Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Armorers to the U S Navy

I want to say thank you to all our veterans on this coming Veterans Day. Careful readers will find I have made several references to the
U S Navy and of course this site is dedicated to the heroes of the first battle by the Navy. So your curiosity might lead you to ask, am I a veteran? The answer is no. I did do a small part in what seems to something of a family tradition, Armorers to the U S Navy.

It began with my fourth great grandfather, Wooden (AKA Woodin) Foster who made those scythes and pitchforks used to capture the Margaretta.

It continued with my father, who worked for over 40 years at Gibbs & Cox. Here is a brief review from their website of what they did while he worked there:

"Since 1933, the firm has designed every class of destroyers for the U.S. Navy, with only one exception.
During World War II, Gibbs & Cox was a leader in the building of our maritime forces. Over 5400 ships were built to Gibbs & Cox, Inc. design during the War. This represents over 70 percent of the tonnage launched in the United States. These included destroyers, destroyer escorts, light cruisers, landing ships and amphibious assault vessels, liberty ships, minesweepers, ice breakers, tankers, tenders. In addition to the design work, Gibbs & Cox, Inc. was also responsible for the central procurement of all materials and equipment. At its peak, the firm issued over 10,000 blueprints and 6,700 (purchase orders) per day."

My little part was a summer spent as an engineering intern working at Grumman on design validation of the HVAC system of the A-6E Intruder. So I’d like to send special greetings to the pilots & B/Ns who flew them. I hope they feel that the draft deferment I got to study engineering was the best thing for all concerned. Being part of a team that brought our forces the all-weather attack air support they needed when they needed it was a privilege. And I got to see three lunar landers under construction in the same room (it was the summer of ‘69, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon). So I guess I’m sort of a “rocket engineer”, the next level up from a rocket scientist since we have to build something that actually works in the real world!

Bravo Zulu to all veterans!

Update 11/12 - There is a good article on MSNBC detailing how attack aviation is used to protect our troops on the ground in Fallujah. The Intruder was the first all-weather attack plane that could deliver even in monsoon conditions. It also played a part in teaching Gadhafi to respect American military might with the recent salutary effect of encouraging him to yield his weapons of mass destruction and his program to make his own nukes.

Update 11/13 - There is another excellent article by Bing West on the current state-of-the art in close air support on Slate.


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