I worked as a Radar System Engineer at Westinghouse
(originally Air Arm Division) in Baltimore (now a part of
Northrop Grumman) for 38 1/2 years, retiring in
1993. I worked on developing advanced radars for the
F-4 fighter, the BOMARC missile and the Airborne Warning and Control
System, AWACS, all of which use a technique called Pulse Doppler to
separate the target from ground clutter. (a Google search for AWACS
gets almost 1.8 million hits) In October, 1972 Westinghouse won a
flyoff competition against our arch-enemy, Hughes, to build the radar.
Besides the USAF, AWACS are in service with NATO, Great Britain, France,
Saudi Arabia and Japan. Australia has a spin-off version that is
electronically scanned in azimuth. To quote the late Drew Middleton,
former military analyst for The New York Times: "They used to send in
the Marines-now they send AWACS." In 1980 I took an Icelandic
aboard an Air Force AWACS to check out an improvement. The picture was
taken at Tinker AFB, Norman, OK, AWACS home base. On August 30, 1983 an
Westinghouse to celebrate the delivery of the 50th AWACS.
Left to right: Gus Cole, me, and Tom Fell, Gus and Tom were
contributors, both deceased. In 1986 I was honored to be listed in
"Who's Who in America." In 1995 the late Bob Cowdery, AWACS Program
many years, and I were
honored with the IEEE Pioneer Award: "For contributions in the
leadership and development of the Airborne Warning and Control System
(AWACS)" Bob's Acceptance
speech has a lot of history, too. For
the Award Bob and I wrote a history of
the AWACS Radar,
published in the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems.
(Pictures recently changed to color) In 2003 I was awarded the IEEE
Dennis J. Picard Medal for radar technologies and applications. I was invited to give a
historical paper on Westinghouse Baltimore at the June, 2011
International Microwave Symposium in Baltimore. You can read the
You can also read a 2010 interview by the IEEE about my career
A short slide show "The
AWACS Story" is based on the "history" paper with added
current information about deployments, users and other non-US AWACS. A longer
version, AWACHIST-ELLIC.pdf was created for an ELLIC presentation
at Charlestown. Many articles are online, an outstanding, very detailed one, by the current radar supplier is, by Northrop Grumman.
In 2012 a "Westinghouse Song" came to light. Music and lyrics are by Schulter Morgan (1907-1979), a Westinghouse employee, for a contest sponsored by the company in 1938. In February, 2012, I sang this song at a Social of Westinghouse retirees at Charlestown, accompanied by Evelyn Chesnutt, director of the Charlestown mixed chorus, The Harmonizers. At the February 2014 Social the song was sung by Bethany Stiles, mezzo soprano, Grand Niece of Naomi McAfee, a Charlestown Resident and Westinghouse retiree, also accompanied by Evelyn. She also sang three songs from Broadway shows. See and hear her here.
Our daughter, Karen, now lives in Glen Burnie with computer-guru husband, Richard and my
grandson, Eli. They have all performed missionary work
in several countries for the Church of the Nazarene. We also have two
and six step-great grandchildren in New York state. We lost
our younger son, Greg, in a traffic accident on Valentine's
Day, 2000. Our older son, Thomas, lives near the site of the
Baltimore Orioles and the Colts original home, Memorial
Stadium, in Baltimore. It was replaced by two stadia(?) in
downtown Baltimore and was razed a few years ago to make room for a
senior citizens' home.
Linthicum Centennial: 1908 was the year that the Linthicum brothers started to turn their farmland into a bedroom community for Baltimore and the surrounding area. In 2007 a bunch of us Linthicumites formed a committee to formulate events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event. Unfortunately, the web site with pictures of these events has been taken down.
The Maryland Concert Series: formerly know as The Performing Arts Association of Linthicum or PAAL is a subscription organization that puts on mostly musical performances at the North County High School in Ferndale, MD. In the 2019-2020 season (357h) PAAL presents four subscription concerts and a free concert by the U.S. Army Field Band. Plus additional concerts in cooperation with the Anne Arundel Concert Association in Severna Park and the South County Concert Association in Harwood. I was treasurer for 23 years and also the PAAL webmaster for several years.
Genealogy: In retirement I finally have some time to delve into my family's ancestry. I am a 7th great grandson of Thomas Skillman, who came to America in 1664 with the Duke of York's expedition, which forced the Dutch to surrender New Amsterdam to the English who promptly renamed it New York. (Not a shot was fired!) He was rewarded with land in New York, married and raised a family. Virtually all Skillman's in America (except descendants of slaves who took their master's surname) are descended from Thomas. In 1906-08, my 4th cousin, three times removed, William Jones Skillman (1835-1914), published the descendants of Thomas in a genealogy quarterly. I have continued his work with the aid of many people who have sent me their family information. You can find out more at my Skillman Genealogy Site where almost 16,000 descendants of Thomas are listed, including 6260 Skillmans.
Anne was born in Paul Kimball Hospital in Lakewood, N.J. and lived in Beachwood and Toms River, N.J. We both were schooled in Toms River Grade and High School, meeting when we were in grade school. We both sang in the Junior Choir in the Methodist Church. She studied to be a Medical Technician at the Franklin School of Science and Arts in Philadelphia while I was in the Navy. We became engaged when I put the ring on her finger in Rittenhouse Square in Nov., 1947. After our marriage she worked for a doctor in Allentown, PA until our first son was born, delivered by the same doc. After the kids were all in school, Anne started writing the Linthicum news for the Maryland Gazette (America's oldest newspaper - founded 1727). After several years the paper asked her to come to work at the office. She wrote on many topics such as funerals, weddings, ship launchings, etc. Then, in 1970 the editor convinced her to write a weekly column. When she retired in 1994 she had written 1180 columns titled Conversations with Anne Skillman. I have converted some of them to electronic format. Her first year's columns can be viewed by clicking here. You may need to download the free Adobe Reader from www.adobe.com to read the PDF file. Or, a smaller, faster-loading reader, Foxit Reader, is my first choice.
Anne died of Cerebral Vascular Disease
on March 19, 2017 at Charlestown in the skilled nursing facility. A
Celebration of her life was held at Charlestown on March 29 in the
Auditorium. Bill gave a slide show Celebrating the Life of Anne Skillman (Bill's Girl). Over 200 people attended from Linthicum, the Woman's Club,
Westinghouse and Charlestown. Son-in-law, Richard Brash, prepared a passout for the Celebration.
It contains many pictures, Anne's obituary that appeared in the
Baltimore Sun and the Maryland Gazette, an article by a former
co-worker, Kathy Shatt, comments by friends and the contents of the
program passed out at the Celebration.
Contact Bill Skillman
can also befriend me on
FaceBook where I'm known as William Alfred Skillman (Not Bill Skillman, that's probably a cousin)