Today America lost a warrior, the Marine Corps lost a Brother, a family lost a loved one, and I lost one of my best friends. In the early 1980’s, Cpl. Kent Cagle honorably served his country as a United States Marine. I was proud to have served with him and call him a brother.
In 1983, the NCOIC of my shop at the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, California sent me to headquarters (Receiving) to pick up the new guy, his name was Kent Cagle. I drove over to admin, walked in and announced to a room full of newly-arrived Marines, “Which one of you is the 5982?” Kent smiled, raised his hand, and said “That’s me”. I said, then let’s go!
A 5982 is the military occupational specialty (MOS) for a computer repair technician. Our H&MS-16 shop desperately needed another 5982 to support our UNIVAC computer systems to keep the Marine Sikorsky and Boeing helicopters flying.
It didn’t take long for Kent to fit in. He had a somewhat sick sense of humor like only Marines can appreciate. He was always laughing or making the rest of us laugh about something; and, he was a good technician. We had a small tight Automated Data Processing (ADP) shop on base; a family who operated 24 hours a day to provide support to the Marine Aircraft Group (MAG-16).
Kent was passionate about many things but his love was basketball. I remember going to a Mater Dei High School basketball championship game with Kent in Santa Ana. While we were sitting midway in the stands, one might think Kent was coaching the team from up high. I’ll never forget that game only because I was so excited to see Kent’s enthusiasm for the game. When we had friendly basketball games on base with the guys, Kent would automatically be a player and a ref and he’d let nothing by without speaking up.
Whether it was impromptu trips, playing a game of Spades, video games, or working serious tech issues, Kent was always the one we wanted around us. He added value to our experiences, love to our gatherings, and support when we hurt. Kent was always there for all of us with his smile or hand on your shoulder. His smile and laugh are as visible today as they were when we were young Marines. Writing this is the toughest thing I’ve done in a long while but I’m also glad that I can help others to remember Kent; he would have done the same for me.
After 9/11, Kent, J.R., and Paul sent me flowers to express their condolences for losing one of my work colleagues in the Twin Towers. That really touched me that my Marine buddies did that for me.
J.R. Haecherl, Paul Harrington, Marcelo Quiachon, Bob Thompson, Gunny Ransome, and the rest of us will keep your memory alive! We love you Brother and we’re better because we knew you.
My heart goes out to Kent’s family, loved ones, and friends. I’m so sorry for your loss. Kent was loved so much and he loved and talked about his family and kids every time we spoke.
My good friend and Marine Roger Herman once shared the following, which I think is very fitting and would like to include it now as I remember one of my best friends, Cpl. Kent Cagle.
“I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted their best, men who suffered and sacrificed, who were stripped raw, right down to their humanity.
I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the U.S. Marine Corps. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another.
I cannot say where we are headed. Ours are not perfect friendships; those are the province of legend and myth. A few of my comrades drift far from me now, sending back only occasional word. I know that one day even these could fall to silence. Some of the men will stay close, a couple, perhaps, always at hand.
As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades…..such good men. ~from “These Good Men” by Michael Norman
Semper Fi and take it easy on Chesty, let him make a basket or two when the two of you aren’t guarding the streets of Heaven.. And I’m certain Jessica is thrilled to see her Dad. R.I.P. Brother. See you some day again.
In 1981, I attended computer school in the Marine Corps at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. The first time I had ever seen a computer, and what a beauty she was! The UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) 1218 Military Computer…
Along with the IBM card reader punch interpreter (CRPI), four mag tape drives (model 1240), Hetra 3300 high speed printer (600 LPM), and a very large 7-track magnetic tape library, one could indeed consider themselves in a pioneer environment. With the UNIVAC system still serving from the 60’s, it was old compared to the larger Honeywell and DEC systems the Navy was converting to at the time. She had 4k (expandable to 16k) of memory and cost just about $100,000 and weighed nearly 800 lbs.
Complete with other peripherals, the system would cost just under $400,000. When new (was it 1964?) it was advertised like this “With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities of real time data”. woah! Tell me it isn’t so! But this was 1981! As you may know, the Marines always make the best of hand-me-down technology while the Navy and Air Force get the big capital budgets for the latest and greatest toys.
In our environment, these computers kept track of inventory parts for combat aircraft (namely A-4 skyhaws, A-6 Intruders, and CH-46 helicopters), among other things. Keeping records for the entire Aviation Group Supply Squadron, these systems were critical tools in keeping these airplanes flying.
These photos were taken in the ADP computer vans at H&MS-12 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan, 1982. Computer operators had a military occupational specialy code of 3073 (MOS:3073) and the technician was MOS:5982. If I recall, the programmers were MOS:4044, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe the MTBF in excess of 1,000 hours ever held true. Seems the techs were always working on that CRPI.
I can almost recall the reboot sequence required to restart the system. Pressing the right toggle switches in the right sequence would start a hundred LED lights flashing for a few seconds before you would hear the ole’ teletype start to print out some power-on-self-test code on the large roll of yellow paper. There were no monitors back then. There also were no hard disk drives. You had input (IBM mechanized punch cards & mag tape), processing (sorting on mag tape), and output (mag tape or 6-part carbon paper). We’d print out boxes upon boxes of paper and spend hours decollating or separating the six copies of paper from the 5 films of carbon in between.
We had a key punch group who would spend hours punching little holes in 80-column cards, based on paper received from programmers.
On occasion, a tray of punched cards, ready to be read in to the card reader, would spill. You DID NOT want to tell the key punch operator that he had to re-do his work because you spilled his cards. It happened, and it was not fun. That’s Sgt. Barnes in the John Cougar t-shirt, standing in the keypunch area.
As old as these systems were, you could still play ONE game on it, called Adventure. Written in 700 lines of Fortran, Adventure was the FIRST computer adventure game. “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike”, and beware the axe-throwing elf! XYZZY –> Nothing Happens
So what was it like operating a large 1960’s Univac computer? It was a challenge.
Some jobs would take days to run and during each shift turnover, you would explain to the next shift coming in where you were with the job, hand him the bottle of alcohol and q-tips, and wish him good luck. (I know those of you that know what I’m talking about are having a good laugh at that one). Then you’d run off to mid-rats (chow hall) to get some eggs and potatoes before they closed (Marine Corps = Every Day a Holiday & Every Meal a Feast). If everything went well, an eight-hour shift could exist of updating the tape library, managing a box or two of printouts, and writing both of those tasks in the log book. Under normal circumstances, we’d wear noise-canceling ear protectors, since those systems were pretty loud. And because of the A/C requirements, we’d usually wear heavy field jackets, especially in the winter. If there were problems, you’d have to call in the technicians, and then just stand back. Those techs were awesome! They really knew how to use an 0-scope and a soldering iron.
After a few years of the UNIVAC 1218, our shop migrated to the newer Honeywell DPS-6. We attended computer training for the Honeywell and we were very impressed with the possibilities of the new systems we were about to deploy.
These new systems had Winchester hard drives! Imagine the possibilities! We received real CRT monitors and felt like were had leading edge technology. Now, in 1984, these systems were not leading edge, but for us, it was like cave men discovering fire! We were excited indeed! 1,$!P
You gain a real appreciation for data processing when you grow up in a computer environment like this, with printed circuit boards, paper tape, 4k memory, and trial by error. You obtain real keen trouble-shooting skills as well.
I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. The friends I made in the Marine Corps, working on these Univac systems, are still my best friends!
As long as I have at least 4k of memory left, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades…..such good men. ~Cpl. Wally Beddoe
General Purpose Computing Multi-Computer in-line application Range Instrumentation Missile Guidance Missile Fire Control Simulation Logistics Message Switching Ground Support Checkout Navigation Tactical Control Telemetry Digital Communications Data Reduction and Analysis Inventory and Scheduling
PROGRAMMING AND NUMERICAL SYSTEM
Internal number system Binary Binary digits/word 18 Binary digits/instruction 18 Instructions/word 1 Instructions decoded 98 including 18 I/0 instructions Arithmetic system Fixed point
Parallel, ones complement, subtractive arithmetic is performed. Instruction type One address Number range ± 131,071 (17 bits + sign) and ± 34, 359 738, 367 (35 bits + sign)
BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0292
Instruction word format +————————–+ FORMAT I | 17 12 | 11 0 | +———-+—————+ | f | u | +———-+—————+ +———-+—————+ FORMAT II | 17 12 | 11 6 | 5 0 | +———-+—————+ | f | m | k | +———-+—————+
f – function code u – operand address m – minor function code k – designator used for channel number, shift count, etc.
Automatic built-in subroutines
32 words of non-destructive read-out (NDRO) memory are furnished to provide initial load and error recovery routines.
No computer independent compiler is provided, however the TRIM III Assembly System provides for automatic generation of certain program sequences.
Registers and B-Boxes
The following are the addressable registers: 1 AU – Register (Upper Accumulator, 18 bits) 1 AL – Register (Lower Accumulator, 18 bits) 1 ICR – Register (Index Control Register, 3 bits) 1 SR – Register (Special, 4 bits) 1 P – Register (Program address, 15 bits)
The UNIVAC 1218 is essentially programmed for 4,096-word modules however each instruction that references memory is capable of addressing any other cell in memory.
The UNIVAC 1218 has a complete repertoire of instructions that is especially generous in the control of I/0.
Four instructions provide built-in double precision Add and Subtract.
Incl. Stor. Access Excl. Stor. Access Microsec Microsec Add 8 6 Malt 26 – 48.7 — Div 48 — Arithmetic mode Parallel Timing Synchronous Operation Sequential/Parallel
No. of No. of Access Medium Words Digits Microsec Magnetic Core 4,096 – 32,768 18 1.8 access 4.0 cycle Magnetic Core (NDRO)* 32 18 4.0 cycle FH 880 Drum 786,432 words/drum 36 17 ms (8 per channel) (Average access) Magnetic tape No. of units that can be connected 16 Units/channel No. of chars/linear inch 556 Chars/inch Channels or tracks on the tape 7 Track/tape Blank tape separating each record 0.75 Inches Tape speed 112.5 Inches/sec Transfer rate 62.5 Chars/sec Average time for experienced operator to change reel of tape 30 Seconds Physical properties of tape Width 0.5 Inches Length of reel 2,400 Feet Composition Mylar
The magnetic tape subsystem, Type 1240 is a fully compatible magnetic tape format at 200 or 556 chars/ inch. It has search and other special features.
* Non-destructive read-out
INPUT Medium Speed Card Reader 600 cards/min (Commercial, 80 or 90 column) Paper Tape 300 chars/sec (5 to 8 level) Keyboard Manual (Provides alphanumeric data entry) Teletype 10 chars/sec Paper Tape and Keyboard are included in Programmers Console, Type 1232.
Medium Speed High Speed Printer 600 lines/min(Commercial) Card Punch 150 cards/min (Commercial 80 or 90 column) Paper Tape Punch 110 chars/sec (5 to 8 level) Monitor Printer 10 chars/sec
Paper Tape Punch and Monitor Printer are included in Programmers Console, Type 1232.
CIRCUIT ELEMENTS OF ENTIRE SYSTEM Type Quantity Magnetic Cores 73,728 to 589,824 Number of cores varies according to memory size, e.g., 73,728/4,096 words of memory.
Programmed parity checking.
POWER, SPACE, WEIGHT, AND SITE PREPARATION
Power, computer 0.85 Kw Power, blowers 0.15 Kw Volume, computer 23.3 cu ft Area, computer 3.9 sq ft Floor loading 198 lbs/sq ft 198 lbs concen max Ambient air cooled; equipment included in computer cabinet. Weight, computer 775 lbs
May be ship or van mounted. Does not require false floor. Power required is 115 V, 1 phase, 60 cycle and 115 V, 3 phase, 400 cycle.
COST, PRICE AND RENTAL RATES
Basic System/Component Purchase Minimum 1218 Computer: 4k memory, 4 I/0 $ 96,000 Most common 1218 Computer: 16K memory, 8 I/0 127,000 Militarized Mag Tape System (2 handlers) 80,500 Paper Tape Subsystem incl. keyboard & printer 25,000 High speed printer system 77,500 80 column card system 83,250
Fixed price sale only on 1218 basic system.
BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0293
RENTAL RATES Monthly Lease UNISERVO IIA $ 450 Control & Synchronizer 1,530 Power Supply 550 High Speed Printer 500 Control & Synchronizer 1,450 Card Reader 350 Card Punch 500
Control & Synchronizer for Reader & Punch 1,600 FH 880 Drum 2,000 Control and Synchronizer 1,420
PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS One 8-Hour Two 8-Hour Three 8-Hour Shift Shifts Shifts
Supervisors 1 1 1 Analysts 2 2 2 Programmers 4 6 8 Clerks 1 2 2 Operators 1 1 1 Technicians On call On call On call
Training made available by the manufacturer to the user includes programming and maintenance courses, held upon request at St. Paul, Minnesota and at the customer’s site. Complete training and maintenance courses are available and UNIVAC Military Field Engineering service is available on a world-wide basis.
RELIABILITY, OPERATING EXPERIENCE
It is expected average meantime between failures (MTBF) will be in excess of 1,000 hours. The UNIVAC 1218 was designed using MIL-E-16400D as a guide plus MIL-I-16910A, MIL-STD-108D, MIL-S-901, and MIL-STD-167
ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND REMARKS
Outstanding features include 8 I/0 channels, buffered input/output; any or all channels may by intercomputer; real-time interrupt s; powerful instruction repertoire.
Unique system advantages include small physical size, resistant to shock, vibration, unusual climate conditions and radio frequency interference (RFI). Compatible with the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) peripheral equipment and can be direct cable-coupled to large scale UNIVAC computers.
Designed to meet MIL-E-16400D Repertoire of 98 instructions Real time millisecond clock capability Average instruction time 8-12 microseconds Memory cycle time 4 microseconds
Up to 8 Input and 8 Output channels; each may be intercomputer; channels may be paired to form 36-bit interface.
All Input/Output transfers fully buffered
33 distinct automatic interrupts standard with 8 I/0 channels
32 words of permanent memory.
The new UNIVAC 1218 Military Computer is a versatile stored program, medium scale, general purpose digital computer designed to provide high reliability under advance operational environments.
With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities of real time data.