This book was written primarily for those young people; both, boys and girls and their parents and/or mentors who, for whatever reason believe they have no chance at a successful life. This book is the story about a young boy who believed he was in that category while growing up. I hope you will continue reading to see how that little boy changed those odds and ultimately did many things that most people cannot even dream of. There are many children that are born into poverty and thus have no apparent reason to try to succeed. That was the case with Mahlon ‘Dick’ Palmer. Dick was the youngest of four boys and was certainly not a welcome addition to the Palmer family. Keep in mind, he was born in the midst of the greatest depression the country has ever experienced, thus another mouth to feed and clothe was not a welcome addition. There was one positive benefit though; this child did provide a cheap source of labor. As you will discover Dick was expected to work twelve to fourteen hour days, every day until he left home to join the Air Force when he was seventeen years old.
Dick grew up on the family dairy farm in upstate New York. At the age of seventeen, immediately following graduation from high school, he joined the US Air Force where he served four years as an Air Weather Observer. Although Dick has no college education, he began working in the field of data processing when that world consisted of IBM punched cards in the early 1960’s. Almost immediately, Dick became fascinated with the IBM 650 computer when he quickly decided he must learn how to program it, thus the beginning of a thirty plus year career in the field. He has programmed virtually every make of computer up through the early 21st century, using the same methodology Dick began designing computer systems in the Bahamas on a large Navy Contract named AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Center) when he built his first computer system for that contract. The design techniques that he developed and used on that system would become the blueprint that he used for the next twenty-five years while designing systems for the Air Force to include BMEWS and the DEW Line, NASA Apollo 11 and 12. He then built the largest business system in Lockheed Martin Corporation that is still operational today after nearly thirty years of successful operation. Adding to his computer accomplishments, he has managed major portions of operations on the DEW Line and BMEWS contracts, stretching from Iceland, then across Greenland, Canada and throughout much of Alaska. All of the skills that were necessary to accomplish the above detailed tasks were self-taught. Those skills not only served him well throughout his professional career but also were invaluable in the pursuit of his many hobbies, adventures and ultimately retirement.