Chapter Nineteen - Anniston Army Depot
Jim Gossett Adjutant, Red River Army Depot
Jim Gossett was Adjutant at Anniston Ordnance Depot at one time.
I did not know him then but my wife knew him. Jim went to Red River Army
Depot and was made Adjutant there, a Civil Service position.
Jim was always the one I saw first when I visited Red River Army
Depot, and I visited there dozens of times. Jim and I would chat for
quite awhile and he would fill me in on all the changes at Red River
since I had been there. Jim was a great guy and I liked him. Jim had a
serious drinking problem and he is dead now,
I miss you, Jim old Buddy. You were one of the best.
Al Woronowycz Director for MIS Tobyhanna Army Depot
Lee Browder Director for MIS Letterkenny Army Depot
Al Smart Director for MIS Atlanta Army Depot
Elmer Bossom Deputy Director for MIS Letterkenny Army Depot
Floyd Landgraf Chief Programmer Red River Army Depot
George Kyer Friend Red River Army Depot
Sherman Rose Friend Red River Army Depot
Herman Morrison Friend Red River Army Depot
Jo Wheeler's Secretary (Friend) Red River Army Depot
Herb Freeman Dir for Supply (Friend) Red River Army Depot
Mr. Mountz Dir for Maintenance (Friend) Red River Army Depot
Buford Seales Dir for MIS Sacramento Army Depot
Black Bart Dir for MIS Sacramento Army Depot
Steve McDonald Deputy Chief Logistics Systems Support
Harold Krueger DMIS Supply & Maintenance Command
Bobby Sealock Deputy DMIS Atlanta Army Depot
Gordy Foster Friend LSSA
Jim Nielsen Director for MIS Corpus Christy Army Depot
Frank Dubiel Deputy Director MIS Tobyhanna Army Depot
Jim Hannon Director for MIS Tobyhanna Army Depot
Ralph Tappen Enemy & Chief, LSSA LSSA
John Cianflone Deputy DMIS AMC Headquarters
Lou Wiggins Deputy DMIS Supply & Maintenance Command
John Gilbert Enemy & DMIS Army Materiel Command
Extract from "The Defense Manager" Vol. 3 No. 6 January 1970
ANNISTON CHAPTER MEETINGS FEATURE "KNOW YOUR DEPOT"
Anniston Army Depot Chapter's excellent newsletter for December
contains a "KNOW YOUR DEPOT" write-up of their big mission: "To Get the
Material to the Field for Use at the Earliest Practicable Date, in Class
This interesting series illustrates the great value of an AFMA
Chapter to its sponsor Command. It is a prime example of unofficial
interdepartmental communications which do much to meld the operations of
a complex military establishment into an efficient whole.
At the November meeting the incoming chapter president, Mr.
Thomas R. Bowerman, Director for Data Systems of the Depot, was
principal speaker and made an excellent presentation on SPEEDEX and its
import upon the Depot's operations. A digest of his speech is reprinted
Anniston Chapter is to be congratulated on this
management-oriented "KNOW YOUR DEPOT" series. This chapter has no
problem in finding principal speakers of great value--right at home.
By Mr. Thomas R. Bowerman
The presentation began with a short movie called "Computer
Glossary." This movie explains the operations of a computer and defines
technical terms in layman language. At the conclusion of the movie, the
speaker commented as follows:
As most of you know, SPEED is the acronym for System wide
Project for Electronic Equipment for Depots. It started as a project
under the Chief of Ordnance and was carried over to the Supply and
Maintenance Command. It began with six Ordnance Depots--Anniston, Erie,
Pueblo, Red River, Tooele, and Letterkenny. Under the Supply and
Maintenance Command, Erie was closed and Sacramento, Lexington,
Tobyhanna, Atlanta and Sharpe were added. The basic concept was that all
depots would get identical computers and a central agency would do the
programming for all, rather than each depot doing its own programming!
The IBM 1410 and IBM 1401 were selected and installed at each of
the depots. The Logistics System Support Center was established at
Letterkenny Army Depot to do the programming. It was done by depot
personnel on TDY for the supply portion. All other applications were
assigned to individual depots. Anniston did payroll and ammunition. The
systems have never been highly responsive to required changes.
This leads us up to SPEEDEX. SPEEDEX refers to SPEED EXtended -
to ARADMAC, New Cumberland and Granite City, making 13 depots; and
extended to include Data Processing Management, Appropriation Accounting
and Management Information as new systems.
The SPEEDEX specifications were sent out to many manufacturers.
Bids were received only from IBM, General Electric and Control Data
Corporation. The equipment proposed by CDC--the CDC 3300 system--was
selected as the SPEEDEX equipment, subject to a benchmark test and
successful operation of a prototype at Letterkenny. The benchmark has
been passed and the prototype test is scheduled for April 1970.
Approval was granted to construct computer rooms at Letterkenny
for the Systems Support Center test equipment and the depot prototype.
These rooms have been built and the test equipment is now being
installed. The depots have been given approval to develop computer site
projects, but cannot begin construction until the prototype has proved
Our first job at Anniston will be to provide space for a
computer room. We have decided to build it in the room where the EAM and
key punch equipment are located now. It will take a succession of moves
to get that space available. This is the order of the moves:
First, PIO, Security Control, Manpower and the portion of
Civilian Personnel in the Northern-most part of Building 53 will move
upstairs in Building 64.
Second, Purchasing and Contracting will move to the North end of
Third, Ammunition and Surveillance will move to Building 22.
Fourth, Systems and Programming, my office and BILI will move to
the East end of Building 362.
Fifth, Key Punch will move to the Snack Bar area in Building
Sixth, EAM will move to the area vacated by Systems and
Programming and BILI. Hopefully, we can also provide a slight increase
in space for Transportation Division.
Seventh, the IBM Customer Engineer will move in the new EAM
This will vacate the area for the Computer Room. My present
office will be the new magnetic tape vault. The area just North of my
office will be used as a Control Data Corporation Customer Engineer room
and a storage area for paper and cards.
The new Computer Room, Tape Vault, Customer Engineer Room and
Storage area will have a raised floor, which will serve not only to
provide space for electrical and signal cables, but will also serve as a
plenum for the latest type under-floor air conditioning.
Our immediate access storage units will be housed in a separate
glassed-off area to reduce dust and muffle noise. This will be within
the main computer room. There will be either three or four of these
boxes and each one will have its own separate hydraulic unit. The
hydraulic units require a chilled water cooler. There are two large
generators. They will be located in the warehouse.
The Computer Room will have four tape drives, several boxes for
memory units, a card reader, card punch and two high speed printers.
There will also be micromation equipment for recording data directly
from tape to microfilm. (This is not Control Data Equipment.)
It is hoped that we will be able to release the IBM 1401 and
1410 six months after the CDC equipment is installed. We plan to
relocate the EAM equipment to this room when it is released. This will
place our card punch, EAM and computer equipment in the proper
In addition to the equipment in the Computer Room, there will be
many remote units installed around the depot. The exact number of
remotes has not been determined, but the number originally specified is
62. These are visual display units, typewriters, keyboards, printers,
card readers and card punches. The largest configuration will be in
Shipment Planning, which will have a visual display unit, a high speed
printer, card punch, card reader and typewriter with keyboard. The
keyboard is necessary to inquire. Some stations will have typewriters
that will print out but cannot inquire.
The remotes are connected to the computer through controllers
and communication modems. One type controller will handle twelve remotes
and another type will handle six. The remotes in Building 362 will be
cable connected. All others will be connected through telephone lines.
As an example, telephone lines will be installed from the computer to
the North end of Building 53. This will require what we call a
communications modem at each end of the line. In Building 53, the
controller will be connected to the modem. They can be 25 feet apart. We
can then connect up to twelve remotes to this controller, provided they
are within 1,000 feet. This should take care of Purchasing and
Contracting, Civilian Personnel, IAF, Cost Accounting and Stock Fund. A
separate modem and controller at the other end of the building will
serve the Commanding Officer, Executive Assistant, Comptroller, Manpower
Office, Management Engineering Division and Director for Administration.
Each Director will have a visual display unit, which resembles a
TV set. He will be able to select a large number of reports and have any
one displayed. The unit will also print a hard copy of the report if
desired. Each depot will program its own reports.
So far, the system sounds good. There are a few problems. One
major problem so far is that the Control Data Corporation does not have
software as yet that will operate this equipment with all these remotes.
They are working on it. Another big problem is that the training they
have been providing so far has been poor. Programmers have felt ill-
prepared after their training, to say the least.
I contend that our beginning programs will reflect the training
we receive. Later, the better programmers will learn for themselves, but
in the beginning all programmers will be handicapped by inadequate
training. Some will always be handicapped, but most will eventually
This may be rambling, but I think at this point I should mention
a few problems we are encountering in the plans to construct a Computer
Room for Control Data Corporation equipment. Control Data insists on
reviewing our plans in minute detail. They have given us quite a few
The air conditioning must be so effective that the room
temperature will not vary more than plus or minus two degrees.
Seventy-two degrees is optimum and the equipment will turn itself off if
it exceeds 74 degrees. Humidity must remain within plus or minus five
percent. Some components take in cool air at floor level and discharge
it at ceiling level. Other components take in cool air at ceiling level
and discharge it at floor level. There is a danger that the hot air from
one component will knock out another component. We hope this is overcome
by installation time.
This air conditioning must operate seven days a week twenty-four
hours a day. If we turn it off, we are responsible if the equipment
fails when we restart.
Cards to be processed must be in the same air conditioned and
humidity controlled environment for at least 24 hours prior to
Control Data states that even our remote sites must be air
conditioned and humidity controlled--seven days a week and 24 hours a
day. These sites will cost a large amount to construct. We are
considering the use of modular labs--a sort of pre-fab deal. If we fail
to build them to Control Data Corporation specifications, they will not
be responsible for malfunctions.
It seems to me that the installation and operation of third
generation computer equipment is going to be a very expensive operation.
Just getting the 13 depots up to the installation point is going to
require a one-time expenditure of a large amount of money. The
difference in our present costs and the rental cost of the new equipment
will cost another considerable sum each year. In view of the present
fund shortages and the necessity to fire thousands of permanent civil
service employees, I suggested a five-year deferment of SPEEDEX. My
suggestion was sent to Washington, but hasn't been returned as approved.
This was in the form of an employee suggestion rather than an official
Since we installed the SPEED equipment and SPEED systems, we
have been able to make program changes to take care of requirements our
depot managers felt were essential. This was possible because of three
1. We have a local programming staff that can do the job.
2. The Logistics System Support Center allowed us to do so
provided we coordinated with them.
3. We have the basic source deck programs.
Under SPEEDEX we have been told that we will not be permitted to
make changes. To assure that we don't make them, we are being crippled
1. Our programming staff is being reduced 10% in Calendar Year
1969 and an additional 20% in Calendar Year 1970.
2. The Logistics System Support Center will not permit changes
under SPEEDEX and they have full backing of AMC.
3. We will have only object programs under SPEEDEX, which means
we can't make changes even if we had the programmers and permission.
The effect on this depot will be that every manager will operate
with SPEEDEX output whether he likes it or not. Changes must be
requested from LSSC and will be made only if LSSC decides it is best for
This is one reason I stress full support of SPEEDEX at
Letterkenny Army Depot on TDY by our functional people. One of these
days you will awaken to what has happened to you, but it will be too
To sum up, we have many problems and they will continue to grow
in size and complexity as installation and implementation time gets
closer. We are going from a central system to a remote system, from IBM
to Control Data, from second generation to third generation and from
AUTOCODER to COBOL programs. We have a lot of people to shuffle and a
big construction job. We are losing people in the depot RIF and a
special RIF of programmers. We have to operate two systems during a
conversion period, with fewer people--not more. Don't throw away your
pencils yet-- you may need them.
************ END ************
Comment: The Defense Manager is distributed throughout all
levels of government, including every Congressman and Senator. Within an
hour of distribution in Army Materiel Command, John Gilbert, AMC
Director for Data Systems (GS-17) was on the phone with the Anniston
Army Depot Commander demanding that I be fired. At the same exact time,
Mr Ralph Tappen, Chief of the Logistics System Support Center (GS-15)
was on the phone with Mr Charles Heard, Anniston Army Depot Civilian
Executive Assistant, demanding that I be fired.
A board of inquiry was established to investigate me. The board
informally suggested I just resign. I refused. I was variously accused
of leaking classified information and many other improprieties. I found
every statement in my speech in unclassified documents.
What finally resulted in failure to fire me was that no one had
the nerve to put the charges against me in writing and providing me a
copy and I proved this to be a requirement. The inquiry finally
Throughout the entire process, Charles Heard had the guts to
stick with me one hundred percent and even insisted that the commander
approve an outstanding performance appraisal and sustained superior
performance award for me.
Charles Heard is the only Civilian Executive Assistant Anniston
Army Depot has ever had. Another now bears the title but bears no
resemblance to a Civilian Executive Assistant.
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