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Robert Seckler was born in Houston, raised in Tulsa, and after high school was off to see the world via the Navy.
He used Johnston Island in his novel because he had personal knowledge of the island in 1962 when his ship was temporarily assigned there. He was present when the government detonated its largest above ground nuclear test about 50,000 feet above their heads.
After the Navy he received his education at the University of Tulsa and Prairie View A & M University. He received his pilot’s license at Riverside airport in Tulsa, and it was this training that sparked his interest in becoming an air traffic controller.
He was a controller at Kansas City Center, Houston Center, and Seattle Center. In 1977 he was accepted as an Instructor at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.
In 1981he was one of over eleven thousand controllers terminated by President Reagan during the massive air traffic controller strike.
During the following 18 years he served as Vice President/General Manager of agencies for United Van Lines and northAmerican Van Lines.
In 1999 Bob became one of less than a thousand ex-controllers who was re-hired by President Clinton. He was first assigned to Oakland Center, but in 2000 he transferred back to Houston Center as an air traffic controller. He retired from air traffic control in 2007, and currently lives with his wife, Julie, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.