Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Hitched My Career to a Star

I was there from the Golden Age of Aviation to the Space Age
by George D.

In the late 1930s, I was “shaping up” in various aircraft manufacturer employment lines while working as a night watchman at Paramount Studios in Burbank, California. On February 28, 1939, Lockheed’s winged star became my lodestar.

Lockheed played a key role in my home life. In 1940, I met my future wife, Margaret Harris, when we both worked in spare parts sales. My children—Bonnie, Gary and Marsha—were all born in Dayton, Ohio, when I was assigned at Wright Field.

Wright Field and Lockheed also played a part in a remarkable experience for me in 1943. Lockheed sponsored a photo opportunity on the tarmac at Wright Field, and I saw Orville Wright peering out the pilot’s window of a C-69 military Constellation!

My career developed through field offices, soared through the aircraft industry’s mass production Golden Age and flew into the 1960s Space Age era. After 35 years, I retired from Lockheed in 1974. But I’ve never forgotten the thrill of the projects I worked on—the B-47 joint modernization programs involving Lockheed with Douglas and Boeing; the 1957 United States Air Force X-7 Ram Jet test vehicles and Q-5 Drones and the United States advanced satellite reconnaissance satellite system of the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, revisiting those epic times makes me feel proud to having been part of aerospace history. I am grateful for my long and productive career at the core of a great company. I am glad I followed that lodestar.

I met Margaret at Lockheed!