Electronics C School

Great Lakes, Illinois

September 1962 to November 1962

About halfway through the school the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. All classes were suspended and the office staff was busy typing up orders for all the students in the event the crisis escalated. We spent the time in the break room watching the events on TV. We tried to think of things we could do to help. The best we could come up with was to paint concentric circles around the main office building... just in case missiles came our way.

I was able to visit family friends who lived nearby. The autumn colors were spectacular! I went on walks in the neighborhood with their young children. Not long after that I received word that one of the girls had climbed a tree and fell. She was killed. I know she didn't do anything near the dangerous climbing I did growing up and I lived.

Eventually we completed the course and proceeded to our next assignment. This time it was an entire class going to the same duty station. Most unusual but I would do that one better later in my career. And so, I was on my way to...

Fleet Operations Control Center, Hawaii

I believe there were seven of us in the class destined for duty in Hawaii. We were studying a computer. Great! ...says you. Well I would have said that as well except I was there and know what we were really doing. We were studying a paper computer. It existed only in descriptions of modules and we had to program it! Hmmmmm.... Interesting doncha think? We did see a computer while we were there in school. We did a field trip to the Navy Supply Center, Great Lakes to see their computer. Now this was a real computer. It was a huge thing with a building built around it. The memory cells were frames about 2 ½ to 3 feet square with wires from all sides threaded through ferrous donuts. There were thousands of these, 64 thousand of them in fact. And that is what the memory of that computer was 64 kb!!! Thousands upon thousands of vacuum tubes, relays and such. Now we have infinitely more memory capacity in our wrist watches not to mention hand held calculators that we can buy for $10.00 or so.

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