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Edward C. Svendsen oral history interview, May 12, 1989 and June 26, 1993

Date: May. 12 1989 - Jun. 26 1993 | Identifier: OH0113
Captain Svendsen recounts his background in Minneapolis, Minnesota, his education at the U.S. Naval Academy, and his experiences in the USS MISSISSIPPI during World War II. Of particular interest are commentaries on academic and social life at the Academy, training at Bowdoin College as part of the first radar school, duty in the South Pacific at Tarawa in the Gilbert campaign and at Kwajalein, and service in the Aleutian Islands. Capt. Svendsen describes the early use of radar and its development for use on warships. In his second session, Captain Svendsen continued to relate his experiences in computer and radar design for the Navy. Among the topics discussed are the PG School at the U.S. Naval Academy, work at the U.S. Naval Computer Machine Lab, duties at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, assignment to the Design Division of the Bureau of Ships, and work on the Naval tactical data system. He also comments on Project Sea Hawk and hydrofoil development by the Bureau of Ships. Interviewer: Donald R. Lennon. more...



EAST CAROLINA MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW
Edward C. Svendsen
USNA Class of 1941
May 12, 1989
Interview #1
Interviewer is Donald R. Lennon

Donald R. Lennon:

Tell me about your background.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My dad was an electrical engineer at a company called Bostic(?) Electric Company. My mother, a great lady, is from Swedish descent. I have two older brothers and two younger brothers. I was a little precocious when I was young. I skipped three grades in school and graduated very early from high school. My parents didn't quite know what to do with me, so they sent me to visit an aunt and uncle in Devon, Pennsylvania, for a year.

Donald R. Lennon:

You couldn't have been more than fifteen if you skipped three grades, could you?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Overall I skipped a grade and a half. When I lived with my aunt and uncle, my uncle made a big impression on me. He was an engineer for Dupont. He was also an expert in color photography and had his own color laboratory in his home. In addition, he was a high-fidelity expert at that time, which had some impact on what I did later.

I went to the University of Minnesota for one year. Since I was planning to be an electrical engineer, I took courses leading to the electrical engineering curriculum.

During this time, my father met a young man by the name of Laurance Browning. He was a representative for a company out of Maysville, Kentucky, that made belt pulleys for



electrical motors on all kinds of machinery. My father would invite him to our house for dinner so we all got to know him. His father had been an admiral in the Navy and Browning, himself, was a 1924 graduate of the Naval Academy. Although he was no longer on active duty in the Navy, when he heard I wanted to be an engineer, he said, "Well, if you do it right, you can get a graduate degree from the Naval Academy."

Donald R. Lennon:

When you lived with your aunt and uncle, was that your only trip to the East Coast prior to the Naval Academy or did you have other experiences?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We had visited them before and had gone down to Atlantic City, which was, I guess, the closest beach to Philly. We'd also been to the West Coast--to Vancouver and Seattle--when I was child, but I had no strong feelings one way or another about the ocean other than it was a nice place to swim.

An appointment opened up suddenly to the Naval Academy. Apparently, the previous appointment of the congressman from Minnesota had gotten into a serious problem on the plebe cruise. He had contracted a venereal disease and was kicked out of the Naval Academy. When this appointment opened up, I was right there, and with the help of Laurence Browning, I got it.

Donald R. Lennon:

I've heard that it isn't always easy to get those congressional appointments.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Now, I guess they're pretty competitive, but in those days each congressman handled his appointments just the way he wanted to. Of course, to be accepted, I had to either take an examination or get grades 'B' or better in an approved engineering curricula. I earned the "As" and "Bs" and received the appointment. My interest in engineering began with model airplanes. That was my first real ardent hobby and I got fairly good in that. In fact, at twelve years old, I won a Northwest competition. These model airplanes were the ones that



fly around.

Donald R. Lennon:

These weren't the balsa wood and tissue paper ones?

Edward C. Svendsen:

I remember the balsa wood and tissue paper ones.

Donald R. Lennon:

I grew up doing those myself.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I won the championship for the indoor competition. The planes had to have little wheels and would take off. It tested the plane's endurance. I won that prize with another boy who won the senior prize. He was only fifteen. Our prize was to go to the national contest in Dayton, Ohio. At the banquet, Orville Wright was the guest speaker. That was a highlight of my life. Had it not been for some eye problems, I would have gone into Naval Aviation, but I was prohibited from that.

The other thing I got involved in was amateur ham radio. I had my amateur license and drove the rest of my family a little crazy. In fact, Dad made a room out of the screened-in-porch so if I was going to be up in the middle of the night trying to call Australia, then I wouldn't be bothering the rest of the family. That had a big impact on what I did later. I got very involved in electronics through the ham radio.

I also got involved in athletics. My two older brothers were very good athletes. They went to the University of Minnesota and played both basketball and football. They both made "All Big Ten" and went on to play pro-ball with the Green Bay Packers. I was the so-called runt of the family. I played football in high school. When I went to the University of Minnesota they tried to get me to go out for football, but I wanted to concentrate more on my studies. However, I did play football at the Naval Academy.

Academically, at the Naval Academy, I didn't do too well as far as class standing. I think it was because the first year at the Academy was almost a complete repeat of what I



did at the engineering school at the University of Minnesota.

Donald R. Lennon:

Compare the academic structure of the Academy to what you were accustomed to at the University of Minnesota, as far as the teaching and the faculty. Were the teaching methods comparable?

Edward C. Svendsen:

I think so. I don't think there was that much difference. I think the Naval Academy had some very good professors. The big difference, of course, was at the Naval Academy we had a quiz in almost every class everyday. We had to study every night. In college, if I didn't have too many problems with the subject, I didn't have to worry about it too much. I could concentrate my studying on the exams. In college, there isn't that regimented study that there is at the Naval Academy. That's good for some people, but it's not so good for others.

During my first year, I didn't have to even open the damn books, except for the courses that involved writing. One of my big problems has always been writing. It's hard for me to sit down and write. I can write very well if I take the time, but I didn't. So history, and English, which we used to call "bull," caused me problems. I had to study for them.

The most frustrating thing in my life was my first roommate, Ken Spangler. He was a very bright guy. After we had breakfast, we had a short time to clean up our rooms and get ready to go to our first class, and he would sit down and write out the paragraph he had to have for "bull" in that ten minutes or so. I would have spent an hour studying the evening before, while he was writing his girlfriend a letter.

Donald R. Lennon:

You said they called it "bull?"

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. It was a department consisting of English and history.

Donald R. Lennon:

Did "bull" mean that it was just a waste of time?



Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, no. Bull was just a common word for a lot of talk, not necessarily bad talk.

My first roommate flunked out. He was very smart, except for one subject--engineering drawing. We had to draw isometrics and engineering drawings with special drawing instruments. Well, Kenneth couldn't get that and it bothered him. Anybody that was flunking a course before Christmas leave was not allowed leave; so Kenneth couldn't go home to see his girlfriend up in Pennsylvania. He had to stay at the Naval Academy. When I came back from Christmas leave, he had decided he was going to get out of the Naval Academy. It just wasn't for him.

Donald R. Lennon:

So, he quit?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes, he quit. They gave him a chance to be re-examined, but he deliberately flunked several exams. He flunked exams that he wouldn't normally have flunked, if he had really wanted to stay. He was really a very bright young man.

The first year was academically very easy for me, and I got by okay the second year. The third year, I actually started to get some bad grades, due to poor study habits and extracurricular activities. I played football and basketball on the junior varsity teams. I was in the radio club and a lot of other activities. My grades got so bad in the third year that I was "unsat" in a couple of subjects. "Unsat" meant unsatisfactory--below a 2.5 GPA. Then I had to work real hard.

In my fourth year, I won an award--a sword--for the greatest improvement between second class and first class year. I didn't win because I had outstanding grades in the fourth year, but because my grades were so low in the second class year. So, academically I didn't break any records at the Naval Academy. I ended up about halfway down in my class.

Donald R. Lennon:

I've heard a lot about the discipline and harassment that some people had from the



class above them.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I didn't experience too much of that, because I was on the football team. During plebe year, the football team sat at a special training table, where we were served different food. Allegedly, we got different food, but I think they really just wanted to get us away from all the harassment that went on. So during football season, we didn't get harassed, but during the rest of the year, we did. It was kind of silly, but we took it in stride.

One thing we particularly disliked was “happy hour” every Sunday evening at dinner; it was the custom of the upper classmates to have the plebes put on what they called a "happy hour" for them. Of course, the upperclassmen had been out on the town Saturday or Sunday, then they all had to come back to the penitentiary, and they wanted to be amused. We disliked it, but we tried to make the best of it.

Donald R. Lennon:

What did you do for "happy hour"?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We would recite poetry or do stupid things. Let me give you an example of one thing we did that went over big with the upperclassmen--well, everyone but Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was a crew man--he was a great big strong man--and on this particular evening we dedicated happy hour to him. We dug up a little song called "Sam, Sam a Lavatory Man." It went like this: "Sam, Sam the lavatory man.

Assistant superintendent of the Second Street can.

Take a tip. Take a tack.

Take a good healthy crap.

Boom! Boom!

It's the prune on the rag."

Then we ended up: "What's the color of mmm, mmm? Brown, Brown, Brown?"



Three or four of us put this on; we made a big production of it. The upperclassmen thought it was the greatest thing in the world, but Mr. Brown gave us a bad time for several weeks after that.

It was a tough place, not because of the academics, but there were a lot of extracurricular activities. If you compare the standard subjects that a college requires to the Naval Academy, you'll find that they are about the same. The difference lies in all of the extra activities at the Naval Academy, such as Wednesday afternoon parades, etc. These extracurricular things are too much of a load for some people.

Donald R. Lennon:

You're totally immersed in it all the time.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Sometimes it's just too much, and a lot of them "bilge" out. It's not because they aren't smart enough or they couldn't take it under different circumstances, but the continuous pressure is tough.

Donald R. Lennon:

What about “Uncle Beanie” Jarrett?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Uncle Beanie was one of our favorites. There's a picture of him in the Lucky Bag. He'd put people on report and he'd send a plebe out that did anything, but he had a wonderful sense of humor, and the class just adopted him.

Donald R. Lennon:

I think someone commented that he would put you on report in an instant, but regardless of what you did, he would always put you on report for your shoes not being shined.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. He always had a smile on his face. People, somehow or other, liked him in spite of all the bad things he did to them.

Speaking of duty officers, let me tell you about an unpleasant thing that happened to me and my current wife, who I was dating at the time. It was the Christmas before I



graduated. We didn't get our usual ten days leave that year because our class, as you know, graduated early. So, my present wife, Abbie, came to visit me during that period. We were walking up the steps of Bancroft Hall and it started to rain. I gave her my raincoat and held her pocketbook while she was buttoning the coat. Admiral Gerald Wright, who later became CincLant Fleet and quite a war hero, sent his plebe down, took my name, and put me on report for conduct unbecoming a gentleman because I was carrying my wife's purse. Abbie has never forgotten. At that time, she wasn't so sure the U.S. Navy was such a good place to be. She couldn't understand that. I was trying to be a gentleman and got put on report for conduct unbecoming a gentleman.

Although football took a lot of time, strangely enough, I got my best grades every year in the fall, during football season. This wasn't because they treated the athletes any different. I'm convinced it was because I got a lot of exercise every day. After practice I would take a hot shower, go to the evening meal, came back to my room, and sometimes I would go to bed, most of the time I would get at the homework right away. I wouldn't dabble around with anything else or go down the hall and "shoot the breeze" with the boys. Physically, I felt good, even though I was tired. As I look back, I realize I got much better grades every fall. The other times of the year, although I was through with the tremendous pressure of time I had to spend on football, I was not as organized as I had been.

Donald R. Lennon:

Interesting. Upon graduation, there was an entire group of you who were assigned to the MISSISSIPPI.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. "Frenchie" [Robert J.] Durette, “Bob” [Robert W.] Harker, “Dickie” [Richard G.] Shutt, and I were assigned to the MISSISSIPPI. We had a wonderful time in Hawaii. This was before the war, of course. We got off the ship quite often. We did a little too



much drinking and too much carousing, but we had a great time.

"Frenchie" Durette, Bob Harker, and I, as junior officers, shared a three-bunk room on the ship. Together, we bought an old car, a 1930 Studebaker. This was in 1941 and we paid ninety dollars for it. We heard that it cost about a hundred bucks to ship a car from the West Coast to Hawaii; therefore, our car would be worth minus ten bucks out on the West Coast! We would drive all over the island and had a great time.

My first job was as an assistant navigator. It was the best job I ever had in the Navy. One of the reasons I liked it was because our little navigation division did not have to go to quarters regularly. We had a completely different schedule. When we were at sea, we got up and took the morning stars, the sun line, the evening stars, and worked out the sights. People in the division were always on the bridge, manning the polarises, standing watch, etc. Of course, the captain was frequently on the bridge, as well as the navigator, and the department heads would come up to talk to the skipper, so we knew quite a bit about what was going on in the ship. It was a very interesting job.

Oscar Gray (class of 1940) found out that I was aboard. He had been there a year. He was the radio officer and knew I had been president of the Ham Radio Club. He talked the communications officer into getting me transferred to the communications division. They needed someone who knew about that stuff.

Donald R. Lennon:

This was still in the spring of 1941?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. About May, they put out a call for people to go to a special radio-engineering school--that's what they called it at first. It turned out to be the first officers' radar school. Oscar Gray wanted to go to that radar school more than anything in the world. I had a year of college engineering courses and the ham radio background, so I was also qualified to go.



Since I had just come into the division, the communications officer decided Oscar would be missed more than me, so he sent me to the radar school.

Donald R. Lennon:

I bet Oscar regretted getting you transferred to communications.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Oh yes! Before I actually left for radar school, our ship, two other ships from Battleship Division 3, a bunch of cruisers, and some destroyers were separated from Fleet exercise and sent through the canal to the East Coast. (They eventually wound up in Iceland.) When we got to Norfolk, I was detached and sent to the radar school at Bowdoin College in Maine. I spent two and a half months there and then went to the Washington Navy Research Lab (NRL) for two and a half months.

Donald R. Lennon:

None of the ships, at this point, had radar installed on them, did they?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. They were just in the process of installing some early experimental radars--big air-search radar--on some of them. These first radars were built by NRL. Our first course at Bowdoin College was called a pre-radar course. They taught us the pieces of radio engineering necessary to be able to really study the equipment. Knowledge of microwaves and, microwave tubes, transmission through wave guides, and similar things were new to electrical engineering and were necessary to complete the radar study course.

Donald R. Lennon:

This was right down your alley.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, I had the radio background from my experience with ham radio and I had had electrical engineering in college, so this course was just right for me.

Donald R. Lennon:

With your father and uncle both being engineers, you had been raised in an engineering background.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. My dad was very good at electrical engineering.

On a personal note, during that time I got married! Abbie and I had been going with



each other for a couple of years.

Donald R. Lennon:

That was still illegal.

Edward C. Svendsen:

That was still illegal. In those days, an ensign got $123 a month, but if you had shore duty it was $183. When I got shore duty to attend the radar school, we decided that was a good excuse to get married. I was going to be ashore and we could afford to do it. I flew home to Minneapolis over a long Fourth-of-July weekend and got married. Then Abbie and I came back to Bowdoin, Maine, and lived in a boarding house. That's the only place we could afford.

Donald R. Lennon:

You did not inform the Navy of your changed status until much later?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, shortly after the war started, they did away with the rule and we got married again. We've told people that we got married once for the Lord and again for the disbursing officer!

That five months was very hard. When we went down to NRL, in D.C., we lived in an apartment that we would never live in now. Another couple and three bachelors also had apartments in the same little place.

Donald R. Lennon:

Were you TDY from the MISSISSIPPI or had you left the MISSISSIPPI for good?

Edward C. Svendsen:

I was TDY from the MISSISSIPPI. I went back to MISSISSIPPI.

The stuff was so secret that they wouldn't let us take anything out. We had classes and demonstrations during the day at NRL, and then we had to go back every night to enter the notes into our "secret" notebook. At the end of the course, they sent our notebooks, which were classified SECRET, to whatever ship we were assigned.

This radar course was the Navy's one offered for officers. In the prior year, they had started training chief petty officers, but this was the first officers' class.



I returned to the ship, which by then was in Iceland. I had to catch an old, converted yacht made into a mine-sweeping yacht. I rode that from Boston up to Newfoundland, where I boarded a destroyer to Iceland.

Donald R. Lennon:

This was around November?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes, this is November. It was rough. The destroyer had been in the Boston Navy Shipyard and gotten its first radar installed; so, when the skipper welcomed me aboard, he also welcomed me with the news that I was in charge of making that damn radar work. There was a chief [petty officer] who had also just gotten out of a school, and he and I did nothing but worry about that radar. That was quite an experience!

The war started when we were in Iceland. We immediately came back to Norfolk and they put radar on the MISSISSIPPI.

Donald R. Lennon:

So, on the MISSISSIPPI, you were not involved in any of the North Atlantic runs at all.

Edward C. Svendsen:

No, except I did get out on a cruise between Newfoundland and Iceland. We encountered a terrible storm. The ship was so damaged that it was a good thing the war started so we could go back and get her fixed up! The bow was actually bashed in and they had to shore parts of it up. All the boats were washed overboard. The after turret broke loose and was dangling on a wire. It had punched holes in the after deck, which happened to be right over the junior officers' wardroom. The wardroom was flooded, of course. It was a terrible sea experience. The little destroyers handled the storm much better. They bobbed up and down. The great big ship; however, would ride up on a huge wave, start tilting over, and put the bow right into the next wave. It was the most devastating thing I had ever seen. A lot of ships got damaged in that storm. I rode in a destroyer when I went



up to Iceland, and that was pretty exciting.

The MISSISSIPPI was sent back to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and radar was installed. Some of the scientists from NRL were people that we were sent down to help with the installation.

Went around through the canal to San Francisco. We were in San Francisco for several months and Abbie came out there, too. Just prior to the Battle of Midway, we were among several ships that formed into a battleship division. We left San Francisco and steamed north towards the Aleutian Islands. This is when the Japs sent that huge operation towards Midway. We weren't sure where they were going. There was some concern that they would go up north or try to hit the west coast. So we were the northern arm of the task force. Nothing ever happened, of course, because when they struck Midway, the carrier forces got them.

Then we continued to operate out of San Francisco which is pretty nice, but it didn't have much to do with the war.

Donald R. Lennon:

I was thinking I didn't realize that they had any of the fleets headquartered out of San Francisco at that stage of the war.

Edward C. Svendsen:

They were still concerned about what the Japs really had in mind. In fact, at the Battle of Midway, they were concerned that the Japs were going to try to hit the Northern U.S. This was just a few months after Pearl, so people were still not sure of the intent of the Japanese.

Donald R. Lennon:

How long were the MISSISSIPPI and the ships with it headquartered in San Francisco?

Edward C. Svendsen:

From February until August, I think.



Donald R. Lennon:

Of '42?

Edward C. Svendsen:

'42, yes. Then we went to Pearl. We were down at that time as a back-up to some of the big carrier battles that took place down South. We went down to Fiji, and anchored in Nandi Bay for a few days. While we were there, we ran aground or bent a propeller or something. Then they sent the MISSISSIPPI back to Pearl to get a shaft straightened out.

Donald R. Lennon:

When was the MISSISSIPPI built?

Edward C. Svendsen:

It was built at the end of World War I.

Donald R. Lennon:

I was thinking it was one of the older ones.

Edward C. Svendsen:

It was commissioned in 1917 and it was modernized in 1934. There were two other ships in the same class, the IDAHO and the NEW MEXICO. The original ship had the old cage mast.

When we were in Iceland, just before the war started, a brand-new captain had come aboard to take over as the skipper. In fact he rode in the same converted yacht from Boston up to Iceland with me so I got to know him a little. When we started back to Norfolk, he was the skipper. Then we started getting all this radio . . . . The German U-boats would use "wolf pack tactics." When they would sight a convoy, one of them would come up and broadcast something--sometimes it was music. Then all the other submarines would direction-find on them and head toward that spot. Then they'd all go after these big convoys. They were huge--like the one I went up on was sixty-five ships.

Donald R. Lennon:

Why weren't the American destroyers also zeroing in on their broadcasts?

Edward C. Svendsen:

That's what they were trying do, but they might be in a completely different part of the ocean at the time. A lot of those convoys were not protected. If they were protected, they were protected with too few destroyers.



We started back to Norfolk and we were getting all kinds of weird stuff over the radio. This new skipper just went off his rocker. It was too much for him. There was a continuous input from all these submarine reports. We were going at high speed heading back; we weren't a very lucrative target for the Germans. The Germans would rather knock off a dozen ships in a convoy. There wasn't much of a risk. Gerald Wright, the executive officer, took over as the skipper. (This is the Gerald Wright that had put me on the report for conduct unbecoming a gentleman.) He was our skipper and he took us to Norfolk and then a new skipper came aboard. But he was exec for quite a while in San Francisco.

Donald R. Lennon:

Now did the skipper voluntarily remove himself and turn it over to Wright?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, he just fell apart and the doctor aboard ship recommended to Commander Wright that he'd had it. They hauled him off to a hospital when we got back in. It was just too much for him.

Donald R. Lennon:

Did you ever remind Wright of the incident at the Naval Academy?

Edward C. Svendsen:

I don't know if I did. I think I did. I got to know him pretty well. He was a stern old guy, though. Wright was acting skipper for just a short time from 23 September '41 to 28 November '41.

Donald R. Lennon:

Couple of months.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Captain Penn Carroll was skipper from 29 November to 19 December. Carroll came aboard and he was supposed to relieve and he never did relieve. They unrelieved him. We got back to Norfolk December 19, I think. He had just taken over 29 November and then December 7th was Pearl Harbor, so he didn't last very long.

We got radar put on in Norfolk then we went back through the Canal. We went down to the southwest Pacific, Fiji and around that area, and then we had to come back and



get our propeller fixed.

After we got the propeller fixed, we started out on the big amphibious things. First in the Gilbert Islands and then later in the Marshall Islands. Included in the Gilberts are the islands of Makin and Tarawa. Tarawa is the one that got all the publicity about the Marines getting caught in the low beach. They couldn't get their vehicles aboard and they got really clobbered.

We were bombarding Makin in the Gilberts when Turret II on the MISSISSIPPI blew up, just like the recent IOWA thing here. Forty-some people were killed.

Donald R. Lennon:

Same type of explosion?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Same kind of a thing. At the time I was in the CIC, which was right below the bridge(?). We were about on the same level as the top of the turret. Of course, we knew what happened. It was just a very sad thing. It killed off a couple of officers and a very fine bunch of people.

The coincidence of this is way back in the twenties sometime, the MISSISSIPPI turret tube blew up while it was having battle practice in San Pedro, off of Long Beach.

Donald R. Lennon:

Do you think it's unstable powder or what?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, I don't know what the cause is now. Their powder is fairly old now, I think, although they say they retested it. I don't know if they ever got the complete story, because most of the evidence gets destroyed in such a thing. There was more damage done here on the MISSISSIPPI than was apparently done on the IOWA. Most of the damage on the IOWA was because it sucked out all of the air and there was suffocation more than anything. There was a little more damage on the MISSISSIPPI.

The speculation as to what happened is that when they shoot the projectile, they run



compressed air into the barrel to clean out all the debris. The debris can be little pieces of the powder left in the powder bags. The powder bags have to be fairly durable in order to contain the powder. There can be little pieces of powder bag left near the end of the breeches. If those are burning and don't get blown out when they put in a new projectile, it will ignite. That was the common speculation. I don't know what the final decision was.

Donald R. Lennon:

The situation you were in really did not allow you to have time to do a thorough investigation, I don't imagine.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Not as much as they're going to do now with the IOWA. We went to San Francisco to get fixed up.

Donald R. Lennon:

Blowing a turret like that diminished your firepower considerably, did it not?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, we kept on firing. We had four turrets instead of the three on the IOWA. We had four fourteen-inch turrets, so we still had three. We kept on firing; we didn't get taken out of the fight.

Donald R. Lennon:

When the campaign was over . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

We finished the bombardment. They had very little resistance on Makin. Tarawa was the one they had all the problems with.

Donald R. Lennon:

Now how far were you standing off shore when you were bombarding it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, I'm not sure. Maybe eight to ten thousand yards.

Donald R. Lennon:

Were you getting any direct resistance to the ships, either from the shore or aerial?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We didn't get it at Makin because they got in and bombarded with air strikes to soften them up. This heavy bombardment done by battleships is just devastating. They can hit targets right on the nose and really bang them. They talk about battleships being obsolete, well, they probably are, but if you want to go in and take out a place on the beach, boy,



those things will really do it.

Donald R. Lennon:

In this particular campaign, you were not under any kind of fire.

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. The only very sad thing that happened during this campaign was that one of the small carriers with us got hit by a submarine torpedo and BOOM, the whole thing went up. They built a whole bunch of these cheap tankers. They took tanker hulls and put decks on them. I happened to have just come up for the mid-watch, and as I was going into the CIC compartment, I saw the thing happen. The whole ship went sky high. The sad thing, although it turned out to be good, was when I got into the CIC and we were monitoring all the circuits. . . . The destroyed carrier had aircraft that were supposed to come back to the ship. In fact, I think the reason the carrier got blown up was because they turned on their landing lights. We could hear the ships calling--we and the other ships were trying to call the aircraft. They finally did get taken aboard one of the other big carriers. They found their way up away from the island and got taken aboard. This was pretty sad hearing these pilots and knowing their platform was gone and there was no place to go. It was pretty sad.

Well, that was the Gilberts operation. Then we went back to San Francisco to get our turret fixed up and to get ready for the Marshall Islands campaign. Now you talk about how close you can get in to shoot. We had a specific assignment in Kwajalein. To prevent what happened on Tarawa, they decided to really pave the way for the troops that were going to go ashore. They had us to go. We were within two thousand yards of the beach. They had these great big reinforced concrete pillboxes. We were so close, that our big guns were actually depressed. The pillboxes, right off the beach, were at a much lower level than were our guns.

Donald R. Lennon:

Flat down on the deck.



Edward C. Svendsen:

We had to get our guns down. We had to find out what the depth of the water was where the landing was going to be made. We had the job of taking soundings over this fairly wide area and we had a half a dozen small craft. We put radar targets and flags on them. We had all the navigational instruments which could give you bearings. We had guys on each little boat making soundings. Then all this stuff came in the CIC and we had a plot. We were continually plotting the position by getting these bearings. We also used radar. We were plotting the position of all these things. When they would make a sounding, they would yell at us and our guy would mark his position at the time of the sounding. We plotted the whole area of the landing. This was before the landing. We had hopefully pulverized all those heavy reinforced concrete bunkers and whatnot, but we still were not sure of what was there. This was a precaution over what happened at Tarawa.

Donald R. Lennon:

I had assumed that you could do your soundings directly from the MISSISSIPPI with sonar.

Edward C. Svendsen:

These soundings were directly below us. We could get a sounding on where the MISSISSIPPI was.

Donald R. Lennon:

But with the sonar you can't send it out directionally, it's only straight down.

Edward C. Svendsen:

The sonar gives you the range to the object but not the depth. The depth problem is to go from a small boat right straight down.

Donald R. Lennon:

It had to go from the boats strictly straight down.

Edward C. Svendsen:

In fact, we didn't even have sonar. We just actually had people out with lines and physically taking the sounding.

Now today, I guess if you had the right small craft that had a fast sounder, you could go around probably and do a pretty good job. We didn't have that kind of capability. We



had depth finders, but they were only on bigger ships, not on the very small ones.

Donald R. Lennon:

So that was a rather tedious process to map the bottom.

Edward C. Svendsen:

We had a whole bunch of radio circuits and we had our operators all on this one big plot. Then we had to pile it into a small craft and run it over to the flagship so they could know what the troops were going to get in.

Donald R. Lennon:

And you weren't getting any resistance from the Japanese from the shore bombardment from the shore batteries?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We were not. All the ships around us were actually bombarding so there wasn't any return fire at that point. As I said, most of the heavily fortified areas had already been knocked out. But it was an exciting, real-time plotting exercise. We had to do it right as it happened.

We had very good radar. I was a radar and CIC officer. We had outstanding air search radar. When we were actually down in Kwajalein, we would catch the Japs coming in to bombard the northern part of Kwajalein, up in Roi. We had some pretty exciting nights. We were a battleship, but we were one of the principle radar platforms. We had a real good CIC.

Donald R. Lennon:

How far would the radar pick up?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We got them around 220 miles, so they were up in a pretty high altitude. These were Jap Betties coming in. That was one of the big early warnings. We did have a good radar gang.

Donald R. Lennon:

You weren't having any problems from submarines while you were there at Kwajalein?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We didn't have the kind of problems we had at that other . . . we didn't run across any



submarines.

Donald R. Lennon:

I was thinking while you were out there taking those soundings with the little boats, it would have been a perfect time for a submarine to come up behind you and take the MISSISSIPPI out entirely!

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well yes, except we were in pretty shallow water. Also we had literally dozens of ships out there and they were all watching for that kind of thing. We were pretty well- protected.

Well, that was the Marshalls. We had to go up to the Aleutians and get involved in a thing called the battle of Kiska.

Donald R. Lennon:

Right, Kiska Bay.

Edward C. Svendsen:

This was where the Japs were allegedly evacuating. They sent a bunch of ships up there--battleship cruisers. It was a big force. We operated north of the chain. There was fog all the time.

Radar was relatively new and some of the skippers didn't really realize what they had, but up in the Aleutians, we got religion. They got the message. During the day it would be foggy except usually late in the morning or around noon, things would open up enough so you could see the sky. Very rarely you saw the sun. Most of the time there was fog. They even used towing spars. Are familiar with those? In the olden days before they had radar, in very foggy weather, they'd steam in a column and one ship would drop a line . . . would take a spar and tie a line on it and drop it in the water and tow it. They would tie it in such a way that part of it was sticking up. It would make a wake enough so that you could look back through the fog and you could see that. The ships would steam in a column. They each would have a towing spar. The ship behind it would steer on that spar.



Donald R. Lennon:

Follow the wake.

Edward C. Svendsen:

It was so foggy up there, that's what they were doing. Most of the ships had radar, but the skippers wouldn't depend on the radar. The task force commander wasn't going to be steaming around in columns all the time, so the ships had to use their radar to keep in touch with the rest of the forces. Then they became dependent on radar.

I had a problem with electronic radar equipment or any equipment, because periodically it needed some maintenance--these high-powered radars, especially. There are things that wear out in them. I was having difficulty letting them turn off the radar.

One day the radar just quit. The skipper was really panicky about this thing. We had fire control radar on the number two turret right on top of the director. The fire control radar couldn't sweep all around, but it could be trained to a specific target. It concentrated on a single target. They usually made one ship the guide ship and everybody else navigated to that ship. You would put the fire control radar on the guide and then the operator would phone up the ranges and bearings to the bridge.

The skipper was so concerned about radar that he had that fire control radar manned all the time from then on in case the search radar had anything go wrong with it.

Donald R. Lennon:

Even after you got it back up and operating, he still kept it going.

Edward C. Svendsen:

He did allow me to periodically shut it down and do preventive maintenance. I would pick something like the middle of the day when the weather was as good as it could be. For a long time he had that fire control radar manned continuously whenever we were underway, because he was so concerned that he might lose his search radar. They were very skeptical of the ability of the radars to do any good for them until they lost them and then they got religion.



Donald R. Lennon:

Then they became believers. In the Kiska Bay area, was that where the REUBEN JAMES hit a mine?

Edward C. Svendsen:

The REUBEN JAMES was in the Atlantic, wasn't it?

Donald R. Lennon:

There was one destroyer that hit a mine and went down there in Kiska Bay.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I don't remember that. The REUBEN JAMES was one of the ships that was sunk right before the war. In fact, the REUBEN JAMES was in the convoy just before the convoy I rode back to my ship on up in Iceland.

Donald R. Lennon:

I have to stop and think what ship it was, but I know there was one because Admiral Atkinson(?) was commanding it when it hit a mine up there. I can't remember what destroyer it was. Did you have any enemy action there in the Aleutians?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes and no. We had a thing called the Battle of the Pips. Have you ever heard of the Battle of the Pips? That night the Japs were supposed to be evacuating Kiska, or rather the intelligence indicated that. We were steaming along and our ship, the MISSISSIPPI, got a radar contact. We were looking for something to happen. The contact was about twenty-five or thirty thousand yards, which is the range you get on a pretty good size surface target. We checked our fire control radar and we got a contact there. So we broadcasted over the radio that we had a contact, such and such and such . . . Then the flagship asked some other ship, "Do you get this contact?" They came back, "Yeah." They got it. Then they asked somebody else. This was the biggest damn coincidence you've ever seen.

The flagship determined that this was a possible Japanese ship. It was right in the area they were expecting ships. They were supposed to be evacuating the Japanese force on Kiska. Everybody went to general quarters. They got the big guns out and we got a "stand by to commence firing." About this time, I was having second thoughts about this target.



On the fire control radars, the range of them was a hundred thousand yards, I think it was. If the target is further than fifty miles, then it appears on the next sweep. You could have a target look like it was twenty thousand yards when actually it was a hundred twenty thousand yards. That's the way the mechanism of the fire control radars were because they didn't never expect it to fire real long over the horizon.

The search radars were different, but the same thing could happen to them. Their sweep goes out so many yards or miles and then if there is a target beyond that range, it will appear on the second time around.

What was happening here was that with the search radar--the SG radar--the range on its sweep around has a different repetition rate. On the screens they started showing up at 30,000 and when it got down to 20,000 they fired. On the surface search radar, you could flip a switch and change the repetition rate and when you did that, that target flipped out. So, I knew that that was not a 20,000 yard range, it was something over a hundred . . . you know, over the range.

So I went to the executive officer, whose battle station was in the CIC, and told him, "Commander, this is a false target. It's probably off land. We have a bunch of islands up in the Aleutian chain here. This is not a real target."

Anyway, by this time they had said, “Commence firing.” They were shooting big bullets out of all these cruisers and battleships and they were shooting at nothing. I've determined by plotting it that they were shooting at an island called Semisopochnoi. It was one of those little volcanic islands that comes right up out of the water, a big peak. It was a beautiful target, but it was a hundred and some miles away and not twenty or thirty thousand yards away. John Ocker, who I have the greatest regard for, said, "You may be



right, Ed. But by God, I wouldn't want to call this thing off for anything. This is the best battle practice we've had and we've needed this for literally months.” See the ships had been steaming around in a fog doing nothing. He chose not to say anything.

Donald R. Lennon:

So he didn't call the flagship or call the skipper.

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. Well they finally decided that there wasn't anything out there. Or if it was out there, it was no longer out there--but it was. That was a very unusual experience. I started the damn thing and then I tried to stop it and it wouldn't stop. That's frequently what happens in life.

Donald R. Lennon:

Well, did the Japanese successfully evacuate Kiska?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. They did, but they did it by submarine. As far as I know, we never did see any surface ships.

Donald R. Lennon:

So then from there, you moved back into the South Pacific.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, we went back into Puget Sound and got new liners on our guns, which we'd shot out. We'd been bombarding in Makin and Kwajalein and then shooting those guns up in the Aleutians. The gun barrels have these liners that have to be replaced after so many shots. We had shot a lot of bullets earlier so it didn't take too many to get to the point where we had to go back to Puget Sound and get new gun barrels.

After that we went back to Pearl and then down in the Guadalcanal area. We went through the Peleliu operation which I never got into. Just before the Peleliu operation I had been selected for post graduate school.

Donald R. Lennon:

In Annapolis.

Edward C. Svendsen:

In Annapolis.

Donald R. Lennon:

In '44.



Edward C. Svendsen:

This was in August of '44 when I got off the ship. I was actually in Guadalcanal. Then I flew back to the States to start PG school in Annapolis.

[End of Part 1]



EAST CAROLINA MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION
ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW #113.2
Captain Edward C. Svendsen
Arlington, Virginia
USNA Class of 1941
June 26, 1993
Interview #2
Interviewer is Donald R. Lennon

Donald R. Lennon:

We left off with your departure from the war zone in the Pacific en route to Annapolis for post-graduate school in 1944. If we could pick up at that point . . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, I got sent back to post-graduate school. I went to take the post-graduate course in what they called Engineering Electronics and it was a three year course, ending in a master's degree.

Donald R. Lennon:

I'm somewhat surprised that they, in the middle of the war, would have pulled officers out of the battle zones to enter a three year program. Did they have sufficient officers that they could afford to do that by that time?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, this, of course, is the latter part of the war. This was fall of 1944, so the war ended. . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

In 1945, a year later.



Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. The war in Europe ended in the spring of '45 and then a little later they made peace with the Japanese. I guess the powers that be had come to the conclusion that this was going to last for a long time and they had to keep going with the education programs. I'm glad they did. So, we went back. The first year was pretty much a review of many of the subjects that we had as undergraduates--either I had had at the Naval Academy or when I went to the University of Minnesota in engineering the year before I went to the Naval Academy. So some of the first year of the post-graduate course--a lot of it--was pretty much a repeat of some of the basic engineering and math courses that we had had as undergraduates. Then we all had to write a thesis and one of the interesting things about the course was that they sent us on what they called field trips and, for example, we went to General Electric up in Schenectady and several other places and got to look at industrial organizations. That was an interesting part of the education. Then we all had to write a thesis and so at the end of that June of 1947, we graduated from that class. Then, we were sent to new assignments.

The assignment I got was . . . . During the war there was a Navy organization set up in Dayton, Ohio, on the grounds of the National Cash Register Company. The purpose of it was to make code breaking devices and this involved high level mathematics and computer type activities. A lot of WAVES--women--were in the organization because the so called laboratory did things other than just supervise the National Cash Register. The National Cash Register manufactured the pieces for the machines and then the final assembly and the check-out would be done by Navy and they got a whole bunch of Navy WAVES--women officers--to do a lot of that kind of work. And so came the end of the war and the Navy decided they had to continue that work, but National Cash chose not to do so. They had had



enough of the Navy and that kind of work that was so secret so they decided they didn't want to carry on.

Donald R. Lennon:

They probably thought that private sector would be more lucrative, too, now with the war over and. . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

That's right. So, the Navy set up an organization in St. Paul, Minnesota, and they tied it in with a newly formed company. The newly formed company was a product of some of the Naval Reserve Officers who had been back in Washington doing this secret code breaking work. When the war ended, of course, that big organization back here was going to be collapsed and so these people that had been involved in this decided that, "Hey we like this and this is very interesting work." So they got together with a guy named John Parker, who was a Naval Academy graduate, but actually he was in the business of . . . during the war he got involved in setting up a company in St. Paul, Minnesota, that manufactured gliders for the Army Air Force and the idea of the gliders was that you could carry people and things into places, but they never did use them very much. I guess in the Normandy landing, they used a few.

Anyway, he had a company and when the war ended he got tangled up with these reserve officers who were going to be getting out of the Navy and who wanted to do this cryptographic business. So they got together and they talked the Navy into establishing this organization in St. Paul, Minnesota. The big old factory that they used to make gliders in had been rented from somebody and they got that and that started out the U.S. Navy Computing Machine Lab. This thing was just getting going by the time I got out of post-graduate school.

Donald R. Lennon:

In 1947?



Edward C. Svendsen:

June of 1947. The thing had just gotten going a little before that and, of course, they were looking for officers to assign to the place, so they tagged me for that job. We were interested in it also, because both my wife and I came from Minneapolis, and we were going back home and there wasn't any real Navy. . . . This is one of the very few Naval activities in that area, so from post-graduate school, I went to St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S. Navy Computing Machine Lab. The alternate to that would have been to go to England to a liaison job with the Royal Navy, and at that time we had a brand new first child and my wife didn't like the idea of going to. . . . This was right at the end of the war and things were short and so, that was part of the decision, not all.

We went back there for three years and the company that was formed there was called Engineering Research Associates. It got contracts from the Bureau of Ships, which was the technical outfit that the Navy worked through. I had decided to put in for engineering duty only--that is technical--instead of getting line officer assignments on ships. From then on I'd get the technical assignments--Bureau of Ships type technical assignments. Well, I went back there and spent three years.

Donald R. Lennon:

What specifically was your duty?

Edward C. Svendsen:

I was the technical officer.

Donald R. Lennon:

Were you overseeing quality control?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No.

Donald R. Lennon:

What aspect of it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Our organization had quality control aspects, but because the nature of the stuff they were doing was all very top secret, we had responsibilities monitoring the technical work of the contractor. There were a lot of projects which are kind of very research involvement



oriented, so my job was to oversee these technical development projects that eventually led to the development of equipment that could break the codes. So, the organization had a full captain, a commander's exec and I was a technical officer. I was a lieutenant commander. They had several warrant officers, radio-electricians and some clerical personnel. We had a very broad function of supervising what they did and then helping that new company communicate with the parts of the industry and the government that were involved in the new days of digital computing.

Donald R. Lennon:

Computers have come quite away since then, haven't they?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah, right. So, the ERA became probably the leading developer of new electronics, computers. IBM was the big leader, but they were primarily in the electric-mechanical computing--the old relay-operated--and we were beyond that. We needed faster and better equipment, so we were right on the ground floor of the electronic computing--first with vacuum tubes and then later we got into the transistor. When Bell Labs invented the transistor, we were one of the first government activities to receive some of the early transistors. We had a research and development task assigned to the company; we did specific tasks in developing a new technology in computers. I spent four years there. Just before I left or about the time I left there, Remington Rand bought out this little company ERA and they became part of the Remington Rand Organization.

During those four years, the company delivered some of the first really large scale general purpose computers. They were vacuum tube at first, but then we got into the transistors and it wasn't long after that we built some of the first big transistorized digital computers. I had the opportunity to be right on the . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

The development stage.



Edward C. Svendsen:

The other thing that the company was very good at involved a magnetic use. They were the first to develop the magnetic drum, which was used as an early memory before we got the magnetic core memories. The magnetic drum had a surface that you could record on and you record on at a very high speed. You could record and then read back. For some of the early computers the best, fast memory they had before the electronic magnetic cores came along was the magnetic drum. The little ERA worked with the Minnesota 3M Company--Minnesota Mining Manufacturer--because they were the real experts in magnetic surface. This little company worked with 3M to produce some of the first magnetic drums, which were kind of the heart of a lot of computers for a good many years until the magnetic cores came along.

It was an exciting time. There are at least one hundred company offshoots from that little ERA that came along. I don't know if you've heard of Cray Research?

Donald R. Lennon:

I've heard the name. I don't know much about it.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Seymour Cray. He's still perhaps the foremost advanced computer man in the world. Cray Research was formed and then later, Cray Computer came out.

Donald R. Lennon:

The work that the Navy officers that were assigned there, did have to do with the security and those aspects of it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. At that time, it was all building computing devices that could do this breaking of the codes, which involves handling huge masses of data.

Donald R. Lennon:

As an engineer though, you didn't actually get into the development of the computers themselves, did you?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. We were involved in seeing that the company used good technical specs. For example, the Bureau of Ships, during World War II, developed into being one of the



foremost electronics organizations and radar and all those things were developed through them, so they had specifications and they had a whole system of. . . . Well, for example, they developed pretty much the idea of source inspection of parts. You get into the big computers and a huge number of parts. The quality of the parts you put in is very important and, of course, the usual manufacturing process mass produces . . . . One of the things you have to do is you have to have a process for inspecting and throwing out the bad pieces and so you can get the quality. During World War II, there were ships that developed very good standards and specifications for doing this like specifying that when a company goes and buys a whole bunch of parts from another company, they would get into the idea of inspecting their parts at the source through a system of Navy inspectors from around the country. When the parts would come to you, you'd be sure they were good. We generated all kinds of automatic inspection machines, so when parts came in, we would inspect the parts and then come up with, very rapidly . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

Testing the metals and what have you . . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, the parts, like resistors and condensers and all those actually measure their characteristics very rapidly with machinery that was developed for it. Then if a manufacturer provided say ten thousand resistors, you could tell them how many of them were good and bad and then you fed back through the inspection service that, "we reject this lot because it's faulty." That tightened up so that the suppliers, knowing that they're delivering equipment under these specifications, made damn sure they'd be right. Otherwise, the whole batch would get rejected.

Donald R. Lennon:

So you had that function. What about security from the aspect of making sure that the plans and all the specs didn't leak out to other . . . .



Edward C. Svendsen:

That was another thing that we could do. The company was a closed operation. We had gates at the door and people that got in there had to have security clearances or there had to be people with them when they went into the plant if they didn't have security clearance.

Donald R. Lennon:

You hear so much now a days about industrial espionage where companies steal from each other.

Edward C. Svendsen:

In those days we weren't worried about industrial espionage; we were worried about real espionage. We were working with this code breaking thing. Well, it was a very interesting four years. Our little office had many things to do. Mine was all technical--I was a technical officer. I had several warrant officers working with me, several radio-electricians, Navy warrant officers and they were very good. Then, each guy was assigned a specific one or more projects and it was up to him to keep in touch with the project people and go look and watch and they got to be real close to the company. We had other people who did nothing but worry about security and that sort of thing. That was an interesting thing and out of that I got a real good knowledge of digital computers which came to good use when I got involved, later, in the Navy Technical Agency System development.

The Navy Bureau of Ships and the Navy, in general, believe very much in people getting a very well-rounded career even in the technical areas and, of course, naval shipyards were very important to the Navy. So, the next tour of duty I got, I went to San Francisco Naval Shipyard for a three year tour of duty from 1947 through 1951.

Donald R. Lennon:

Now you were in Minneapolis from 1947 through 1951.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Wait a minute now. Yes, 1947-1951. Then from 1951 to 1954, I went to the San Francisco Naval Shipyard and there I was the assistant repair superintendent for electronics



and the production department for a couple of years, and then the last year I was the electronics officer at the shipyard.

Donald R. Lennon:

This is ten years without sea duty. Did you miss the sea at all?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, no, because I got a lot of it. I was at sea almost three years in the war, so I didn't miss it. Of course, at the shipyard, you're working with ships and you go out on the ships on their trials and all that sort of thing. No, I didn't miss the going out for six months away from the family and the country. I didn't miss that. I got enough of that during World War II.

Then after three years at San Francisco, I got brought back to Washington. Well, the first job I had was in the design division of the Bureau of Ships. They had the standard radar, sonar, communications divisions. Then I had an outfit which had kind of things outside that like computers. The desk I got back there was the one that had the contact with the Navy Computing Machine Lab in St. Paul. They were the ones that you issued the contracts and all the work through that. This little branch was called the Special Devices and we also had infrared, which was a different breed of cat from all of the normal communications.

Donald R. Lennon:

Were you designing how they would fit into new ships or into ships in general?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. In this part of the Bureau of Ships that we were in, these were called the equipment codes. We contracted with industry to produce equipment, so we were in the equipment buying business.

Donald R. Lennon:

Like buying rather than designing how it would fit into the ships.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Then there is another group in the bureau, the ship design people, who then would design the whole ships. We provided the technical gadgets for them to put into the ships.



We were part of the Bureau of Ships called the Technical Codes. They had codes for machinery and hull. They had all the different kinds. This organization I had, had computers including a group that handled all the cryptographic equipment, infrared . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

Infrared was really in its early development stages at that point, wasn't it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah.

Donald R. Lennon:

Or was it pretty well perfected by then?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. It was almost experimental then. I had a lot of the things which were outside of the normal radar communications and sonar type, you know the basic equipments.

Donald R. Lennon:

With infrared, I don't even think they were using that in Korea. Probably Vietnam was the first time that that was used in a big way by the military.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Probably, yes. The only thing they were using it for back when I was there, was to use it for communication, secure communications. Then, also, I had the computer. I also had the cryptographic outfit that did the cryptographics. That lasted for a relatively short time. Then, the idea of the Navy Tactical Data System came up, which I spent much of the rest of my career involved in. This was the application of computers to the process of . . . . The old Navy Combat Information Center, which was the center of directing the battle operations of the ship, was pretty much manual plotting and, of course, with the advent of missiles and high speed aircraft that was too slow, so that brought the requirement for this program called the Navy Tactical Data System.

After about a year in that first job then, I got involved with another Naval Officer, Commander Irv McNally, who was kind of Mr. Radar in the Navy. He had been assigned to a special study called Project Lamplight which involved MIT and a whole bunch of people studying the idea, “how do you cope with high speed aircraft and missiles” and so



this Project Lamplight recommended that the Navy do something. At about the same time, the Air Force was working on a project call SAGE. I don't know if you ever remember the word SAGE. This was the big computer centers to process the data for the ICB, the Intercontinental . . . the big air defense system. The SAGE system was the Air Force's aim at protection of the U.S. from attack by missiles and you name it. That developed a big vacuum tube computer system, the SAGE system. Big radars that could protect ballistic missiles and everything. Now, the Navy's study, this Project Lamplight was to see what the Navy had to do for the air defense of the Navy part of . . . the seaward extension of the SAGE system. So, this Commander McNally and a civilian out of a Navy electronics lab were the Navy members on that Lamplight Study and they came up with the idea that you had to apply computer to handle this high speed information and so when Commander McNally came back to the Bureau of Ships, our common boss tagged me because I was the computer guy. McNally was Mr. Radar in the Navy and the two of us were put in an empty room for about three months and we developed the so-called technical requirements for the Navy Tactical Data System and then that thing got sent by the Bureau of Ships to the Chief of Naval Operations and then they approved it as the basic technical document for the development of Navy Tactical Data System. Commander McNally was made the first project officer, but he resigned very shortly after that because Mac was one of the early officers in the Navy that he was a warrant officer, but he was . . . . He graduated from the University of Minnesota way back in 1933 or 1934 and then at that time he couldn't get a job. It was right in the depth of the Depression, so Mac joined the Navy and he made warrant officer in the Navy faster than any other officer ever did and then he did marvelous



things during the war with radar. He was in our Navy Research Lab (NRL), but by the time . . . . He was still a lieutenant commander at that time.

Donald R. Lennon:

So he moved from warrant officer up to _____ officer.

Edward C. Svendsen:

During the war he was working for guys that were captains and admirals that he was their age or he had more knowledge of what he was doing in the electronics and radar business. Some of his bosses became admirals and so on. Mac had made commander, but he was still . . . the same guys with his experience and caliber were being selected for admiral, so he figured that he'd never make it in the Navy even if they jumped him one rank, so he retired and went to work for Raytheon.

This was just when the project was starting and, of course, I inherited the job as the first project officer for the Navy Tactical Data System and I spent seven years in Washington--six of those working on the Navy Tactical Data System.

Donald R. Lennon:

Nowadays computer technology is changing so incredibly fast, it's almost impossible to keep up with it? Was it fairly stagnant at that time as far as the advancement of it, or was it moving very rapidly in all subject?

Edward C. Svendsen:

It was moving very rapidly, but the only reason we were able to take advantage of the computer was that . . . . These SAGE system computers were all vacuum tubes and, hell, they would fill the whole house here. The computers were too big to put onboard ship yet. Right at the end of when I was at St. Paul, one of these R and D projects that we talked the Navy and Washington into sponsoring was this whole idea of looking at the transistors for computers. In fact, we had invited one of the first guys who invented the transistors--I forget which of the three guys it wasand he came out to ERA and we got involved in discussions on the transistor. They're Bell Telephone Lab guys, Barden, Brattain, and . . . .



I forget which one it was, but anyway, he came out and we talked to him about the company and we were involved in talking about the transistors and then they were starting to produce small lots of the transistors. We got the first lot given to the Navy--it was sent out to ERA under one of our Research and Development Tasks and we started working on--this was before I left there--the R and D. So, by the time the NTDS came along, the Navy had bought from ERA a small transistorized computer. So, we knew how to do that and that was the only reason that we . . . . Well, that was one of the reasons we went to ERA to do the computer for the NTDS, because they were way ahead of the lot. So, transistorized computers--we had to have them to build the NTDS. That was the basic thing. But the system was more than just a computer. It was tying in with the automatic communication data link, which we got involved in, Collins Radio was a lead on that. Of course, building the displays which looked like the old radar PPIs, but they had not only the radar on them, but the symbols that represented the computer output on the screen. The thing that became a big project--computers, communications, radar display type work . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

I imagine that also revolutionized aircraft carriers, didn't it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Oh yeah, right. When we first evaluated the NTDS it was on an aircraft carrier and two DLGs, frigates as they call them, big large destroyers. So, the first system evaluation--a carrier was part of it and, of course, part of the thing was vectoring the aircraft. That was a big part of the system.

I spent six years in Washington working on that as a project officer for this. Then, our first evaluation was on three ships--the , a carrier, the and the were large destroyers called DLGs, guided missile destroyers. The evaluation took place at San Diego under the operational evaluation force out there and I got transferred



from Washington to San Diego. For one year there or about two thirds of a year, I was assigned to the skipper of the Navy Electronic Labs and I had a little technical support group that what we did is support the . . . . There's a big group called OPTEVFOR for operational test evaluation force which tests new equipment for the Navy and they had an office in San Diego and their job was to test and then we--myself, and a handful of other people--provided them with support in whatever they needed to do to the system.

I spent about eight months on that job. Then I stayed another . . . over a year . . . I got cheated out of a full tour of duty. My family was very upset, because we loved San Diego. San Diego is a marvelous place to live and our kids were all pretty young. My daughter was a senior, was going to be a senior in high school and we'd been there just long enough . . . she had friends. All three kids had made friends. I got sent back early for another project. Then they came back. I went back out and got them and drove them back, but they were unhappy about coming to Washington, I'll tell you. It was so nice out there.

Donald R. Lennon:

You said you were there about eight months?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. I was there about a little less than two years; eight months on the evaluation. Then they made me executive officer.

Donald R. Lennon:

It wasn't a TDY; it was a formal assignment.

Edward C. Svendsen:

It was a full . . . . Yeah, in fact, we got quarters there right on down on Point Loma.

Donald R. Lennon:

You should have been able to tell them after six years in Washington that Washington was home rather than San Diego.

Edward C. Svendsen:

We weren't happy about that. The reason I got transferred back was there's a new project coming on the scene here and it was called Project Seahawk. This was design of a new antisubmarine warfare destroyer. That was the name of the project and the idea was to



take a whole fresh look at the antisubmarine warfare destroyer thing and it was Project Seahawk. I got rewarded in a way, but it wasn't a very good reward, by having done such a good job on that Navy Tactical Data System, they decided we've got to give the same treatment to the Project Seahawk.

Donald R. Lennon:

It's kind of unusual, was it not, for an officer to have that long a tour in one single location?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes.

Donald R. Lennon:

About two years was the normal . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

Seven years out in San Diego would have been very nice as far as my family was concerned. No, but this project had a lot of support and it was full bore ahead, so they didn't even think about it.

Donald R. Lennon:

I reckon that when you're in a specialized field like you were, it's more likely than if you were just a line officer.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Oh yeah. Line officers, of course, they pride themselves on being all-purpose, so they get all kinds of different assignments, but, of course, it isn't quite as bad as that in the technical . . . when you go engineering duty only which was my designation, but within that, they still have the policy of “well, they sent me to a shipyard and they sent me to laboratory shipyard,” but mostly. . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

Doesn't engineering duty only usually have a connotation of being penalized when it comes to promotion?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No, not necessarily, because they do engineering duties. Of course, engineering duty is a big part of the Navy. There's the Bureau of Ships and there used to be the Bureau of Ships, the Bureau of Ordinance. Of course, they've changed all the names now. It was a



big enough organization, so there are a lot of flag officers in the Bureau of Ships. The Bureau of Ships--they'd have a flag officer, a chief of Bureau of Ships and a deputy flag officer and then each of the department . . . Most of the major parts of the ? were flag officers. Then the engineering duty officers . . . most of their idea of a good job was to be the commander of a Naval shipyard which would usually be a flag officer. A lot of the bigger ones are flag officer and engineering duty officers, so they had their own, enough jobs around the circuit.

Donald R. Lennon:

Why I said that was that I've talked to officers before who were really crackerjack engineers, but they opted to get out of engineering because they were afraid they wouldn't get promotions.

Edward C. Svendsen:

There's some of that. There's some of that. Except at that time, the Navy was big enough and there are enough . . . . Most of the shipyard commanders were flag officers. Some of the laboratories . . . like the skipper of NRL was usually an ED flag officer, not always. There were a fair number. Then some of the flag officers get assigned to the fleet organizations like the Fleet Maintenance. The Fleet Maintenance officer could very well be a flag officer and he'd be assigned . . . . Say a fleet maintenance officer for the Pacific fleet, he'd be an engineering duty admiral who'd be working for a vice admiral who is commander and chief of the Pacific. So, there were a fair number of jobs, but there were fewer flag officer jobs than line officers, but still it depended on what you wanted.

Donald R. Lennon:

So, you came back for the Project Seahawk.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Project Seahawk. This is supposed to be an advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW)--the design of an advanced anti-submarine warfare destroyer--Project Seahawk. I got hauled back here to head up that and that was not the most satisfactory duty, because



one the Navy changed their mind on what they were going to do--not only the Navy, but the offices of the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy got involved in the damn thing and so . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

This was the early sixties?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes. In 1961, I went out to NEL and then I came back here in 1963. The Project Officer that had the job retired from the Navy and they had to get somebody. They hauled me back, because I had done such a good job on NTDS and they wanted, you know . . . The project never did really. . . . We started it off and I treated it like the NTDS where you get some good people working on the thing and lay it out in advance, but it got so much twisting and turning from the operational side of the Navy. They really didn't know what they wanted. Then the Secretary of the Navy's office got involved in it. Instead of a real forward looking project, it got too many people twisting and turning it and it eventually got turned into another shipbuilding project, which is the DE 1052 class of destroyer escorts. It was not a very satisfactory job.

Donald R. Lennon:

So, it was transformed from destroyer design to destroyer escort design?

Edward C. Svendsen:

We did all the good R and D things, but they eventually threw it all aside and used some bits and pieces and they just did the design of the 1052 class of destroyer and this is a long mixed up story in itself. It got so much people and the Secretary of the Navy's office got involved in the thing.

Donald R. Lennon:

Navy politics or something?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, nobody was standing up and there wasn't anybody saying, "Here, this is what we want." The damn project would shift. It kept shifting around and it had different requirements. Anyway, we did a lot of good things. There was some basic equipment that



was being built. We got some . . . . like the SQS26 (?) sonar was one of the good sonars. There were a lot of things that we did and I think the 1052 class of destroyer turned out to be a pretty good destroyer, but it didn't need that big project to . . . . We provided some input to it, but this thing got completely tangled up in the politics of the Navy and it was most unsatisfactory as far as I'm concerned. That was Project Seahawk.

Of course, it started out bad in our family, because our family was really upset about having to come back. In fact, we didn't immediately send them back. I started coming back here in May or June . . . I'd come back here for a couple of three day trips and then go back.

Donald R. Lennon:

That's a long way to commute.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes, but I'd come back here for a week and then go back and then I'd come back and . . . . I'd left the family there during the summer and then at the end of the summer, I went out and drove them all back. The thing started out very unhappily, for not only me, but the family.

We had some pretty good people on the project and they were all disillusioned by the tremendous politics of the thing.

Donald R. Lennon:

Is that the fault of the . . . It didn't get into McNamara as the Secretary of Defense trying to have control over everything.

Edward C. Svendsen:

There was some of that, but it was right in the Navy Secretary's office. I'm trying to think of the name of the guy. They started trying to . . . . They had some guys that have pretty good technical . . . . They started trying to run the damn project from the Secretary of the Navy's office and so it was not a very good . . . It did not have the real support, full support of the Navy up through the Secretary's office. When I look back at the guy I



relieved, the one that started it out, I think he sensed the problems and he decided that he was going to retire from the Navy.

Donald R. Lennon:

Sensed the lack of commitment.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I think he recognized the amount of involvement of the Secretary of the Navy's office. Some people in that office and . . . . When I look back on it, I think he had a feeling that things were not going to go well so he decided to retire. He was well into the retirement age; a very capable guy. That was not such a good part of my naval career. As a kind of a reward for it, they sent me to the Harvard Advanced Management Course up at the Harvard Business School. Did you ever run across that?

Harvard Business School has courses there where they invite people from industry to send their people and they spend several months. You live together in a dormitory with other people. The Navy had a few people, the Air Force, the Army and then a whole bunch of people from private industry and business. You have a lot of business type courses and they sent me to that. I think they felt badly about what had happened to Project Seahawk, so they kind of rewarded me for it.

That was an interesting thing. They had people not only from U.S. companies, they had people from British. They had a guy from South America, all over the country. You lived in a dormitory together. You lived in what they called cans; small groups of . . . Our can had about eight to ten people. We all lived in . . . Our rooms were adjacent.

Donald R. Lennon:

In a cluster.

Edward C. Svendsen:

In a cluster, yeah. Then we all ate meals together and we went to classes and the business school emphasized these test cases. I forget the word. You would study a particular business and it was a typical scenario of a certain company in a certain industry.



Donald R. Lennon:

Case study?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Case study. That's the word I was trying to think of. So, that was a lot of case studies and then we got a lot of lectures and it was an interesting . . . A bunch of very interesting people we were associated with. A few other Navies, Army, Air Force and all the people from private industry. I think they kind of gave that to me as . . . I think that they recognized that my feathers were pretty much ruffled from what was going on [with] Project Seahawk and they kind of rewarded me with this thing up at Harvard Business School.

Then I came back to the Bureau of Ships and nothing too exciting to report on that. One thing that happened that is related to what is going on right here in Arlington now; our admiral boss decided that he talked the Navy into moving the whole Bureau of Ships outfit out into Prince George's County in a separate building to get us away from the Pentagon. He said, "Most of the guys are engineers. So here's all these engineers; they spend a lot of time riding buses over to the Pentagon." One time we were in the main Navy Building down here on Constitution Avenue and the whole thing moved down near the airport. You know, in Crystal City, you're familiar with that, aren't you?

Donald R. Lennon:

Yes.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, of course, the Pentagon is fairly close. It's true. The engineers from the . . . used to spend a lot of their time whenever anybody in the CNOs office in the Pentagon had meetings, they wanted to have the technical people there for part of the meeting. So we spent a lot of time going over there to meetings. So, Admiral Fulton decided, "Well let's get our engineers out where they can work. Get them away from the Pentagon."

Donald R. Lennon:

Wouldn't they still want . . . .



Edward C. Svendsen:

That's exactly what happened. We spent a whole hell of a lot of more time traveling on buses from way out in Prince George's County. I tell this story because right now, this base closure thing. . . . They're proposing to move all the people down at Crystal City and NAVC (?) and NAV . . . . and all those people, move them out of there, because they're paying too much rent. They're doing the same damn thing. This turned out to be no good before and they're doing it the same way over now.

Donald R. Lennon:

I visited Joe Taussic several times at his office at Crystal City and I was thinking that was probably pretty high rent that they're paying for all that space and everything.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Of course, he actually works for CNO. They put him over there instead of being in the Pentagon. Isn't he retired now?

Donald R. Lennon:

Yeah, he has. This was several years ago.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, no, just recently.

Donald R. Lennon:

I mean, I was there several years ago.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Oh, you were there. So, they're doing the same. They're going to move some of them out to White Oaks and someplace else. It's going to make the communication problem more difficult. Although, I guess it isn't quite as difficult because . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

Well, speaking of computers, with so much networking nowadays, I find more consultation electronically now then we do by face to face anyway.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. I guess that's true, but still the people in NOFNAV (?) in the Pentagon, they want to have their meetings and they'll have . . . .

I stayed on in the Navy. I ended up getting the NAVSHIPS, what they used to call BUSHIPS. I ended up getting the research and development head job in the Navy Sea



Systems Command. That was an interesting thing. I was in that until I retired. I retired from that job.

That was an interesting job. Of course, it was broader than just electronics and computers and stuff. It was all the NAVSHIPS, all the Navy R & D. Most of the interesting time I spent was in some of the new advanced craft, the hydrofoils, and the surface effect ships and that sort of thing. I enjoyed getting involved with that and seeing what was being done around the country and around the world. You know those big crafts that skim over the water . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

I was looking at one of those yesterday. I was down at the Navy Memorial. I had to stop by and see Admiral Miller and Admiral Thompson down there at the ECU and Navy Memorial Foundation.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Did you see the movie?

Donald R. Lennon:

Captain Loving (?) wanted me to see the film and they have a hydrofoil coming ashore there loading the tanks and it's just very interesting.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Those programs were just getting started back when I was . . . The hydrofoil program--they had it up at Puget Sound. Then the surface effect ships. They had one down in New Orleans. That was the interesting part of that job. It was broader than just the electronics. It had all the new research and development for all the ships, so that was a very interesting job as far as I'm concerned.

Donald R. Lennon:

How does the Navy Research and Development--this is a matter of ignorance on my part--the actual development of say something like the hydrofoil is, I know, done by private industry through Navy contracts.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yes.



Donald R. Lennon:

But who actually does the designing of these? Is that done by the Navy designers or by the industrial designers or a combination of the two?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Well, a combination of the two. The big ships, of course, the design is actually done by the Navy. They have a ship design group and they draw the plans. Now, sometimes they subcontract some of the work. Some of the big ships get so big that they can't do it all. A carrier, I think, they lay it all out and have what we call a preliminary design and then the actual detail design is done by, let's say, a shipbuilder like down in Norfolk.

Donald R. Lennon:

So what happens is that the Navy designers develop a prototype that they want and then, let's say, the Norfolk shipyard would bid on it and then they would take it from there.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah, depending on the type of ship. Well, basic design is done usually in-house here. I think it's still done. Of course, the detail work and drawings and building the thing are done by the shipbuilder, but the basic . . . . They go through a very elaborate ship design process. It's a lot of computerized ship design, too.

Donald R. Lennon:

Well, on Project Seahawk, did ya'll get far along with designing this new anti-submarine warfare destroyer and see them just cancel that or go off in another direction or just pull elements of your design out of it?

Edward C. Svendsen:

They pulled a lot of elements into it and then they put it through the normal preliminary design. They decided they were going to build a ship--the 1052 class destroyer--and they used as much of the input from us as they did, but they actually did the design and then they turned it over to . . . . Actually, it went out competitively.

Donald R. Lennon:

What the Secretary of Navy decided to build was apparently diametrically different from what you people had designed in developing the project.



Edward C. Svendsen:

Not really. They decided they wanted to build a ship sooner than would have happened. See, what we were going to do was actually build a . . . do it differently from the way other ships were. We were actually going to build a prototype, essentially build a prototype with all the advanced stuff on it. What they did was they took all the things that were really ready to go. One of the things about a ship design is that there are so many things on the ship. There's the machinery, the main engines and all the auxiliaries. There's the CIC, the radar and all that and then there's the weapon systems and all of these things are usually developed on some time scale and they don't always come together for the building of the ship. Project Seahawk--one of the concepts there was to, "Let's get it all to come out at the same time."

Donald R. Lennon:

Probably a brilliant new design instead of . . . .

Edward C. Svendsen:

But the Navy chose not to wait for that, because that takes a little longer time and they needed a DE 1052 or they needed a new destroyer and so they decided to just go out and design it. Of course, we did a lot of the work for them. We did a lot of the good work and so the 1052 probably was a better ship, but it wasn't the Seahawk. So, there were some good things about the project. Like the sonar, we put a lot of funds in it, the development of the new sonar. It, I think, was pushed ahead faster than it would have if you'd just gone and called out for any old ship. We did a lot of things. There are some really good studies on sonar domes and hydrodynamics that sometimes there wasn't the time to do it when you call out a new ship and you've got to have it on a certain date. The work didn't all go down the drain, but it didn't end up the way it was conceived.

Donald R. Lennon:

It wasn't as satisfying as if you had had the opportunity to complete the design of the new concept of the destroyer.



Edward C. Svendsen:

Do it right.

Donald R. Lennon:

Any other thoughts about your career? Any aspect of it that you can think of that . . . .?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. I liked the Navy much and I got into some very exciting projects and I wouldn't want to do it any differently. I was lucky. For example, going to PG school . . . .Oh yeah, when I first got aboard ship as a brand new ensign, I had just been to radar school. I went to the first radar school. This is how I got to the radar school. There's some luck involved in it. After I graduated, I got my ship, the USS out in Pearl Harbor in the later part of May or early June of 1941. This is before the war started. We went out on a cruise and all of a sudden ended up in the Panama Canal on our way to the east coast. When we got on the east coast, I got sent to the Navy's first radar school. What was really interesting about it . . . I said PG school before, but I meant radar school, the Navy's first radar school. When I came aboard the ship, I had a real good job as the assistant navigator and what was interesting was we were up on the bridge a lot and heard what the goings on of the ship were and then when we were being sent to the east coast, a call came out to all the ships for nominations for this first Navy radar school in Bowdoin, Maine, and Navy research lab. I had the assistant navigator job then. Just before that there was an officer aboard named Oscar Gray who was . . . . We'd known each other . . . We both were ham radio types and I got the assistant navigator job, which was a good thing, but he wanted me down in the communications thing. He knew that I'd been a radio ham and I knew . . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

Knew communications.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Knew communications and he wanted me down there, so he talked his boss to get me transferred down to there. This was in about May of 1941. A new batch of reserve



officers had come aboard so they had to find places . . . Oscar talked to the communication officer about getting me assigned to communications and then one of the reserve officers took my job. That was the best job in the Navy, assistant navigator.

Just shortly after nominations for this new radar course came out and Oscar Gray wanted to go to the course so badly, but his boss would not . . . He said, "Well, Svendsen is brand new. I can't send you off. Svendsen just came and he doesn't know anything about the communication department." So Oscar got cheated out. I had a year of electrical engineering at University of Minnesota plus the Naval Academy, so they thought I was qualified to go the radar school. I got sent to the first radar course. Oscar never would forgive . . .

Donald R. Lennon:

He never forgave you.

Edward C. Svendsen:

I'd tell him that he caused that. If he would have left me as assistant navigator, he probably would have gone to the radar school.

Donald R. Lennon:

I presume that after you retired in 1971, that you entered a second career still in computers?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No. I really didn't. I got some job offers. I got a job offer from Univac, but I chose not to do it. I got into a very strange little business. A good friend of mine that I had known at Univac from Phoenix, Arizona; he and his son had--he had left Univac--invented an automatic liquor dispensing system, computer-controlled liquor dispensing. His name was Verne Leiss (?) and he got me interested in it and in fact, wanted me . . . They had started manufacturing it and they had it installed. They put one up in Canada, New Orleans, and several places. They wanted me to do it. I had several offers from these companies that I had worked with, but I chose not to . . . I decided, "Hell, I'm not going to go . . . I know too



much about those companies. I don't want to go work for them and I don't want it to appear to be a reward for having done business with them." So, I never did take seriously, any of those job offers.

Instead, I started to work with Verne. I started to install and sell these . . . Here, did I ever show it to you? Come here and I'll show it to you. We've done quite a bit of traveling, but I got involved in this up to just so much. I got to the point where I had some part-time employees, but I never got to the point of actually . . . I had a little office in the second story of a little building up here and I really didn't need that. I just had it to make it look a little more professional. I did all my work out in the garage. I've still got a bunch of junk there and I'm going to give it away sometime. I never got involved to the point . . . I kind of kept it down.

Donald R. Lennon:

I imagine that you enjoyed, after thirty years of the pressures and everything of your naval career, have a business situation where you could be more informal and relaxed and work at a more leisurely pace without the pressures.

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. Well, when you had a problem, of course, you had pressure. You had to fix them. It was pretty controllable. It didn't restrict us too much. I had a couple of guys . . . I had enough that I employed part-time. They had other jobs really.

Donald R. Lennon:

Technicians?

Edward C. Svendsen:

Yeah. I think it could have been a good thing. It's a reliable. . . . I've seen a lot of these automatic systems. Some of them have been pretty bad. This damn thing is the most reliable thing I've ever seen. Another thing happened. Verne . . . he and his son really invented . . . They designed and built this thing. It was a very good system. He died and his son was not involved . . . He was at another business. There was nobody back there to



really . . . The people that manufactured the basic pieces . . . .Verne had sold it to somebody else and I just didn't want to get involved anymore. It was more of a hobby than a job. I didn't lose any money, but I didn't really make any money.

Donald R. Lennon:

Alright, sir. Do you have any thoughts like that?

Edward C. Svendsen:

No.

[End of Part 2]

[End of Interview]

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