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After barely graduating from Father Lopez, my Mom gave me three choices - Army, Navy or the Air Force, don't think about the Marines, you can't cut it! A buddy & I picked the Navy and started our adventure for the next year through Boot Camp and Electronic Technician School. After graduation, we split up and I wound up at Quonset Point NAS for six months, and then was transferred to Fort Polk Army Base in Louisiana on a Research & Development Project with General Electric. After eighteen months our group of 20 swabbies moved to the AEC Savannah River Plant in Aiken South Carolina where I finished my four year commitment to Uncle Sam.
From the Navy, I went to work for Boeing at the Cape on the Saturn Five Program as an Electronic Tech assigned to Ground and First Stage Electronics. It was an exciting time in my life working on Apollo 8 through Apollo 14 Launch Teams. During this time, I got married and we had our first of our four children, started Brevard Community College, working the second shift and attending school during the day. Majority of the semesters, I carried 10-12 hours while working 7 days a week, 12 hour shifts, these were indeed busy days and nights. I sure could have saved myself a lot of aggravation if I paid attention to the good Nuns at Father Lopez. Highlight for me while at the Space Center was riding Apollo 11 from the VAB to the Launch Pad. I arrived at work and my boss told me to take it to the Pad. No specifics were given, so I took the elevator to the top and rode with the Command Module to the Pad. It was a surreal trip, realizing that in a matter of months this rocket would be traveling to the moon. It was a beautiful night, full moon, the ocean was a glitter with bioluminescence and we were aglow with spotlights as we arrived at the pad around midnight.
After completing BCC, I transferred to University of Central Florida (FTU at that time). Being a new State school we were given lots of opportunities to do pretty much what we wanted. A group of us in the Engineering College started the Mechanical Engineering Club (Secretary), the Industrial Engineering Club (Vice-President) and entered the "Clean Air Race" with our modified Gremlin competing against MIT, USC, Michigan and a multitude of other well known schools. We came in 3rd in the "Bumper Test", not bad for a bunch of guys with little funding in a school that just opened its doors. After working at the Cape and attending BCC, I found taking 16 hours./per semester was a almost a piece of cake, last three semester at UCF I jumped it up to 18-22 hours so I could graduate in June of '72, get a job and some $$$.
Upon graduation, I had accepted one of the three job offers from Martin Marietta. Prior to my start date Eastman Kodak offered me an opportunity in Rochester, NY, which I accepted and gave Martin a call thanking them for the offer. At Kodak, I started as an Industrial Engineer working in multiple Camera Assembly areas, then a year as a Line Supervisor in Assembly. Next assignment was in Purchasing as a Cost Analyst for a year with the objective to save the company a million dollars in operating costs in relationship to all aspects within manufacturing. From there, I was moved into the Manufacturing Engineering Department where I was assigned to various departments covering spring mfg., plating, sheet metal, paint, injection molding, progressive punch & die and finally back to the assembly department with product responsibility. After a ten year stint at Kodak, it was time to move back to Sunny Florida!
Harris Corporation in Melbourne Florida picked up my option and offered me a job in Manufacturing Engineering working with Design Engineering on new product development. Hardware worked on spanned Commercial to Military Avionics, Experimental, Space Borne and Spook World. Work was exciting and a challenge in developing and manufacturing one/two of a kind exotic/complex mouse traps to thousands of military electronic avionic packages for all of our military branches. For me, it was amazing what we could do in packaging complex mechanical and electronics assemblies for our government and what the hardware could do. After twenty three years at Harris it was time for retirement.
Decision was easy for us, our town house a block from the ocean vs. the lure of our cabin in the woods. In the spring of 2005, we packed up our stuff and moved to the mountains of N.E. Georgia. The most stressful thing we face day to day is chasing the squirrels and bears away from our bird feeders. Since there is nothing in the Bible about retirement we decided to take a part time job at a Wilderness Program for troubled teens that come from around the world and also represent children, who have been taken away from their parents by DFACS, to the Court as CASA representatives. In our spare time, we travel visiting our kids, grandkids and the beautiful sites in our glorious country. Life after Lopez is Good! If your driving through Rabun Gap and in need of a cold beer or a glass of wine, join us on our porch in one of our rocking chairs...
Jim & Anne Carrigan
We live in Sylvan Lake Falls on Black Rock Mountain, just below the State Park, Rabun Gap, which is just South of Dillard, it is indeed a bit of Heaven.
In the future, on a cold day, I'll put together a few paragraphs on my whereabouts, activities and a picture or two.
In preperation for the 1989 Lopez "Early Years 1960-1965" reunion, the following survey was sent to all class members.
Name: James Carrigan
Address: 780 Verbenia, Satellite Beach, FL 32937
Spouses Name: Leslie Lambe
Date of Marriage: 3 May 1968
Names of Children/Dates of Birth: Mike/17 Sept 1969; Erin/29 Dec 1971; Matt/18 Apr 1974; Amy/24 May 1975
Spouses Occupation: Registered Nurse
Hobbies: Family, Scouts, Work
James Carrigan & Wife Anne
Find him on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/jim.b.carrigan