Technician Class "B" School
San Francisco, CA
- October 1969
moved the family (Janet and Warren Jr.) back up to the bay area
and found an apartment out on 104th Street in Oakland. I reported
to the 48 week Advanced Electronics Technician Class "B"
school on Treasure Island. I wasn't sure how long I would initially
be there, as this school had a reputation of having a very high
drop out rate. I remember LT. Basham, in his welcome aboard speech,
saying "if I had my way, you would be here without your families,
so we would have 100% of your attention." I remember thinking,
what am I getting into!
was in one of the last classes to go through this old-school 48-week
version of "B" School. Later the course was trimmed several
times, deleting material that was nice-to-know for a career on the
outside, but not necessarily conducive to the Navy's needs. Fault
isolation down to the component level was becoming a lost art as
the fleet (and equipment manufacturers) were now only requiring
the fault to be isolated to board or module level. Vacuum tube theory
was being replaced with solid state circuit theory. The old Thevenin's
and Norton's Theorem type of analysis and teaching weren't necessary
anymore. The math portion was reduced, with more emphasis on Boolean
Algebra and only an elementary exposure to Calculus. I remember
that we had to design a power amplifier and a yagi antenna, mainly
as an exercise to give you enough homework to keep you busy over
the weekend. Nice experience for designing circuitry, and a fun
exercise, but not that necessary in learning troubleshooting and
fault isolation in Navy equipment. These, and other fun exercises,
were later eliminated. We were strongly encouraged (hell, it was
almost mandatory) to attend remedial night study, which started
after hours around 6pm to 9pm - instructors was made available to
answer questions. It was the toughest school that I ever attended,
harder than any college course I've ever taken.
The first 16 weeks of this school was the
math portion, and were the toughest. I burned a lot of midnight
oil getting through it. During this 16 weeks, we went from 2+2 through
Algebra, Trig, functions, and 4-weeks of Differential & Integral
Calculus. Back in those days, we had to use slide rules to calculate
Trig functions, Base 10 Logs and Natural Log functions. Later, while
attending Junior College in the ADCOP program, I was required to
take a college Algebra course. I went through this entire course
without missing one homework or test question, and I know it was
because of the math that I learned in "B" School. The
Business Calculus courses that I took later were also very easy
because of this training. This first 16 weeks was also a conditioning
period, designed to get us into good studying habits. Attending
additional night classes, during the first 24 weeks or so, was almost
mandatory to successfully make it to graduation.
I ended up graduating around the middle of
Mighty ETB Walnettos Receive Their Plaques
the spring of 1969, to fill in the time between regular class
hours and the start of night study, I formed a softball team from
several different classes, and we entered the base intramural
softball league. We were called the ET "B" Walnettos.
Walnettos, for those that don't know or remember, were small individually
wrapped square walnut tasting candies that were popular in the
50's, which were now making a comeback. We ended up winning the
league championship, going undefeated. We brought home the first
first-place team trophy that "B" School had ever won.
We had a team that I believe was good enough to play in any all-Navy
tournament. We had a 3rd baseman that played several feet in front
of the bag (right down the batters throat) and could fire a bullet
to first. We had a short stop that didn't let anything get by
him. The pitcher could do things to a softball I had never seen
before. He was not only very fast, but he had several different
kinds of pitches that fooled many batters. In addition, he was
our power hitter. The two hardest positions to train/develop were:
First Base. This position had to learn to back pedal back to
the bag, when a ball was hit to third base, or be hit between
the shoulder blades by a throw from the quick hands of the third
Catcher. This position had to be able to catch a ball from our
pitcher, which was not only very fast, but he threw pitches
that would break several inches or more. I know, I tried catching
for him during pregame warm-up once. He would warn me before
hand which way the ball was going to break, but I still wasn't
ready for a ball that broke like his pitches.
the other positions were quite good also. It was quite a team.
I remember one game in particular, where
we were trying out our backup pitcher because our main pitcher
was going on leave the next week and would miss one game. This
backup pitcher was doing a fairly decent job, but found ourselves
in a tied score situation around the seventh inning and the momentum
shifting to the opposing team. So, we brought the regular pitcher
into the game, to pitch the last two innings. We were playing
the ET"A" School team, I believe, a team with several
very good ex-baseball players. They had quite a rooting section
in the stands, and they were going wild as their team rallied
to tie the score. They just knew that they were on the verge of
beating the mighty Walnettos. I'll never forget the look on the
faces of the next 6 batters (over the next two innings), nor will
I ever forget the silence that fell over the stands when our pitcher
(Mike Rossi) struck out those next 6 batters in about 20-pitches.
I remember one batter make the comment "gooooddd daaammmmnnn"
after watching the first pitch produce smoke in the catchers glove!
It was something to watch. We eventually scored another couple
runs and won the game. We struggled through our next game, without
our star pitcher, but our backup did an excellent job and we were
able to win that one too.
will also add at this point that I was just an average softball
player - especially under fastpitch rules. After assembling players
of this caliber, it didn't take me very long to realize that I
wasn't good enough to play on this team. Even though I essentially
formed the team, I wanted to see the best players play, so I warmed
the bench. So, I became a back-up player, team co-captain, and
the team statistician. The third baseman (Houston Cox) became
the the other co-captain because of his experience and overall
knowledge of the game. It was a great team to be a part of in
might add here that one other team from "B" School took
3rd place, the "Bubba Bares." They were composed of
players from mainly one class. They were no slouch of a team either.
The second place team was the Marine team, the "Devil Dogs."
Their pitcher was also the pitcher for the base team, who later
went to the All-Navy tournament. And, I might add, we beat him.
Quarters & Muster - ET"B" School
graduation, I received orders to remain at NAVSCOLCOM Treasure Island
and become an instructor at Advanced Electronics "B" School,
the same school I just graduated from.
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