Monday, April 8, 2013

The Arsenal of Aviation

I met many Lockheed “celebrities” over 35 years
by Harry C.

I started working at Lockheed in 1955 in the mailroom. My career progressed over 35 years, and I spent most of my time at Lockheed as a buyer, senior buyer and subcontract administrator. I retired in 1991 and I still miss working at Lockheed.

I was fortunate to meet many Lockheed celebrities over the years—Kelly Johnson; John Ramsey; Bob Paul; test pilots Ray Goudy, Calvin Shoemaker and Tony LeVier; and the world-famous Gary Powers.
Many times, I sat at Lockheed Management Club meetings with Gary Powers. He was asked one night why he seemed to like me so much. Gary said of all the people he met from Lockheed, I was the only person who never asked him why he didn't use the death syringe when he was captured in Russia. I cried when he lost his life in that helicopter crash. After Tony LeVier’s retirement, I used to have breakfast with him at the Agua Dulce Airport in Canyon Country near my home.

One day in the late 1980s, I was outside my office near the north-south runway talking to one of my suppliers. I interrupted our conversation to point out a B-25 World War II bomber landing at that moment. The supplier stated that many years ago, he had witnessed a B-25 land, lose its brakes and go through the chain-link fence at the end of the runway. We were distracted by emergency vehicles just then. You guessed it! The just-landed B-25 lost its brakes and went into the chain-link fence!

Thank you, Lockheed Martin, for these wonderful memories!