I went to work for Lockheed, and we moved to Sunnyvale. In 1966, Mom and Dad came up to Sunnyvale for a visit, right after the Gary Powers incident. Dad asked me if I remembered the straight-up sailplane incident. I told him I did. Then he told me the story. In 1955, Kelly Johnson came to his office and asked for permission to fly the U-2 up to Palmdale in lieu of airport restrictions. The airplane was completed and ready to fly, but after considerable discussion Dad told him no. Dad told him to take the wings off, put it on a truck and ship it to Palmdale.

In lieu of Dad's decision, Kelly went back to his office, called Sammy Mason and told him to get to the airport as early as possible in the morning and fly it to Palmdale. The point is Kelly, in spite of FAA ruling, ordered Sammy to fly to Palmdale.

What was that in the sky?

At the Forefront of Circuit Design

We were reinventing the future over 50 years ago
By John B.

For 16 years, I was an engineering specialist at Philco Corporation, later Philco-Ford. Salaries might have low, but they were adequate for the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Lorant, a scientist whose expertise was in Sidewinder missile malfunctions, hired me. I remember that we always resolved problems. I later worked in circuit design under Mr. Hebert, who represented Philco at circuit design conferences. My responsibility was to upgrade the Transac S-2000 circuitry design. I also installed upgrades in the field. I was asked to go to Palo Alto, California, to do installation electronics design at Oroville Dam, from 1966 to 1970, when I completed my assignment. Because of my position with the company, I was able to purchase a 1969 Ford LTD at two percent under dealer cost! I was recalled to our Willow Grove plant in Pennsylvania to represent Philco-Ford in the acceptance testing of optical character readers (OCRs) in post office locations throughout the United States. These are great memories!

I do remember the Transac S-2000!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Still in My Imagination

For a woman, this work was wonderful
by Susanna K.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story. I worked for Lockheed Aircraft Company during the 1960s and early 1970s. I was a junior engineer and senior draftsman, and I worked on defense and commercial airplanes. I have the best memories—wonderful working conditions and nice supervisors. I'm still seeing Lockheed in my dreams. God bless Lockheed Martin for the 100 years and more!

My American Dream

I was born in the Philippines over 87 years ago
by Robert N.

I was born on December 29, 1925 in the Philippines. My father, siblings-and I came to America on December 23, 1945. A few years later, I served two years in the United States Army. I was discharged on September 23, 1952, and I settled in Monterey, California. I couldn't find a job there, so I went to Los Angeles to seek employment. Lockheed hired me later that year.

My first job was as a machine shop helper. I then worked as a drill press operator B, and then as drill press operator A. I transferred to the milling machine department, because now I wanted to be a full-fledged machinist. My chance to become a machinist opened up when I qualified to become an apprentice. I was disappointed when the machinist program was already filled. The jigs and fixture builder was the only opening left for me, so I accepted. I completed the program in late 1957, and I became a jigs and fixture builder journeyman.

I left Lockheed in 1959 for almost two years, but I returned in 1961 as a rehire. Through thick and thin, downgrading, and layoffs, I managed to stay with the company until I retired as a tool designer in 1985. I spent many years at Skunk Works, notably working on the F-117. I helped build the fuselage jig, as it was designed in a vertical position with its nose down and the tail up. Consequently, it was a tall jig with three working platforms. Workers assembling the tail part of the fuselage spent time climbing up and down the third platform. I am not sure just how long it took to complete the assembly from this tall jig. Lockheed and the Air Force were looking at ways to increase production or increase the rate of completion. The plan was to redesign the jig such that the assembly would be built on its side, left side up and right side down, if and when the budget was authorized by the Air force.

In the middle 1984, I put in a request to transfer to the tool design department and l was accepted. There was a likelihood that a budget would be accepted for the new jig design, which was assigned to me. My design checker and I accomplished the new design, and it worked well. After a few more months of working in the department, I decided to retire as a tool designer while I was in a salary category. I retired in July 1985, and last fall, I celebrated my 87th birthday.

I worked on the F-117!

From the Pacific Rim to the Middle East

I loved my aircraft career
by Florendo G.

As a retiree from the company (July 31, 1996), I must say my Lockheed Martin years were the most exciting years of my professional aircraft career. My work took me to many different places, including Wake Island, Clark Air Force Base and the Middle East. I was in Vietnam for 10 years during the Vietnam War. My wife and I wish you all the best!

The Presidential Aircraft and the Lockheed Electra

I loved working at JFK
by Frederick A.

I worked at Lockheed from 1953 to 1969. I was hired as a “B” mechanic, and I worked my way up to management. I worked in Area A on the Presidential Aircraft and updated the aircraft’s engines and performed other modifications. I also worked on the Lockheed Electra (Project "Up-tilt") and on commercial airliners.

I was then put in charge of the terminal service crew, handling all the international airlines to JFK (Idlewild Airport). I had 16 years of enjoyable service with Lockheed. I then worked at an airline as a technical engineer. Congratulations on 100 years!

The Lockheed Electra

Truly, a Great Company

I saw commitment in action
by Walter K.

My story has to do with how my colleagues supported me during a game-changing event. While working at Lockheed, I underwent cancer surgery. During my recovery, I received a wonderful and humorous card created by our art department. The lift I needed was delivered! It reinforced the concern Lockheed staff had about each other. Surely, Lockheed Martin is a great company to work for, with everyone always willing to help lighten the load. Thank you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Was One of Five

We found the perfect location for the new Martin plant
by Robert B.

I began my employment in 1954 at the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River, Maryland. The company decided to expand our division to Denver, Colorado, to build the Titan vehicle. I was one of five chosen to go to Denver to select and purchase land for the new facility. We operated for months out of hotels and downtown office buildings while the facility was being built. The number of employees was growing. The site we selected was perfect, as it was in a canyon that muted the noise when the engines for the launch vehicles were fired. After taking early retirement from Martin Marietta, I join Toyota Motor Sales, USA, and retired as a group vice president and corporate officer for United States operations.

Stories of Perseverance and Inspiration

I was the company nurse for 25 years
by Ellen B.

As a retiree of Lockheed Martin, I am more than happy to share something about perseverance and inspiration. You see, I was with the company for 25 years as the nurse, and I saw it all. Some stories I can tell, and some I cannot. When I worked for the company, there were between 1,720 and 2,200 employees, and there one nurse to do it all. I saw 40 to 60 employees most days. Many wanted to be sent to the doctor, but as my boss said, I had to talk them out of it. One day with another nurse who was called then, we gave around 400 flu shots. One man even brought in his frog.

The company was good to me. If I weren’t 90 years old, I go back in one minute! Thank you for giving me the privilege to share a small part of my story. I want to tell you I appreciate every dime of my retirement. Thank you!

Mission to the Moon

I was part of the Space Race
by Nelson M.

I got the assignment of my life in 1963 to help design a flight simulator. Later, our work helped to make history. I was technical director for the design and construction of the Apollo Mission Simulator, built to train the astronauts to accomplish the Moon mission. It was a decade of wonderful innovation and accomplishments. I am very proud to have been part of it.

I'm proud to have been part of landing a man on the Moon.

Wartime Bride

My husband and I married in 1942
by Pauline W.

My Lockheed Martin story begins over 70 years ago. I was born in Clay County, Alabama in 1922. I graduated from Bibb Graves High School in May 1941. My husband-to-be, Charles, went to work at Lockheed in Burbank, California on that same day! A few years earlier, he had moved to Selma, Alabama. That ia where we met.

In 1941, Charles went to school in Nashville, Tennessee, to prepare for work at an aircraft plant. He graduated, and along with several classmates, left for California to find work. Charles found work at Lockheed. The following year, we married in Los Angeles. Our daughter was born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, along with a movie actress’ child on the same day (I do not remember her name).

Wartime was very different. Gasoline, meats (except chicken, fish, rabbit) coffee, sugar and shoes were rationed. California was beautiful in spite of war. I remember fields of poinsettias and orange, lemon and grapefruit trees. I also recall the tar pits, the oil pumps up and down the streets of Los Angeles and the traffic paddles (instead of traffic lights). On a trip to back home to Alabama, I met Howard Hughes on the train. He was going to see his mother in Texas. We ate meals together. My 15-month-daughter was with me, and Mr. Hughes tried to convince me to put her in movies. I flatly refused.

Charles was working hard at Lockheed. He worked on the P-38 Lightning and on experimental aircraft, including Lockheed’s first jet. After World War II, we came back south to Georgia. Charles went to work for the railroad, and I went to work for the Veterans Administration, which was in the "Bell Bomber Plant." A few years later, Lockheed came to Marietta, and the V.A. moved to Atlanta. In January 1956, I went to Lockheed's employment office on Peachtree Street and applied for a job. I was hired! I went to work at the Marietta plant on January 30, 1956. and I worked there until December 12, 1969. I mostly worked in planning, supporting the C-130 and C141 programs. I was with JetStar from the beginning. On that program, I got the first computer to try out and test.

My husband passed away 27 years ago. I still live in the small house on the 29 acres he bought when he retired.

I worked on the JetStar program, from its beginning.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Heading in the “Right” Direction

I went from studying radio and television to working in aerospace
by Robert F.

When I first joined Lockheed, I had wanted to be in radio since I had gone to school for radio and television. However, the only opening at the company was for a riveter, and I took the job when it was offered. After a while, I was promoted to installing harnesses on various aircraft. Then, I worked in mock-up and check-out. When a position in programming became available, I transferred to that department and remained there until I retired in 1981. I enjoyed programming. It was tough, but I understood it because of my studies in radio and television.

I’ll never forget when my co-worker, A. S. Czarnecki, Department 1917, and I, Department 1947, had the pleasure working on the CP-140 Aurora program. On that aircraft, all harness came from load center to the tail. It was a difficult job, but our team was pleased with our job well done. We saved both time and money!

I want to thank Lockheed for giving me a great life. I married a wonderful woman and had two children, so all went well in my life. I met many people at work, and I will never forget them. I want to thank all my supervisors, they were very nice. When people ask me where I worked, I am very proud to say I worked at Lockheed Martin. It truly was the best place to work!

The CP-140 Aurora

A Lifetime in Aviation: 1940 to 1981

I enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940
by Walter S.

I've been involved with aircraft since I graduated from high school. I enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on October 2, 1940. I went to school for 22 weeks to become an aircraft and engine mechanic at Keesler Field, Mississippi. I was transferred to Cannon Air Force Base as a mechanic on B-17s, then B-29s. I was upgraded to Staff Sergeant and Crew Chief and upgraded to Flight Engineer. I was set to go overseas, when the war ended. I was discharged on October 6, 1945.

After the service, I went back to school to get my aircraft and engine mechanics license. I wanted to get a job with the airlines. During the last week of class, three aerospace companies visited our school. General Dynamics, a Lockheed Martin heritage company, hired me in July 1948. I was assigned to work on the final assembly of the B-36, and I believe my starting salary was $1.25 per hour!

During my long career, I was laid off just one time when the company was tooling up for the B-58. During the layoff, I went to work at American Airlines. When I was rehired at General Dynamics, my position was upgraded to supervisor once we started the B-58 assembly.

I did a lot of travelling. I went to Edwards Air Force Base to work on the YF-16 and YF-17. I went to Eglin Air Force Base to work on F-111s and F-16s. I was a supervisor at this time. I was sent to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Nellis Air Force Base and Eglin Air Force Base to upgrade F-111s.

I want to Eglin to test B-36, Number 170, in the cold chamber. I went to Edwards Air Force Base to work on Project Pee Wee for a B-57 twin engine, modified with long wings to fly high altitude like the U-2. I was sent to Waco, Texas, to remove the instrumentation from a B-58 so that the airplane could be returned to the Air Force.

Back to the company, I worked down at the test stand. We were testing jet engines for the B 58. I worked on the nuclear reactor, and we flew a B-36 with the reactor installed. I also worked in the test lab and cold chamber testing the F-111. My last assignment was as supervisor of F-16 final assembly for electrical systems. I retired January 23, 1981. I enjoyed my work and never had problems with anyone in the company. Congratulations, Lockheed Martin!

The B-28 played a big part in my life!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nearly 70 Years Ago

My story begins in 1944, flying anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic
By E.D. S.

My Lockheed Martin history doesn’t go back 100 years, but does go back nearly 70! My story begins in 1944 when I flew anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic. We were on the PV-2 Harpoon, a two-engine patrol plane. In 1952, I was a flight crewmember on the R6V Constitution. It was the largest aircraft in the world with a 181-foot wingspan and four R-4360 engines. In November of that same year, we flew the aircraft to Litchfield Park, Arizona, for storage and mothballing. In 1953, I transferred-to a Navy squadron that-flew the Lockheed Super Constellation (1049 model). Our schedule was worldwide, and our motto was, "Anywhere, Anytime.” It was a flight engineer’s dream.

Years later in April 1960, I was employed by Lockheed Missile and Space Company (LMSC). In November of that year, I was sent to Hufford Manufacturing, in EI Segundo, California as a LMSC rep. They were developing a "Shear Form Machine" to manufacture liquid fuel tanks for use in space. Lockheed built an addition to Building 103 in which this machine was installed. Then, in August of 1964, I was transferred to Building 182 to work on the Polaris program. In 1965, I requested field service and transferred to the Lockheed office at Hercules Powder Company in Magna, Utah, to work on the Polaris, Trident and Poseidon programs.

A decade later, I was transferred to Uniroyal Rubber Company in Mishawaka, Indiana, which manufactured replacement components for the Polaris missile. Unfortunately, there was a strike. I was then assigned to Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, in Crane, Indiana. After two months, on a Friday, the LMSC Sunnyvale manager telephoned and told me to sell my house. He said that I was leaving. I had two options—the Submarine Base, in Silverdale, Washington or Thiokol Chemical, in Brigham City, Utah. Fortunately, it was the end of the school year, and we moved to Brigham City. I started work on the Trident missile program.

In June of 1983, I transferred to Hercules, in Clearfield, Utah, to work on the Trident program. I made many trips to the suppliers that supported the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program. The duration of trips was anywhere from one day to two months. My support area was Simsbury, Connecticut to Costa Mesa, California, and Alexandria, Minnesota, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

I retired from Lockheed after 25 years, 11 months. It was 1986.

My Lockheed Martin story begins with the PV-2.

Keeping the Kilns Turning

In 1968, we averted disaster and saved 150 jobs
by Ronald M.

On a summer day, disaster was averted. At risk were 150 jobs, disappointed customers, millions of dollars in lost revenue and millions in additional capital expense. This is my story.

On Tuesday, June 25, 1968, I worked at the Dragon Cement plant (then a division of Martin Marietta) located in the small town of Northampton, Pennsylvania. I was the first-class electrician on the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. My duties were to monitor, maintain and repair the plant's electrical and production equipment. This are my memories of that Tuesday evening, so many years ago.

In the early evening hours, an ominous storm was upon the Lehigh Valley, including the Northampton area. I watched the storm approach. There was lighting, thunder, heavy winds and rain. As the storm grew more intense, I proceeded to take up residence at the plant’s electrical center substation. I was confident that I knew what to do should an emergency arise. I began to think about the process of disconnecting the entire electrical load. This was a major decision because the plant was operating at 100 percent full capacity with all of the materials in the systems, on the conveyors, in the grinding mills and clinkers burning at 2600 degrees Fahrenheit in the kilns. If the kilns are not turning, the 2,600-degree heat will warp the kiln and render it useless. What challenged my abilities to perform my duties were the dire consequences that might come with closing down the entire plant. Abruptly halting production (when all systems are on full capacity) would cause catastrophic results. I had to consider millions of dollars lost in revenues and millions of dollars for new capital equipment. My actions would not only cost me my job, but the jobs of 150 other employees working at the plant. Employee safety was a major concern, and I needed to reconcile the decision to shut down the plant.

The storm became more intense and vicious; employee safety was now the only concern on my mind. I could no longer wait, and I made a bold decision. It was time to act, and the decision was made—I would disconnect the entire plant. I felt confident in my decision-making abilities from my training at the plant and back in the United States Navy when I was aboard the U.S.S. Baltimore CA68 heavy cruiser back in 1952 to 1956.

Just as I opened the main oil circuit breaker to disconnect the entire plant’s electrical system, lightning struck the substation! The incoming 69,000-volt line blew out the 2,300-volt transformer, destroying many 6-foot high insulators and sending debris that gouged out of the substation’s walls. (These building gouges are still visible today.) As the strike hit the main 2,300-volt transformer, the pressure built up,blowing out the top safety hatch and spilling oil and flames over the transformer and the substation. I felt the explosion and fire. My only protection from the 69,000 volts, the fire and the explosion was a concrete wall! I was lucky that I was not injured! As the only person in the substation, and although there was equipment chaos going on around me, I proceeded to fight the oil fires.

A disaster like this had never happened at the plant either before or since. My work dedication, attention to detail and training gave me the foundation to perform during a disaster. I never could have imagined a disaster of this magnitude.

The plant was dark, the fire was successfully extinguished and I was able to stabilize the situation. Chief Electrician Steven A. Lizak arrived at the scene. Once he was there, we performed an electrical assessment and began to restore power. We needed to get the kilns turning, or risk unrepairable damage.

Working around the clock, we replaced the oil in the main oil circuit breaker switch gear, replaced the destroyed insulators, cleaned up the substation, switched over to the spare 2,300 volt transformer and cleaned up all of the 69,000-volt knife switches. Electrical supply was back on line within 24 hours. We proceeded to restore power to the production departments’ one system at a time. This ensured employee and equipment safety. During operation capacity, the approximate power consumption per month of the plant was 4,400,000  kilowatt-hour, producing 420,000 tons of cement per year.

I was very proud my actions that night were able to potentially save millions of dollars and 150 jobs. I also assisted the plant management team to restore the employee’s faith in the safety of the plant and to put the plant back on-line. It was a lot of excitement and I will never forget that day. I received a letter of commendation from the plant manager.

My Letter of Commendation

The Atlas, the Aardvark and the Wonderful World of Aerospace

I thoroughly enjoyed my career
by Thomas R.

In February 1956, I submitted an application to Rohr Aircraft and to Convair, both located in San Diego, California. Rohr offered me a job as a spot weld processor at $1.48 an hour. In April of that same year, Convair requested an interview and offered me a position paying $1.52 an hour. I accepted the offer and terminated my employment at Rohr for a wage increase of four cents per hour and the convenience of less travel time to and from my home.

While working the night shift, I came close to losing my hand in an accident. I was taken to the medical station where the doctor applied stitches. Our department was leading in "no loss-time due to injuries." I requested to stay at work, and my department allowed me to stay.

Sometime between 1957 and 1958, Convair was acquired by General Dynamics. The Astronautics Division was established to manufacture the Atlas missile. The factory was located north of San Diego, just off Highway 395. I worked in the manufacturing area, which fabricated the nose section of the Atlas. I wanted to be the best at my job, and I was.

After three years, I felt as if I needed more challenges. I enrolled in school and requested authorization from my supervisor to speak with employment regarding openings in other departments. I always approached my supervisor every two weeks when paychecks were distributed. After all, everyone felt good on payday. Approximately one year later, Mr. Long approved my request for an interview. After several offers, I accepted a position in procurement; working directly with experienced buyers who had college degrees. That experience changed my life, improving my vocabulary, writing and people skills. It was a great new life.

In March 1964, work began to slow, and I was promoted to buyer. The Fort Worth division had recently been awarded a contract developing the F-111, and that work sounded interesting. One day at lunch, I asked my supervisor-about the possibility of a transfer to the F-111 program. He advised that my job was "safe." However, I asked if he would look into the transfer.

In April 1964, my transfer was authorized. Not long after, I was promoted to senior buyer, then to technical buyer and then to purchasing agent. I thought, "What a wonderful world." Years later, I retired in 1987. After retiring a month or so later, I thought, "Is this it?" I didn't know what to do with all the time I had, and things were looking pretty grim. I decided to contact the vice president of material with whom I had developed a good rapport over the years. I asked him if there was anything that I could do for the company. Two months later, I was in Taiwan working with the Chinese on that country’s fighter aircraft. I ended my service in 1989 and felt better about retirement!

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. It was a fun trip down memory lane!

The F-111 Aardvark