Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#55) A Special Thanks to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and a Couple of Others

Ray Hand and others recently documented this "sea story" about how 60+ years of Librascope memorabilia was literally saved from the dumpster, and eventually made available for others to enjoy. Click here to view the story on-line.

A Special Thanks to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and a Couple of Others

The “Librascope Memories” websites and Libravets everywhere owe a great debt of gratitude to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and others. To begin with, Roys initiative saved the original 1937 Librascope developed by Louis Imm in his garage, over 300 Librazettes, the Publications Department’s master photo file, and a lot of other Librascope memorabilia from total destruction.  

In 1999, Roy had completed eighteen years service at Librascope and was in charge of Publications Department operations. At that time, efforts were underway to close the Glendale Facility and move the remaining work to Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia. The employees sent from Manassas to supervise the shutdown were interested in transferring the engineering and manufacturing drawing files, but had no interest in preserving any of Librascope’s rich history. If it had not been for Roy, with considerable support from Don Tubbs, most of Librascope’s storied history would have been condemned to the dumpster.

Yes, literally a dumpster. When Roy discovered that Librascope memorabilia was being thrown in a dumpster he quickly told Don Tubbs. Together, they decided to do something about it. Roy and Don were soon discovered digging through the dumpster and retrieving assorted memorabilia. When asked what they were doing, they said they were saving a part of Librascope’s history that should be preserved. They were then told to stop until “upper management” was informed, and were accused of planning to sell the material on eBay. The questioner clearly did not know anything about the integrity of the Librascope family. Reportedly, Ernie Pool soon vouched for Roy and Don who were then told they had management’s permission to collect Librascope items of memorabilia.

From that point on, Roy would inform Don whenever memorabilia items were to be destroyed. Instead of throwing them out though, they placed the items in the back of Don’s pickup truck and Don took them home to his garage. However, the large volume of memorabilia storage space required soon occupied the space needed for his “hot rods”, so Danny Sibley offered to store it in his Company’s stockroom. Then, a couple years later, Georgine Archer volunteered to move the everything to her garage, where it remains to this day. Now, just before each Libravet Reunion, Don and Danny visit the archive at Georgine’s, and select the most interesting items to be displayed at the upcoming event.

But that’s only part of this story. In April 2009, after starting the construction of a brand new “Librascope Memories” website dedicated to the Company’s history, Carl Sorensen called Roy Kramer to ask if he knew of any old Librazettes or other Librascope memorabilia that had been saved. Not knowing the extent of Roy’s previous preservation efforts, Carl was amazed to learn about the six decades worth of Librazettes, photographs. and other Librascope documents that Roy had saved and stored at his home for almost ten years. Carl, who could hardly contain his enthusiasm, then asked if he could borrow the collection for scanning and placing on the new website. Roy approved of the idea, because he recognized that putting Librascope’s historic documents on the Internet would make them accessible to everyone. After all, preservation of the Company’s history for the benefit of others was Roy’s and Don’s objective from the very beginning.

When Carl informed Ray Hand of the unbelievably good news, Ray volunteered to pickup the historic treasure from Roy and commence scanning it. Ray then bought a special flat bed scanner suitable for scanning the nearly 300 large size Librazettes, and periodically e-mailed the scanned files to Carl for addition to the growing Librascope Memories website (www.librascopememories.com). Working together, over 2,000 pages of Librazettes, plus numerous Librascope news items, brochures, photographs, and technical literature were processed.

The "Librascope Memories" website's Welcome page
 It soon became apparent, however, that a system was required to facilitate searching of the large and still growing Librascope memorabilia database. So. in late 2009, Carl set up a second web-site called “Librascope Search”, utilizing a new commercial application called Evernote. Evernote was the perfect solution, because it was relatively inexpensive and easily capable of accurately searching the large and complex database for key words such as people’s names, project titles, and various events.

Later, numerous other Librascope documents, that had also been saved, were added to the already large but living database. Today, there are over 60+ years of Librascope history on the two web-sites, including hundreds of historic documents and thousands of pages, that can easily be accessed on the Internet. New items of historic interest continue to be added as they become available.

Then, in time for the 2010 Librascope Reunion, Carl set up a third web-site called Librascope Memories - News Blog (www.librascopememories.blogspot.com). Its purpose was to communicate current events of interest to all Libravets, including any new information relating to the other two “living” web-sites Don and Roy made possible.
The "Librascope Memories - News Blog" Welcome page
And so ends another story about Librascope’s interesting history, and its many good people. Special thanks though to the foresight and personal initiative of Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and the others that followed for saving the Company’s past from the dumpster. Librascope’s rich 60+ years of history, including numerous technical contributions, have now been preserved for the benefit of not only thousands of Libravets, but future researchers and historians as well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#54) 2012 Librascope Reunion Update

The responses to the 2012 Librascope Reunion Survey Questionaire are now in, the results have been analyzed, and today Georgine Archer made the necessary reservations and advance deposit. Mark your calendars, the Reunion will be held Saturday November 3, 2012 at the Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, CA. Click here for a map and directions to the Club.
Angeles National Golf Club Clubhouse at Night

Over 200 responses to the survey were received, and it appears probable that 130 or more Libravets and their guests will attend. The cost per person will be $40, which includes a very nice buffet lunch complete with a coffee/tea station and a dessert table. Georgine will send out the more detailed formal invitations by e-mail in early August.

Thanks to all that participated in the "one minute" survey. It made the planning a lot easier this year.

Monday, February 20, 2012

#53) A Voice From The Past - Bob Sites

The following message was recently received from Eugene "Bob" Sites, shortly after subscribing to this Blog. Bob also reports below on the passing last year of his friend and fellow Libravet Bob Lovejoy. You can contact Bob Sites at bobandjoyce454@gmail.com

I recently came across the Librascope Memories website and really enjoyed reviewing all the old Librazettes.  My name is Eugene “Bob” Sites.  In February 1958, a few months after being discharged from the US Navy, I was hired by Carl Culver as a General Assembler Electrical at $1.47 per hour.  From there I went to an Electrical Inspector, Electrical Inspector Leadman then to Assembly Inspection foreman in 1958, working for Paul Metzger, Bill Giles and Galen Mannen.  I had a little over 10 good years at Librascope, leaving in May 1968.  During those 10 years I met my wife of 51 years, Joyce who was also a Librascope employee at that time.  After leaving Librascope in 1968 we moved to Oregon where we currently live, a few miles from beautiful Mount Hood.   I had many friends at Librascope and see that many retired from there after 25 and 35 years.  My mother, Hazel Sites, also worked there for several years for Art Steiner in the shipping and receiving area of Bldg. 17.  Also my brother-in-law, Frank Webb was an employee for many years.  I have been retired for 14 years now and I would be very interested in receiving a list of Libravets that I could get in contact with after all these years. 

I don't know how often you post information on the passing of old time Librascope employees.  I did notice your "In Memoriam", so I thought I would send the information on Bob Lovejoy.  Bob was a very good friend of mine for many years.  Bob was a 25 plus year employee of Librascope and he passed away last October 16, 2011.  He passed away in Cary, NC where he  moved after he retired to be close to his two daughters and their families.  I found Bob in the February 1991 and May 1991 Librazettes noting his 25th anniversary. Maybe there are a few Libravets who knew Bob, but were not aware of his passing.

Thank you,
Bob Sites

Friday, February 17, 2012

#52) Iran - Tensions, Rescue, and Librascope History

Ray Hand recently submitted this "Sea Story" relating current international events with some interesting Librascope history. The story is also on-line at: http://goo.gl/kPxtU.

Iran - Tensions, Rescue, and Librascope History
Ray Hand
Current tensions with Iran, contrasted with a recent incident where a U.S. Navy destroyer rescued an Iranian fishing boat from pirates, reminded me of some Librascope history from the late 1970’s.  The historical connection came to mind because the destroyer involved in the rescue was named the USS Kidd (DDG-100).
The Shah of Iran, before he was exiled in January 1979, purchased four DDG (guided missile destroyers) from the United States.  He spared no expense in the building and outfitting of the ships.  In general, they were better outfitted than the Spruance Class DDG's in service at the time in our Navy. The first of the four ships was to be named "Kouroush" but, because of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Shah’s exile, the ships were never delivered.  The ships were retained by the U.S. Navy and the first ship was renamed USS Kidd (DDG 993).  DDG 993 has since been decommissioned and the name reused for the DDG 100.  It seemed ironic to me that a ship named Kidd would just happen to be the one to assist the Iranian fisherman.
As for the rescue during tense times in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, anyone who has spent extensive time at sea knows that, except during hostilities, there is a kinship between sailors that compels them to come to each others rescue in times of need.  We do not torpedo life boats.  But, on with the story.
The USS Kidd (DDG-993) was fitted with a Mk 116 ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) system that fired rocket assisted anti-submarine torpedoes.  The Mk 116 was designed, manufactured, installed, and maintained by Librascope.  At the time of the Shah’s exile and the Iranian Revolution, several Iranian Naval Officers were stationed at Librascope and were being trained on the operation and maintenance of the system.  As I remember, one of the officers asked for asylum in the United States and the others returned to Iran.
During this same time period, Librascope was also engaged in marketing submarine fire control technology to the Iranians.  Dr. Walt Picker, who was later to become President of Librascope, was Vice President of Marketing.  I e-mailed Dr. Picker about the connection I had made between the rescue and Librascope history, and he replied with a story about what he described as his interesting experiences with the Iranian submarine marketing effort.  I thanked him for writing the story and asked his permission to include it in this article.  He gave me his permission, so I conclude this story with his words.
Hi Ray,
We never got very far with the Iranians.  The Iranian Navy Captain in charge of the project clearly was not favorable.  They had a proposal from us but it seemed to me that he already had made a deal and it wasn't in his best interest to change it.

My recollection is that I only made three or four trips to Iran.  We were coordinating with the MK48 supplier to get the Iranians to give us a contract to insert the MK48 capability into their FCS.

On my last visit in December 1978, I was there with Pool.  I took him there to familiarize him with the situation - since I was quitting at the end of the year for a new position in Texas and Ernie was my replacement.

It was one of my more interesting trips.  There was a frantic mob at the airport and we were unable to get our luggage for a couple of days. We arrived just after martial law had been declared so we only had an hour to get to our hotel.  People had been told to get off the streets or be shot.  The army was setting machine guns up on corners, fires were burning from rioters, and our hotel had its big lobby windows smashed.  Within a few minutes, there was no traffic on the streets and no pedestrians either.  When we went to visit our agent the next day, there was a tank parked on the sidewalk in front of the office.  And so forth.

It became very clear that there never was going to be a program for the Iranian submarines since [with the regime being forced out by the Islamists] many of the senior officers were unsure about their future. It was hard to get their attention when they were concerned about their personal survival.

I had a meeting with the senior U.S. military guy [an Air Force General].  Hard to get his attention also.

Toward the end of the week, the Parliament was debating on TV whether to shoot the Shah or let him emigrate.  He was lucky.  They ended up kicking him out. 

After a week of chaos, we finally managed to get a flight to Germany and were glad to get out of there.  Ernie had never been in Iran before - he was somewhat shocked by it all.

It was a good example of "may you live in interesting times."


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

#51) 2012 Reunion Plans Discussed at "Has Beens" Luncheon.

Nearly 30 Libravets attended Ralph Simon's "Has Beens" luncheon today in Burbank, CA. After lunch, Georgine Archer announced preliminary plans for the 2012 Librascope Reunion. Currently, two locations are being considered; one in Burbank and the other in Sunland, CA. Two dates are also being considered, October 27th and November 3rd. Tickets will cost about $40 each. Carl Sorensen then announced that he would soon send out a short Internet survey to all Libravets on his "master" mailing list, in order to determine how many would attend, etc. He also briefly discussed the Librascope Memories - News Blog, and addressed a privacy concern that an attendee had expressed about subscribing. Afterwards, the non-subscribers Carl asked said they would now like to subscribe.