The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

THE ROCKET LAUNCHER

Even though our company went under the name of the Clifton Engineering Company, we were, in most cases, more involved with construction than we were with engineering. In fact there never was a time during the thirty years that I was involved that an engineer worked for the company. There was, however, one occasion in which one of our men became very much involved with high-tech engineering.

I firmly believe that Stan Bloom was the first person to demonstrate the concept of the Missile Launch Silo. He nor any of the rest of us realized it at the time nor was he ever given recognition for his contribution to our National Defense System. It all happened one cold winter night, during a deer hunting trip, at the C&C Hunting Lodge. There were more men there that night than there were beds for them to sleep in. Stan, like a true engineer, had foreseen such a possibility and had brought an Army surplus sleeping bag with him.

Stan was sleeping on the floor and during the night he rolled around, enough, so that he got on to the register of the gas fired floor furnace. I was sleeping at the opposite end of the same room and woke up just as the lower end of Stan's bag burst into flames. I saw Stan eject from the opposite end of that bag with an obvious determination and a true sense of purpose. He was getting the Hell out of that bag.

As I say, I am convinced that in that brief instant, Stan planted the seed for what became the first Missile Launching Silo and I would bet that if you were to carefully dismantle one of those, highly technical, launching devices, somewhere in the ignition system you would find a cell containing goose feathers.

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