Updated 11-14-2009

December 2009 Column
Same 'Old Radio's, same 'Old Stories', same 'Old Place', only the name has changed .


Air Force Mars, Langley AFB 1968-69

Station located near the LaSalle Ave Gate

Sgt. Dilks operating one of three phone patch consoles

Unidentified Airman typing RTTY messages

Glenn Snyder, WB4LMX (SK) Civilian member of the
Langley AFB MARS station

HF Transmitters, Receivers and RTTY equipment

Glenn Snyder, WB4LMX

The base station also had civilian MARS members assigned there. I was told one day that “Mr Snyder” was coming to visit and eat.his lunch; that he was a very important man and to treat him with the utmost respect. Mr Snyder arrived just before noon and everyone scurried around straightening up before he entered. We were introduced to each other. He asked me the usual questions such as where I was from, etc. When we got around to radio he told me he was a ham and I said me too. We exchanged call signs and I was immediately told to call him Glenn. This bothered both of the senior sergeants who still had to call him Mr Snyder.

Mr Snyder told me he worked for Rockwell at NASA on the other side of Langley AFB. I told him I had worked for Western Electric before I was called up. He asked me what I did there and we exchanged technical information about the telephone company. Somehow from that conversation I got the wrong impression that he was a high level tech doing work similar to what I did.

We became good friends and I considered him a mentor, as he could answer any technical or ham radio question I had. During the next couple of years we had many enjoyable lunches together. But it wasn't until I visited his large beautiful home located on the James River, one weekend, that I learned what he actually did at Rockwell. It was when he mentioned to me during that visit that he had recently taken King Hussein of Jordan on a tour of NASA at the Kennedy Space Center.

I asked, “Just what do you do at Rockwell?”

His answer was that he was the manager of the Apollo Capsule Program. Later he managed the space shuttle program.

After I went back to civilian life and was working again for Western Electric, we kept in touch and I visited him several times over the next few years.

Later he retired and several years after that I lost touch with his family.

Knowing Glenn Snyder, WB4LMX, meant a lot to me. You meet the greatest people through ham radio. — K2TQN

John Dilks, K2TQN    125 Warf Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234-8501   e-mail: K2TQN@arrl.net