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Air Force veteran negotiated with military contractors

Brunswick News - 1/29/2020

Jan. 29--Today's veteran: Edward Torgersen, 83

Born: New York City

Residence: St. Marys

Service: Air Force, 4 years active duty, six years Air Force Reserve

Duties: Finance/contract negotiator

Rank: Lieutenant

Duty stations: Wright Patterson Air Force Base; California and North Carolina

His story: Ed Torgersen majored in finance as an Air Force ROTC student knowing the odds were remote he'd ever be part of a flight crew.

"I wanted to get into flight training, but my eyes weren't good enough," he said.

But his role in the Air Force after graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in finance gave him the responsibility of ensuring the equipment and parts provided by military contractors met all standards and expectations.

"They needed people like me to interface with the defense contractors," he said. "We would analyze proposals for different projects."

Torgersen was part of a team that included an engineer and an auditor to ensure the Air Force was paying a fair price for materials that met military standards.

During a trip to Utah to meet with a contractor, Torgersen said he discovered a $100,000 mistake in a bid in favor of the Air Force. He received a written commendation for catching the contractor's overestimate.

Torgersen was never assigned to a base for most of his career. Instead, he and his wife lived in Santa Monica, Calif., near a Douglas aircraft plant.

He did lots of work with NASA, where he helped supply missiles used in testing.

"I liked the job. I liked the people I worked for," he said.

He was later sent to Johnson

Island, an atoll in the Pacific about 750 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii, for a top secret project at the time. The Air Force set up launch pads for anti-satellite defense system against an attack from an orbiting Soviet Union satellite.

He left the Air Force after four years because his job was not in demand, and there were opportunities in the private sector he was


He ended up accepting a job with Allied Chemical in Cleveland, Ohio, basically doing the same job he did in the Air Force.

He credits his military experience for his success in the workplace.

"It focused me more on what I wanted to do," he said. "You learn to interact with people. It gave me responsibility for my career."

Our Veterans runs Wednesdays. Contact Gordon Jackson at, or at 912-464-7655 to suggest a veteran for a column.


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