The NRL's first hundred years (1923-2023)

Is the forum really open? After THIRTEEN YEARS?
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Jan Lundquist
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The NRL's first hundred years (1923-2023)

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The NRL Centennial on July 2 was memorialized in a a fresh iteration of their history.

https://www.nrl.navy.mil/About-Us/Histo ... entennial/

Once "college-dropout" Townsend maneuvered his way into a position at this, the first national science lab of its kind in the world, everything he did was in furtherance of the organizational goals and aspirations. He was always a very purpose-full individual. I am reminded of that each time I suddenly see his purpose behind a seemingly random action. I have just realized that when Townsend encouraged Linda to start her diary, taking her to the stationary shop to pick out the handsome leather book that would become the first of several hand-scribed volumes, he was just beginning own his "missing notebook" years." Sly as a fox, he was.

Other posts on this forum point out that those years, and his trail seem to merge in the Corona/Keyhole Optical Reoconnaissance Satellite Program. The GE employees assigned to the program operated in a dedicated plant in Valley Forge, PA, which was the location of Ashlawn, the family residence for Linda's last two years of high school.

I'm just saying. Townsend always like to live close to his work.
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Re: The NRL, from whence Townsend came.

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Townsend may have resigned from the Navy, but he was never far from the NRL.
Screen Shot 2023-11-29 at 9.02.28 AM.png
FOREWORD
December 2018

If you are a space professional who has spent most of your life in the civilian side of the
business—human spaceflight, space science and astronomy, telecommunications, environ-
mental monitoring—then it is entirely possible that you have barely, if ever, heard of the Naval
Center for Space Technology at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Yes, you might recall a
mission called “Clementine” that in the mid-1990s took the first pictures of the moon since the
time of Apollo and, by the way, discovered deposits of ice at the lunar poles. After all, this was a
discovery that, in its time, made it to the NBC “Today” show. And so you might even recall that
it was, surprisingly, sponsored and managed by the Department of Defense Strategic Defense
Initiative Office, the “Star Wars” missile defense program created by President Reagan a decade
earlier. But you are very unlikely to know, or to remember if you once knew, that the spacecraft
itself was built and the mission was flown by NRL.

If your career has been in the national security space business, then you are much more
likely to know about NRL and NCST, but still it will not be uppermost in your thoughts. The
typical insider’s perception of the national security space program is much like that of an
intelligent layman who is in touch with current events: the United States operates numerous
imagery and electronic intelligence (ELINT) collection satellites, managed by an amorphous
group of “three-letter agencies” such as NSA, NRO, CIA, and NGA. The Air Force is some-
where in the mix, because their logo is on the launch vehicles that might get a 5-second sound
bite on network news when a new “bird” goes up. But few even in the intelligence community
spend much time thinking about the Navy’s or NRL’s role, or remember GRAB and Poppy—the
first ELINT spacecraft—if indeed they ever knew of them.
You can read all 400+ pages at

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD117026 ... m=70,0,684
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Re: Who were the other 49?

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From the above, page 126
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Re: Albert Hoyt Taylor, the Wireless Wizard of WW I

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Continuing to work my way through Nate's timeline. I am approaching the point in time when Townsend first went into the black.and I think Albert Hoyt Taylor had something to do with it. Taylor, the Wireless Wizard of WWI, earned his Ph.D. from Gottenberg University in Germany and headed the radio division of the NRL before becoming the director. One contemporary account has Taylor and Einstein meeting in WWII, making a joke about how they, as two Alberts in the same room, could be possibly be distinguished from one another.
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Re: AHT The early days of Navy radio resarch: 1915-1918

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Albert Hoyt Taylor wrote a now out of print book RADIO REMINISCENCES: A HALF CENTURY by A. Hoyt Taylor
Published by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington. D.C. First Edition 1948, reprint 1960, Pages 50 – 60
Albert_H._Taylor.jpg
Camp Evans, the Marconi Belmar station, was a significant communications control point and research site during the United States involvement in WWI. The site hosted many people during this period who contributed to the advance of radio technology. The site also dispatched some of the most important diplomatic radiograms for President Wilson during the war.
The Navy had taken over this station, had a rapidly increasing complement of necessary personnel, and had started the installation of private Navy leased wires to Washington and to certain high power stations capable of doing trans-Atlantic work. These stations were also in the hands of the Navy. I was given the title of TCO (Trans-Atlantic Communications Officer). As far as I know, I am the only Naval Officer who held that title. I was also Commanding Officer of the Belmar Station, with the general supervision of the trans-Atlantic network. I was given my pick of any men I wanted to pull into this work, as the Navy considered it of the most urgent importance. I had a number of the best men at Great Lakes [Taylor's previous assignment, as a member of the Naval Reserve engineering group, had been to build a radio communications station at the Great Lakes Naval Base] immediately ordered to Belmar, including Young, Gebhard, and Meyer. {He would take these men with him to the NRL in 1923-24)
By the time WWII rolled around, the Navy would have a created a two part training program for their codes and cryptography group. The seeds of it were born in Taylor's observations while at Camp Evans.
The fact that we had to copy so many messages in a very difficult code meant that we had to have extremely high accuracy on the part of our receiving operators. True, we could call on Chatham and Bar Harbor for corrections, and occasionally on Tuckerton and Sayville, when they were not busy transmitting and could stand receiver watch, but this took time. The result was that we picked our operators with great care. We had our choice of the best men from each graduating class of the Harvard Radio School. Men who weren’t careful and didn’t show signs of speed and accuracy were promptly transferred, either to sea or to the armed guard, in New York. To ensure copy on especially important messages, at times when the static was heavy, we usually doubled the operators on a given watch.

I found early in my stay at Belmar that good radiomen could usually be separated into two groups; first, expert operators, second, material men who were mainly interested in the technical side of the radio. It is not efficient to try to make an operator out of a technical man and it is usually impossible to make a technical man out of one who is primarily interested in operating.

We found it best not to burden the operating people with the adjustment and upkeep of the equipment.
https://www.infoage.org/history-ia/hist ... yt-taylor/
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