Two or three years ago, during a summer visit to my old hometown in Ohio, I had an opportunity to explore the school buildings where I spent my junior high and high school years. I hadn't entered either one since I left town to join the Air Force back in 1962.
A few things in both buildings were pretty much as I remembered them, but I was quite surprised to find that most of those empty hallways and classrooms bore only a slight resemblance to my memories of them. Both buildings were torn down this past summer, so I'm glad that I had a chance to see them before they were gone.
Though my memories of the USTDC building have dimmed over time, I suspect that many of the memories that remain are probably also flawed.
I remembered the main entrance to the building (which I think was officially called the quarterdeck) as very ornate with large columns. But a year or so ago when I received the photograph that's at the top of this blog, I saw that I had it wrong. I later received some earlier photos showing a long metal awning over that entrance, but it was gone by the time I arrived.
I remember that the ship's bell was on the right side of the porch just outside the entrance. Chief Gagne always brought his portable radio out a couple of minutes before 0800 each weekday morning so that he could hear the "beep-beep-beep-beeeep!" time signal to ensure that we raised the colors at precisely the right moment while he did the four repetitions of two bells. Things didn't always go as planned, as I wrote in this piece back in July, 2007.
I remember that the J-1's office (Director of Personnel - Admin) was to the left as you walked into the lobby. That was a Navy captain (0-6) when I was there in 73-74, but I don't remember his name. I believe he was a tall, thin guy with grayish hair.
Straight ahead, as you came in the main entrance, was the small room -- a sort of glassed in booth -- where BMC Gagne spent his days. That was also where we pulled watch at night and on weekends. There was a military bunk behind a wall in that room where we were allowed to sleep on watch between 2400 and 0500. The phones often rang at night (usually some idiot in the States who didn't know the time difference) so we often didn't get much sleep.
Just to the right of the chief's office was a stairway (with a fancy wooden railing?) that went up to the right. I remember almost nothing about the upstairs except that the admiral and the general had their offices up there. Admiral Beshany and Brigadier General Burrows filled those positions during most of my tour. Admiral Beshany was apparently a Washington Redskins fan because I remember seeing a helmet on a bookshelf in his office. I also remember the J-2 Acquisition Office was up there somewhere, where Larry Sherman and Pete Ayling worked (AF and Army NCOs and both great guys). Public affairs, Protocol and the Legal Office were up there somewhere and I assume that the J-2 (Intel) and the J-3 (Ops) were also.
Back downstairs and facing Chief Gagne's office, I turned right to head down the hall to my office. It seems to me that there was a ramp to the left off that hallway that went down toward my office, which was to the right at the bottom. John Cranford and Wayne Morris were Army guys with whom I shared the office. There was a big old Xerox 914 copy machine there during my time. I think the government must have bought thousands of them because I used them just about everywhere I was ever assigned.
Back to the left was my boss's office (Army LTC Blanton) where some Navy and Marine guys worked (Ken Royce, Larry Driscoll and two or three others whose names have gotten away from me). There were two secretaries; one was American (Helen) and the other was Chinese and I can't remember her name.
There was a back door to my office that opened to the outside, and it could only be opened from the inside. Not far from that door was the print shop where two or three Navy guys printed all the documents for the place. I remember that they had a paper cutter in there that could slice through a ream of paper like a hot knife through butter.
It seems to me that the floors on the lower level of the TDC building were all terrazo tile, but I don't remember if that was the case upstairs. I also don't remember anything about a basement, though I think there may have been one.
So that's about everything I remember about the USTDC building. Based on my experiences with my old schools, I'm probably wrong about much of it. I've never seen any photos of the inside of the building and I doubt that there are any around. Most of us don't take pictures of our workplaces. The building was torn down sometime after 1979 (does anyone know when?) so none of us can go back to see how things really were. I've often wondered if it was used for anything else between 1979 and whenever it was demolished.
What things about the building stand out in your memory?