Thursday, August 25, 2016


It's actually about my dad. He read things. As he got more and more senior he used to bring home not one briefcase, he needed two for all the stuff. I remember going into his study in Michigan, which doubled as the TV room and seeing a memo on his desk in his handwriting saying that this particular agony of reading was surely formerly restricted nuclear data which he did not need to be carrying around. It didn't belong in anybody's house.

When he was younger he and his classmates built a nuclear reactor in a pool in Purdue. Man can't fix a toaster but he knows nuclear. I read his 201 file. ssssshhh. Don't tell him. It contained a very nice letter from a famous general who wrote to his Commanding Officer in the Artillery Battalion that that Don fellow sure knew his stuff and was quite probably the only man in Germany in 1961 who was qualified to shoot atomic munitions from 8 inch howitzers.

I'm just going to casually name drop that David Hackworth was the stairwell commander of our little home in Germany. He got the first floor flat. We lived above....and then my dad went to Vietnam.

I was charged with COMSEC 3 times and we only honored 3 classification markings and nuclear wasn't one of them. As a CHENG I had an inspector tell me that I "had to mark all the engineering logs and data sheets as UNCLASSIFIED." I told him the same thing I told the Master Chief within 3 instants of seeing him giving my snipes abuse in Bahrain and telling them they could not reassemble my primary generator without giving it a hot flush. I asked the idiot where's the nearest hot flush rig and he said, "Italy." "Get off my ship."

My father used to go to the White House and walk around on the roof. He knew a classified thing or two. I knew Confidential, Secret and Top Secret and that was enough. That was more than enough. Well, not quite. OK, there were some others I knew because NATO Secret wasn't quite the same as SECRET and above that was COSMIC. But still, not going to mark stuff unclassified. That's for people like Hillary and her crew of dedicated reporters and the FBI.

For the last 34 years my dad has had the same exact novels sitting on his bedside table. My mother asked me about all the text books he kept from Purdue and West Point and I said, no, they have the value that they had when they were written which is to say that they most surely explain Electrical Engineering but even the library doesn't need them. He read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washinton Post voraciously for 30 years in that house. Every single page. He clipped articles and filed them.

You know, once you read those novels that fathers have.... they're all the same. I think Ludlum just changed the names of the characters and the cities and wrote 200 identical novels....until he wrote Road to Gandolfo and Road to Omaha. Those were gems.

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