Two former WSMR Army Research and Laboratory employees were honored for their extraordinary contributions to the installation during their professional careers by being inducted into the WSMR Hall of Fame. Former security site manager Joseph Trammel was recognized along with former Atmospheric Dynamic branch chief Donald Hoock, who was posthumously recognized. The ceremony took place at the Frontier Club followed by a short ceremony at the WSMR Museum where a plaque was revealed Nov. 18. The rooms were packed with current Hall of Fame members and close friends and family of the newly inducted members.
“White Sands is an amazing place. You wake up on a cool crisp morning and you see the beauty of the mountains and hear the roar of the missiles. It’s absolutely amazing to experience the beauty of this place, but the beauty pales in comparison to the accomplishments of the members we have here today,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin, WSMR Commander, during the ceremony.
David Tofsted, who nominated Hoock, was the first to take the stage during the luncheon. Tofsted worked alongside Hoock for most of his career and credited him for primarily coming up with a counter strategy program to defeat the Soviets.
“There’s one indispensable person in this division and that was Don Hoock,” Tofsted said.
Hoock’s niece Leslie Sandoval and her mother Diane Johnson accepted Hoock’s medal, certificate, and flag during the ceremony. Sandoval talked about his uncle being an unassuming man and how his job was his passion and what he got excited about on a daily basis. She said she probably would not have heard about this award were her uncle still alive.
“His work was his life,” Sandoval said. “I know he mentored many people out here and he would have been deeply honored to have received this award recognizing his efforts.”
Sandoval was followed by Gary Giebel, WSMR Army Research and Laboratory chief and Trammel’s nominator. Giebel said Trammel was largely responsible for keeping the organization safe and free of incidents for Trammel’s entire career.
“We knew we had a Hall of Famer from the get go,” Giebel said. “He wants to be a part of the solution, not the problem.”
Giebel also said Trammel’s, an ordained pastor, efforts outside of his professional career lead to the prevention the potential suicide of an ARL Team member. Trammel visited the team member’s home when the individual didn’t show up for work that day.
“If Joseph wasn’t that battle buddy, I can assure you that we would have lost an ARL member,” Giebel said.
Trammel thanked the community for the award and said his induction was a representation of the help and support he had throughout his career. Trammel compared his relationship to a sequoia tree which grows stronger by rooting together with other sequoias.
“I just have to pause and give Jesus Christ all of the glory and praise,” Trammel said. “No one gets here by themselves. I couldn’t have asked for better help. God just blessed me with so much wonderful help.”
“I couldn’t think of a better person to share (this award) with,” Trammel said of Hoock.
WSMR Command Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin presented the certificates, medals, and the American flag that was flown in front of Building 100 to Hock’s family and Trammel. Prior to making their way to the museum to unveil their plaques, which will be permanently displayed in the museum’s Hall of Fame, Coffin said a few words.
“We don’t make ‘Hall of Famers’ all we can do is shine our dim light on their many accomplishments,” Coffin said
This was Coffin’s first Hall of Fame event. He said it was an honor to be a part of such a ceremony and commended the members for their many accomplishments throughout their lifetime that led them to receive such a prestigious award.
“We had a number of nominees for this year and I can’t wait to see what next year’s nominees have accomplished,” Coffin said.