Mike Templeton (OH-EP ’63) came to San Diego on December 22, 1966 aboard the USNS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, where he was in charge of a crew of engineers and technicians keeping tabs on foreign intercontinental ballistic missile flight tests - at sea and off the coast of Kamchatka.
Books have been written telling the story of a world plunged into nuclear war because someone saw a meteor and thought it was an enemy missile.The story is fiction, but the problem is real.
The Vandenberg, and its sister ship the USNS Gen. H. H. Arnold, were specifically designed to address this problem by recording the multi-spectral radar & optical signatures, as well as metric characteristics of missile reentry vehicles.This data could then be used to help discriminate between incoming real missile warheads, and decoys or other natural phenomena.
“We were often in harms way”, said Brother Templeton, “since missile reentry vehicles may be traveling thousands of miles per hour when they land, and you want to get as close as you can to observe them. Add to that, the fact that the “bad guys” were not too crazy about us being there and often harassed us with their aircraft and ships.” Thankfully, the thaw in the cold war facilitated S.D. Evening Tribune, Dec. 22, 1966 easier. However, the need to “keep an eye” on those who may still wish to do us harm has gotten even stronger.
After leaving shipboard duty, Mike continued working in the intelligence gathering business, with General Dynamics, Cubic Corporation, and The Titan Corporation.
After retiring, he formed a consulting business to help U.S. private sector companies be more competitive by gaining access to government-funded technology that has been developed in the Federal laboratories and university research centers.
“ΣAE has always played a significant role in my life”, Mike said. “I pledged ΣAE while attending my freshman year at Case Institute of Technology (Ohio Rho). When my folks moved to Cincinnati, I transferred to UC and was made to feel welcome by the Brothers at Ohio Epsilon, where I was lucky enough to hold the especially important offices of Social Chairman, and Steward.
Later, when arriving in San Diego, one of the first people I met was Brother Frank Arrington (CA-TH ’63), and we have been close friends ever since. It was through Frank that I had the good fortune to become involved with the San Diego ΣAE Alumni Association.
Over Christmas, I received a greeting from Brother Jim Mahan (OH-EP ’64), my Cincinnati ΣAE Little Brother, with this unexpected photo of the pledge paddle I presented to him, many years ago.”