The Cuban Missile Crisis | We All Hid Under Our Desks

In the previous message, The Pioneering Age of Radio & Security (Part One), the author alluded to the “Red Scare” and the Cuban missile crisis. Here is the author’s memory of a day in October 1962… <feature photo by ccecoldwar1.weebly.com I sat at my desk eating lunch at elementary school on Wednesday, October 24, 1962. My…

The Pioneering Age of Radio & Security (Part One)

photos by protostack.com From Tubes to Transistors Prior to the mid 1950’s vacuum tubes lit up the insides of TV’s, stereos, radios, and telecommunications gear. The large tubes emitted a lot of heat. They were fragile, consumed a large amount of electricity and were susceptible to vibrations when used in bulky two-way radios installed in…

An Alternative Foreign Service Orientation

Our tech supervisor Norm Bates, a Foreign Service veteran notified me that I would accompany him on a road trip to Philadelphia and Boston. Little did I know the trip would be an alternative Foreign Service “orientation.” Bates (whose last name wasn’t Bates) had serious goiter problems that were exacerbated by his beer drinking. Nevertheless, Norm…

Foreign Service Beginnings | The OC Bandits

October 1976 My Foreign Service beginnings commenced on a Monday morning. My first day on the job with the State Department I zoomed down the I-395 from my Arlington motel to Springfield. When I saw a Denny’s off to the right I stopped for a “Grand Slam” that the restaurant chain had been advertising since…

Swearing-In | The U.S. Department of State

October 1976 Mom called. The official confirmation letter from the U.S. Department of State had arrived. On a Thursday I took off work at noon and a buddy took me to a used car lot on Manhattan Beach Boulevard. I bought a used red Fiat sedan for seven hundred fifty cash. Then I swung by…

Foreign Service Appointment | An Accident Waiting to Happen?

On a Saturday morning in September of 1976, an official letter arrived at my parent’s house in Southern California. I was staying the weekend and answered the door. The mailman handed me the envelope. The old guy (he was well over forty) had been delivering to our mailbox for years. I had waved to him occasionally…

Dragline Inspires Potential Foreign Service Candidate

Following my stagnation on Kwajalein Island in the Pacific, I returned to Southern California. In El Segundo, an exclusive  radiotelephone company, a pioneer in mobile radio, hired me on the spot. I had been advised by the U.S. Department of State that my application for the Foreign Service could take over six months, and even then I…

State Department Brochure Washes Up on Pacific Isle Shore

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality—James A Michener Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific,” a collection of WWII stories became the movie South Pacific in 1958, which had a profound effect on me as a youth. You might say…

Coming of Age | Atomic Bombs and Pepsodent Toothpaste

History is a great teacher. Recent media rumbles of a return to the Cold War era with Russia took me back to my beginnings… Setting the Table After WWII After WWII and up until the early 1960’s, the U.S. experienced a “coming of age.” Like a kid in one of Norman Rockwell paintings who suddenly…

The Author’s Message

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ― Rudyard Kipling FOREIGN SERVICES MESSAGES embraces Rudyard Kipling’s words through a series of stories, articles, and anecdotes centered around the author’s working life that paralleled two related phenomenon, which have shaped American life from then until now. The Pioneering Age…