“Scientists study the world as it is; Engineers create the world that has never been.” —Theodore von Kármán
In 1955 I was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the USAF.
I was allowed for a couple of years to continue in graduate school where I studied both the science of and engineering applications of aeronautics. In 1957 I went on active duty in the Air Force assigned to the Experimental Flight Test Branch at Edwards Air Force Base. In just less than two years I had an early out and went back to the civilian world. While I was figuring out how to get back into graduate school I worked at Aerojet-General Corporation, a place that built rocket engines. One of their engines failed in the flight of a Thor Able Star rocket. Studying that failure gave me the ticket back to school, and a topic for my doctoral thesis.
In the years that followed my education gave me entrée to a lot of different jobs. I was an assistant professor at UCLA, and a member of the senior technical staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses. I worked at a couple of think tanks and for one of them went to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Ultimately, I went to work at the U.S. Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. For more than 20 years I worked there as a GS-15, not only in the BRL but in the U. S. Army’s Human Engineering Laboratory as well.
An now I am retired.