Technology of all sorts has interested me since I was a child. I often took things apart to ‘improve’ them. Most of the time the improvements were dubious at best. Undeterred I continued the quest to find out what makes things tick.
My real educational breakthrough came while I was in high school.
We had a teacher with enough foresight to realize that part of our mathematical education should include learning to solve problems using a computer. It was far from the graphical desktop experience we have today.
A large, clunky, noisy teletype terminal sat to one side in the room. Connecting this keyboard/ impact printer device to a remote very large computer was an acoustical coupled modem. This allowed us to take the ordinary telephone handset and firmly push it into two rubber surrounded cups for the mouth and earpiece. The connection speed allowed printing on the terminal up to about 5-10 characters per second.
This auspicious beginning launched me into a career. I started my technical career with 4 years in the Marine Corps as technical support for aircraft navigational ground control systems. The following outline describes the overall function of the unit I was in.
Marine Air Command and Control System
A system which provides the aviation combat element commander with the means to command, coordinate, and control all air operations within an assigned sector and to coordinate air operations with other Services. It is composed of command and control agencies with communications-electronics equipment that incorporates a capability from manual through semiautomatic control.
Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC)
(TAOC) is the Marine air command and control system’s (MACCS’s) principal airspace control and management group. TAOC provides real-time surveillance of assigned airspace for air superiority direction, positive aircraft control, and navigational assistance to friendly aircraft through radar inputs, radio and other sensors with data link information.
The TAOC provides air surveillance and control of aircraft and surface-to-air weapons in support of the Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF). Its primary functions are to conduct, coordinate and employ various air defense weapons systems, including interceptor aircraft and ground-based air defense (GBAD) weapons.
What does all of that mean in plain language?
I learned how to work with and repair computers and radio equipment used to track aircraft from takeoff, flight to target, and their return to base. Ground control communication officers used this digital and audio world much like civil aviation traffic controllers use. I simply repaired it.
Another piece to this larger mosaic consisted of radar, which I didn’t service but it was essential as it was the eyes of our navigational control & command system.
Further professional background can be found here: LinkedIn
Above and beyond any professional accomplishments, my family has brought me the greatest rewards.