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Lockheed Propulsion Company, Thiokol Corporation, B-173677, June 24, 1974 - Part 1: You're Going to Huntsville


bob7947

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It was Friday, February 1, 1974, when out of the blue, my supervisor asked me: Do you have anything against going to Huntsville, Alabama for a week?  The person that asked that question was the one that I needed to file my paperwork for promotion.   I immediately said no and asked when do I go?  Monday was the answer.  Since it was Friday and I was in Washington, D.C, I had a couple of days to get going and hundreds of miles to drive.  Stunned, I left my office space amd began walking around the dismal GAO Building in a stupor.  Over the years, I found that the halls of the GAO building were a wonderful place to think.  The halls were dimly lit and neary devoid of people.

The one week in Huntsville lasted for 3 months and I almost died there in the April 3, 1974 historic tornado outbeak.  I would be working on the above mentioned bid protest with our Atlanta staff in Huntsville, Alabama at the Marshall Space Flight Center.  Few people know it but this protest was the last time that GAO's General Counsel was stupid enough to involve GAO auditors in a bid protest.  They now do desk top reviews.  At the end of our work, GAO issued a 98 page bid protest decision.  To my knowledge, it remains the longest bid protest decision that GAO ever issued.  When I retired in 2003, I was the last person in GAO that had worked on that protest and I became a momentary celebrity in GAO's General Council.  It's nearly half a century since that protest and now, after giving it much thought over the years, I am writing about my experiences on that protest.  Many of my experiences are personal but many others are protest-related.  The only protest-related source material I am using is my memory  and the original protest decision.  Additionally, I am writing this entry in parts so that I don't end up with something so long that no one would even attempt to read it.  

Monday, February 4, 1974, came quickly and it was time to go.  I told my friends and family where I was going, packed my 1971 Datsun 240Z with as much as is would hold, and headed southwest through Virginia.   

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