In 1973 or 1974 I changed projects within the Computer Systems Command. I had been working on a project called VTAADS, but I transferred to the (more prestigious) systems programming group (I forget the actual title), which was responsible for much lower-level systems. Instead of using a high-level language like COBOL I would be programming in IBM assembly language. The new group was developing a communications product to transmit data among Army installations.

As the newest kid on the block I didn't expect to get any glitzy travel assignments, but there was a special situation. The tech lead was roundly disliked by the other staff and viewed as an incompetent lush. When he announced that he would install the system in Hawaii and Okinawa and then train people in its use, no one else agreed to accompany him. They knew they would be doing all the work while he spent the time at the beach or a local watering hole. But SOMEONE had to go and do the work. What the hey, I didn't care so I volunteered with the proviso that the rental car would be in my name. That's how I got to Hawaii.

Such folks give all government employees a bad name. At the time it was virtually impossible to fire anyone so he stayed around taking up space. This trip was actually a turning point in his "career," however, since he messed up SO badly (and publically) that he ended up on probation and eventually drifted away. I don't know what happened to him and don't even remember his name to see if Google knows.

Not long after that initial trip, there was a second trip to Hawaii continuing on to Tokyo. Mr. Tech Lead was history by that time so one of my other colleagues and I got the brass ring. Both Hawaiian visits are included here.

The first trip was notable for an unrelated event. The night before I left I came home to find that the sewer line in my apartment complex was clogged. As I had the downstairs apartment the sewage was backing up into my unit! I called the manager in a panic and she had plumbers out that night to fix the situation and clean it up. I was thankful the only damage was in the bathroom. Had it happened the following night I would have been gone on a month-long trip and no one would have noticed until the mess seeped out of my unit into the common hallway. All of my belongings would have been ruined. As my mother would say, "The Lord was holding me by the hand!"

Another interesting sideline was that these trips happened during some of the worst days of the 1973-74 oil crisis. While most folks were standing in line on odd or even days for gas, I had access to a private filling station at the rental car company.

There are a couple of ways to follow me on my trip. I've tried to make the narrative a complete summary, but I've used many links to other web sites to provide additional details and sometimes pictures. You can either stick with the basic narrative or explore the various links. At the time this album was created the links were all valid, but the WWW is in constant flux and that can change. If you encounter broken links, please send me some email.

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