UNIVAC 1218 CPU (Univac 1500)

In 1981, I attended computer school in the Marine Corps at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi. The first time I had ever seen a computer, and what a beauty she was! The UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) 1218 Military Computer…

Univac 1218 CPU
Univac 1218 CPU
Along with the IBM card reader punch interpreter (CRPI), four mag tape drives (model 1240), Hetra 3300 high speed printer (600 LPM), and a very large 7-track magnetic tape library, one could indeed consider themselves in a pioneer environment. With the UNIVAC system still serving from the 60’s, it was old compared to the larger Honeywell and DEC systems the Navy was converting to at the time. She had 4k (expandable to 16k) of memory and cost just about $100,000 and weighed nearly 800 lbs.

Complete with other peripherals, the system would cost just under $400,000. When new (was it 1964?) it was advertised like this “With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities of real time data”. woah! Tell me it isn’t so! But this was 1981! As you may know, the Marines always make the best of hand-me-down technology while the Navy and Air Force get the big capital budgets for the latest and greatest toys.

In our environment, these computers kept track of inventory parts for combat aircraft (namely A-4 skyhaws, A-6 Intruders, and CH-46 helicopters), among other things. Keeping records for the entire Aviation Group Supply Squadron, these systems were critical tools in keeping these airplanes flying.

Beddoe in the ADP vans, MCAS Iwakuni, 1982
Beddoe in the ADP vans, MCAS Iwakuni, 1982
These photos were taken in the ADP computer vans at H&MS-12 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan, 1982. Computer operators had a military occupational specialy code of 3073 (MOS:3073) and the technician was MOS:5982. If I recall, the programmers were MOS:4044, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe the MTBF in excess of 1,000 hours ever held true. Seems the techs were always working on that CRPI.

I can almost recall the reboot sequence required to restart the system. Pressing the right toggle switches in the right sequence would start a hundred LED lights flashing for a few seconds before you would hear the ole’ teletype start to print out some power-on-self-test code on the large roll of yellow paper. There were no monitors back then. There also were no hard disk drives. You had input (IBM mechanized punch cards & mag tape), processing (sorting on mag tape), and output (mag tape or 6-part carbon paper). We’d print out boxes upon boxes of paper and spend hours decollating or separating the six copies of paper from the 5 films of carbon in between.

We had a key punch group who would spend hours punching little holes in 80-column cards, based on paper received from programmers.

Sgt. Barnes in the keypunch area
Sgt. Barnes in the keypunch area
On occasion, a tray of punched cards, ready to be read in to the card reader, would spill. You DID NOT want to tell the key punch operator that he had to re-do his work because you spilled his cards. It happened, and it was not fun. That’s Sgt. Barnes in the John Cougar t-shirt, standing in the keypunch area.

As old as these systems were, you could still play ONE game on it, called Adventure. Written in 700 lines of Fortran, Adventure was the FIRST computer adventure game. “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike”, and beware the axe-throwing elf! XYZZY –> Nothing Happens

So what was it like operating a large 1960’s Univac computer? It was a challenge.

Miller and Rod
Miller and Rod
Some jobs would take days to run and during each shift turnover, you would explain to the next shift coming in where you were with the job, hand him the bottle of alcohol and q-tips, and wish him good luck. (I know those of you that know what I’m talking about are having a good laugh at that one). Then you’d run off to mid-rats (chow hall) to get some eggs and potatoes before they closed (Marine Corps = Every Day a Holiday & Every Meal a Feast). If everything went well, an eight-hour shift could exist of updating the tape library, managing a box or two of printouts, and writing both of those tasks in the log book. Under normal circumstances, we’d wear noise-canceling ear protectors, since those systems were pretty loud. And because of the A/C requirements, we’d usually wear heavy field jackets, especially in the winter. If there were problems, you’d have to call in the technicians, and then just stand back. Those techs were awesome! They really knew how to use an 0-scope and a soldering iron.

After a few years of the UNIVAC 1218, our shop migrated to the newer Honeywell DPS-6. We attended computer training for the Honeywell and we were very impressed with the possibilities of the new systems we were about to deploy.

Mag Tape Drives
Mag Tape Drives
These new systems had Winchester hard drives! Imagine the possibilities! We received real CRT monitors and felt like were had leading edge technology. Now, in 1984, these systems were not leading edge, but for us, it was like cave men discovering fire! We were excited indeed! 1,$!P

You gain a real appreciation for data processing when you grow up in a computer environment like this, with printed circuit boards, paper tape, 4k memory, and trial by error. You obtain real keen trouble-shooting skills as well.

I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. The friends I made in the Marine Corps, working on these Univac systems, are still my best friends!

As long as I have at least 4k of memory left, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades…..such good men.
~Cpl. Wally Beddoe

Univac 1218 Details from: BRL Report 1964


UNIVAC 1216 Military Computer


UNIVAC Division of Sperry Rand Corp. (Military)

Photo by the UNIVAC Division, Sperry Rand Corp.


General Purpose Computing
Multi-Computer in-line application
Range Instrumentation
Missile Guidance
Missile Fire Control
Message Switching
Ground Support Checkout
Tactical Control
Digital Communications
Data Reduction and Analysis
Inventory and Scheduling


Internal number system Binary
Binary digits/word 18
Binary digits/instruction 18
Instructions/word 1
Instructions decoded 98 including 18 I/0
Arithmetic system Fixed point

Parallel, ones complement, subtractive arithmetic
is performed.
Instruction type One address
Number range ± 131,071 (17 bits + sign) and
± 34, 359 738, 367 (35 bits + sign)

BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0292

Instruction word format
FORMAT I | 17 12 | 11 0 |
| f | u |
FORMAT II | 17 12 | 11 6 | 5 0 |
| f | m | k |

f – function code
u – operand address
m – minor function code
k – designator used for channel number, shift count,

Automatic built-in subroutines

32 words of non-destructive read-out (NDRO) memory are furnished to
provide initial load and error recovery routines.

Automatic coding.

No computer independent compiler is provided, however the TRIM III
Assembly System provides for automatic generation of certain program

Registers and B-Boxes

The following are the addressable registers:
1 AU – Register (Upper Accumulator, 18 bits)
1 AL – Register (Lower Accumulator, 18 bits)
1 ICR – Register (Index Control Register, 3 bits)
1 SR – Register (Special, 4 bits)
1 P – Register (Program address, 15 bits)

The UNIVAC 1218 is essentially programmed for 4,096-word modules
however each instruction that references memory is capable of
addressing any other cell in memory.

The UNIVAC 1218 has a complete repertoire of instructions that is
especially generous in the control of I/0.

Four instructions provide built-in double precision Add and Subtract.


Incl. Stor. Access Excl. Stor. Access
Microsec Microsec
Add 8 6
Malt 26 – 48.7 —
Div 48 —
Arithmetic mode Parallel
Timing Synchronous
Operation Sequential/Parallel


No. of No. of Access
Medium Words Digits Microsec
Magnetic Core 4,096 – 32,768 18 1.8 access
4.0 cycle
Magnetic Core (NDRO)* 32 18 4.0 cycle
FH 880 Drum 786,432 words/drum 36 17 ms
(8 per channel) (Average access)
Magnetic tape
No. of units that can be connected 16 Units/channel
No. of chars/linear inch 556 Chars/inch
Channels or tracks on the tape 7 Track/tape
Blank tape separating each record 0.75 Inches
Tape speed 112.5 Inches/sec
Transfer rate 62.5 Chars/sec
Average time for experienced
operator to change reel of tape 30 Seconds
Physical properties of tape
Width 0.5 Inches
Length of reel 2,400 Feet
Composition Mylar

The magnetic tape subsystem, Type 1240 is a fully compatible magnetic
tape format at 200 or 556 chars/ inch. It has search and other special

* Non-destructive read-out

Medium Speed
Card Reader 600 cards/min (Commercial, 80 or 90
Paper Tape 300 chars/sec (5 to 8 level)
Keyboard Manual (Provides alphanumeric
data entry)
Teletype 10 chars/sec
Paper Tape and Keyboard are included in Programmers
Console, Type 1232.


Medium Speed
High Speed Printer 600 lines/min(Commercial)
Card Punch 150 cards/min (Commercial 80 or
90 column)
Paper Tape Punch 110 chars/sec (5 to 8 level)
Monitor Printer 10 chars/sec

Paper Tape Punch and Monitor Printer are included in Programmers
Console, Type 1232.

Type Quantity
Magnetic Cores 73,728 to 589,824
Number of cores varies according to memory size, e.g., 73,728/4,096
words of memory.


Programmed parity checking.


Power, computer 0.85 Kw
Power, blowers 0.15 Kw
Volume, computer 23.3 cu ft
Area, computer 3.9 sq ft
Floor loading 198 lbs/sq ft
198 lbs concen max
Ambient air cooled; equipment included in computer
Weight, computer 775 lbs

May be ship or van mounted. Does not require false floor. Power
required is 115 V, 1 phase, 60 cycle and 115 V, 3 phase, 400 cycle.


Basic System/Component Purchase
Minimum 1218 Computer: 4k memory,
4 I/0 $ 96,000
Most common 1218 Computer:
16K memory, 8 I/0 127,000
Militarized Mag Tape System
(2 handlers) 80,500
Paper Tape Subsystem incl.
keyboard & printer 25,000
High speed printer system 77,500
80 column card system 83,250

Fixed price sale only on 1218 basic system.

BRL 1964, UNIVAC 1218, starting page 0293

Monthly Lease
Control & Synchronizer 1,530
Power Supply 550
High Speed Printer 500
Control & Synchronizer 1,450
Card Reader 350
Card Punch 500

Control & Synchronizer
for Reader & Punch 1,600
FH 880 Drum 2,000
Control and Synchronizer 1,420

One 8-Hour Two 8-Hour Three 8-Hour
Shift Shifts Shifts

Supervisors 1 1 1
Analysts 2 2 2
Programmers 4 6 8
Clerks 1 2 2
Operators 1 1 1
Technicians On call On call On call

Training made available by the manufacturer to the user includes
programming and maintenance courses, held upon request at St. Paul,
Minnesota and at the customer’s site. Complete training and
maintenance courses are available and UNIVAC Military Field
Engineering service is available on a world-wide basis.


It is expected average meantime between failures
(MTBF) will be in excess of 1,000 hours. The UNIVAC
1218 was designed using MIL-E-16400D as a guide plus
MIL-I-16910A, MIL-STD-108D, MIL-S-901, and MIL-STD-167


Outstanding features include 8 I/0 channels, buffered input/output;
any or all channels may by intercomputer; real-time interrupt s;
powerful instruction repertoire.

Unique system advantages include small physical size, resistant to
shock, vibration, unusual climate conditions and radio frequency
interference (RFI). Compatible with the Naval Tactical Data System
(NTDS) peripheral equipment and can be direct cable-coupled to large
scale UNIVAC computers.

Designed to meet MIL-E-16400D
Repertoire of 98 instructions
Real time millisecond clock capability
Average instruction time 8-12 microseconds
Memory cycle time 4 microseconds

Up to 8 Input and 8 Output channels; each may be intercomputer;
channels may be paired to form 36-bit interface.

All Input/Output transfers fully buffered

33 distinct automatic interrupts standard with 8 I/0 channels

32 words of permanent memory.

The new UNIVAC 1218 Military Computer is a versatile stored program,
medium scale, general purpose digital computer designed to provide
high reliability under advance operational environments.

With a core memory cycle time of 4 microseconds and powerful
Input/Output features it is capable of processing large quantities
of real time data.

Semper Share:
Author: Cpl. Beddoe
Cpl, USMC 1981-1985 MCRDSD Plt 3042, Aug 28, 1981 Work hard. Be kind. Pay it forward. Twitter: @txdevildog
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Sgr. John Sens
Sgr. John Sens
2022/12/26 23:18

Hello. I was MOS 5982 Marine at Mare Island in 1981. I was top percentage student in my class for all students for the Univac training. I saw in a building close to the training classrooms where they posted the top students for prior years. I never knew if my name was posted on the plaque or if that had stopeed. My testing was at 96%+ and it was a great experience. I had found the area of training/expertiece that was the fit for me. Now, 2022, I have been in technology for 40+ years, I look back at Mare Island as a life great experience. Does anyone know of the training building or top studen plaque that I had mentioned. Curious.

2022/05/31 02:36

Enjoyed your discussion re: UNIVAC
Never crossed paths as I was 4034 w/ IBM S/360 mainframes (‘73 – ‘77) and our FASC shared stations such as Cherry Point.
Can certainly commiserate with peripheral devices and job failures.
After 50 yrs in IT I’m proud of our small, tight field of early adapters.

Mike Hunter
Mike Hunter
2022/03/27 21:00

USMC 74-81 3072 Aviation Mechanized Supply Meridian Ms
Beat on UNIVAC 1710/1810 Keypunch machine most of your. Been behind a keyboard every since. Good friend and roommate computer programmer. SEMPER FI forever brothers and sisters forever

Rick A Starke
Rick A Starke
2021/11/19 15:16

Greetings Marines! I too am quite “late to the game” as far as this post goes, however, I served in the Navy as a DS on the USS Forrestal and USS Fulton. I was originally an NTDS guy but cross- trained into ADP in 1983 and went to the yards in Philadelphia on the Forrestal. From what I was told by a tech rep, I am the guy who retired the last active duty, shipboard, CRPI in the Navy. Do I know for a fact that is correct? Hell no, but I sure like to repeat it as though it is! I’m still in I.T. and the 2nd oldest techie in our office. I wanted to show some of the kids working here what the stuff I did looked like and google brought me here. Thanks for the memories!!

Addison Williams
Addison Williams
2021/07/19 03:41

Where can I post photos? I have plenty from “C” School on Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo from 1976. Many of them had my classmates, Marine and Navy. Tolliver and Herd… remember me?

Addison Williams
Addison Williams
2021/05/26 22:37

Semper Fi, Marines. I trained on the AN-UYK 5 system at the Mare Island sub base in Vallejo, California back in 1976 and became a 5982 MOS ADP technician. I found out then that there were only 9 bases in the world that I could be stationed at. I graduated Honor Man and so was offered my choice of East Coast or West Coast duty stations. I chose West Coast and was stationed at MCAS Belle Chasse, Louisiana… West Coast of the Mississippi River. That was the start of a pretty great career in IT for me. OORAH!

Mike Hunter
Mike Hunter
2021/01/21 15:39

SEMPER FI forever brothers. 3072-Aviation Supply…73-81. Beat on keypunch machine most of service. Best friend a programmer.

Charles Wrightson
Charles Wrightson
2017/09/12 15:28

1976 – 1979 Cherry Point, Mag-14 (Pvt – Sgt); Then El Toro until 1981 (Sgt); Okinawa until 1982 (Sgt, picked up SSgt).
SUADPS operator, COBOL programmer. Thanks for the memories.

Kris Wharton
Kris Wharton
2017/03/11 10:49

It’s hard to believe that I didn’t take pictures of the workers and work surrounding the U-1500! I had a camera and every Marine 3073 and Navy DP that ran this system knows we all had many, many hours of sitting around waiting for the teletype to sound off. I’m sure all of you remember 18 hours print runs or coming in for your shift only to find out that your SUADPS update was farther behind now than it was when you last left. Even more fun later, when I became a Navy Corpsman and doing Occupational Health histories finding out that in addition to using denatured alcohol the 1,1,1, Trichloroethane we used to clean the MTU were both hazardous and should only be handled with gloves.

MWHS-1 ADP (Deployed to the Data Processing Service Center) Subic Bay PI 1979-1981
Midway (CV-41) S7 Division Yokosuka Japan (TAD multiple time while
Midway was in wet or dry dock) The computer vans and our Conex box were
setup on Pier 9. We sure made a LOT of trips on and off the ship. In addition to running SUADPS, we got to run payroll for the Midway using SJUMPS (Shipboard Joint Uniform Military Pay System). DK1 Bautista would come down with big boxes of blank checks to run through our 1569 printer!
Final Marine duty station was MAG 14 at Cherry Point.
About 2 years later I was in the Navy as an AK at NAS New Orleans and guess what appeared in our warehouse. My old friend U-1500. I never found out where it was headed. I’d like to think that it’s still running in some 3rd world Navy or Marine Corps supporting our old aircraft. I tried to stay in touch with the Marines there but I was no longer part of the Green Machine and I didn’t get to learn much about the Honeywell RT system that replaced the U-1500, but In this new age of amazing computer technology where we have way more computing power in our phones than we could have ever dreamed of. I’d sure like to show some of these “young” folks what it was like to have to “operate” a computer!

I hope some of you reading this were more thoughtful than I was in my youth and took some good pictures and would be willing to share them here or even on Facebook.

Cpl Kris R. Wharton
3072/3073 USMC
MARSOC Class 901
March 1979
NAS Meridian MS

Harry Beasor Jr
Harry Beasor Jr
2017/03/10 21:19

This brought back a lot of memories. I was a Navy DP on the USS Enterprise in the early 80’s working the exact same system. When you described the q tips and alcohol, I knew exactly what you were talking about. I was in the middle of a big SUADPS update when I was getting 06 errors in the middle of the MRF segment. I had to step through this segment while dousing the read write heads with isopropyl. It was either that or rebuild the MRF (something you really didn’t want to do).
Don’t get me started on the CRPI. The bottom had so many dents from us kicking it out of anger after cards got jammed. We had an Allen wrench at the ready to tweak the tension rollers.
We used the teletype as our alarm. We could tell what was going on just by sounds it was making. Same with the printer.
Thanks for the memories.

David Calvin
David Calvin
2015/03/31 10:44

Hey…saw this just today. Anyone out there part of MACS2/MAC7 1971-1972. I was a 5977. Looking for anyone who was there.

Steve Lafferty
Steve Lafferty
2014/01/21 13:43

Nobody can possibly understand what a computer was before the PC. These pictures and stories are great. I had forgotten my adventures with 1500 system until I read these. My training was at NTC San Diego, 1973, MOS 4044 Prog/Opr. Got this assignment right out of boot camp. No one could explain to me what a 4044 Prog/Opr was. My once powerful and clear drill instructors became mumbling fools upon trying to come up with an answer.

First duty station MAG-36, MCAS Futema, Okinawa. Many good times there. First job I learned was to run the base duty roster. First instruction? Pull the cards for everyone in ADP. Run the list. Last instruction? Replace the cards for everyone in ADP. Oohhh what power, no one ever caught on. Our system was nick named Igor and the system operators were called KOI (Killers Of Igor). Also our unofficial log book was titled KOI.

From there it was on to El Toro for 2 years. The operators found a fix for the card reader when it had reading issues. Open the lower door to all the transistor cards, turn a “can of air” upside down (it would spray a cold fog)and spray it into the bank of cards. Read errors would disappear immediately. The techs would get mad because this “wasn’t fixing the problem” but it got us through the night.

While at El Toro I was volunteered to be on the team to create the deployment manual for computer system. We tore the vans down, packed them into C130’s, flew all the way to San Clemente Island, and set them up again on the air strip. Doing everything about 5 times and taking pictures all the while. If any of you have sen this manual, that would be my finger pointing at the part being described.

Thanks for all the pictures and stories. I had no idea you guys were still using that system more than 10 years later.

Sgt. Steve Lafferty

Robert E Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret)
Robert E Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret)
2013/11/28 02:12

Has anyone heard anything from Goldie (Dumbkouski)? I worked with him first at MAG-26 in `73, then again when I went to Meridian as an instructor in mid-80.

2013/11/27 21:08

Pretty neat seeing all this. I pretty much know you all. I went through Meridian February of 1981. SOC in June. Even went back as instructor in January of 1985. N
Ken and his wife. Rusty Eaton, Dale Roth, I became course supervisor and I too had to do a major rewrite. Seems like forever ago.

Ret. GySgt Mark E Greiner

Al Dombkowski (Ski)
Al Dombkowski (Ski)
2013/11/22 19:29

Okay, I’m a little late in posting here . . but better late than never.

Want to say hi to all you guys from Iwakuni and CSTSC . . . SSGT Smith, Ken Majors, Rod, Philo, Hawk, Lockridge, Barney, Juan Velasquez, Levi, Johnny (Pops) Reveille, Mr. O and many more.

I always loved when Ken Majors would answer the phone “Sgt Majors.” Whoever was on the other end always straightened up.

The CRPI could drive you mad. More than one time I had to find someone in the airframes shop to fabricate a part that was no longer available.

More later . .

SGt. Ski

Semper Fi

Robert E Smith
Robert E Smith
2013/10/20 21:10

Then you were one of my students. I was Course Supervisor of the ADP School at Meridian when we got the DPS 6. Rich Whitehead, Cpl Roth,Ken Majors, and myself had to rewrite the curriculum. It was a major battle to get the “powers to be” to let us include the new capabilities the DPS offered. They simply wanted a curriculum in how to handle the “emulation of the U1500 and SUADPS”.

Eric L. Heatherdale L/CPL MOS5982
Eric L. Heatherdale L/CPL MOS5982
2013/10/20 16:05

Great Pix, Brings Back Memories, Was Stationed with MAG-12 from 85 to 87. Worked on those Mag Tape drives pictured. Was there when they installed all the “Dumb” Terminals out in Receiving and down in RMS and out in CMS and all around so inventory was closer to “Live” than waiting for Data Entry to enter all the daily transactions. Was there when they condemened the “Van” at the center of the ADP complex that basically served as Office where the Fridge and Coffee pot was located and it had to be swapped out. Fun Times Over there. As For Bilal Kassoo, that was one smart fellow, he wrote quite a nice little mag tape library program to keep track of all the mag tape reels.

Kris Wharton
Kris Wharton
2013/08/11 13:21

I was in the first full class of 3073′ that started in Feb 79.
it’s amazing to me that good pictures of the U-1500 system
are so hard to find.
I guess we were so busy working that we just didn’t take the
time to take pictures.
I liked the old Miltope 7 track drives, we like most of you had
races to see who could load the tapes the fastest.

my experience was unusual for a Marine at that time because
I wasn’t assigned to a MAG or H&MS, but as a mobile unit in
1st MAW out of Okinawa, but stationed in the Philippines,
under the NSD in the DPSC.

We moved those vans and a CONEX box to Japan and
back 3 times before the end of 81, supporting S7 Division the
on the USS Midway.

I never did any Marine support until my last 6 months in the
Corps at Cherry Point.

Later at NAS New Orleans I saw the whole U-1500 system
sitting in the supply warehouse waiting for disposition. I always
wondered where it ended up, probably DPDO.

Like many of you I struggle to explain what it was like to
be a computer operator to children, and grandchildren who
carry much greater computing power in their pockets everyday
than we had in 2 packed C-130’s

Brian Wheeler
Brian Wheeler
2013/04/05 20:44

Wow…that brings back some memorys. I was in the first class for the Honeywell DPS-6 in Meridian, MS I went to my first duty station which was in New Orleans, MRASTU to do training for the Reserves. To my surprise I beat the Howeywell there and had to working with the Old Breast for 6 months.

Bill Kassoo
Bill Kassoo
2012/06/15 09:53

Cpl. Beddoe:

Thanks for this posting, and your e-mail response. I remember you now. You were the kindest and the nicest one.

Yes Tustin California ! I also remember Q, and our supervisor Sgt. Thompson ,I believe. He made me work on Holidays…How about that spanish fella (Cheppa? nick name)
We had to drive to El Toro every night, because one of the Miltope tape drive could not write. That one segment of the program required writing to all 4 tape drives, only for 3 seconds. I recall that program was known by the name of MRP.
Yes I remember….

Kicking the card reader, because of it constantly jamming cards behind the removable glass cover; trays of 1348M (Mechanized) cards falling off the teletype desk, due to vibration of the monstrous card reader; Loading VFU (tape) on the printer; 3rd shift log started with 00:01 PVT Kassoo assuming graveyard yard shift duty.

One day one of the fellow marines (Can’t remember who it was), brought his paycheck, which was also the same size as 1348M cards, (actually it was a 1348 mechanized paycheck card) to run it through the small card readers, which could actually print, in a print mode , to determine what his pay check card holes meant. Well, instead of the reader in read mode, it was in punching mode ! Ouch…. His pay check came out the other end with bunch of extra holes in them. I remember going to the bank (or a credit union) with him, and they cashed his check with no problem.

I am searching for Joseph Deruvo, / Sgt Barnes (Barney)/ with no luck. If anyone has their contact please relay the message.

Bilal Yaqub Kassoo (AKA: Bill Jacob Castle)

Bill Kassoo
Bill Kassoo
2012/06/15 09:00

I remember those days, and broguht back some good memories. I remember ski,Barney (Sgt. Barnes) Rodriguez. Rodriguez, Are you the same who had a little bicycle incident? Do you all remember Edward Hudson? I just got hooked up with him a year or so ago….

Robert Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret.
Robert Smith, GySgt, USMC (ret.
2012/05/16 11:55

Those of you who went through Meridian from mid 80 to mid 85 may remember me. I started out as a new instructor and ended up as the Course Supervisor/Curriculum Developer. I was there when we rewrote the class for the DPS-6. Me, Whitehead, Roth, and Ken Majors listed above. We were all 3073’s at that point (except Ken). We were switched over from 4044 to keep us from opting into the 4000 field.

I took my initial training at NTC San Diego as well….Sept – Dec, 1972…the third class to go through. There were never more than 144 of us 4044’s in the Marine Corps. I’m not sure how many 5982’s, but usually only two per site.

I also started at MAG-26…at that time there were only two set up, MAG-26 and MAG-11 at El Toro. In July of 73 I was transferred to MAG-11 for a brief period, then went on to help set-up MAG-13’s system, and then on to MWSG-37.

Frank Finnerty
Frank Finnerty
2012/01/05 21:09

Hey Marines,

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Loved the CRPI and the old Miltope,s. Served at H&MS-32 80 – 83, WESTPAC MOB ( Installing DPS6) out of H&MS -36 in 83/84 Taught at CSTSC UYK-65 from 84 – 86.

Semper Fi,

SGT. Finnerty

2011/12/12 17:03

[…] for a computer repair technician. Our H&MS-16 shop desperately needed another 5982 to support our UNIVAC computer systems to keep the Marine Sikorsky and Boeing helicopters […]

Ken Majors
Ken Majors
2010/02/02 03:32

Hey SSGT Majors here,

Thanks for the memories about Meridian, MS. I WAS the technician there and we had a good time keeping things running during class. We would time the maintenance cycles for between classes. There are more than a few "games" for the 1218 and the CRPI. Remember the music, flight of the bumblebee, the digital clock on the 1218's registers, or punishing the CPU with the Square root program?
I was in Meridian when we changed out the 1218 for the Level 6. We thought we were in the big time!

Semper Fi!

2010/01/31 04:59

>I was a Navy Data Systems Tech from 78 – 84, trained on the 1500 system in C-School at Combat Systems Technical Schools Command, Mare Island and would up deployed as the only DS on the USS San Diego AFS-6. There were many tales of the Crippy, she was a fickle beast indeed and the object of many 30+ hour marathon troubleshooting sessions.

On my first Med cruise we visited Egypt and I made a trip to the see the Great Pyramid of Giza. While there a snagged a pyramid shaped piece of rock from the pyramid itself. Back on the ship I glued it to the top of the CRPU. Figured I needed all the help I could get rasslin with that monster.

DS2 Paul Jordan

2009/09/11 18:34

>Yo Marines,
I was at MAG-29 in ADP from 79-82. I came aboard as SSgt Ken Zahrt left there! Our CRPI base plate was dented from being kicked so many times also. One of our persoanl goals as operators there was to run the "perfect update", error free. After much prep, cleaning tapes and such, and with much good luck I was able to run the first one known to MAG-29 at that time. Finding this blog has brought back old memories. SSGt Zarht whatever happened to Baron?

Semper Fi
SSGt Jim Clayton

2009/08/28 18:57

>Thanks for the memories!

I went through training at NTC San Diego in 1973 and was a 4044. My first duty station was MAG-26, MCAS New River. MAG-26 was the first MAG to receive the AN-UYK-5(v), getting theirs in 1972. I served at MAG-36, MCAS Futema, Okinawa and MAG-29, MCAS New River, from which I left the Marines in 1979.

While stationed in Okinawa ('76-'77), I made a trip up to Iwakuni to run some jobs while we were down hard for several days, so I have actually operated your machine.

While at MAG-26, we actually deployed during Operation Solid Shield 1975 to a field location, the only time I am aware of in which a unit actually took an AN/UYK-5(v) into the field. It ran better in the field than it did on base!

Yes, the CRPU was truly a touchy maintenance hog. (CRPU, as the interpreter function of the original CRPI was removed before any Marine units were deployed). I can remember, especially on the one at MAG-26, that at each shift rotation, the on-coming tech would curse the tech from the previous shift, as each one had his only special way of setting the CRPU up, which, of course, never worked for the next guy.

Outside of the CRPU, the system was pretty much rock solid, as long as you kept your tapes clean! Those were good years.

SSgt Ken Zahrt, 4044, 1973-79

2009/02/04 17:37

>Posting this forward:

UNIVAC Type U1500 system – Based on the Univac 418 design, the 1218 came with COBOL, very necessary for the software development. This system used for inventory control was developed for the AFS-1 through -7, the MARS Class Combat Stores Ships. John Markfelder, Univac headquarters marketing, Skip Wren in D.C. were the primary customer contacts. The system consisted of the 1218, a 1232 paper tape and typewriter unit, the 1240 magnetic tape unit, and the Card Reader, Punch Interpreter (CRPI) unit. The CRPI was the ‘old’ John Bull taper pin punch/reader which had previously been used with the Mod 0 file computer. Base on user feedback, the unit should have been called CRP because the I portion didn’t work very well. [Lyle Franklin]

Hi Lowell: I was the program manager at DCS/Air at HQ-MC responsible for introducint the U-1500 into all Marine Air groups. After I retired from the USMC, I assisted John Markfelder in the UNIVAC deliveries to the Marines as well as responding to their customer problems world wide. [Earl Lillestrand]

2008/05/24 01:37

>Nice Page! I was looking around for photos of old hardware I worked on and stopped at your web page for the UNIVAC 1218. I worked on this box whilw in the Air Force back in 1970-1972. Those were the days!!
Just wanted to show my appreciation for your entries.. Thanks ALL!
J Rubba arubba@gmail.com

Cpl Rodriguez
Cpl Rodriguez
2008/01/21 16:26

>Hey Ski. You out there? Please weigh in on the CRPI scenario I patched together. There were so many instances of trouble with the CRPI that perhaps I got some the troubleshooting stories mixed up.

The abuse of the CRPI was common among some of the operators. I remember a Marine named McPherson. That dork would constantly kick the damn thing expecting it to work better. Remember the “kick plate” at the bottom below the punch head? That panel was all dented in with black boot polish smeared into it, not that McPherson’s boots had much polish on them to begin with, but you get my point.

The Hetra high speed printer was a good machine, but it needed constant monitoring to make sure the paper fed in and folded properly or we would end up with some jacked up listings. We could tell just by the sound if it was printing properly.

Ski. Please tell us about the time when flames were shooting out of the capacitor you and Loughridge were troubleshooting during that major overhaul of the HETRA back in—1983? I think Dane Kackley was one of the techs too.

Gunny Rodriguez
Gunny Rodriguez
2008/01/20 17:18

>Cpl Beddoe,

Thanks for posting the story about the 1218. Those were the days were “computer operator” meant something. Remember that only a few Marines (5 to 7) were selected to become 3073s out of a class of 40 or more 3072s (Aviation Supply Clerks). One had to score high on tests, be squared away, show sincerity in learning and be an overall outstanding Marine to be selected to computer operator school. The school was five weeks. Supply Clerk school was 10 weeks. I spent the whole summer of 1980 in Meridian, MS.

The Univac was an incredible machine. As Sgt Dombkowski put it “you have to know its idiosyncrasies”. The was an understatement, because the CRPI was a fickle and sensitive piece of iron and transistors. I remember having to call the techs in during the graveyard shift to fix the CRPI. It wasn’t reading or punching the keypunch cards. They did all the troubleshooting they could until seven in the morning. Mr. Olson (permanent contractor tech) would come in every morning to check on the Marines and the system. He would only stay for a few minutes and then drive over to H&MS 15’s ADP shop to do the same. Well, this particular morning he stayed to help get the CRPI back up. After talking with the techs for a few minutes, he removed the cover panel of the bank of transistor cards, which took up nearly half the space of the innards of the CRPI. All he did was lightly rub his hands across the transistor cards as if he were reseating them ever so slightly. (I’m still convinced it was black magic, what the hell do I know…). Anyway, after his brief “laying on of hands” they put the CRPI back together and it ran like a champ. Strange, but true!

Rarely did we have problems with the Univac itself. It was almost always the peripheral devices that kept us on our toes. The MILTOPE mag tape drives were pretty accurate if you kept the heads and the vacuum chambers clean. We had to keep the trich (trike) and alcohol handy to keep things clean. The magnetic tapes were filthy.

Yep, those were the good old days when men were men and computers were nothing more than a glorified chisel and hammer…OORAH!

Gunny Rodriguez
1980 to 2000