In the late 1960s at Sanders Associates, I was the project engineer for some equipment for one of the very secretive agencies; so secretive that they answered their phones with just, “Hello,” no name or department. The customer’s project engineer, who made periodic progress visits, was Tim Finnerty, an Irishman with red hair; a florid face; and a small, bulbous nose. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty.) When the equipment was finished, Tim and one of his cohorts drove up in a station wagon for the acceptance tests.

After acceptance, they said they wanted to take “delivery in place” and drive it home in their wagon. Our contracting officer said, “That’s fine if you’ll sign the DD250.”

“No, that can only be done by our contracting officer, Mr. Bouvoir and he’s in Washington,” was the response. “But give us the DD250 and we’ll get it signed pronto and send it back special delivery.”

“I’m sorry, but you must understand, we can’t release it without a signed DD250.We’ll package it and load it on one of our trucks and deliver it to you tomorrow.”

“We really want to take it with us today,” they said.

“Can you call Mr. Bouvoir and ask him to hop on a shuttle? We’ll wait for him.”

“I’m sure he can’t do that; he’s got too much on his plate,” they responded.

“I don’t know what else we can do.”

They then asked to speak with us privately. Our contracting officer took Tim to his office. After about 15 min, they came back and said they had an agreement. Our techs helped them load the equipment in their car and off they went.

A few days later, our contracting officer came to me and said, “I’m not supposed to do this, but I want to show you something.” We went to his office and he showed me the DD250, and it was signed with the same unmistakable flamboyant signature that was on the contract, “Kermit B. Bouvoir.”  I asked when it was signed. “The day they were here.”

So, Finnerty was Bouvoir.  But why?