Augustine A. Albanese

AlbaneseAugustine (Augie) A. Albanese was born in Utica, New York on March 31, 1927. His family then moved to Milton, PA where his father had a job as a foreman in an automobile plant. The family returned to Canastota when Augie was three years old. Augie attended Canastota Schools from kindergarten through grade 12.

As a junior in high school, he was interested in the possibility of entering either West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy and how he could accomplish this. Augie went to the library to read how to get into West Point, contacted his Congressman, but was told there was nothing available for West Point. However, there were competitive exams for the Naval Academy. Additional preparation was required because the exam was being given during his junior year of high school and he had not taken all of the necessary courses to prepare him for the exam. Augie is indebted to the voluntary efforts of two Canastota teachers, Ms. Daniels and Ms. Powers. Ms. Daniels taught him Physics, Chemistry and Solid Geometry at 7 AM each day. Ms. Powers helped him with American History and English. As a result of these efforts, as a high school junior, he obtained the highest score on the test and earned the appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. The next step, (in a time before SAT’s) Augie had to pass the entrance exam. Once again, the generosity of Ms. Daniels and Ms. Powers helped him prepare and successfully complete the six-part exam, which required that each part be passed independently.

Because of the war, the Navy called Augie to duty early. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in May of 1944 as the youngest Midshipman in the class of 1948. He was the first Canastota graduate of the Naval Academy (1948) and received a Master’s Degree from RPI in Electrical Engineering (1954).

Augie’s military service began when he served on board the USS Des Moines CA/134 as Division Officer. Additional duties as an interpreter of French resulted in assignment to the staff of the Sixth Fleet as protocol officer with additional duties as communications officer for the Sixth Fleet. One of the highlights of the job as communications officer was decoding and delivering a Top-Secret message to Admiral Sherman from President Harry Truman. It is memorable because it was from the President, coded operational priority, and required by Augie to awaken Admiral Sherman to deliver it. He also served on the USS NOA 841 and completed his Navy service in 1954.

After his retirement from the Navy, he went on to work for Carrier Corporation as a mechanical engineer and then left to attend graduate school at RPI. From 1956-1989, Augie worked for General Electric where his first assignment was in data utilization and display–in charge of all advanced projects because transistors were new and new equipment required transistors. He had received transistor training in his master’s program. He then transferred to Advanced Engineering which he was instrumental in helping GE to win the AN/TPS – 59, a Marine Corps transportable radar. He also worked as a systems engineer with the Belgian government on a new radar.

He convinced GE management to invest three million dollars in order to win the program and start a new line. His ability to speak French was instrumental in this assignment.

Augie became manager for the Advanced Solid-State Radar Programs with primary emphasisAlbanese Grad on selling Air Defense Systems overseas. The goal of this position was to advance the companies initiative to develop international business. This took him to many countries in the world including all NATO nations and African, Asian and South American countries. During this time, he met almost every foreign Air Force commander and even had lunch with the Ministry of Defense in Germany. When he retired from GE, his boss told him that he had brought in 1.5 billion dollars of business in his last 10 years. Augie lectured on Air Defense Systems all over the world. NATO invited him to give a paper on the processing of data for use in defense.

When President Nixon opened relations with China, the Chinese were offered the opportunity to be briefed on new technology. The Chinese were asked to come to Syracuse and that Augie give the presentation on the Design Air Defense Systems. With President Nixon’s approval, they had numerous meetings with State Department and our military to determine the extent of the knowledge that they were allowed to share. When the Chinese returned to China, they wrote to President Nixon and asked that Augie go to China to lecture them. President Nixon approved, which led to a fascinating two week visit in China at a time when the United States was just beginning to re-establish relations with China.

Augie was nominated by General Electric and was selected by the Commerce Department to investigate business opportunities in China. He visited China, along with 5 others, to tour the country and investigate their production facilities and capabilities. He was invited to give numerous technical lectures. Two of his most rewarding were to the Navy Postgraduate School and the British equivalent for their Air Force in England. While at GE, Augie reviewed and commented on a Syracuse research contract related to jamming radars. He also wrote a top-secret paper on techniques for radar jamming and advised Navy intelligence for radar jamming.

He was one of a group of 14 consultants to the Navy for Command, Control and Communications. The group was provided with highly classified information about U.S. capability and the latest knowledge of possible enemies. During their meeting, they analyzed the information and made recommendations on changes in tactics and equipment. On his post retirement, Augie did consulting work for GE in Melbourne, Florida and Sensis Corporation in Syracuse.

Augie was involved with the Canastota Little League for ten years as coach and also League Secretary. He served on the Board of Education for two terms and was Board President during construction of the high school. He filmed high school football games for five years as a volunteer. He was a member of the Village of Canastota Planning Board working with a Planning Consultant during the time when Bill Sharpe was Mayor.

Augie married Josephine Farfaglia (CHS Class of 1944) in 1951. They had four children: Margaret, Stephen, Anthony and Martin, all graduates of Canastota High School.