When I graduated college in 1962, I was a nerdy twenty-one year old with an engineering degree and only one ambition – to join NASA and beat the Soviets to Mars. The Cold War had been going on for over a decade and, at the time, the U.S. and the Soviets had been testing H-bombs and ballistic missile delivery systems. As someone who as a child did duck-and-cover drills, I wanted to contribute to America’s effort in securing our position as the global technical leader.
After living through the Cuban Missile Crisis while at NASA, I became so concerned about the need for America to develop a defensive ballistic missile system that would convince the Soviets they could not ever launch a first strike. I went on to work for Dr. Simon Ramo, the man who eventually became known as the ‘Godfather of the ICBM’. For forty years after that, I worked on space communications and surveillance payloads, satellite and weapons systems designed to protect and secure America.
My one ambition as a young man led me to build a career with purpose – to ensure Americans could sleep easy at night throughout the decades of the Cold War.
In 2022, here we are again. We have a near peer country that is ahead of us just like the Soviets were in the 60s. Yet today this is China and the technology is hypersonics. With the advent of hypersonic delivery platforms by nations that don’t share our same democratic principles, Americans have a similar opportunity to serve our country. For all you young people in America (and yes, you are young if you’re younger than me), we have a national need to advance our country’s hypersonics capabilities. I’ve joined Team America in this effort and I hope you consider joining, too.