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Information Technology (IT) Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their heritage companies

Marines' Systems, Chapter 65

1. Introduction

Several Personalities [characters] were in Univac Marine Corps (USMC) Systems in the mid 1970's. Program Manager was Dan Massoratti, Marketing Managers were John Markfelder and Hugh Windland. The Logistics Engineer was Earl Lillistrand, the Engineering Manager was Wayne Leverkuhn, and others included: John Westergren, Clint Jurgens, Tom Kratz, and Ole. Before Dan, we had a few thousand dollars in spare parts annually. After Dan, in the 1960's we were up to $6M per year.

These people were support for the Marine Tactical Data Systems (MTDS) as described in the 'John Westergren' contributed article below.

2. USMC NALCOMIS (Logistics) Demonstration and 1974 TPQ-27 Pentagon Marketing Visit 

 John Markfelder had us working on a TPQ-27 program that he was trying to wrest away from RCA (the follow on). RCA had finished an initial contract for $13M and had not even delivered the source code. John had Ole assemble a Tiger Team to analyze the TPQ-27 situation. This one month study included a powerful team: "Rip Anderson, Tom McSherry, Chuck Lutes, Gus Tallman, and Ole".  Ole was at Dan Massoratti's Cottage Grove home preparing the final TPQ-27 report full of "zingers".  John's plan was to drop the report into in baskets in the Pentagon.

 The phone rings, it's Markfelder calling from Washington. "The two boxes of computer equipment arrived OK, but the box containing all the cables is missing. Ole: "John, you should not have signed up if you can not take a joke" (He never did say that to Ole again). You could hear John's response all over the house. After Dan got John settled down, Ole talked to John: "Have you called Floyd Pnewski and Jerry Green?" Who do you suppose that I called just before I called you? They are at Plant 8 doing whatever is necessary to assemble cable pieces for you to bring to Washington DC this afternoon. I went to Plant 8, and ran right into Floyd. Floyd said: "I knew that it was bad luck when I saw you yesterday". I had told Floyd: "How can a major Demo take place without your involvement?" You know how it is, time moves on, you get helpers who take care of things for you. Three packing boxes full of cable PARTS were assembled for Ole to take to the airport.

Unfortunately, at this point in Ole's career he did not have a company charge card, a full bank account, nor a personal credit card that would cover the cost of transporting these three boxes to DC on that plane. Ole shows up early at the departure gate, and in the course of the conversation with the young lady says: "I will bet that you are Norwegian". I am. How did you know? "Norwegians are so friendly and helpful. If I don't get these three boxes to DC today I will lose my job. "Take one into the aircraft, go right to back and try to put it under the seat, even though it will not fit. The Flight attendants will be there". I followed her advice. When the box would not fit under the seat, the flight attendants said: "We are not going to be full today, just strap it into the seat". Coming in with the second box I said: "There is only one more". When I came in with the third box I said: "There is only one more and here it is". I had 4 seats that day for the price of one. The crew that made it work that day in DC were John Westergren and Doug Hair. The Demo was a great success.
   The night before going to the Pentagon, Rip and Ole were looking out the third story hotel window, when Markfelder and Windland were coming in. Rip said: "Put these beer cans on the ledge, and we will push them off when their feet hit the curb." It sounded just like guns firing. They looked up and Markfelder came right up. Rip said watch this: Tom McSherry's paper written by an expert geometrician, was several pages long. Ole has a college degree in Mathematics, and he could understand only the first two paragraphs. Rip to John: "This paper is critical to our marketing effort tomorrow, and it should be explained by Marketing". John just threw it back, saying that he would never understand it. 1/2 Hour later John said: "We have a rookie marketer" and called Windland to come down. Rip gave his intro. Windland was on page 8 before he realized that it was a joke.
   RIP Anderson and Ole went with John Markfelder and Parker Follsom to the Pentagon to talk about TPQ-27. We knew that this was important when that grand old gentlemen, Parker Follsom, got lost leading the way. After the meetings, John said to Ole and Rip that you both talked slow enough today that I could almost understand you.

3. Marine Tactical Data Systems (MTDS) by John Westergren

MTDS development integrated the Naval Tactical Data System with the shore based Marine operations. See image immediately below, Lance Corporal John Westergren is the rightmost Marine in 1967! We thank him for this paper donation.

4. Marine Air Traffic Control And Landing System

We also developed for the Marine Corps the Marine Air Traffic Control and Landing System (MATCALS) as a tactical air traffic control system that could provide arrival and departure control of aircraft within a 60-nautical-mile radius of the airfield. The system is portable and can be moved and erected at an existing airfield, or used with an expeditionary setup. The relationship of MATCALS to our Air Traffic Control business is another example of applying technologies and equipment to multiple problems of a similar nature. [lab]

Univac started MATCALS with UYK-7 computers much earlier than with UYK-20s mentioned in the history with a processing facility in Sunnyvale funded through NAVELEX Vallejo using rewritten FAA ARTS using CMS-2 software — Bill Exely (spelling?) ran the Sunnyvale facility.  {Editor's note: The Compiler Monitor System-2 was created to recompile the Navy's CP-642B 30-bit software to 32-bits for the UYK-7.  The FAA's Input/Output Processor (IOP) had the same basic 30-bit repetoire as the 642B.} Other MATCALS players at the time were Bell Aerospace for the  SPN-42 software, ITT Gilfillan for a color display, System Development Corporation for Requirements and Specifications, Auburn University and MIT for theory.  The test bed at Patuxent River was being built at the same time.  That was a long time ago but I may be able to find other information if that is of interest to your history. John Mulhern

Sperry*Univac/Paramax/Unisys/Lockheed-Martin operated the MATCALS Support Facility on Mare Island from 1977 until the shipyard shut down in 1995. MATCALS, of course, is the acronym for Marine Air Traffic Control And Landing System. This was the facility responsible for the software development, integration and testing of MATCALS. Many people in the Twin Cities also worked on portions of this program especially the Multi-Mode Display (MMD) and the Control and Communications Subsystem (CCS).

 On 8 October 2010, those of still in the area met for lunch. Pictured in the photo from left to right are: Scott Hovey, Doug Mogler, Harold Brondum, Mark Schroeder, Dennis Larson, Vern Sandusky, Jeff Pauling, Foster Poole, Ron Irwin, Gordy Erickson and Ted Lingenfelter. Some of those pictured were on the project from its inception in 1977 until the shipyard closed. Ron Irwin continued to support the program long after it moved to San Diego. With the exception of Mark & Jeff, all are retired.
MATCALS featured several significant "firsts" for Univac including Finger on Glass (FOG) overlaying a full-color raster scan display, embedded UYK-44, Serial Data Bus [very similar to the CPF SHINPADS bus], distributed & fault tolerant operating system and more that I just cannot remember. Submitted by Vern Sandusky

Stories are: MATCALS descriptive document scanned by Ron Irwin with formatting by Lowell.  MATCALS - Controlling the Skies written in 1993, author unknown and "Deployment to Somalia" by CWQ4 John P. Rego, March 1996. Both articles submitted by Ron Irwin.

MATCALS HISTORY – By Ron Irwin, Last Updated 11/23/2010

  1. 1978 – 1980 - Basic Operational Capability (BOC) program developed and demonstrated. This was basically a feasibility demonstration program. AN/UYK-20's with Motorola Totalscope displays. Staffing: 1978 = 10, 1979 = 18, 1980 = 20
  2. 1981 - 1985 - Development of Full Operational Capability (FOC). Current MMD configuration. Performance testing end of 1985. Staffing: 1981 = 30, 1982 = 50, 1983 = 60, 1984 = 70, 1985 = 70. Figures in 1982 - 1985 include approximately 10-15 Eagan programmers/documentation/test personnel.
  3. 1986 - Operational testing and IOC completed. Staffing: 60 (on and offsite).
  4. 1987 - Version F fielded. Continued implementing new capabilities via SCPs. Staffing = 57.
  5. 1988 - 1989 - Development of AN/TPS-73 radar version - Version G. Staffing: 1988 = 53, 1989 = 48
  6. 1990 - Added TADIL-B to Versions H and J (AN/TSQ-107 ASR). Passed TB certification testing. Staffing = 43.
  7. 1991 - Added TB to Version K (AN/TPS-73 ASR version). Staffing = 48.
  8. 1992 - 1993 - Version L developed and delivered with 14 SCPs. Staffing: 1992 = 40, 1993 = 28.
  9. 1994 - 9/95 - Started Version M development with 13 SCPs. Staffing: 1994 = 19, 1995 = 16. Close of Mare Island and relocated to NRaD, San Diego 9/95.
  10. 1996 - Transition of software to new Sun development system at NRaD/SSCSD. Staffing: 7
  11. 1997 - 1998 - Began work on completion of Version M. Added MAF maintenance task to contract. Staffing: 1997 = 9, 1998 = 8
  12. 1999 – 2000 - Continued work on Version M. SSCSD took over complete SSA. Pax River no longer involved. Version M passed all testing by March 2000 and delivered to the field late 2000. Staffing: 1999 = 5 LM (4 programmers, 1 field engineer), 2 SSCSD; 2000 = 4 LM (3 programmers, 1 field engineer), 2 SSCSD.
  13. 2001 – 2003 - Continued SSA with 2 LM programmers, one LM field engineer, and 1 SSCSD manager.
  14. 2004 – No software work performed. SSCSD continued providing tapes to the field. Staffing: No LM software support, one LM field engineer and 1 SSCSD SSA manager.
  15. 2005 – 2006 Renewed SSA work on Versions M1, M2, and M3. M1 had one SEP implemented, but was not complete. M2 completed the SEP implementation, passed all tests, but never received approval to deliver to the field. M3 implemented one SCP for a TADIL-B change to the standards. M3 completed all testing and was fielded in 2007. Staffing: 2 LM programmers [new to MATCALS], 1 LM field engineer, and 1 SSCSD SSA manager. Additional consulting support from a LM retiree (Ron Irwin).
  16. 2007 – March 2010 Continued SSA with 2 LM programmers, one LM field engineer, and 1 SSCSD manager. No additional deliveries made to the field.
  17. March 2010 - All SSA work ended. No further LM support. One SSCSD manager continues to provide minimal support for tapes, questions, etc.

5. TERPES by Cal Webster - system user & maintainer

I worked on these computers from about August of 1984 until they were phased out many years later as part of what was then known as the "Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Processing and Evaluation System" or "TERPES". As I recall, we were the only USMC unit using them. My primary instructor at MCB 29-Palms, CA told us we'd never see one.

When I arrived they were disassembling the old punch card machines and readers and replacing them with paper-tape punch/readers. I'll have to dig back in my old stuff to get more detailed info. They seemed to break-down a lot but were very simple to isolate malfunctions and replace the single-card flip-flops or addressing logic.
These second cousins to the ENIAC were essential to the real-world peacetime reconnaissance missions in which the Marine Corps participated during the "Cold War". During deployment aboard one of our carriers the TERPES electronic/signals intelligence analysts were instrumental in pinpointing at least one "missing" non-ally submarine that surfaced briefly during a routine recon mission. Because the sub only emitted a short burst of radar pulses, the contact was undetectable to the Electronic Counter-Measure Officers who rely mainly on audible tones and alarm lists. Only after carefully analyzing the reconnaissance data brought back by the aircraft was the detection made and verified. During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, VMAQ-2 (and TERPES) were singled out by the SecNav for the vital role they played in detecting radar emitters and clearing paths for coalition forces to more safely ingress and egress to and from their targets.
P.S. I still have a faulty core memory NDRO module that I saved as memorabilia of those times.

On Thu, 2009-11-19 at 07:15 -0700, Westergren, John H wrote:
Great hearing from another CP-808 technician. I was one of the first 25 trained in the factory school in 1967 here in St. Paul, MN (where I now work for Lockheed Martin). After completing that and ending up as a MOS-5977, I spent all of my time in MACS Squadrons (3,4,7,8) on the west coast and Okinawa. Great duty for six years until I decided I’d had enough. I’ve been primarily here in MN working for Univac, Unisys, & Lockheed Martin [really all the same company after mergers and acquisitions] since I got out in ’72.

I was aware of TERPES in the ‘80’s, but was working on a number of different programs at that time, so I didn’t get any details. Interesting how a good 1960’s technology could still pull its own weight after 25-30 years in service. We’d be happy to hear about any other information, background or stories concerning TERPES and the CP-808 for our website.

Stay in touch. By the way one of my other activities is being a Marine For Life Mentor for Marines recently leaving the Corps. I still get a kick out of talking with some pretty special individuals.

Semper Fi,

Hi John!
It's a privilege to make your acquaintance. I was intrigued by some of the stories and history I dug up when I began "googling" for CP-808. A friend of mine had sent me an article about the new stackable phase-change memory being developed. He had remarked about how it reminded him of core memory. In my reply I made some references to the CP-808 so I looked around to check my facts and find a photo or two.
I was a 6112/6179 CH-46 Crew Chief/Mechanic, Natops Evaluator, Line Chief for my first 11 years. I made a lateral move to become a 5977. After MOS restructuring it was changed to 2821 until I was promoted to MSgt when I became a 2891.
   Please feel free to publish on your web site what I wrote in my original email if you want. I'll see what else I can dredge up from my Swiss-cheese memory banks and dust off some of those old boxes in my closet and attic. We [TERPES] had a continued presence in Iwakuni Japan, staffed by rotating detachments out of "Q2". The base newspaper [Torii Teller] did a story on us once. I'll see if I can find the copy I saved too. It might even have some photos of the computers. "Semper Fi" right back at ya! Cal


In this Chapter

  1. Introduction [left]
  2. Logistics Demonstration and TPQ-27 Marketing
  3. Marine Tactical Data Systems
  4. Marine Air Traffic Control and Landing System (MATCALS)
  5. TERPES (Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Processing and Evaluation System)

Chapter 65 edited 4/15/2022.