Monday, April 18, 2016

What did Hugh do after the war?

After the war, Hugh remained in the Navy until 1952. Men from the original Darter crew were hand picked to sail a new boat, called the USS Menhaden (SS-377) in 1946.
The USS Menhaden at launch. At some point during the war, they stopped launching the boats straight into the water like the earlier picture of the Darter launch, and instead slid them in sideways like this. I have seen film footage of this being done and it always seems to look dangerously like the boat will capsize and sink.

Hugh patrolled the Pacific in peacetime until just before my mother was born, then he was honorably discharged from the United States Navy. His expertise in telecommunications allowed him to remain in the military and serve within the US government. He moved with his wife up to the Adirondacks so he could be near a military base, and continued his highly skilled engineering with the Department of Defense, working closely with the US Air Force until he retired in 1975.  Throughout this era, as the Cold War tensions were escalating year after year, he was focusing on improving the range of radar systems and also pioneering the field of microwave and satellite communications.  Much of this involved designing, building and testing the large dishes used to detect long range threats and relay the warnings over long distances, coordinating defense across land and sea. He was known to have worked abroad as well, visiting Iceland, Australia and Alaska as well as some spots in Canada.

In the upper Arctic circle of Canada, Hugh was partly responsible for the design and building of the protective domes for the radar dishes of the "DEW Line" (Distant Early Warning Line) which were intended to warn us of an ICBM launch from the USSR. As far as I know, these domes and the radar machinery inside them are still used today, only now they are computerized and automated.  The name has since been changed to NWS (the North Warning System).

I do not know where or exactly when these photos below were taken, but they are from the 1950's or 1960's.

Here we see him and a bunch of other men building a mobile microwave dish of some kind. Judging by the car off to one side, this was sometime in the 1950's.
This appears to be the same dish as it starts to take shape.

And the dish deployed and ready to use.

Finally, here's an educational film from 1958 explaining how the DEW line worked.