originally posted by: BASSPLYR
didn't you build some laser in your backyard as a teen that was pretty powerful?
Nah, that was someone I knew. He popped a satellite by accident tuning the thing. I did work testing a water hyacinth burning laser with the Corps of
Engineering Corps when I was a teen, prior to the Army days.
However, the only cool thing I did as a teen on the order of what Zaphod is talking about was when, working for the USCEC, which at the time stood
redundantly for United States Corps of Engineers Corps, I noticed a number of things that didn't make sense. One, we had a truly immense ability to
generate electric power, with two very large diesels in a room underground hooked to generators. I had to maintain them, and every week had to crank
them up, sync the gennies to the AC line, cut in the generators, then cut the outside feed and run the entire place off the generators for a few
We also had a really amazing fabrication area where you could bend big steel plates and weld them to barges. But it was way too complex for that. And
we could power all the welding/forming machinery from the diesels I ran.
And there was something to do with a dock. Only you couldn't see most of it.
And there was a huge antenna array on the roof, placed where it was tough to see.
Now, grant you, it was a big function of the place to maintain radios and sonar rigs for the river mat sinking boats. But it seemed out of place.
So one day, I mentioned the many many anomalies I had found to the guy that ran the place.
He introduced me to the OTHER function, which was a submarine pen for a single attack sub. We were set up to reprovision and repair an attack sub that
could make it up the river. There was a huge freaking warehouse under the facility on the same floor as the generators, full of sub crap. And as part
of it, there was a big comm system that I had been unaware of that went with the antenna array. Once a quarter, a really big number of facilities
would have "NORAD day", and you would have to make very sure the radio gear was operational, and you'd sit by the radio and wait.
There was a list of facilities. In order, the guy from NORAD (as far as I could tell) would call off each station. So you'd hear every military and
intel base in the country respond one at a time, then all the facilities like ours, and there were a lot of them. Eventually, they'd get to me and I'd
get to read out our call sign and status from a card. It was a hair raising deal to a 16 year old kid. And they acted like it was the way it should
be. No one laughed at you or acted like it was odd that a 16 year old with a Georgia accent was doing this. Although you could tell a few of us
weren't exactly roger ramjet yet.
But I was up there with Langley and Kirtland, as far as anyone could tell.
It was one of those little things that set the hook, life wise. Alas.