This member of "The Greatest Generation," former Tech football player and forever loyal Bulldog engineered quite a career, one he's now written about in "Four Wars."
Now resides in: Dallas
Degree: B.S. electrical engineering
Talk about why you wrote "Four Wars": The book describes the present situation in America whereby too much (of our national resources) is being spent on obsolete military equipment and unneeded worldwide military facilities. These resources should be used to provide our country with the most technologically advanced infrastructure.
My credentials for postulating such a lofty national objective include the factors discussed below.
I am a part of Tom Brokaw's 'Greatest Generation.' This is the luckiest generation the world has ever known. We grew up during hard times. As time passed, we experienced wonderful opportunities to succeed.
I had the opportunity to gain excellent college educations at Tech and SMU.
My career was spent inventing (six patents) and developing products (mostly weapons of war) related to my love of aviation.
My travels to 54 different countries added to my understanding of the many cultural differences in the world.
Several years of my career were spent in Washington, D. C., lobbying to sell my company's products.
I had a high school civics teacher who required that we read the editorial page every day, and I grew up in a political family. I have observed how the functioning democracy of the 1930s through the early 1980s resulted in an end to the 'Great Depression,' a win of World War II and the 'Cold War.' And, I have seen a dysfunctional democracy cause the country to enter a downward economic slide.
President Eisenhower, who was one of our greatest generals (and who hated war), warned us about the 'Military Industrial Complex.' That 'Military Industrial Complex' is now in control and is taking the resources of the country to build obsolete weapon systems and keep military facilities all over the world, where they should not be. These resources should be used to build the most advanced infrastructure for the United States.
"Four Wars" describes my experiences with these factors during the eight-plus decades of my life that cause me to draw the conclusions discussed in the book.
What brought you to Tech? When I finished high school I wanted to earn an engineering degree and play college football. My best friend and teammate Leo Sanford suggested that I take a look at Louisiana Tech where he was going. Leo arranged for Coach Jimmie Mize to take us to Tech and tell us about their football and academic programs. I was impressed with Coach Aillet and Coach Mize and the Tech engineering facilities.
Tell us about your career: I loved aviation and had a pilot's license at 16. My first career job was developing automatic pilots for new high speed jet bombers. My second career job was developing airborne radar systems. When CIA pilot Gary Powers was shot down over Russia on May 1, 1960, I had convinced my company to let me develop the only system in the world that would automatically fly high speed military jets safely at 200 -oot altitudes. Defending radars can't detect aircraft at this altitude until they are too close to shoot down. The CIA had my company build a system for them. This started a 16-year association for me with the CIA. As I traveled to 54 countries (including secret trips to Russia) around the world, the CIA gave me guidance and I provided them with information about the countries I was visiting. My Russian trips supported the Brezhnev/Nixon 'Detente' Initiative. Ultimately my company sent me to Washington, D. C., where I gained firsthand knowledge about how our government functions.
Your best memories at Tech: Dating my college sweetheart and marrying her has to rank highest on my list of memories. A close second would be the team spirit of my teammates. As freshmen we were treated like younger brothers and helped by the older (many were war veterans) players, even though we were competing with them. Our team still has annual meetings of our National Association Of Grandstand Quarterbacks Organization.
Advice to freshmen: The opportunity for a good education usually comes only once. Do not let it slip by you. Study hard, and do your homework on the day it is assigned.
What are some of your hobbies? I like writing about the things I have experienced. I have probably contributed to 100 technical proposals and a dozen or so letters to newspapers. I also have written patents and copyrighted documents.
What I 'think' I have learned: I believe that determination and persistence is more important than IQ; if you can clearly think of a solution to a problem, do not let others deter you.
How did Tech prepare you for your career and, in general, for life: Tech gave me the 'knowledge' tools that allowed me to compete in a highly competitive professional industrial environment and the confidence to pursue tough objectives. I learned a lot on the football field about achieving goals and teamwork.Read more about Mel at http://www.melbarney.com/