I Worked for Boeing at the Michoud Plant in New Orleans, Louisiana from July 1964 to October 1965. (16 Months)
The Michoud Plant's official name was "Michoud Assembly Facility" (MAF).
We normally just said Michoud or New Orleans. I seldom heard the acronym of MAF and very seldom, if ever, heard the words Assembly Facility.
A photograph of the Michoud Plant may be viewed by Clicking:... HERE
Boeing had the contract to build the S1C which was the first stage of the Saturn V Moon Rocket. The Michoud Plant was a building of 42 acres under roof and air conditioned.
My job title was "Engineering Aide" and I worked in the Sub-System Test Department.
As the name implies our responsibilities were to test the sub components going into the S1C stage and ground support equipment of the Saturn V Moon Rocket.
The test were called "Acceptance Test" and were performed using a written procedures and the test were to assure the components met specification and were operational and ready to function as required prior to being integrated into the system for which it was intended.
I've never forgotten the first day when my group of new hires was taken to orientation and walked through the plant for the first time, all of a sudden there was the damndest humongous rocket I had every seen, 3 times the size of the Atlas I had just left in Roswell, New Mexico.
The S1C was 33 feet in diameter and 138 feet long compared to the Atlas's 10 foot diameter and 83 feet in length and this was just the 1st stage of the moon rocket.
I was so awed by it's size that I just stopped and gazed at it and then had to run to catch up with the group.
I felt a little sheepish after getting past the rocket stage because the back side was all open and what I was looking at was a full scale wooden mockup of the S1C.
From one side it appeared to be the real thing and from the other it was all open and only half of a rocket, all made from wood.
The mockup was full scale because it was used to first route the tubing and wiring runs to the different components for verification of clearances and establish bending requirements for the tubing layout and routing of the wiring.
I initially helped activate the clean rooms of the plant and then worked in a clean room, testing small components such as shutoff valves, electrical solenoid values, relief values and similar type components associated with either the rocket itself or ground support equipment.
I frankly did not like being confined to a closed up space in such an environment wearing what we called our monkey suit and I let it be known I would prefer something else.
I much preferred working outdoors and was able to arrange for my duties to be outside the plant where a 3 man crew was needed.
A hydraulic testing area was built outside the main doors of the plant primarily to proof test the "Forward Handling Ring" which was to be used to lift and transport the S1C stage.
The ring was 33 feet in diameter and sort of cone shaped.
In the center of the cone was an attachment eye for connecting to the crane and lifting the stage to the vertical position.
The transporter was moved using a surplus M-26 army tank mover.
The ring attached to the top of the S1C stage with a total of 216 1/2 inch bolts.
Photographs of the Forward Handling Ring may be viewed by Clicking:... HERE
I have never forgotten the number or the size bolts because I have installed and hand tightened all 216 many times as we tested each of the 5 rings manufactured to handle the 20 different stages to be built.
The base of the test fixture ring was not in a true circle such as the handling ring itself was but, was sort of hexagon shape because it was put together using one inch thick I-beams 12 inch high by about 6 feet long. The ends of the 6 foot long beams were cut at an angle and placed together in a circle and then 1/2 inch holes were drilled in the I-beams to match the true circle of 216 holes in the Forward Handling Ring.
Each of these beams was bolted down to a concrete foundation or base. As of 2007 this foundation base can still be seen in pictures of Michoud but, it is all that is left from the Saturn V days.
The "Forward Handling Ring" was made of Aluminum and the test fixture was made of mild steel.
There is considerable differences in the heat expansion ratio between the two metals and when the ring was torqued to the base for testing we were required to check the temperature of the ring every 30 minutes to assure the temperature did not exceed the allowable range.
Each of the 216 bolts was torqued to 100 foot pounds and if the temperature changed over a certain number of degrees while in the test fixture we had to loosen all 216 bolts and then retorque each of them because of the differences in the expansion ratio.
The Test Fixture had a huge 1 inch thick I-Beam 40 feet long X 2-1/2 feet high which was placed across the top of the Handling Ring and we installed a hydraulic cylinder on the bottom which was then connected to the main lifting point of the ring.
Additional I-Beam post were located on 3 different sides of the ring where hydraulic cylinders were also connected to the handling ring during the test procedure.
This allowed us to push and pull from 3 different side directions and the top and bottom of the ring to simulate the different stresses the ring would be under while the stage was being lifted and transported.
This simulation of the different direction took 3 or 4 days to accomplish because some test required all the cylinders to be used while other test required some of the cylinders to be disconnected.
This required us to loosen the 216 bolts each night and retorque again the next day due to the temperature changes over night.
Due to the concern with temperature changes by the sun going in and out of clouds during the day a large 50 X 50 foot tent type roof was constructed for shade which could be lifted by a portable crane and placed over the entire testing area after the ring was in place.
This canvas covered roof set on 4 post 20 to 25 feet tall that were made from 12 inch pipe and the roof had 14 inch pipe on each corner which corresponded to the 12 inch post and is was great fun being on the ground trying to align the roof with the 4 post so the 14 inch pipe would slid down over each of the four 12 inch post.
On several occasion we had to delay installing the roof cover due to high winds. If the wind was blowing it was not only difficult to align the roof with the post but, the canvas covered roof was so large, one had to be concerned about turning the crane over even in a moderate wind.
A more permanent type cover was not considered because the testing area was after all temporary in nature and of course the Forward Handling Ring had to be moved in and out with a tall portable crane.
The roof was also equipped with side curtains which we could roll up or down as needed to keep the ring in the shade.
An old surplus 8 X 16 foot army van type trailer with its wheels removed had been used to house the hydraulic pump and test console with it's gages and regulators.
A second 8 X 16 foot army trailer still sitting on it's wheels was used to stow the hydraulic cylinders and other equipment when not in use as well as being the place for our 3 man crew to hang out.
It wasn't the ivory towers but, was a great little place for an ex-Texas oil field worker to call home.
We were isolated from all the whistle tooting, clock watching bunch of employees working inside the plant.
Boeing had a whistle to go to work by and quit by and this damn whistle also blew to start and end the morning and afternoon breaks and I hated it.
After each handling ring was tested, a dye penetrant test was run on all the welds to verify none had cracked during the proof load testing.
Once all the welds passed the dye test the ring was washed and approved ready for service.
Except for the first ring which had been tested prior to my arrival at Michoud, all the rings passed with out incident and all was as expected except with one ring which had a slight error.
On each side of the ring was welded a triangle shaped block of aluminum used to place support stanchions under when the stage was in the horizontal position and not on the transporter.
While bolting down the 3rd or 4th ring, we noticed that these two blocks were not positioned the same as on previous rings and we pointed this out to the manufacturing group whose supervisor was a little embarrassed when shown the blocks had been welded on backwards and never noticed by anyone including Quality Control.
Our testing was delayed while the ring was moved back inside the plant to be repaired. Rather then cut out the block and replace it, the fix was to simple mill off part of face of the block so the angle was correct.
So, some place today on one of the S1C stages on display at KSC, JSC, MSFC, or Michoud there is a "Forward Handling Ring" with a boo boo on it and I am one of only a very few people on earth aware of that and without a doubt I'm absolutely the only person on earth who has gave thought to the subject since the event occurred 42 years ago.
The only way to tell, is that the milled down blocks are slightly skinner then the others.
As insufficient as it was, after I went to work for Bendix at KSC and observed any of the S1C stages arrive from New Orleans, it was with some satisfaction I could look at the Forward Handling Ring knowing I was involved with running it's acceptances test in New Orleans and knew something about the Forward Handling Ring.
AND, there was also something relative to the Forward Handling Rings I never did not know the full complete story about. I observed that one of the S1C stages arrived at KSC with a Forward Handling Ring which was painted yellow.
I had never seen or knew of any of the rings being manufactured from anything but aluminum and never had I seen one in yellow paint.
I came to understand this ring was manufactured in Huntsville from Mild Steel and thus was painted. How it came to be in the loop with the stages coming from New Orleans I never did determine.
However, we must remember that MSFC built 3 test stages and would have had need for a Handling Ring in Huntsville.
There was the 500F stage which stood for "Facility" check out as this was non flight stages used to do just that and nothing more then verify the ground support or facility equipment worked.
If I recall correctly a 500T stage was built by MSFC to run static firing test with and then a 500D stage was also built at MSFC to run dynamic test on.
To connect the crane and transporter to the bottom or aft end of the S1C stage, attachment devices were fabricated which were called "Stage Handling Brackets".
We proof tested these in another small Hydraulic Test Fixture we setup beside the Handling Ring Test Fixture and connected into the same Hydraulic Pump and Test Control Console.
I don't recall the number of these we tested but, 12 brackets were required to handle one stage and I expect the total number was 60 since that would correspond to the number of handling rings.
Some of the brackets were shaped slightly different depending on where they were to be bolted to the stage.
Photographs of the Stage Handling Brackets may be viewed by Clicking:... HERE
There was not much too testing these brackets because we only connected two hydraulic cylinders to push and pull in two different directions.
A somewhat humorous story I've always remembered came from my involvement in the testing of these brackets.
We immediately ran into problems with these as the bearings would not take the testing and would crack to the point they fell apart when removed from the test fixture.
Like many of the secondary parts for the S1C stage, these particular brackets were manufactured by Boeing at their Wichita Kansas Plant and shipped to Michoud for proof testing and use.
As a result, the brackets had to be shipped back to Wichita for repairs.
The fix was simply a different heat treating process for the new bearings and they passed the test with no problems.
However, the return to Wichita and back to Michoud was placing their need considerable behind schedule as the brackets were going to be needed for installation and handling of the first Michoud stage now nearing completion.
And not knowing if the heating process was going to work, the powers to be wanted to expedite the testing process to verify the brackets would be ready to handle the stage.
When the repairs were completed in Wichita and ready to ship back they decided the fastest way to get them to Michoud was to hire private airplanes of the Cessna 172 type and fly them back.
Due to the weight of each bracket, 1 airplane could only haul 3 of the 12 brackets and thus 4 airplanes were required for the return trip and it also required the planes making a refueling stop in I believe Shreveport Louisiana.
On the day of shipment our 3 man crew was on standby waiting for the brackets to arrive so we could immediately start the test to determine if the new brackets were going to pass the test.
We had been told not to go home until the testing was completed on all 12 of the brackets required for handling one stage.
The brackets started arriving in the afternoon and we commenced testing with satisfactory results but, then late that afternoon we learned one of the later planes had crashed on takeoff after refueling in Shreveport.
So, we tested the brackets we did have and were sent home after being told NASA had dispatched a vehicle to pick up the remaining brackets from the crash site.
The remaining brackets got to Michoud the next day and we learned of a funny story that the sheriff in the area of the crash only knew that a NASA plane had gone down carrying high priority NASA parts and not knowing exactly what that meant had kept deputies at the crash site all night guarding the wreckage thinking something highly secret might be on the plane.
I take it the deputy was a little put out when he learned he had guarded a hunk of aluminum all night.
Fortunately, we could laugh at the story because we also learned the pilot was not hurt much at all and would be fine.
Although, our little 3 man crew hung out in the trailer at the Forward Handling Ring Test Area we were kept busy doing odd ball jobs of all sorts and running test on other components in between the times we had a Forward Handling Ring or the Stage Handling Brackets to test.
One of these was on a test fixture we set up in one corner of a new room inside the plant which was to be the F1 Engine Test Area.
The purpose of the fixture was to test the Manual Actuators used for holding the F1 Engine stationary or moving it around when the normal hydraulic operated actuators were not installed.
The four out board engines on the S1C stages were gimbaled or swiveled by hydraulic cylinders in two different directions for guidance or steering of the rocket during flight.
If a person has ever watched a Saturn V at launch it might have been noticed that the rocket actually slips sideways immediately after lift off.
This was accomplished by gimbaling (Swiveling) the engines on the bottom of the rocket and was programmed in to move the vehicle away from the launch tower as soon as possible.
The S1C stage was different from all other previous rockets in that it did not have a separate hydraulic system per se to operate the actuators or rather it is proper to say that the hydraulic system did not have a pump. The F1 engines were so large and the turbo pumps feeding the propellants into the engine so huge and powerful that they produced sufficient pressure of about 2200 PSI to operate the hydraulic system.
This was accomplished by simply tapping into the line feeding the RP-1 (kerosene) into the thrust plate of the engine and this became the hydraulic pump for operating the hydraulic cylinders for gimbaling the engine.
The test fixture for testing the manual actuators looked like the bed of a machine lathe which was about 8 feet long. On one end was a hydraulic cylinder to simulate the weight of the F1 engine while the other end was stationary.
In reality the manual actuators were nothing more then a considerable over designed funny looking screw jack about 6 feet long.
There was a handle mounted on the side for screwing the actuator in and out for moving the engines around. The handle was on the side connected to the main screw by use of ring gear pinion arrangement.
Other then to verify the actuators could support the weight of the engines the testing was to mainly verify a slip clutch would work as designed and slip under certain pressure points in both direction while extending and retracting the actuator in and out of it's movement range which was about 18 inches.
The clutch was about two inches in diameter and one inch thick. Inside was a fiber disk much like the clutch and flywheel on an old car.
The purpose of the clutch was to keep a worker from moving the engine into an object and damaging it.
Supposedly the clutch would slip before damage would occur.
Quit frankly anyone who had been around much machinery could see it was a mickey mouse unnecessary little device designed by an engineer without much knowledge of mechanical things or the real world.
We also quickly proved the clutch would not work as designed because it would slip when not suppose to and would not slip when suppose to.
The hydraulic system and test console to operate the Test Fixture had been designed by the same engineer who designed the actuators and again it was obvious to me it was designed by book learning and no practical experience.
The console was about 3 feet wide with a pump and 6 gages in it and 6 regulators and 6 electrical solenoid valves.
The intended procedure was that the 6 regulators were set to operate at different pressures and then during the test you simply flipped one of the 6 toggle switches to send the desired pressure to the hydraulic cylinder as you either extended or retracted the manual actuator.
The problem was that none of the electrical solenoid valves would open with the pressure applied.
In other words this over designed elaborate test console would not work either and we the ex-oilfield dummy had to rework the console to achieve the desired results.
We didn't do much in this regard, we simply took the top panel off the console and would first open the solenoid valve and then reach in and run the pressure up by hand using the manual knob on the regulator.
The clutch was a different situation. Nothing we tried would over come the clutch slipping or not slipping per design.
The Manual Actuators were designed by a company in Huntsville and they sent a representative to Michoud with a new type clutch that operated on a spring mechanism pushing against 3 small little round balls recessed into the sides of the clutch. As pressure was applied the balls would jump out of the recess to release.
The new type clutches were also difficult to make release at the desired pressure point and the Huntsville representative resorted to using a box full of springs and filing each of the springs down to obtain the desired results which never did get fully accomplished but, did work to the point that everybody decided they were acceptable.
Another funny thing happened with this operation which was sort of screwed up from beginning to end and I can't now remember exactly the situation but, I do recall that after we had tested 4 or 5 actuators, I got to noticing how the test pressures called out in the procedure varied depending on how far out the actuator was extended and the pressures were greater when the actuator was extended then retracted and it came to me that the test pressures were opposite of what they should be and I showed this to my sidekick engineering aide Tracy and he agreed so we called out our sheep skin carrying engineer who was an excellent engineer we truly liked but, enjoyed harassing all the time.
We showed him that the pressures were greater with the actuator extended then when retracted and all he did was shake his head and say "You two guys" and walked off to phone Huntsville. Bobby had learned by now we had a bad habit of pointing out too many engineering errors and were usually correct in our analysis.
The procedure was revised to reflect the correct pressures and my memory fades on how we finished up the Manual Actuators Acceptance Test but, obviously we got it all accomplished.
A major Time Line in the manufacturing of the S1C stage was the hydrostatic testing of the huge propellant tanks which were the RP-1 Tank on the bottom and LO2 tank which sit above or on top of the stack.
The S1C stages manufactured at MSFC were assembled together in the horizontal position while at Michoud, NASA had made the decision to build the Vertical Assembly Building and mate the tanks together in the vertical position.
Therefore a brand new building was constructed at Michoud to do the assembly and to hydrostatic proof test the 2 propellant tanks each stage consisted of.
Photographs of the VAB building at Michoud may be viewed by Clicking:... HERE
Our little 3 man Forward Handling Ring Test Crew got an early preview of the tanks hydrostatic testing when it was determined there might be a problem with the ground settling once the tanks were filled with water and the fear was that the ground might not settle evenly.
In one quadrant of the new VAB building a hydrostatic test stand was constructed which consisted of a concrete wall about 8 feet high by 2 feet thick in a circle 33 feet in diameter upon which the tanks would sit to be filled with water to perform the proof test.
In all 4 direction, the wall had 5 foot wide openings with steel louvered type doors about 6 inches thick. We were told during the test the bottom of the tank would sag down about 1.5 inches and if the bottom of the tank ever gave way the water would hit the floor with the force of 7 locomotives.
The steel doors were closed and locked to keep people out during testing but, the 6 inch wide spaces between the bar type louvers in each door was to let the water out in case of a tank failure.
With the concern over the ground beneath the wall settling once the tanks were filled with water, it was decided to install 96 hydraulic jacks in a circle on top of the wall and beneath the steel ring the tank sit on. In other words there were jacks about one foot apart completely around the 33 feet diameter wall.
The jacks were manifolded together with hydraulic lines in groups of 8.
The challenge now became, how does one control the amount of pressure going to each of the 8 hydraulic lines going to the 96 jacks.
The idea being that you will want to raise the pressure in some jacks and lower it in others so you can keep the ring with the tank sitting on top level.
One of Boeing's more brilliant engineer's designed a new type valve with hydraulic fluid coming in one port and out 8 ports that had a cam inside and as the cam was rotated around it closed off one of the outlet ports completely and left one port wide open with each of the other six ports being, open/closed to varying degrees based on the cams position.
The valve was constructed in a circle of about 4 inches in diameter and had 8 outlet ports coming out the sides all way around the circle.
It was made something like a wheel with the inter wheel being the cam and the outer wheel being the valve body. The inter wheel or cam was mounted on a shaft that extend out through the center of the wheel/circle to turn the cam.
The engineer was sent out to the Forward Handling Ring Area to discuss with us how we might go about testing the flow rates of the valve to determine if the valve was going to accomplish the task.
The forward handling ring area seemed custom made to run the test, we sit up a table in the center of the ring to sit the valve on and then ran stainless 1/2 inch tubing from the 8 outlets out over the edge of the 33 foot diameter ring.
The setup looked like a spider with the valve in the center and then the 8 outlet lines were supported on the ends by the ring we normally set the handling ring on.
After the 8 outlet lines passed across the ring for support we bent the tubing down 90 degrees so the hydraulic fluid would go into a 5 gallon bucket during the test.
Interestingly, I recall the 8 buckets all being brand new 5 gallon steel buckets which as of now are practically extinct as most are now made from plastic.
The supply line was pretty simple to connect up because the line connections going to the hydraulic cylinders were equipped with Quick Disconnects and we simply tapped into one of the normally used supply lines coming from the Test Console.
This was all figured out by Yankee ingenuity and the kind of engineering I liked to do which is:... "By Guess and By God".
The intent of the test was not to measure the total flow rate but, rather to measure the difference of the flow rates out of each of the 8 different outlets of the valve with the cam in different positions.
This meant we had to determine the quantity of fluid pumped into each of the 8 buckets and some were going to have very little fluid to measure by the time the first bucket was full.
While setting up for the test, a discussion was started by the sheep skin carrying engineers how they were going to measure the amount of fluid which would be going into each bucket.
The test could only run so long as it took to fill up the so called number 1 bucket but, the other 7 buckets would have varying amounts down to practically nothing and the main concern was after pouring the fluid into a beaker or other measuring device there would still be residue inside each bucket.
I am reminded of getting amused by Arch Blanton, also an engineering aide and one I became great friends with.
Archie was from New Mexico and we had both worked on the Atlas together in Roswell New Mexico, but, had never met until Michoud when we lived together for a couple of weeks and then went back to New Mexico together to get our families.
About the time the discussion started, I jumped on a fork lift to go get a tool or something and probably had to use my Brass. All the workers at Boeing had "Brass"
Brass was a round 25 cent sized piece of brass with a number on it. To use tools from the company tool crib each employee was checked out with 10 pieces of brass on a key ring.
Instead of using paper work each time to keep track of who had tools checked out you simple handed the tool room clerk one of your brass pieces and he hung it on the bin where the particular tool was kept.
You were only allowed to have 10 tools checked out at one time. So, when out of brass you had to borrow brass or check in a tool to get another and have your brass moved to that tools bin. Thus the words, "You got any Brass" - "Can I borrow your Brass" was part of our normal vocabulary at Michoud.
When you left the company your brass had to be turned in and all 10 pieces accounted for according to your assigned number.
When I got back, Archie was waving his arms around and hollering and doing some swearing that he was going to quit doing that.
I said, what in the hell are you hollering about and what is it your going to quit doing.
He said, Boeing is only paying me for my ass and I been donating my brain and I am not going to do that no more until they kick in some for my brain.
He said them sheep skin carrying engineers was trying to figure out how to measure the amount of fluid and I told them to weigh each bucket before and after the test and figure out the flow rates by weight and that is exactly how their going to do it and they done gone to find some appropriate scales to measure by grams. "I ain't going to give by brain away no more!!"
That was typical Archie. You could ask him what happened about any subject at any place and he would make you up a good story about exactly what had occurred regardless were it had happened or not. But, we all enjoyed working with him and he was a pretty darn smart individual as well as he always did his share of the task at hand.
Although not for the same company we both ended up working at KSC.
The flow test on the newly designed valve had indicated it should work for the 96 jacks and keep the ring level on the hydrostatic test facility.
The prototype test valve had been made from aluminum and it was to now be made from stainless steel and installed inside a console being made to operate the hydrostatic leveling system.
During testing, the tanks were all heavily instrumented to record different measurements.
What was called a Y ring hung below the tank bottom on which about every 2 feet was mounted electrical devices called potentiometers used to measure the sag in the bottom of the tank.
To keep the tank level with the 96 jacks, a scope was connected to instrumentation on the tank and the scope was set to provide a dot inside a bullseye on the scope and the new control valve worked so well you could by changing the valve position very slightly walk the top of the tank around which made the dot go around in a small circle of the scope.
The valve worked to perfection and could not have been designed any better to accomplish the intended task and I always admired the engineer who designed it because from his head had came the solution of how to keep the tank level using the 96 different jacks.
During the hydrostatic test every weld on the tank was covered with a specially designed crepe type looking tape so if and when the tape got wet it was made to short out and turn on a light on the test console to indicate a leak and it's location.
Inside each tank was fluid level indicators and part of the hydrostatic test was to verify they indicated the proper fuel level. i.e. the gas gage in other words.
Pumps located outside the VAB were used to fill the tanks and it took several hours to accomplish the filling.
For the test, one of the inspection openings on top of the tank was equipped with a temporary butterfly type valve or actually a trap door type arrangement which had to be held up by hand once the water approached the top of the tank.
The door had a rubber seal on it and once the door was held closed long enough to have water pressure against it would stay shut.
The pumps were not in essence used to pressurize the tanks. A four inch stand pipe ran up the inside wall several feet above the top of the tank and the test water was actually pumped into this stand pipe which in-turn was connected to the tank.
Once you closed the lid on top of the tank, the water was pumped into the stand pipe until the desired height in the stand pipe had been reached.
It was the height of the water column that was actually controlling the test pressure.
It should also be noted that we had different volume sized pumps and we switched to a smaller pump once the water level got near the top of the tank.
Also, the stand pipe was open at the top which meant the water would run out the top before it could over pressurize the tank.
The trap door type lid on top of the tank was made as it was in case a tank failure did occur and the water suddenly drained from the tank it would not suck in or collapse the tank because the lid would drop down and open up to provide a vent.
All the workstations relative to the running the hydrostatic test were equipped with headsets so all the crew had communications with the ones in charge of running the test back in the control room and the guy on top of the tank could see inside the tank as the water level rose and he provided reports back to the control room what the visual water level was.
I can no longer recall how many tank test I was involved with but, I do know that at least once I was the guy who stayed on top of the tank and closed the value.
I can also recall that Tracy never could understand how we obtained the test pressure by having the stand pipe open at the top. For some reason he could never get it in his head that the height of a water column determined the pressure in the tank and did so regardless of the diameter of the stand pipe. Tracy never got it.
Adjacent to the VAB was a building which contained a 2000 gallon tank mounted on some very accurate weighing scales with a huge round gage indicating the weight of the tank and what ever was in it.
The purpose of the 2000 gallon tank was to drain back the water from the propellant tank after hydrostatic testing and weigh each tank full so the volume of the propellant tank could be calculated.
So, as the water was drained from the propellant tank into the 2000 gallon tank and it got full we stopped the draining process and recorded the exact weight showing on the gage. We then proceeded to empty the 2000 gallon tank down to an all most empty mark and then record the near empty weight.
In other words we drained, weighed and dumped, drained weighed and dumped until the propellant tank was empty.
The hydrostatic testing of the propellant tanks was a round the clock non stop operation from beginning to completion and therefore the hydrostatic test crew was placed on 12 hour shifts round the clock until the test was completed.
On one of the test which I am pretty sure occurred over the 3 day weekend of labor day 1965, our sheep skin carrying engineer, Bobby got his revenge on some of the harassments we had been giving him.
Having 2 days of weekend overtime added to the pay check was one thing. But, 12 hour days plus 12 hours of double time on Sunday and a 12 hour holiday at triple time made the pay check something to write home about.
There were 3 of us in the control room switching the drain valves, doing the weighing and recordings and monitoring the draining process while over in the VAB or main control room the engineers were monitoring the instrumentations outside and inside the propellant tank.
We were quite aware we were not suppose to let the drain tank run dry when draining it because this messed up the calculations and made them harder to figure. The bottom of the drain tank was funneled shaped and a sight glass to indicate the fluid level was only up on the straight sided part of the tank.
Dumping the drain tank every time probably took between 15 and 20 minutes and a like amount of time to refill it by emptying the propellant tank.
During one of these lull times while draining the dump tank we were on the black board counting this ton of money we were going to get come pay day.
In other words all 3 of us was not tending to business and allowed the tank to run past our normal cut off point. Not totally empty but, past the marks we were suppose to maintain and we had to stop the draining process and call Sheep Skin Bobby over from his monitoring job in the VAB to see what he wanted to do.
His normal words of "You Guys" had a derogatory tone to it this time and we did feel quite badly about screwing up but, he took care of us and said he could calculate it by doing some extra figuring.
So, we proceeded with the dumping process and all was well. But, we did stop counting our money.
It was about this time that, they decided to send Tracy and myself to Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) for two weeks of on the job training to prepare us for running the acceptance test on the F1 rocket engine which the S1C stage used.
We had already been attending F1 class room schooling at Michoud in preparation for us running the acceptance test at Michoud and it was now time for us to get some hands on training.
We were also going to be putting the Michoud test stands together ourselves which would be identical to those already being used at MSFC so, to eye ball the MSFC stands was going to be helpful when we got around to plumbing the Michoud Test Stands with the hydraulic lines.
We had the choice of driving our own cars and be paid mileage or fly to Huntsville and be provided a rental car while in Huntsville.
I decided to drive my own vehicle because Huntsville was as close to Nashville and the Grand Old Opry as I might ever be so I wanted to drive over and see the Grand Old Opry while in Huntsville. I figured Boeing might not like me taking their rental car to the Grand Old Opry and Tracy and I both wanted to take advantage of the opportunity we would have.
A Michoud NASA cat was also going to be in Huntsville for the F1 OJT and although he was not traveling with us to Huntsville he was going to be lodging with us and he too wanted to see the Grand Old Opry.
So, away we went in my little six cylinder 1958 Ford pickup to Huntsville, Alabama and the red clay dirt of the Redstone Arsenal.
The engine in my pickup was brand new having just been replaced.
Typical of New Orleans living and red neck mechanics I had replaced the engine myself out in the middle of the street with parts scattered from one end of our drive way to the other.
I had done a neat job however as I had painted all inside the engine compartment and every component part on the engine. Open the hood and the inside looked like a brand new pickup. I really liked my pickup.
Up to now after being raised in Texas, I had only lived in the adjoining state of Arkansas, New Mexico and now Louisiana.
I recall being totally amazed that I drove through 3 states in one day getting to Huntsville because I had been use to driving all day without getting out of Texas.
The two weeks was pretty non eventful, we did witness and in some ways help run one of the F1 engines through the same leak checks and valve timing test we would be running at Michoud and we did look the test stand over pretty good to see how the hydraulic and pneumatics lines were plumbed as well as a close look at the high speed recorders which recorded the valve timing that was a critical item of concern as it was essential the engine's RP1 and LOX fuel valves opened and closed in the correct length of time and in the proper sequence.
AND, we did attend the Grand Old Opry on the first Saturday night we were there. Arrived late and had to buy tickets for standing room only and we spent the night standing up in the highest part of the balcony as the Grand Old Opry was still being held in the Ryman Auditorium.
After returning to Michoud, we started plumbing the engine test stands and activating the engine test room.
A room large enough to hold 3 test stands had been walled in inside the plant to be used as the engine test area and 3 engines at a time could be in the process of running the acceptance test.
The engine room was located immediately to one side of a mezzanine and a small room had been built on the edge of the mezzanine next to the engine room to house the hydraulic system that would be used to run the engine test.
The Hydraulic system was manufactured by an outside contractor and was all skid mounted as one complete unit about 12 feet long by 8 feet wide and was ready to connect to the test stands hydraulic lines and control panels.
I can no longer recall what my normal sidekick Tracy was off doing. But, some how I got assigned to run the acceptance test on this unit all by my lonesome self.
I reckon one reason is because it was a pretty simply test to see if it met the designed flow rates.
Of course the complete unit had to function properly and meet design requirements but, other wise the only test necessary was to verify flow rates and pressure needs.
To do this I had to fabricate and install a 2 inch hydraulic line from the discharge of the pump back to the supply tank for the hydraulic fluid and have with in this line a flow meter to check the flow rate.
The skid came equipped with it's own pressure gage.
One afternoon after getting things all connected up I decided to run a little preliminary test on my own to see the results for myself prior to getting Quality Control and making things official.
Sure enough, I had some leaks in the line I had installed and it needed some support bracing due to the vibration which helped caused the leak.
The unit operated ok but, it sure had a weird and sharp vibration to it and the vibration would change depending on the speed and pressure you were operating at. I forget now exactly how it was accomplished but, you could adjust the pump speed to vary the flow rates.
So, I spent all afternoon installing a brace and fixing things and operating the unit several times with plans to run the official test the next day.
Next morning I learned all hell had broke loose and I was the cause.
Upon the mezzanine right next to the room where the hydraulic unit had been located was an area about 60 feet wide and 150 feet long with row after row of work benches were people sit using magnifying glasses while soldering circuit boards and wiring harness together.
There must have been 250 employees doing the hand soldering and every time I had run the unit the previous day I had shut down every one of them because the vibration was shaking the whole mezzanine area to the point they could not hold their soldering irons steady.
The mezzanine had been constructed using a concrete floor supported by 12 inch square pillars and was sufficiently strong to take a fork lift up on the freight elevator to move stuff on the mezzanine but, that did not keep the resonance from the hydraulic unit from carrying out all over the mezzanine area.
The only choice to be made was to relocate the soldering operations to some place else in the plant and plans were initiated to do that.
Meanwhile, for the remainder of the immediate test we had to coordinate with the soldering group when we wanted to operate the hydraulic unit.
Luckily, I was ready to run the acceptance test which was going to only take about 2 hours and then there was going to be no further need to run the unit until the test stands were operational.
So, a few days later we coordinated running the test one afternoon which was accomplished without problems and a couple weeks later the soldering group got moved off the mezzanine
It was now October 1965 and we were in the process of installing the plumbing in the test stands and doing other things to activate the engine room when I learned that Bendix was in New Orleans hiring for Kennedy Space Center.
I had known right off I was never going to like working and living in New Orleans and 16 months later that still held true.
You just can't take a country boy from small town living and put him in a metropolitan area of 600 hundred thousand people and expect him to be happy.
AND, Coming from the oil fields of Texas, I just didn't have the back ground or disposition to work in an environment of a whistle tooten clock watching bunch like the Boeing operation was.
Boeing worked in increments of 6 minutes If you were 30 seconds late you were docked 6 minutes, Be 7 minutes late and you were docked 12 minutes.
Boeing had time keepers who acted like they wrote the pay check. You could be going some place in the plant and you would be stopped by a time keeper wanting to know where you worked and what you were doing and if not in your work area they wanted to know why to make sure you were doing your job.
Lining up at the time clock a couple minutes before quitting time was a No No and I have observed time keeps grab time cards from people and start punching them out. AND yep, punch out 30 seconds early and your docked 6 minutes pay.
With it's many historical places and fine dining, New Orleans is a great wonderful place to visit and party.
But, I considered it a hell hole of a place to live and raise a family.
Every day started and ended terrible, although I only lived 7 miles from the Michoud plant, it most often took me 2 hours to get to or from work.
It was a straight shot down Paris road from Chalmette to Michoud.
AND, as many secondary roads were in Louisiana, the sides of Paris road was littered with house hold appliances, furniture and trash of every description. So, it was not a scenic drive.
The worst problem was, Paris road crossed over the Intercostal Canal dredged out to make a shorter route between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico.
At the time, the vehicle traffic crossed the canal on a pontoon bridge which had to open for the canal traffic to pass.
The pontoon was nothing more then a large barge set across the canal and hinged to pilings on one end so it could be opened and closed with cables connected to a wench.
Needless to say this took some time to swing open and close the barge and invariable you were caught and delayed either going or coming from work. Seldom ever did you succeed in making it across both directions.
They were in the process of building a high rise bridge across the canal but, that was going to take a few years to complete as they had only started the project and each day I observed the pilings being driven to support the foundation and later watched them using the slip forms to pour the concrete pillars to support the bridge.
The bridge was going to be of considerable height to allow the passage of sea going ships and this meant the concrete pillars were well over a hundred feet tall and required an excessively long crane boom to lift the buckets of concrete up for dumping into the slip forms.
One day coming home there lay the crane boom all bent up in a pile of twisted metal.
Each day for the next two week I watched as they repaired the crane boom with cutting torches, welders and new metal.
After about two weeks while on the way home I observed the crane boom back in the air and they were finally pouring concrete again.
Very next afternoon, On the way home there the crane boom was once again, in a bent up pile of twisted metal. So, much for coon ass crane operators.
Then one day, the pontoon bridge operator did not get the barge pulled open in time and a big ship tore the barge from it's moorings and carried it down the canal about a half mile.
The Intercostal canal connects into another canal running between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River making a T shape of the canal and roads.
To get home the workers living in Chalmette would now have to take highway 90 nearly into New Orleans to get around the top of the T and back to Chalmette.
This meant a 30 mile drive and crossing the draw bridges of the Lake Pontchartrain canal twice.
As things some time go, one afternoon both draw bridges were open and there was about an hours delay crossing each of the two bridges and after that another 30 to 45 minute delay due to a train blocking a railroad crossing.
After finally getting past the railroad crossing I gave a sign of relief and told myself man-o-man finally I can now get home.
I had no more then told myself that when up ahead in the middle of the road was a herd of cattle crossing the road and I had to wait about 10 minutes for this guy to get all his cows across.
To get out of the traffic, I had taken a road that skirted around the congested areas and danged if a herd of cattle didn't delay me.
Two draw bridges, one railroad track and a herd of cows.
I got home exactly 3 hours after leaving the job site at Michoud and my frustration of living in New Orleans climbed higher.
And that's the way it was working at Michoud.
At the time of our moving there, housing was a problem due in part to people like myself who had gone to work at the Michoud Plant. I looked and looked to find a house to rent and there simply were not any decent ones I could afford.
I am sure the frustrations developed from my efforts to find decent living quarters gave me an attitude from the very beginning that New Orleans never had much chance to over come.
With a wife and 3 children we needed a 3 bedroom house but, there were none to be had. It was very discouraging to read the advertisement section about this nice neat apartment or house and then drive all the way across town to look at a dump.
It might have been considered nice by New Orleans standards but, by mine it was a run down dirty dump.
I finally found a two bedroom double on Jacob Street in Chalmette that was clean and practically new. I had come to learn that a double was what we called a duplex in the rest of the world.
I thought in most parts of the world a duplex was normally two identical housing units.
Jacob Street was off the St Bernard Highway which followed the Mississippi River from The French Quarters to the "End of the World"
One weekend shortly after we moved to Chalmette, the family and I decided to take a Sunday afternoon drive and follow the St Bernard highway which is also state road 39 just as far as it would take us towards the gulf and mouth of the Mississippi River.
We discovered the highway abruptly stopped with a large barricade across the road and a large sign that read "The End of the World".
At the end of the highway there was a road off to the left leading to a coast guard station.
We noticed the coast guard station was a pretty popular place with lots of folks fishing as well as was another spot back up the road.
In fact the whole area was surrounded by water with dry land here and there.
On another weekend we grabbed our fishing equipment, bought some supplies and headed back to the "End of the World" and the coast guard station to do some fishing only to learn that no one was fishing.
They were crabbing and catching crab with crab nets about 18 inches in diameter which had a piece of meat tied in the center. You threw this round crab net out in the water and waited until a crab came along and started feeding on the meat and then you pulled them in with the line attached to the harness on the crab net.
Us land lubbers had never crabbed before so come next payday we go down and purchase us about six of these here crab nets and we again go to the "End of the World" to catch us some crab.
Well you might know it, every body was fishing and catching fish and not a crab around.
From then on we took both fishing and crabbing equipment and did a little of both and the family did go many weekends to the "End of the World".
On one of our drives down we discovered this old abandon rundown plantation home right on the banks of the Mississippi River and having always liked exploring adventures, we stopped and went inside.
The house had to go back to the days of the civil war because it was a home right out of "Gone with the Wind". Parts of the floor was missing as well as part of the steps going up stairs to the 2nd floor.
The floor beams were hand hewn 3 X 8s and the complete house had been built from very heavy bulky lumber.
One small corner of the house which consisted of about 3 rooms total remained in tact and there was a black family living there with a side entrance door.
Otherwise, the main part of the house was wide open and the front door and most all the windows were missing.
There were several little shacks still there which obviously had been the slave quarters.
In the area of Chalmette, the St Bernard Highway and the Mississippi River is lined with refineries, sugar plants, Kaiser Aluminum and other industrial operations.
The Chalmette battlefield where General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the war of 1812 is also located between the St. Bernard Highway and the Mississippi River near Chalmette.
The battlefield was a historical place and one the family enjoyed exploring which we did on more then one occasion.
The particular sub-division we moved to appeared to be a neighborhood of fine looking brick homes and they where except they were all doubles and, in every case I knew of, the landlord lived in one of the units which would be quite large and the other unit was rented. i.e. a double.
When we unloaded our furniture from the van I liked to not got it all in the double I had rented.
All the time we lived there the legs were off our coffee table and stowed sideways between our bed and the wall.
Fortunately, at the time our 3 children were ages 2, 6, and 8 so they all shared one bedroom barely.
We had no carport, no nothing and only one driveway were you parked the car and jumped out. I had to keep my pickup parked in the street.
There was a very small utility room on the side of the house where the washing machine connections were and I had the utility room stacked to the ceiling with our belongings. There was just enough room to open the door and reach inside to wash clothes.
Two large wooden cabinets I kept tools and junk in had to sit beside the house outside but, they were under the roof over hang and I kept them covered with plastic.
I also left our charcoal barbecuer outside but, soon learned I could not enjoy it. You simply could not stand to be outside in Chalmette as it approached dark because of the Mesquites and another item was added to my list of many reasons for wanting out of the New Orleans area.
New Orleans was the only place I had ever lived that you could not close the bars up because they never closed except when the owner choose to do so.
On one occasion the aircraft carrier Lexington came to New Orleans for the crew to have a few days rest and relaxation i.e. "R & R"
I happened to have a friend assigned to the Lex and when the ship came in we were at the port to meet Gary Pray who had started roughnecking for me in Abilene, Texas back when I was a Texas Oil Driller and he was only 16 years of age and I was the ripe old age of around 24.
We met the Lex and picked up Gary so he could visit with us while he was in town and the 2nd night there he and I decided to go down to the French Quarters and see what his sailor buddies were up to.
Well of course they were hitting all the bars and so we joined them.
Late that night we found a small little bar with only a few customers in it and were just sitting there drinking our beers and talking like guys do and after a while I got to noticing this funny looking light that was starting to shine in the front door which was open.
After a short period I got up to go see what the light was and damn, it was the sun coming up and it was getting day light.
I had never before been in a bar when the sun came up and to have it start getting daylight provided a funny sort of experience because I had thought the light was anything but, the sun.
Another experience in bars never seen before was the uniformed deputies from the sheriff department would drop in and look over the bar to make sure their was no disturbances or trouble and then before leaving they would step up to the end of the bar and have their courtesy drink.
That was a fact, they made their rounds of all the bars and at each had a free drink because I have on occasions changed bars myself and observed the same deputy come in both.
That surprised me but, I was also surprised to learn while driving there was no need to hide your beverage. I could be driving around town with a can of beer sitting on the dash or even take a sip while sitting at a red light with a police car stopped beside me with out any fear of being stopped because they ignored it. Ignore is probably the wrong word because in New Orleans, it was simply a way of life.
One night while sitting in a bar a guy came in with his clothes all soaking wet and wanted to use the phone to call for a wrecker because he had run his car into a canal about a mile down the road.
Two car loads of us followed him and the wrecker back to his car as well as did a sheriffs deputy who had been notified of the incident.
At the scene, we were all standing there watching as the wrecker guy got out into the water to connect the wrecker which was lighted by the spot light on the wrecker and the patrol car.
All of a sudden there was a load bam bam bam behind us and we all jumped liked scared rabbits and turned around to see this deputy sheriff have himself a belly laugh at how he had scared us.
He had taken out his pistol and fired it in the air three times just to have a laugh and we all laughed with him but, frankly I found it hard to respect that kind of law enforcement. However, that was the way it was in New Orleans.
No one trusted any one in New Orleans, I could not cash a personal check at any business any place except a large grocery store where we bought groceries and even there you had to first fill out an application and have your check cashing privileges approved and even after that you could not purchase your groceries and go directly to the cashier and write a check.
Each time you went shopping, you had to first go to the office with a filled out check completed except for the amount so they could look up your records and initial the check for approval and then at the checkout stand you put in the amount.
So, we did have a bank account but, only used it to pay our utilities and make other payments. Other wise it was a cash only society.
We did find this one bar/restaurant which would cash your payroll check providing you were a regular customer. We had learned to like fried oysters so we became a customer and often times cashed our payroll checks there but, could not cash a personal check.
I once went to a small fish market and bought some fresh shrimp to take home and as the lady was filling the plastic bag I noticed she was grabbing shrimp from one area and then another area but, didn't think anything about it until I got home and discovered half of what I had been given was tails only then it dawned on me that as the lady filled the bag she was picking up from different areas because she was mixing in the non eatable tails.
Every since we had moved into the 2 bedroom double we had kept our eyes on the look out for a larger place and in the summer of 1965 we arranged to meet the realtor at a house for rent and while there, another couple came by and the realtor suggested we look over the back yard and outside garage while he saw what these folks wanted.
We did and came back in the house to tell the realtor we would take the house and he said "I'm sorry these folks have already taken it"
I blew up and told him we were the ones who called and it was our appointment and other wise he would not even have been there and that a decent realtor would have at least given us the opportunity to say yes or no.
He said he operated on the basic of who handed him the money first and he had their money in his hand.
It is said, the lord works in mysteries ways and the realtor had done us a favor because 3 months later the house was under water from Hurricane Betsy. Had we moved there we would have lost all our household belongings.
Some of the guys I worked with lived over in Slidell Louisiana and in August of 1965 they told me of a 3 bedroom house becoming vacant so we moved to Slidell just before school started.
The Slidell house wasn't too bad except common to a lot of the ways things are done in Louisiana the bathroom commode used a septic tank but, all the sinks and the clothes washer dumped the water into a 2 foot wide one foot deep open ditch running along the street in front of the house.
It was nothing to come home and see soap suds bubbling up in front of the house and I knew the clothes were being washed.
We were sitting in the Slidell house watching TV one night when a policeman knocked on the door and he wanted to know if I had heard any noise or anything. I explained the TV was on and no I had not. He said come on let me show you something and carried me around to the side of the house and shined his flashlight on one of our bedroom windows which was now shattered with glass all over the ground.
I was a little shocked and the officer explained the wife of our neighbor had gotten drunk and was auguring with her husband when she shot a shotgun through the window of her house and into the window of our house.
I went inside and our bedroom floor and bed was covered with shattered glass but, we told the officer not to worry because we would clean it up.
A few days later the neighbor who we had not yet had a chance to meet came over and apologized for his wife's conduct. However, I think he was more interested in finding out if I was going to take any type action against them or not. I told him he had no problems with me but, I couldn't speak for the landlord who had to replace the shot out window.
On September 10, 1965 Hurricane Betsy hit the New Orleans area and we were sure glad we had moved to Slidell.
The only damage at our place was a large pine tree located in our back yard fell across the roof of our other neighbor's house and knocked a hole in the roof.
The road near the 7 mile bridge crossing Lake Borgne to Michoud had washed out and now we had to make the trip around to the 26 mile bridge across Lake Pontchartrain to get to work.
Other wise Hurricane Betsy did no harm to the Smyth Family but, it sure gave us a great appreciation for what Hurricanes could do after seeing all the damage and flooding in New Orleans and Chalmette.
I helped one of my co-workers who lived in Chalmette salvage what he could and we waded in 2 feet deep water inside his house to rescue his gun collection, The water had been over 3 feet and above his kitchen table by about 8 inches.
Most all of area that lay between New Orleans and Paris Road which represented several miles was underwater.
Where we had previously lived on Jacob street was not flooded because it was on the other side of Paris road.
But, the house we would have rented except for the realtor, was a few blocks from the area where Ben lived and deeper into the flood area so by the grace of god and an unscrupulous realtor we were saved from what would have been a very sad experience.
This was Ray Jr's first year of school, so we went down to a PTA meeting at the beginning of school.
Ray Jr. had been given a list of all sorts of things to buy for school and besides a bar of soap, one of the items was 2 rolls of toilet paper which bothered me a little and I wanted to learn more about how this Louisiana school system worked.
The meeting was held in the gym where the floor had just been newly varnished and I was amazed to observe they had painted around a stack of folding chairs on the side of the gym floor. I simply found it hard to believe they had not moved the chairs but, had painted around them and the stack even went out a couple of feet onto the basketball court itself.
At the meeting we were asked to vote on taking PTA funds and buy a floor fan to use in one of the class rooms or some area. I was new to the group but, I stood up to comment and couldn't help but, tell them I was wondering what idiot painted the gym floor and expressed my belief we could do better.
I should have kept my mouth shut because I left the meeting as the newly elected President of PTA for the new school year.
They should not have done that because I was on my way to Florida and Kennedy Space Center except no one knew it and that included me.
However, I had been making some effort in that regard.
As soon as I became eligible for my first vacation time in 1965, I had taken a week off and we went to Florida with a hand full of resumes and spent the week going around to all the aerospace companies in Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach and the lone one up in Titusville.
The one in Titusville was Bendix and also the one I really wanted to obtain employment with.
Couple of reasons for my doing that. The first was, Bendix had the support contract to operate the ground facilities and I knew they offered a better chance for longevity then did the rocket contractors because rockets come and go while launch facilities stay put.
The second was, I already had considerable experience with ground support operations as related to the rocket business and I was comfortable with myself being responsible for managing and operating the ground support equipment.
In May I had already been offered a job with GE at the Mississippi Test Facilities. But, after the week in Florida, I turned it down much to the displeasure of my wife because GE's offer was for me to be a Test Engineer at $100.00 per month more than I was making at Michoud.
But, every worth while missile gypsy I've ever known who has traveled around the country installing rockets in the ground and testing them all the way to point of engine ignition with out actually lighting the fuse is somewhat of a frustrated rocket scientist with a burning desire to go to the cape and shoot one of them things for himself.
So, my heart lay in Florida and after being interviewed by Bendix management during a trip in May of 1965 I was confident I would make it one day.
And that day came in October of 1965 when Bendix came to New Orleans and offered me a General Foreman position in High Pressure Gas with a full move package to Kennedy Space Center.
I accepted the offer, gave Boeing two weeks notice and resigned from the Slidell PTA.
The day our household goods were packed by the moving company, the Louisiana life style gave us a final slap in the face.
When we got to Florida and unpacked all three of the kids piggy banks were missing as well as a neat little beer barrel coin bank. I then recalled one of the packers taking boxes back to their truck that were taped opened and not in the normal collapsed manner as new boxes are. I thought that strange at the time but, you never give much thought to things like that until later when you determine the reason.
Atmosphere and ones environment changes folks and our living in the New Orleans area had an impact on me because I got to where I acted just like my surroundings.
One example of this was when we crossed the border into Florida, I remember telling the kids we are now in Florida and you no longer throw things out the car window. You keep your trash in the car and dispose of it at the house. While living in Louisiana it didn't matter and I didn't care which is not my norm.
A second example and it was interesting to me that is was so obviously a drastic change that I noticed just as soon as I was settled in Florida and at KSC.
In New Orleans it was a mad house to get out of the parking lot at the plant and he who got out in the line of traffic was he who had the most guts to just stick it in there and go and it was the same way in town where traffic was heavy.
What a change it was at KSC at quitting time, drivers were so courtesy and everyone allowed the other vehicles to alternate into the line of traffic and I found it to be the same in all other traffic congested areas of Florida.
I checked in for duty at the Bendix office in Titusville, Florida on November 8, 1965 and never looked back.
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