After graduation from SAHS in 1965 I spent a week in Hawaii, on Oahu, and a month in Japan traveling with a former junior high school teacher.
We were in Tokyo for one week and then traveled to a number of other places including Kyoto, Nara, Mt. Fuji, and Hiroshima. I was amazed at how friendly the Japanese people were to Americans. The exchange rate was 400 yen to the dollar. Today it is about 123 yen to the dollar.
I entered a journalism scholarship contest sponsored by the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. They offered me a 4-year scholarship to Pepperdine University to pursue a major in Journalism (with the expectation that I would work for them after graduation). However, I exceled at math and science and wanted to follow a different career path so I declined their generous offer.
I enrolled at and attended UC Irvine in the Charter Class. I took classes in Math, Social Science, French, and Physics. My major was in Physics. UC Irvine used the quarter system (3 quarters per school year instead of two semesters). As a junior I enrolled in a 5-quarter physics class taught by Dr. Forrester. During an important final exam 70% of the class got very low grades and hence, many of the 100 plus students in this class ended up changing their majors, including me. I changed my major to Electrical Engineering. It turns out that I liked that field and graduated in 1969 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. I subsequently enrolled at USC and attended night classes working towards an MSEE.
After graduating from UCI in 1969 I was hired at Aeronutronic in Newport Beach (just over the hill from UCI). Aeronutronic was a defense and space related division of Ford Motor Company.
In 1961 Ford purchased Philco and merged the two companies in 1963 and called the company Philco-Ford and later Ford Aerospace. Some employees called the company Ford Aeroneurotic. I worked on the Chaparral Missile system, which was a missile, launched from a tracked vehicle with 4 missile rails. These missiles used an IR (infra red) seeker in the nose and were very effective in downing enemy planes and helicopters. After two years with Aeronutronic, massive layoffs occurred, and I interviewed at many companies over a 3-month period and received an attractive job offer from Hughes Aircraft Company in Fullerton, CA where I started working in 1971. I worked in the Receiver/Exciter Department for about 6 years, spending the first 6 months working graveyard shift on the SLQ-17 electronic countermeasure system. This system was deployed on all of our aircraft carriers to protect them against enemy missile attacks. I then transferred to the Signal Processing Department, in the Beam Steering Group, where I spent another 6 years. I did design work on a number of ground based radars, including the TPQ-37 Artillery Locating Radar System (which could back plot an enemy’s mortar or artillery round and direct our artillery to fire back before the enemy shell hit the ground). This radar used electronic scanning to sweep the sky in azimuth and elevation and could track many targets simultaneously. The radar was large and expensive but very effective and is still being built today. I then transferred to the Antenna Department where I spent another 6 years working on a number of radar projects including a few classified radars. Then I transferred to the Component Engineering Department where I spent another 6 years working with many RF and microwave components used in a number of different systems.
General Motors purchased Hughes in 1985 and merged Hughes Aircraft with its Delco Electronics unit to form Hughes Electronics Corporation. Then GM sold their assets to Raytheon in 1997. Most of the buildings in Fullerton were sold for commercial development and the majority of employees, including myself, had to transfer to El Segundo. The commute from Orange to El Segundo was a lengthy one taking about 3 hours of round trip travel time per day. Raytheon has a number of buildings in the El Segundo area (near LAX), as does Boeing. I worked at the El Segundo South site in Building E1. I worked on a variety of different programs involving radars (for Army, Navy, & Air Force), electronic countermeasures, communications systems, and satellite systems. At one point Boeing Defense Systems needed additional help so my department agreed to loan them about 8 people (myself included). We spent 20 hours a week working for Raytheon and 20 hours a week working for Boeing. Raytheon acquired a number of other companies across the US and they created technology teams to try to integrate the various companies. I was chosen as the leader for the RF/Microwave Tech Team which was comprised of about a dozen people from locations in El Segundo, Santa Barbara, Tucson, Dallas, Sudbury, MA, Tewksbury, MA, Fort Wayne, IN, St. Petersburg, FL, and several other sites. I did a lot of traveling around country to visit other Raytheon facilities and visiting with suppliers, and potential suppliers. I worked on generating a list of Raytheon standard suppliers and a list of Raytheon standard parts (to be used by all the sites). I helped generate an RF/Microwave Handbook for design engineers to use. I retired from Raytheon at the end of 2006 as a Principal Electrical Engineer.
I have one 5 year older brother, John, who along with his wife Diane has been living in Laguna Beach for 45 years. John also attended and graduated from Santa Ana High School. I met my wife, Cathy, in 1972 while roller-skating at the Skate Ranch in north Santa Ana (now known as the Discovery Science Center). She was a graduate from Orange High School. We got married a few months later and lived briefly in an apartment in Yorba Linda, then moved to an older home in North Orange where we have been for the last 43 years. We have three children, ages 42, 39, & 28 and 6 grandchildren ranging in age from 13 to 19.
Cathy and I have gone on a number of one and two week train trips led by an excellent tour director (Roland Graham) from Irvine whose travel agency is called Mountain-Outin. He specializes in train/motor coach tours with about 50 people per tour. We have traveled around the US and across Canada with some of his tour groups. We also make periodic trips to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Prescott, and Alabama.
Photography, computers, travels, people watching.
Memories from High School:
- Riding my Honda 55cc trail bike to school on a rainy day, leaving home wearing white corduroy pants and arriving at school with black corduroy pants.
- I loved the school cafeteria where you could request a larger helping and many times receive it. The spaghetti was my favorite. But then in a cost cutting measure they eliminated the cafeteria and replaced it with vending machines with food put in paper containers with plastic wrap on top. The spaghetti was slimy and awful. Someone probably got a raise for this cost cutting measure.
- I remember having to say the Pledge of Allegiance in French in Mr. Bouchard’s French class. I can still recite it, in French, today.
- During open house, some students, taking chemistry class from Mr. Ashbaugh, would make a pasty mixture of potassium tri-iodide and spread it on spots on the sidewalk. When someone walked over the spots they would feel little explosions under their shoes.
- I took lots of pictures for the school newspaper. Digital cameras didn’t exist yet so we were using film cameras. My father helped me build a darkroom in our garage at home so I could develop the film, and make prints with an enlarger. This was a very time consuming task and required working with three different chemical baths.
- I had Mr. Petri for Physics class. I learned a lot from his class, which led me to pursuing a major in Physics at college later on. There were no scientific calculators yet so we did many math computations on a slide rule.
- I enjoyed being on the Track team and competed in the 100-yard, 220-yard, 440-yard dashes as well as many relay races and I competed in the high jump. Some of the relay teams I was on made it to the state finals.
- During Easter break thousands of students would travel to Newport Beach (for Bal Week) and enjoy the surf and sand and cruising up and down the Balboa Peninsula. It was a lot of fun until the police started setting up check points to discourage the out-of-towners.
I am looking forward to meeting my SAHS classmates at the reunion.