White Sands Missile Range is now accepting nominations from all sources until the end of March for its Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1980, and the purpose is to give appropriate and perpetual recognition to those members of the WSMR workforce, military and civilian, who have made singularly significant contributions to the mission on the Range and to the surrounding communities. It is the highest award the missile range can bestow on one of its own.
Past honorees include such individuals as Wernher von Braun, the famous German rocket scientist, and Dr. Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto. But you don’t have to be a world-class scientist to be recognized in the hall of fame. If anything, Tombaugh and von Braun are the exceptions.
“We’ve had a lot of wonderful, hard-working people who have worked at WSMR, but this honor is reserved for the few who have gone above and beyond the call of service during their tenure at WSMR,” said WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin.
The hall of fame includes 52 members. It contains both men and women, both civilian and military personnel, both government and contractor employees and a huge mix of professions – everything from chaplain to missile flight safety to public affairs to professional engineer to equal employment opportunity to “mover and shaker.” It is the embodiment of “Team WSMR,” the phrase missile range leaders have thrown around for decades.
The Army Research Lab has had a few inductees to include Joy Arthur, Donald Hoock and Joseph Trammel.
For information on nomination procedures or to request an updated copy of the White Sands Hall of Fame Guide, call the WSMR Public Affairs Office, (575) 678-1134. The guide contains the forms, guidelines and procedures for nomination.
To get into the hall of fame a nominee must have been responsible for significant and lasting deeds or achievements during their career at WSMR. The contributions may be in various areas such as research, innovations, cost savings, technological advances, safety, public relations, equal opportunity or heroic deeds.
All former military, civilian and contractor personnel who have served at White Sands are eligible for nomination. No one currently working at the range is eligible.
Suggestions for Submitting a Nomination
By Jim Eckles & Erin Dorrance
Suggestion #1. Get help. Some nominations are submitted by loved ones or friends who don’t have a deep understanding of what the nominee did. You need information about the person’s accomplishments and why they were meaningful. The person’s personnel file will help if you have access to it – asking the nominee for his records is one way to get accurate data. You need to find the nuggets of excellence and put those in the package. It is highly recommended to work closely with the nominee’s colleagues who may be able to strengthen the nominee’s package with technical information and quantifiable statistics and information on the impact of work accomplished.
Suggestion #2. Remember the intent of the program—the WSMR Hall of Fame recognizes past WSMR employees who went above and beyond. Thousands of great people have worked at the range in its 70-year history, but this honor is for those who made significant contribution while at WSMR.
Suggestion #3. The nominee should have made accomplishments individually, since the honor is not presented to a group or a couple. If a nominee “collaborated” or “contributed” to a project then they can’t solely take credit for the accomplishment. On the other hand, if the nominee “spearheaded,” “led” or “single-handedly accomplished” a project, they would comply with the intent of the honor.
Suggestion #4. Do not include obscure documents, evaluations, award certificates, etc. In fact, if you look at the latest rules you will find that the board limits the narrative submission to four pages.
Suggestion #5. Find the good stuff – grab it and jettison the rest. It is in the mountain of paper you want to submit but won’t. Take the real examples of the nominee’s great work and succinctly write up what he or she did, how it made a difference, and support it with a quote from an evaluation or an award certificate. If John Doe designed a new camera widget or lead an effort to save millions of dollars, explain what it was. The quotes from the evaluation or award are then the proof that he or she did them and that they are, indeed, important.
Suggestion #6. Make sure everything is specific. I’ve seen a lot of packages where nominators sought an endorsement from their congressman thinking it would impress. Those letters don’t help but the key facts from those who worked with them carry much more weight.