A Liberating Postwar Career

By Paul Segura

April 2016

My father, Ed Segura, proudly worked for The Boeing Company and McDonnell Douglas for over 30 years. His passion for aviation started during World War II when he was a teenager in his hometown of Cebu City, Philippines.

During the American liberation in 1945, Ed and his family were hiding in the Cebu mountains from the Japanese army when B-25 Mitchells and P-51 Mustangs from the U.S. 5th Air Force along with other aircraft appeared flying right above them, making turns for bombing runs on the city. Some of the pilots saw Ed and his brothers atop this mountain waving wildly at them and returned their waves. Gen. MacArthur had indeed returned!

The 1957 Soviet launching of Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, kicked off a massive increase in science and engineering activity in the U.S. in order to catch up with the Russians. A new emphasis on space projects drained engineers from existing aircraft programs, to the point that Boeing started recruiting for new engineers internationally.

As a result, Boeing came to the Philippines to recruit engineers. Ed, who had recently graduated with B.S. degrees in both mechanical and electrical engineering, saw a Boeing recruiting poster at his alma mater, Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT). He had a job in the city engineer's office, but he decided to apply for this rare opportunity to go to America, even if his chances were very small. I can only imagine his shock and joy when he received an offer to work for Boeing in Seattle. Boeing!

Thus began a new chapter in the completely changed lives of Ed and his new young wife, Adelaida. Ed started in 1958 on the 720 program, a short-range version of the famous 707 jetliner. He also worked on the 727 during their time in Seattle.

Eventually he would be followed by many others from CIT. Attached is a photo of Ed with some CIT colleagues at the Renton preflight line, where in the background, though hard to see, are 707s for American Airlines and Pan Am.

Ed was given the opportunity to work on NASA's 1960s moon-landing Apollo program. They moved to New Orleans, where Ed worked on the Saturn V moon rocket's first stage at Michoud.

Although he enjoyed working on such a historic program, his heart was in military aircraft. With that in mind, he changed jobs to McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis as a design engineer on the F-4 Phantom II.

Ed would spend the rest of his career in St. Louis working on the F-111 crew station, F-14 proposal, F-15 Eagle, AV-8B Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet.

I'm proud of the long career my father had in Boeing's heritage companies, and grateful for the foundation he laid for me to follow in his footsteps for my own engineering career at McDonnell and Boeing in St. Louis that has supported my family for 29 years.

Ed Segura (right) with his CIT colleagues at the Renton 707 preflight line.

Photo courtesy of Paul Segura