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  Schriever, architect of Air Force space and missile programs, dies

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Author Topic:   Schriever, architect of Air Force space and missile programs, dies
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-22-2005 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Air Force Press Release
Architect of Air Force space and missile programs dies

Retired Gen. Bernard Adolph Schriever, widely regarded as the father and architect of the Air Force space and ballistic missile programs, died of natural causes at home in Washington on June 20.

Under General Schriever's leadership, the Air Force developed programs such as the Thor, Atlas, Titan and Minuteman missiles, and all aerospace systems that have been launched into orbit, including those supporting NASA in its Mercury man-in-space program.

General Schriever was born in 1910 in Bremen, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1917 with his parents. He began his military career in the Army field artillery, but later earned his wings and a commission in the Army Air Corps in 1933 at Kelly Field, Texas.

During World War II, then-Major Schriever served in the Pacific with the 19th Bomb Group, taking part in the Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte, Luzon, Papua, North Solomon, South Philippine and Ryukyu campaigns. By the end of the war he was commanding officer of advanced headquarters for Far East Air Service Command which supported theater operations from bases in Hollandia, New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa.

After the war, General Schriever was assigned to the Pentagon where he later recounted the interest by military and civilian leaders concerning the feasibility of reconnaissance satellites, especially as the nuclear age began.

"Pearl Harbor had really given us a shock, especially because of the amount of damage inflicted by that surprise attack," General Schriever said during a 1998 interview. "President Eisenhower wanted us to determine how we could best get strategic intelligence to avoid a nuclear Pearl Harbor. That was the deciding issue in putting the Air Force into the space business."

Space took center stage Oct. 4, 1957, when the former Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite. The Air Force responded by sending Discovery One into orbit Feb. 28, 1959.

The race to space included many successes and failures for both the ICBM and satellite programs. But General Schriever said he and his group accepted that they were taking risks because they knew if they did not develop an ICBM long-range capability and satellite reconnaissance system, there would be a major instability in the strategic balance between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

"We never lost confidence, even when we had failures, which we had plenty of in the early days," General Schriever said. "Not a single program missed its target date of reaching operational capability. Of course there were concerns, but we met them every time."

In 1959, General Schriever assumed command of Air Research and Development Command, which later became Air Force Systems Command on April 1, 1961, under a reorganization initiated by him. He was promoted to full general in 1961 and retired in 1966.

Larry McGlynn

Posts: 805
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-22-2005 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
General Schriever was responsible for the development of the management system that NASA would adopt in the 50's and 60's to help launch men to the Moon.

He sought a change in the way the military handled design and build contracts with defense contractors due to the nature of rocketry.

General Schriever also was instrumental in starting Federally Contracted Research Centers like TRW and MITRE to provide expertise to the USAF as they developed the ICBM program in the 40's and 50's.

Popular history says the USA was just launching V2's in the desert all through the 50's. In actuality, we had men like General Schriever in charge of design, developing and building the missiles of the future like the Atlas and the Titan.

We may have been a couple of years behind the Soviets in ICBM's, but when we finally were able to bring them on line, we leaped ahead with the Atlas, Titan and Thor missiles.

Finally, Schriever's programs supplied experienced men to the NASA like Joe Shea and General Sam Phillips to mention a few.

He was the father of modern rocketry management in this country.

Larry McGlynn
A Tribute to Apollo

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2007 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. Air Force release

SMC unveils Gen. Schriever statue

The Space and Missile Systems Center [at Los Angeles Air Force Base] dedicated a 9-foot bronze statue of Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Nov. 15.

"It's a real honor to pay tribute to an aviation pioneer, a World War II and Cold War hero, and the man we all knew as the father of Air Force missile and space programs," said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command. "Because missile and space programs really were one in the same when General Bernard Schriever began the Western Development Division.

"When I look across AFSPC today, whether it's in satellite operations centers, missile alert facilities, acquisitions locations or any place where Air Force space professionals are on the job, I see how every one of us has benefited from the fruits of General Schriever's vision and leadership," he said.

A local San Pedro artist, Eugene Daub, crafted the statue, which was donated to SMC by the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter 147.

SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Hamel quoted General Schriever in his remarks at the ceremony: "The world has an ample supply of people who can always come up with a dozen good reasons why a new idea will not work and should not be tried, but the people who produce progress are a breed apart. They have the imagination, the courage, and the persistence to find solutions."

The dedication also included remarks from retired Gen. Lance Lord, former AFSPC commander, and retired Lt. Gen. Brian Arnold, AFA Schriever Chapter 147 chairman of the board and a former SMC commander.

SMC dedicated its Schriever Space Complex April 24, 2006, and Schriever AFB in Colorado is named to honor the late general.

General Schriever was born in Bremen, Germany, Sept. 14, 1910. He moved to the United States with his parents in 1917 and joined the U.S. Army in 1931. He was promoted to brigadier general in June 1953 and became a four-star general July 1, 1961.


Posts: 432
From: Orange, California USA
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 11-20-2007 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A well deserved honor for Schriever. That was a period of innovation and intensity that was fascinating to track from the "outside" and to watch the completions of the R&D programs. Lots of missile flights from both coasts made 1957-1964 one heck of an era.

I do think the release should have noted the USAF answer to Sputnik was Project SCORE and not Discoverer 1.


Posts: 961
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 11-21-2007 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I scored, as did several other cS members, a great triple play in hearing General Schriver, Si Ramo, and Ken Mattingly speak at an afternoon conference in Washington, DC a few years back.


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