Saturday, February 2, 2013

From Paper Boy to Computer Pioneer

The number “ten” was a wonderful harbinger
by Patrick D.

My family lived on Screenland Drive in Burbank, a short distance from Lockheed. As a young boy in the early 1950s, after school each afternoon, I sold newspapers at the B-6 plant, Skunk Works and other nearby Lockheed entry and access gates. I remember very well selling newspapers to Herman "Fish" Salmon and Tony LeVier, famous Lockheed test pilots. What a thrill!

Little did I know then as a ten-year-old-boy that I would actually work for Lockheed, beginning in 1964, in the scientific computer services department. It was a great experience to be a part of a new and exciting technology, one which changed dramatically, virtually on a month-to-month basis. Each of us who were computer operators was routinely learning to run new and ever-changing computer systems and increasingly smaller and more complex equipment. Our department operated on a 24/7, 365-day calendar. It was a great time to work at Lockheed.

In due time, my principle assignment was to operate the new CAD-orthographic equipment in conjunction with the other tape deck and disk-pack systems. And, what was particularly interesting, it was not uncommon to find myself working on certain projects in association with the engineers and personnel at Skunk Works.

So, it is with a good deal of fondness that I relate my personal experiences at Lockheed, both as a young boy and, for ten years, as an employee (from 1964 to 1974).