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Lowell Logan

Profile Updated: December 19, 2009
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After graduation, I went to college at Kearney Nebraska and started in pre-engineering. My intent was More…to go there 2 years and then transfer to the University of Nebraska. I had my first experience with the real world when checking in to my dorm. My parents were carrying some boxes and things and I had my rifle and shotgun. The dorm Mother, a little shriveled up woman stopped me an proceeded to sternly order me to remove my guns from her dorm. I thought it was my dorm. Well for the next two years, my guns had to lie on the back seat of my car in the parking lot. They couldn’t even come in and sleep with me in my nice warm dorm room. I made them nice covers to keep them from rusting and almost every Saturday when the weather was nice I would shoot them with my buddies on roads north of Kearney.

While at Kearney, I did all right scholastically but I thought that I had come to the realization that I didn’t want to be an engineer and sit in a closed room and work math problems for the rest of my life. I had gotten interested in Psychology and decided that I wanted to help people. Kearney didn’t have a 4-year Psychology program so I had to transfer to the University (that’s UNL – GO BID RED) (my first year was 300 sellouts ago, I was there) anyway. I was forging ahead taking Psychology, Sociology, and History courses and suddenly realized that I had to get in a profession where I could make some money. Helping people was not very lucrative. I looked around and decided that Teaching was the thing. The salvation of the world is through education, so I could continue to save the world but make some money doing it by teaching.

I graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in August of 1965. In September, I went to the United States Navy Officer Candidate School in New Port, Rhode Island. I had decided that with Vietnam ramping up that I would get my military service out of the way before I started teaching. I was commissioned in Feb of 1966 and reported to my first ship. This ship was very small, a 1320-ton World War II destroyer escort. I was assigned to the Engineering Department; I had done really well in Steam Engineering at OCS. I matured and became the Chief Engineer on this ship and all three subsequent ships on which I served.

I was a hot runner in the Navy and at the end of my first tour, having decided that I loved the Navy and decided to stay in, I was sent to the Navy Destroyer School to prepare me for further assignments in Destroyers, the premier fighting ships in the Navy. All went well but I was not destined to become an Admiral. It must have been because of my attitude. Captains of ships think that they own the ship but this Chief Engineer knows that is not true. Captains just ride on the ship. The Chief Engineer owns the ship because he knows how to wind up the rubber bands that make the propellers go around. Actually, I have had Captains who couldn’t even find the space where we (us engineers) kept the rubber bands. Like, Main Control (forward engine room), forward and after fire room and the after engine room. I have 10 years of Sea Duty making my ships circumnavigate the globe.

I went into a program that would send me to work with the Navy Reserve when it was time for me to rotate ashore. Doing this I was Commanding Officer of the Navy Reserve Centers in Hannibal Missouri, Tulsa Oklahoma, Stillwater Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. I also was assigned to a Senior Area staff in Memphis Tennessee. Our responsibilities were to assist and oversee the Navy Reserve in 17 Reserve Centers in nine States. Essentially, I was to make these people Combat Ready. I failed. Sorry.

Toward the end of my Navy career and in planning for my second career I was again faced with the question, “What did I want to do when I grew up”? All I could really think of was, again engineering. I decided that to test the water I needed to go back to night school and see how I like math. Well I did well, hand held calculators were now available and took a lot of the drudgery out of working problems. I progressed through calculus, which I thoroughly love. Calculus is like poetry. It just flows and is so rational. Today 20 + years later, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Oh well. Use it or loose it.

During my time in the Navy, I also grew a family. I married my college sweetheart. Sheila Kosch, from Columbus, Nebraska in late Dec of 1966, just a few months after I had been commissioned. I had two weeks of leave to go home and get married. We did the big Church marriage in Columbus, between blizzards and said good by to our families, loaded up a u-haul hooked to the back of her White Mustang Convertible and headed for Norfolk VA and my ship. Sheila was a very brave girl, leaving her family thousands of miles behind and going off with some guy that, she didn’t know at the time, was also married to his ship. Some how we made it and I can vouch for the statement that the “Navy Wife has the Hardest job in the Navy”.

In the finest of Navy traditions, we started a family soon after marriage and in May of 1968, our daughter Deanna was born in Norfolk.

Some time went by and I was ordered to Navy Destroyer School in New Port, Rhode Island and our daughter Denise was born there in June of 1969. Sheila was carrying Denise when we moved to New Port and that move was arduous for her. Being a Navy Wife is real tuff. This was a 6 month school so wern’t there long.

We then were transferred to Mayport Florida, the Navy’s port just outside of Jacksonville. I was assigned to a full size, 2200-ton World War II Destroyer, as the Chief Engineer (didn’t have to work myself into the job). Sheila and our girls enjoyed the amenities of living in Florida about three blocks from the beach and the friendship of the other Navy Officers Wives but I was always gone. Vietnam was at its height now and there was a big wide world of Oceans for the United States Navy to protect and they wanted me to protect it all, or at least it seemed that way.

Military Service:
Yes! Attending Reunion

It was now time, after 6 + years, at sea, for me to rotate ashore and I received orders to Hannibal Missouri. I was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the Navy Reserve Center and this was my first exposure to the Reserve Program. Our son Mark was born there and we had bought our first house. It was a very fun time, I got to be with my family every night and all was good.

After that tour it was back too sea. We moved back to Norfolk and I relieved as Chief Engineer of a Landing Ship Dock (14,000 tons, getting bigger). LSDs are rather large ships that carry Marines and Landing craft and land them on whatever beach that seems logical. This ship was a real rust bucket, had been badly abused and not taken care of. Again, I was always gone and the tour was a nightmare. But, I kept the old girl steaming so America was safe and I survived. Today this ship is sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic somewhere off the Florida coast, having been sunk to make a man made reef for the sport diving industry.

I then went to Tulsa Oklahoma, again as the Commanding Officer of the Reserve Center. I also was the Commanding Officer of the Reserve Center in Stillwater Oklahoma. Before the end of that tour, I had to relieve as Commanding Officer of the Reserve Center in Oklahoma City. For a “GO BIG RED GUY” that was something. I was a Husker in command of all the Navy Assets in Oklahoma the home of the Huskers two big rivals. Or daughter Jennifer was born in Tulsa. We now had four children and none of them had been born in the same state.

Next, we were off to Memphis and I was assigned to a Senior Navy Reserve Area Staff and because I had all of this experience, I was now an expert and could tell the rest of the world how to do it. Right! It was a three-year tour but the Navy was running out of money and looking for people to extend in their present jobs. I graciously volunteered. By this time, I didn’t want to go back to sea, even if I could have, and only having two years left to retirement I didn’t want to jump back to the Reserve Center arena. I was making some progress in raising the combat readiness level of the units assigned to me to oversee so I was allowed to stay. I retired from the Navy in 1985.

Approaching retirement, Sheila and I had to decide where we wanted to retire to. She had enjoyed living in Florida and I had liked the weather when I visited her there. Orlando looked good because it was the home of the University of Central Florida, which had a very well respected college of engineering; also, it had a growing economy that might hold the potential of a good job for me. So Orlando it was. We bought a house there and when released from active duty we raced our moving truck to Orlando, now driving a 75 Chevrolet station wagon with 4 kids in the back and a U-Haul hooked to the bumper. We unloaded the moving truck and the next day we went to the beach and started our lives in Florida.

Two years later of around the clock schooling, I graduated, again, and was now a real engineer. I even had a job when I graduated. I lucked out and came up with an interview with one of the McDonnell Douglas engineering managers at Kennedy Space Center. He was interested in my Navy experience and just casually asked if I had seen some cranes in my time. Well, yes I had. All my ships had some kind of crane on them and being the Chief Engineer, they belonged to me. Deck Apes ran them but I took care of them. He apparently liked my answer and next thing I was hired. I didn’t know exactly what for but the tile was Design Engineer and that was my dream. Low and behold when I found out what my job really was, well, it was Crane Engineer. Once again, I was an expert with out really knowing it. I spent the next 20 years learning about cranes and when I retired from Boeing (Boeing bought McDonald Douglas) and having worked in the Shuttle program and the Boeing Delta IV program I think I might have even known something about cranes.

My job was really very exciting and much more then sitting in a cubby (instead of a room) and working math problems. Of course, I got to do that too. In my job I had to become intimate with many cranes and supervise there care and feeding. This meant that I had to get out on them and some of them were 100, 200, 300 feet in the air. I was not a stranger to heights and climbing with my experience climbing the masts of my ships, in and out of the boiler smokestacks, dry-docks and ships structure. My job also entailed a bunch of design work and each job was new and different. The standards were high and the detail had to be perfect. We didn’t have the luxury of building a proto type. It had to work and work right the first time. Also, all my jobs had to be assembled 100 feet or more in the air and that made it even more imperative that thing were right the first time. Anyway, all my designs worked and I was able to meet the challenge. It was really fun, except for the bureaucratic baloney that working for NASA entailed. Government can make taking a nap too hard to do because of the paperwork but we were able to get the job done in spite of the Bureaucracy.

Today, 2009, I am completely retired. I am trying to keep up with Sheila’s honey do list and build the perfect load for my rifles and pistols. The last few years I have gotten interested in precision shooting. Starting with competitions in three-position long distance rifle shooting to exclusively prone 600 yard competitions. Today I practice at 200 yards and manage to keep most shots in a 4-inch circle. This is from the prone position and with a sling. I haven’t gotten into bench rest shooting but I may do that someday. I really don’t know how I ever had time to work, what with Sheila’s honey do list and my hobbies and chores.

Our family is growing. The kids all have families of there own and we have 6 grand kids with one on the way. Sheila, no longer the Navy Wife is a full fledged and ever busy Grandma.

If you have gotten this far then you are probably wondering when I am going to stop. I guess about now.

My life has really been fun. In fact it as been a real adventure. In thinking of what to say here, I have remembered a lot of good sea stories that I could tell but not for now. Yeah, what a blast.

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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Eating icecream in the Philippines. I will come up with a new photo but this is about my third favorite sport so it sort of shows the real me.