Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Pearl Harbor Survivor Shares His Story

From the Pacific to Outer Space, he served his country with honor
by Saul A.

I am Pearl Harbor survivor, and I flew 50 bombing missions over Europe as a B-24 pilot.

I joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1960 as a value engineer and retired in 1980. I worked on LEM, Shuttle tiles and many classified programs, often as the assistant program manager on proposals. I also developed an interdivision capability catalog. 

My Job Was My Pride

Our products performed flawlessly
by Dora T.

It was my pride to know I loved my job at Lockheed in Burbank and Palmdale, California. I supported the L-1011 program. What an excellent aircraft! I knew that whoever piloted the L-1011, the ship and passengers would be safe. I also supported Skunk Works, and received awards for excellence during my career.

I am honored in saying that I retired from this great company—there none better! And all my co-workers were wonderful!

I'm honored to say I worked for Lockheed Martin.

The Black Jet

It performed perfectly
by Kenneth J.

While he was briefing an Air Force customer at Skunk Works in December of 1989, Ben Rich was called out of the meeting. He returned, beaming, and told us that the first operational F-117 bombing mission had just completed in Panama and the aircraft performed exactly as it was designed, undetected by enemy radar.

COMSAT: A Driving Force in Satellite Communications

This story is part of its lore
by Carl J.

Hopefully, you are interested in some of the earlier Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) lore.

I was Vice President of Engineering and Operation at COMSAT World Systems. In the mid-1990s, we were strongly encouraged to allow China to launch one of our Intelsat satellites. As part of the decision, I was part of a delegation that went on an inspection trip to Beijing and Chengdu, the launch site.

It was agreed to approve the Chinese launch. The rocket and satellite went straight up, and then immediately straight down. We suspected a guidance program error, but we never learned for sure. This was more excitement that most of us had wanted.

A Great and Honest Company

I depended on the C-130 in Southeast Asia
by Larree C.

I was an engineer with Lockheed (at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company) from 1982 until 1993. I always felt that Lockheed was a great and honest company. Prior to Lockheed, I was a Colonel in the United States Air Force and flew C-130s in Southeast Asia as an instructor. I received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

I worked on several major programs and enjoyed them all. I was chief writer on the final 13 volume report on the Hubble Space Telescope under Dr Tenarelli. I am now retired, but enjoyed my comradeship with fellow Lockheed Martin engineers.

We Constructed Everything

Our plant was Seattle’s biggest builder
by James K.

I worked for Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company from April 1969 until the plant closed in 1987. During most of the 1970s, West Coast shipbuilding was booming. We constructed everything from large Navy support ships to a space cargo transport system for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company.

My specific responsibility was testing completed structural and mechanical systems and near the end of my service, maintaining the plans and schedules for the test and trials organization. The closing of the shipyard was a difficult time for us, but the economics of shipbuilding had moved to the Gulf and the East Coast.

I was one of the employees chosen to "lock" the gates, but received an excellent job offer a few months prior to closing and chose to leave early. I enjoyed my time with the company and still have friendships with several former co-workers.  Had the plant not closed I surely would have completed my working days with the company.

I enjoyed my time with these wonderful ships.

A Brilliant Experience

I saw the company from two different perspectives
by Fredd H.

My first experience with Lockheed was in the United States Air Force as part of the acceptance team for the SR-71. After six years with that unit, I worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company at Buckley Field, Colorado. That was the greatest work experience of my life. We brought a new system from testing to near perfection in my 16 years there.

Safeguarding Our Nation

This missile’s performance is impressive, even today
by Robert M.

I began working for the Martin Company in 1961. My most interesting and challenging assignment was the design of radiation-hard operational and servo amplifiers for the Sprint Anti-Missile System autopilot. In spite of the very difficult specifications for radiation hardness and performance, the Sprint missile earned essentially all of the incentive awards specified in our contract. Even though it was built and deployed in the 1960s, Sprint performance is impressive even by today’s standards. Interestingly, in my last job, I served as a senior research scientist for sensor applications for the Army organization that was responsible for development of the Sprint, the Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama.

I am forever grateful to Lockheed Martin for supporting me while I earned two advanced degrees– a Master of Science from Rollins College and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, both in physics.

I am forever grateful!

Flying the Lockheed P2V

This aircraft was a workhorse
by Walter O.

From 1958 to 1960, I was stationed at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Brown Field, Chula Vista, California. I was in VU-3 (Utility Squadron Three). My rank was AT-2. We used the Lockheed P2V (later designated as the P-2 Neptune) to carry and drop our KDA (jet drones). The P2V was a work horse. It was fun to ride in the nose; the view was great!

The view was great up there!

Building Aircraft to Keep America Strong

Patriotism never goes out of style
by Marilyn S.

It has been a family tradition to work for Convair, Consolidated Aircraft, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin. My dad (Ira W. Sutton) worked in construction to produce the "mile-long" building where our planes roll out the door. After serving in the South Pacific arena (United States Army), he joined the team at the "bomber plant" and worked in just about every department producing the finest planes. Along with cousins, aunts and uncles, it has been my good fortune to retire from Lockheed Martin. Keep building those planes, and keep America strong!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrating the Men and Women of Aviation

It was a privilege to meet three pioneers
by Dean L.

I recall three interesting speakers at Sunnyvale Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Management Association banquets in the late 1970s.

Neil Armstrong spoke to an audience of about 400 in July 1976. What a sense of humor he had! His answer to my question if he still looked at the moon and marveled that he was there was, "I've learned to live with it!"

When I was president of the association in 1979, Kelly Johnson spoke to about 700 about Skunk Works. He was seated next to our special guest, 82-year-old Neta Snook Southern (1896 to 1991), the woman who taught Amelia Earhart to fly in 1921. She showed me Amelia's flight log when I picked her up at the adobe home she had built herself in Los Gatos. She had even made the bricks!

Neta surprised everyone with an impromptu speech while we waited for a late food serving. I sat on her other side at the banquet and overheard Kelly ask her what flight instruments she used when flying in 1922. He was surprised with her answer that all she had was an altimeter and a dangling pocket watch. She said she also followed the roads!

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning Service Pin

It was a badge of honor
by Marv M.

During World War II, my mother-in-law worked at Lockheed as a "Rosie the Riveter." She had given me her pin of a Lockheed P-38 with the corporate star and red dot in the center. Many years later, while working at Lockheed as an engineer, I wore that pin on my badge holder. An older gentleman approached me and said, "You're not old enough to have earned that pin." My son-in-law now works at Lockheed Martin in California.

Salute to the SR-71 Black-Bird

Here’s to the company and people who Accelerate Tomorrow
by Padma M.

Hello! I joined Lockheed Martin in 1982 in Burbank, California. I was so thrilled to see a SR-71 Blackbird fly through Burbank airport where our information technology department gave salute to this majestic airplane. I grew with the company. I was educated during my career and worked in many disciplines of systems integration.

I proudly retired from Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. Special thanks go to my boss in information technology department, Mr. Robert Cassidy; Rich Rickie; Danny Martin; project consultant Dr. Robert Barnhill; and my husband Zee's continuous inspirational and moral support. All encouraged me to undertake many challenging projects, which I completed successfully through persistence, with hard work (may be workaholic too) and from the company's financial and educational support throughout my service.

I am very, very proud to be a part of 100th Anniversary (Centennial commemoration) and look forward to see the company's continuous growth and success to help the humankind all over the world through breakthrough technological innovations and research work. With regards and best wishes. 

The Martin JRM Mars

It was the largest Allied flying boat to enter production
by Joseph K.

I am a Baltimore Polytechnic graduate. As a young aviation enthusiast, I was thrilled to be hired as an inspector in the experimental department where the largest seaplane in the world was being built. I was given the opportunity to progress from detail inspection to final assembly and flight test. The Navy test flight crew insisted that the flight inspector who approved the airplane for flight, fly in with them. This was a most gratifying experience for me.

There are many interesting stories that could be told. Among these are flight testing the Wright R-3350-8 piston engines when an additional oil pump had to be installed. There were many outstanding people in the construction of this airplane. I would like to recognize a few who greatly impressed me. They are James Sterhardt, project engineer; Joe Barnickle, manufacturing superintendent; Art  Schaefer, quality general foreman; Frank Kline, an outstanding quality control foreman and a great boss; William Perry, an experienced and highly competent Navy inspector; Benny Zelubowski, shop general foreman and flight engineer; Commander William Coney, Navy test pilot; and Herbert Kelch, an outstanding electrician.

I carry this period in my mind and heart as most memorable in my life.

The Martin Mars

Martin's Flying Boat

Like Mindedness

Wonderful people, times and work
by Frank K.

My wife and I met while working at the then-Martin Marietta plant in 1982. We worked together for a year before we started dating. We have been married 29 years now and have fond memories of the people, times, and projects from those years.

Thousands of Orbits, Billions of Miles

This program is defined by human and technological achievement
by Paul B.

I worked for Lockheed Martin Space Operations my last five years prior to retiring. During this time, I lived and worked in Moscow supporting NASA on the International Space Station at the Russian Mission Control Centre. The people I worked with were top-notch, specifically the Houston Support Group (HSG) for Johnson Space Center.

Skunk Works Roll Call

I was thrilled, excited and rather scared
by Samuel K.

It was 1960. I was 26 years old, a three-year Lockheed employee, when the call came for me to become part of the Skunk Works. I was thrilled, excited and rather scared.

Upon my arrival at Skunk Works, I found the most talented, energetic and brilliant co-workers one could ever have. I earned the nickname “Young Sam,” but I was accepted into the workforce as if I'd been there from the beginning.

There were men who had worked on the P-38, the U-2 and the F-104, aircraft which were the stuff of legends. The work ethic second to none. Kelly Johnson was the epitome of a masterful leader.

I was assigned to the structures design of the A-12. Soon I was busy designing fuselage frame, bulkheads and nose landing gear supports, following my work as it was incorporated into the "article." Later, the further progress made in the development of the SR-71 was amazing.

That was over 50 years ago, but it is still so fresh in my memory.

Innovation in Flight

As a project engineer, I was responsible for the mechanical design of the F-16 Weapons System
by Robert H.

I retired from General Dynamics with 37 years of service. As a project engineer in the electrical department, I was responsible for the mechanical design of the F-16 Weapons System. Hib F. and I physically assembled the prototype, now housed at Dayton.

Other mechanical projects I worked on were the F-111 Weapons System and the B-1 Weapons Control Panel proposal. I also served as a consultant for the Indigenous Fighter of Taiwan, Republic of China.

Hometown Connection

I saw how our industry changed the way in which we live
by Michael D.

My hometown has connections to a Martin Marietta plant, which built subassemblies for the main Georgia plant. And so, it was a natural progression that I started my aerospace career in 1958 as a Georgia Tech co-op student with Lockheed-Georgia in Marietta. Five years later, I graduated, having met so many experienced people.

In 1964, I moved to Denver to work for Martin Marietta on the Titan III. After much traveling back and forth to Cape Canaveral, I moved into advanced proposals and worked on the Viking Mars mission. I was involved in the program from conception until the B-Centennial landings of both landers. Boy, was that a ride, working with subcontractors and scientists from everywhere! After the 1976 landings, I worked on Space Shuttle projects until I left aerospace to work at a family business.

Throughout it all, I’ve seen amazing technology changes. I often state that the watch I wear has more memory and power than the first computers that were available in the 1960s. 

I've seen amazing innovation in 50 years!

The World of Cold War Reconnaissance

It was an era of brave men and heroic aircraft
by W. Leon F.

My career was with Ford Aerospace, which merged with Loral, then sold to Lockheed Martin. But from 1959 to 1961, I worked at Lockheed Burbank when Gary Powers was shot down in his U-2. The Feds then swarmed our plant quizzing everyone in sight about our knowledge of what the Skunk Works was doing. We all knew nothing, but learned later about the SR-71. A couple of years ago, I met a retired SR-71 pilot who said it was fabulous aircraft!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Family of Scientists

My son and I earned advanced degrees
by Harris W.

I retired from Lockheed Electronics Company as a chief scientist. I worked on the first digital fire control systems, as well as other systems. Both my son and I received our doctorates, our tuition paid for by the company. My son works on satellites for Lockheed Martin in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Monitoring Airspace

We’ve benefited from this technology for more than three decades
by Robert A.

As I de-planed from a cross-country flight recently with United Air Lines, I asked the captain to show me the traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TACAS) display on his instrument panel. During the 1980s, I had served on the team at the Dalmo Victor Division of Lockheed to develop the TACAS. As a former military pilot, I had been selected as one of the 23 technical employees to partner with the Sperry Phoenix division to develop the TCAS under contract with the FAA. The captain was pleased to share with me the benefits that had come from this system in those 30 years.

Thirty Years at Lockheed

My dad, mom and brother also worked there
by Richard O.

I worked from 1961 to 1991 at Lockheed in the engineering department (supporting commercial and military areas). It was a family affair. My dad worked for Lockheed for over 30 years. My mother worked for the company during World War II. My bother also worked for Lockheed. My dad and I were also involved with the Lockheed Employees' Recreation Club.

Supporting the Pershing Missile

Customers recognized how we exceeded expectations
by James A.

I worked at the Pershing support facility in Frankfurt, Germany. The people I worked with could do anything to keep the system in the field. We were supported by dedicated administrators and engineers in Orlando. Our efforts were very often recognized by our customers for quick and efficient repairs.

My Mother Was One of Orlando’s First Hires

She worked in an airport hangar while the plant was being constructed
by Kenneth W.

In 1957, my family moved to Orlando, Florida, from Michigan. My mother, Ella Mae, was one of the early hires at the new Glenn L. Martin Company plant. In fact, she worked in a hangar at the airport while the facility was under construction. Over time, she worked her way from building Lacrosse missile harnesses to quality control inspector. In 1960, after high school, I applied and was hired to assemble printed boards. My starting salary was $1.25 per hour, which was more than fair wage at the time. Several years later, I was laid off, and I didn’t return until 1985. I stayed until early retirement. Over the last 50 years, I have seen vast improvements in our technology and was proud to be a part of it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Can-Do Company

I have very fond memories of working there
by Roger R.

I started working at Martin Marietta in Waterton Canyon, Colorado. I was member of the engineering change control team on the Peacekeeper (MX) project. After a year, I transferred to the test facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base to continue working as the project’s material control planner. My time there was very rewarding, knowing that I was able to help in my country's defense.

Then, 1987 sent me back to Colorado as a planner on the SM-ICBM. I was also a coordinator on the migration to the MRPII MACPAC/D manufacturing system.

During my time at Lockheed Martin, I found the "can-do" culture to be fantastic. I have many fond memories  and still keep in contact with some of my old friends.

I still keep in touch with Lockheed Martin friends!

The Liberator Was Churchill's Personal Aircraft

The B-24 was truly beautiful
by George H.

While in the Air Force, I guarded this very Consolidated B-24 for several nights. This was eight years before I went to work at General Dynamics. When this airplane was transferred to the American Air Museum in Britain, I learned that it was the last B-24 produced. Beautiful, isn't she?

Fond Memories!

Just Another Day on the Job

I witnessed a Titan missile test launch
by Robert M.

It was 1960, and the end of my senior year at West High School in Denver. I was just hired in the mailroom at Martin Marietta Company’s Waterton Plant, only to find my route is into the test stands in the canyon.

I'm in awe. I had never seen so many suits and ties, having come out of the west side of Denver and at my first real job.

On my second mail stop at test stand #2, as I was delivering mail, red lights and claxons went off suddenly. A speaker announced a countdown for test firing of the Titan II launch missile had started. We were all led into the test bunkers and one of the scientists led me to a viewing slit in the bunker. I heard, “… five, four, three, two, one. Fire!” My heart jumped at the power and steam and thrust and the bunker vibrating with the noise. All I can say is what a way to experience a day on the job in the mailroom. 

We Had a Passion for Innovation

I will never forget that decade
by Robert M.

I worked for Lockheed-Georgia Company from 1963 to 1973, just after college. It was a life-changing experience in many ways. I started in engineering administration and soon moved to IT. There, I learned computer programming, and wrote a first spreadsheet in 1966. Those memories will last as long as I have breath.

The C-130: A Real-World Legend

I worked on C-130s in Vietnam
by Michael (Phuc) D.

I was an aircraft technician working on a Vietnam Air Force C-130A from 1973 to 1975. Two months after coming to the United States as a political refugee, I was hired as the first non-United States citizen at Lockheed Austin. I was even chosen to work on high-clearance projects (P-3, F-117, C-5, Viking).
The company was very generous in paying for my tuition and textbooks. I would later receive a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, my division was moved to another city, and I no longer work for Lockheed Martin.

I love the company with its friendly work environment, and highly skillful and motivated employees and management. I loved working on C-130s. They are safe and reliable. The photo is a Vietnam Air Force C-130 with tail ID number 002 (the second C-130 coming out from production circa 1954 or 1955).

I am proud to have worked on the  Hercules!

Going That Extra Mile

This assignment was the most memorable
by Maurice C.

I worked on the Pershing II program in the fluids and controls lab. There seemed to be a problem with the reservoir on the first stage. I was told that, on some of the units, the O-ring was extruding on the inlet, which created a serious leak. I was asked by a program engineer to accompany him to the Cape to check out a missile, which was on a launcher that ten crew members were preparing for flight. The only way to be sure that the O-ring had not extruded, was to climb up on the launcher and crawl into the flame bucket and, using a flashlight, check the O-ring to make sure it had not extruded. I have traveled to many places in the United State and Canada to trouble shoot problems with missile systems, but the trip to the Cape is the most memorable.

Six Degrees of Separation

We were all connected to the C-141
by Lloyd W.

In 1962, I supervised tests at Lockheed’s engineering lab to certify the Taper Loc Fastening System. After these tests were completed, the system was installed on the center section of the wing joint assembly on the first C-141 cargo aircraft.

Fast forward 50 years. My wife and I moved to an assisted living facility where we met another resident, Jack Young, a former test pilot for Lockheed. We were interested to learn that he flew the C-141 on its first flight.

During the process of our moving, we distributed some 30 model airplanes that I had built for family and friends. They had been hanging in my two-car garage since I retired. These were models of planes I had personally worked on.

A friend from church, Will, requested the model of the C-141 on which he had been a passenger as he returned home from Vietnam. Unfortunately that model had been given to someone else. However, in our possession was a picture of that model I had given my father before his death and I offered it to Will. He gladly accepted. Soon there came a telephone call from Will saying that the plane he came back on had the same wing number as the one in the picture. 

My Career Began in 1961

Since then, technology has changed the world
by Richard A.

I started my career in Sunnyvale with the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1961 in Building 104. I also helped out with some of the analyses for the missiles division in Building 156. These were practically the only buildings on that campus in those days. For computers, we used punched cards on the IBM 704, the first mass-produced computer. Its computer power was less than what you get now in an iPod. Can you imagine—we’ve advanced from a room full of tubes to a handheld device. What a change!

It's Named after a Star of Second Magnitude

But during the Cold War, Polaris ruled supreme
by Gary W.

During the build-up for the first Polaris submarine missile, there was a demand for skilled workers. Because I had been an electronics technician, I was able to get a job readily at the Lockheed plant in Sunnyvale, California. This is my story.

I was assigned to the missile test and readiness console area in the big missile bay. Our engineers were always working to improve and to expand testing procedures, and I implemented their ideas into the test console. When an idea was tested and proved, it was incorporated on the submarines.

Electronics then was a touch different than electronics now—the circuits were much bigger! The checkout equipment I worked on needed a console as big as a closet. Now, it probably fits into a smart phone.

I have always felt that I helped advance the submarine missile program into what it is today. I appreciate the opportunity that Lockheed Martin gave me to do that.

Defending against the Threat

Surface-to-air missile development was booming in the 1970s
by Gene W.

This is a photo of the SAM-D launcher design team with a mock-up of the launcher. The SAM-D was a predecessor of Patriot Missile System. We’re standing on the front lawn of Martin Marietta’s Orlando, Florida, plant in January 1973. I’m standing in the back row, thirteenth from the left.

You’ll notice some employees are wearing ties, while others are not. There was a directive that all engineers must wear ties. Our team’s hourly employees (draftsmen) were not required to do so, and they let certainly us know about that requirement! 

SAM-D Launcher Design Team

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aviation Is in My DNA

We grew up in the Martin culture
by Joe W.

My father retired from Martin Marietta long ago. I grew up in a community called Essex, Maryland, that was almost a company town. The streets in the Aero Acres community near the plant were named after aircraft parts. When Dad was graduating from high school in 1929, he heard of job opportunities at the Glenn L. Martin Company. After he passed away, I found a letter he had written before graduating from high school saying that he had satisfied all his academic requirements and could start work in May if hired. Martin did hire him just before they opened the Middle River plant, and he worked his entire career there. We attended family days over the years and were excited to climb into cockpits of Martin aircraft. We grew up with pictures of Martin aircraft on our bedroom walls. My last memories when he worked there included an exciting transition to the space program. It was nostalgic for me when I went to work at Lockheed Martin in 2000.

Aerial Escapade

I’ll never forget that skilled pilot
by Jerry T.

In 1968, I started working at General Dynamics in Fort Worth. My first job was in the mail room, and my weekly net pay was $82. I remember one day in the mid-1970s, we all went to the flight line to watch the F-16 do some flight maneuvers. We wondered why the plane kept circling and would not land. Then, we were told the landing gears were stuck closed and the plane had to do a slide landing on the grass. However, the pilot was okay and the plane landed safely.

I Worked the Flight Line

Supporting the Hercules and the Galaxy
by Ralph W.

My career started with Lockheed in March 1969. I worked on the flight line and as a flight test mechanic. I worked on the C-130 and C-5A aircraft until 1972. I was recalled in 1979 as a flight test mechanic working on the C-5A.

Once the C-5B line started up, I became a supervisor for three years, returned to the flight line as a mechanic. I went back to supervision, until I retired in 1997. I enjoyed my time at Lockheed Martin and having a lot of friends there. I miss them. I can't say I miss working too much. I am enjoying my life, fishing and working around the house. 

On Meeting Kelly Johnson

I shook the hand of an American icon
by Jack W.

I had worked 11 years down the road at The Walt Disney Company. It was 1980, my first year at Lockheed, Burbank, and Kelly Johnson was the featured speaker at our management club meeting. After his comments, everyone went up meet him. As I shook his hand, I mentioned that I was from Disney and just wanted to shake the hand of an American icon. I mentioned that, like Walt Disney, he had changed the world. His grip tightened, as he replied, “Thank you son. I've been called most everything, but I've never been called that. Thank you.”

Truly, he was not only an aviation genius, but a man equal to all the people around him.

My Own GE Aerospace Heritage

Thank you, Lockheed Martin
by John S.

I cannot speak to the uniqueness of my particular situation, but I am drawing a monthly pension check from Lockheed Martin without having worked for Lockheed. I’ll explain. I worked for GE Aerospace. In 1989, I was laid off, but the next year I was hired by GE Aerospace, Reentry Systems. In 1993, Martin Marietta acquired GE Aerospace. In 1994, I was again laid off and was never rehired by any of the aforementioned companies. In 1995, Martin Marietta Corporation merged with Lockheed Corporation to become Lockheed Martin. In 1999, I began drawing a pension from Lockheed Martin. To summarize, I worked for GE Aerospace and for Martin Marietta, but never for Lockheed Martin. A big thank you to those responsible for carrying my pension benefits forward from GE to Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin Is Part of Our Family Tradition

We are proud of our connection
by Robert O.

I am proud to have been part of Lockheed Martin. It has really been a family affair. My wife and I both worked for Martin Marietta in Sunnyvale and Long Beach, California. My sister, three of her daughters and two son-in-laws worked for Lockheed in Burbank and Palmdale, California. I was able to travel extensively with Martin Marietta domestically and to Scotland on two occasions. I must admit, I never experienced such long nights as those in northern Scotland in the winter time. After retiring, my wife and I were personal chefs on a wealthy estate in Middleburg, Virginia. We are now retired and living near Phoenix, Arizona.

Working at Lockheed Martin was a family affair!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Aerospace Detective

I enjoyed troubleshooting
by Donald B.

I started with Lockheed Missile and Space Division in the spring of 1959 and retired in the spring of 1987. During the first three years at the company, I worked as a troubleshooter for different programs. The details are much too lengthy to write about here, but I do enjoy these memories.

Teamwork Was More Than a Slogan

I saw the company’s spirit in action
by Bob S.

I wish I could spent a "full" career at Lockheed Martin. I enjoyed all the challenges and support from program management and program directors. My benefits were much more than expected, and then some. If ever there was a team spirit to solve challenges, it was at the two Orlando facilities.

Thanks again, Lockheed Martin!

Eighty-Eight Years of Service

Work was interesting, challenging and rewarding
by Rita P.

Between us, my dad, brother and I have 88 years of service with Lockheed Martin. In 1956, my dad began working as a welder at Martin Marietta. He retired in 1990. I started in 1980 on the Peacekeeper program and retired from the Targets and Countermeasures program in 2009. My younger brother started in 1985 on the Small Missile program. Unfortunately his career was cut short when he passed away in 2009.
Most of my years with the company were working alongside my younger brother. Many people who didn't know us thought we were husband and wife, which gave us a good laugh. The work was interesting, challenging and very rewarding as we watched progress in space. This picture is at my retirement party. I am saying goodbye after 29 years.

Here I am, saying goodbye after 29 wonderful years.

The Forked-Tail Devil

I calibrated the aircraft’s antenna
by Robert G.

I served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War as an airborne radio mechanic on B-29s. There was a squadron of Lockheed P-38s stationed on Okinawa that flew interceptor flights over Korea for the B-29. One of my jobs was to calibrate the antenna, which was visible on the top of the fuselage of most World War II and Korean era aircraft.

I have such great memories of the P-38!

Seeing Tomorrow Today

Looking upward to the skies, I feel such pride
by Ches S.

I started my Lockheed Martin career in 1968 and retired in 2002 from the Owego facility. I worked as an engineer, engineering manager and program manager and enjoyed our cradle-to-grave facility. We designed, built, tested and fielded our products, and we had direct communication with our customers during all phases of construction. My favorite program was the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose Systems (LAMPS) program. I feel a great sense of pride when the helicopters fly over my house during testing and sell-off. I look up and see the next generation operational, and I am happy to read about the recent foreign sales to Denmark.

We Helped Prove Humans Could Live and Work in Space

We are just realizing Skylab’s potential
by John S.

I joined Martin Marietta’s Titan II team in 1960. I worked on six significant programs—Titan II, Dyna-Soar and Gemini ground support engineering design, Sprint and Pershing support system development and Skylab crew systems engineering, before retiring in 1974.

I most enjoyed the Skylab program. As a member of the crew systems group, I participated in crew station reviews with NASA and flight personnel. I was responsible for coordination and implementation for the MDA Neutral Buoyancy program. I logged around 245 hours in the NASA Huntsville Neutral Buoyancy Simulator maintaining the MDA mock-up and observing and reporting on astronaut tests and rehearsals.
The highpoint occurred as my wife and I observed the first Skylab launch. Superlatives fail to portray the experience of seeing the flames and steam, then sensing the rumble and roar as the sound reverberated off the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Euphoria was shattered when we learned one of the solar panels had failed to deploy. Later that day, our celebratory dinner turned into a wake with speculation on causes and remedies. The program was saved when the first crew implemented fixes during an EVA perfected in the Neutral Buoyancy Facility with assistance from Martin personnel.

During my time at Martin Marietta, I was always amazed by the excellence, which pervaded my work environment. My co-workers approached technical problems with imagination, creativity and willingness to accept unconventional solutions. I shall always be proud to have been a Lockheed Martin employee.

I most enjoyed the Skylab program.

Emerging Capabilities across the Globe

My work helped to push technology and boundaries
by Juan B.

After graduating in 1968 from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, I went to work for Sperry Univac as an engineer. (Univac was a Lockheed Martin heritage company.) My career took me all over the world with many unforgettable experiences. My most recent experience before my retirement was the pursuit and award of the Air Sovereignty Operations Center (ASOC) program, which provided military air surveillance capability for 10 of the former Soviet satellite countries.

Exploring Earth’s Final Wilderness

I still remember that exhilarating, full-throttle feeling 
by Ledolph B.

I am long-retired, but in the late 1950s, I was finishing my doctoral studies under the most famous ocean wave expert in the country and was recruited to work in the Polaris program, systems integration office of Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California. They sought the very best possible definition of the ocean environment, especially of the ocean waves, through which the Polaris would travel before its motors took over.

Coming from academia, I was much impressed by the quality of the engineering staff, how up to date they were on the most advanced and sophisticated analytical and physical techniques, and the absolute highest priority and full funding being given to the work by both the company and the Navy.

After several years there, when the Poseidon had been designed, I moved to work on anti-submarine warfare and other ocean programs with the Lockheed California Company, became a division manager there, and then took a senior position in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But, throughout my long career, nothing ever had the exhilarating, full-throttle feeling, and absolute maximum effort that I felt in the Polaris and Poseidon programs. 

Discovering the Power of Possibilities

Lockheed Martin came to the rescue
by Earle W.

My 20-year Air Force career as a jet engine mechanic ended in 1986, and I was entering the civilian job market. I was the sole breadwinner for a family of four with no job, no prospects and limited income. It was a scary time for our family.

The closer my military retirement date came, the more anxious I became. One Friday night, my wife showed me an ad in the newspaper about Lockheed Support Systems, Inc. holding interviews for jet engine mechanics in Palmdale, California, the next morning. It sounded promising, so I drove over.

I got there, filled out the appropriate paperwork, talked to the interviewer and was hired on the spot. I worked for LSSI for only 11 months at Edwards Air Force Base, but it was my foot-in-the-door introduction to the civilian side of the aerospace industry. That first job led to my 25-year career that ended recently in December 2011.

If it hadn't been for Lockheed Martin, I would not have experienced working on some of the most amazing aircraft the United States military has "never" developed. I owe my civilian career to Lockheed Martin. Thanks for the memories, and the pension. 

Lockheed’s Global Ambassador

My aunt was so impressed with the company, she moved from Iceland to California
by Robert W.

My aunt, Mary G. Beach (Imholz), was very dedicated to the Lockheed Corporation. She and her husband, Al, worked for a Lockheed subcontractor in Iceland from 1948 through 1951. Impressed by the treatment of employees by Lockheed management, they vowed to become part of the Lockheed family at the end of the Iceland project. After returning to the United States, Mary and Al moved from New York to southern California to become full-time Lockheed employees.

My aunt’s dedication was so strong, she convinced five family members to also become "Lockheedians." Mary and Al and three of the five family members retired from Lockheed. Of the two family members who did not , one had a successful career in high school counseling and the other became a vice president at The Walt Disney Company.

Lockheed Martin has received over 100 years of service by dedicated employees who like Mary had such a positive experience with Lockheed personnel in frozen, faraway Iceland.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Breaking New Ground

As a women, I helped expand opportunities
by Lois H.

I worked for the government and helped them build innovative technologies! I then began working at Martin Marietta in 1980. I was the first woman at Cape Canaveral, testing the Titan and working on the launch team. I was quality control.

At first it was quite hard on the men. But they finally accepted me, and we then became great friends. Now my closet friends have passed. My life became a complete circle when I saw and worked on my first missile launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Thank you, Lockheed Martin!

A Titan Missile Pioneer

Setting World Records

I meet aviation’s heroes
by Tom A.

From 1971 to 1997, I met the who’s who of aviation—famed test pilot Kelly Johnson, Skunk Works Director Ben Rich and pilot Francis Gary Powers—and Lockheed employees at Burbank, Beale Air Force Base and Okinawa.

I was a member of the United States Air Force SR-71 System Program Office, working with Kelly Johnson and Skunk Works. During my tenure, we set the absolute world speed record and the New York-to-London record.

I also had a successful career at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company on the Milstar program. These were wonderful years!

SR-71 Test Crew

The Outlaw Aviator

One night, I had a chance encounter
by Fred M.

I am 92 years old and worked for the Lockheed Air Terminal Fuel Department for 35 years. Around 1955, I was working the graveyard shift and had to investigate an incident at the main terminal building. While driving there, I saw a man walking toward the terminal. I offered him a ride. He said he would rather walk, and thanked me in a very nice way. The man walking was Howard Hughes. After working for Lockheed for 35 years, I have many more stories! Thank you.

Billionaire Howard Hughes

Viking Mars Lander

Zero gravity and turning stomachs
by Richard P.

I was employed by Martin Marietta for 33 years and retired in 1992. I began my career in the manufacturing test department, later transferring to the research and development laboratory. There, I worked on a number of interesting programs, including Titan Ground Control Systems, the Skylab Space Station and the Viking Mars Lander, which was the most fun.

I was a member on the Viking Mars Lander Surface Sampler project team, testing prototypes. The robotic arm and collector were designed to scoop soil and rocks from the surface of Mars and deposit them into the sampler for analysis. Although the prototype worked well in the lab, we needed to know how it would react in the reduced gravity of Mars, which is about one-third less than that of Earth.

We needed to test the units in Martian gravity aboard an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, a zero gravity aircraft based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We built several text fixtures with electrical controls, high-speed cameras and monitoring equipment. We installed the samplers to the fixtures, tested them and transported them to Wright-Patterson in Dayton, Ohio.

Before our test team would be allowed to fly in a KC-135, we were required to learn what to do should the aircraft lose pressure at high altitude. Training was at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas. Here, we were escorted into a large pressure chamber; the chamber was pressurized, then suddenly depressurized, simulating an aircraft losing pressure at 30,000 feet. During decompression, we were supposed to count backwards from one hundred by three. That was to show us the confusion one experiences in low oxygen. You become disoriented and react slowly if you should loose consciousness.

After training, we flew to Wright-Patterson to spend two weeks flight testing the units. We flew almost daily, testing the units at different levels of gravity. The pilot would fly the aircraft over a parabolic arc. (Flying into an arc, the aircraft climbs to 35,000 feet, then the pilot flies over a long, slow arc. He pulls out at the bottom of the dive, and starts back up again.) Once in “Martian” gravity, we ran tests for about 30 seconds, and accomplished much. When the aircraft pulled out the dive, we weighed twice our normal weight—two G’s, making movement difficult.

After completing testing for the day, the pilot flew several arcs at zero gravity. Everyone bounced around, floating from one end of the aircraft to the other and trying to catch water bobs that floated in the air. We would have enjoyed more! That being said, the flight crew had a sneaky sense of humor and didn’t bother telling us about not moving around during the two-G pullout. They thought it funny when we turned green! Moving your head back and forth was not recommended!

At the end of two weeks, we successfully completed all tests and were more than ready to come home. The flight crew gave us a farewell gathering, coffee and doughnuts, complete with a diploma inducting us into the “Society for Interplanetary Free Floaters.” They also made a film record of the flights that we brought back to Denver to be shown at staff meetings. There were more than a couple raised eyebrows during the zero gravity segments. However, management did give us a recognition diploma, conferring membership in the “Green Earthman Society.” The diploma gave us authority to tremble at the thought of another KC-135 flight, air sickness bags optional.

Society for Interplanetary Free Floaters

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Matter of Perspective

We are fortunate because of their sacrifice and hard work
by Tom K.

I went to work for Martin in 1959 when I was 19 years old, and I worked there for 10 years. The story I would like to share is about my father. He was able to get me my job at Martin. I have his check stub from February 15, 1959. There is such a difference in salaries between then and now. My father was in Department 84, Clock No. 7603. His semi-monthly gross pay was $290.00, Federal Withholding was $43.57, state tax was $1.74 and FICA was $8.15. I keep this stub to remind me how fortunate I am to have what I have now. Thank you!

Excellence All Around

I worked with great leaders and customers
by Jim S.

My 30-plus year career started on the L-1011 in Palmdale, California, in 1971. I hired on as a final assembler, working my way up as a mock-up mechanic and flight-line mechanic. I transferred into ADP in 1975 and worked on the TR-1 and U-2 programs. A few years later, I started work on the most exciting aircraft ever—the F-117 stealth fighter. I was involved in check-out and flight operations. I was an FSR at Holloman Air Force Base and then was able to use my knowledge of this aircraft working in reliable engineering (RM&S) in Palmdale. I have worked with and for so many great Lockheed leaders—managers, engineers, mechanics—as well as some wonderful Air Force personnel. I had a wonderful, rewarding and exciting career with Lockheed Martin. Thanks!

I Can Still Feel the Pride

I saw three decades of change
by Patrick B.

I was an employee of Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Sunnyvale, California, from 1966 to 1980. I was proud to have been a member of the Program Security Team during that period as a representative in the Classification Management Group.

Rethinking What’s Possible

An early assignment at Lockheed influenced my career
by William M.

After starting at Univac in St. Paul, Minnesota, I accepted a position at Lockheed Missiles and Space in Sunnyvale, California. I was put in charge of the generation of all acceptance test procedures for the Polaris A3X missile. After getting it on schedule, I was asked to take an assignment to achieve an eight-hour acceptance test for the missile warhead. (It was taking up to eight weeks at that time). I thought the assignment was impossible, but proceeded to attempt the task. To my surprise with procedural changes, some new test fixtures and facility modifications, we did realize an eight-hour acceptance test.

I then returned to Minnesota and worked for Sperry Corporation. That Lockheed assignment influenced my approach to every task in my subsequent career. I was repeatedly assigned major programs that were in trouble (seemingly impossible efforts) and brought them all to successful conclusions. To top it all off, Lockheed Martin purchased the St. Paul division I was working for, so I ended up retiring from Lockheed Martin. Appropriate, since that one Sunnyvale assignment really influenced my approach to every assignment.

A Lasting Impression

This was the culmination of my career
by Janet D.

In 1997, my boss said that we had a $17 million risk on a contract on which I was the program contractor manager. He asked if I would look to see if there was any contractual way to alleviate this problem. Through extensive research and understanding of contractual terms, as well as several presentations internally and externally with the customer, I was able to convince the customer that we did not have the obligation to provide spares under the services contract. Ultimately, the government bought $10 million worth of spares, which eliminated the risk to the company. I felt that it was the culmination of my career in contracts and my parting effort for the good of the company. I retired shortly after that.

The Finest Company

Striving to exceed customer expectations, every day
by Fernando R.

I have been an aircraft worker for 40 years. The first 16 years were at Lockheed California, as the name was then, from 1972 to 1991. I am very proud to have worked in production and quality on the L-1011, P-3C and C-5 programs. I enjoyed all those years with Lockheed, and I think it was the finest company I've worked for in my career. Thank you so much!

Helping Me Win the Biggest Battle

My co-workers touched my life
by Jeanne F.

My story is one of appreciation. In 1989, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer while working at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California. During my battle with cancer, I had such wonderful support from my Lockheed family. I have been cancer-free since completing my treatments and am now retired to Arizona. So thank you to all who touched my life at that most difficult time! I could not have won without your help.

A special thank you must be said to Gene Kassel and all the loving, caring people that I interfaced with in Building 104. I shall never forget you!

A Lifelong Connection

This summer, I’m celebrating my 62-year anniversary
by Lee H.

I started at Lockheed on August 27, 1951, at $1.25 an hour unloading boxcars. As an hourly employee, there were many weeks when I was next on the list to be laid off. However, this never happened in 37 years. In 1988, I retired as a vendor liaison manager. I am now enjoying my benefits.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Cold Day in Louisiana

There, I discovered true invention
by Leonard E.

I joined a Lockheed Martin heritage company that had just moved into the NASA’s eastern New Orleans Michoud Assembly Facility in October 1973. There, I met many people who had transferred from the Denver, Colorado. area to produce the Space Shuttle external tank. On a very cold winter day (for New Orleans), the secretary of my department director (William Ewig), after I commented on how cold it was, said that I should try some ski tea. It was a mixture of Tang, instant tea and hot water. It was very tasty. And while I'd experienced cold in North Dakota and at Thule Air Base, ski tea wasn't served there. Her recommendation was appreciated!

Iconic Symbols of the Cold War

The year was 1958, and my first program was Polaris
by Ronald P.

In March 1958, I started working for Lockheed, in Sunnyvale, on the first Polaris missile program. I worked on a checkout system to be installed on the first ballistic missile submarine, the USS George Washington. I designed a single console to house a tape drive that would check out each missile before launch. This was done because the original planned checkout system (ACRE) was cancelled.
When I was transferred to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, I was eventually assigned to the, since declassified, Corona project. Corona satellites were used for photographic surveillance and were designed to be caught by C-130 aircraft over the Pacific.
The first series of photos were not captured, and I was asked to design the package that told the system engineers why they lost the recovery packages. The program continued for over 12 years.

The Right Decision

I worked as a plastic fabricator from 1961 to 1994
by Jerry W.

While seeking employment at Lockheed, my interviewer said, “Jerry, you don't have as much experience as we would like, but I'm going to take a chance on you.”
I spent the next 33 years trying to prove that he made the right decision, and, I believe I did. Thank you, Lockheed Martin, for giving me and my family such a good life!

Nothing Was Impossible

Bringing technology to those who needed it most
by Bob L.

I want to tell the story of the outstanding people who ran the Orlando data center in the 1980s. What a phenomenal group—nothing was impossible! At that time, there was no Internet, but this staff pushed technology for telecommunications and the data processing capabilities to remote parts of the United States. The contract was with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In those days PCs weighed 30 pounds, and the communications baud rate was 300 bps. We were in hog heaven. Then through ever-changing technology came direct telephone lines and direct connection to the IBM 360s. Golly, what a change, and this was leading-edge! It was the best there was in the country!
I still recall those days and how proud I was to be associated with such a great group of people—always innovating, always improving and always there for the customer.

A Defender of Freedom

This torpedo is carried by all U.S. submarines
by Gerald G.

I spent 20 years at Lockheed Martin, formerly IBM Federal Systems, in Owego, New York. I was a department tech in aerospace manufacturing. One of the biggest programs I worked on was the Mark 48 torpedo. Of course, there were a number of other programs, but this was the biggest one.