The Air Force communications and information community paid tribute to six former Air Force senior leaders whose pioneering vision helped lay a solid foundation for the Air Force to build a communications capability second-to-none. The honorees were named "Foundation Setters" and inducted into the Communications and Information Hall of Fame April 12, 2000, during a banquet at the Andrews AFB, Md., Officers Club. The banquet was part of the Communications and Information Retired General Officers Conference and Chief Information Officer Summit April 12-13, 2000.
"These pillars of strength are our 20th century communications legends. They left an enduring legacy and paved the way to information superiority for our Air Force," said Lt. Gen. John L. "Jack" Woodward Jr., deputy chief of staff for Communications and Information.
Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell is best remembered for his advocacy of airpower as a decisive element of national strength, but a major part of his career was devoted to modernizing military communications. Mitchell began his military career in the Army's Signal Corps, where he spent 14 years in communications. In 1901 the Signal Corps sent 21-year-old 1st Lt. Mitchell to Fort Egbert, Alaska, to lead one of three construction crews charged with installing telegraph lines across often uncharted wilderness. Mitchell made the last connection of the landlines for the Alaska Communications System in the summer of 1903. Each year an award, sponsored by the Air Force Association in his honor, goes to one individual for communications and information contributions that most enhanced the Air Force's warfighting capability
Gen. Edwin W. Rawlings was considered to be one of the outstanding buisness experts in the military services. His first assignment, after appointment as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps of the Regular Army in 1930, was to Luke Field, Hawaii, as assistant photographic officer. He later served as commanding officer of the 11th Photographic Section. He became Comptroller of the Air Force in 1946 and guided the new office through its formative years from 1946 to 1951. He then commanded Air Materiel Command during the Air Force's transition into ballistic missiles and space developments--a transition that required new technologies and automoation in support, supply and distribution. The Air Force Communications and Information Awards program recognizes him with an award in his name to a team that has worked to complete a project that significantly enhances Air Force communications and information operations.
Lt. Gen. Harold W. Grant was a communications pioneer who worked throughout his career to ensure the operating forces had the best communications support available. He was the Air Force director of Telecommunications before becoming the first commander of Air Force Communications Service in 1961. Under his leadership, AFCS provided airways communications, air traffic control, much of the long-haul and certain base level communications. A building at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., home of the Air Force Communications Agency, is dedicated to his memory. The Lt. Gen. Harold W. Grant Award recognizes a communications and information organization each year for excellent support to the Air Force mission.
Lt. Gen. Lee Paschall was the first recipient of the Air Force Communications and Information Hall of Fame Award in 1999. He paved the way for many communicators through mentoring, challenging job opportunities, extraordinary foresight and genuine concern for the Air Force and its people. He is a "father of modern command, control, communications and computers." Following a series of communications assignments both stateside and overseas, General Paschall was assigned to Air Force headquarters as deputy director and in 1971 as director of Command Control and Communications. In 1974 he was named director of the Defense Communications Agency. His contributions to the Air Force are recognized with an annual award in his name to the top student in each Advanced Communications and Information Officer Training class at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
Maj. Gen. Harold M. McClelland is considered by many to be the "father of Air Force communications" for his early contributions in promoting and organizing a systems approach to air communications. He served as communications officer for then Lt. Col. Henry "Hap" Arnold on his famous Alaska flight in 1934.
Arnold tasked McClelland to develop a permanent airways communications system. McClelland spent four years working on the idea, and in 1938 the Army Airways Communications System was established. It was redesignated Airways and Air Communications Service in 1946 with McClelland as its first Air Force commander. In 1949 he was appointed director of Communications-Electronics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. An annual Air Force Communications and Information Award in his name recognizes a communications and information organization for excellent support of the Air Force mission.
Maj. Gen. Robert Sadler was known for his dedication to the Air Force and its people. His philosophy was simple: Get the job done! In 1974, he became vice commander of Air Force Communications Service, then headquartered at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Mo. He returned to Washington for duty as deputy director of Command Control and Communications, office of the deputy chief of staff for Programs and Resources, at Air Force headquarters. He was assigned to the Joint Staff as director of Communications-Electronics, and then in 1976 to Defense Communications Agency, Arlington, Va., as deputy director for Plans and Programs. In 1977, he became commander of Air Force Communications Service, and on Nov. 1 established AFCS headquarters at Scott AFB, Ill., where it remains today as Air Force Communications Agency. He is recognized with an annual award in his name to the top student in each Basic Communications and Information Officer Training class at Keesler Air Force Base.
"We are extremely proud as Communications and Information professionals to follow in the footsteps of these great trailblazers," said Woodward. "As we enter a new millennium with all the challenges and opportunities it holds, it's important we remember those who came before us and laid a solid foundation for today's Air Force Communications and Information professionals."