On a hot July 21 in Dallas Texas in 1922 my Mother gave birth to me at the family residence located at 2704 Pennsylvania Avenue. (When we got married my wife lived at 2704 Penn Street in St. Joseph, Missouri). My Father worked as an accountant for a Firm located in Dallas. The family moved to Waco, Texas when I was about 2 years old and when my Grandfather Bradley died when I about 4 years old we moved to a very small cross road of Baileyville, Texas for my Father to close out the General Store owned by him. At age 5 we moved to Rockdale, Texas, my Mother's home town. I grew up in Rockdale and graduated from High School there in 1939.
During my High School days I was active in a number of sports, played the base drum in the local American Legion band, and became an Eagle Scout. As a result of a challenge by our Science Teacher to build a radio receiver that worked I became involved in something that would have a profound influence on the rest of my life. To obtain the required parts the only source, within our very limited finances, was old radios turned in to buy new ones at the only radio store in town. The owner was a ham and helped get us started. There were five of us involved and after meeting the Science Teachers challenge we wanted to build a transmitter. We found the diagram of a oscillator using a type 45 tube. Since the coils and variable capacaitors were all designed for the standard broadcasting band that is where we started a nightly net. One of the group lived next door to a lady who strongly objected to the noise on her radio from our net activity. One night one of the old Black Vans from the FCC drove up to his house, found his transmitter, got all of our names, and the next day at School we were all called to the Office of the Superintendent. When informed by the FCC agent of the possibility of prison and a big fine it did not take long to bring that operation to a close.
After graduation from High School my interest in radio and electronics in general led me to enroll at Texas A & M to study Electrical Engineering. After one year I did not have the finances to continue and after talking to several of my friends who had enlisted in the Army Air Corps I decided to enlist, save my money and return to get a degree later. That was 1940 and little did I know that WWII was just around the corner.
After signing up for three years I went through a short boot camp program and was assigned as an understudy radio operator on a B-18 located at Kelly Field, Texas. We used the B-18 as a radio control for student flights. In February 1941 my Squadron was transferred to open a new training base in San Angelo, Texas now known as Goodfellow AFB. Since there were no B-18's at this location all of the radio operators were used to man the new control tower's. I had applied for a chance to go to Scott Field to attend the Air Corps radio operator and mechanics course and in May 1941 I was sent there for a 20 week training assignment.
Upon graduation I returned to Goodfellow Field and my old Squadron. The control tower was now being maned by another organization. I was assigned to head the flight line radio maintenance shop. While playing touch football on the flight line on December 7 1941we received the news of Pearl Harbor. My interest in becoming a pilot had developed by this time and as a result of Pearl Harbor the age limit for becoming an Aviation Cadet was dropped from 21 to 18. There was an Examination Board located at the Field and I wasted no time in applying. I met the board, took several examinations and within a few days received an appointment as an Aviation Cadet.
There was a break before I received orders to report to pre flight training. I went through flight training in the Class of 42-J. My Primary School was at Corsicana, Texas, Basic in Waco, Texas and graduated at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. With the award of pilot wings I also received a Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve.
My first assignment was to the Air Transport Command at Love Field in Dallas. Texas. I was sent to an Operational Training Base in St. Joseph, Missouri and after six weeks of training in a B-25 was reassigned as the co-pilot of a crew and sent to Wilmington, Delaware. The field was known as New Castle Army Air Base and was one of several units belonging to the Ferrying Division Of The Air Transport Command. The mission was to deliver new aircraft from the factory to operational units worldwide. Pilots were expected to become qualified in as many different types of aircraft as possible since many models needed to be picked up and delivered. It was not unusual for a pilot to fly a piper Cub one day and deliver a B-17 to England for his next mission. Most of my missions involved delivering Martin B-26's. At one time my qualification record showed 27 different aircraft.
I talked my Operations Officer into sending me back to St Joseph, Missouri for a second time since on my first tour there I met a young lady that I was very interested in. I completed this tour and Married the young lady that I was to spend the rest of my life with. Marolyn got on a train to Wilmington and I flew with my crew back to Wilmington. It was very difficult to find a place to live but we managed. With a new wife I volunteered to teach instrument flying since this curtailed a lot of time away from the base. In the Spring of 1944 the Instrument Flying School was transferred to Nashville, Tennessee and in September I received orders to report to The North African Division of the Air Transport Command.
In route to our new assignment we delivered a C-47 to the 12th Air Force HQ in Rome, Italy via the North Atlantic ferrying route. When we reached Rome the Germans had only been gone for about 10 days. The HQ for The North African Division of the ATC was located in Casablanca, Moroco.. After checking in there I was sent to the Wing based in Cairo, Egypt and started to fly C-46's on the route to Karachi, then India, via Abadan, Iran. In February 1945 the crews were split up and I was transferred to Abadan and flew the leg of the route back and forth between Abadan and Karachi. I became a route check pilot and later was checked out in the new C-54.s As the war in Europe was coming to an end those of us checked out in C-54's were transferred to Casablanca and started flying troops home. Our leg was from Casablanca via Dakar, Senegal to Natal, Brazil. After two round trips the War in the Pacific was over and we were sent to Hamilton Field near San Francisco, California where they needed crews and primarily aircraft to carry people and material for the occupation of Japan.
After a few weeks those of us who were returning from overseas were sent home on leave. Marolyn and I took a train back to Kansas City and her parents picked us up and we visited in St. Joseph for a few days and then visited my parents in Houston. While visiting Uncles in Dallas my Uncle Chester asked what I was going to do since the War was over. I said that I really enjoyed flying and had thought about flying for an Airline. He said one of his golf foursome was Chief Pilot for Braniff and he would be pleased to have us get together We had lunch and I said I had about 300 hours in a C-54, and carried a green instrument card. I was 23 years old and since Braniff was on the verge of getting new DC-4's, the Commercial version of the C-54, he said you are hired and I will guarantee that you will become a Captain within one year. I said that sounds great but first I need to be released from The Air Corps. When we returned to Hamilton Field I asked Personnel to obtain a release. Since the occupation of Japan was still making great demands on the air lift assets I was told that they could not give me an immediate release. While I was waiting for a discharge I obtained a Commercial Pilots license and an Instrument rating to be prepared for the job with Braniff
With the prospects of continuing to stay on active duty I started flying the line in the Pacific and soon had a crew of my own. After several months it occurred to me that if I was to make a career of the Military I needed to, in addition to flying, start getting into a support administrative skill. One day I was talking to the Group Communications Officer and he told me the Flight Radio Officer was leaving and if I was interested I could have his job. This assignment was to train and schedule the radio operators flying the Pacific. This brought back my past as a radio operator and I enjoyed doing this. In addition I applied for a regular commission in The Air Corps. I met a Board on two occasions and one day I received a telegram saying I had been accepted. I then thanked Braniff for their offer and said I was now a career officer in the Air Corps.
In the spring of 1946 the entire organization was transferred to a sister air base about 30 miles away. The new base called Fairfield-Susun, now called Travis AFB, became the consolidated base for all transport operations from the west coast throughout the Pacific. I continued to fly trips to Tokyo and return in addition to being Flight Radio Officer. Several of us started studying for an FCC Amateur license and passed the required exams at the San Francisco office of the FCC. My first call was W6CWW. In the fall of 1947 I was sent to Tyndall AFB in Florida for three months to attend The Air Tactical School. One memorable trip was to deliver a C-47 that had been specially equipped from our base to Bangkok Thailand for use by the Air Attache in Thailand via the route through Hawaii. The airplane was overloaded with plush seats and internal gas tanks to make the trip to Hawaii possible. At that time the allowable gross weigh for a C-47 was 29,500 pounds, this one weighed 32,000 pounds. It took over 10,000 feet of runway into a 35 knot wind and an hour and a half to climb to 7 thousand feet and over 16 hours to make that leg with several threats of running out of fuel and having to ditch.
In July 1948 I received orders to be the Group Communication Officer on Guam. Since housing for dependents was limited We had to wait about 11 months for Marolyn to join me so she went back to her parents for the wait. Guam was hot and muggy but a great bunch of people to work with and one of the most challenging assignments so far in my career. The communications job did not require a lot of time so I had a multitude of other jobs. In addition to flying quite a bit I was assistant aircraft maintenance officer, trial judge advocate, instructor pilot, and later squadron commander. When I arrived on Guam I discovered that a ham radio station had been abandoned with lots of equipment left intact only a few yards from my quarters. I cleaned it up and started making good use of it. My call on Guam was KG6FL. Before my tour was over I made numerous contacts and many hundreds of phone patches back to the states. Our Air Corps Air Transportation assets were combined with the Navy counterpart and we moved to the Naval Air Station on Guam. I had the responsibility of planning the move. I was an Air Corps Captain and discovered that I had quite an influence on the navy personnel until they discovered that I was not a Navy Captain. In the process we made the move and to better facilities than we had been using. My rotation date arrived in May of 1950 and we received orders to the Pentagon. Since Marolyn had not seen any of the Pacific except for Guam I asked to return to the States on a MSTS Ship. The route back was through the Philippines, Okinawa, Tokyo and direct to San Francisco. We arrived in San Francisco on June 2nd 1950 which was our wedding anniversary.
After a few weeks of leave we drove to Washington and reported in for duty. I was assigned to the Air Force office that managed radio frequency allocations and assignments. The first year I was considered a student and then I was assigned the 132-156 Mhz and the 225-400 Mhz portion of the spectrum for management. This involved coordination with other agencies and specific assignments to Air Force Bases in the United States. Aircraft were changing from VHF to UHF for all operational purposes and in addition to frequency assignments I had to draft regulations associated with this change. Another assignment was to be the Air Force member of a working group to steer new equipment under development into the best portion of the radio spectrum. During this period I attended University of Maryland classes to obtain a College Degree. This program called bootstrap, was conducted at night in the Pentagon with the provision that if you got to within one semester of graduating you would be assigned full time on campus to complete your degree and graduate. . In January of 1955 I started attended classes full time on campus and in June received a Bachelor of Science degree. I then received orders to go to London, England and be Assistant U.S .Member of the European Radio Frequency Agency ( ERFA), which was a part of the United Nations.
Marolyn and our one year old son Robert spent a 30 day leave visiting our parents before reporting to McGuire AFB for transportation to England. We flew by way of Newfoundland to Prestwick Scotland and by train to London. We were met and checked into a hotel in the Chelsea area of London. The HQ building for ERFA was one short block away. I started work the next day and also started looking for a house to rent. It took a month to find a house and we moved in and became a part of a small community with a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Work consisted of coordination and recording frequency requirements of all U.S. military services in Europe and assisting the U.S. Member, located in Paris, in all phases of his work. We enjoyed our stay In England. The protocol for this assignment was for the Assistant Member to replace the Member after one year with the personnel being rotated between the three services. I then replaced the Navy Officer who was the U.S. Member located in Paris.
In July 1956 we moved to Paris. The U.S. Members Office was as a part of The European Command HQ, located in the outskirts of Paris, in a place known as Camp Deloges. The European Command was the overall HQ for all Military Services located in Europe and headed by a four star General. We were assigned quarters in a U.S. compound known as Petite Beauregard. With my assignment the protocol changed to a system where both the Member and the Assistant Member stayed in one place for their entire tour of duty. This change had the result of my being The U.S. Member for the rest of my overseas tour. This assignment was a challenge and a lot of satisfaction. Our Son by the end of our tour spoke better French than either of us and would often correct our pronunciation. When my tour was up in June of 1958 I received orders to return to the States and to report to Maxwell AFB in Alabama to attend The Command and Staff School.
The Command and Staff School started in late August of 1958 and continued until June of 1959. This was a most interesting educational experience and taught me a lot about the Air Force and how it functions. Our housing was on the local economy and not quite what we would have preferred. It met our needs however and our son developed a pronounced southern drawl. I had asked that my next assignment be in the then new Missile field but that didn't occur. My background in the radio frequency business resulted in orders upon Graduation to return to the Pentagon.
Back in the Pentagon I was assigned to the same office I had spent five years in before going to Europe. In 1960 the Air Force Communications and Electronics Directorate was reorganized and I left the Frequency assignment and joined the Operations Division. My duties there centered on building the command and control communications systems serving the Air Force Command Post. After several months I was assigned as the Senior Communicator in the Command Post. At that time the Department of Defense Command Post was co-located with the Air Force while its new facilities were under construction. During my tour we developed a number of unique communications and information systems. I was on duty the day President Kennedy was shot and experienced the confusion and aftermath of that day. In November of 1964 I was promoted to Colonel and assigned to be Commander of Air Force Communications and Electronics operations in Viet Nam and Thailand. The promotion order listed, in addition to my name, the name of one of my High School class mates who received his Eagle Scout award the same night I received mine.
As Commander of the 1964th Communications Group I was responsible for operating and maintaining Control Towers, Communications Centers, Telephone Exchanges, Navigational Aids, Air Traffic Control, and Wireless Systems in both Viet Nam and Thailand. Each Air Force Base had either a Squadron or Detachment that reported to this Group. To say that this was my greatest challenge borders on an under statement. The climate and the conditions associated with War made my year there one I will never forget. My Headquarters was located in Saigon at an old French constructed Air Base known as Tan Son Nut. One of the most provoking problems was unreliable electric power. Generators were everywhere and run by a wide variety of interests. Snakes liked the warmth of Communications Vans and were a problem. My tour started just as the build up of U.S. Forces was about to intensify and we could not build supporting systems fast enough to meet demands. This tour was probably my greatest challenge. When the tour was over I had the felling that I had made a contribution to the Air Force effort in Viet Nam and that I had learned a lot about communications support in a War zone.
My next assignment was to HQ of the Pacific Air Force located at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. As Director of Telecommunications, a staff position. I was responsible for all Telecommunications throughout the Pacific Area of operations. Marolyn and Robert joined me there and after a short wait we were assigned quarters on the Base. I brought my ham gear from our Virginia home and with a borrowed crank up tower I was on the Air again as KH6GGL I had a number of schedules and on one Christmas Eve handled phone patch traffic from the South Pole followed by phone patch traffic from an aircraft near the North Pole. I worked a six day a week job with long hours since the War in Viet Nam was still going strong The family enjoyed Hawaii but were happy when it was time to return to the mainland
On one of my debriefs in the Pentagon I was critical of an organization called GEEIA, which was the Air Force source of new construction and maintenance of all ground based communications and electronics systems world wide. GEEIA, Ground Electronics Engineering Installation Agency, had three regions in the U.S., one in the Pacific, and one in Europe. My next assignment, upon return from Hawaii, was as Vice Commander of the Eastern GEEIA Region located at Brookley AFB in Mobile, Alabama. I became Commander after several months and again faced a significant challenge. A particular job was called a scheme and we were several hundred schemes behind scheduled completion. A number of factors were involved in the delays. I instituted a daily session with the Staff to examine each over due project and by focusing on solving the reason for delay we gradually started to catch up. Brookley AFB was scheduled to close and we had to move about 60 miles to the west to Keesler AFB in Mississippi. In September of 1968 we made the move. Our new management approach continued and the number of over due schemes dropped significantly. The GEEIA HQ located at Griffis AFB in Rome, New York started using our approach to management world wide and had the same favorable results. In the fall of 1969 the European Region was terminated and the entire European area of responsibility was added to the Eastern Region. This occurred as we were recovering from a most destructive hurricane Camile that damaged our HQ complex. Again we had to take on a number of late schemes. In the Spring of 1970 Air Force HQ decided to consolidate GEEIA with The Air Force Communications Service. I decided that with a big new reorganization ahead and a likely move of the Family to contend with and since I had completed a full 30 years of active duty it was time to retire and return to our Home in Alexandria.
At the time of my retirement from the Air Force I was a Colonel, was a Command Pilot with over 5,000 hours of flying time and had been awarded the following awards and medals: Legion of Merit with two clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Award, and a number of Theater and War medals including pre Pearl Harbor.
In June 1970 we returned to the house we bought in 1959 and I started developing plans to build a major addition. This involved removing the car port and building a two car garage with a large work shop on the ground level and a new master bedroom above with a walk out deck. In addition the existing small patio was enlarged an rearranged. I started on this project with the anticipation of completing the work in one year. Since I was doing all the work my self it took a little over three years. As I neared completion I started looking for some money making employment. I worked for a short time for General Research and then went to work for the Department of Commerce in the National Telecommunications and Information Agency.
After a number of years away from the spectrum management business I was back doing what I had spent eleven years doing for the Department of Defense. The United States had just started its preparatory work for a major International Telecommunications Union Conference, WARC-79, to consider reallocation of the entire radio frequency spectrum. I picked up the Chairmanship of a working group looking at the 960-2,000 Mhz portion of the spectrum. In addition I worked on the U.S. position for reallocation of the High Frequency Broadcast bands. I then attended the Conference as a Delegate and upon return worked on revision of the U.S. allocation table to implement provisions of the Conference..During WARC-79 I operated an Amateur Radio Station in the U.S. Compound as W4SWP-HB with a Tri Bander on the roof. Later I chaired a working group planing for another ITU conference to plan the HF Broadcasting frequency assignments. I attended the first session of this conference and was the U.S. spokesman for the Technical Committee.
In 1984 I retired for the second time and for a year did consulting work in the Washington area. One consulting assignment was to evaluate the practicality of. The Voice of America changing to single side band for its high frequency broadcasts In retirement I have been active in a number of hobby related activities