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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Warbirds of World War II and Area 51

My career was full of lucky breaks and amazing adventures
by Theodore O.

First, let me say, sorry for this 95-year-old’s “scribblings." I hope, at least, some of the following will be of interest! I was one of the many who hired into what was then known as the Lockheed-California Company in Burbank. The main plant was on the north side of the Burbank Air Terminal. The year was 1939, and Carl Kotchian was president. I must have hired in on the last rung on the ladder. My starting was 52 cents per hour in the parts department. A month or so later, an example of one many Lockheed lucky breaks, I was transferred to the tooling department into the jigs and fixtures section. Months later, I transferred into tooling design. A few months after that, I was promoted to the design department, where I worked on preliminaries. By then, the United States was supplying arms in World War II.

I worked on such famous warbirds as the P-38 Shooting Star (or Lightning). The Germans called this aircraft the “twin-tailed devil” when it arrived in Europe. Our enemies called our aircraft their nemesis. I worked on the Ventura series of bombers and cargo aircraft, some of which are still flying today (angel flights into Vietnam)! The bombers also included the Harpoon, which was the only bird that could out fly and out fight the famed Japanese Zero aircraft. All were Lockheed aircraft heroes!

Lockheed Harpoon
In my early years at Lockheed, I also learned how to fly. One of Lockheed’s test pilots, Mr. Herman “Fish” Salmon, taught me how to fly in a Piper Cub. During my years in the main plant, Chief Engineer Kelly Johnson built the plant across the airstrip to house the ever-growing "top-secret" projects. This plant became known as "Skunk Works." It is still called this name to this day! The name was not Kelly's, but I believe it was named for meat stockyards near the new plant. Needless to say, the area stunk to the high heavens! In fact, the rendering plant was hastily purchased and covered with tons of new earth! At any rate, this site became Skunk Works. During the War years, I was lucky enough to serve a time or two in Skunk Works. There, in my design work, I was asked to “goof up” the beautiful streamlining of the P-38 lightning by having to design to huge front air cowlings on each of the two Allison water-cooled engines due to engine overheating! I was asked to design a tail hook for the Billy Mitchell bomber. The tail hook worked fine, but it pulled the tail end out of the aircraft!

Like so many able-bodied men and women, through the courtesy of Uncle Sam, I was finally drafted in 1944. Although I was a “sailor,” I never saw a ship, let alone, stepped on board one. Instead I spent my first year in basic training at Farragut Naval Training Station in Idaho, graduating with the title of "Aviation Ordnance Man First Class." I spent the rest of my service the Naval Air Station at Groom Lake, out in the desert. Today it is called Area 51, where what goes on at that top-secret complex is not allowed to be revealed. My only clue as to why it was sent there, was my earlier work at Skunk Works.

Today, Lockheed Martin is still progressing into the future! Not only within the United States, but now a famous name known worldwide. The company can be proud of its achievements in faster-than-sound high-altitude stealth aircraft (SR-71), shipbuilding, submarines, missile and aerospace technology, along with massive exploration of our solar system. The far horizons are yet to be explored, and Lockheed Martin will lead the way!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

From Soup to Nuts

I started at Lockheed in the 1950s
by Ernest F.

I worked at Lockheed in the 1950s. What a time that was, for it was one of the best places I had ever worked. I was assigned to the second shift, and I met a lot of really nice people in management. I was amazed that you could see the entire plane, from nuts and bolts to a completed aircraft. I remember those years as "really good times".

I left California in the late 1970s and opened a bar, a place I ran for 20 years. It was quite a change, but my choice. I'm retired now. I take it easy and walk a lot, which is always good. My mind often drifts back to Lockheed, and I think of the plant in Burbank. To my very good friends at Lockheed Martin, I wish you only the best!

Foliage-Penetrating Radar

I worked on this program nearly 40 years ago
by John A.

Here is one of my stories, and I believe not many know of it. In the 1970s, I worked on a classified program for a branch of the United States military. We were developing a foliage-penetrating radar. However, the Vietnam War ended before I had to go with it to Vietnam, and I did not go. The specific program was subsequently terminated.

Working the Winding Stations

I started at Lockheed just after World War II
by Ann K.

I'm a 94-year-old lady who enjoyed working at Lockheed. I worked there from the late 1940s until I retired. How proud we were during those years. My starting salary was 90 cents an hour, and I was proud of my work at the winding stations, building the inside of aircraft motors. Many times I prayed that one of my motors would go into a Lockheed planes. Thank you for being a grand company. My hope is that Lockheed Martin prospers for another hundred years!

Lockheed Shooting Star: Important Cold War Aircraft

A Number of Firsts

I am thankful for these amazing opportunities
by D.W. G.

I was at the right place, at the right time. During my Martin Marietta career, I was fortunate to achieve many firsts. While working on the Matador missile program, I was the first (and only) engineer to perform dynamic analysis on flight control systems in the field, including aerodynamic transfer functions. The factory was not able to perform this function at the time of manufacture.

Shortly thereafter, I was the first engineer to propose and design semi-automatic test equipment for Mace missile and missile components. I was also the Martin Marietta engineer to propose and lead the design of fully automated hardwired launch checkout and launch sequencer for the Lacrosse missile. I was also the first company engineer to engineer to propose and lead the system design of practical, simplified launch test and sequencing equipment for operational ICBM. Simplified equipment from approximately 35 racks to six racks of ground equipment. The program was the Titan II.

Lacrosse Missile
I was the first Martin engineer to use integrated circuits, in any manner and first in the United States to use integrated circuits for system logic design. I conceived and designed a general purpose control processor (tape driven, since minicomputers not yet available), which could be used to check out and control any missile or to control any process).

I started group courses on logic and computer architecture design, wherein each student would select a topic and become the instructor to the other students until the group understood the topic. Many of these courses became company sponsored and are still taught today. This work started us into the digital field. This was during the 1964 to 1967.

I also lead the design of a digital computer controlled check-out and launch processing system, including detail design of the Input/output equipment as well as the software (operating system and applications programs). I was also the first Martin engineer to recognize the variation of software on a project. On the Viking program we analyzed the linkages between software and the lack of a project plan for requirement determination, documentation, development, test and sell-off of that software. On Viking, I was assigned as a software lead to define such a plan.

I am proud to have recognized the need for and to establish a "make-play" committee to process all changes and to assure absolute necessity of changes on the Ground Support Systems program. I also devised and implemented the “team design” concept. The mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, operations engineer, safety engineer, test requirements engineer, logistics engineer and other disciplines were collocated with a team leader. Up to 13 teams were formed to design over 100 fluid, electrical and mechanical systems.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flying Boats and Flights to Space

Only World War II interrupted my husband’s career
by Cartha W.

My husband, Reese, started to work for the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1938. When he retired in 1994, Reese's work record was interrupted only by his military service in World War II. He worked on the JRM Mars, the M-130 Clipper and the Space Shuttle’s external tank. In 1983, Reese was a senior industrial engineer and estimator. He received a special commendation for supporting proposals that led to contract awards in excess of $100 million.

The Martin JRM Mars

Cold War Career

I began at Lockheed in 1953
by John D.

After graduating high school, I did a single enlistment in the Navy. I then began working at Lockheed in Marietta, Georgia. It was in 1953, just prior to C-130 production. I was a capital electrical and electronic equipment space assembly installer. The C-141 simulator and C-5A followed, and I gained valued training. My electronic vocation school training came into play, and I was given new assignments, including quality control inspector and precision measuring equipment specialist. Altogether (layoffs set aside) I enjoyed 16 years Lockheed. All this greatly honed my technical development and provided me a most rewarding employment and career path. My experience with Lockheed eventually led to a most successful professional retirement in government service.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Postcard Memories

My parents began their careers in 1951
by Sheila H.

My name is Sheila. My parents Clyde and Marjorie were both employed by Martin Marietta for many years. They began their careers in 1951 at the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland. They both worked in the electronics department building the P6M SeaMaster and the P5M Marlin. In 1961, Martin Marietta opened a new plant in Orlando, Florida. My father was transferred to Orlando that same year. My mother was rehired a couple of years later. They both worked on the Pershing and Patriot missile programs. They both retired and were able to enjoy many happy and healthy years together. My father passed away in 2007 at 87 years old. My mother will turn 85 in a few months.

Glenn L. Martin Company, Baltimore, Maryland

Loving My Trade

It was a pleasure working at Martin
by Bennie A.

I started working at the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1957 as an electrician. I performed various jobs at the factory, and I repaired overhead cranes and all power panels. I also worked in the hydrostat building, at all four test stands and all the buildings at our plant. I enjoyed being a supervisor and lead electrician. I miss the plant. It was a pleasure working there!

The XB-51’s Striking Innovation

After World War II, another threat loomed 
by Wilfred K.

I was employed as a draftsman in Baltimore in 1941. By 1950, I was recognized as a better-than-average electrical engineer, having designed and tested the electric power system for the Martin P4M four-engine bomber. I later designed the electrical circuitry for the Martin-patented Automatic Propeller Feathering Control System for Takeoff Power Failure for the Model 2-0-2 aircraft. In 1951, I was assigned as project electromechanical engineer on the XB-5I bomber. My duties covered electrical, hydraulics and armament. The XB-51 was an excellent medium bomber, and it performed well beyond all specification requirements. It had many unique features including a bicycle landing gear. The forward pair of wheels turned for steering, and its pivoting wing with geared flaps when the pilot moved his flap control for lift during takeoff or landing. The wing leading edge moved up, pivoted over the hinged rear spar and the geared flaps moved down. The aircraft had a rotating bomb door. Before flight, the bombs were loaded on top of the door, which was then hoisted into a cavity in the aircraft belly. For bomb release, the door was rotated 180 degrees exposing bombs to the air stream. Westinghouse air brakes provided maximum braking during landing, along with a small parachute the airplane braked to stop in less than 2,000 feet. Brake control was provided by a brakes-on and -off switch on the panel. The pilot flipped the switch to “on” after touchdown and had maximum braking until the plane stopped.

The XB-51, Martin's Phantom Strike Aircraft
Soon after I reached my office, I had to attend an after-flight meeting with a meeting of the pilot and several engineers. The pilot complained about the high amount of lateral trim. On airplanes with ailerons, lateral trim is achieved by a trim tab on the aileron. Deflection of the trim tab 0 to 5 degrees causes a small opposite deflection of the aileron. Since the XB51 had no ailerons, lateral control was achieved by large flaps to top of the wing, and lateral t rim was provided by a small trim flap on the trailing edge of the wing. Trim was achieved by trim flap motion of zero to 15 degrees. I suggested that we could change the trim indicator to read “0 to 5” instead of “0 to 15.” George Trimble, chief of new design, thought it was a great idea!

During 1950, the XB-51 completed all required flight tests. In 1951 all armament tests were to be done. Early in the year, the airplane was moved into the gun firing revetment. There, Werner Buechal and I observed testing of gun aiming accuracy. Four 20mm cannons were mounted in the nose of the XB-51. During aiming test, each gun was separately loaded with five live rounds, followed by a dummy round. As each gun was fired, its accuracy was checked and adjusted if necessary. At the completion of the alignment of the four guns, we were ready for bomb drops. By specification, we were required to make eight drops of the nine 500 pound bombs at high speed and low altitude. I was asked to take pictures of the bombs as they left the airplane. I asked Herm Meyer, our aerodynamics group engineer, to provide me a plot of the relative location of the bombs and the airplane as the bombs dropped to the ground. After several computer runs, Meyer told me the bombs position during drop was constant 45 degrees aft of vertical

I met with the flight test instrumentation group. We removed the front center bomb and loaded a 45-degree aft-pointing gun camera in its place. The gun camera was connected to the bomb release wiring, so the camera would start running as the bombs were released. A small aerodynamically faired box was mounted on the bottom of the wing carrying a second camera pointed below the airplane to view the bombs as they separated. Captain Willard Horn piloted the plane for each of the eight required bomb drops at 625 mph at 50 feet above the ocean. The results were spectacular! We recorded pictures of each group of eight bombs from release to impact in the ocean. The side camera showed the bombs as they separated. They were completely stable with no tumbling. This was in comparison to problems with B-47 bomb release at 350 mph, with bombs tumbling in the bomb bay after release.

After a flight competition over the Martin airfield between the XB-51 and the British Canberra, Martin was awarded a contract to design and build B-57 bombers based on the British Canberra and the XB 51 contract was terminated. Bob Williams, the XB-51 assistant project engineer was reassigned to head the B-57 project and I was promoted to fill his place. With the XB-51 program terminating, Ralph Draut was reassigned and I became the project engineer.

In January 1952, I signed the contract paperwork with Captain Horn who flew the airplane to Muroc Air Force Flight Test Base in California. He had to stop midway to refuel the airplane, so we sent two mechanics ahead to help with the turnaround. After Horn took off our mechanics flew to Muroc to help the Muroc ground crew to become acquainted with the XB51.

I was summoned to the sales office. I learned that I was assigned to fly to Muroc to talk to Major Lathrop who was to fly the XB-51 while it was at Muroc, and hopefully to speak to General Wolff about the merits of the airplane. I spent some time with Major Lathrop, but learned I would not be able to speak to General Wolff because he was being transferred to Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

After my stay at the base, I drove to the Los Angeles railroad station where I boarded the Santa Fe Super Chief to Chicago. The train stopped in Pasadena and left in the night. The next morning, we awoke to daylight in Winslow. I really enjoyed the trip east viewing the desert, buttes and mountains for the first time as we passed through Flagstaff Gallup, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Raton Pass. We continued overnight to Chicago, where I changed trains and went to Baltimore on the B&O Capital Limited. When I returned to work, I learned that I was assigned to be XP6M-I assistant project engineer.

In April 1952, we learned that the XB-51 number one crashed during an air show at Muroc. A grandstand was erected beside the runway and was full of Air Force personnel and members of the media along with many cameras including a 35mm motion picture camera handled by a cameraman from Hollywood. Major Lathrop was the pilot. The airplane made two passes, the first at 600+ mph, the second slow with a roll in front of the grand stand. On the slow speed pass, Major Lathrop approached at 250 mph, during the roll the airplane lost altitude and at 270 degrees a wing tip touched the ground. The airplane crashed and tumbled on the runway until it stopped, a pile of aluminum scrap.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Exceptional Place

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity
by Eunice T.

I worked for 10 years at the plant in Denville, New Jersey. I have never been in this part of New Jersey before, and it was a nice experience to go to the location. The town and the people gave me the opportunity to be among other nationalities, which is good. I met some nice friends.

A Picture-Postcard Town!

The Longest Half-Hour

I’ll never forget being up close and personal with a Trident C4 X missile
by Arnie K.

It was 1977, and I was a lead technician on the Trident I missile program. I went inside a C4 X missile to change out its flight control package. It took me some time to get into position on top of the missile to get into the area I needed to be. I was “suddenly” asked to get out of the missiles so other technical staff could vent the vessel next to me. I was in the right position, and I did not want to move. I asked if they would close up the missile with me in it. After all, it would only be about five minutes to vent the two missiles. They had to remove the hose supplying air, so it quickly got hot and stuffy inside the C4 X. Then, the worst happened! The guys went to lunch and forgot me! It was really scary closed up in a live missile. Thirty minutes seemed like forever. It was hot, and I was not able to contact anyone, and wondered if I would be launched or run out of air. All was well when they finally remembered me and let me escape. Whew! This is something I shall never forget!

Trident C4

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Power of Persuasion

I helped sell a “ton of concrete”
by Vivian B.

I am 90 years old. I worked as a secretary at Martin Marietta for 16-1/2 years. For six years, I was secretary for the company president and four vice-presidents. I was also the project secretary when new plant was built. I recall attending Dale Carnegie course and gave a program on safety shapes. Safety shapes were concrete barriers used in construction sites and were just beginning to be used in the eastern United States. Tim Henson, a company engineer, helped me. I had handouts for all the course attendees. Weeks later, I ran into a fellow class member. He was a bigwig in transportation for Illinois. They purchased safety shapes because of my program. He said I'd never know how much cement I helped to sell!

After Martin Marietta

I’m still part of an important “club”
by Helen T.

I started working at the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1946 at Stansbury Manor, typing deeds and mortgages as the Aero Acres homes were sold. In 30 years, I had many bosses, including. Frank Vitek, Bill German, Bill Dietz, Bill Keimig, Andy Trost and Tim Hughes.

I was married twice. Ray Popp, my first husband, worked at Martin. We fell in love and were married in 1953. Ray was later laid off and went to work at Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point. I took early retirement in 1976, and we moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Ray passed away in 1991, and I sold my home and moved back to Baltimore, joining RAMMs. Who should be at my first meeting but my old boss, Andy Trost. Again love bloomed, and we were married in 1993. We enjoyed visits to Andy's condo at Rehoboth Beach until his death in 2000. There must be something about those Martin men! I again found love with Bill Heinefield, a Martin retiree and secretary of RAMMs. We were inseparable for a year before his sudden death of a stroke in 2009.

I’ve been called the RAMMS cake lady. I bake two black walnut cakes, to be door prizes, at our RAMM dances, and two for our cake auction at our picnic. I am a regular “stuffer” for our monthly newsletter, and although I had to give up driving, I still found a way to attend RAMM meetings. I want to thank everyone for the generosity and support you've shown over the years!

I typed Aero Acres deeds and mortgages.

We Powered American Industry

I learned a lot and made lifelong friends
by Leon B.

I started at the Glenn L. Martin Company as a drop hammer operator helper in December of 1940. I made 50 cents an hour. Soon, I became a helper for the master molder. One year later, I became a first-class plaster pattern maker. I was drafted by the United States Army in 1945, served for two years and was wounded. I was discharged from military services and returned to Martin in my previous position. Eventually, I became an assistant foreman in the drop hammer department. I was laid off when I wasn’t able to transfer to the plant in Denver. Years later, I had a few other stints at Martin—in the AMT lab, on the CFM thrust reversers and also as a contractor after I retired.

On January 5, 2013, I celebrated my 93rd birthday. I made hundreds of lifelong friends at Martin Marietta, most of who have now passed on. I learned a lot there, and I enjoyed my work. Happy anniversary!

A Young Man at the Edge of War and Adventure

I was age 20, with college degree in hand
by George P.

It was July 27, 1938. At age 20, I had just earned my associate degree in mechanical technology from Pasadena Junior College. I was just hired by Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California, making form blocks and dies. Through the early years, the XP-38 “Fork-Tailed Devil” fighter, the XP-58 “light bomber” and the first Constellation transport projects drew upon our multiple skills and responsibilities in the exciting environment of Burbank’s Factory B1 experimental hangar and airfield. In fact, during 1939 and 1940, two of us were “hands-on” trained for several months at Antioch College, Ohio, in the “Antioch pattern-making and precision aluminum casting process.” Later, an equivalent foundry was established in Los Angeles for Lockheed's benefit.

Some of us observed a vertical climbing “contest” between our “YIPPEE” (YP-38) and the British “Spit Fire” fighter. The Spit Fire, hanging on its propeller, fell back. Many of us attended the wonderful Lockheed Employees picnic at the Santa Anita Park in the Pasadena area, when a P-38 was taking-off from Burbank. The pilot's radio (probably Tony LeVier’s voice) was transmitting to the racetrack’s loud speaker system, describing his every action. The P-38 arrived in minutes, almost before we expected it, and at tree-top level, executing a “multiple G” vertical climb, disappearing from sight overhead, as he continued speaking to us!
The YIPPEE was remarkable in flight!
Accelerated production requirements for the War, caused us to extend our working hours. We began working 10 to 12 hours per day, and eight hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Great income, with no time to spend it, proved useful for investments in our future. The revised World War II draft law discarded my deferments (earned for six years employment in the defense industry, with a wife and two children). Suddenly, too young for any deferment, Lockheed gave me a two-year leave of absence, and promised to continue my employment upon return and to add my military service time to my company seniority. 

June 14, 1944, found me enlisted with the United States Marine Corps. I hoped to help my father and uncle in the Philippine Islands. But February 19, 1945, placed me at Iwo Jima. It was March 1, 1945, and seriously wounded, it was reported that my dad (a United States Army leader of the Philippine Resistance Movement against the Japanese) had been captured and beheaded by Samurai tradition. My uncle had starved to death in a Japanese concentration camp. My Honorable Discharge occurred on February 26, 1946. I was 80 percent disabled, with a Military Merit Award (Purple Heart). 

Lockheed, welcomed my return, rehired me (on crutches) and added my military time to my seniority on May 20, 1946. The company made full use of my past Lockheed manufacturing experience and training and the benefit of my Marine Corps leadership. Lockheed continued my training in such courses as Optical Tooling, Developing Your People, Sketching Familiarization, Elements of Supervision, Plastic Tooling, Lockheed Economics, Planet Earth and Supersonic Vehicle Manufacturing Techniques, over a period of ten years.

During 1965, Robert Reeks, an internationally known balloonist, my family and several others, working with the Lockheed Employees Recreational Club, established the Wind Drifters Hot Air Balloon Club. It grew to be the world's largest balloon club at the time. Then, it “passed on” (about 1975) as members left Lockheed and took their balloons with them, possibly popularizing the exciting sport elsewhere.

Emergency repairs to the entire turbo-prop Electra transport fleet, demanded a continuous 24 hour per day flow, receiving airplanes, repairing ·and returning them to the airlines. Being the assigned as manufacturing engineering link between emergency structural redesign engineers, the emergency production of newly designed parts and the emergency “repair-line managers” for weeks, was challenging and gratifying.

With Lockheed's aggressive training programs, my retirement in 1974 was as “Industrial Engineer, Procedures.” My U.S. Patent #2.693.637, dated November 9, 1954, a method for forming metal parts, had been awarded and shared with Lockheed. 

Lockheed Martin, with its heritage of great teams of devoted men and women, excited by what they see they have produced, has much to look forward to in its next adventure!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Interesting Line of Work

Lockheed hired me in 1962 as a buyer
by Robert B.

In 1962, Lockheed-California hired me as a buyer. One of my early assignments was to purchase components of the fuel system for the AH-56A helicopter, including the self-sealing fuel and oil tanks from Uniroyal of Canada. That was in Van Nuys. Later, I was the material department liaison with Rolls Royce personnel in Palmdale on the L-1011. In 1974, I transferred to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnydale. One interesting assignment there was to purchase products to manufacture exterior tiles of the Space Shuttle, primarily the fiber from Johns Manville and the glass grit for coating the tile from Corning. Congratulations on 100 years and thanks for 29 years of retirement.

The Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne