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Hanscom's AFRL directorates head west, research site closes
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Stutz, commander, Air Force Research Laboratory Hanscom Research Site, passes the organization's flag to Maj. Gen. William N. McCasland, commander, AFRL, during an inactivation ceremony June 15. The Hanscom site is being closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. The organization's Space Vehicles Directorate is moving to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, N.M., while the Sensors Directorate is headed to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte-Britt)
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Hanscom's AFRL directorates head west, research site closes

Posted 6/23/2011   Updated 6/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by Warren Russo
Global Command and Control System-Air Force acquisition manager

6/23/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -  -- With sunny skies, flying flags and music by the Band of Liberty, two units of the Air Force Research Laboratory bid farewell to Hanscom Air Force Base - their home for the last 66 years.

Some 400 military and civilian guests looked on at the inactivation ceremony on Wednesday, emceed by Maj. Jill Parker, Defensive Space Control Foundations program manager, at the AFRL Hanscom research site, which is being shuttered as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. The lab's operations have been split, with the Space Vehicles Directorate moving to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., while the Sensors Directorate will take up residence at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

"I knew at the beginning of this tour that I would be the last director of the lab," said keynote speaker Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Stutz, commander, Hanscom Research Site, "and I am very proud of that."

Dr. Robert A. Morris, chief of the Battlespace Environment Division, peppered his message of thanks with the quotations of others, including scientist Richard Feynman's comment that "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

Expressing his gratitude for everyone who helped keep the lab going in good times and bad, he recalled the words of Winston Churchill, who once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." He also noted even though many AFRL staffers have elected not to move with the lab, he expects it to be 85 percent populated by September.

Electromagnetics Technology Division Chief William E. Moore reeled off a list of AFRL accomplishments, including the development of high-accuracy clocks that enabled the Global Positioning System and the invention of geodesic dome radar, as well as advances in atmospheric research and antenna technology that allow us to "fly, fight and win in cyberspace."

Col. William T. Cooley told the crowd that "There is no question that space is the key to Air Force success in the future, because successful space operations depend on our knowledge of the space environment." As Space Vehicles director, he called attention to the study of space weather, the monitoring of nuclear testing in the environment, and the effects of solar activity on communications.

Maj. Gen. William N. McCasland, commander, AFRL, rounded out the presentations with a recounting of the lab's evolution, from its 1945 founding as the Cambridge Research Station to its reincarnation at Kirtland and Wright-Patterson.

"We are committed to solving the tough challenges," he said, "and there is much work to be done. While we officially close this facility, we do not close the door on the activities, the achievements and the challenges of scientific research on behalf of the U.S. Air Force."

As AFRL officials left the podium to the sound of a staccato drumbeat, the AFRL flag was furled for the last time, Hanscom's research lab was no more, and the band played on.

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