In 1981, I attended computer school in the Marine Corps at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. The first time I had ever seen a computer, and what a beauty she was! The UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) 1218 Military Computer… Along with the IBM card reader punch interpreter (CRPI), four mag tape drives (model 1240), Hetra 3300 high speed printer (600 LPM), and a very large 7-track magnetic tape library, one could indeed consider themselves in a pioneer environment. With the UNIVAC system still serving from the 60’s, it was old compared to the larger Honeywell and DEC systems the Navy was converting to at the time. She had 4k (expandable to 16k) of memory and cost just about $100,000 and weighed nearly 800 lbs. Complete with other peripherals, the system would cost just under $400,000. When new (was it 1964?) it was advertised like this “With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities of real time data”. woah! Tell me it isn’t so! But this was 1981! As you may know, the Marines always make the best of hand-me-down technology while the Navy and Air Force get the big capital budgets for the latest and greatest toys.

In our environment, these computers kept track of inventory parts for combat aircraft (namely A-4 skyhaws, A-6 Intruders, and CH-46 helicopters), among other things. Keeping records for the entire Aviation Group Supply Squadron, these systems were critical tools in keeping these airplanes flying. These photos were taken in the ADP computer vans at H&MS-12 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan, 1982. Computer operators had a military occupational specialy code of 3073 (MOS:3073) and the technician was MOS:5982. If I recall, the programmers were MOS:4044, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe the MTBF in excess of 1,000 hours ever held true. Seems the techs were always working on that CRPI.

I can almost recall the reboot sequence required to restart the system. Pressing the right toggle switches in the right sequence would start a hundred LED lights flashing for a few seconds before you would hear the ole’ teletype start to print out some power-on-self-test code on the large roll of yellow paper. There were no monitors back then. There also were no hard disk drives. You had input (IBM mechanized punch cards & mag tape), processing (sorting on mag tape), and output (mag tape or 6-part carbon paper). We’d print out boxes upon boxes of paper and spend hours decollating or separating the six copies of paper from the 5 films of carbon in between.

We had a key punch group who would spend hours punching little holes in 80-column cards, based on paper received from programmers. On occasion, a tray of punched cards, ready to be read in to the card reader, would spill. You DID NOT want to tell the key punch operator that he had to re-do his work because you spilled his cards. It happened, and it was not fun. That’s Sgt. Barnes in the John Cougar t-shirt, standing in the keypunch area.

As old as these systems were, you could still play ONE game on it, called Adventure. Written in 700 lines of Fortran, Adventure was the FIRST computer adventure game. “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike”, and beware the axe-throwing elf! XYZZY –> Nothing Happens

So what was it like operating a large 1960’s Univac computer? It was a challenge. Some jobs would take days to run and during each shift turnover, you would explain to the next shift coming in where you were with the job, hand him the bottle of alcohol and q-tips, and wish him good luck. (I know those of you are know what I’m talking about are have a good laugh at that one). Then you’d run off to mid-rats (chow hall) to get some eggs and potatoes before they closed (Marine Corps = Every Day a Holiday & Every Meal a Feast). If everything went well, an eight-hour shift could exist of updating the tape library, managing a box or two of printouts, and writing both of those tasks in the log book. Under normal circumstances, we’d wore noise-canceling ear protectors, since those systems were pretty loud. And because of the A/C requirements, we’d usually wear heavy field jackets, especially in the winter. If there were problems, you’d have to call in the technicians, and then just stand back. Those techs were awesome! They really knew how to use an 0-scope and a soldering iron.

After a few years of the UNIVAC 1218, our shop migrated to the newer Honeywell DPS-6. We attended computer training for the Honeywell and we were very impressed with the possibilities of the new systems we were about to deploy. These new systems had Winchester hard drives! Imagine the possibilities! We received real CRT monitors and felt like were had leading edge technology. Now, in 1984, these systems were not leading edge, but for us, it was like cave men discovering fire! Were were excited indeed! 1,$!P

You gain a real appreciation for data processing when you grow up in a computer environment like this, with printed circuit boards, paper tape, 4k memory, and trial by error. You obtain real keen trouble-shooting skills as well. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. The friends I made in the Marine Corps, working on these Univac systems, are still my best friends! As long as I have at least 4k of memory left, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades…..such good men. [1]

~USMC81

==============================================
Univac 1218 Details from: BRL Report 1964
==============================================

UNIVAC 1218

UNIVAC 1216 Military Computer

MANUFACTURER

UNIVAC Division of Sperry Rand Corp. (Military)

Photo by the UNIVAC Division, Sperry Rand Corp.

APPLICATIONS

General Purpose Computing
Multi-Computer in-line application
Range Instrumentation
Missile Guidance
Missile Fire Control
Simulation
Logistics
Message Switching
Ground Support Checkout
Navigation
Tactical Control
Telemetry
Digital Communications
Data Reduction and Analysis
Inventory and Scheduling

PROGRAMMING AND NUMERICAL SYSTEM

Internal number system Binary
Binary digits/word 18
Binary digits/instruction 18
Instructions/word 1
Instructions decoded 98 including 18 I/0
instructions
Arithmetic system Fixed point

Parallel, ones complement, subtractive arithmetic
is performed.
Instruction type One address
Number range ± 131,071 (17 bits + sign) and
± 34, 359 738, 367 (35 bits + sign)

BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0292

Instruction word format
+————————–+
FORMAT I | 17 12 | 11 0 |
+———-+—————+
| f | u |
+———-+—————+
+———-+—————+
FORMAT II | 17 12 | 11 6 | 5 0 |
+———-+—————+
| f | m | k |
+———-+—————+

f – function code
u – operand address
m – minor function code
k – designator used for channel number, shift count,
etc.

Automatic built-in subroutines

32 words of non-destructive read-out (NDRO) memory are furnished to
provide initial load and error recovery routines.

Automatic coding.

No computer independent compiler is provided, however the TRIM III
Assembly System provides for automatic generation of certain program
sequences.

Registers and B-Boxes

The following are the addressable registers:
1 AU – Register (Upper Accumulator, 18 bits)
1 AL – Register (Lower Accumulator, 18 bits)
1 ICR – Register (Index Control Register, 3 bits)
1 SR – Register (Special, 4 bits)
1 P – Register (Program address, 15 bits)

The UNIVAC 1218 is essentially programmed for 4,096-word modules
however each instruction that references memory is capable of
addressing any other cell in memory.

The UNIVAC 1218 has a complete repertoire of instructions that is
especially generous in the control of I/0.

Four instructions provide built-in double precision Add and Subtract.

ARITHMETIC UNIT

Incl. Stor. Access Excl. Stor. Access
Microsec Microsec
Add 8 6
Malt 26 – 48.7 –
Div 48 –
Arithmetic mode Parallel
Timing Synchronous
Operation Sequential/Parallel

STORAGE

No. of No. of Access
Medium Words Digits Microsec
Magnetic Core 4,096 – 32,768 18 1.8 access
4.0 cycle
Magnetic Core (NDRO)* 32 18 4.0 cycle
FH 880 Drum 786,432 words/drum 36 17 ms
(8 per channel) (Average access)
Magnetic tape
No. of units that can be connected 16 Units/channel
No. of chars/linear inch 556 Chars/inch
Channels or tracks on the tape 7 Track/tape
Blank tape separating each record 0.75 Inches
Tape speed 112.5 Inches/sec
Transfer rate 62.5 Chars/sec
Average time for experienced
operator to change reel of tape 30 Seconds
Physical properties of tape
Width 0.5 Inches
Length of reel 2,400 Feet
Composition Mylar

The magnetic tape subsystem, Type 1240 is a fully compatible magnetic
tape format at 200 or 556 chars/ inch. It has search and other special
features.

* Non-destructive read-out

INPUT
Medium Speed
Card Reader 600 cards/min (Commercial, 80 or 90
column)
Paper Tape 300 chars/sec (5 to 8 level)
Keyboard Manual (Provides alphanumeric
data entry)
Teletype 10 chars/sec
Paper Tape and Keyboard are included in Programmers
Console, Type 1232.

OUTPUT

Medium Speed
High Speed Printer 600 lines/min(Commercial)
Card Punch 150 cards/min (Commercial 80 or
90 column)
Paper Tape Punch 110 chars/sec (5 to 8 level)
Monitor Printer 10 chars/sec

Paper Tape Punch and Monitor Printer are included in Programmers
Console, Type 1232.

CIRCUIT ELEMENTS OF ENTIRE SYSTEM
Type Quantity
Magnetic Cores 73,728 to 589,824
Number of cores varies according to memory size, e.g., 73,728/4,096
words of memory.

CHECKING FEATURES

Programmed parity checking.

POWER, SPACE, WEIGHT, AND SITE PREPARATION

Power, computer 0.85 Kw
Power, blowers 0.15 Kw
Volume, computer 23.3 cu ft
Area, computer 3.9 sq ft
Floor loading 198 lbs/sq ft
198 lbs concen max
Ambient air cooled; equipment included in computer
cabinet.
Weight, computer 775 lbs

May be ship or van mounted. Does not require false floor. Power
required is 115 V, 1 phase, 60 cycle and 115 V, 3 phase, 400 cycle.

COST, PRICE AND RENTAL RATES

Basic System/Component Purchase
Minimum 1218 Computer: 4k memory,
4 I/0 $ 96,000
Most common 1218 Computer:
16K memory, 8 I/0 127,000
Militarized Mag Tape System
(2 handlers) 80,500
Paper Tape Subsystem incl.
keyboard & printer 25,000
High speed printer system 77,500
80 column card system 83,250

Fixed price sale only on 1218 basic system.

BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0293

RENTAL RATES
Monthly Lease
UNISERVO IIA $ 450
Control & Synchronizer 1,530
Power Supply 550
High Speed Printer 500
Control & Synchronizer 1,450
Card Reader 350
Card Punch 500

Control & Synchronizer
for Reader & Punch 1,600
FH 880 Drum 2,000
Control and Synchronizer 1,420

PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS
One 8-Hour Two 8-Hour Three 8-Hour
Shift Shifts Shifts

Supervisors 1 1 1
Analysts 2 2 2
Programmers 4 6 8
Clerks 1 2 2
Operators 1 1 1
Technicians On call On call On call

Training made available by the manufacturer to the user includes
programming and maintenance courses, held upon request at St. Paul,
Minnesota and at the customer’s site. Complete training and
maintenance courses are available and UNIVAC Military Field
Engineering service is available on a world-wide basis.

RELIABILITY, OPERATING EXPERIENCE

It is expected average meantime between failures
(MTBF) will be in excess of 1,000 hours. The UNIVAC
1218 was designed using MIL-E-16400D as a guide plus
MIL-I-16910A, MIL-STD-108D, MIL-S-901, and MIL-STD-167

ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND REMARKS

Outstanding features include 8 I/0 channels, buffered input/output;
any or all channels may by intercomputer; real-time interrupt s;
powerful instruction repertoire.

Unique system advantages include small physical size, resistant to
shock, vibration, unusual climate conditions and radio frequency
interference (RFI). Compatible with the Naval Tactical Data System
(NTDS) peripheral equipment and can be direct cable-coupled to large
scale UNIVAC computers.

Designed to meet MIL-E-16400D
Repertoire of 98 instructions
Real time millisecond clock capability
Average instruction time 8-12 microseconds
Memory cycle time 4 microseconds

Up to 8 Input and 8 Output channels; each may be intercomputer;
channels may be paired to form 36-bit interface.

All Input/Output transfers fully buffered

33 distinct automatic interrupts standard with 8 I/0 channels

32 words of permanent memory.

The new UNIVAC 1218 Military Computer is a versatile stored program,
medium scale, general purpose digital computer designed to provide
high reliability under advance operational environments.

With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful
Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities
of real time data.

20 comments
Steve Lafferty
Steve Lafferty

Nobody can possibly understand what a computer was before the PC. These pictures and stories are great. I had forgotten my adventures with 1500 system until I read these. My training was at NTC San Diego, 1973, MOS 4044 Prog/Opr. Got this assignment right out of boot camp. No one could explain to me what a 4044 Prog/Opr was. My once powerful and clear drill instructors became mumbling fools upon trying to come up with an answer. First duty station MAG-36, MCAS Futema, Okinawa. Many good times there. First job I learned was to run the base duty roster. First instruction? Pull the cards for everyone in ADP. Run the list. Last instruction? Replace the cards for everyone in ADP. Oohhh what power, no one ever caught on. Our system was nick named Igor and the system operators were called KOI (Killers Of Igor). Also our unofficial log book was titled KOI. From there it was on to El Toro for 2 years. The operators found a fix for the card reader when it had reading issues. Open the lower door to all the transistor cards, turn a "can of air" upside down (it would spray a cold fog)and spray it into the bank of cards. Read errors would disappear immediately. The techs would get mad because this "wasn't fixing the problem" but it got us through the night. While at El Toro I was volunteered to be on the team to create the deployment manual for computer system. We tore the vans down, packed them into C130's, flew all the way to San Clemente Island, and set them up again on the air strip. Doing everything about 5 times and taking pictures all the while. If any of you have sen this manual, that would be my finger pointing at the part being described. Thanks for all the pictures and stories. I had no idea you guys were still using that system more than 10 years later. Sgt. Steve Lafferty 1972-1976

Robert E Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret)
Robert E Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret)

Has anyone heard anything from Goldie (Dumbkouski)? I worked with him first at MAG-26 in `73, then again when I went to Meridian as an instructor in mid-80.

Al Dombkowski (Ski)
Al Dombkowski (Ski)

Okay, I'm a little late in posting here . . but better late than never. Want to say hi to all you guys from Iwakuni and CSTSC . . . SSGT Smith, Ken Majors, Rod, Philo, Hawk, Lockridge, Barney, Juan Velasquez, Levi, Johnny (Pops) Reveille, Mr. O and many more. I always loved when Ken Majors would answer the phone "Sgt Majors." Whoever was on the other end always straightened up. The CRPI could drive you mad. More than one time I had to find someone in the airframes shop to fabricate a part that was no longer available. More later . . SGt. Ski Semper Fi

Robert E Smith
Robert E Smith

Then you were one of my students. I was Course Supervisor of the ADP School at Meridian when we got the DPS 6. Rich Whitehead, Cpl Roth,Ken Majors, and myself had to rewrite the curriculum. It was a major battle to get the "powers to be" to let us include the new capabilities the DPS offered. They simply wanted a curriculum in how to handle the "emulation of the U1500 and SUADPS".

Eric L. Heatherdale L/CPL MOS5982
Eric L. Heatherdale L/CPL MOS5982

Great Pix, Brings Back Memories, Was Stationed with MAG-12 from 85 to 87. Worked on those Mag Tape drives pictured. Was there when they installed all the "Dumb" Terminals out in Receiving and down in RMS and out in CMS and all around so inventory was closer to "Live" than waiting for Data Entry to enter all the daily transactions. Was there when they condemened the "Van" at the center of the ADP complex that basically served as Office where the Fridge and Coffee pot was located and it had to be swapped out. Fun Times Over there. As For Bilal Kassoo, that was one smart fellow, he wrote quite a nice little mag tape library program to keep track of all the mag tape reels.

Kris Wharton
Kris Wharton

I was in the first full class of 3073' that started in Feb 79. it's amazing to me that good pictures of the U-1500 system are so hard to find. I guess we were so busy working that we just didn't take the time to take pictures. I liked the old Miltope 7 track drives, we like most of you had races to see who could load the tapes the fastest. my experience was unusual for a Marine at that time because I wasn't assigned to a MAG or H&MS, but as a mobile unit in 1st MAW out of Okinawa, but stationed in the Philippines, under the NSD in the DPSC. We moved those vans and a CONEX box to Japan and back 3 times before the end of 81, supporting S7 Division the on the USS Midway. I never did any Marine support until my last 6 months in the Corps at Cherry Point. Later at NAS New Orleans I saw the whole U-1500 system sitting in the supply warehouse waiting for disposition. I always wondered where it ended up, probably DPDO. Like many of you I struggle to explain what it was like to be a computer operator to children, and grandchildren who carry much greater computing power in their pockets everyday than we had in 2 packed C-130's

Brian Wheeler
Brian Wheeler

Wow...that brings back some memorys. I was in the first class for the Honeywell DPS-6 in Meridian, MS I went to my first duty station which was in New Orleans, MRASTU to do training for the Reserves. To my surprise I beat the Howeywell there and had to working with the Old Breast for 6 months.

Bill Kassoo
Bill Kassoo

Cpl. Beddoe: Thanks for this posting, and your e-mail response. I remember you now. You were the kindest and the nicest one. Yes Tustin California ! I also remember Q, and our supervisor Sgt. Thompson ,I believe. He made me work on Holidays...How about that spanish fella (Cheppa? nick name) We had to drive to El Toro every night, because one of the Miltope tape drive could not write. That one segment of the program required writing to all 4 tape drives, only for 3 seconds. I recall that program was known by the name of MRP. Yes I remember.... Kicking the card reader, because of it constantly jamming cards behind the removable glass cover; trays of 1348M (Mechanized) cards falling off the teletype desk, due to vibration of the monstrous card reader; Loading VFU (tape) on the printer; 3rd shift log started with 00:01 PVT Kassoo assuming graveyard yard shift duty. One day one of the fellow marines (Can't remember who it was), brought his paycheck, which was also the same size as 1348M cards, (actually it was a 1348 mechanized paycheck card) to run it through the small card readers, which could actually print, in a print mode , to determine what his pay check card holes meant. Well, instead of the reader in read mode, it was in punching mode ! Ouch.... His pay check came out the other end with bunch of extra holes in them. I remember going to the bank (or a credit union) with him, and they cashed his check with no problem. I am searching for Joseph Deruvo, / Sgt Barnes (Barney)/ with no luck. If anyone has their contact please relay the message. Thanks Bilal Yaqub Kassoo (AKA: Bill Jacob Castle)

Bill Kassoo
Bill Kassoo

I remember those days, and broguht back some good memories. I remember ski,Barney (Sgt. Barnes) Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Are you the same who had a little bicycle incident? Do you all remember Edward Hudson? I just got hooked up with him a year or so ago....

Robert Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret.
Robert Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret.

Those of you who went through Meridian from mid 80 to mid 85 may remember me. I started out as a new instructor and ended up as the Course Supervisor/Curriculum Developer. I was there when we rewrote the class for the DPS-6. Me, Whitehead, Roth, and Ken Majors listed above. We were all 3073's at that point (except Ken). We were switched over from 4044 to keep us from opting into the 4000 field. I took my initial training at NTC San Diego as well....Sept - Dec, 1972...the third class to go through. There were never more than 144 of us 4044's in the Marine Corps. I'm not sure how many 5982's, but usually only two per site. I also started at MAG-26...at that time there were only two set up, MAG-26 and MAG-11 at El Toro. In July of 73 I was transferred to MAG-11 for a brief period, then went on to help set-up MAG-13's system, and then on to MWSG-37.

Frank Finnerty
Frank Finnerty

Hey Marines, Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Loved the CRPI and the old Miltope,s. Served at H&MS-32 80 - 83, WESTPAC MOB ( Installing DPS6) out of H&MS -36 in 83/84 Taught at CSTSC UYK-65 from 84 - 86. Semper Fi, SGT. Finnerty

Ken Majors
Ken Majors

Hey SSGT Majors here,Thanks for the memories about Meridian, MS. I WAS the technician there and we had a good time keeping things running during class. We would time the maintenance cycles for between classes. There are more than a few "games" for the 1218 and the CRPI. Remember the music, flight of the bumblebee, the digital clock on the 1218's registers, or punishing the CPU with the Square root program? I was in Meridian when we changed out the 1218 for the Level 6. We thought we were in the big time!Semper Fi!

Anonymous
Anonymous

>I was a Navy Data Systems Tech from 78 - 84, trained on the 1500 system in C-School at Combat Systems Technical Schools Command, Mare Island and would up deployed as the only DS on the USS San Diego AFS-6. There were many tales of the Crippy, she was a fickle beast indeed and the object of many 30+ hour marathon troubleshooting sessions. On my first Med cruise we visited Egypt and I made a trip to the see the Great Pyramid of Giza. While there a snagged a pyramid shaped piece of rock from the pyramid itself. Back on the ship I glued it to the top of the CRPU. Figured I needed all the help I could get rasslin with that monster. DS2 Paul Jordan

Clayzan
Clayzan

>Yo Marines, I was at MAG-29 in ADP from 79-82. I came aboard as SSgt Ken Zahrt left there! Our CRPI base plate was dented from being kicked so many times also. One of our persoanl goals as operators there was to run the "perfect update", error free. After much prep, cleaning tapes and such, and with much good luck I was able to run the first one known to MAG-29 at that time. Finding this blog has brought back old memories. SSGt Zarht whatever happened to Baron? Semper Fi SSGt Jim Clayton

Ken
Ken

>Thanks for the memories!I went through training at NTC San Diego in 1973 and was a 4044. My first duty station was MAG-26, MCAS New River. MAG-26 was the first MAG to receive the AN-UYK-5(v), getting theirs in 1972. I served at MAG-36, MCAS Futema, Okinawa and MAG-29, MCAS New River, from which I left the Marines in 1979.While stationed in Okinawa ('76-'77), I made a trip up to Iwakuni to run some jobs while we were down hard for several days, so I have actually operated your machine.While at MAG-26, we actually deployed during Operation Solid Shield 1975 to a field location, the only time I am aware of in which a unit actually took an AN/UYK-5(v) into the field. It ran better in the field than it did on base!Yes, the CRPU was truly a touchy maintenance hog. (CRPU, as the interpreter function of the original CRPI was removed before any Marine units were deployed). I can remember, especially on the one at MAG-26, that at each shift rotation, the on-coming tech would curse the tech from the previous shift, as each one had his only special way of setting the CRPU up, which, of course, never worked for the next guy.Outside of the CRPU, the system was pretty much rock solid, as long as you kept your tapes clean! Those were good years.SSgt Ken Zahrt, 4044, 1973-79

usmc81@gmail.com
usmc81@gmail.com

>Posting this forward:-UNIVAC Type U1500 system - Based on the Univac 418 design, the 1218 came with COBOL, very necessary for the software development. This system used for inventory control was developed for the AFS-1 through -7, the MARS Class Combat Stores Ships. John Markfelder, Univac headquarters marketing, Skip Wren in D.C. were the primary customer contacts. The system consisted of the 1218, a 1232 paper tape and typewriter unit, the 1240 magnetic tape unit, and the Card Reader, Punch Interpreter (CRPI) unit. The CRPI was the 'old' John Bull taper pin punch/reader which had previously been used with the Mod 0 file computer. Base on user feedback, the unit should have been called CRP because the I portion didn't work very well. [Lyle Franklin] Hi Lowell: I was the program manager at DCS/Air at HQ-MC responsible for introducint the U-1500 into all Marine Air groups. After I retired from the USMC, I assisted John Markfelder in the UNIVAC deliveries to the Marines as well as responding to their customer problems world wide. [Earl Lillestrand]

J A
J A

>Nice Page! I was looking around for photos of old hardware I worked on and stopped at your web page for the UNIVAC 1218. I worked on this box whilw in the Air Force back in 1970-1972. Those were the days!!Just wanted to show my appreciation for your entries.. Thanks ALL!J Rubba arubba@gmail.com

Cpl Rodriguez
Cpl Rodriguez

>Hey Ski. You out there? Please weigh in on the CRPI scenario I patched together. There were so many instances of trouble with the CRPI that perhaps I got some the troubleshooting stories mixed up. The abuse of the CRPI was common among some of the operators. I remember a Marine named McPherson. That dork would constantly kick the damn thing expecting it to work better. Remember the "kick plate" at the bottom below the punch head? That panel was all dented in with black boot polish smeared into it, not that McPherson's boots had much polish on them to begin with, but you get my point.The Hetra high speed printer was a good machine, but it needed constant monitoring to make sure the paper fed in and folded properly or we would end up with some jacked up listings. We could tell just by the sound if it was printing properly.Ski. Please tell us about the time when flames were shooting out of the capacitor you and Loughridge were troubleshooting during that major overhaul of the HETRA back in---1983? I think Dane Kackley was one of the techs too.

Gunny Rodriguez
Gunny Rodriguez

>Cpl Beddoe,Thanks for posting the story about the 1218. Those were the days were "computer operator" meant something. Remember that only a few Marines (5 to 7) were selected to become 3073s out of a class of 40 or more 3072s (Aviation Supply Clerks). One had to score high on tests, be squared away, show sincerity in learning and be an overall outstanding Marine to be selected to computer operator school. The school was five weeks. Supply Clerk school was 10 weeks. I spent the whole summer of 1980 in Meridian, MS. The Univac was an incredible machine. As Sgt Dombkowski put it "you have to know its idiosyncrasies". The was an understatement, because the CRPI was a fickle and sensitive piece of iron and transistors. I remember having to call the techs in during the graveyard shift to fix the CRPI. It wasn't reading or punching the keypunch cards. They did all the troubleshooting they could until seven in the morning. Mr. Olson (permanent contractor tech) would come in every morning to check on the Marines and the system. He would only stay for a few minutes and then drive over to H&MS 15's ADP shop to do the same. Well, this particular morning he stayed to help get the CRPI back up. After talking with the techs for a few minutes, he removed the cover panel of the bank of transistor cards, which took up nearly half the space of the innards of the CRPI. All he did was lightly rub his hands across the transistor cards as if he were reseating them ever so slightly. (I'm still convinced it was black magic, what the hell do I know...). Anyway, after his brief "laying on of hands" they put the CRPI back together and it ran like a champ. Strange, but true!Rarely did we have problems with the Univac itself. It was almost always the peripheral devices that kept us on our toes. The MILTOPE mag tape drives were pretty accurate if you kept the heads and the vacuum chambers clean. We had to keep the trich (trike) and alcohol handy to keep things clean. The magnetic tapes were filthy. Yep, those were the good old days when men were men and computers were nothing more than a glorified chisel and hammer...OORAH!Gunny Rodriguez1980 to 2000

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