Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine is something anyone can create. Wayback, in 2001 A.D., the Army in its infinite wisdom selected me twice for Operations, and then transferred me to Space Operations. Space Operations sounds sexy, cool, and fun! In my ignorance, I called up the Manager for Space Ops and asked when I was reporting for astronaut training.
Going into space was a dream of mine since I was a wee lad in plaid diapers. Heinlein’s Juveniles and about every book in the Science Fiction pantheon graced my bookshelves – each well read, sometimes many times. Kirk, not Picard. Space!
Did you know that most Space Ops officers aren’t astronauts? First came the drop-kick to the knees: an assignment to get a Master’s Degree in either advanced mathematics or astrophysics. Shocked understates my response. Then the Chuck Norris’s Beard-punch: 7 years in Crystal City as an Official Commissioned Chai-boy, followed by a sunset tour in Cheyenne Mountain.
What a deal!
My first question to the Manager was “you haven’t read my ORB? I have a degree in English. I took a degree in English because being from the South, my parents were concerned I didn’t know my native language.”
Silence over the phone.
The Manager protested: but you were a rocket battery commander! In the Field Artillery, the most math and physics-oriented branch of the Army!
I didn’t calculate the rockets trajectory; and my family suspected my being selected for FA was God’s Providence considering my normal response to challenges is “hey y’all, I can do that.” Seriously, I swear I thought Humvees could fly given proper acceleration and a strong enough ramp. The Manager could not be dissuaded. I got a half-hearted congratulations and a heart-felt recommendation that I begin studying mathematics.
I never did go into Space Ops. Familiarizing myself with Orbital Mechanics was enough to convince me that I’d be better off in a war zone instead of the ozone. What prompted this ride on the Wayback is this article on forming a military service dedicated to Space. I have long held the opinion that the Navy is better suited for running space than the Air Force, but that’s the benefit of Mr. Peabody’s gift.