Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida, October 1979 to October 1982

I arrived after completing instructor training, expecting to be one of several instructors in the Narrowband Direction Finding course. As it turned out, I was partially correct. As the only Chief Petty Officer assigned to the course, I would be the course manager and instructor.
When I took over the course, the content taught was the same as when I attended in 1967. We held day instruction classes and remedial night sessions for those struggling with the subject material. We conducted practical tests of the student’s troubleshooting processes.
The course began to change toward the end of my time with the course. I traveled several times to Alexandria, Virginia, to evaluate a replacement system. Fortunately, I was not required to develop the new course of instruction. There was a contractor to do that, but my instructors reviewed the proposed curriculum and how they might teach it. I transferred before the new course began.
There was another course in my building that taught the PDP-11. I knew several instructors and was allowed access to the computers when not in use. I used them as I learned the FORTRAN programming language. I created punch cards and ran the programs during their downtimes.
Chief, Naval Education and Training (CNET) tasked my department with collecting and reporting the instructors’ manhours. There were categories like time on the podium, conducting remedial training, instructor preparation, and more. Course managers correlated the data for their courses, and the administration department compiled the numbers for the department and sent the results to CNET.
I became tired of manually compiling the statistics for the six instructors in my course. So, I wrote a FORTRAN program to correlate the hours for my course. It ran on a PDP-11 and took a few minutes after entering the data to produce a perfectly formatted report on the line printer.

When receiving my report, the department admin questioned me and asked if I could work the format to fit the department’s needs. I modified the program, and they used it to consolidate data for the department instructors. The first, but not last, program I would write.
We lived in a house near the base. It was perfect for the three of us, with two bedrooms and a fenced yard. It was more of a base of operations than full-time living quarters. From it, we would deploy to families in Texas, Illinois, or Alabama. We spent many weekend nights playing canasta with cousins in Mobile, Alabama, or taking trips to Lori’s parents in Corpus Christi, Texas, or my parents in Washington, Illinois.
Lori became expecting, and we looked forward to having a second child. There were some concerns as she neared time to deliver. They scheduled an amniocentesis as she reached an expected delivery date. They wanted to ensure the baby was ready for the world via another c-section.
Let’s recap. We arranged a babysitter for DJ so I could be present in the hospital during the test. They performed the test and returned Lori to her room. The doctors wanted to keep her overnight because the baby’s heartbeat wasn’t returning to normal.
I returned home and picked up DJ. The phone rang soon after we got home. The hospital called to tell me to hurry back; they were taking the baby that night. The baby’s heartbeat had remained high, causing concern.
I dropped DJ off at the same sitter and rushed to the hospital. They were prepping Lori for the c-section when I arrived. The nurse took her blood and passed me the vials as they filled. I was to roll them until she finished the blood draw.
Now, it was time for the operation. I was previously approved to be in the delivery room with Lori. So, I helped push her down the hall and to the operating suite. I pushed her through the door when a nurse told me I couldn’t stay. The after-hours staff wasn’t sufficient to handle me should I have a problem during the surgery. I was disappointed I wasn’t in the room at the birth of my baby girl, Tiffany Elizabeth. My disappointment turned to joy when Tiffany was placed in my arms.
I neared the end of this tour. My orders came to Naval Security Activity, Galeta Island, Panama.
My exposure to computers at work instilled a strong desire for a computer to take to Panama. After some research, I convinced Lori to buy an Atari. So, we bought an Atari 800 with a 16-kilobyte memory module. Then, we purchased another 16-kilobyte module to take it to 32k and a cassette drive to store programs we might write. The computer used game modules, and we bought two or three current popular games: the Atari 800, an extra memory module, games, and a cassette drive cost over $1200.00. Though costly, it provided hours of entertainment and a source to learn programming.
It came time to leave Pensacola for another adventure in Panama.


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