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Oral-History:John Guarrera

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About John Guarrera

Born in Rochester, New York to Italian immigrant parents in 1922, John Guarrera discovered an early interest in electricity when he started rewiring homes at the age of 12. He took his childhood fascination with him to MIT, which he started attending at the age of 17 in electrical engineering and where he worked at the Rad Lab on such programs as the Rosebud black box. After graduating from MIT, Guarrera had various positions, including working for Bernard Rice's Sons, Reeves Instrument, short teaching stints at NYU and City College in New York, Canoga working on tracking radars, Burton Industries with the Apollo Program, and even going into business for himself. Initially making microwave components, Guarrera's business expanded, but after the breakup of his company, he went to teach at California State University, Northridge. He also discusses his very active involvement in the IRE and later IEEE.

Much of the interview centered upon Guarrera's positions and activities in the IRE and IEEE. He talks about the earlier days, when more executives of companies would attend meetings, and the merger to create the IEEE in 1963. Guarrera also discusses the debates within the IEEE about whether it should only be an archival organization or whether policies for its members should also be considered. He talks about various events and projects in the IEEE, including the Bart case which created a new code of ethics, ideas on intellectual property, the over-compartmentalized nature of the IEEE, the Service Contract Act, age discrimination, and the pension committee. Guarrera also speaks about the question of whether the IEEE should take a public stand on political issues.

About the Interview

JOHN GUARRERA: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, February 24, 1995

Interview # 247 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

John Guarrera, an oral history conducted in 1995 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEW: John Guarrera

INTERVIEWER: Rik Nebeker

DATE: February 24, 1995

PLACE: Northridge, CA

[Note: responses by "Jo" are by Mr. Guarrera's wife]

Family Background and Childhood

Nebeker:

You were born in 1922, is that right?

Guarrera:

Yes, March 4th.

Nebeker:

Where?

Guarrera:

Rochester, New York.

Nebeker:

What was your family background?

Guarrera:

Both my parents were born in Sicily, Italy, and they both immigrated to this country. My mother was about seven and my dad was about thirteen. Although they came from the same city —Valguanera — which is sort of in the center of Sicily, they hadn't met in Italy; they met in Rochester, New York and got married, and I'm the oldest child of the brood.

Nebeker:

What did your father do?

Guarrera:

My father was in the restaurant business. He actually started the first bowling alleys in the City of Rochester, New York. He had a restaurant and a bowling alley, and when liquor was repealed, he had a bar included in the restaurant. But basically that was his business, until he went into real estate. This was just after I was married. It was just a week before that. When he went into the real estate business I was courting my wife of course from the time I was in the seventh grade.

Jo:

You were not courting me.

Guarrera:

We went to the same high school, and she wouldn't really give me a tumble. When I went to MIT in 1939, for some unknown reason our class had a reunion that first Christmas.

Nebeker:

Your high school class.

Guarrera:

Yes. I wrote Jo a Christmas card and suggested that perhaps I could take her to the reunion. Then when I got back from my Christmas vacation a good friend of mine and a good friend of Jo's assisted me in locating her. Later, when we were married, I came back to Rochester. Then we went back to Boston to work because I had a job at MIT [unintelligible word].

Nebeker:

So you had decided in high school that you wanted to go into science and engineering?

Guarrera:

What happened was, when I was about 11 years old, my dad remodeled the place to make it look nicer, and there was an electrician working there who was a graduate of R [unintelligible word] Electrical Engineering. I helped him do all the new wiring in the house, and got kind of interested in that. After I finished that, he gave me a bunch of tools as a gift for helping him out, because he didn't want to reduce his price. I went into the contracting business at about twelve years old—with my father's credit of course. He set up a credit account for me in the hardware store and electrical supply store. I used to do wiring all over.

Jo:

Didn't you convert some of the gas?

Guarrera:

The biggest job I had was my uncle's house, which had gaslights.

Nebeker:

Is that right? This is in the early '30s.

Jo:

Right. Very early.

Guarrera:

He had an apartment therefore I had to put in a split service, which was two separate meters and then get rid of the gas so that it wouldn't blow the house up twenty years later. I did all that work, and when the inspector came—because we had to have it inspected of course—there were some things he was a little concerned about, so my uncle sat him down with a glass of wine and explained to him that his nephew had done all of this good work. The inspector [unintelligible passage?], I was kind of young, so he sat me down and talked to me. He told me exactly what to do to fix it; I fixed it, and it got past inspection.

Jo:

At thirteen.

Guarrera:

Yes, and that got me interested in electrical engineering.

Nebeker:

Did you get into amateur radio at all?

Guarrera:

No, but I did mess around with the old radios that we had. In those days I had a crystal set, and could tickle the crystal. Of course, that was long before your time. I could tickle the little crystal and radio stations from all over the place. There weren't very many in the country, but they were all fairly high-powered stations, and eventually my father bought a radio you know with twenty seven tuning controls and all that stuff. I never really got too interested in amateur radio, so I messed around with a lot of other things.

Jo:

He was busy making money as an electrician.

Nebeker:

That's unusual. Most people in electronics started in amateur radio.

MIT and Rad Lab

Guarrera:

Yes, I started in electrical instead, and somewhere along the line I decided to go to engineering school. My dad asked me where I wanted to go, and of course I knew MIT was the top engineering school in the world, so I said, "I guess I want to go to MIT." I had some friends that I talked to and they said you know you ought to apply to several other schools because you might not get in. I said, "No, that's the only one." So I filled out the application.

Jo:

You were only seventeen then.

Guarrera:

I was sixteen when I applied. My standing in the high school was pretty good. I was in the upper five percent of the class, and that's one of the criteria MIT used. One thing led to another and they accepted me. I packed my bags and I went. I wouldn't let my father or mother come with me; I went all by myself.

Nebeker:

This was in '39?

Guarrera:

In '39. I did not live in the dorms because I preferred to live out in an apartment, off campus, and I thought I would try that. I did spend one semester in a dorm once, but basically I spent most of my time there in that rooming house.

Nebeker:

How were your years at MIT?

Guarrera:

They were very, very good.

Nebeker:

You were in the Electrical Engineering?

Guarrera:

Yes. The worst thing that happened to me in the first half of my freshman year was that they said it very tough. Then they told us if you look to the right and you look to the left at freshman camp, and said one of us is not going to make it. It turned out, however, it was so easy for me.

I don't know why. I was good at math and science; I was very interested in that. In a sense that was unfortunate because my study habits suffered. I developed them around my first half of my freshman year, which was not too good. But I didn't have any trouble; I finished school and got my degree.

While I was going to school I worked at the Rad Lab. I worked part time as a technician. I think I started in my junior year and worked all my senior year.

Nebeker:

In what department of Rad Lab?

Guarrera:

Receiver's Lab I think.

Nebeker:

Was there a professor who influenced you much?

Jo:

Yes, your math professor.

Guarrera:

No, the professor that influenced me most at MIT was Professor Ernst Guillemin. He was a fantastic professor. Every one of his lectures was a virgin lecture. He did not use old notes. He was working, he did research, he was a theoretical person mostly, and he was always doing different things. When he came to class it was one of those things he brought to class.

A very inspiring group, who I later worked for at the Rad Lab, was the army ASTP program, the Army Specialized Training. The army didn't pay any attention of course to when the semester started and when it ended, so the students that came in after the semester started would be grouped until about mid-term. Then we would teach them at double time so that they could catch up to a regular class and get in the class. I was hired to teach his courses. That was very rewarding, and I probably learned more doing that than I did going to class.

Nebeker:

You worked at Rad Lab then for a couple of years?

Guarrera:

Until 1945. So essentially I started my junior year, which was '42, to 1945, and then January of '45 I left the Radiation Laboratory.

Leaving Rad Lab

Nebeker:

Where did you go at that point?

Guarrera:

I went to a company called Bernard Rice's Sons. It was a company that used to be in the hollow ware business. These were things like silver-plated combs, brush and mirror sets, pitchers and all that stuff. During the war they converted to making mostly microwave components.

Nebeker:

Right, the Japanese [unintelligible word].

Guarrera:

Yes. It was unusual to leave Rad Lab. What I did was I applied for the Marine Corps for a commission under the Eddy Program. I went in and I took the tests, which were really trivial. It was almost embarrassing. I went in this room with a bunch of guys who were taking these tests. About a half hour after I was in I turned in my paper and they thought I was giving up. I went back in the afternoon, because it was a whole day thing, and did the same thing. Then I was called, and they said yes, everything is fine; you are going to get your commission. Rad Lab said they weren't going to let me go. I could have gone anyway, but the Marine Corps sergeant who was advising me said, "Well, they could stop you on the Eddy Program, but if you want to enlist we can take over." I said, "Thanks a lot."

I went back to Rad Lab and was really upset about being there because of what I believed was academic discrimination taking place there. Any professor from anywhere in the country, whether they knew anything or not about what we were doing, would be brought in at twelve ninths of their academic salary. New graduates, on the other hand, started work for peanuts, $200 a month. In those days that kind of was money, but it wasn't—it was totally disproportionate. We were doing the work and these guys were getting the money and all they did was push papers around. As a result of all of this I became a bit of a rabble-rouser.

I was making no real progress. Anyone that belonged to a union at some other company and came to Rad Lab, whatever that company gave them, they got. Us guys that just came in got nothing. Eventually, in one of my discussions with Loomis, I got him really upset. He said to me, "Well why don't you go out and get another job?" I shut right up, and out myself on the market. I got an offer, which was easy to do in those days, because the companies were starving for technical [unintelligible word]. Then, I had to meet with my draft board, because I knew the influence of Rad Lab.

I made my pitch to the group and told them I'd like to go from research and development, what I was doing at Rad Lab, into actually producing things and be of some use. They were a stone-faced bunch of people. Finally one woman on the draft board smiles, and said, "If I were you, I would go." I figured that I would give it a shot. Also, Jo said let's go, so we went to New York.

Jo:

At the time I was working at Harvard University and he was at MIT. I was in the Underwater Sound Laboratory. He was at Rad Lab.

Guarrera:

The payoff to taking this position was I didn't want her to work. That is sort of an old Italian custom, your wife is supposed to stay home and not work. After the first few months we were broke.

Jo:

Three months. We ran out of money completely. All our wedding gift money was gone!

Guarrera:

I come home one day and I said, "Well, what did you do today, honey?" and she said, "Well," a few other things and so on, and, "and also I got a job." I just said, "Oh." I was a little upset, but not too upset. I got very upset when I discovered I am earning $200 a month and she was getting $300 a month.

Jo:

That was because I had a degree in business.

Guarrera:

Also, she had experience at Eastman Kodak, and Eastman gave her a tremendous recommendation. Anyway, that upset me.

Jo:

He was very upset, very upset. But that saved us, honey. We were able to eat.

Rosebud Black Box

Guarrera:

I had a lot of fun at Rad Lab incidentally. It was a learning experience. I could do anything I wanted, and one of the exciting things to happened was just before D-Day we developed a transponder to enhance the signal in the 584. They were using 584's to direct the bombers for D-Day, or they were planning to do that, and they needed these transponders. The problem with building the transponder was that a guy name O'Day was the head of the IFF group, which was super secret inside Rad Lab. Most people couldn't get in there. I used to get in because my specialty at Rad Lab was microwave cavities, active cavities, transmitters that used the lighthouse [unintelligible word] is what I finally evolved doing. I developed all sorts of detector [unintelligible word] that I got out of [unintelligible word], signed to the government of course. At any rate, they wanted these transponders to identify the planes.

You couldn't do anything without Marcus O'Day's approval, and he didn't approve very much because he wanted to use his stuff, even though it wasn't operational. At this point, incidentally, I moved to the Beacon group because they wanted me to work there and develop some of their beacons.

The Rosebud black box, however, was developed. It was called the Rosebud, because, a fellow from Rosebud, Texas came up with the need and he had [unintelligible word] a kluge to a test it. It worked pretty well except you couldn't bring in twenty-seven parts. Therefore, he came to me and said, "John, how about doing this?"

In those days we used to work night and day, so it didn't matter. I just worked nights and it was a lot of fun, and I built a beacon using, for the first time, a crystal video receiver. I didn't develop it, I forget the guy's name that did, but I took that crystal video receiver as the front end instead of a superheterodyne because you couldn't possibly use it under these circumstances. I put it all together, so that it became literally a black box. Then, I took it out to one of the air bases; it was a Navy base.

I drove the thing out there, and they were very cooperative in those days. I mean, they would make holes in the airplane for you and stick the [unintelligible word] out of the hole. I worked [unintelligible word] on the antenna for the plane to use in the Antenna group. Finally I tested it, it worked pretty well, and everyone was pretty excited about it.

How do we get it to the theater of war? Well, we came up with a plan. One of our guys was sent to Eisenhower's complex as an advisor.

Jo:

Wasn't that Jim Cunningham?

Guarrera:

Cunningham, right. I said, "When you get to the base, have them send us a communiqué, super secret and top priority, requesting the Rosebuds." This is exactly what happened and when the communication came in to Rad Lab, it went into total turmoil because they don't know what the hell is going on. They found me and asked, "Can you do this in six weeks?" I said, "Well, there is only one way I could do it in six weeks. You give me top priority in our shop and top priority anywhere in Cambridge that I go to get something done. I don't want to purchase orders or nothing. I just want to be able to go and do it." They agreed and we did it. I had a lot of help putting it all together, and we shipped them.

Nebeker:

This is going into what planes?

Guarrera:

The bombers. They may have used them in other planes, but all we made was twelve, so they couldn't put them in every plane. They could use it with the 584, which would allow them to distinguish our planes from enemy planes. That would give them a better mark to direct those airplanes.

My understanding is that they were used and they worked fine. It was all so exciting, but it also stimulated my arguments with F. W. Loomis. At any rate, that was an exciting part of my life.

Bernard Rice's Sons and NYU

Nebeker:

This Company you worked with in [unintelligible word].

Guarrera:

Bernard Rice's Sons were making these cavities, lighthouse two [correct word?] cavities, and we used the passive cavities at the front end of this so they wouldn't be triggered by other frequencies. That way you could tune them to S-band things.

I put them into an advanced part of the microwave business. They were making just wave-guides and palladium. At the time we were not making active cavities and built other things, signal generators for the signal core and a few other things.

Jo:

You were teaching at NYU then.

Guarrera:

What happened was that I had met some people at NYU. It was a fellow in the math department and he was anxious to get his people doing some theoretical work with microwaves and stuff like that. We talked about the possibility of my coming over to NYU. The physics department was anxious to get some funding from the government.

This was after the war [unintelligible word], and I was only there a couple years. I went to NYU with the understanding I could help them get funding, which I did. We got a nice contract from the Signal Corps in New Jersey, which we used to buy some surplus equipment. Also, there were some people working on their Ph.D., and needed the harmonics of a K-band magnetron for their work.

When they explained what they wanted to do, that was kind of an easy thing for me to do. I got some surplus modulators, which were available all over the place, some surplus parts, and I put the whole thing together. The Ph.D. students, and there was three of them, built the diffraction grid to diffract the frequencies they wanted. Then, they had a place where they could put the material.

I have to say that most of the work the candidates did was soldering a shield to put over all this. Everything else was done. They got some results and they published it and they got their degree. They came to me after, when they were writing up some articles for publication, and said, "You know, professor so-and-so, professor so-and-so and professor so-and-so all want to be part of the article. So it's going to be six names on the article. Do you mind if we don't put your name on it?" I said, "I wouldn't want my name on that article." My reasoning being that I believed it was not Ph.D. quality. Nevertheless, that was a lot of fun.

Jo:

At the same time you were studying for your professional engineer's license through all this.

Guarrera:

No, that was before I was at Bernard Rice. What happened at Bernard Rice & Sons is the president of the company was a PE, and we had a little trouble with one of the vendors. As a result I composed the letter, he signed it and stamped it with his PE. Afterward he said, "John, you should get your PE license, because whatever you do then has got a better standing in any court if there is going to be a lawsuit or something like that." That was pretty easy to do. I did a review course, took the test and passed it. I am licensed both in New York and California now, and I carry an active license in both places although I don't practice in New York anymore. But it's good to have.

Nebeker:

How long were you at NYU?

Guarrera:

I was there a relatively short time, because I was sort of a fish out of water. I was in the physics department, but I was a graduate of engineering with only a Bachelor's degree—everyone else had Ph.D.s and I'm teaching advanced physics. It was ridiculous. Incidentally, advanced physics at NYU happened to be the class I took as a freshman at MIT. At any rate I enjoyed it. It was fun. Then I kind of got restless, but I was out of place and few places to go.

Reeves Instruments and Canoga

Jo:

Then you began consulting.

Guarrera:

I was actively consulting with Reeves Instrument and a couple of other companies.

Jo:

All while you were teaching.

Guarrera:

Then I left NYU and took a job at City College in New York. The City College job lasted only one semester. Everyone there hated me because I was making about three or four times as much money consulting as I was earning for full time teaching, so they immediately set my schedule so that I had classes morning and night five days a week or something like that. It was kind of ridiculous. I had five different courses to teach, so I left there.

Reeves actually made me an offer I couldn't refuse. They decided that they wanted me there. They said, "John, you've got twenty people working for you and you're consulting with us. That's ridiculous. You've got to come here full time."

Nebeker:

What was your work there?

Guarrera:

I headed up the microwave transmitters, receivers, and antennas department, whatever that meant. Basically they were in the radar and fire control business.

Nebeker:

Was it military?

Guarrera:

Yes. I started out with the microwave stuff and then did the modulators that go with it. Next, I went to the receivers that went with it. I ended up with that whole ball of wax and a lot of engineers working for me. I worked for them for three years or so.

Jo:

Until '54 when we moved to California.

Guarrera:

Until '54 we were doing business with a company in California. We were doing business at China Lake, and we had equipment on Navy ships and so on. It was experimental stuff. When I was with Reeves we had two main things that we were going around with. One was the fire control system for the Terrier Missile Program, and the other was the tracking system for the satellites at Coco Beach. A company in California called Canoga [correct name?] was one of our subcontractors. I was traveling back and forth to California and going to China Lake, visiting Canoga.

Nebeker:

Was the satellite program before '54?

Guarrera:

Yes! It wasn't a satellite program. We were building radars for tracking for the Air Force, [unintelligible word]. We didn't know what they were going to use it for.

Nebeker:

It was planned at that time as a satellite?

Guarrera:

I don't know whether it was or not, to tell you the God's honest truth.

Nebeker:

Maybe just a missile [unintelligible word] of some sort?

Guarrera:

I was not privy to all the details of what our equipment was going to be used for at Florida.

Nebeker:

But it was tracking missiles, correct?

Guarrera:

Tracking missiles and airplanes and whatever. That was before Kennedy decided to go to the moon.

Nebeker:

Sputnik was '57 of course.

Guarrera:

But we knew there was working going in this area.

Nebeker:

Yes.

Guarrera:

At any rate, I then got an offer from Canoga that I couldn't refuse, so I went to Canoga and I ended up with a small piece of the company and heading up the same kind of stuff I was doing, except that Canoga. At Canoga I did not have the antenna department because that was the work they were specializing in before I got there. When I got there I built up their systems activity. We used to build radar sets and stuff like that. Essentially I had everything else except the antennas, which were headed up by a fellow named Joe McCann. What happened after?

Nebeker:

You made the move in '54?

Guarrera:

Yes.

Jo:

Were you consulting with several firms then?

Consulting Work

Guarrera:

I was being seduced by some entrepreneurs. They decided to put me into business and finance the whole thing. Consequently, I went to a company called Automation Electronics. I was there one year as a consultant heading up the company, and that did not work out.

Nebeker:

What were they trying to [unintelligible word]?

Guarrera:

They wanted to go into the kind of business I was in and it turned out that the finances of the company were in very bad shape. The prior people that ran the company had kited things and all. You know what kiting is, like writing check, showing it paid, and putting the check in the drawer. We found the checks. It turns out they had no finances and no assets, so we left the company. I did offer, along with a group of people from Automation, to buy the company. There was nothing to buy, however, but if we had the name and if they would get rid of all the garbage, then we could do something with it. They turned us down.

Jo:

There was Voyshan [correct spelling?].

Guarrera:

Voyshan? No, not yet. A company in Santa Monica, Burton Industries, hired me as a consultant to come in and straighten the company out. They were in very bad shape.

Nebeker:

What were they producing?

Guarrera:

Accelerometer. At any rate, they were producing a lot of different things, and it was a peculiar mix of products. Most of them, however, were related to the aircraft industry and accessories.

Nebeker:

Military aircraft industry?

Guarrera:

Military, commercial, and the space program. They were building an accelerometer for the Apollo program. I came into that company, and I brought in a guy that had been with me before, Mike Burlingham [correct name?] from Reeves Instruments, also an MIT graduate. I brought him into it because he specialized in what they were making, so I wanted a technical person to be the chief engineer while I was trying to straighten the place up.

That was one of my tough experiences, because I had to fire about three-quarters of the people, and that's always hard to do. I had to look into what each one was doing and then I had an exit interview with everybody. I had to get rid of about three-quarters of the people, who were doing nothing in the company and happened to be friends of the president. This control was taken out of the president's hands and put into mine because he was not handling it right.

After we got that cleaned up my next step was to straighten out the contract on the Apollo program, because they had a contract for $17,000 to build this thing, which was totally ridiculous. The demands of the space program were absolutely out of sight and no one understood it when they bid the job. So who was the prime on that? Who was buying that from us? Could that have been Boeing or McDonnell? It wasn't McDonell Douglas in those [days], it was McDonell in St. Louis.

We had meetings with McDonnell, went back and forth, and finally I put in a claim for about a quarter of a million dollars [unintelligible word] 17,000. Everybody got excited, McDonell called up the controller of the company, the president, and then finally we set up a meeting.

I had already had several meetings, and in the offer I made there was a profit. We started talking around the table and so on. My colleagues kept their mouths shut, which I told them to do, and then McDonell, their representative said, "Don't you think it's unreasonable to put in this 10 percent profit?" Then my colleagues were about to say something, and I said, "Give us a chance to talk on the side." I said, "Don't you realize?" I said, "They are making us an offer? An offer of just eliminating the profit?" He said, "Yes, is that what it's about?" Yes. Consequently, we went in, they settled, and we got our money. After that I took on an assignment to put a company in the electronics business.

Nebeker:

How long did that last?

Guarrera:

One year, and that company was Voyshan. They were in the fastener business.

Founding Guide Manufacturing Co.

Gaurrera:

Then I decided to go into my own business. I had a small investment in a machine shop, and I bought out the other people who had an investment in it, and I decided I would use that as a basis for starting my own business. It was a business making microwave component, and I called the company Guide Manufacturing Company.

Nebeker:

What year was this roughly?

Guarrera:

1960.

Jo:

That's probably in your resume.

Guarrera:

Yes. That turned out to be very successful, and I had a lot of fun.

Nebeker:

What components did you build?

Guarrera:

We built wave-guide switches, we built rotary joints, we built all kinds of wave guide assemblies, and then as time went on we expanded the business into radar system modification. We did some special work for the Naval Weapons Center in simulating the enemy radiation properties; we built what looked like an enemy tracking radar system and discovered to our surprise that the Russians were using the output of the MIT Rad Lab series. When we looked at some of the information we had we said, "Oh my God, that's something we didn't use. It was too narrow a band." Turned out it happened to be very effective. As a result, we were able to do all this for them.

Nebeker:

You figured out that they had gotten this from one of those Rad Lab [unintelligible word]?

Guarrera:

Yes. It was direct copy. We had their instruction book. I can't tell you how we got it.

Nebeker:

I see.

Guarrera:

It was surprising; they used a lot of the technology. Our view all those years we ever worked on microphone components was broadband, and their view was totally different, it was narrow band. At least that's the stuff they copy. It turned out to be pretty good.

Jo:

Successful.

Guarrera:

At any rate then, as the company went on we expanded into doing other things. We built some special things when we got involved with the solid-state devices. We were building special devices for measuring shock, measuring voltage, monitoring different things, and that turned out to be very interesting. Then we finally got involved in the command and control center business, that's building these centers for police and fire departments, and ended up putting one in the basement of City Hall here for the Fire Department.

Nebeker:

In Northridge?

Guarrera:

No, in Los Angeles. That covers Northridge too, or part of the city.

Jo:

Yes. We're part of Los Angeles now.

Nebeker:

I see.

Chapter 11 and SCUN

Guarrera:

We did them all over the country and did all kinds of things and we were growing very rapidly and we went out for another stock offering. We were public incidentally. We went public early with a reggae [correct word?] stock offering, and then we needed a lot of money to expand. That was sort of the end for me in the company, because what happened was that the stock offering did not come out as scheduled. They kept delaying it and told us we had to keep building up volume. We ended up without enough capital, and so we had to file a Chapter eleven.

In the Chapter eleven we managed to continue operating and we sold off the different operations. The microwave business was sold and kept on going very well, the command and control center business actually spawned I think three companies. Other people left and started their own businesses, and one of them was a purchase of our company. We were in the filter business, and somebody bought that business from us, so a lot of our people at least were working for different areas.

After one year, the lawyers end up getting just about all of the resources that you generate in this Chapter 11. We had no choice in it, however, so the lawyers got most of the money, hardly any went to the creditors or to me. That was a disappointment.

Then I went back to teaching at SCUN. I taught there for almost twenty years now.

Nebeker:

SCUN is the [unintelligible word]?

Guarrera:

Northridge, and I was not really brought to teach, although I taught a full schedule for the first year, but to build a school of engineering and computer science for them. This was to bring in extra money for an industry in the government. That's really what I've been doing there for a long time.

Nebeker:

Were these research contracts?

Guarrera:

Research.

Jo:

He was director of research for [unintelligible word]?

Guarrera:

I'm director of research for the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Actually, I'm the director of the Center for Research and Services, which I created when I went there. Then about three or four years ago the school needed someone to head up their research activity, and so I was loaned out by the school of engineering part time to do that for them. I did that a few times because they couldn't find someone. They kept hiring and firing directors of research.

Nebeker:

What is this position?

Guarrera:

Director of research and sponsored programs.

Jo:

It covers the whole university.

Guarrera:

This is the person that signs all the contracts for the university. I was a temporary so to speak. Right now I'm working forty percent of my time for the school heading up their activity, forty percent for the university heading up their activity, and I'm supposed to give twenty percent to my wife. The company, in the time we had it, grew very nicely, and of course during a period of time there we were multi-millionaires.

Jo:

On paper.

Guarrera:

I was worth on paper over five million dollars. In those days five million dollars was a lot of money. Of course fortunately my wife didn't consider any of the paper stuff, and whatever I brought home she managed.

Jo:

That was our income.

Guarrera:

Therefore, when the company went Chapter eleven she didn't complain about it.

Jo:

Fortunately accounting is my business, so we survived.

Guarrera:

One of the things I certainly would advise anyone who has a company that's going public to sell some of the stock and wanted to keep control of the company, is you've got to liquidate some of your resources. We did not and so that really didn't help us very much. Of course, while I was there as the president we had lots of fun.

Jo:

We traveled a lot. We went around the world twice.

Guarrera:

That's true. So we didn't suffer exactly.

Jo:

No. We had a nice time.

Guarrera:

It was, however, a traumatic experience.

Jo:

It was very traumatic.

Guarrera:

To lose the company. I will say that my activities in IEEE after that really helped my mental situation.

Nebeker:

When did the company [unintelligible word]?

Guarrera:

The Company went belly up in '75.

Jo:

After he was president. Yes.

Guarrera:

And of course some of my friends say, "That's because you were president of IEEE."

Jo:

Let's say it might have helped.

Guarrera:

I mean obviously I couldn't spend as much time with the company, but no, the real problem was the investment banker who led us astray. We were doing perfectly fine until we were introduced to the investment banker. The biggest mistake I made was not taking the advice of my advisor, my CPA, who said, "John, any time anyone is going to give you some money for this company not to sell it but to invest in it or whatever, take it. And once you take it, so what. So what if they don't want you anymore. That's too bad. Start another company if you want."

Jo:

Which you could easily have done.

Guarrera:

Of course.

Jo:

But then you went back to your first love of teaching, which was great.

Guarrera:

What happened was we had several offers. In the early days the company was doing so well that people would come in and say, "Oh, we want to invest two million dollars in the company. But we want sixty percent of the stock." I said forget it.

Jo:

At that point the name of the company was SaCOM.

Guarrera:

That's when we went under. We had several divisions in the company. It was Guide Manufacturing, Systems Design, and we had a company, which was doing [unintelligible word].

Jo:

Art Sullivan's company?

Guarrera:

No, electrical milling I guess. I don't remember exactly the process, but it was a company that made very hard tools for industry, which we had acquired. We had all these different things going on, the command and control business and everything else, and that's when we just over-expanded and we needed money.

Jo:

Of course this was when the electronic industry took a big dive.

Guarrera:

Took a little dive. You can't believe investment bankers completely, but you need them. You should always keep raising money. If you're in business, keep raising money, give up ownership, do whatever you have to do, and always sell part of your own holdings.

The only one that really got anything out of our company in the family was my father and mother, because in the first stock offering I said you know my folks are of an age where they don't need to hold this stock, so you should buy their stock. That was pretty low price, so they ended up getting maybe what, sixty or eighty thousand. Again in those days it was a nice chunk of money. My folks were thrilled about it so they got their money and sold their stock. But we didn't sell it. At any rate, that's what happened.

IRE & AIEE and Security Clearances

Nebeker:

Shall we turn to your IRE and IEEE activities?

Guarrera:

Yes.

Nebeker:

Did you join as a student, the IRE?

Guarrera:

Yes. I joined both the IRE and AIEE as a student member at MIT.

Nebeker:

As an undergraduate you hadn't decided upon electronics?

Guarrera:

No, but I joined both anyway. I had pretty much decided on electronics early on, because in those days there was a war on, and MIT was involved early in the game by setting up special laboratories for study and so on. Of course the British brought over the magnetron for us to play with. We could see all this stuff going on, and we had certain courses that were thrown into our curriculum in electrical engineering that were microwave courses.

Nebeker:

Was it still mainly directed toward power engineering, the EVE [correct word?] program, at that time?

Guarrera:

No, we had communications option, power option, and I started to focus on communications. We did a thesis in our undergraduate work and built a superheterodyne triple [unintelligible word], so that was an interesting project that we worked. That's when I got interested in Rad Lab. When I was a Junior, talking to the people there and seeing some of my friends who actually left school to join the Service and ended up coming back to school to assist in the research that was going on and the activity, excited me.

Nebeker:

Yes.

Guarrera:

One of my friends in particular was kind of strange to see him come back, packing a big gun carrying around these magnetrons from one lab to another.

Jo:

Who was that? I don't remember.

Guarrera:

I said to one of my friends, "Well, there's got to be something interesting going on there." Therefore, I got my clearance and I had a clearance from that until about four years ago I guess, and that's when the government cracked down on clearing consultants for companies. Because I also had a friend, Hart Sullivan, that had a company with a clearance, that allowed me to maintain my clearance. The government just wanted to stop that because they had too many people on the roster.

Nebeker:

I see.

Guarrera:

Hart said, "Gee, I just can't renew you one more time," and I said, "Oh, just forget it. I'm not doing anything classified anyway. I just like to, you know to"

Nebeker:

To have the clearance, yes.

Guarrera:

At any rate then, as a student, I was both. I wasn't terribly active in anything, except of course we got our student publications. After I left school I stayed as a member of both for a short time, and then I went IRE. At the IRE my first activity was one of the Long Island subsection wanted to become a section. I remember signing a petition for that.

Nebeker:

That was the [unintelligible word] Wheeler section.

Guarrera:

Yes.

Nebeker:

The Long Island section.

Guarrera:

Then after that I came to Canoga because I wasn't terribly active when I was at Reeves.

Nebeker:

It says that you were a chair of the San Fernando Valley section '57.

Jo:

Right.

Guarrera:

I came to Canoga in '54 and became quite active at that time. I went to all the section meetings. I gave some papers. I gave a paper at WESCON on some work I had done at Reeves.

Nebeker:

Was there a good IRE group in this area?

Guarrera:

Yes. In those days it was a very active [unintelligible word]. One of the things that happened in those days, that we really miss is, that there was no competition for the IEEE or IRE at the time. There was AIEE, there was IRE, and there weren't twenty-seven other really active, big enough to be active, groups. As a result, what happened was, all of the executives of all of the companies would come to our meetings. I mean, you know, what's the guy from JPL?

Nebeker:

Pickering was the guy.

Guarrera:

Pickering used to come to our meetings. Van Atta [correct name?] used to come to our meetings. I mean, these are, these were top administrators. These were people that were active, and they came to meetings. Of course everyone goes to the meeting. You want to see these guys because maybe they'll hire you. It was a different time. Everyone was supported in their activities of IEEE. Which is not so much the case now. It's a dog eat dog situation in industry and there is no extra money for anything.

Nebeker:

The section meetings would typically have a lecture?

Guarrera:

The section meetings in those days of course were technical, because the groups and societies were not very big at the time. In fact they didn't exist at the time.

Nebeker:

I think they were called technical groups within IRE.

Guarrera:

Yes, but not as active as they are, not as organized as they are.

Nebeker:

Right.

IRE Valley Subsection

Guarrera:

Basically I was quite active. The subsection started when was I chairman in '57. Consequently, the subsection must have started the year before, and it was started by a group of manufacturers' representatives. They got the thing started, and every time they had a meeting of course they had free booze and everything else.

Nebeker:

Before that it was the Los Angeles section?

Guarrera:

It still was the Los Angeles section, and the Valley was subsection. The subsection started, as I said, the year before I became chairman.

Jo:

Right, '56.

Guarrera:

These guys did a good job and we went to all the meetings and had a lot of fun. The meetings were primarily sales meetings, because that's who was running the program that they were providing the free drinks. At the end of the year they called me and said, "John, how about being chairman of the Valley subsection?" I said, "My God, I hadn't even thought about it," I said, but "Why not?" They asked me, Guarrera, Ingobritchen [correct name?] and Olsefsky [correct name?]. That was quite a combination.

We took over the subsection. The first thing we had to do was put on an installation banquet. We decided to have a big luau, and we did. It was the most successful party the Valley ever had.

Jo:

It had over 250 or 300 people.

Nebeker:

The ladies did most of the work.

Jo:

We literally turned this country club into an oasis. It looked like Hawaii. We actually brought in truckloads of banana palms and just wonderful!

Guarrera:

Yes. At any rate, it was really a slam-bang affair, and at the end of our term we did the same thing for the incoming officers. The incoming officers were Ingobritch [correct spelling?] and Olsefsky [correct spelling?] and somebody else.

Nevertheless, during our term I was trying to put automation electronics on a sound basis. They had as a consultant a retired admiral who was helping them with their business, and so he was available to me. He helped me bring in some interesting programs, among which was the Sidewinder Missile. They actually brought the Sidewinder Missile to the restaurant, and the restaurant could not hold all the people that came to that meeting. It was so packed that the officers who had to eat in the restaurant, could not, there was not room for us in the big meeting room. That was a very successful program.

Then, we had another one. We had the Rocketdyne when Rocketdyne was testing rockets. That was so successful we had the people come in for a tour, and then took everyone out for dinner. It must have been 350 or 400 people.

Jo:

Right. There were two batches.

Guarrera:

On a second tour they couldn't take everybody as they had done on the first tour. We got in trouble with headquarters this time because we had people sponsor the bar. We had a hosted bar where companies posted their names. Of course some people complained about it. One of my rules with IEEE is do it; don't worry about the rules.

Nebeker:

What was objectionable?

Guarrera:

You were not supposed to have the companies names posted.

Nebeker:

You were not supposed to accept such things?

Guarrera:

In those days we weren't supposed to do anything other than archival stuff. Changes didn't take place until I got active in IEEE, because that was the time when it had to change. If it didn't change we would have been in trouble. But at any rate, we often got in trouble with headquarters.

Wincon

Guarrera:

The other time we got in trouble was we started Wincon about that same time. Wincon was the Winter Convention on Military Electronics.

Nebeker:

Was this a subsection?

Guarrera:

No. I'm active in the subsection but also this section. These were peripheral things we did with Rockwell, and it was a subsection with the missile.

Nebeker:

Wincon was a section?

Guarrera:

Wincon was a group run under the section auspices, and it hadn't been a council yet. Of course we had classified sessions. You do know that is totally against the rules. It was only in the rules for one year I think, and then they changed the bylaws again. Did you know about that?

Nebeker:

No, I didn't.

Guarrera:

They changed the bylaws about five years ago. Somebody slipped through a bylaw change saying it was "yes" under certain circumstances. Prior to this we classified section hosted by a military agency or a company. Every year when someone would visit us from headquarters they would say that we shouldn't be doing that. I would say, "Well, you're right." But every year we would do it. I mean, what do you do?

My advice to anyone in IEEE is if you try to read the damn bylaws and policy statements and everything else, you might never do anything. Just do it, and if you violated something, what could they do to you? Slap you on the wrist or write you a note or something. So what? Emerson used to have a problem with me all the time. I love that guy, and we got along great. In fact he wrote all my speeches when I was president of IEEE. He was always on the pulse of technology, so wherever I went I gave a speech.

Jo:

Even in Italian in Varese.

Guarrera:

I wrote it in English, and a friend of mine translated it into Italian. I gave it in Italian.

Nebeker:

You presented it in Italian?

Jo:

Yes. In Italian. The real nice thing is the local people. They said, "John, you did wonderfully well. The only thing, your dialect came in every now and then." The dialect was Sicilian, and it came in every now and then.

Nebeker:

Did you learn Italian as a boy?

Guarrera:

I took one semester in high school. Now let's get back to the IEEE. Wincon, very successful.

IEEE Merger

Nebeker:

I wanted to ask you about the merger in '63. How did you feel about it?

Guarrera:

I supported the merger, but I had a little run-in with Pat Haggerty of Texas Instrument. He was the president. Some of the people involved were Ernst Weber and Clarence Linder. They were planning this merger, and they didn't have anyone from the west on the committee. As a result, I wrote a scathing two-page letter to Pat complaining about this.

They immediately appointed someone. They asked me who it should be, and I suggested Walt Peterson. Peterson was appointed to the committee, and that made me happy, and also made it attractive to the rest of IRE because we had one of ours on the committee. After they appointed Peterson to that, the Haggartys became good friends of ours. Pat came out a couple of times to visit us and actually stayed at my house.

Jo:

We had a great big dinner party for them here at the home. Everyone wasn't happy about it.

Nebeker:

I know especially some IRE people were not.

Guarrera:

Yes. Because they felt that it was not in our best interest to do it. I was essentially sold on it, because it seemed like the proper thing to do. I mean there were problems and we couldn't compete with each other, it would be better to work together. Floyd Goss was the head of the AIEE and I was the chairman of IRE, and we met the Gosses and really got along great. Floyd, fit right in with the whole thing and people liked him. One thing led to another, and before you knew it we were operating merged before the merger was completed. We had joint meetings, he was on the board, and everything worked out.

Nebeker:

You didn't lose that good atmosphere that had existed in this area?

Guarrera:

No, because right after that we created the council and sections instead of subsections and a section, and we just took off from there. Everything worked out quite well.

Nebeker:

Yes. We just talked about the merger. Is there anything more about that you'd care to add?

Guarrera:

No. It actually went very smoothly [inaudible phrase]. It went very smoothly, because we actually merged before the IEEE and AIEE merged. There was always a certain amount of friction. One of the first things to happen was the power engineers felt they being dispersed, and especially in a big section like Los Angeles. In order to fix that, they all changed their addresses to their business. Department of Water and Power is downtown, and the SCE is in that same section. They created a section where their addresses were, so they could be all in the same section.

Consequently, the metropolitan section and the Power Engineering Society are almost identical. They have their meetings downtown with the Los Angeles Council that actually meets at the Department of Water and Power every month. One of the DWP people is an officer, and they make arrangements to use the conference room at the department. Therefore, that has worked out. AIEE had the technical committees and the IRE had the technical groups. After the merger they continued with technical groups and then it became societies beginning in '68 or something like that.

Nebeker:

How did that work in this area? Did the power people get for example their own group very early on?

Guarrera:

Yes. They had their own group and they had their own section.

Nebeker:

I see. Was in '70 that the board of directors approved the formation of societies rather than the technical groups. Were you involved with the technical groups or societies?

Guarrera:

No, I was involved locally, but I was not involved nationally at the time. Locally what we did when we created the council, the first thing that we did was we created the groups and societies later under the council, not the sections. That way the groups and societies served all of the members of all of the sections in this area. Later some of the sections created their own groups. We have maybe about six or seven society chapters that belong to the section, so to speak. The rest of them belong to the council.

Nebeker:

I see. Are you still active?

Guarrera:

Yes. I have been on the council through my membership on the Electronic Conventions, Inc. board. That's the company that owns Wescon, and so that puts me on the council committee. I am also chairman of the ECI board.

Nebeker:

Now that first ten years roughly after the merger, there was a lot of restructuring of the organization. The technical activities board was formed in '64, the educational activities board in '67, the regional activities board in '68. What do you recall of that initial period of reshaping the organization?

Guarrera:

That initial period was peripheral almost to our local activities. It hardly affected us. As I did say, the Los Angeles council did have all the groups and societies under, chapters under their wing, and that didn't change for quite a few years after that. As the different dictates come down from heaven, why it didn't bother us one way or the other, we did our thing and everything went pretty well.

Nebeker:

Maybe there was a little more autonomy it sounds like in the Los Angeles area.

Guarrera:

We were always very autonomous in this area. We created Wescon. That helped make us autonomous because it brought in money into the coffers.

Nebeker:

It was always a moneymaker?

Guarrera:

Absolutely. Except for one year.

Wescon

Nebeker:

Now to return to your IEEE activities.

Guarrera:

Yes. Then, what after I became chairman of the Valley, a few years later, about three, I became chairman. I was always active from that point on, as soon as we got involved here in California. I then became chairman of LA council, except there was a section. Then, we created the council while I was still active, we invented that whole concept. The architect of the council was primarily Bruce Angwin and Walt Peterson. It was bought out by the IEEE because it was a new concept. Later there were other councils, San Francisco more recently became a council, and Boston became a council later.

Then I got involved in Wescon, first on various committees, and we put together a lot of exciting things in those days. Later, I was asked to be on the Wescon board. I served my time on the Wescon board and traveled to Japan on one of our trips.

Jo:

All over Europe. India, Israel as well.

Nebeker:

What's the purpose of these trips for Wescon?

Guarrera:

The board members make one trip annually and primarily to first of all to have a place to meet that's totally independent of business and everything else. Second we tried to find places that would be of interest to us or the country or whatever we are doing.

Jo:

For trade or whatever.

Guarrera:

We went to Japan in '64 and that was a sudden trip for us because I had just been appointed to the board and they said, "Pack you bags, we're going to Japan," which we did of course. There we met with all of the industry leaders in Japan in the electronics business, and they told us what they were going to do and how they were going to do it to us.

I had been active in politics. I was a volunteer chairman for Congressman [correct name?] for eighteen years, so I knew something about politics. I listened to all this stuff the Japanese were telling us, and when we met separately from our Japanese friends, I said, "We should go to our congressmen and tell them what the hell is going on here. These people have told us how they are going to cream us." Of course nobody believed it. But they told us what they were going to do. They said, "We are going to sell our stuff to you, and we're keeping our books differently." In other words, they intended to skirt the trade laws by selling below cost. "We will sell at cost, no overhead. All of our overhead and everything else will be charged to what we sell in our own country." That could be sold at a loss.

Who is going to complain about that? They can sell it for whatever they want in their own country; they don't have to sell it at cost. That would then give them a real edge in our country. The obvious thing was that they control the market and then they can do what they want—which is exactly what they have done—in the automobile business, the electronics business, and everything else. But nobody wanted to go to Congress, except me, and I was really the low man on the totem pole.

Jo:

You had just gotten on the Westcon board.

Guarrera:

I had just gotten on the board. At that time I had a very small business. I was not a national leader of anything in industry, and we had people there who were vice presidents of Varian, Hewlett-Packard, and several other companies, and they just laughed it off. We learned something from that.

It was not only a lot of good for Wescon, but we did a lot of good for IEEE because of the goodwill, our going to these places as formal representatives you might say of the country. We had our meetings, and we developed new things and new ideas, and that seems to have worked quite well. It was sort of a bone for the board members for doing their volunteer work.

IEEE's Mission & Organizational Status

Nebeker:

Then you became director of Region six.

Guarrera:

Then I became director of Region 6, and that was a time when we had an unemployment problem in this country, and Jim Mulligan at the same time became the president of IEEE. Prior to Jim's taking office he decided to find out what all the grumbling was about, because the members were complaining IEEE wasn't doing a damn thing for them, for their problems, for their economic problems. Jim decided to meet with the members of IEEE and scheduled a series of meetings of the sections. He got a very bad reception, especially in Columbus, Ohio.

The story we tell, although Jim says it really wasn't that bad, was that he got bombarded with some ripe tomatoes and stuff like that. He denies that it really happened. Nevertheless, Hans Cherney and I have been telling that story for years and I'm not going to change it. They were very unhappy, so he said, "Well I better meet with some of the leaders of IEEE, because this is a problem that we ought to try to figure out what we can do about." As a result, he came to Los Angeles and met with a bunch of us.

Jim started asking some questions, and then I got up and I made my speech about the fact the reason members are unhappy is IEEE doesn't give a damn about what's happening to the members. All the IEEE is doing is publishing archival literature, which is important. Probably and no doubt the most important thing that IEEE does. However, you ought to worry about what's happening to the members. He responded, "Geez, John is the guy I ought to talk to." When we talked I told him, "You really got to do something, this is ridiculous, and there is a lot of unrest."

Nebeker:

I have here it was in 1972 in Spectrum, a report you wrote on groups and committees moving on the issues, and you have eight issues here [unintelligible phrase]. Do you remember the issues?

Guarrera:

I don't have to remember the issues. Not all of them anyway. At any rate, John Granger in the November or December issue of Spectrum said that the IEEE as a learned society can only take care of the archival literature and referee literature. Also he said that it is demeaning and below the dignity, or some stupid thing like that. It created a stir among the members. It was like saying too bad for you, but IEEE is not interested. That's when Mulligan went to speak to Columbus, Ohio and got in a certain amount of trouble.

Nevertheless, Jim and I talked about this and he met with several other people from the region, and I was an incoming region director. We tried to get something done right away in 1971, but we had a little lawyer trouble.

We talked about getting involved and doing some of these things, and the lawyer of course [[Donald Fink|Don Fink], whom I love and got along with great, but Don was very timid about these things and the lawyer was always there to answer his questions. The lawyer said, "Well, you know if you get involved in this lobbying activity, you are going to be in trouble because you are a (c)-3." He said, "If you walk like a duck and you talk like a duck and you look like a duck, you must be a duck. So you can't do those things." I said, "No, no," I said, "The law is clear on this. We're not proposing to spend much money on this lobbying activity or this political activity. The law says we can spend five percent of our gross revenue, of our gross budget, without any possibility of penalty." A couple years later they changed that to twenty percent, that way you can be a (c)-3. The lawyer insisted, however, and all the board members acquiesced. Then the Galindo Petition comes, and everybody gets upset about that, because if that had passed we would have been primarily a lobbying organization.

Nebeker:

And a U.S. organization.

Guarrera:

Precisely. So we lobbied against that, we wrote articles debating against it. I spoke out against it.

Nebeker:

Where was that?

Guarrera:

At UCLA. We had a pretty good audience too. I also debated them again at the MTT, but not at that period of time, because Vic felt IEEE was never doing enough for the members. At any rate, his petition lost. The IEEE then in its infinite wisdom came up with a more palatable change to the constitution, which wasn't necessary, but we had to go that way because everyone bought this lawyer's dictate. Once the constitution was changed we became a (c)-6, and we had to create the foundation for IEEE because we were no longer a (c)-3. That created a problem with all the technical societies, and over the years they were all moaning and groaning that we were a (c)-6 and not a (c)-3. Especially, those that understood the difference between a (c)-6 and (c)-3 were in an uproar.

Just recently we hired a new lawyer, and even with the changed constitution we are now (c)-3 again. Did you know that?

Nebeker:

I have heard of this.

Guarrera:

That's very important, because to IEEE that means members that send in their dues as a contribution, if they are not working or if they are not itemizing deductions except for contributions they wouldn't get the benefit of this. So (c)-3 is very important for IEEE, and it's very important to do business with the other societies. Because we were a (c)-6 and they were (c)-3s.

Nebeker:

I see.

Guarrera:

At any rate, we are now back to being a (c)-3. I'm very pleased that that happened, but we never had to be a (c)-6 in the first place. Then what happened after that? After my involvement as a director, we made a lot of changes. We created essentially USAC and we also got money to run it. We even got money to start a Washington office. Ralph Clark, on a part time basis, opened our Washington office. He was a very respectable, good working, hard working guy, very respected all over Washington.

Jo:

He just deceased.

Guarrera:

He got us going in the Washington scene. We then created the pension committee and all these other things to get things going, which was kind of exciting. One of the most exciting things that happened when I became president, when I was vice president we kept pushing all these professional activities and started the USAC. I was vice president in '73, and then in '74 — we actually started USAC in '72. Al Goldberg headed that up. Then in '74 when I became president one of the things that happened was the Bart case.

Nebeker:

Right.

The Bart Case

Guarrera:

We actually did get involved in the Bart case. I have to tell you the board members of IEEE all work for somebody, and so it is not easy to do these ethically in my opinion correct things or to take a front position on anything. What happened was, we finally agreed that we could write an amicus curiae brief. Frank Cummings and his wife did a great job on that amicus.

Basically the brief said that anyone that hires an engineer has to recognize that the code of ethics is part of his contract. It's an implied contract. Therefore if what these men did was in conformance with the code of ethics then they had to do it, they were obligated to do it. IEEE took no position on whether the men were right or wrong. That was for the court to adjudicate. That was what we said in the brief.

Nebeker:

I have read articles about that Bart case. This was before the new code of ethics, right?

Guarrera:

We created the code of ethics during this flap, but we had enough other codes of ethics to use in the lawsuit. We had NSPE; we had the old IRE from about 1902. The lawyers had no problem with the code of ethics. Of course then we realized how important this code was and we came up with a code after the fact. At any rate, that was I think a very thing and a first step.

I understand that we are now trying to set up a fund. We've tried to do this incidentally since I've been on the board of IEEE; create a fund to protect our members or at least that they can tap for legal assistance. We have never been able to get that approved, and I understand there is still work afoot and that may happen soon. I do hope that happens, because an individual has no chance to fight a case like this.

The Bart guys did settle out of court, and I suppose it was fortunate for them that they got their money. It was unfortunate for IEEE, because if that had gone to the Supreme Court of the United States, that would have become law. In other words, our brief would have become law.

Nebeker:

Yes. I was just looking at your candidate statement when you were running for [unintelligible phrase]. It is very clear that you are going to expand the professional activities.

Guarrera:

Absolutely. That was my intention when I first got on the board of IEEE, but I try to make it clear that the technical stuff was a priority. The top priority in IEEE is the technical activities. If it wasn't for our preeminence and if even today in the technical aspects of IEEE, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on in anything we did. That's what gives us the power.

Publications and Intellectual Property

Nebeker:

One of the things in the technical area that you mention here is that you wanted to expand the applications oriented information.

Guarrera:

That never happened.

Nebeker:

Right. One of the persistent criticisms of IEEE, and this is something that Arthur Stern talked about, is that especially today it tends to be for research, engineers, academics, the sort of elite and not so much for the working engineer. You evidently were trying to address that at that time.

Guarrera:

For years the people writing those articles were not allowed to do so by their companies. When you have something to write about, like how did I solve "this" problem—which is really what the members want to see—the company says why should you tell the whole world how you solved that problem? You solved it for us; we paid you for it, that's our solution. It's very difficult to get this kind of thing published.

Nebeker:

There are many academics in a position because of their consulting. They are there to write more applications.

Guarrera:

Because of their consulting, they can't write an article on consulting.

Nebeker:

They are prevented then by the contract?

Guarrera:

Absolutely. Now what we try to do on a campus when a company is giving you contracts in addition to the government is guarantee nothing. When the government gives you a contract you can publish anything, but that's usually research. When a company gives you a contract, they are usually asking you to solve a particular problem. That's what they want. They usually give you a lot of freedom, but don't want you to publish that if they are paying for it.

Therefore, we put a string in there so, because it's our property and intellectual property belongs to the person that did it, and we will keep it a secret for one year. Sometimes they negotiate and say refuse this. Usually they want a longer term of secrecy, but then they have to negotiate with the professor [unintelligible phrase] the negotiation. One year is the maximum that we will keep it from publication. If they want patent rights and so on, and some of the faculty will give that because it's work that they want to work on, they have to personally sign that they are granting this to the company. The university, however, guarantees nothing.

Nebeker:

So the main problem with getting these publications is that the rights of the company, and that might mean after a year the academic engineer is in a position to publish on it?

Guarrera:

Yes. We have had some of our guys publish things, but again it's usually not publishable in IEEE.

Nebeker:

The academic environment is such that you want the research [unintelligible phrase].

Guarrera:

Right. In other words, the refereed articles for the journals are not really application oriented. You can sometimes sneak something in. I know MTT publishes letters. Are you familiar with that publication?

Nebeker:

Yes.

Guarrera:

And those publications, the letters, have application-oriented solutions. Because an engineer will work on something and write it up quickly in the form of a letter and send it in there that becomes valuable information to the working engineer.

Nebeker:

But there's not enough of that.

Guarrera:

We are so compartmentalized in IEEE that no one would take the initiative of just writing up a magazine on letters, or applications-oriented letters. It's got to go to the right group, and the right group has got to decide they want to do something like that. One of the reasons we can't get solutions in Congress is because of the compartmentalization. There is no one looking at the whole picture and trying to solve the entire problem. You have got this committee that works on this, that committee that works on that, they don't even talk to each other, they come with laws that are totally incompatible. I mean it's just ludicrous.

Continuing Education

Nebeker:

What else can be done to solve this problem of IEEE not addressing the needs of the working engineer, besides applications and more in the publications? What about continuing education?

Guarrera:

That is working pretty well now, at last.

Nebeker:

Is that something you worked on when you were president?

Guarrera:

Only to encourage it. I was not directly involved in that. I am involved in that on the campus of course, continuing education.

Nebeker:

There are all these professional activities, these new professional activities of USAC. Is that a way of meeting the needs.

Guarrera:

Yes, but it's called USAB now.

Nebeker:

Right, but in the early days it was USAC.

Guarrera:

In the early days it was USAC.

Nebeker:

Right, and that's a way of trying to serve the working engineer.

Guarrera:

Absolutely, and very important I think.

Nebeker:

How did that go in the period when you were president since the early days?

Guarrera:

When I was president we created these things, encouraged them. Leo Young was the first USAP chairman. After Leo was Mulligan was '76. Mulligan possibly could have been there for two years.

Jo:

I thought he was the first one, and that probably was '75, and I thought you were the next one.

Nebeker:

It says here '76-'77, chairman '77 for USAP.

Guarrera:

Yes, that's me and Mulligan was '76, for sure.

Jo:

Could he have been two years?

Service Contract Act

Guarrera:

I think it was Leo Young in '75. At the time, I was heavily involved in the United States Activities Committee, board, and everything else from the beginning. Even when I was vice president, and even before I was vice president. I was on the board when we created it, so I was heavily active in those things, but in 1976 one of the things that took place was the Service Contract Act. Are you familiar with that problem?

Nebeker:

No.

Guarrera:

What happened was, some of our Florida members at Patrick Air Force, Cape Canaveral, complained that the government, in re-awarding the contracts, gives the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Pan American had the prime contract to run the base. They were the caretakers so to speak. Everybody then worked for Pan American, even though the government paid all the costs.

When that came up for re-bid, Boeing lost about five billion dollars worth of contracts from the government in the first bidding. I forget exactly what happened, but I think Boeing underbid deliberately to get the contract. They got the contract and then fired all the engineers. The reason they fired all the engineers was that there is a law of 1965 called the Service Contract Act, which says that when you are a service contractor and the government owns a facility, and you are contracted to do everything. You must pay all the people the prevailing wage. Therefore, if you fired someone and hired them back, you have to hire them at the same pay. All their rights were protected with this act. Everyone except for engineers, doctors, lawyers, and perhaps nurses.

At Cape Canaveral a lot of the employees were engineers, because that's basically the work that was done on the base. So they fired all the engineers because they couldn't fire anybody else. Immediately they advertised new positions. They wanted to pay someone with ten years of experience and a Ph.D. $100 a week or so. It was ridiculous.

Many guys took the jobs because there weren't many jobs anywhere else. These guys were whipsawed into taking big cuts in pay, some of them fifty percent of what they were getting, some of them even less, some of them a little more. That doesn't mean they had to keep that pay forever, because they would be looking around and as soon as they found another job they would take off.

As a result there was this whipsawing thing. You are earning this much money; all of a sudden you are down here earning this much money, and then they feel they've got to do a little raise here and there to keep enough people there to do the work. Then you have another problem, a new contractor comes and it goes down again. Basically that was a problem, and it was very serious.

I took it as a personal challenge that we ought to be able to do something about this. Jim Korman was in Congress, my personal friend and very close, very nice to have our lobbyist be an unpaid Congressman—I mean unpaid by us. We decided we would tackle this problem.

It got to be kind of exciting, because we sort of had a problem with our board first of all, because the companies didn't like our activity. One of the things I did was, I met with all of the associations involved in service contracts, companies. They knew everything we were doing. I didn't try to hide anything. I told them this is what we're doing and this is what we're doing and we'd like you to help us do it. Of course they said yes. We're not going to have a law that includes engineers in that bill.

We proposed a law; we tried to put in certain controls and measures to make people happy. While this went on—it was a fairly long process—we had hearings. We gave case histories, and a funny thing with the PRC company—I forget what that means but they are big in the service contract business. After we testified, they testified at the next day and they said that testimony wasn't a hundred percent accurate because we were able to trace these people. They said some of the things that were wrong. As a result, I was on that panel again. Korman fed questions to the congressmen, his friends, to ask us, and they said, "Well, how do you explain this?" I said, "Well, the proof of the pudding, Mr. Congressman. They recognize their people. We tried to camouflage them to protect them, and they researched it to prove that it was their people we were talking about who were abused." That was one of the testimonies.

Then, we finally went through the subcommittee, and we were really on a roll. The subcommittee passed the bill. We had to get the labor unions to join us, because it's the labor committee that had to pass this, and they are close to the unions. Korman, who was close to the unions, got them to agree on the language that would go into the bill. Of course the unions didn't want bills to protect employees; they want them to join the union. Consequently, we had a little fun there, but finally that got in the bill.

While this is going on, we were suggesting to this industry group that we solved a problem another way; maybe we can do it by working with OMB and putting it into the regulations. We met with OMB and finally got them to agree. They saw this bill as making progress. The full committee passed the bill.

Nebeker:

This was the labor committee?

Guarrera:

Yes, the full labor committee and they were ready to go to the floor. Now they agreed to change the OMB regulations. OMB now has a regulation and it's now in all contracts that says the contracting officer has to see to it that the contractor pays the prevailing wage. That provision is now in all government contracts. Therefore this essentially solved their problem. It would have been nicer to have it in the law, but then of course the administration changed in IEEE and that bill was not pursued.

Nebeker:

It didn't go further?

Guarrera:

No one tried to push it any further. The new administration decided that Guarrera's activities were geared too much to employee interests to satisfy the needs of our membership.

Nebeker:

You mean your successor?

Guarrera:

Bruno Weinschel. He essentially killed two major activities that we were involved in, and I'm sure that's the reason he was put in that job. He didn't need it.

Nebeker:

What was the other?

Guarrera:

The other was that we had a bill, we had the ear of a senator and a congress person on patent rights, and that bill would have given a piece of the pie to the engineer or person that was on the patent. Similar to what they have in Europe.

Guarrera:

That bill was actually on the congressman's desk, and Bruno sent Jack Kim to pick it up and take it off the desk. That's the way life is in the trenches, right? You can't win them all.

Nebeker:

It was the president's decision?

Guarrera:

No, the decision wasn't made by one person.

Nebeker:

Was it the majority of the board? Was it a behind the scenes thing. Did company executives decide that this was not the thing that IEEE should be doing?

Guarrera:

It was not voted on to take it off the agenda. You see the chairman of USAP and the vice president has an awful lot of power, even today. Therefore, if you don't pursue it, it dies. To take it off the desk of the congressman, however, that was really peculiar.

We are still trying to do that. That was in 1977, it's coming around again, and there are some measures that we're supporting in USAB. I'm not directly involved in that at all, but there are some things that are being presented, which may come to pass some day.

Age Discrimination

Nebeker:

What other USAB activities are you referring to?

Guarrera:

Age discrimination is another. Age discrimination is a problem because no working engineer can be identified with that committee, because companies hate us for being involved in that. They don't like that law, and they don't want IEEE to be involved. How then did we get involved? When I was the vice president I got Hans Cherney who worked for IBM to be involved, and he didn't mind; Chuck Olsefsky [correct name?] got to be chairman one year in '77.

Jo:

He was at Lockheed, wasn't he?

Guarrera:

He could have been. He just said, "I'll do it anyway." Therefore, we did it, and then subsequent to that I became chairman one year after I was vice president. We kept that thing going and kept it alive and we tried to help members who were in trouble. The recourse, however, was very difficult. If you are discriminated against, the best thing of course, if there is a whole group there is a class action suit.

Nebeker:

Did the IEEE supported them?

Guarrera:

They couldn't have been supported directly. We supported them because they were on the committee and we had the available information, or we would get information. We would visit EEOC. I would go there because of PEOC [correct name?]. When I was chairman of the committee, because that was right near our office in Washington, I would go and visit them. Our people, however, would visit them to encourage action on behalf of an individual or somebody, and also to see if they could pass regulations.

Again, when I was chairman of USAB we provided legal services because I didn't ask anybody. One of my activities, and somebody needed some help and I hired a lawyer and gave them some help. Then there is the pension committee, which is the one near and dear to my heart. That's the first committee we started in '62. We tried to work our way through, and we explained to the board there's going to be an expensive process, but we've been improving things.

Pension Issues

Guarrera:

The first thing we did was during ERISA in '74 when that bill passed. We got involved because we wanted some clauses in that bill. We wanted to be able to carve out engineers and have their own pension plan. Frank Cummings was the attorney who wrote what we ought to put in there and helped us compose it in legalese language, and we talked to the various committee people. Cummings, who is primarily a Republican, that's his background, nothing wrong with being a Republican, but democrats were in power then, and he tried to see if he could wiggle it in. He knew Javits personally, because he used to be on Javits' staff, and he said, "John, this is impossible on such short notice. The thing is already in committee. We can't do it." I said, "Well wait a minute, let me have it," and I went and talked to Jim Korman. Korman was on the Ways and Means Committee, was not on the conference committee because he was too junior at the time, but he knew people on the conference committee. He went in and talked to his buddies and they put our clauses into the bill.

That's when we tried to start the pensions for professionals. We actually formed two corporations thinking we were going to go into the pension business, because we had our clauses in the bill. It turns out that we couldn't get any company to go along with us on this.

Nebeker:

So the bill was passed?

Guarrera:

The bill was passed with our clauses. That was our first success, as far as getting legislation passed. I was at the White House when Ford signed that bill. Labor Day '74 I was invited to the Rose Garden to see the signature. Frank Cummings was invited to the Rose Garden through his friend Javits. We saw Ford sign, and I got a pen where he made part of his signature with and a picture.

At any rate, that was an exciting experience. Then what happened after that was we promoted what we called the Universal IRA. IRA was in the original bill, but you couldn't have it if you were covered by a company pension plan. This meant if you belonged to a company that had a pension plan you were out of luck, whether you had any benefits or not. Therefore, if you worked for a company for four years, had no benefits from the company, and it was a ten-year vesting, then you had no IRA. We proposed what we called a LIRA [correct name?], and limited it to individual retirement employees and retirement accounts. We did that by calculating if a person worked for a company and had no benefits, he could take out an IRA. If he started getting some benefits, once he vested that would reduce the IRA by the amount of the vested benefit. Of course everybody said "no, that's too complicated, no one's going to understand how to do that." So I said, "Well, let's make up an imaginary tax form. The company who keeps records on everyone anyway on the W2 there will be another box, and just say how much they're vested in. Then the guy fills out his tax return, puts that down, and that's how much he can put in his IRA."

We did, we lobbied for it and were very successful, but not in getting the LIRA passed, because Congress thought it was too complicated, because they didn't understand it completely, and so what happened is they passed an IRA for everybody—anybody, no matter what you had, could have an IRA. There were some complaints by people who said, "Well, now everybody who has got a pension plan is going to take out an IRA. It's going to cost the government too much."

For about two or three years, anyone could have an IRA. Then Congress in its infinite wisdom stopped it, because it was too expensive and most of the people that had pensions were taking it out. I was sort of out of the mainstream, we decided not to stop a LIRA; what we decided to support on the pension committee and what we're doing today is trying to support a pension for everybody. Everyone doesn't have a pension, everyone doesn't have benefits, and so what we're saying is everyone should have a minimum pension benefit above Social Security.

We started, in fact we introduced a bill two years ago that defines such a plan, and we came up with some suggestions as to how to fund it. One of those suggestions that I made based on an article by an actuary that has written books on pensions. At any rate, she made a suggestion that the pension pot is over $3 trillion and approaching $4 trillion at a rapid rate because all the earnings get pumped back into this at the expense of the taxpayers. That is because all that money goes in pre-taxed, that's not supporting anything in the government or anything else. If you took a one or two percent tax on the corpus, maybe a half a percent tax on the corpus that would fund the tax laws for having a pension plan for everybody. Consequently, that's what we promoted and lobbied for and testified to and so on. Sam Gibbons introduced that for us. He almost became the chairman of Ways and Means when Rostenkowski got bumped, because of his problems. Korman was Ways and Means until he lost the election.

At any rate, Gibbons introduced that for us, and we figured the Democrats would win again, and hoped they would win again, of course they didn't. Now Sam is the senior democratic member of Ways and Means but not the chairman. Our chances of getting it then passed were relatively small. As a result we lowered our sights. After this experience we learned to have a plan.

We have introduced a bill on portability. It's not in the garbage yet this year, but Sam introduced this last year along with the other bill. The portability bill tells you how to compute the value of your vested benefit; this is for a person leaving the company. Our recommendation is you use a three percent discount rate, so instead of the PGA. This is because PGA says that you should use the current interest, which is like eight or nine percent, if you use a three percent discount rate from the benefit you get at sixty five you get a bigger number. That's sort of taking care of inflation and a few other things. Our recommendation hasn't passed yet, because it hasn't been introduced yet this year.

Nebeker:

It's interesting that you've work on that for many years.

Guarrera:

That pension thing, I'm still on the committee and we're still actively working on these things.

Nebeker:

Yes.

Jo:

Wasn't that what you received your last award for?

Guarrera:

I got a citation for something. It was a Faye Young Memorial Award.

Expanding IEEE Internationally

Nebeker:

There were a few other questions I had about your year as president. I was looking at this secretary's report, Seymour Kambias [correct name?], reporting on the year '74. Some of the things that happened that year I don't know how much of it affected you and what you were doing before the new Piscataway Center was completed.

Guarrera:

The new Piscataway Center was completed, and do you realize that I have never seen it to this day. We created it while I was officer of IEEE, it was finished I think in '74.

Nebeker:

It has twice expanded since then. Did you do a lot to promote IEEE outside the country?

Guarrera:

What I did was visit everywhere I could. We traveled all over the place and we received grants for that. Israel, all of Europe, and India already a section. I don't remember exactly where they were, but they may have been in the Iron Curtain countries. We also went to Moscow. We did not have a section [unintelligible phrase].

Nebeker:

There was a steady three percent increase in membership that year. The publications increased it says here thirteen percent over the preceding year. A very important thing was that new code of ethics. What was your involvement with that?

Guarrera:

I worked hand-in-hand on that code of ethics and primarily in the Bart case I was [unintelligible word] involved in that.

IEEE Stands on Public Policy

Nebeker:

One thing I wanted to ask about was this committee on energy and the statement made favoring the development of nuclear energy. One criticism I have heard recently from Kumar Patel is that IEEE hasn't been active enough taking stands on public policy. It was an instance where they did take a stand.

Guarrera:

We have taken stands on public policy.

Nebeker:

On a number of occasions.

Guarrera:

Yes.

Nebeker:

But not as often as some other societies.

Guarrera:

You do realize that one of the problems in IEEE is the cross section of membership. One of the policy statements we came out with fairly recently, last year I believe, was that we did not favor the massive space station that was being lobbied by Rockwell and those people that were building that. We thought it should be smaller, continue the research, and so on. I could tell you it wasn't received very well. I'm right here near Rockwell. My phone rang off the hook. The executive vice president of Rockwell called me and said, "What are you trying to do?" I had an answer for all of them. "It's your members' participation." I said, "Do you support your members? How many of your people from Rockwell," it was a massive company, "how many of them are on the committee? I don't think there's any of them on the committee. The committee makes their pronouncement." Unfortunately or fortunately as the case my be, that's what gets published.

But our membership is a cross section. Now I happen to think the policy we took was a good one. I've always felt that way. But I'm not going to make a speech on that, since Rockwell does support the university. That's a real problem with a big society.

Nebeker:

What's your recollection or your involvement in that mid-'70s policy statement on nuclear energy?

Guarrera:

I thought it was the right policy.

Nebeker:

It created also a lot of controversy. Did it cause some greater caution on the part of IEEE after that in making such statements?

Guarrera:

First of all for them to make a statement at all you need a champion. If you have a champion. When I say a champion, they must have enough of a following. It's going to offend some people.

Certainly our professional activities are tough, and I can understand the problem. If you look at our membership, we have chairman of the board, executive vice presidents, presidents, directors of all the major corporations in this country are members and Fellows and Life members of IEEE. Consequently, the position you take on an individual that's suing a company is to not be totally up front.

That's the reason when we were on service contracts. I invited the heads of all these companies who are members of their service contract organization and other groups to meet with IEEE. Whether I agreed with them or not didn't matter; at least they could pick on me, they could holler at me, they could complain about what I was doing, but they always knew what I was doing.

They could not back stab me and say, "Guarrera is trying to get this slipped." I was trying to get it done, but with their full knowledge.

Irwin Feerst

Nebeker:

Yes. Fortunately or unfortunately, we have only a couple minutes to get your comments on Irwin Feerst and what that whole thing meant to IEEE.

Guarrera:

I have a policy about Irwin. Ivan Getting wanted to know what I was going to say about that, so I cue him in. I said, "No way." I said, "I don't comment on Irwin." Irwin, in my view, hurt IEEE. When Mulligan became president, asked me to meet with Irwin. I met with Irwin with the idea of saying, "If you've got all this energy, why not become active and help with what's going on?" and he turned us down cold. He told me to my face he was only interested in being president of IEEE, and that's it. He picked on me mercilessly. He was a personal attacker.

Jo:

He picked on all the presidents.

Guarrera:

He picked on everybody. Yes, he picked on all the presidents, he picked on.

Nebeker:

But in a sense you were trying to achieve some of the things he was trying to achieve.

Guarrera:

I will never give him credit for trying to achieve anything, because in my view if you read his stuff, he was just trying to personally assassinate anyone in IEEE.

Nebeker:

He got a lot of votes from the members in those years.

Guarrera:

He got a few votes from the members, which made a lot of people nervous. They changed the rules because of Irwin Feerst.

Nebeker:

You mean for voting for?

Guarrera:

Yes, the cumulative voting and all that stuff.

Nebeker:

Yes, right. All I'm saying is that he was expressing this dissatisfaction that you also felt about IEEE not serving the average member.

Guarrera:

In my view he didn't care. That was his platform. He wanted absolute control of the organization. During the Service Contract Act there was an interesting situation. We did not have the support of the other societies. Some of them sort of supported, but no one really got on the bill with us. NSP opposed it because some of their members were service contract people. I debated Paul Gray, who was the vice president of MIT and it was fun. I chewed him up one side and down the other.

Jo:

John has made lots of real good friends.

Guarrera:

Paul Gray was at that meeting and I reminded him about our debate. Most people don't live with these things forever. I mean, that was a position that I had at the time, and I still have as a matter of fact. They either live with me or they don't live with me.

Admiral Grella and Norton Sound

Nebeker:

Is there anything I didn't ask about you'd like to comment on?

Guarrera:

The only quick comment I'll make is that I didn't say much about the company because you sort of rushed me through my career.

Nebeker:

Yes. We wanted to get to the IEEE activity.

Guarrera:

I didn't really say much about the university career either. The company actually had qualified components in almost every major airframe that was built during those years. The airframes built by Lockheed, by Autonetics division of North American Aviation. Which is now Rockwell I think. We built wave-guide switches for years for the Terrier Tested [correct name?] program. We built all their wave-guide switches and their monitors for voltage control so that when you are testing a missile if the voltage from the ship exceeded certain limits it would stop the test. Because obviously the test would be faulty.

Jo:

That's when you worked with Captain or Admiral Grella [correct name?], on the Norton Sound, was it?

Guarrera:

Yes, I do have lots of good stories. Grella was sort of a showman. He ran the Norton Sound and other ships. The Norton Sound was a test ship, but he would take visitors out to demonstrate the missile. He always had two missiles ready to shoot: one without a warhead and one with a warhead, just in case, because he wanted to be sure to shoot that target down for the visitors.

Nebeker:

He was using one with a warhead?

Guarrera:

A small charge, not a nuclear warhead. He would launch the missile and the one I was on, the missile had a direct hit on the drone. Of course it automatically fired the second one, because you can't screw around and take any chances, and the second one exploded and knocked all the pieces to pieces. It was very impressive.

I was working on the K-band radar and the Marines had an S-band 584 modified to just to test what they were doing. I was sitting out in the bleachers down range, and they shoot this missile. The missile went right over our heads, down range, turns around, comes back over our heads. As it comes back over our heads all these admirals in their white uniforms are laying flat on the ground with me, and the missile went all the way to the other mountain and hit the mountain and exploded there. That was a failure, but it was exciting.