An excerpt from the upcoming book, The Rise of Air Force Space Command.
I sat down with Larry Bloom at his home in Longmont, Colorado in October 2015 to talk about his nearly four decades of service in militarized space development and operations. “I had plans to be a chemical engineer for an oil company,” he told me. “But you know what they say about plans…”
Larry was born Richard Larry Bloom April 12, 1945–the same day Franklin Roosevelt died. “I had big shoes to fill, but I never made it to the Presidency either!” he joked. He was born the week his father was crossing from France to Germany with the 25th Tank Battalion, 14th Armored Division—Sgt Richard Bloom commanded a Sherman tank and drove it, equipped with a bulldozer blade, into German territory during World War II. His mother, not having any instructions on naming a son and not sure if it was important to Larry’s father, gave him his father’s first name—Richard; and then gave him the name she liked, Larry, as his middle name. He has gone by Larry ever since. In high school in Milliken, CA, Larry was involved in sports, was an Eagle Scout, and worked as an assistant in the high school Chemistry lab after school. His junior year in high school, Larry lied about his age so that he could also go to work in the oil fields after school, on weekends and during school breaks. “That was tough work—and it convinced me I wanted to go to college.” He continued to work in the oil fields during his college years as well.
While in high school, Larry met Marilyn Bruner—“we fixed that later,” he said with a smirk. Larry’s high school sweetheart became his wife in 1966 while he was a junior at the University of CA, Berkley. Marilyn went to work for the University and Larry finished his degree in Chemical Engineering in 1967. Shell oil company hired him right out of college as a chemical engineer and he immediately went to work on building a new oil refinery in CA—the Shell Martinez Refinery, still operating in Martinez, CA today. He was a chemical engineer for six months. Then the draft board came. Larry had received an S1 deferment allowing him to finish college, but that time had now run out.