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Reply to "Gays In The Military - Right Or Wrong - Good Or Bad Idea?"

Hi Neal/Aude,

I was installing computers onboard Navy ships while you were still in diapers.

You may have read, in your librarian job, about the Liberty hull ship, the USNS Kingsport, which was converted to a control ship for the Syncom Satellite -- the one which allowed President Kennedy to speak via satellite telephone to the president of another nation on the other side of the world.

Well, my dear librarian Friend -- guess who installed the antennae control computer on that ship? You guessed it! Yours truly.

Yes, I help set up the Test Department at Ramo-Wooldridge, which later became Bunker-Ramo, for testing the first AN/UYK-1 MilSpec Minicomputers -- and then, I traveled to the Philadelphia Shipyard to install one onboard the USNS Kingsport. Below is a short description of that computer.

It was one of these same computers I was testing at Ramo-Wooldrigde the morning I was told that President Kennedy had been shot. We put a radio on top of that computer and everyone gathered around to listen to the news. That was about 10:30 AM, California time. At lunch, I drove to Our Lady of The Valley church to pray for him. Then, I went to Frosty Freeze, had a burger for lunch -- and driving back to work -- I heard on the radio that he had died. So, that AN/UYK-1 computer is wrapped all around the memory of JFK for me.


Since no computer small enough to fit through a submarine's hatch existed, a new computer was designed, named the AN/UYK-1. It was built with rounded corners to fit through the hatch and was about five feet tall and sealed to be water-proof. The principal design engineer was then-UCLA-faculty-member Lowell Amdahl, brother of Gene Amdahl. The AN/UYK-1 was built by the Ramo-Wooldridge division of TRW for the Lafayette class SSBN's. It was equipped with 8,192 words of 15-bit core memory plus parity bit, threaded by hand at their Canoga Park factory. Cycle time was about one microsecond.

And, I will say this -- you Navy guys never have learned to make coffee. You just pour some 30 weight motor oil in a cup and call this coffee. You need to come to the Air Force for a wee bit if refinement and culture -- and to learn how to make coffee.

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,



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