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Military Service - Douglas C. Engelbart 0

Overview 1

Navy Portrait of Doug Engelbart Douglas C. Engelbart (1945) 

Doug Engelbart enlisted during WWII because of his deep sense of duty to country and humanity. He chose the Navy because of his fascination with radar, a relatively new and to him very thrilling technology, and for this the Navy was the place to be. Once in the Navy however, in order to qualify for the highest levels of training in radar electronics, one had to advance through several levels of rigorous preliminary training in electronics and radio materiel, and pass the Eddy Test which served as the entrance exam to the coveted Electronics Training Program. It is estimated that of the roughly 500,000 enlistees who were given the Eddy Test during WWII, only 6% passed the exam and completed the ETP. Engelbart graduated from the ETP (Treasure Island) as a Radio Technician, Petty Officer Second Class, on July 21,1945.

Doug Engelbart shipped out to the Philippines from San Francisco Bay on August 15, 1945 (V-J Day), to serve in (suddenly now peacetime) Manilla Bay. He considered himself very lucky that the war ended before his deployment, and later pondered how many of the millions of people who are killed or maimed in war might have, under other circumstances, gone on to make a tremendous difference in the world.

Timeline 2

Date Activity Description 1a
1943-1944 NROTC Oregon State University Corvallis - Naval ROTC Program; Electrical Engineering student 1b
1944 USNTC Enlisted at the end of sophomore year; sent to US Naval Training Center 1c
1944 NTS Pre-Rad Naval Training School, Hugh Manley School, Chicago - Pre-Radio Materiel Program 1d
1944 NTS EE&RM Naval Training School, Oklahoma A&M, Stillwater - Elementary Electricity & Radio Materiel 1e
1945 USN ETP Navy Electronics Training Program, Treasure Island, San Francisco - Radio & Radar 1f
1945-1946 Phil Sea Front Philippine Sea Frontier, landed Leyte (see below), served Manila Bay - Radio Technician 1g
1946 NPSE Honorable Discharge Aug 9, 1946 - Bremerton, WA Naval Personnel Separation Center 1h

Encountering 'As We May Think' on Leyte 3

Doug Engelbart first encountered Vannever Bush's seminal article As We May Think in a make-shift Red Cross library on the Philippine island of Leyte, en route to Manilla Bay. See Vannever Bush - Influence on Doug Engelbart for details.

Honors 4

Recognizing national medalists who served, this article features Doug Engelbart and others. For details on his National Medal of Technology & Innovation and other honors, see our Engelbart Awards Collection.

article featured imageServing Our Country on the Battlefield and in the Lab National Science & Technology Medals Foundation | Nov 22, 2016 | Staff “Military veterans’ scientific and technological contributions have also shaped our daily lives.… One of those innovators was Douglas Engelbart, who received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2000 for inventions that provided the foundation for the modern personal computer” - influenced in part from his WWII-era service in the Navy as a radio and radar technician, he then dedicated his career in the service of mankind.