It Doesn’t Take an Enemy Attack to Lose a Ship

Jack Komorowski: Started in R&D in September 1965

jackMy job was analyzing structures for shock – to be able to withstand shock, like the shock of a torpedo or an explosion of some kind.

We had a Univac 1107 computer which was, I think, the best scientific computer in the country at the time. It took up a room close to the size of this house. I remember running jobs on this computer. We brought down 1,200 IBM cards for the analysis and got an output of 24,000 pages. Yes, 24,000 pages.

Two different key-punch operators would punch it and would verify against each other and then they would do it again. They wanted to make sure that all the data was correct. Everything was calculated down to the fourth decimal place.

If things were not consistent, Dr. Chen, the head of the department would say, “The problem is on the moon.” In other words, you were solving a problem but it wasn’t the right problem – your input was incorrect. You were getting answers for something that didn’t exist.

It was challenging to get it right but was also satisfying.

I was very proud of all the work I did. Submarines were one of the three legs of the national defense and probably least vulnerable. And you always thought about the guys going out to sea – some of them were 18- to 20-year-old kids. You want to make everything as safe as possible for them. You don’t have to be attacked by an enemy to lose a submarine.