Sunday, November 16, 2008

Veterans: The Electronic Engineers Who Design the Weapons

Memories this week have been fun and at times very heart wrenching, thinking about those who have served in the military, family and friends, and yes, even those not known by name but certainly by story and struggle. Today, I think about my eldest brother Dennis. He was an absolute genius when it came to any kind of higher math. He had trouble with English classes, and I had trouble with Algebra--we made a good team. Dennis was nine years older than me and a year older than "the middle child" Richard.

Dennis graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Electronic Engineering. Then he joined the US Army. By physical description everybody said he could have gone to Hollywood and been a double for James Garner. To me, he was just Dennis.

After boot camp in California, he came home and said he had been asked to go to Officers Training but declined. That wasn't his goal. So he instead joined a group of high specialized electronic engineers. During his military experience I loved to hear his stories and kept them near to my heart. Near the end of his life, he allowed me to ask things that he would never tell me before. And some secrets he really did take to his grave.

His security clearance was high enough that even as a teenager, the government began a file on everybody in the family, interviewed all our neighbors, my school teachers, anybody we dealt with basically. I thought at the time it was so thrilling--and mysterious. As I became an adult and we would talk, I asked him once, what in the world did you get yourself involved with!!

Teaching electronics to the Turkish military; he loved not only the work that he did, but the places he was sent to. Over the years I have thought it so strange that he brought back a beautiful Koran, in Arabic which he couldn't read.

He was on alert for the Bag of Pigs Invasion, as he had been training with special forces and Green Beret. He loved going out in the Arizona and New Mexico deserts on trials of new weapons. Trained in New Jersey where he had to memorize everything, nothing written; no paper or pens allowed in the classroom.

Stealth technology, weapons being designed during the Vietnam war that were used in the Gulf War of the 90s. Of course one of my questions that received silence from him was if he had ever worked in Area 51? At least I got him to admit that we had indeed worked on flying saucers. And that's another reason I take all the sightings with a grain of salt (or sand). Worked on Star Wars technology before it was made public and other "future" gadgets.

The interesting thing in all of his training and work--he was the most humble and loving person you would ever want to meet. Shy and unassuming, avid reader, Boy Scout leader for life which his wife and kids all got involved with, and loved God. Dedicated to whatever he believed in--and would have gladly died for any cause that involved the pursuit of life and liberty.

I miss our talks. When we got our heads together everybody left us alone, we had such similar passions of politics, military weaponry, world events, and religion. Such a mixture--but it all worked for us.

So to those in the military who work on defense systems and the future "gadgets" Thanks--You are definitely not acknowledge too much but I for one know how much you have to give to do what you do. I learned not to take for granted that we just "had the equipment". Somebody had to design and help produce the perfection of the weaponry.


Patrice said...

Amazing story and very interesting!! I have anlways been so fastinated with miltary secrets, I guess I am nosey!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Wow--it's not often when I'm hopping around on mom blogs I run into a post about something so out of the ordinary and interesting. Plus, it was a really poignant tribute to your brother. Thank you for sharing this. I join with you in celebrating his outstanding life. I'm thankful he served the country in which I live.

AnooCre8ion said...

What a truly amazing story. Dennis sounded like someone I would have loved to meet.

Great tribute.

Just stopping by to say hello