There was hardly any friction between the tech reps. Indeed I socially see from time to time some of the Hughes bunch. However, there was one incident that demands recording. One slow day I went onto Amber to see if the LN16 was still functioning. I turned it on and the readout lights were displaying nonsense. I told a NCO to go tell the maintenance officer, Maj Flickinger, that the LN16 was on its butt. The Major came running onto the plane saying, "What's your ETIC". (The cognoscenti know that means estimated time until the equipment is in commission.) I thought, "Blow it out your barracks bag, Major." But said, "Maybe never!" The Hughes tech reps heard that. They started throwing their arms in the air and exclaiming, "What do you expect from a third tier company whose second rate equipment is maintained by a first class incompetent." Then everyone disappeared. In the quiet I thought, "This is a strange problem. The computer is passing a self-test. It acts like it is getting garbage signals from the other units of the LN16." I detached the cables between the LN16 boxes and found one with a bent pin. Someone must have removed a LN16 cable to get to another box and bent the pin when he reattached the cable. This was easy to do. I had done it myself. But I would see the consequences soon enough to make the correlation. I straightened the pin, reattached the cable, turned on the LN16 and it worked. I ran into the back of Amber laughing and crying in mock hysteria, "It's a miracle! We can fly! We can flyyyy!" I received a visual slap in the face. The Hughes folks had all the radar computer circuit boards lying on the deck. They were using my trouble report to cover the fixing of a radar computer problem. I had been had!
I told Dunc Wilmore with righteous wrath what happen. He said, "Calm down my son. Let me tell you a story. When Rivet Amber was known as Lisa Ann we had this Colonel who always wanted to report up the chain of command that the radar was in working order. Whenever he heard that Lisa Ann was taken to the end of the runway to check out the radar he would come running out to the plane and ask if the radar was working. Upon hearing that it was he would say, 'OK lets turn it off and whatever you do. Don't turn it on again!'" I got the drift. Then Dunc said, "Here is another story. The Det. 1 head officer, the colonel before Col Ratto, received a SAC directive that there was to be no formation flying. The Colonel read it to the flight crews and laughed, 'what a wasted message to us. We only have the two birds'. On the next flight here's Reggie Urschler flying Lisa Ann in wing formation on Ball. The Lisa Ann crew could see the Colonel at one of Ball's optic windows trying frantically to wave Lisa Ann off." I asked Dunc what was the point of that story. He said that there wasn't any. It was just a good story.