By Laura Almaraz
A White Sands Missile Range employee has been recognized by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command as Employee of the Quarter for his work during the second quarter of the year.
Mark Horst, Chief of the Test Services Branch in Applied Environmental Effects Division at WSMR, stood out over seven other ATEC employees for his involvement in several projects.
“As supervisor of the Test Services Branch, Mr. Horst guided his team in the planning, conduct, and reporting of 18 environmental test programs. He ensured numerous programs received outstanding test support and met all critical milestones,” said ATEC Chief of Staff Karen Taylor in an email announcement July 11.
Horst was nominated to be the ATEC Employee of the Quarter by his supervisor Jeff Dallman, the Applied Environmental Effects Division Chief.
“He is an expert technician and has good values; good character, and always seems to get the job done. I rely upon him a lot and he always steps up and does it,” Dallman said.
The nomination letter lists two programs that Horst was personally involved in, the QF-16 MK 8 Warhead Surveillance test and the L3 UGNT Hail test.
In March, Horst and his team were working on the QF-16 MK 8 Warhead surveillance test which required the warheads to be stored in temperatures exceeding typical munitions storage test temperatures.
“We were six days into the 30 day program when I realized that the test requirements were inappropriate,” Horst said. “I researched and realized the warheads were in an unsafe state.”
Horst stopped the project for an investigation. The explosives were found to have melted probably due to the high testing temperatures. Visual inspection by explosive ordnance personnel confirmed that three of the 10 warheads had leaked and had to be disposed of properly.
“I think (the recognition) is ATEC’s way of recognizing the action of following safety procedures,” Horst said.
For the L3 UGNT Hail test, Horst perfected a new hail testing capability. He developed a technique to make ice balls and avoid internal cracking. He also designed an air cannon to launch the hail balls.
“First I’d like to congratulate Mr. Mark Horst for being selected as the Army’s Test and Evaluation Command Employee of the Quarter,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers. “Mark obtaining this recognition is a big win for him as well as the installation. His selection is a testament of the high caliber of competence, commitment, character and professionalism we enjoy each and every day at White Sands Missile Range.”
Horst began working at WSMR 29 years ago after receiving a mechanical engineering degree. He now supervises a team of 14 engineers and scientists and one intern.