Earl C. Prechtel
When I earned my sheepskin in June, ‘67, it came with a military commission and obligation, but I requested a nine-month delayed entry on active duty while I worked for McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis as a Structures and Dynamics Test Engineer, intending to return after serving my two-year obligation.
The Army needed Topographic Engineer Officers in ’68 so I went Vol Indef for the assignment to the Ethiopia-U.S. Mapping Mission. We were initially assigned as the Asst. S-3, where we did the engineering design to rebuild the L’American Club. Later, we wound up doing Field Classification and leading a survey party. We extended our tour to help close the mission and became the mission’s last S-1.
Thus began a twenty-five year military career that included follow-on assignments in Alabama, England, Germany, Italy, and Northern Virginia. We successfully completed the Army Survey Course of the British Army School of Military Survey in1975, and in ’78 earned an MSCE (Geodetic Sciences) from Purdue University.
We have taught and managed courses at the Defense Mapping School and the Army Management Staff College. We have had responsibilities in research and engineering at DMA HQ, installation planning for the ACE, mapping support for AFSOUTH, personnel administration for the 649th Engineer Battalion (Base Topographic), and civil design and construction for the 64th Engineer Battalion (Construction).
We met Elizabeth at the Bear in Oxford, England in the summer of ’74. At the time, the Bear had been licensed continuously for 732 years. We were married in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxfordshire in November ’75, just before we finished our school and transferred to Germany.
When we wrapped up our military career in January 1993, we sold our home in Northern Virginia, got out of the rat race and moved home to the Memphis area. Since January 1994 we have started a second career working in Geospatial Information Systems for a local AEC firm. We’ll probably continue in this career until we no longer enjoy it. That time is not in sight.
EARL C. PRECHTEL