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Skilled to Work

Will Robinson-Smith introduces us to a man who owes his skilled career in his grandfather.

Posted: Jul 11, 2019 5:46 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2019 5:46 PM

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waay 31's will robinson-smith introduces us to a man who owes his skilled career in aerospace, to his grandfather. the first thing he ever saw fly was a hot air balloon in austria when he was a little kid. that's what sparked his interest into flight. so he worked on airplanes and then eventually rockets. after arriving from hungary via ellis island, bret rieder's grandfather eventually made his way to california to work for rocketdyne. hey hired him because he was a well-known machinist. so 1958 he went there, worked on the f-1. frank rieder spent years working on the f-1. he left a lasting legacy on rocketdyne that was there when bret joined the company decades later. and he went on to tell me great stories about what a great machinist he was and how respected he was....just to walk in and hear that about him made me very proud. for his contribution to the apollo program, frank rieder received a metal plaque of appreciation. at the time, in the late 50s and early 60s, i think his profession, a machinist, it was viewed upon a lot differently than it is today. it was absolutely the top skill. inspired by his grandfather, bret joined rocketdyne in the 80s as a tool maker, moving to united launch alliance by the mid 90s. when i joined, it was space shuttle days, so we had manned spaceflight and i enjoyed that. it's so fulfilling to send people to space. you're proud of every launch and you feel every tragedy. and while he continues to work with and teach the younger employees at u- l-a, bret says he's still inspired by his grandfather. he was able to communicate with anyone and was very instrumental in the development of the f-1 rocket that went on the saturn that ultimately put apollo on the moon. i'm very proud of the man he was and the work he did. and i'll never forget him. reporting in decatur, will robinson-smith, waay 31 news. frank rider died in 2006. he was 108 years old.
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