Maj. Gen. Niles J. Fulwyler, 85, passed away Jan. 11. He was the 16th White Sands Missile Range Commander, serving from 1982 to 1986. In 1996, he was inducted into the WSMR Hall of Fame for his lasting contribution to the installation and national test range.
Maj. Gen. Fulwyler was born on Nov. 13, 1928 in Homedale, Idaho. He received his commission following graduation from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. He also earned a Master’s degree in international relations from the American University, Washington, DC.
Maj. Gen. Fulwyler attended the Field Artillery School, the Infantry School, the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.
Before coming to White Sands he was Chief of the Nuclear Activities Branch at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and the Director of the Nuclear and Chemical Directorate in the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans.
When Maj. Gen. Fulwyler first arrived at White Sands in 1982 he immediately immersed himself in the effort to establish a launch complex at Mountain Home, Idaho. Since Idaho was Maj. Gen. Fulwyler’s home state he used his influence and powers of persuasion to ensure a smooth and problem-free development.
In 1984, White Sands, under Maj. Gen. Fulwyler’s leadership, hosted the Joint Logistics Conference. This conference brought the four-star logistics leadership from all the services to the missile range. The exposure for White Sands was necessary, as the missile range had been a well-kept secret since it was established in 1945.
Because of his influence the Departments of Army and Energy funded a restoration of the McDonald ranch house at Trinity Site to its 1945 condition. The National Park Service did the Work. The dedication of the ranch house restoration in 1984 set the stage for more frequent Trinity Site open houses.
During his command Maj. Gen. Fulwyler was always active in the surrounding communities. He was in constant demand as a speaker for local meetings and events. Evidence of his dynamic style came when the National Freedom Foundation awarded him the George Washington Honor Medal for Public Address while he was at White Sands.
He was also a hands-on person in the communities. In 1984 he led more than 100 volunteers in a clean up around Burn Lake in Las Cruces. Later, he led more volunteers in laying sod in the new Albert Johnson Memorial Park.
Maj. Gen. Fulwyler retired in 1986, first living in Santa Fe, N.M., and then later moving to Meridian, Idaho.
A funeral Mass will be conducted for retired Maj. Gen. Fulwyler will be conducted on Jan. 24, at 10 a.m. at Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org , the White Sands Museum Foundation, P.O. Box 171, White Sands, NM 88002, or to Pet Haven, Canyon County Humane Society, 333 W. Orchard Ave., Nampa, Idaho 83651 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Maj. Gen. Fulwyler will be interred at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery with full military honors. Interment will occur at noon Jan. 24.