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Candidate Michael Schelpat, Class 09-67

-  Excerpt from an eMail received 07 April 2011  -

– WebMaster editing added in italics.

– Click on picture below to see full size.

Class 09-67, Michael SchelpatAfter OCS... I went to Germany and into an interesting loop (explanation soon). Heilbronn, Germany: 26th Signal Battalion, platoon leader, CO of two companies, then acting S2-3 since all captains & majors had been sent to Nam, so there were lots of command positions open.

I took a European discharge on the day I could have made Captain, sold my old bathtub Porsche, bought a VW camper from our Comm. Center WO, and with wife-1 (the woman next to me in pic #150  in the Class 09-67 Photo Album, showing our "off base social") roamed through 20-some countries until our $ ran out 5 months later. I moved from NJ to CO in '81 sans wife-1, and remarried in '89. We have a son at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

In terms of life, I've been following some kind of continuum since I got a ham radio license when I was 12. That made Signal Corp a natural. Just before volunteering for the draft (didn't like the lottery suspense) I was working as an Electronic Technician, enabled by electrical theory learned as a ham and practical experience building transmitters, at a company that made test equipment for computer "core" memory (1 ferrite core = 1 bit of memory!). OCS introduced modems and muxes which will reappear later.

Post Army I figured using computers was more interesting than enabling their hardware and I got into programming before "computer science" was a curriculum. Boolean algebra, logic diagrams, flowcharting and writing tech manuals as an ET, and constructing & bugging the afore mentioned computer testing equipment, all easily translated into writing code (on punch cards!).

Applications programming was boring but systems programming - enabling an IBM mainframe - finally with no punch cards, but now using terminals, was more interesting... and when IBM came out with mainframe networking that became a specialty subset of systems programming, it all came together, with old Army friends, modems, muxes, and even microwave relays (VSAT) now back in my life. It all reappeared.

From there, network software systems programming morphed into my becoming a "Systems Engineer." From the early days, engineering was what I had been pursuing... nights at LaSalle College, when I was building computer test equipment (never did finish).

Years ago when when Steve Jobs was still in his garage, PC's were being constructed around a backplane called an "S100 Bus" that used cards, each containing one piece of a computer block diagram, plugged into it. I only followed that (theory) on paper, but when motherboards evolved I was back into building stuff just like I had on every desktop I had owned in the last 10 years or so... for son & self... mainly "wintel" but one AMD-RedHat. What I found was that building a transmitter from scratch or kit when I was a kid was more complicated than building PCs.

By this time, my "continuum" was looking more like a loop... a loop completed. I think there are chat rooms now where radio hams can talk to each other about talking to each other on the radio, but I'm not a ham any more and won't go there. Meanwhile IBM mainframes started running Linux partitions in addition to IBM's op system... and I tried to learn how to spell h-t-m-l and put together a 1-page "site"... on said Linux partition, for my dept at work, explaining what we did (linked to from a multi departmental home page). Then for grins, circa '04, I put up (yahoo'd) a bogus, tongue in cheek -  maybe I'm still a "ham".

Now all of the tangents in this email have looped back to the top: "website". Loops are OK except in application program code, spam popup captivity, or Groundhog Day (Bill Murray film). I hope you were able to stay awake 'til now; this is kind of a wordy email. 

I wish you continued success, plentiful potassium iodide (tabs in Tokyo) & happy trails. This OCS website affair sure makes it look like a smaller world and our trails may indeed cross some day.  


This page originally posted 09 April, 2011.

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