Born Fitzgerald, GA 02/26/1925. As a child, Clyde Hussey lived in Flordia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, then graduated from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, High School June, 1943. Clyde’s school years were filled with WWII and Big Band music. He started playing in school bands in the 9th grade and earned spending money playing in various dance bands throughout high school. Clyde was crazy about airplanes and flying from childhood and was encouraged in engineering and radio by his father who was a ham radio operator, W4WT.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Clyde’s dad built the first radio in Fitzgerald, GA in the 1920’s and set its “morning glory” speaker in his window on Sunday afternoon. Friends and neighbors would come and sit in the yard and listen to the broadcast station in Atlanta.
W4WT also operated a "hacked" version of an early Collins 30DXB transmitter.
In Clyde’s senior year in high school, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in a program that allowed you to graduate before being called up. In June of 1943, Clyde entered the Air Corps in the flight training (CADET) program. After BASIC TRAINING and completion of COLLEGE TRAINING DETACHMENT at Butler University, an accident causing a knee injury washed Clyde out of the CADET program. He was classified as suitable for combat air crew duty. He chose to go to RADIO SCHOOL and was sent to the Air Corps radio school in Sioux Falls, SD. After graduation, Clyde was assigned to a B-29 crew for training and deployment to Guam. This part of his career is well documented in “THE REAL LAST MISSION of WWII” located elsewhere on this website.
After the war was over, Clyde remained on Guam waiting for his number to come up for return to the states. During this time, he set up and operated a ham radio station made up of the type of radio equipment found on the B-29’s. The station provided communication with home and family for quite a number of soldiers and sailors on Guam, even though technically, ham radio operation in the States was not authorized, having been shut down after Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the crew of a B-24 as radio operator for the trip back to the states and on to Camp Chaffee, AR, for discharge.
After discharge from the Air Corps on his 21st birthday in 1946, Clyde entered ARKANSAS STATE TEACHERS COLLEGE in pre-engineering. One year later, he transferred to SPARTAN SCHOOL of AERONAUTICS in TULSA, OK, into their new GI Bill approved RADIO ENGINEERING school. (The term ELECTRONICS was not yet coined.) Clyde graduated at the top of his class and was hired by the school as an instructor. He was active in the school amateur radio club, designing and building the club transmitter.
As the number of GI Bill students dwindled, the school fell on hard times and Clyde was hired as an Engineer for SEISMOGRAPH SERVICE CORPORATION (SSC) in Tulsa, Okla. He was assigned to a new development project called LORAC (Long Range Accuracy), a state-of-the-art system patented by SSC and used to provide accurate positioning information to crews exploring for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
LORAC was picked by the US Navy as the location system to be used in various Navy programs. A special system was developed and built to Navy specs. Clyde served as project engineer for this work. As Project Field Engineer, Clyde oversaw the use of LORAC on the HMS Neptune, a large British cable laying ship employed in the laying of underwater telemetry cables from the coast of Flordia through the islands of the Caribbean, during the construction of the Cape Canaveral missile range.
While this project was underway, the US discovered Russian subs roaming the Caribbean and a secret project was started using LORAC to position and calibrate a series of underwater listening devices. Clyde was transferred to this project until it was completed.
The LORAC equipment involved land station transmitters and ship or helicopter borne receiving equipment. It was all vacuum tube based equipment as that was what was available at the time. By now, some transistors were beginning to appear on the scene and some were available for design in new products. Clyde was assigned to a project, for an oil field service company, to design and build a two- way communication system to be installed in oil field workers hard hats. For many reasons, this was a challenging assignment but a successful prototype was developed and accepted by the oil field service company. Other applications were explored (ABC tested some prototypes for camera crews at football games) and the Vandenberg Missile Range asked for some tests to be run for communication in the missile silos.
Clyde was assigned as Project Engineer for these tests. During the tests in the silo and the underground facilities associated with the silo, Clyde discovered an approach which resulted in the issuing of a communication system patent in his name but belonging , of course, to his employer, SSC.
Other projects Clyde made some engineering contributions to include a punched card voting machine which worked quite well but never got off the ground do to the company having no idea how to operate in the political environment of the voting machine.
We are now into the late 1950’s and early 60’s and Seismograph Service Corporation set up a contract manufacturing division. To this point, SSC manufactured all of its own products but now decided to solicit work from other companies. Clyde was appointed to head this new division. One of the first contracts was to build some sub-assemblies for a UNIVAC era computer for Oklahoma State University.
Later, contact was made with an engineering company developing carrier telephone equipment. A long term relationship was established which led to the production of advanced carrier telephone systems. Customers were independent telephone companies of which there were literally thousands at that time. They used the carrier equipment to provide single party service where only multi-party phone service had been available.
Over the years that followed, Clyde’s career was tied to the telephone equipment manufacturing industry. He kept his foot in flying, got his commercial pilot’s license and a commercial glider rating and did a lot of general aviation flying for business and pleasure.
The telephone business provided some international opportunities and Clyde traveled to Taiwan to consult with a licensee in the establishment of a manufacturing facility for carrier telephone equipment in Taipei. Clyde served on the Board of Directors for this company (Vidar-Sun Moon Star) during its startup.
A similar consulting job was done for Tadiran in Israel.
Later, Clyde spent some time in Iran coordinating a telephone system construction project for Continental Telephone Company and the government of Iran. This was while the Shah was still in power.
During this period, Clyde was employed by the manufacturing arm of Continental Telephone Company. Continental sold off all its manufacturing interests, then sold its telephone holdings to General Telephone company. Clyde decided not to stay with the telephone side of the business.
He and his wife and young daughter moved to a farm in Arkansas and started a commercial greenhouse tomato business.
Clyde went into the home satellite TV business in its very early days, serviced an FM broadcast transmitter and cable system equipment for a local radio station, installed and repaired two-way radio equipment in various vehicles for a variety of companies, serviced and maintained the electronics associated with the city water system and even designed, built and installed some equipment for early commercial automated chicken houses.
Completing a full circle, Clyde went back to Seismograph Service Corp as head of its engineering and contract manufacturing operation, Seiscor. Raytheon acquired Seiscor and Seiscor was established as a division of Switchcraft, another Raytheon property
A venture by Seiscor into digital carrier equipment met with success and AT&T companies purchased and used Seiscor equipment. Seiscor developed a stand-alone pay telephone phone with integrated toll call computations requiring no operator or central office help. Efforts to market this product met with no success, however.
Health problems brought Clyde to early retirement in the late 1980’s.
In retirement, Clyde perused the design and construction of equipment for the automatic insertion of local commercials at unattended cable systems. He built, repaired and upgraded home computer systems, did video recording and editing for local cable stations and for a church TV program utilized by some cable stations in Northern Russia.
Clyde did a little writing and had a feature article published in AVIATION HISTORY magazine and a short story in REMINISCE magazine.
Clyde also had the opportunity to work with Jim B. Smith in the editing and publishing of his final book about the LAST MISSION of WWII.
The last significant work project for Clyde was a few years with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation in Western North Carolina, documenting and computerizing their language in a form suitable for use in teaching in their schools and in preparing language lesson videos for the same purpose.
Family considerations brought Clyde and Elaine from North Carolina to Nacogdoches in East Texas where they live today. In recent years, Clyde made contact with Rockwell Collins when they wanted to reproduce the radio section of a B-29, with the WWII Collins radio equipment, for a museum display. This project led Collins to a connection with the Commemorative Air Force and FIFI, their WWII B-29, the only operational B-29 in the world today. The CAF and a group of Rockwell Collins engineers agreed to a plan for rework of FIFI’s radio equipment to WWII radio standards. 1940’s radio equipment, including the Collins ART-13 autotune transmitter, was acquired, put in operating condition and installed in FIFI per 1940’s B-29 specs.
Due to the generosity of the Collins and CAF people involved, Clyde has been plugged into this project from the beginning, lending moral support if not a real work contribution. He was even given a ride in the WWII upgraded radio operator position on FIFI, 67 years after he flew missions over Japan in that seat, a truly nostalgic and rewarding experience.
For the time being and as long as health permits, Clyde remains available for talks related to the bombing of Japan’s mainland in WWII and the little known story of the real last mission of WWII.
© Collins Museum image
Exceptional as he is, Mr. Clyde Hussey is also a member of an exceptional generation.
Not every life story offers such diversity of experience and achievement. But reading this history shared by Mr. Hussey, it's impossible not to look beyond the individual, and think of our parents and challenges they faced.
Thank you Clyde, thank you all.