Post-United States Navy (March 3)  On this date I was discharged from the United States Navy at Naval Air Station Lemoore in Lemoore, California.  It was the happiest day of my life until I got married in 1976.  I woke up early and signed all of the papers.  Then I stuffed all of my navy things in my seabag and tossed it into a dumpster before leaving the base.  I did not keep one item.  I drove my red 1965 Dodge Dart to the San Francisco Bay area to meet my friend John who was returning from a cruise on March 4.  I stayed in a motel for the night and brought a hand-painted sign the next day that read "SCUMBAG!" so John could find me in the huge crowd that met the aircraft carrier.  We drove 400 miles to Southern California talking all the way about everything we had been writing for the past three years since electronics school in Millington, Tennessee.

American Gas Association On Thursday, April 26, 1973, I was sent by an employment agency to interview for a job at American Gas Association (A.G.A.) Laboratories.  I was given a tour of the facility by testing supervisor, Ernest (Skee) Gorczyca.  There were gas appliances everywhere in the three buildings and in the yard between them.  I had no idea what the job might be at this business.  After the tour, Skee brought me into the office of the manager, Vincent Garni.  Vince said to me: "Well, what do you think?"  I said that I was "not mechanically inclined."  He said: "Oh, you'll do OK."  So I took the job and started as a test engineer "B" on Monday, April 30, 1973. I came to work at A.G.A. after 4.5 years of college and 3 years, 8 months and 23 days in the U.S. Navy.  I had been interviewing for almost two months.  In that time, I had turned down two job offers and had seen a dozen other job openings that I also did not want. In desperation, I had decided to take the next job offer just to get started.  I went to an agency that sent me to interview for the order clerk opening at an auto supply company.  The manager looked at my application and told me that I did not want this job.  He said: "You filled out this application form faster than I can read it."  He then called the agency and told them to send me on an interview for a better job.  The next interview was at A.G.A. During the first week on the job, I met three men (Frank Day, Justin Karmelich and Bob Edgar) who had fingers missing and one (Dennis Munemitsu) who had no hair halfway up his right arm.  This looked like a dangerous place to work (and it was).  We had fires, explosions, gas leaks, and a giant outdoor wind machine that broke apart while in operation sending jagged pieces of cast iron flying hundreds of feet in the air, twice. The management team at the East Los Angeles branch of American Gas Association Laboratories were known by the employees as "The Bull" (Vince Garni - 1920-1985), "The Duke" (L.J. Swift - 1922-2009) and "The Goose" (Skee Gorczyca 1926-1992).  I was first interviewed by Skee who gave me a tour of the cluttered testing lab that was built in 1939.  I was not impressed.  There were at least 200 gas appliance in various degrees of assembly stored in the yard between buildings and exposed to the weather.  At the back of the yard was a World War II quonset hut that had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to store thermostats that the lab tested during the war. Vince was an outgoing, pudgy, soft-hearted man who came to A.G.A. with a degree in microbiology.  He was an excellent test engineer but had no management training.  He had a quick-temper and a colorful vocabulary but was generally liked by everyone who knew him.  It seemed to me that he always wore the same brown suit.  He was promoted to manager after the branch's only other manager (Herb Vogen) died suddenly. L.J. (Luther Jenkins) Swift (inspection supervisor)  was "The Duke".  He was always known by his initials. His "Duke" nickname came from "Earl J." which became "Duke of Earl" and then just "Duke".  He was a bomber pilot in World War II and a sprinter at USC where he earned an engineering degree.  Old-timers knew him as "Sporty" or "Sport".  Some of us called him "Lowell Jasper" but not to his face. I found L.J. to be a very slow-working individual who always found the hardest way to do anything.  His desk was incredibly cluttered. Ron Davis and I once placed a large valve on his desk to see how long it would stay there.  It did not move for months.  It finally disappeared with the other junk when the Director from Cleveland made his annual visit to the coast. Skee (testing supervisor) was "The Goose", the name coming from his Polish surname Gorczyca and the way he walked.  He had one thing in common with Vince and L.J. - he did not have a clue about managing people.  Unlike the others, he did not have a college degree although he always pretended that he did. Skee was pompous and egotistical and inconsistent.  He had learned a lot about gas appliances, but nothing about the scientific method.  He would ignore tests required by the American National Standards but would make up other tests on the spot.  Appliance manufacturers were terrified of him and his power.  From 1939 to 1984, all gas appliance manufacturers had to come to A.G.A. (in Los Angeles or Cleveland) and hope that Skee (or John Fitzgerald in Cleveland) would give them his blessings.  They knew that he could (and would) delay their new product development process.