Wednesday, May 6, 2009

30 Years Later

I wrote an essay about my Christmas Day in 1969, when a friend I went through technical school and I missed dinner at the chow hall, and finding all the local restaurants outside McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California closed, we walked to the last place to eat, the flight line cafe, only to find the kitchen had closed for the day and all that was available was pre-made sandwiches, chips and coffee. That was my Christmas dinner.

Well, that friend, one of ten of us who graduated from special electronic technican school (AF job id 99125) at Lowry AF in Denver, Colorado, and I went our ways, him to the Squadron's airborne outfit and me to the ground based system I was trained on. All my career was spent in depot research, development and repairs, and outside of some temporary duties at Edwards AFB, California, Denver, Colorado, Fairbanks, Alaska, Washington DC, and Hanover, Germany, I spent the entire time there, being discharged January 2, 1973.

My friend, Richard Dickison, was later stationed in Japan, and stayed there after being discharged before coming back to the State in the mid-1970's with a Japanese wife. As I noted in the essay (above), I lost track of him along with all of the other 8 in our group. Well, that friend somehow found me and sent me an update, see his biography and sent along the link and an update to his life since we last met.

Well, life seems a quirky thing, especially these days with the Internet. And sure enough, the organization I was in has a Website, the AF Technical Applications Command. The command had several squadrons, one being the 1155th Technical Operations Squadron at McClellan AFB. I was there from September 1969 to January 1973 after basic training and technical school, March to September 1969.

What we did then was to be the US Government's monitor of the Nuclear Test Ban treaty. We had a number of systems to monitor nuclear tests and any denation similar to or related to nuclear tests anywhere on this earth, underground, underwater, surface and atmospheric, even on the moon. It's the nature the earth and nuclear explosions. I working with one of the system which monitored the earth's magnetic field, used mostly for the location, general timing and power of the test.

At the time our command was one of the highest priority organizations after the Strategic Air Commands Squadrons. During the 1970's many of the sytems were phased out or replaced with satellites and the organization was downgraded to Secret and dropped in priority. For awhile in the 1990s' the work was contracted out before being reassumed by the military about a decade or so ago (as far as I can find information, updates appreciated).

It was an interesting four years. We were the score keepers in the event of a nuclear war. There wasn't a place we couldn't detect a nuclear bomb explosion, even on the moon. Scary thought and nice to know we weren't really needed except to keep the other nuclear nations honest as they with us. The then Soviet Union has a complimentary organization as other countries had smaller ones or relied on either the Soviet Union or us for information.

And now the Christmas 1969 story has an ending.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I found my friend again. Even though we took different paths in life, I always took a part of you with me.

    I've read almost everything you've posted so far and look forward to following your life adventures.

    A hui hou ("until we meet again" in Hawaiian)
    Richard Dickison