The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Mike McCallister Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna and Chris Petersen.

June 26, 2014


“Fourth Generation Beaver”  June 26, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

The majority of this interview consists of a detailed overview of McCallister's career in the military, including his numerous tours of duty as an officer in the United States Navy. In this, McCallister describes the circumstances by which he joined the Navy, his continuing education in Officer Candidate School and the Naval Postgraduate School, and his tours of duty in Guam, Vietnam, Hawaii, the Philippines and elsewhere. In recounting his career, McCallister notes his experiences assisting with the evacuations of Saigon and Phnom Penh, his work with early minicomputers, and multiple projects relating to meteorology and oceanography. He likewise recalls stints working for NOAA, the Snohomish County Emergency Management Agency, and a private sector company, Sound and Sea Technology.

Another theme of the interview is family, both nuclear and extended, and in this he discusses his family's deep roots at Oregon State University. He likewise reflects on his sense of campus culture during his time at OSU - including the impact of the Kennedy assassinations - as well as influential professors, his experiences as a member of Phi Psi fraternity, and his long connection with John Byrne, himself an oceanographer and former OSU President.