It has been 30 years since I wrote this book. In the original preface, I wrote that researching, writing, and publishing this book had been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Thirty years later, I still feel that way.
The internet version of the book includes all of the text of the book, and approximately half of the photographs.
Many of the people featured in this book are no longer with us. My hope is that some of their children, grandchildren, and perhaps even great-grandchildren will find this on the internet and enjoy hearing their story.
If you have comments or questions, I'd be happy to hear from you. You can reach me at sandersch-at-aol.com . (Substitute the @ sign for "-at-".)
Carol Hastings Sanders
to the Printed Edition
While I was visiting in Virginia in the fall of 1977, Dot Comstock, my aunt, mentioned to me that the idea had germinated among several people at Teledyne Hastings-Raydist that the story of the company deserved to be put into a permanent form. She wondered if I had any interest in such an undertaking. Over the next few days I thought about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Before I left, I told her and people at Hastings-Raydist that I wanted to take on the project, and that I planned to write an informal history, filled with photographs, capturing the adventure and spirit of the company's history.
It was one of the best decisions I have ever made, for researching, writing, and publishing this book has turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
As the daughter of Charles and Mary Hastings, I had a head start in working on such a project. Most of the events in the book I learned about at least in a general way at the time they occurred. Many of the people who have been closely involved with the company I have known as family friends as long as I can remember. Both my husband and I are former company employees, each of us having worked there for a summer during our college years.
I am grateful for the wholehearted cooperation of the Hastings-Raydist organization during my work on the book. I was given virtually unlimited access to company records, documents, and photograph files, with the understanding that I could use anything I wanted as long as it did not include confidential technical or financial information. I was given office space there during my trips to Virginia, and allowed to roam the company with my tape recorder to make interviews. As a result, I was inundated with source materials. The problem was more one of limiting materials to a manageable number than of finding them. I wish I had had the time to make more interviews, and to read more documents, and to do more research, but I didn't want writing the book to turn into a project that was forever in preparation but never reached completion. Consequently I had to refrain from pursuing many leads I'm sure I would have found helpful and enjoyable.
There is much in this book that relies on such sources as annual reports, scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and magazine articles, and various official documents. Much of the color and drama of events, however, is lost in the distillation process that leads to these sources. Written at the time of the events, they provide an excellent skeleton of facts and dates, but the memories of the people who were there are invaluable in bringing life to the story. For this I am deeply indebted to all the people whom I interviewed, often on tape, about their recollections.
Although their untimely deaths meant that I was unable to interview either of my parents, I had the advantage that through the years our family had innumerable discussions around the dinner table about what was happening at the company. In addition, on many occasions my father dictated memoranda about various subjects, summarizing their background and his thoughts about them. These memos were valuable both as summaries of issues and as statements of my father's thinking about them.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to Chris Douglas, who for twenty years was my parents' secretary. She had every possible source at her fingertips. All I had to do was mention a subject about which I needed information, and within a few minutes she had the material I needed.
In an attempt to minimize the number of errors in the book, I asked several people to read over and comment on parts of the manuscript dealing with events with which they were especially familiar. I appreciate their efforts. No doubt there are still inaccuracies, but we did our best to eliminate as many as possible.
Jake Worst deserves credit for helping me to go through the company's photo library, and for making several new photographs I wanted. Almost all the photographs in the book are from either the company files or my parents' collection. For the others, thanks go to NASA's Langley Research Center, Newport News Shipbuilding, the U.S. Navy, and John Comstock.
My husband Jack Sanders, my father-in-law "Pepper" Sanders, and my friend Sara Baase all read the manuscript and made extensive, valuable comments and suggestions.
After I had completed the manuscript and chosen the photographs, I made a preliminary graphic layout, indicating the approximate location of each photograph. My good friend and graphic artist Gaston Lokvig took it from there to create the beautiful graphic result you see.
My thanks also go to my brothers Robert and John and their families, who provided hospitality on my many trips to Virginia during the past two years, as well as financial support for the book's publication.
One of the rewards of doing the research for this book has been the opportunity to become better acquainted with many of the people whose dedicated efforts meant so much to my parents and to the success of their company. I hope that each of them gets a special satisfaction from reading this book about the company they helped to build.
Carol Hastings Sanders
HICO Is Born, 1944-1946
Laying a Foundation, 1947-1950
Deceptive Prosperity, 1951-1953
Shifting Gears, 1954-1955
Everything Goes Right, 1956-1967
A Teledyne Company, 1968-