by James Spellman, Jr.
Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs
7/10/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A
rare, but badly needed rain shower did nothing to dampen spirits as six
early Air Force and civilian space pioneers were honored during a
ceremony unveiling their names, newly inscribed on a wall of polished
black granite at the General Bernard A. Schriever Memorial, located on
the grounds of the Space and Missile Systems Center.
Hosted by the SMC History office in the Gordon Conference Center, the
event was presided over by Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander, with
Gen. John Hyten, commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force
Base, Colo. and retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Taverney, former AFSPC vice
commander attending. More than 300 attendees including family members
and civic leaders from the surrounding South Bay beach cities honored
the six inductees: Col. Clarence L. Battle, Jr., Maj. Gen. Ben I. Funk,
Col. Thomas O. Haig, Col. Edward N. Hall, Mr. Joseph J. Knopow and Lt.
Gen. Charles H. Terhune, Jr.
Two special guests were also in attendance: 94-year-old retired Col.
Haig, one of the honorees and Maj. Michael Schriever, grandson of
General Schriever whose memorial bears his name. Maj. Schriever is
currently chief of the National Reconnaissance Office headquarters
Weapons and Tactics and deputy chief of NRO Special Technical
Coming from various backgrounds and fields of expertise, the six latest
inductees share a common heritage representing early Air Force space and
* Col. Lee Battle worked on propulsion projects at Air Force
headquarters and the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force
Base during the early 1950s. He transferred to the Western Development
Division soon after its creation in 1954, becoming the chief of systems
engineering for the Advanced Reconnaissance System, which soon became
known by the unclassified name Discoverer and the CIA's classified
Discoverer/Corona was not only the first Air Force satellite program, it
was also the world's first satellite designed to perform a military
mission. Col. Battle directed the Discoverer/Corona program during its
critical early period through its eventual success in film recovery from
orbit beginning in 1960 with Discoverer 14, after which it was managed
by the National Reconnaissance Office.
The lessons in management that he learned through a dozen early launch
and payload failures leading to the first successful launch, on-orbit
operations, and payload recovery were summarized in Battle's Laws. In
them, he laid out the fundamental principles for direction of successful
space programs, emphasizing a streamlined approach with simple clarity.
Battle's Laws are still well known among acquisition managers as a
distillation of practical wisdom for achieving program success.
* Maj. Gen. Ben Funk oversaw General Schriever's logistics, materiel,
and acquisition functions, improving activities vital to the success of
SMC's predecessors. General Schriever personally selected General Funk
to be the commander of Space Systems Division, overseeing many
pioneering space programs where he was known especially for his support
of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mercury and
General Funk was responsible for man-rating the Atlas missile for the
Mercury program and the Titan II missile and Agena target vehicle for
the Gemini program. Three-fourths of the hardware used in NASA's first
two manned space programs were developed and launched under General
Gen Funk also oversaw the development of the Titan III launch vehicle,
which provided an enormous increase in launch capacity for the nation's
military and civil space programs. He oversaw the beginning of many
vital satellite programs, including the initial Defense Communications
Satellite program. Los Angeles Air Force Base, headquarters for SMC and
its predecessors since 1964, was acquired, remodeled, and occupied
during his management as well.
* Working on balloon reconnaissance programs in the early 1950s, Col.
Thomas Haig managed requirements for satellite ground support at the Air
Force Ballistic Missile Division until 1961, developing tracking and
control stations for early surveillance programs. When the National
Reconnaissance Office established a meteorological satellite program in
1961 to provide information on cloud cover over the Soviet Union for its
Corona photographic reconnaissance satellites, Haig was selected to
create and manage the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program for the
When DMSP was transferred to Space Systems Division in the early 1960s,
Haig served as its director until 1966, managing it through four
satellite block changes. DMSP was used immediately for military
operations with the first satellite providing weather information for
reconnaissance missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Block I
satellites also supported air operations in the Congo in 1964. By the
end of Haig's tenure, DMSP data was supporting tactical military
operations in Vietnam.
* Widely recognized in the field of early missiles during World War II,
Col. Edward Hall performed pioneering work on the development of
propulsion for all first-generation Air Force strategic missiles. He
managed the entire Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile development
program through its deployment in England.
Col. Hall personally obtained the required Pentagon support to develop a
proposed new solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile,
managing the Minuteman I ICBM development program at the Western
Development Division, SMC's first organizational ancestor and the Air
Force Ballistic Missile Division from the early development of
solid-fuel propulsion through early Minuteman flight testing in 1959.
* The father of space-based infrared detection technology, Mr. Joe
Knopow was in charge of the Missile Division of Lockheed Aircraft
Corporation's development of MIDAS, the world's first missile detection
satellite program, during 1955-1962. Like the early Corona program,
MIDAS experienced many launch and early on-orbit failures before
achieving its first spectacular surveillance successes.
Mr. Knopow tirelessly planned, guided, and advocated for the program
through its early difficulties. The original concepts that he developed
for MIDAS are familiar and valuable infrared detection techniques are
still in use today.
* Lt. Gen. Charles Terhune worked on the development of missiles and
nuclear warheads for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air
Force Special Weapons Center. As a colonel, Terhune was one of the
original 18 military personnel, known as the "Schoolhouse Gang" who
arrived at a schoolhouse in Inglewood serving as the Western Development
Division's temporary headquarters in August 1954 to set up the
development program for the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile.
Serving as General Schriever's technical assistant, deputy for ballistic
missiles, and then vice commander over a six-year period, General
Terhune played a vital role in the formulation and implementation of the
management concepts which brought the first generation of Air Force
intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles to
operational status through the combined efforts of a vast
government-science-industry team. He was a key figure in the development
of early space programs, including the Advanced Reconnaissance System
and the Pioneer lunar missions.
"To the family members of these individuals, the world is a vastly
different place for the better because of their legacy that we continue
to benefit from today," said Hyten. "We owe these leaders a great debt
of gratitude, a debt we can only repay by living up to the examples they
set for us."
With support from industry partners, the Air Force Association's
Schriever chapter sponsored and commissioned a statue of General
Schriever, architect of the Air Force's ballistic missile and military
space program, in November 2007. The 60th anniversary of SMC in 2014 was
chosen as the initial occasion to recognize some of the earliest space
pioneers who made tremendous contributions in their field. Additional
pioneers are chosen each year to have their names added to the Schriever
Wall of Honor.