REQUEST FOR TDC INFORMATION
July 26, 1993
I am involved with Russell Booth, the manager of the USS PAMPANITO, a submarine museum on the San Francisco waterfront, in the preservation and study of the Torpedo Data Computer (fDC) system, the mechanical analog fire control computer which was installed in the conning tower of all fleet submarines used in World War II.
We are writing this open letter to make your members aware of this project, and to open a dialog with anyone interested in this subject. You or your membership may have material which should be copied and added to our research on the TDC. We also desire any available information about the ARMA Corporation, Brooklyn, NY, the contractor who designed and built all American WWII TDCs.
Our research has three goals; the development of museum display panels explaining the fleet submarine fire control problem to the general public, collecting information about the American TDC, similar machines developed by other countries, and ARMA for a book, and the restoration and reactivating of the TDC in PAMPANITO. We have made significant progress on all fronts.
We have already developed a prototype museum display, complete with graphics, on paper. We have targeted the display at the general public, to inform them on how the submarine fire control problem really was solved. There are many torpedoes currently on display, but no explanation of the system behind the successful calculations required for targeting.
We have collected copies of documents on each component of the typical fleet boat TDC fire control system. We wish to collect operational information, histories, and tirst hand accounts of using the fleet submarine system. We have not found any consolidated source of information on the TDC and believe this to be an area of history which has not been well documented.
We have collected some comparative information about parallel systems used by 1apan and Germany, and would like to find more. From the data collected so far we think it is fair to say that the American fleet submarine system is more advanced than the others instaJled in submarines used during the war. We think that the tire control system is centraJ to the reason the submersible boats were built, and that the fleet submarine delivery of torpedoes using the TDC was both accurate and efficient.
We are well on our way to restoring PAMPANITO’s tire control system back to operating condition. The TDC’s ability to track the target, solve the problem, and then update the solution in the torpedoes in reaJ time is remarkable. This is especially true when considering that the caJculus of curved shots was solved in this mechanical device before digitaJ computers were even invented. We wish to operate the entire system so its error can be measured against a computer model we have developed. By measuring the operationaJ error of the system, a better picture of the system’s advantages and disadvantages can be developed.
We are interested in having this letter published so we can gather any opinions, comments, or suggestions which could make our project more successful.
23415 100 w
Edmonds, WA 98020
(206) 542-8396 (FAX
TO THE FRIENDS OF ROY S. BENSON
August 3, 1993
On behalf of my father, I am writing to inform you of Roy’s status and new address.
For the past year and a half, we have employed live-in nurse aides to enable Roy to continue living in his apartment at the Gingercove Life Care complex. While his mental and physical health continues to decline, he was able to maintain a peaceful yet active life style.
On June 30, 1993 it was necessary to move Roy into the Health Center (nursing home section) at Gingercove. Roy’s main affliction is the continuing onset of senile dementia of the Alzhei-mer’ s type. Most of what he says and most of what is said to him is not comprehended. Of course this is a real shame since we all have fond memories of him when he had his full mental faculties. The Gingercove staff is outstanding. They are doing a superb job of caring for Roy and helping him deal with the challenges of his new home. There are many activities suited for Roy which include his saxophone teacher still coming regularly to play with and for him. One staff aide was born in Sweden and maintains an active Swedish interchange with Roy.
Roy has had some problems adjusting to the nursing home environment, primarily related to his inability to communicate. He also feels isolated.
Thus, I would like to solicit your help. Please send Roy a card or note to say “Hi” . Please remember that Roy can no longer read or write and a staff member will read whatever you send (simpler, the better). Roy comprehends pictures and visual signs. Thus, it would be ideal if you could send a picture of yourself (past or current), so that he might understand who is sending him the note or card.
Thank you so much for your help. I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy.
Address for Cards:
RADM Roy S. Benson
Gingercove Health Center
400 River Crescent Drive
Annapolis, MD 21401
NAVY ELF SUBMARINE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
September 2, 1993
The Honorable Sam Nunn, Chairman
Armed Services Committee
Washington, DC 29510
Dear Sen. Nunn:
Two July articles in the Milwaukee Sentinel quote freshman Sen . Feingold as saying the ELF system is a relic of the Cold War and that he has written to both you and Sen. Inouye requesting its termination. I believe such action would be foolish and that, without having sought the facts of the issue, he is reflecting the false claims of that small group of anti-military dissidents in Wisconsin who so hoodwinked Sen. Nelson that he singlehandedly delayed the program in the ’60s and ’70s. It was their antics too that paralyzed Pres. Carter’s decision-making process so that he first scaled the program down and then let it languish for the remainder of his term.
I feel qualified to offer these comments since I was associated in various civilian contractor capacities with ELF from its outgrowth from the 1959 PANGLOSS Navy contract at RCA Labs in Princeton to its implementation by GTE’s Communications Systems Division in the mid ’80s. I retired from GTE in 1987 with the title ELF System Program Manager. I now have no affiliation with the Navy or GTE and am a spokesman for neither. I do hold the conviction that the ELF system enhanced the safety of our submarines then and still does in today’s hostile global arena, and that it contributed in its small way to the demise of the USSR by helping (along with many other factors) to convince its leaders that they could never defeat us and so gave up.
In the years before retiring, I spent untold time in Wisconsin and Michigan as well, and grew to know very well the public issues and the delaying tactics employed by the bizarre group opposed to ELF. Although their numbers were small (much smaller than the veterans organizations, for instance, who supported the program without exception), I’ll concede they were well organized , loud and flamboyant and therefore newsworthy, but they did not represent the view of the majority composed of rock-solid, patriotic, quiet citizens which the news media ignore.
I observed that it was not uncommon for the anti-ELF hard core to dupe religious and legitimate environmental organizations into opposing the program. I believe that is what has now happened with Sen. Feingold; his newspaper quotations reflect as much. I plan to suggest in a letter to him soon that he learn the facts of this matter by requesting a tour of submarine facilities and discussions with experienced submariners. Until he becomes educated in submarine operations, his ELF statements are invalid.
The purpose of this letter (and others to Sen. Inouye and my own Sen. Thurmond) now as Congress reconvenes, is to assure you that Sen. Feingold’s public statements do not represent the majority viewpoint on this important issue and to urge you to reject his bill by authorizing the modest FY94 funds requested for the program. Certainly you know, and the Navy witnesses at your committee hearings will confirm, that ELF now enhances all classes of submarine operations, not only the SSBN forces for which it was conceived. My concern is that an amendment to an unrelated bill may be offered as Sen. Feingold has intimated, and survive in the last minute rush to pass the authorization or appropriation biiJs. I further urge you to guard against that ploy.
I will close on a broader, personal note by telling you that I admire the professional way you chair your committee. I breathe a little easier knowing that our defense interests are in the hands of such stalwarts as you and Sens. Thurmond and Warner. I am fearful of those who seek a further peace dividend from the DoD budget to finance their own political agenda. I am not going to feel comfortable with one penny less for defense than your committee recommends until the dismantling of all those former Soviet warheads is confirmed; until Russia and the major Soviet republics stabilize; until we know more about ex-Soviet subs in Iranian hands; until peace comes to the Middle East and the terrorists are contained; until the North Korean and Pakistani nuclear programs are eliminated; until Iraq’s Saddam is deposed and a sane government takes control; nor until the Somali and Bosnian situations are resolved. There is likely to be a role for our Submarine Forces as we confront each of those issues.
Of course we don’t need as large a military establishment as we had during the Cold War. For that reason I regretfully concede the phaseout of the Charleston Navy complex. But, please let us not again get in the pants-down posture we found ourselves in when WWII broke out. Thank God we at least had the nucleus of a first rate Submarine Force on line then. That’s a lesson that needs to be remembered lest we not always be that fortunate.
Very sincerely yours,
George V. Bradshow
409 Long Reach Dr.
Salem, SC 29676