Below is an alphabetical list of retiree names and the date of the news item. You may click on the name to go directly to the news item, or scroll down the right column to read the news. Please send an email with news about yourself or others to Earl
Adams, Paul K.
Anzanos, Andrew (Andy)
Author of 2 published books offered
Life of a retired test pilot
Goetsch, Fred & Thad Pawlikowski Visit
Henesey, Tom "TL"
Luetgen, H. H. "Luge"
Marschner, Charles F.
Merritt, Lawrence E.
recouperating from heart surgery
Russell, Ronald "Ron"
Schultz, Lloyd "Bud"
Stifel, Eugene "Gene"
Trammel, Joe & Ruth
West, Robert T. "Bob"
Mac's Old Team
This column contains news from our fellow former teammates.
This is a good place to keep in touch. So send us news about your life in retirement.
It will be posted here for all to enjoy.
Andrew (Andy) Anzanos is living in Arizona.
Andrew (Andy) Anzanos
Andy retired in 1980 after a 33 year career in fiscal management. He led the pricing and negotiation of the contract for Project Mercury, helping to put the first free man in space and bring him back safely, and went on to work on the NASA and USAF Gemini programs, the latter being terminated. Andy was also one of the three authors of the official McDonnell Aircraft Corporation manual on progress curves, a cost estimating algorithm, that was used before the advent of high-powered personal computing devices.
Below is a link to a video interview with Andy that is worth watching. It is about his B-17 days during WWII.
During WWII, Andy was a Flight Engineer and Top Turret Gunner in the Eighth Air Force, flying over twenty five missions in B-17 bombers. Riveting first person accounts of those missions are published in My Combat Diary with Liberty Bell-e
Andy's combat diary of service in the Eighth Air Force is available for purchase at www.lulu.com (ID 246197). It's a great read! Fellow retiree, David Gibson states: "while I had heard some of Andy's stories first hand, for sheer excitement the book is up there with Twelve O'Clock High and The Memphis Belle--and this one is not fiction."
Andy's combat diary of service in the Eighth Air Force is available for purchase. Click the link below:
The photo below was taken 1978 on Andy's 30th. aniversary at MDC. The cake says: "Professor Anzanos 1948-1978". Andy is with Harold Oldeg, Jr. - VP Fiscal Management, and with a co-worker who is unidentified.
Joe Dobronski author of two books offered.
Joe Dobronski has recently re-published his out of print book "A Sky Full Of Challenges" on Smashword EBooks. It can be down-loaded for just about every EBook Reader including: Sony Reader, Kindle, Palm Doc, PDF, RTF.
Major retailers including Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo and IBookstores in 32 countries. You can also download a copy onto your computer if you don't have an E reader. This book sold for $25 hard copy and the EBook version sells for $9.99.
To get a copy, go to Smashwords
on your PC, search for A Sky Full Of Challenges and the odering page will come up.
The book is not only an autobiography, but is a history of McDonnell Aircraft Flight Test as seen through his eyes where he worked for 32 years and flew all of the aircraft they built. Joe describes the successes and tragedies of fighter development during the "Golden Age of Aviation."
His second unpublished book entitled "Why Fly A Sailplane" can also be obtained the same way and it sells for
The proceeds go to “Catholic Missions” in third world countries.
MAC Teammates, Fred Goetsch and Thad Pawlikowski get together.
Following received from Fred Goetsch:
I recently took a trip to Estes Park, Colorado to visit my cousin and while there made contact with Thad Pawlikowski.
I thought the photo might be of interest. [ Fred Goetsch on left, Thad on right]. Thad hasn't changed a bit as you can see. Well, maybe a bit greyer but in great shape.
He lives in Fort Collins and wished a hello to all. He is now employed by the county and is deep into computerized recording of votes for all levels of election. His wife, Billie is fine and he still has horses and dogs.
It was a fun visit.
Following news received from teammate Gene Stifel:
I attended the 50th anniversity of Mercury Project @ KSC and seen a few old
teammates I hadn't seen for about 40 yrs. I got the web site from them and am really happy to have it. To name a few I spoke with: Roy Reiter, Cal Moser, Bill Hoskins, George Baldwin.
To catch up on where I've been: Started in 1951 in Aircraft structural design -- F2H, F3H, F4H & Macs 4 engine small commercial Jet [model 119/220]. Then to Project Mercury design in 1959, to Capsule Engr in 1960 and on to the Cape with "HAMS" capsule thru launch.
Back to StLouis to finish Mercury & to Gemini Project at KSC in 1964 thru 1967.
Went new Mac plant at Titusville,FL on the Dragon Missle Project. Left in 1972 to go to Huntington Beach MDC plant to be Supervisor of Skylab Orbital Workshop. After launch, back to St Louis for a short stay, then back to KSC as air force rep for Shuttle facilities at Vandenburg, CA. After we lost the follow on Contract, I was
sent back to St.Louis to work on laser communications design for Satellite to
submarine. My last trip was back to Fl. to the Titusville plant to supervise mfg &
testing of Cruise Missile check out equipment. I retired from MDAC in 1987 with 36 years that were mostly really enjoyable but the best time was Project Mercury & Gemini..Now when I meet some old time workers I try to remember where I worked with them, St Louis, California, or Florida.
Luckily, I kept the house I had built in Cocoa Beach in 1964 and still live in it. My wife died of Alzheimers in 2001.
I get up to St Louis Area once a year to visit my brother who is 95, so I plan to
try to get your monthly meeting May. I'm looking forward to it.
Gene; We will be looking for you in May!
Macs Old Team Engineers Involved in design, development, construction, and operation of the Hexagon spy satellite can now tell their story after 40+ years of secrecy.
Following is an article published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch 12/12/11.
Engineers from St. Louis share top-secret work on Cold War spy satellite
BY STEVE GIEGERICH email@example.com STLtoday.com
Retired engineers (from left ot right) Larry Perlmutter, Dick Place, Norris Roessler and Gustav "Fred" Goetsch kept secret their part in the construction and operation of the Hexagon spy satellite, shown projected on a wall in a portrait taken Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Perlmutter fretted that his wife might glean state secrets from his muttering in the fog of sleep.
Norris Roessler learned to treat colleagues as strangers during chance encounters in public.
McDonnell Douglas Corp. ordered a reluctant colleague to watch Dick Place as he underwent surgery in case he starting flapping his gums under general anesthesia.
"What would they have done if I had said something?" Place wonders. "Shoot the surgeon?"
The secrets Pace and his colleagues carried with them for four decades remained safe, they say, even from their closest confidants.
But now, at last, the story of another pivotal national security role played by McDonnell Douglas in the waning days of the Cold War can be told.
The lid was lifted Sept. 17, the day the government formally declassified many of the covert programs carried out by the National Reconnaissance Office. In doing so, the government opened a window on Hexagon, a joint CIA-Air Force operation that provided U.S. intelligence officers with thousands of high-definition photographs of Soviet, Chinese and Cuban military sites from 1972 through 1986. McDonnell Douglas engineers designed and then oversaw the performance of the re-entry vehicle that returned thousands of miles of film to Earth from the primary satellite, built by Lockheed Martin. Better than four decades after pledging to never divulge the details, the McDonnell Douglas veterans have been liberated, granted a reprieve from the pledge they took upon receiving top security clearances in the mid-to-late 1960s. "I thought I'd take this with me to the grave," said Perlmutter, 75, a control system group leader who worked on the development and later added assistance to about half of the 19 successful Hexagon missions. Some, in fact, did. Like the legendary colleague who was begged by his wife as he lay on his deathbed to divulge what he had been up to all those years. "He wouldn't tell her," said Fred Goetsch, 87, a longtime Hexagon program engineer.
The members of the McDonnell Douglas Hexagon team are all retired now.
DECADES OF SILENCE
They were young men, just starting families, when McDonnell Douglas quietly ushered them into the sphere of top-secret satellite intelligence. The kids grew, got married, began their own families.
McDonnell Douglas ceased to exist and became part of Boeing Co. The catalyst for the Hexagon project, the Cold War, gave way to the war on terrorism. The cutting edge mid-20th-century technology McDonnell Douglas applied to the program gave way to far more powerful gadgets that fit in a pocket. The virtue of discretion gave way to Facebook and Twitter.
Nothing remained constant but for the pledge by the McDonnell Douglas team to share nothing about the project that defined their careers. "Your word is your bond," explained Goetsch. The project landed Dick Place and family in California, where he served as the McDonnell Douglas representative on a program that paired aerospace with PerkinElmer, Eastman Kodak and other corporations that were openly or secretly immersed in the murky world of space-based surveillance. "I was told I'd be out there two years," said Place, 75. "I came back 18 years later."It was anathema to the 9-to-5 existence. Members of Place's family had no idea where his office was, why their husband and father would disappear for days at a time or the amount of time he spent at Vandenberg Air Force Base overseeing the supersecret rocket launchings. "We couldn't tell our wives where we were going," Place said. "All we could do is give them a telephone number and an approximate time of when we'd be home. Then, when they called the number, a female sometimes answered. It took a lot of understanding."
Added Roessler, "It's a wonder we all have our original wives."
In the context of the 21st century, the technology the McDonnell Douglas engineers brought to Hexagon bordered on Stone Age. "One step above a slide rule," jokes Roessler, 74.
With an average payload of 7,375 pounds, the 60-foot "Big Bird" Hexagon satellite on each mission carried 60 miles of high-specialized Eastman Kodak film processed through an eye-in-the-sky camera developed by the PerkinElmer Corp.
McDonnell Douglas' contribution was the four re-entry vehicles, known as buckets, that returned the film in the equivalent of 15-mile loops to Pacific Ocean landing sights off the Hawaiian coast. Jettisoned by the main satellite, the 1,000-pound vehicles re-entered Earth's atmosphere, where, slowed by parachutes, the craft were snagged out of midair by specially equipped C-130 turboprops. Should the C-130s miss their target, the military programmed the vehicles to plummet to the ocean floor within 24 hours, lest they be recovered by Soviet submarines. The Air Force also programmed the main satellites, along with the multimillion-dollar equipment aboard, for a watery end once the four re-entry vehicles delivered their load.
"It was red-hot stuff," said Roessler, a primary control engineer. "It really was."
WATCHING THE RUSSIANS
The government, which continued sending Hexagon aloft even as digitally transmitted surveillance was commonplace, must have thought so, too. "I suspect the (photographic) technology was far superior to what the Russians had. That's why they kept it around so long," ventures Perlmutter.
The prism of time has softened many of the memories of a job accompanied by demanding hours, flecked with moments of unbearable pressure. In retrospect, the surviving members of the St. Louis-based Hexagon team now understand the lengths to which their work transcended the antiseptic world of engineering coordinates, design schemes and schematics. "I feel I was personally involved in quite a few world events while this thing (Hexagon) was up," said Place, quick to add, "Which ones I can't say; all of it may not be declassified yet."
Time has additionally soothed the souls of men once employed in a pursuit burdened under certain circumstances by moral ambiguity. "I could pour my heart and mind into something knowing I wasn't killing people," Goetsch says of Hexagon. "In fact, I was probably saving people."
On Sept. 17, Goetsch, Place, Perlmutter and Roessler journeyed to the mammoth suburban Washington facility housing the space shuttle and other 20th- and 21st-century aircraft that can't be accommodated downtown by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. There, prior to a gala commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Reconnaissance Office, three of the four men for the first time saw the Hexagon (KH-9) as the satellite appeared when it blasted into space.
Such is the nature of multicorporate top-secret projects that only Place "who worked closely with the other contractors and was on hand for all 19 launchings" had ever seen a fully assembled Hexagon satellite.
Each of the men were accompanied to the unveiling and gala by their wives. And so it became an opportunity to share, to boast and finally to point to tangible evidence of all they had held inside those many years.
The above article published by St. Louis Post Dispatch STLtoday Dec 12 2011
Robert T. "Bob" West 9/6/11
My name is Robert T."Bob" West ; after a career of 40 years at MDC , I retired in June 1997 . Just about all of my career was centered on Liaison Engineering where the group provided engineering support to manufacturing operations in aircraft assembly areas . However , about half of my career was spent on the flight ramp providing engineering support to manufacturing activities preparing MDC aircraft for first flight, subsequent local test flights , and ultimately delivery to the customer .
I would appreciate it if my name can be added to the "List of Retirees" . I
learned of this site today at a lunch meeting with a group of MDC retirees at Miss Sheri's Cafeteria In the Warson Woods area . I enjoyed my "active career" at MAC and MDC ; in retirement , it's great to see "members of the old crew". I'm looking forward to happy times resulting from making contact with you and this site .
Best wishes always !
Good to hear from you. Your name is on the "Retiree List" page of the Mac's Old Team Website. Please join us at the next monthly lunch meeting or any future meetings. The date and place can be found on the home page of the website. macsoldteam.com
Ronald "Ron" Russell
From Ron Russell:
It was good to see you again at lunch today. I gave you my email address, phone number and home address there but wanted to let you know that I retired on 30 April 2011 from Bldg 598 where I had worked Harpoon International Programs for more than 10 years and had been to most of those 30 International customers.
I had been on the Harpoon Program for 39 1/2 years. I started work for McDonnell Aircraft Corp on 30 Sept. 1963 on the Gemini Program with an Associate Degree from DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago as a Electronics Technician on the Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems in Dept 257. I later worked space programs and transferred to Dept 411 but I do not remember when. I also later got my BS Degree from Washington University while working on Harpoon. It was an interesting and fun filled 47 1/2 year career.
I look forward to future gatherings on the group.
From John Ritland:
My first day at McDonnell Aircraft Co was 6/6/66 and I retired July 2008. In 1971, I was transferred to Houston to work at the Johnson Space Center returning to St Louis in 1973. From 1974-1979, I taught math and coached Xcountry and track at Parkway North HS.
The 2010 Boeing Annual Report states that 7,200 Harpoon missiles have
been delivered since production started in 1975. I remember sitting
in my office June 1971 and getting a call from Sandy McDonnell that
the Navy had informed him we won Harpoon development. I had briefed
Charlie Able, President of MDAC, when preparing our proposal, that
the program had the potential of 2000 missiles. We did not anticipate
the huge foreign sales (30 countries).
Wayne Lowe reflects on success of the Harpoon missile program
In production for 36 years! Congratulations to the Harpoon team
members over the years that read this.
Harry Merriwether sends news about celebrating the 75th anniversary of the DC3 first flight
Thursday, March 10, 2011, 4:51 PM
Just came back from a Winter on the West Coast. A trifle premature it seems. While I was out there I did attend a reunion of sorts.
It was for the DC3. Many of the original designers were the men who broke me in. They have a special place in my heart.
The 75th anniversary celebration of the first flight of the DC3 at Clover Field should have been held on Dec.17th, 2010. It was canceled due to rain. RAIN?
Well, other things have changed as well. Clover Field is now the Santa Monica Airport. The once proud "Location A" is now a row of plush multi storied business offices.
I attended the rescheduled Celebration on the 29th of January, 2011.
I spent 20 years with DAC before I came to St. Louis to do my 20 years with MDC.
Ken Foster news
Just to introduce myself, as I was not one running with the in crowd, I had spent 41
½ years in the ground support community from Gemini thru and ending with Harpoon; as I was a background player and most won’t remember me at all. But I just wanted to tell the MAC crowd that there is much life after MAC, and that it is not associated with airplanes and space craft or missiles either. I read much of the past letter to you and it seems that many just can’t get the industry out of their blood.
I have found that it is very easy to do that very thing. The wife and I have for the past seven years been on the road traveling the country while being part of a Christian organization which supports new construction, renovations and maintenance of 501(c)3 projects such as Churches, Christian schools, rest homes, camps, etc. I feel that this work has been so much more fulfilling than that which I did for those forty years; though I did need to shelter and feed my family then! I just wanted to share my outlook with you all and you can find out more about us at the following web site www.MMAP.org which stands for Mobile Missionary Assistance Program. I am not ready to be a part of the lunch and golf crowd yet, as I work on to and for a higher calling.
Have a great day in the LORD. Keep up the great web site too!
Ken Foster MAC #104922 foster58_2000@Yahoo.com
(see attached picture)
My Honor Flight 6/26/2010 to Washington, D.C. by Paul K. Adams
To start off this Great day in my life, I was picked up by my wonderful Guardian, Ms. Janice Kempa, LPN, at 3 AM for our trip to STL Airport. We were assembled on 2nd floor of Terminal 2 at St. Louis Airport. After those in charge giving their instructions to the complete group and then going thru Security for Southwest Airlines for Flight # 1798 leaving STL Terminal at 6:15 AM. There was a breakfast served and then we were boarded first on a 737 Aircraft. The first 10 rows were ours as we had 35 Veterans and 23 Guardians (1 was a Nurse and 1 was an EMT). We arrived at BWI (Baltimore) at 9:55AM and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of friends and a Navy Company, while we took a restroom break, they milled around talking to us. We boarded the bus and the Navy Company saluted us as we left for Washington, D.C. for a day on the town. A box lunch by Arby's was provided for us on the bus trip.
Our first stop was an hour at the World War II Memorial. What a special site dedicated to World War II Veterans. All Vets should apply to visit it as it is Free to All Veterans. We looked up our home states and it was Great just seeing it. We then went to the Iwo Jima Stature for 15 minutes, Korean War Memorial for 30 minutes and then to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to view the changing of the Guard, which is a very impressive cermony. We then left for BWI and a fine dinner in the terminal before boarding Southwest Airlines Flight # 564 for STL at 7:10PM and on the way home we had an Onboard Mail Call with letters and notes from some students and friends (this was special as everyone got a packet of letters which was like mail call in the service, but no one was left out). We arrived at 8:25 PM in St. Louis. We were greeted by our home town friends at the airport. We were then given a book on the World War II Memorial and other items. Then our wonderful Guardians or family took us home.
It was kind of hard to see the wonderful day end. It was enough to make a grown man cry and I did then and also when explaining it to my family and friends. Many Thanks to Franklin County Honor Flights for making this day possible. God Bless ALL who worked and gave to make this day happen.
Joe Dobronski - "Life of a retired test pilot" News
I don't know if any of our old teammates are model builders, but I just finished a
24 inch balsa wood model of the Clipper Ship "The Sovereign of the Seas" . This is
because I am recovering from a motorcycle accident where I tore-up my shoulder
trying to prove that airplanes are safer than motorcycles. Then, I couldn't do
anything else for a while. Ha!
Ralph Spillman News
Following note from Dave Ott:
Ralph and I attend the same church. I have learned that he went into the hospital for tests on Tuesday and ended up having open chest surgery to clear arterial blockage. He is still in the ICU today (Thursday). He seemed fine when we gathered for lunch at Bandana's last Wednesday. We're keeping him in our prayers.
Wayne Lowe News
Subject: Museum Visit to the KSCosmosphere
I see that the Legacy Museum is planning a trip to our Cosmosphere in
Hutchinson, KS, for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13 in April.
Several astronauts will be here along with Gunther Wendt, who worked
for me before getting into Space. I am a Docent at the Cosmosphere
giving school tours and and hope to see some teammates in April.
Would like to hear from any that remember me
phone 620-662-1003 in Hutchinson, KS.
Al Grossman applies to receive WWII Veterans Honor Flight to Washington
Following is a note from Al:
Dear Children and Grandchildren,
At the suggestion of a fellow retiree from McDonnell Douglas, Norman Beckel, and at the urging of my sweet Ginny, I am applying for a free flight now offered to all WWII veterans to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The flight will probably take place in April or May, depending on seating availability. I understand that a "guardian angel" is assigned to each veteran to escort him around the memorial. The guardian angel is an unpaid volunteer who does this in appreciation of the service of the veterans.
While there, I also hope to visit the Smithsonian and view the aircraft and spacecraft on display which will include Mercury and Gemini spacecraft that I worked on. I am told that a picture of me is on display in the museum by one of the spacecraft, which, of course, I would like to see. Since the picture was taken when I was about forty two years old and am now eighty six, no one but my family would recognize me in the picture.
Wives are not included in the flight so Ginny will have to fly on a separate flight and meet me there. Perhaps we will also be able to visit Marla and J.T. while in Washington.
I doubt that you children have ever seen my Navy discharge certificate so I am attaching a copy. My rank at discharge was CMoMM, which is Chief Motor Machinist Mate. The discharge certificate states that I was aboard four ships, the USS PC 1232, the USS Sapelo, The USS PC 787 and the USS LSM 478 during my naval career. However, what unfortunately was not officially recorded is that I was transferred at sea from the USS Sapelo to the destroyer USS Paul Jones, on loan for about three weeks while on convoy duty crossing the Atlantic to North Africa delivering fuel oil for American tanks. During that time I was credited with rescuing two ships in our convoy that had broken down in the Atlantic surrounded by German U-boats. I was given a letter of commendation by the Captain of the Sapelo for hazardous service above and beyond the call of duty for that but somehow the commendation letter did not get put into my official files.
The USS Paul Jones, another destroyer and two destroyer escorts kept the U-boats at bay from our convoy during the entire twenty six day voyage. I was on the Paul Jones when we landed at the port of Oran, Algeria which had recently been captured by General Patton and his forces from the Germans. You would not want to live in that miserable desert.
I'll keep you posted on how things go with this trip to Washington.
Love you all
Charley Sherman selected and received Greatest Generation Honor Flight to Washington, DC
, our Macs Old Team buddy was honored recently with an HONOR FLIGHT to Washington, D.C. as part of the GREATEST GENERATION.
We are proud that our buddy, friend, and teammate, Charley Sherman and others have received this honor and respect that they have earned. The information below is from an article written by Don Lauer, Commander of American Legion Post 312, Saint Charles, MO. The article was contained in The Clarion newsletter October 2009:
One of the best spin-offs since the WWII memorial was completed for the very deserving GREATEST GENERATION is the HONOR FLIGHTS for those that served to see first hand and be given the respect they earned. Two of our Post 312 members recently made the flight on 09 September, 2009. I am proud to highlight their service experiences in this article.
Charley Sherman, now 86, is an active member in several areas of the Post. He was drafted into the Marine Corps at age 19 in 1943, and reported to Paris Island for basic training. After basic, his first duty station was Cherry Point NC where he was trained in the latest technology, called radar, as an operator. He was also trained as a radio operator and finally, as a gunner.
His permanent duties as a Marine aviator on a B-25 placed him in combat theaters that included Saippan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Their mission was to find and destroy Japanese ships. One target, the largest destroyer in the Japanese fleet, was sunk as a result of their expert rocket fire. This armament hung on the wings and underbelly of the B-25. One daylight raid over Kyusha, Japan resulted in the loss of their plane over the water due to damage by friendly fire. They were later fished from the water by a U.S. flying boat, approximately five hours later.
I could go on, but Charley can tell you more in detail. He is one who was blessed to live and tell his stories. Charley Sherman, USMC, was discharged in late 1945.
[Following is an article written by Charley Shermans buddy, Charles Johnston another member of American Legion Post 312 who accompanied Charley Sherman on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. His article tells of their experiences on this trip.]
AN HONOR FLIGHT TO WASHINGTON, DC
Charles Johnston, Honored Veteran
Oh boy, what a day! It was almost like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid. The time seemed to drag by until the day came, then it was over before you could blink.
My buddy, Charley Sherman, and I were selected to go on the Franklin County Honor Flight Association trip to Washington, DC on September 9th. We had signed up for the trip quite some [time] ago and were interviewed for the flight in August. During the interview we received a tee shirt that read Veterans Honor Flight of Franklin County.
Finally, the day arrived and we were to arrive at Saint Louis Internatiional Airport by 5:00a.m. Charley and I arose by 3:30 a.m. and my oldest son drove us to the airport. We received a carry-on bag, Honor Flight cap and an ID badge that identified us by name or nickname, branch of service, and years o f service. By that time, the bus had arrived from Washington, MO with the rest of the guardians who had arisen at 2:00 a.m.
The USO was ready with coffee and muffins, as well as some snacks we could take on the plane. When we got to the gate to board, one of the volunteers had a bag of Egg McMuffins that was passed out to all 37 veterans (three of which were women veterans), one former male P.O.W. and 17 guardians. The former P.O.W. was sitting in First Class Section.
The plane was an MD80 and once we were airborne, the pilot announced that there were a group of WWII veterans aboard and the rest of the passengers broke out in applause.
On our approach to the Washington Airport, the pilot announced that the Fir Department was out to welcome us Vets and there were two fire engines with water cannons shooting water over the plane.
As we entered the terminal, we were greeted by a big crowd of people cheering, clapping, waving American Flags and thanking us for our service. As we loaded onto our bus, and started toward the monument, we were led by a policeman on a motorcycle with lights flashing, sirens blaring moving the rush hour traffic out of the way and stopping traffic at red traffic signals so our bus could go through.
Upon arrival at our monument, we were able to meet Senator Bob Dole and his wife. We had photo opportunites with them. Then we proceeded to tour the monument area, which is a beautiful sight. We were not the only Honor Flight at the monument as there was another Honor Flight from West Virginia. Since I have trouble walking very far and for a long period of time, the guardian assigned to Charley and me, Mr. Dennis Hartmann, put me in a wheel chair and pushed me everywhere and each time I said Thank You, he responded, It?s my honor.
We had lunch on the bus, which consisted of a variety of sandwiches that were big enough for two, fruit cups, and a bag of crisps.
Our first stop after our WWII monument visit was to see the Korean Veterans Monument, the Iwo Jima Monument, and then on to Arlington National Cemetery to see the changing of the Guard.
Before we left Washington DC, our guardian took us to dinner at the airport and we shared a beer with him. It may not be known, but all guardians are business people; State Troopers; scool teachers; bankers; etc., who not only volunteer their time, but they pay their own way.
On our return flight, the pilot again said he was proud to be carrying veterans representing the Greatest Generation and again the passengers on the MD80 burst out with applause. A Sergeant Major of the Air Force came through the plane and shook the hands of everyone and thanked us for our service. The Sergeant Major said he had 35 years in the Air Force and still was not ready to retire. Then came another surprise, the had arranged Mail Callwhich consisted of packets of letters from family and friends.
Upon arrival back in St. Louis, we were once again greeted by a crowd of cheering people and little children waving American Flags, applauding and holding signs that said: we love our heros and welcome home heros
Service men in the group saluted as we came by and ladies came by and thanked us for our service. This would bring tears to your eyes. Then it was all over. From 3:00a.m. Wednesday until 7:30p.m. the same day, it was all gone, just like Christmas Day.
News from Hans Roensch
Just happened on to this web page and thought I would add my two cents worth.
I worked on Gemini from 2 thru 12 and Skylab until the end of the program and Harpoon air launch from 1964 to 1982. I worked for Wes
Wick, Bud Dyer, Harold Langford, Earl Thompson, and Gerry Baker as an electrical design engineer in the Electrical Design group(450-454).
After I left MAC/MDAC in 1982 I started my own electronic business and after 20 years closed it in 2002. Since then I have been semi-retired
restoring a 1959 Triumph TR3 car that I drove to work everyday while at MAC/MDAC. It is now completely restored-see photo.
Would like to know what has happened to the designers I worked with including Jim Simms, Jim Leonard, John Dicks, Raleigh Sifford, Tony Shimkus, and Dan Pelhank as well as the bosses listed above. Good to see Roe Snyder, Harold Langford and George Scism have already checked in. I do know that Max Siegrist and Don Buckey have passed away some time ago.
News from Wayne Lowe
On 22 August 09, part of the flight crew of Space Shuttle Discovery`s first flight, Mission STS-41D, Aug 30, 1984, visited the Kansas
Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson, KS. for a presentation of their experiences on the mission.
The visitors were Henry Hartsfield, Jr, mission commander (center); Steve Hawley, mission specialist (right); and Charles Walker, payload specialist (next to me).
MDAC East teammates will remember Charlie as the engineer operating the shuttle MDAC medical lab and trained as an astronaut for the work to create space medications. He recently retired from his job in Boeing`s Washington DC office for congressional liaison, and is living in Tucson, AR. He was accompanied on this visit with his wife, Susan, who also worked at McDonnell in Tolly Browde`s Automation Company.
Charlie, Susan, and I enjoyed talking over the `old days` and recalling teammates and their lives today.
Following message received from Mary Knox, wife of Ralph Knox:
My name is Mary L. Knox, wife of Ralph W. Knox. Ralph and I are newlyweds. We got married in October of 2007 and reside in Port Orange, FL
Ralph asked if I would Email you and let you know that he's had Triple Bi-Pass surgery on June 23rd. He's coming along fairly well and is in rehab now.
Ralph worked as Quality Control Supervisor for MAC back during the Mercury and Gemini "age"
Our address is:
5628 Wilson Drive
Port Orange, FL 32127
He was hoping you might post it in "News from Retired Teammates" or somewhere you believe his friends might want to know how he's doing. It was an emergency operation and we're grateful the good Lord saved his life.
Sincerely, Mary Knox
Jackie Tate is retiring in Mar 2009, after 45 years at MDC and Boeing St. Louis.
Jackie, we hope you will be joining us at Macs Old Team meetings often. Also, hope you will send us a note about your plans and what you are doing
in your well deserved retirement.
Last Sunday afternoon ( Jan 18) my wife Virginia (Ginny) and I attended a jazz
concert where I met Earl Robb, who it turns out, is a jazz music aficionado.
With him was Tony Vetter. Earl invited me to look at this website to get in
touch with old MAC teammates that I probably knew, which is why I am writing.
I retired in February 1987 after 34 years with old MAC having worked on the F3,
F101 and the legendary F4 Phantom. Later I worked on the Gemini and Airlock
programs as well as the Harpoon missile program. I also worked on other programs
including the medical program with Henry Groshans, which eventually became
VITEK. In spite of some frustrating moments at times, I enjoyed every day of
those 34 years. My last supervisor was Pete Lutz who reported to Cal Blattner,
who passed away too soon and was replaced by Harold Motchan.
Two years after retirement I joined the MAC R/C model airplane club, the Phantom
Flyers. I built my first R/C airplane which was a J3 Piper Cub with a five foot
wing span and after several mishaps and repairs over the years it still flies
today. The picture attached is a picture of me holding my Ryan STA. When I was
fourteen years old I built a Ryan ST from a ten cent Comet kit (1937). The wing
span was probably about 22-24" and was rubber band powered. I had built other
stick and tissue models but this one flew beautifully like it had a pilot in it.
So, about sixty five years later I saw the Ryan STA R/C kit at Mark Twain
Hobbies. I couldn't believe it since it brought back memories of my childhood.
After short deliberation I decided to buy it and build it simply for sentimental
reasons, since I already had built fifteen other R/C model planes, all electric
I am still in reasonably good health, thank God for that. For those of you who
knew Wanda, my wife of 53 happy years, she passed away to be with the Lord in
1999. Since then God has blessed me again with another wonderful wife, Virginia,
herself a widow. We live in Dardenne Prairie and she is usually my copilot when I
fly my R/C planes.
Just found your site thanks to Joe Bell. It's great to browse through all the old teammates. Please enter me in your data base.
This is from Bob Brulle that was a MAC aerodynamic engineering teammate from 1957 to my retirement in 1983. I worked on the GAM-72, 122B and advanced design derivatives, the space shuttle proposal, a simulator study on dive bombing with a direct side force CCV type aircraft, and invented a novel type of vertical axis wind turbine I named the GIROMILL that was tested at Rocky Flats, CO
After I left MAC in 83 I started my own company to develop a river water current turbine based on the GIROMILL blade rocking motion and tested it in the Missouri River. Worked on developing it for 7 years and just as it was becoming viable, contracted asthma that laid me up because I couldn't breathe. Gave up and came to Fort Myers, Florida. Have been feeling good here. I now write magazine articles and have published about a dozen of them. Also wrote and had published two books; the first was titled Angels Zero and was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 2000. It was all about my 70 combat missions I flew in a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter in Europe during the war.
Just recently my second book titled, Engineering the Space Age has been published by the USAF Air University. It covers my engineering endeavors since the war which includes my 25 years at MAC. You can get a copy of the book free from the Government Printing Office. Just have Google search for Engineering the Space Age and it will get you to the correct site.
I still do a little writing but mainly just have a good time here in a beautiful lifetime care community. Lost my wife of 60 years a few years ago but fortunately I have 4 children, 5 grand children and 3 great grand children.
Would like to hear from some of my co-workers.
Robert V. Brulle
10100 Cypress Cove Drive
Ft. Myers, FL 33908
Tom Bytnar retired August 28, 2008
I know you know me since I worked with you when I was in Engr planning .
I just retired 28 AUG after 44 ? years.
For the past 10 yrs I have been in Weapons Finance Management. ( I had been in the Microelectronics Co. since 1986 working for Tolly Browde who was
one of the last remaining teammate that Mr. MAC had hired) and it was fun to see/ work with my old Engineering friends as they were getting close to
I was looking at the website today and recognized many I had worked with over the years.
Russ and and Gary told me about your website and luncheons- Please add me to [the retiree list].
Joseph P. Bell continues to be a champion runner. The following provides information about some of the recent competitive races in
which Joe successfuly won and set new records!
Joe Bell recently competed in the Missouri State Senior Games held in
Columbia, Mo.on 6/21/08. He won the 800 meters and 1500 meters races for the
80-84 AG setting new meet records in each of 3:36.0 and 7:21.2 respectively.
The old records were 4:01.0 and 8:06.9 respectively and were set in 1995.
Then on the next Tuesday, 6/23/08, he won the 400 meters in a St. Louis Track
Club race at the Clayton High School Track in 1:31.7 which is faster than the
present Missouri State record of 1:34.7 set in 1998.
Tom "TL" Henesey
Tom "TL" Henesey retired in late May 2008 after a career of more than 40 years at MDC/Boeing
The following information provided by Dave Gibson:
Tom Henesey (referred to as "TL" when Tom Hennessy ("TJ") was still working) retired at the end of May after a career that spanned more than forty years.
Tom worked in Contracts for the great majority of his career. I worked with him on Model 227 and Tomahawk and in Phantom Works, and years ago we shot informal skeet and trap together. He retired from Advanced Programs.
When Tom left he was planning to tow his travel trailer to Michigan for a while.
Jerry Yelch (left) & Ray Hayne (right). This note and photo received from Ray Hayne 03/30/08:
My wife is a genealogy buff and during her searching found the Macs Old Team site. After reviewing the site it brought back a rush of memories of my time (39 years) at MDC.
I retired from MDC in March 1996 from the F-18 E/F Program and moved to our present residence in Clarksville, Va the next month. We had been doing extensive traveling in Europe and once to China when my wife came down with breast cancer. She is now a five and a half year survivor. I see that I missed the Old Timers List and after being under Joe Deans tutelage, in the instrumentation group, on ASSET, BGRV, RVTO and Harpoon, I feel I became old before my time. Noticed that Jerry Yelch didn't make the list either.
I started my career in aircraft ('57) on the F101 program in flight simulation working in BLDG 27 (loft) on pitch up problems on the iron bird , with Jim Hendrix, in the evening while attending SLU. We were also AEX fraternity brothers. After school I transferred to Flight Test and was assigned to the GAM 72 program in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I followed the GAM 72 to the Missile Division and went to Eglin AFB for the follow on program ('61). On my second assignment to Eglin AFB I met the likes of Joe Klausner (program manager) and became second banana to his infamous jacket trick. I also had the pleasure of working with Jerry Brooks and John Hendren. Sorry to see the passing of so many that I had the pleasure of working with in the early days. Bob Wuerz and I shared the same birthday in September.
Upon return to STL I was briefly assigned to Gemini and again worked with Jim Hendrix. I moved to the ASSET program and became the Destruct and Recovery Engineer, under Joe Dean, on team #2. You may have seen Ken Smith and I floating weather balloons in the Bldg 32 Pool. We were running experiments for a backup recovery device that Joe Dean designed after we lost track of the first Asset during recovery. Those were the fun days. I was assigned to Herb Cairnes' ASSET (2ND) launch team and worked with Bill Dolan, John Krah, Ralph Spillman, to name a few that comes to mind. I remember when I left the Cape the doors were not yet mounted on the Shuttle assembly building. My wife and I went to the Cape a few years back to see the Endeavor launched and also went on the old tour to see the Asset launch site. It's A MUSEUM! She was surprised to see that we were launching from so close a distance to the gantry. I told her we didn't have five mile technology back in those days. I showed her the room where the launch racks were housed and pointed out to her that the same information could be placed on my thumbnail. We did get to have lunch with Jerry Yelch
in Fort Myers while my wife and I were there for a wedding and family reunion on her side. I have attached a photo. Had a wonderful lunch going over old times. He resides there four months out of the year to play golf and returns to his home in Indiana for the remainder of the year. It was really a pleasure to see him after 15 or 16 years. Surprising how the years slip by. Jerry tells me he is in contact with Jim and Jan Longshore. I had hoped to get in touch Joe Klausner but Jerry said his health was failing after his wife died and had moved back to Saint Louis. Happy to have discovered your page and will visit often. Since my wife and I get back to visit the family in Saint Louis I'll try to see if you have a lunch scheduled while I'm there. I wish I had known of this site last year when I visited in September to celebrate my 75Th with the kids and grand kids. I spent my first winter back in town since 1995 and landed in 6 1/2 inches of snow in December, the most I'd seen since moving to Virginia, when we went to spend a month for the holidays with the family and to see two of our great grands from England that we hadn't seen, while they visited the colonies. That's about it
My good friend Bill Brinks sent me the articles dealing with McAir retirees... I thank him. Would/Could you add me to your list?
I was at McAir in 1955 - 57 and again 64 - 77. I can remember old man MAC "calling all the team." He was quite a person.
I retired from McAir in 1977, but did not retire from the aerospace profession. I do get my McAir retirement check (my wife calls it my "running around
pocket money") when I turned 65. Here is a short bio:
Don Nash graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Aerospace Engineering in August 1964 and had been in the aerospace world for 45 years starting with two years in McDonnell Aircraft (McAir) F-101 Aft Fuselage Design Group and F-4 Instrumentation Design groups followed by US Army service.
After his Army discharge Don earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering and returned to the McAir Flight Test Division in 1964. He was assigned as the Flight Test Engineer for the 1st F-4J Carrier Suitability tests at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, MD and the 1st F-4D Radar Homing & Warning System test at Eglin AFB, FL. In 1969 McAir assigned Don to the F-15 Proposal Team were he wrote a major section for flight testing to include initial envelope expansion, stability and control, flying qualities, spin and structural dynamics testing.
Don was a member of McAir?s negotiating team and when McAir won the F -15 contract he was assigned as Senior Flight Test Engineer for the 1st F-15, throughout its entire DT&E test program at St. Louis (1970 ? 1972) and then Edwards AFB (1972 ? 1975). In May 1972, Don received a MS in Engineering Management from the Un of Missouri @ Rolla. Don put in his McAir retirement papers in February 1977 and relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico (NM) in 1977, joined BDM as a Staff Engineer and became Director / Vice President of the BDM Support contract for the Airborne Laser Lab (1977-1983) and the High Energy Laser Scientific Test Facility (HELSTF) @ the NM WSMR. He then was assigned as Vice President of Nuclear Effects for BDM and directed support at the AFRL EMP Sites (Trestle and Dipoles). In 1996, Don left BDM and formed his own aerospace consulting business, supported Lockheed in 2003 to evaluate F-22 Modernization Spiral Development upgrades plus supported many other local and national companies. He continues to consult in the aerospace world.
Don attended the 35th Gathering of Eagles in Dayton, OH in July 2007. This celebrated the 35th anniversary of the 1st flight of the F-15; of which Don was the Senior Flight Test Engineer. Great Program.
Don is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow and 43 year member. Don served AIAA at the local Albuquerque section as Past Chairman, Corporate Liaison, and Membership; Region IV Deputy Director for Finance and Publications; National Membership Committee; National Technical Committee for Flight Testing; and Past Chairman of the International
Membership Sub-Committee. Don received AIAA 2003 Sustained Service Award and (2) Special Service Citations (1997 and 1999).
Don is a long time member of the New Mexico Professional Aerospace Contractors Association (PACA), serving as President, Executive Board member for several years and on the PACA Briefing for Industry (BFI) committee. Don served on a NM State University Aerospace Engineering Advisory Panel program to review their curriculum for a BS Aerospace Engineering program.
Harold Ege provides news about fellow teammates Charlie Headley and Glenn Salisbury
Earl: I just returned from a vacation trip to Tampa,Florida. On Friday, 29June07, we started home but went over to Titusville to see some former teammates. Attached are 2 pictures I took.
The first picture is of 3 old teammates (Charles Headley, Harold Ege, and Glenn Salisbury) outside the new Corky Bell's restaurant.
The second picture is of the group at lunch. From left to right is Carol & Harold Ege, Glenn & Phyllis, Salisbury,
and Marilyn & Charles Headley.
Glenn and Charley ( both originally MDAC Material and Process Engineers in St. Louis ) went to Florida to convert
the GD drawing and Process Specs into MDC specs on Tomahawk back when MDAC started up the production line
in Titusville. Glenn later came up to St. Louis to help with the same effort on ACM and returned with what was needed
for Titusville to produce the ACM there.
Charlie Headley sent this note:
Earl, I just found out about this site and am glad to have found it! I will look at it often now!
Yesterday Harold Ege came to Titusville and he,his wife,Glen Salisbury,his wife, I and my wife
all went to lunch at Corky Bells new restaurent. We had a great time reminiscing!
That's how I found out about this site!
Yes, I am still in Titusville. After I retired in Feb. of 1987 I went to Pueblo Colorodo on the Delta program
for a year and then to Cape Canaveral, Pad 17 (Delta) on and off for about 4 yrs. Then I worked for
various people and Company's in my home machine shop for several years, pretty steady, and still am
doing a little machine work on and off. We like to travel, especially to see the kids, one in Alton,
one in St. Peters, and one in Dallas, TX.We just returned from Il.,Mo. last week!
Also we like to cruise which we have done several times!
As of now, we are in excellent health and are trying to stay that way! Hope to hear from you and some
of my old team mates!
Lawrence E. "Larry" Merritt retires 1 June 2007
Larry Merritt, Archivist/Historian, James S. McDonnell Prologue Room is retiring and moving to Nixa, Missouri, a small town near Springfield.
Larry has provided great support to MDC & BOEING Retirement clubs. We of the Mac's Old Team appreciate very much the support Larry has provided
Best wishes, Larry, and happy retirement!
Boeing had a reception Wednesday May 30, 2007 at the Boeing St. Louis Prologue Room to honor Larry Merritt's long years of service.
The following TEAM TALK article dated Aug 3, 1992 was provided courtesy of Boeing Communications:
Roy DeBellis retired sometime in April 2006. In January 2007 he underwent surgery to replace a heart valve. The operation was a success but his recovery has been extremely slow. Roy was in the St. John's ICU for about two months and now has been transferred to the hospital at "The Cedars at JCA", 13190 South Outer Forty Road. He remains very weak and still gets sustenance intravenously. Those who may wish to visit him should call 314-434-3330 for directions.
A note about George Scism provided by Richard Ampleman:
(George and Monica Scism in photo on left. George with Richard and Mary Lou Ampleman in photo above.)
Mary Lou and I just returned from a 28 day cruise from Buenos Airees to Acapulco and on the 2nd day of the cruise who got on the same elevator with me but George Scism. He and his wife Monica were on an extended cruise which started in New Orleans and will end in San Francisco, including a 3 week stop in Buenos Aires. George now lives in Branson -, Mo. but spends about 180 days a year traveling. He is involved with his son in designing and building fast speed boats. George's new address is 2164 Yandell Cove Rd. Kirbyville, Mo, 65679. Email address email@example.com
Nelson O. Weber
In July 2004 Nelson provided this description about his life in retirement.
Retirement has been great!! Work was always a lot of fun, but I think
retirement is more fun. Fortunately I've been blessed with good health
and have been very active. I retired in 1994. I started at McDonnell
Aircraft in 1957 working in the shop on final assembly on the F-101 Voo
Doo. Went to college for BSME, and then was an ' Mackanical Injuneer'.
Retired in 1994, then did steady consultant work at McDonnell Douglas,
and other companies till 1998. Did two consultant jobs in Israel, one of
them was requested and funded by the Ministry of Defense Office in
Israel. Did another consultant job in Malaysia. Since 1998 I've done
part-time consultant work, one of those jobs at Boeing netted me a
patent. The patent was issued to me in Dec 2003, my first patent received
at age 65. (So guys and girls, remember it is never too late in life to do
all kinds of accomplishments. And I know from our luncheon meetings that a lot of you
all are very active.
I like motor vehicles, been working with 'collector cars', taking them to
car shows, and winning trophies. In the last 5 years I've entered a 'Show
Car' in 63 car shows and have won 51 trophies. We have 5 collector cars,
(I say 'we' because one of them, a '68 Dodge Charger is my wife Carol's
car). They range from a 40 horsepower 1930 Model A Ford to a 875
horsepower 1968 Chrysler 300. I also have my Harley which I ride
regularly. Have ridden motorcycles since 1960.
This spring I ran for, and got elected for School Board Director.. Term
is three years. I'm in Northwest R-1 school district. The district has
7300 students, 806 employees, and a $59M budget (next years approved
budget). This is also enjoyable work - a lot of work, but enjoyable. Have
completed training to get my 'Certified Board Member' training
certificate, am working on my 'Advanced' training certificate, and after
that will go for the 'Master Board Member' certificate.
I've written my Autobiography "My Life & Experiences", a 300 page
paperback book. That 'hobby' took three years to complete. I have a
couple of chapters in there on my work at McDonnell Douglas. If anyone
wants one of these, they are $10 plus $3 for mailing costs, or I can
bring copy to our luncheons if you are interested (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm very fortunate to have my family, my wife Carol, our 22 year old son
Cory that works full time and lives with us yet. He realizes how good he
has it at home, he is in no hurry to move out. I also have son Steve, and
daughter Vicki, and their families - I have 4 grandchildren - they all
live in Arkansas - we visit several times a year. Also my mother is still
in good health at age 100, I spend one day a week with her.
I enjoy the 'luncheons' to see and visit with retired coworkers.
BUT THERE IS MORE ABOUT NELSON WEBER:
Nelson Weber, the retired Mac's Old Teammate, aerospace engineer has many other passions, one of which is the history, research and preservation of the old steamboat MONTANA
Here is Nelson's story about his work researching the history of the MONTANA Riverboat that sank in the Missouri river near St. Charles, Missouri in 1884.
Summary - My 2005/2006 Study Of The MONTANA Riverboat
By Nelson O. Weber
The MONTANA was built in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania yards in the winter of 1878/1879, and sank in the Missouri River at St. Charles, Missouri in 1884. Although it sank well over a century ago, its legend is still very much alive. Local curiosity seekers, out-of-town curiosity seekers, riverboat enthusiasts, news media, archeologists, and others continue to keep the legend of the MONTANA alive. It is interesting to note that the MONTANA is the only sunken riverboat in the St. Louis, Missouri area that gets this kind of attention. The MONTANA?s continuing popularity is probably due to the location of where it sank and because its skeleton always re-emerges and exposes itself when the Missouri River water level drops to low levels. The MONTANA was popular and still is popular because it was the first riverboat of its large size to navigate the Missouri River. Its longest trip was northwest to Fort Benton, Montana delivering a record load of 600 tons of cargo. It had ?luxury? appointments for carrying passengers. It had ill timing of being built when the riverboat trade was declining due to railroads replacing the riverboats to move cargo westward. And it had an unfortunate demise by crashing into a railroad bridge pier at St. Charles, Missouri.
I first visited the MONTANA Riverboat wreckage site in 1967 after reading a newspaper article about a person(s) doing some digging for the MONTANA?s ?buried treasures?. I didn?t find any ?buried treasures? I took some loose boards at that time and sawed them into plaques about 8 inches long by 4 inches high by 1 inch thick. I put a brass plate on the plaques with some information about the MONTANA, and attached a brass chain to hang the plaque on a wall. I sold these plaques at craft shows and via consignments to shops/stores. I placed an ad in House & Garden magazine in September 1967 ? the ad cost $410 for a one-inch high ad.
Over the years since 1967 I always kept track of any activity with the MONTANA; there was very, very little activity. Missouri River water level is the main contributing factor to seeing the MONTANA?s wreckage; the water level needs to be very low to see her remaining wreckage. There were many years when the river water level never got low enough to see any part of the MONTANA. There is not much literature or photos available about the MONTANA. There is an absolute void of any photos from the time she sank in 1884 until the early 1960?s. This is because the river changed course a little and buried the MONTANA?s wreckage totally in silt for over seventy years. She didn?t start to become visible again until the early 1960?s.
In 2002 a team of archeologists led by Annalies Corbin spent 10 days or more doing an archeological site survey. In 2005/2006 I did an ?engineering study? of the MONTANA. I made over 25 visits to her, spending over 80 hours, doing a detailed study of the remaining structure. This involved taking many dimensional measurements of the remaining structure with a tape measure and angular measurements with an inclinometer, in addition to taking hundreds of photographs to document everything that remains of this wreckage. I wrote a book titled ?The Legendary MONTANA ? A 2005/2006 Engineering Study Performed By Nelson O. Weber?. I have this book on sale at multiple places. I also prepared a ?Powerpoint Presentation? about the MONTANA Riverboat. I?ve just started giving the presentations - gave 2 presentations in 2006, have more presentations scheduled for 2007. Studying and documenting the MONTANA has become a ?passion? for me (my wife says it has become an ?obsession?) Whatever you want to call it ? it is fun.
Below is a photo of an 18 inch by 24 inch oil painting made by Sherri Talbott in 2006, at my request. She used existing photos of the MONTANA to paint how the MONTANA probably looked traveling on the Missouri River in the early 1880?s. Note the firewood stacked on the main deck, used to fire the boilers.
This study resulted in several ?Discoveries?. They are:
1) Two paddlewheel dimensions (diameter & width) are considerably larger than previously published information,
2) My study determined that the ?splitting-in-half theory? showed repeatedly in a History Channel video is in error.
The video is titled ?Skeleton In The Sand ? The MONTANA?. The video aired on TV in 2003. My study shows absolute proof that she did not split in half.
3) The MONTANA may totally wash away in the near future, due to recent erosion trends of the silt on the ?riverbank? side of the MONTANA?s wreckage. The river is ?surrounding? the wreckage site.
All that remains in 2006 of the MONTANA?s wreckage is part of the hull floor, rudders, cylinder timbers, some paddlewheel structure, and part of the main deck. All of the boat?s above ?the- hull structure has long been gone; most of it was salvaged shortly after it sank in 1884. Whatever remained of the above-the-hull structure has gone downstream, or deteriorated, and it is gone for good. The biggest enemies are the river current and the large floating logs and trees that will slowly and persistently carry the remaining structure of the MONTANA downstream board by board, and section by section.
The MONTANA was technologically a state-of-the-art riverboat, its extraordinary size, it?s flat bottom shallow draft, built for the Missouri River with its luxury appointments, and costing twice what its predecessors cost to build. These were features that made her an impressive legend.
Handling and Maneuverability ? It must have been a challenge to the riverboat captains and crew to navigate the Missouri River with this large riverboat. They always had to deal with Mother Nature?s issues - the river current, rising and lowering water, river bends, river debris (floating and submerged), crosswinds, sandbars, rain, storms, low visibility - and all of these were constantly changing, so the only thing that was constant on the Missouri River was ?change?. It seems like all the characteristics needed for stability and effective control for a riverboat of this size were missing, or marginal at the best. If anyone has ever done a float trip on a canoe or raft, one knows that where the water is shallow it is swift, and where the water is deep the current is slow, and there are logs and gravel bars ? navigating is a challenge.
The MONTANA?s lightweight and flat bottom hull features were great for a ?shallow draft? riverboat design. However, these features had an inherent weakness, the riverboat was not very impact resistant for a single point impact. The hull and hull wall did not have much ?crush resistance?. It would break (crush) quite easily for a ?point impact?. There is no evidence of hull bulkheads to keep water from filling the complete hull if she developed a severe leak from any hull wall breakage. I?m sure this lack of bulkheads contributed to her demise.
I?m an advocate of preserving what is left of the MONTANA. The only way to do this is to salvage what remains and put that into a museum for future generations to visually enjoy and learn about the riverboat era. Only 42% of the hull floor is still remaining and this will get less every year. Over the 8 months of this study from August 2005 to March 2006 there were some parts of the hull that have washed away. It will require a commitment from a person or organization to get MONTANA?s remaining wreckage into a museum setting. Even though St. Louis was a ?Riverboat Hub? and recognized as the ?Gateway To The West? and the ?Waterway To The West? during the 19th century, unfortunately there seems to be no community interest or motivation in preserving any of this rich riverboat heritage
Trivia - Did You Know?
? Over 500 Riverboats sank in the Missouri River in the 1800?s (Boiler Explosions, Crashes, Fires, Snags, Stumps, Weather).
? The average life of a Riverboat on the Missouri River was 3 to 5 years.
? The worst maritime disaster happened on Mississippi River 300 miles south of St. Louis, Mo.
- (On April 27, 1865 the ?SULTANA Riverboat? had a boiler explosion a few miles north of Memphis with a loss of 1700 lives ? these were Union POW?s returning north after the Civil War). The SULTANA was severely overcrowded with 2300 people aboard, it was legally registered to carry 376 people).
- St. Louis was the homeport for the SULTANA.
-Titanic sank in 1912 - Loss of 1517 lives of 2208 passengers & crew (Hit Iceberg).
-Lusitania sank in 1915 - Loss of 1198 lives of 1257 people aboard (Hit by Torpedo).
Contact Nelson O. Weber For:
? More Information About The MONTANA.
? Presentations About The Montana.
? Purchasing The New 2006 Book Titled ?The Legendary MONTANA Riverboat?.
? Purchasing A Print Of The New 2006 Oil Painting Titled ? ?Steamboat MONTANA (1879-1884)?.
Contact Info: Phone: 314-740-2729 Email: email@example.com
Charles F. Marschner
Charlie is the final survivor of "Mr. Mac's" original (pre-1940) team. "Mr. Mac" had 13 employees including himself at this time.
We are delighted to receive several notes written by Charlie Marschner and passed on to us by Skip Lauer. Charlie's viewpoints are very special, interesting, and fits right in to the main theme of Mac's Old Team website ----to keep in touch with our old teammate friends, and keep ever mindful about the history of the "good old days" at McDonnell Aircraft, McDonnell Douglas, and the opportunities we had there. Charlie Marschner is one of Mr. Mac's original team of 13 back in 1939, and we understand he is the final survivor of this "original team".
Following is a summary of the info. received thus far:
From Skip Lauer:
Charlie Marschner lives in Baytree Country Club, FL with his beautiful wife of 60 years, Dottie. Charlie is 92 years young and still has a brilliant mind and lots of great stories about Mac's early years. He was one of the original master minds in 1939.
Sept 3, 2005 Charlie writes:
I believe I am the final Survivor of the pre-1940 MAC (McDonnell Aircraft Corp.) employee. See list attached.
I am sending this to you as you will know how to enter it into the records. I still recall the MAC formation by James S. McDonnell vividly including when I signed up Sept. 5, 1939. In retrospect it was historic. Only Mac's indomitable will made MAC survive.
Charlie's list of Mr. Mac's original team follows:
Pre-1940 (Late 1939) Employees of McDonnell Aircraft Corp. (MAC)
1. James S. McDonnell (Mac), Pres. July 1, 1939. Incorp Co. (MAC) 1st week July.
2. Louis (Lou) Ritter, Adm. Asst. July 1, 1939
3. Garrett (Gary) Covington, Stress Eng. & Asst. Chief Eng. Aug. ?, 1939
4. Ivan Driggs*, Ch. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
5. George Bussiere*, Arms Inst. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
6. Lyle Farver*, Gen'l Des. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
7. Earl (Bud)Fisher*, Power Plant Inst. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
8. Charles (Charlie) Marschner* Production Des. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
9. Lawrence (Larry) Waite* Aerodynamics & Asst. Ch. Eng. Sept. 5, 1939
10. Milton (Milt) Bergey, Airframe Des. Eng. Sept. ? 1939
11. Geroge Hineman, Landing Gear Des., Sept. ? 1939
12. Albert (Al) Utsch, Airframe Des. Eng. Nov. ?, 1939
13. Joseph (Joe) Beerer, Aerodynamics Eng. Nov. ?, 1939
The first 11 persons reported for work Mon. Oct. 2, 1939; Al and Joe about Thanksgiving Week. Those noted * signed 1 year employment contracts with Mac the evening of Sept. 5, 1939. "Original" employees could buy 1 share of MAC common stock for each dollar of monthly salary for 5 cents a share. Par was set at one dollar.
James S. McDonnell (Mac), Ivan Driggs, Lyle Farver, and Lawrence Waite (Larry) were all genius class as evidenced by their work and conceptual contribution.
I was the youngest of the Engineers except for Joe Beerer (#13 above). I was indeed fortunate to work with such an experienced and knowledgeable group of men. They willingly shared their wisdom.
After the one year contracts ran out and Mac's future looked bleak, all but Ritter, Covington, Driggs, Farver, Marschner and Hineman left the co. Driggs left later.
The first 1000 "clock" numbers were assigned about 2 years after the company was formed with Engineering getting Nos. 901 thru 1000. The newly hired head bean counter was sure there would never be a 1000 employees or over as many as 100 Engineers! So first 1000#s are meaningless.
C. F. Marschner
Oct 3, 2005 from Charlie Marschner
Subject: Big Bang & Creation
The Big Bang is generally accepted as "In The Beginning".
I recall how fascinated I was when I looked at the Periodic Table on the wall in chem. and physics classes. The order shown defines how atoms and their components are used by The Creator to make all materials in the known Universe. Fragments of atoms are merely testimony to the violence of the Big Bang. The recognition of the periodic table began about 150 years ago by a Russian, as I recall, closely followed by a German.
But the origin of life was not explained for nearly 100 years. Then DNA was recognized as the orderly, complex pattern for life of all kinds. J. S. McDonnell made note of DNA importance in his acceptance of the Collier Trophy in the early 1950s.
The PT & DNA, to me, confirm absolutely the existence of a Creator. Otherwise all would be chaos.
Regards, Charlie M.
CHARLIE, keep 'em coming! We really enjoy hearing from you! Send us some MAC memorabilia any time you wish. We will put it on the Old Mac's Team website for all to enjoy.
Skip (Altemeyer) Lauer, is a retired teammate. Skip is also the wife of our friend and teammate Ed Lauer who passed away 1998. Skip was a teammate at MAC in St. Louis until she and Ed moved to Florida (Titusville plant) in the early 1950's. Skip was a Sky Queen in 1946.
Following information provided by Skip who lives in Florida:
Here is a little about Ed and I. Ed began his career with MAC in 1944. He was in the Propulsion Division in the early days and worked on experimental projects. He came to Florida for "secret shots" before the capsules in the late 1940's and 50's. We moved to Florida to stay in 1967. Ed worked in a small building on the TiCo Airport until the TiCo plant was finished in the late 1960's.
Ed had a can-do attitude "if you can think it, you can do it" which inspired everyone around him. He later developed cancer from secondary smoke. Another attribute was his sense of humor. When the doctors couldn't stop the air leak in the remaining part of his lung, he and some of his teammates were thinking up fixes such as duct tape and gum. Ed retired August 1988, and passed away February 9, 1998, 6 days before our 51st anniversary. He lived an exciting life and loved every minute of it -- his jobs, his family, his friends and teammates, and he thought Mr. Mac could walk on water. He was part of an elite group that helped to create a lot of firsts for our country and the world and for that his family is very proud and grateful.
I was transferred to the Headquarter Division in the Ambassador Bldg downtown [St. Louis] as a receptionist. Ed and I met on the basketball court!! We both played in the Industrial League for MAC. The men practiced where the women played their games.
I was Sky Queen in 1946 which was an exciting experience for a little country girl. Ed and I were married February 15, 1947 and our son, Steve was born May 15, 1952. I was a stay-at-home mom until Steve graduated from law school then I got my real estate license and sold real estate for 27 years. I finally retired in 2004. Steve is an attorney in Vero Beach, Fla. He and his wife Margareth have 2 daughters Eva and Anne, only an hour away.
I was recently talking to Jan Longshore and she was telling me about the
MAC's Old Team and gave me the web address. Please add me to the member
I retired in the big retirement of February 1987. I traveled for
three years before I was called and asked to come back as a Contract
Engineer. Since then I have been working off and on for the last
fourteen years as a Contract Engineer for various projects at McDonnell
Douglas/Boeing. I have worked about six and a half years since 1990. In
the off years, some by my self retirement to go traveling, my wife Rose
and I have traveled pretty extensively. We have a Motor Home and have
visited Alaska twice for a total of about seven months going there and
back. We have been on two Motor Home Tours to Mexico and have spent
about five months going there and back. We have spent about three months
on Motor Home trips to The Canadian Provinces and we have traveled
extensively throughout the USA, mostly in our motor home. We also have
spent about three weeks in Hawaii, five weeks in Australia and four
weeks in New Zealand. Actually going back to work between trips has
almost been a relief as well as replenishing our travel budget funds. It
has been very nice to remember all of you that I have worked with and
are part of the Old Team but I am shocked at number of old friends that
have passed on. I hope to be able to come to one of the lunches when I
can work it into my busy schedule as I have just recently started back
to work on the Future Combat Systems program at Boeing. Feel free to
email me a give a call.
A. Ray Brown
Lloyd "Bud" Schultz
Over the years, Bobbye and I have done a bit of traveling. We have bicycled in all the countries of western Europe, but this year we were in
Switzerland in the winter for some cross-country skiing. We're beginning to feel our age, because one Olympic cross-country ski race was 50
KM and was completed in a little over 2 hours, but it took us 2 weeks to do the same distance.
We spent one week in Zermat, and finally saw the Matterhorn on a clear day. Then one week in Davos, with many downhill runs and about
75KM of cross-country trails.
The trains in Switzerland are so punctual that if you arrive at the RR station at 12:03 and your train is scheduled to leave at 12:02, you've missed
it. You can literally set your watch by when the train begins to move. The train rides in the Alps are as beautiful as the picture of a Swiss village
on a Christmas card.
One can also wax poetic about the Swiss Pastries and breads. It must be the air at altitude.
I retired a year ago from our operation in Houston,
and have been corresponding with a few of the old geezers that I grew up, and
old with in St. Louis. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I saw Bill Geissler
who also lives in Houston. We still live in the Houston metropolitan area,
but actually on the far north side about 40 miles from the city center and
about 60 miles from Clear Lake where we lived until retirement. My wife and
I are in good shape, healthwise, and are really enjoying our grandkids and
the retirement experience. Our Email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have enjoyed the MAC's Old Team website, but I am amazed at the number of
people who have passed away! We still get to St. Louis a couple of times a year,
and I will attempt to phase a trip to enable me to get to a meeting.
Thanks for the good work,
Clarence Howard update on 06/10/04
I have spent too much of the just past 6 months with the doctors at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston. It all started in December when, almost by accident, it was discovered that I had a tumor inside of my right kidney which turned out to be Renal Cell Carcinoma. I had absolutely no symptoms. A partial nephrectomy was performed February 10th, which removed the tumor from the kidney with clean margins, i.e., no cancer at the removal incision boundary, and I still have a functioning right kidney. I had some complications after the surgery when some small arteries within the kidney which were sealed off as a part of the tumor removal decided to open up. The bleeding was stopped with plugs inserted into these small blood vessels via a catheter inserted into my femoral artery. This was done in two separate procedures. The bleeding was pretty severe as I had to have a total of 9 units of blood. I have recovered from all of this kidney repair and I am thankful that I still have 2 working kidneys. There was no need for any follow up radiation or chemo.
Just prior to the time we stumbled onto this kidney thing, a different tumor was found on my right Parotid gland (salivary gland in front of and below the ear). My local ENT here in the Woodlands did a fine needle biopsy and the pathology indicated that it was a non malignant tumor, so I postponed its removal after we discovered the Renal Cell tumor. After I recovered from the kidney surgery, I decided to have the M. D. Anderson guys remove the Parotid tumor, and part of the their workup was another biopsy. They used ultrasound to assist in getting the needle in the right place and found that this tumor was a rare, but low grade malignancy called Acinic Cell Carcinoma, and I had it removed May 24th, along with 10 lymph nodes in the immediate area. The pathology was good in that there were clear margins and the lymph nodes were clear. However, this tumor type tends to return if only surgery is used. So, I'll have to have a fairly long course of radiation to kill off any residual cancer cells. The radiation lowers the recurrence probability to around 10%.
So, I'm in good shape for the shape that I'm in. I'm also very fortunate to be located in a city with the best cancer center with most knowledgeable doctors and the best equipment in the world, and together we'll watch for any recurrence so we can get it early.
Hulen H. "Luge" Luetgen
The summer 2002 edition of the MSM-UMR ALUMNUS features a piece on page 37 about the recently published autobiography of H. H. Luetjen. The title of the book is Before Mercury Rose: The Half-life of an Ex-Spaceman.
I thought that some of the teammates who knew or worked with Luge might be interested.
(Earl Robb note) I took this June 2006 photo of "Luge" when I discovered him standing on the corner in Sedalia Missouri, obviously having a good time watching the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival parade. I chatted with him a bit and learned that after Luge retired from his job of managing launch operations for MDC at the Cape and later as Director at the Titusville Production Facility, he returned to live at the family farm in Smithton, MO, near Sedalia.
Luge, how about sending us the story of your life in retirement. That will give you the opportunity to fix any errors I may have made.
Saw Hans Vetter at Investment event and he mentioned subject retiree "club"....Read with keen interest the links to your web-site and thought
I'd like to participate in one of your luncheons....Then I realized that I am away from St Louis about 5 months of year - @ FL home, traveling with
recently retired wife, or visiting family scattered throughout our great land - and when here seem to be "tied-up" often....Nonetheless I will
keep-in-touch via your web-site and hope to spot luncheons that I could attend...As I retired all my hairpieces and ties when my body retired, I
have the misfortune of being unrecognizable to many teammates.
I retired in 7/89 and consider "active retirement" the best phase of my life....Adult Diabetic health issues (leg vascular disease led to many
operations) have hindered the last few years but am now able to move around with a modicum of vigor....Still fortunate enough to enjoy
golfing...Considerable volunteer work was satisfying; I "retired" from that about 2 years ago...Most volunteer work was helping budding
entrepreneurs start or continue a small business, via the umbrella organization called SCORE ( Service Corp of Retired Executives)....Lots
of help opportunities encountered in that decade of consulting....Multi-month Rockwood School District and Church Strategic Planning exercises
were fun and challenging.
Along-time friend and teammate, Mert Walker. passed on a few months ago....I believe Mert was one of the charter members of the Missile
Engineering Division, one of or the predecessor of the Astronautics Company....Great guy.
Saw a bunch of familiar names on your "roster", hello to all and
Best-2U, Ron Rau
General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talked at our lectures series Feb 24. He and his wife grew up in Kansas and are graduates of Kansas State Univ. He arrived in a gov`t Gulf Stream with a plane-load of security.
Our Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Museum loaned Tom Hanks the full scale Lunar Lander and Lunar Rover exhibits for a new space movie that his company is producing. The museum I-MAX has been equipped to show full length movies. The first will be Apollo 13, appropriate since the Apollo 13 spacecraft and Jim Lovell`s spacesuit on that mission are prized exhibits here.
I saw the landing of the Global Flyer on return of its` round-the-world flight March 3 at Salina, KS, an hour North of Hutchinson. Didn`t go to the take-off, since it was delayed several hours and the weather was cold.
Much unrest in Wichita with the sale of Boeing commercial facilities to Onex. Then, the big surprise was the resignation of Stonecipher.
Best regards to team mates,
on 12/09/02 Wayne wrote:
Polly and I spent an interesting evening at the Cosmosphere, our space museum, last night hearing a talk by Jeff Ashby, a nephew of good friends here, who was Commander of Shuttle Mission #112 about 6 weeks ago. Jeff grew up in Colorado, but spend many summers here in Hutchinson, KS. He is a Navy captain, a graduate of the Navy`s Top Gun Test Pilot School, flew F-18s on 45 combat missions in Desert Storm, has over 7000 flight hours and over 1000 carrier landings.
He joined the Astronaut Corp in 1995 and has had 3 shuttle missions. The second as pilot and this last as commander. They took up a big truss for the space station and exchanged the crew that had been up for 6 months with a new one.
He had slides, video, and comments of the mission - launch, docking, station work, and return. As commander, he made the landing at 240mph in Florida.
I asked how he liked the F-18 and if he had carried Harpoons? He thinks the F-18 is the best fighter in the world and fired a number of SLAMs, the Harpoon land attack version.
Wish you all could have heard him.
Merry Christmas to all!
Dear old time MAC friends and colleagues,
I read with great interest the news from and about former teammates and the events of the group. Congratulations to Norm and Earl for the outstanding web site with in-depth content. It certainly is newsworthy and informative. In addition, it was good to reminisce about former times and remember the exciting events we all were privileged to participate in. Thanks to Dave Shean, I am reconnected to the web site again. The April luncheon conflicts with another activity, yet I am trying to reschedule.
Working at MAC has been a life fulfilling experience allowing participation in the development projects that are changing the world. Many of the skills my teammates instilled in me have created opportunities now in retirement.
It was self rewarding to dig into my archives to find some Mercury and Gemini materials and donate them to the St. Louis Science Center during the time Gus Grissom's craft was brought back for display. At this time, I visited with my former GAM72 project leader, Wayne Lowe, at the Kansas space facility. Since I retired in February 1987, I have been very active in volunteering to small businesses, the arts and programs dealing with young people. Since early 1988, I have volunteered with for the SCORE Association. (Several other teammates were/are also volunteers.) At the present time, I am Chairman of the Board of Directors of the national organization consisting of about 11,000 volunteers nationwide who consult, counsel and educate entrepreneurs. We are "America's Counselors to Small Business."
In 1994, some of my SCORE volunteer work was published as a dictionary (glossary) of small business terms. This information is now available free to anyone anywhere on the web site www.small-business-dictionary.org. By the way this web site was programmed in Siberia by a Russian colleague and post-perestroika entrepreneur. I volunteer with the musical theater group, Stages St. Louis. Stages is in the early phases of moving from the Kirkwood Civic Center to Chesterfield. A new beautiful theater building will be constructed on the Chesterfield Mall property at the intersection of Chesterfield Parkway and Chesterfield Airport Road. About 5 times each year I am host to international young people through the World Affairs Council in Clayton and Webster University. These young people come to St. Louis to learn about America - mostly about starting a small business and entrepreneurship. I provide housing, meals and visiting local attractions.
It is a good feeling for me to give back in these ways. If you would like to consider these type volunteer activities, please contact me.
Joe & Ruth Trammel
(Note: Both Joe & Ruth are MDC teammates and friends to many. Joe worked in Manufacturing at MAC on the Mercury, Gemini, Harpoon, Skylab, Tomahawk, and Advanced Cruise Missile programs. He is a true "MAC's Old Teammate", and a valued friend of all who had the pleasure of working with him at both the St. Louis and Titusville facilities.
Prior to retiring, he was Manufacturing Senior Manager on the Advanced Cruise Missile at Titusville. After retirement (around 2004), Joe and Ruth moved back to the St. Louis area, after a long battle as Alsheimer's patient, Joe passed away. Ruth remains a dedicated Mac's Old Teammate and helps with this website. Ruth would enjoy hearing from friends and old teammates.)
The picture on the left is at a Mac's Old Team lunch meeting April 10 2004, and the picture on the right is Joe & Ruth at the "First Space "Pioneers" Reunion in 43 Years", April 16, 2005. It was was hosted by Joe & Ruth at their home in St. Ann, MO. This reunion was a very great experience for all of us who attended. It was Joe who wanted to get with his friends who he worked with on Mercury and subsequent space programs. And, it was Ruth who worked so hard and made it all happen. Thanks, for such a wonderful experience!!
George retired from BAC on 1 Aug 2003. George and his wife have taken up residence in Phoenix, AZ because it doesn't snow in the winter and there is no requirement to shovel snow in the 110 deg. summer heat. George can be reached at email@example.com and welcomes news from his many ex-teammates.
George, welcome to the great retiree group "MAC's Old Team", and keep in touch.
After 35 years at the same address, we are moving to Springfield, MO. We will be at the new address after the 15th of April. We have sold our home on Hollyridge and have bought one there.
It is difficult to go off and leave all of our friends, church and neighbors!!
Our new address is:
1164 W. Rockhill St.
Springfield, MO. 65810
Our Cell Phone 314-503-6661 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org will remain for a while.
We plan on the truck packing on 12 th, Load on 13 th, drive to Springfield and unload on the 15 Th.
Our new diggs are located in south central Springfield, called Quail Creek and is just off of James River Freeway. We scaled down ? to a house larger than this one but has no basement, all brick, just 8 years old and in a lovely area.
We ask for your prayers for this new adventure in our life at this age
Harold and Pauline Lankford
Send Email to: Earl Robb