At the USMC Reserve Center in Brookpark, Ohio we had a Gunnery Sgt that
was in charge of the computers and did all the setup and such. Well, he
got transferred which left a big hole in computer coverage. While
command was casting about trying to find a replacement, my roomie
happened to mention that Doc had a computer at home. (Thanks, Bill!) So
Command approaches me and says “You have a computer at home, Doc?”
“Yes.” Says I.
“Great! You have just been assigned as the Computer Person here at the
USMC Reserve Center. Congratulations!” Says Command. “BTW, you started
Ok, now what? Remember, this was before “Information Systems” and
“Computer Technicians” existed. I was a Hospitalcorpsman. I had a
Commodore 64 “computer” and all the Reserve Center computers were early
IBM Clones. Totally Different! So the first thing I did was get a
screwdriver and attempt to take one apart. Then I got the CORRECT
screwdriver and finally succeeded in taking one apart. Wasn’t too hard
except for this ‘mesh’ stuff they lined the inside of the computer with
so no one could tap into the signals the computer makes and peek in at
what we were doing. Like enemy agents are interested in the immunization
or personnel records for our Reservists! Sure!
Quickly learned the insides and how to take cards and stuff out and put
them back without breaking anything. Quite a feat if you stop to think
that I had no idea what a ‘wrist strap’ was or what static electricity
could do to the components!
Then, 6-8 months after I was assigned the job, we got in replacement
computers for the whole center. New 286 IBM Clones with 8 meg ram and
EGA monitors! I had to back up each and every one of the old computers,
tear it down and scavage the hard drives, etc. Then I had to install the
new computer, put all the correct data on it and get everything up and
running. I’m probably lucky that we hadn’t gotten into Networking yet!!!
Tearing down and reassembling the .45 service pistol was easier. In the
dark! Blindfolded! With one had tied behind my back! While whistling
‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Backwards!
But, my goodness! Wasn’t it fun! Tearing apart and fixing computers and
playing with dBase II and all that stuff. That’s where I first fell in
love with ‘databases’ too. Now I am a database FREAK but back then it
was sooooo cool to be able to organize all that data and pull up what
you wanted (most times). Cool!