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There was a lot of trouble in the Ontario shop by the end of 1984. I had been at GE for 3 years and knew I wasn't gonna stay at Ontario long term. I had basically joined GE to build up a war fund to go to law school but I really hadn't saved anything so that was off the table.


Finally in the late summer of 1984, shortly after Derrick Terry, the Union had gone on full strike. Probably a contract year and they were after money. I had a scab crew (mostly flat iron guys) working on getting a few frames out the door for Tinker. John Bonasia was the plant leader and he was in the shop on afternoon and said, "Ya know Dan. I really don't' know why these guys are on strike." Oh, great. The boss has no idea what's going on - I could see that there weren't only union troubles but with an HR guy like Petroze, a leader like Bonasia and other management whizzos this was not going to be a successful place. I remember another guy Tony Divincenzo did a little local PBS thing. Here's this guy standing in front of a jet engine very animatedly saying, "And the air comes in here, it goes whizzing along and catches fire with jet fuel then that fire comes zooming out the back..."Definitely not Bill Nye, Science Guy.


There were a couple of leaders that escaped Ontario and went to Cincinnati. Ed Arsenault was a great guy and good friend. He ended up running Cincinnati's final production shop. That was the most stressful job in the world IMO. Every quarter you are slammed to make deliveries and the pressure is intense. But pales in comparison to the year end numbers - I doubt he ever saw a Christmas with his kids - LOL... Ed eventually went to sales and I had a couple of interactions with him late-ish in my career.


Back in those days GE had a service business that would send guys out on special projects, like if all the fuel pumps at an airline need to be changed due to warranty or something - These were called Temporary Duty Assignments or TDYs. There was a list of guys that could be plucked out of Ontario and sent to airline shops to bail them out of trouble. This was per diem and huge pay. Only most senior engine shop guys, well embedded in the union got that duty.


GE all so had this "international" support group called Field Service. What little I knew about it I knew I wanted in. My motivation was to see the world and specifically get assigned to Australia where most of my family was living. Field Service hired lots of guys from Ontario as they already had experience.


So they had a cattle call and Pat DeCambra was coming from Cincinnati to do interviews. Pat was the Western Hemisphere Regional Director of Commercial Field Service and ran everything in north and south America. I threw my hat in the ring. A week or so later Petroze tells me that I am not going to get an interview when Pat visits. I was disappointed but probably more frustrated because I knew all the guys getting interviews and I was better than any of them.


Remember Bob Winteler? We went to A&P school together, worked on Convair 240's together, he encouraged me to apply to GE? Well Bob had worked his way up to engine shop leadman, I think. Or maybe assembly shop foreman probably, yeah he was definitely a foreman. He was getting an interview and while I love Bob, I know I am better choice than him.


So the interview day arrives and I go about my day. Around about 4pm Petroze calls and says, "Hey this Pat Decambra guy has a little time left and he'd like to talk to you."


So I go up and meet Pat. Black balding hair and thickish rimmed half glasses, 5' 8" or so, in his 40's and a little paunchy.


Pat proceeds to not so much interview me but advise me on things I need to do to "qualify" for an interview next time. I call it a thanks but no thanks interview. After telling me basically that I need to go work in assembly and then engine assembly and probably get some test cell experience he asks me if there is anything I'd like to say. So figuring I had no chance I, no shit threw this Hail Mary.


"Pat I know every guy you've interviewed today very well and I gotta tell you, for every 10 of those guys you hire you better hire someone that knows what the hell he is doing." Then I went on for like 5 minutes telling him why I'm that guy. My basic theme was that anyone can bolt stuff together but I knew exactly how the parts got fixed, I knew production better because instead of bolt engine 123 together tonight I knew the matrix of parts priorities that delivers all the parts to the bolt it together guys on time and in the right order - yada, yada, yada...


After I punched myself out and stopped talking he put his half glasses on his forehead, leaned back and said, "Well I didn't expect that... I am gonna go back and talk to the rest of the guys and we'll let you know."


A couple weeks later I am told I was selected to go to Cincinnati for further interviews with the top guys. GE pays for a ticket to Cincinnati, a rental car and a great suite at the Sheraton. Needless to say I am really impressed. Wow! They pay TDY guys great money and they treat candidates for this like executives - I really want this to go well!


It so happened Bob Winteler was in the hotel with his wife Dee Dee. Dee Dee was a great gal but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. So sweet and gentle. So interview day comes and I show up in the right place. I quickly realize that this is not really an interview. It's a get to know. I meet the Global Director of Commercial Field Service. I meet the East and West Hemisphere commercial guys. I meet the Global Military Director and his regional guys. I meet the HR director.


I really liked the Commercial Global guy, Karl Schneider. He was laid back but super smart. I could tell he was not the kind of guy that would blow up in a panic. Tall skinny, thinning hair and spoke with a bit of a drawl I couldn't place. I also met the Military Leader. He looked like a retired general. Big stocky guy, white hair, military cut straight arrow kind of guy. Again super friendly. I didn't meet anyone that seemed like they hated their job - LOL...


I met Karl last and he told me that I was gonna get hired and they had two "shop rep" jobs available. A military job at Tinker AFB and a Commercial Job in Manila. He told me that Bob Winteler had first choice and Field Service was gonna bring Dee Dee in with him for an interview.


Basically there are two kinds of Field Service guys, line reps who take care of engines on wing at the flight line and shop reps who get embedded at airlines that have their own overhaul shops. Without test cell or a military background (GE hired a lot of ex military into Ontario as well) Bob and I were shop rep candidates - which was later to be very fortunate career wise.


It was also really hard to live overseas in those days. No internet, international phone calls were super expensive, there was very little American goods outside America, cultures were really foreign and there was almost zero "American" tv and entertainment. I watched "Top Gun" in a theater in Manila in like June of 1986. I thought the Filipinos were really rude walking in front of the screen all through the movie. Then I realized that I was watching a video-taped US screening of the movie that had been re-recording back onto reel and that was a first run movie in those days in Manila - LOL... For this reason they interviewed the wives to assess how they would handle being far from home in a culturally shocking place. Even at that something like 80% of all Field Service marriages end in divorce.


I was probably a interesting candidate. I had been a key player in Tinker's TMF and Fan module programs so was attractive as the Tinker guy for relationships. But I lived in Australia and already had overseas experience so there was that.


I knew Bob wanted to go overseas too and would choose Manila as he told me so. I waited at the hotel with baited breath for Bob and Dee to come back from her interview. We had lunch and I asked about it. "We're going to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma." - "Wait! What happened."


So in the interview they asked Dee what she thought of going to Philippine Airlines in Manila and she apparently very exuberantly replied, "Oh Manila? That's great. I have always wanted to live near Miami!!!!"


In hindsight Dee Dee never would have survived Manila in 1985. She woulda been on the forst boat back to mama.


The only glitch in all this is that with overtime I made like $40k in 1984. Field Service paid no overtime and as an L9 (or whatever) my pay was gonna be $26k a year. Like a 1/3 pay cut. But I knew that GE subsidized housing, rental cars, home leave travel and there was a Cost of Living / Hardship bonus for every location. It was like 10% baseline hardship to live in the US cities and most western Europe cities all the way up to like 40% for India, Turkey, Pakistan etc. I think Manila was like 25% or 35%. On top of that the COLA was added. I have a book somewhere with all the FS policies from that era somewhere.


Dianne and I had reconciled (unhappily) and were living in Fontana. When I told her I was applying to go overseas she basically said, "Nope. No way. We are gonna put this nonsense away and buy a house next to my mom's." So I moved out into my mom's house and we got a divorce. By the time I got interviewed in Cincinnati Diane was well in the rear view mirror. We dated for like a year and I think were married for like 3 months from ceremony to divorce filing. I got my final papers to sign in the mail in Manila. Classic starter wife - LOL...


So Bob and Dee were headed to Oklahoma and I was on the way to Manila!


Transportation in Manila vs. Transportation in Oklahoma - We aren't in Kansas any more Dee Dee. Every time Bob and I would get together we'd laugh about Dee Dee's interview. I want to say that Bob and Dee eventually divorced. Probably when he was sent to Israel on a military assignment - LOL... Bob and I didn't meet up but a few times after that. The Military and the Commercial just have their own stuff going on. Their conferences happen at different times, etc.


They say that a Field Service guy needs three things to go on assignment. A cash advance, his divorce papers in his back pocket and a set of engine manuals under his arm - I was ready to go!






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Some huge percentage of couples meet at work. I bet that statistic is a bit less these days with the #metoo stuff but in 1983 things were still fast a loose. Diane worked for me in component repair and after the requisite dating we got cohabitated for about a year and got married in 1984. She was of Mexican descent and I explained all my grand plans - which were developing at this time - to join that "international" part of GE and get myself assigned to Australia. She appeared to be all in while we were dating but my radar started pinging when immediately after the marriage she started househunting on the same street her mom lived on in Yucaipa, Ca. Yucaipa was not a bad place, out I10 into the entrance of Banning Pass. We had an apartment there for a year or so. We also later in the game rented a big old 4 BR stick house in Fontana. It was a sucky area. Dry, hot and dusty. Houses like 10 feet apart. The Fontana Steele mill was still partially running and there were giant piles of black coal slag all over the lots surrounded by tumbledown chain link. The whole thing looked like a trap to me but for a lot the folks there it was the American dream. I am sure houses there are worth like $800k now but I could never see myself staying in Ontario for a whole career in a cardboard house in Fontana.


I was the nightshift foreman, Diane was on my crew and of course ( I found out later), she was having an affair with my leadman! But that's not what put the nail in the coffin of my first marriage but were already deteriorating between us and in hindsight the writing was on the wall. Our own little daytime drama.


Night shift was a bit isolated. The muckety mucks in the union were all on day shift. Night shift had union reps but generally we all hunkered down, had good relations, go the job done and had few grievances and conflicts. Day shift was crazy. Lots of egos and lots of activity.


The next big thing that happened was the GE Flat Iron plant closed in Ontario. Who cares, right? Nope. See, the flat iron union and the Ontario union were the same union - United Electrical Workers. I suppose the jet engine plant organized under the UEW because of GEs long history in electrical stuff - they weren't in any transportation type union. Anyhow, this meant that the union could arrange for long service flat iron workers to bump into the jet shop. There actually wasn't much carnage because the jet shop was expanding again.


Tinker AFB, being pleased with the TMF program decided to send the entire Fan Frame to us as well. Once again we set up an isolated building to completely disassemble, clean, repair and reassemble the case, frame, vanes and all. With my relationship situation I asked to be the day shift foreman in this new shop. It started as a one shift operation, I got the job and it was great... for a while.


My crew was made up largely of flat iron workers. They were experienced workers, hard workers and they were pretty much all glad to have a job. The day shift union didn't like this closed door shit and on some level I think they thought the workers were too happy. So I would get grievances filed for letting a bench worker move a pallet, or clean up a spill or some other nonsense. These grievances were just currency to settle other issues and gain leverage. "We'll settle these 3 grievances against Dan with you giving him a "stern warning" and you bring Bob back to work who was caught doing Cocaine in the tool crib and was fired." Literally that's how it was.


Then, work slowed down... I knew a guy in high school named Derrick Terry. He was a black kid, I was a white kid and the third ethnicity in HS were the Mexicans. I played soccer in HS and got along great with the Mexicans but there were always school fights - Black on Mexican. Mexican on White. White on Black. One time I in a pretty big riot I saw Derrick Terry just beating the crap outta people.


Derrick got hired as a janitor on a work release deal from Chino prison. He promoted his way to forklift driver by seniority and then into my shop. He wasn't a bad worker but he was volatile. In the inevitable slow down, Derrick got bumped to a "med systems" shop in Chino. Of course GE made imaging tables, they were in the same UEW so Derrick could bump his way there.


He finishes work on a Friday after a week of pay and overtime hours, goes to Med Systems but then shows up in my shop on Thursday really, really pissed off because payroll didn't pay him his overtime. I said, "Hang tight. Let me run to payroll and see if I can get you paid." Of course payroll recognized the mistake but said they could not pay him until next payday and could not cut a check that day.


Derrick Terry blew up... at me... and would listen to no reason. "You mutherfucker gonna get me my money or I am gonna fuck you up." I tried reasoning with him but no way. He grabbed an inlet probe, a hollow titanium vane about 2 feet long that captured air for instrumentation, raised it up and threatened to beat me with it. I flashbacked to HS with him and a tire iron and knew he could and probably would do it.


I said, "You aren't gonna hit me" and after a couple of back and forths of yes I ams, I turned and walked to the exit door. As I exited the door the vane hit the wall about 2 feet from my head as he tossed it and stormed out.


I headed to HR, explained what happened. Derrick was fired and security at both plants were instructed to not let him on the facility. Problem solved right? Of course not. 2 weeks later I am called to Tom Petroze's office - head of HR - and he says, "I wanted to tell you personally Derrick is coming back to work. The union was willing to settle like 10 grievances to get this guy back and when you look at it, it really was our fault for screwing up his pay." I was floored but not surprised and I that point I knew I had to get outta this zoo.


That opportunity was right around the corner.


Derrick Terry's murder weapon of choice. Not a TF39 probe but typical of the design and function. Somewhere in the future I will talk about the journey of the icing probes...


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I think a good jumping off point is around 1,000AD. I call this modern history. The Egyptians left us with some good stories and piles of rocks, the Greeks left us some pretty good science adn architecture and the Romans gave us roads and "Christianity." We are now writing lots of stuff down which adds to cumulative knowledge. Our technologies (physicality) gets better and better as a result. Better boats better tools, better weapons, glass, compasses and all kinds of stuff.


Let's also call the subsequent empires modern empires. England is pretty well established, Spain is well established as well. They both have a God that wants them to sally forth, kill pagans and take their shit. Pretty much up until the 1900s we have what I call brick and mortar empires. Invade, dominate, occupy and build a society largely like the one at home. Convert a bunch of locals to Christianity and when you have enough of them converted bingo, Job Done.


There have always been traders and explorers. It was pretty easy to find India, full of a very different looking people with different religion, but they are far away and hard to invade so for along time we traded with them - the spice trades. We also have the Arabian people pretty close by. And it always seems the farther we go the more shit we find that we would like to have for our own.


In the meantime we have really big kingdoms all around. We are all already Christians, they are really hard to invade and it would really fuck us both up.


Dogs

- Big dogs don't fight big dogs, cuz they can really do a lot of damage

- Little dogs fight little dogs because they can't really do much damage

- And little dogs never fight big dogs


So how do you stop big dogs from attacking each other and taking each other's shit? By intermarrying their daughters! I can't go invade France, the king's wife is a Mercian princess! This works for a little while but eventually just results in a brisk trade of assassinating royal children, brothers, cousins and so on. At some point some bright king with no male sons decides that it's OK to have a Queen run the place. I mean it's not like the king actually goes to battle any more. He's got knights and armies and boats and all kinds of other stuff to do that. And it's not like the king even has to hold court and settle disputes any more. He's got too many people to hear about one farmer stealing another farmer's cow. Or even if one Earl is land encroaching on another Earl. We have courts and laws now to handle that stuff.


But we've run out of stuff to get. What to do? We know there is stuff that traders have and there's probably other places out there that have stuff we'd want. Let's follow the traders home and see what's beyond them? So we start venturing further south eventually rounding Africa and finding India again. Push on and we find Asia and they have lots of cool stuff.


Let's also sail west like the Vikings and we eventually find North and South America. Eventually there is a circumnavigation and we find some Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia and lo and behold we are back to Asia and China. The world is round after all...


The Spaniards do a good job of finding Latin America. They missed the boat on North America and opened the door to the British to snag that one. Eventually They all get around enough so that Spain finds Asia, England finds Asia, the Dutch find Asia. England snatches up Australia and South Africa. Even the French are out there finding some places. So eventually we end up with China, which is really big and full of people like a lot of people. And they have shit like gunpowder and 5,000 year old vases and shit. Let's not fuck with them. The young Americans tried getting in their shit and Japan's shit but it was like kicking a hornet's nest and we gave up pretty quick.


But what about India? It had a bunch of people too? How di the British take that one over?


Really the British invaded over time. A period of about 150 years. The British had much better tech, organization and really experience controlling large tracts of land. Like the British of today, they came for the weekend and just stayed. Six months later they are sitting on the couch controlling your tv remote and you don't know how it happened?


The north American Indians, Aztecs, Aborigines, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Malayans didn't stand a chance. They are backward Pagans with low tech and so according to our God it is perfectly fine to move in and take their shit. But to make things stick, like the Romans, you have to move in and colonize the places.


The American colonies are a result of the fragmenting of British Christianity. Somehow (thanks Henry VIII) shot got out of control and basically folks were making a religion of the week buy 1600-1700. Sure me and all these Menonites will be happy to go to America, live there and get away from all these Protestants.


Australia was a little different. You went there because you were a criminal. It was a long way home after your 5 years sentence for stealing bread. Sydney is not a bad place to live either compared to dreary old England. Yup. I'm staying.


It's interesting that none of the British Asian empire got colonized and made white. Then there's Canada. But really it's like the "crust" of the American toast. England had it but the new America didn't really see a need to fight for it. After we kicked the Spaniards and French outta the south east it was pretty easy to just keep heading west wiping out Indians.


And things were good for a lot of empire builders up until like the late 1800's.


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