Rocket Scientist

Jerrold Foutz - Engineer of the Year

Jerrold Foutz – Publicity photo when selected from 3,000 Engineers and Scientists as AISD Engineer of the Year in 1988

I really never thought about it until I retired, but I guess I can claim to be a rocket scientist. My degree is in Physics and I worked from 1959 through 1994 (35 years) on guidance and control systems for rockets — with a couple of spacecraft thrown in. I worked on the proposal team for the Cassini project but we lost the competition for the actual contract.

My last assignment was working on the exoatmospheric kill vehicle, a little basket ball that sits in space and when a rocket comes up from earth that it doesn’t like, it throws itself at it with tremendous speed and kinetic energy. The kill mechanism is not an explosive, but a piece of depleted uranium (denser than lead) the size and shape of a pencil (actually, there are several pencils). By firing that pencil from a rail gun on earth to simulate the speed it would have in space, it penetrated the best 12 inch thick armor plating made. Twelve plates lined up in a row with about 12 inch separation between plates. As they say, speed kills.
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Costiano Tries to Take a Scalp

My grandmother, Abbie Young, had light brown hair that hung to her waist which she took great pride in and others in the settlement admired. It almost got her scalped. In 1894 scalping of settlers was rare but scalps were still valued as personal trophies or to be sold or traded as a valuable items. The scalping victim was usually killed first, but if not, the act was incredibly painful and the victim often died soon after from infection or other complications. This is the story from our family history of how my grandmother’s beautiful hair almost got her scalped.

Big Mouth Spring

Big Mouth Spring, Piegan (Blackfeet), not Costiano (Apache/Navajo), showing a trophy scalp on his right shoulder. Image from The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis, circa 1910 via Wikipedia article on scalping.

Costiano was an Indian, well known to the early settlers in the San Juan country of New Mexico. He was the son of an Apache chief but, when an infant, he had been stolen by the Navahos during a war between the two tribes. The chief of the Navajos then raised him as one of his own sons. Thus, while he lived among the Navajos and had adopted their customs and manner of dress, he had the temperament of the much more savage and warlike Apaches.
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Gunfight – New Mexico, 1886

A gunfight between outlaw cattlemen and ranchers along the La Plata river near Fruitland in northwest New Mexico, about 8 pm, Monday, November 8, 1886.

“… Hilton’s bullet went into my wrist, cutting the cords of my fingers… Delush’s bullet struck me about three inches farther up the arm, splintering the bone and coming out the elbow… my shot hit Sherman Hilton in the right hip joint tearing it all to pieces. He fell about 10 feet from me but kept shooting at me until he had emptied both of his pistols. One other shot hit me in the groin… The four outlaws that were left, each took a Winchester and stood behind the wagon and emptied the magazines of their rifles at me. Bullets pierced my overcoat instead of my body; there were 29 bullet holes in my overcoat and one bullet cut a swath through my whiskers just under my chin.”

The gunfight is described in unpublished personal journals of two participants of the event, David Alma Stevens (my great uncle), who was 27 at the time, and his sister Abbie Stevens Young (my grandmother), who was 16 at the time and helped nurse her brother back to health. Also some information on the gunfight from the Deseret News is included. This information is from copies of family journals compiled by Gladys Young Knight (my aunt) and her daughter Elaine (my cousin). I am very grateful to Elaine for making these materials available to me (about 2001). Some background information on the range war is from the self-published book, “Our Valley”, by Rosetta Biggs, Mesa, Az, 1978.
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Joseph Lehi Foutz (1837-1907)

Joseph Lehi Foutz

Joseph Lehi Foutz (1837-1907)
3 wives, 13 sons, 16 daughters and unafraid of any man.

My wife made the mistake of asking me where the Foutz name came from. I said I can read you the story, but first let me demonstrate.

Standing in front of her as she sat on the couch I put my face close to hers and roared, spraying her with spittle.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” she shouted as she tried to dodge the onslaught of moisture whose intensity even surprised me.

Demonstrating said I.

Now let me read you the story of my paternal grandfather Joseph Lehi Foutz as recorded in Frank McNitt’s classic book “The Indian Traders“, including more than just the origins of the Foutz name.
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Hollwood Canteen

Vera Jean Foutz

Six years older, my sister, Vera Jean Foutz, was a hostess at the Hollywood Canteen while I only delivered their newspaper

If you are “getting your kicks on Route 66” then traveling eastward you will find the route remarkably well preserved in the Los Angeles area. About 11 miles from the terminus at the Pacific Ocean you will enter Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd and then intersect Cahuenga Blvd. Turning north and just before you reach Sunset Blvd you will see the high-rise CNN Building on the southwest corner and a multilevel parking structure adjacent to the south. This is the location of two past landmarks, one famous and one less famous.

The less famous landmark¬† is the livery stable that kept the horses needed for the silent-era and then later, the “talking” western movies filmed by the myriad of small film studios around Sunset Blvd and Gower Street, six blocks to the east. This intersection is known as “Gower’s Gulch”.¬† At Gower’s Gulch, cowboy extras gathered dressed in their Stetson hats, cowboy boots, and cowboy chaps hoping to earn $5 a day hired as extras in a saloon scene or riding horses from the livery stable. The livery stable then became a nightclub for a time, the Old Barn.

That livery-stable/Old-Barn was later converted to a more famous landmark, the Hollywood Canteen.
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