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Bill Wood

I was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, a steel-mill town near Pittsburgh, in 1936. Spent my early years in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1944 my parents family moved to Southern California to work in the war plants there. At the age of 19 I joined the USAF as guided missile technician in 1955. At the end of my four-year hitch I was working at the Edwards AFB Rocket Engine Test Laboratory as an instrumentation technician with Atlas and Thor missiles when they were test-fired there.

In 1960, after a short stint at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an instrumentation technician with smaller rocket engines, I decided to get into the satellite tracking business with the then-secret Corona project. Bill Wood I was a telemetry technician on USAF launch support ship, USNS Pvt. Joe E. Mann. We tracked most of the early "Discoverer" missions during launch phase down range off the coast of Mexico. In late 1960 I was assigned to run a new Bendix operated Corona tracking station on Tern Island, halfway between Oahu and Midway Island in the Hawaiian chain. When that station was no longer needed in 1963 I was transferred to the USNS Longview, one of two Corona Project recovery ships.

In September of 1966 I was transferred to the Goddard Space Flight Center, outside of Washington, D.C., to work as an Apollo Unified S-band systems advisor on the Manned Space Flight Network support team. After completing my 18 month tour of duty at GSFC I was transferred to the Goldstone MSFN station in April of 1968 and spent the following four years as a Unified S-band crew supervisor. This included all of the manned Apollo missions from Apollo 7 through Apollo 17. In 1973 I became a station crew supervisor and supported the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz manned missions.

In 1978, when Bendix regained the Deep Space Network contract, I was transferred to the Goldstone DSN facility where I worked as the Systems Engineer responsible for the maintenance of all technical facilities at Goldstone. In 1988 I took an early retirement from Bendix/AlliedSignal, but continued to work full time as a consultant to the Deep Space Network until 1994.

I now live in happy retirement in Barstow, California. Most of my time is spent in sound recording restoration, digital photography and amateur radio.