Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Dan's History

HaLongBayVNSm.jpg I grew up on a sheep farm near Le Sueur, Minnesota (the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant). I was appointed to USAF by Congressman Anchor Nelson. Having had absolutely no previous military knowledge or experience, USAFA was a real transition for me!! I spent my first year in 8th Squadron, and then was transferred to 12th Squadron.

Following graduation I reported to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to obtain a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. After the confines of USAFA, student life at a civilian college was great. While there I was also fortunate to meet my wife Nancy. Upon completion I was stationed at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

At Hickam I was assigned to a USAF unit that had responsibility for solving Radio Frequency Interference and Radiation Hazard problems for all military organizations throughout the entire Asia Pacific region. I was the only military officer in the organization which was manned by civilian engineers and enlisted military technicians. This time was filled with many interesting technical challenges. In those days, long before cell phones and the internet, it was a real thrill to get on a plane in Honolulu and know that for the next month I would not have to talk with the home office -- I could call all the shots for my deployed field team.

After about a year at Hickam I was sent to Saigon where I was tasked to do the same type of work in the SEA theater. It was a real heady time for a young 1st Lt -- having full leadership responsibility for a team of 16 AF electronic technicians (A1C to CMSGT) in a combat theater, my own jeep (a real Army type, not one of those hokey blue AF types), a 6-Pac laboratory van for which I had authority to deploy via airlift anywhere in theater at short notice, and a Army Huey with direction finding capability with first priority to use as I directed. We even had our own offices in an old French Villa near MACV headquarters.

While living in Hawaii Nancy and I were married, and our first son (Dan II) was born at Tripler Army Hospital.

Upon return to the USA I was assigned, via AFIT, to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana to obtain a PhD in Electrical Engineering. While there our other son (Chris) was born at Chanute AFB hospital.

We then moved to Colorado Springs for a tour on the USAFA faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Following a year at Maxwell AFB for Air Command and Staff College, and the opportunity to obtain an MBA from Auburn University, I was assigned to Hanscom AFB in Bedford MA.

I was at Hanscom AFB for almost seven years, working in the Electronic System Division (ESD) Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS-aka Link 16) Program Office, with such positions as Engineer, Technical Director, and then AF Program Manager. This was the initial stages of a major, joint service, electronic engineering development program that was to go on to play a major role in US DoD, NATO, and Allied military operations. At the close of this assignment I was selected 2 years BTZ to O-6.

My final USAF tour was at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio in the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) Combat Information System Program Office (CISPO). I was Program Manager of the Mark 15 Program -- a joint service, multi-national, program to build the next generation Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system for the US and NATO forces. I was able to take the program through the Defense System Acquisition Review Council process to initiate full scale engineering development.

Having decided to not accept the O-6 promotion, I retired and went to work for Systems Research and Applications Corporation (SRA) in the Boston, MA area.

After a year with SRA I accepted employment with the Raytheon Company, in Marlboro, MA. I spent 20 years at Raytheon with positions as System Engineer, Program Manager and Marketing Manager. During the first 10 years at Raytheon I worked with military electronic systems, and then transferred to their International Air Traffic Control (IATC) business sector where I was involved in ATC sales and installations in the Asia Pacific region, including extended tours in India and the UK.

Having found international business so exciting, after retiring from Raytheon in 2005, I accepted a “retirement” job with a Spanish company, Indra Sistemas, to market their ATC equipment throughout the Asia Pacific region. I deployed to Bangkok, Thailand, and was responsible for sales in South and Southeast Asia. This was a very enjoyable experience, in a fascinating part of the world which was experiencing significant growth in air travel – especially many of the underdeveloped countries like Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Myanmar, etc. During that period I was able to take Indra ATC products into India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Mongolia, and China.

After eight years in Bangkok I returned to our home in the Boston area in 2013 and am now enjoying a more complete retirement and the accompanying pleasures of more time with our two sons and associated grand children.
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