Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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.