DT has had several careers in his life and, like many, learned from all of them. They all provided a basis for his writing: Science Fiction and Fantasy.
I enlisted in the navy at the age of 17, turned 18 before I went off to boot camp in San Diego, CA. At the recommendation of my career Air Force officer father, I joined the navy (Yes there’s a story there). It provided more hands on technical training. I became an interior Communications electrician and then a nuclear power electrical operator IC2. Nuclear Power School in Orlando Florida, Prototype in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Things have changed a little since then; most of those schools in those locations don’t exist anymore.
Some where in the middle of nuclear power school (there’s a story about that) I applied to office programs, all of them. I was accepted and sent to the University of Colorado on a full ride NROTC scholarship. Spent 5 years at school, but still in the naval reserve, graduated as an electrical engineer, received a commission and when off to Surface Warfare officer’s school in San Diego.
I was on active duty from 1983 until 87. Spent my entire time in the Pacific theater (there are lots of stories). The normal places for the cold war: Hawaii, Guam, Yokosuka, Japan, Chinhae, South Korea, Subic Bay, Philippines, Patya Beach Thailand. Yes I am a Vietnam vet. I served on: AD-42 USS Acadia, FF-41 USS Bradley, and cross decked to many others for various events and exercises.
Converted my commission to the reserves in 1987 and started working for the Office of Naval Research in 1988. I worked for ONR as “The Suite in the Lab” from 1988 until I retired in 2000. I was privileged to work on many things: All Electric Airplane Initiative, CINC 21, Secure Network Computing, and others. Most of them I can’t talk about.
I achieved the rank of Commander before I retired as a Lieutenant Commander. (There’s a story there as well). Did I have a security clearance, a high one? Yes and for my entire career.
Aerospace Systems Engineering
1987 my oldest daughter was born while I was in the Sea of Japan on exercise. I got the notice via Red Cross message handed to me by my XO. It read “Mother and Daughter well XXX”. The XO after about 30 seconds told me we were out of station and I’d better come right. That’s when I decided I wouldn’t have a family while on active duty, not to mention I could get killed. (More stories)
I took a job with the Boeing Company. It was to be a temporary job while I looked for a good defense industry position. 26 years later I still do systems engineering for them.
I started as an electrical engineer because statistically there aren’t many jobs for physicists and those jobs don’t pay well until you get a PhD. As you may have noted above, I was in the Naval Nuclear Power program. I loved physics, it just made sense. Electrical engineering is applied physics.
I’ve worked on many things for the Boeing Company in many different areas: 747-400, 747-400 ER, 767, 737, 777, 787, so just about every commercial airplane model. Primarily I worked on avionics and interior passenger electronics systems. I also worked on the F-22 Training System, Qualification Testing for many different systems and devices (which is a world of difference from Quality Control), and the KC-46A Tanker.
On all of them I apply systems engineering principles to the job areas assigned. If that sounds vague it is, because it would take more pages then I have allotted for my Bio to explain what I did and still do. I am a member of IEEE and INCOSE. Look them up and we’ll talk.
The navy started me down this path and I have been doing systems engineering for 34 years.
I have been running a world since 1977. Not the normal thing you hear from an author.
It’s a world based on AD&D rules, sort of. I started war gaming when I was in high school. I found this game called Chainmail. This was about knights jousting and it was all based on probabilities and percentages invoked with dice. Then just after I got to Nuclear Power school I ran into the original D&D game by Gary Gygax. I have a fellow sailor that had discovered it in college, just before he decided to join the Navy.
I started a world. It was after I got sent to college by the Navy that I really started getting involved. As with many things in college, you start questioning things. I was studying to become an electrical engineer with math, calculus, and statistical process playing a big part. Not to mention late nights, beer, lots of discussions with my fellow DMs about how stuff should work. That’s when I started changing the rules as laid down by Mr. Gygax. I also created abilities as an extension of racial traits and then extrapolated on those abilities.
If demons could throw elemental fire then what about the son or daughter of a demon? Then add a couple of generations of scientific study to it. Maybe the citizens of Hell were trying to take over the base plane for a reason other then just fun or biblical reasoning.
What this turned into was a complex world spanning thousands of years of history and pre-history. The basic laws of physics, chemistry, etc apply, but with a twist since magic also exists. Magic can be explained mathematically when you add in the multi-dimensional aspects of the space time continuum. Humans were not native to the dimension and when they arrived as a very high technology culture they started studying everything. The dragons that ruled really objected to their existence. Nothing stimulates the inventiveness of human like a war of extinction. 14000 years later and the humans are on top with all the other races shaking their heads trying to figure out how that happened.
That’s my world and it’s still going strong.