HALL OF FAME
E-Mail: Museum Director
Mr. Leon F. Goode Jr.
Ballistic Missile Defense
Mr. Leon F. Goode Jr. was born in Rocky Mount, NC on
Dec. 19, 1927. He attended high school in Knoxville, Tenn. and earned a BS in
Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1952.
Goode came to White Sands in 1956 after four
years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His initial job was as an engineer in
the field of environmental testing in what is now the Army Material Test and
Evaluation Directorate. Within six months he was promoted to section chief and
in 1957, at the age of 29, he was named range project manager for the new Nike
Zeus testing program.
The Nike Zeus was not easy to test. It was a
three-stage vehicle about 48 feet long with a booster that developed more than
450,000 pounds of thrust. It was designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Guidance
was provided by a complex ground system of radars and computers. Keeping it on
the missile range was a challenge.
Included in Goode's efforts for Nike Zeus was
large-scale construction of facilities and development of a northern extension
area for the missile range. Goode proved to be a major player in establishing
the extension, an accomplishment that still pays dividends for White Sands.
Not only did he plan and integrate the Zeus test
program at White Sands, he advised on test operations at the Atlantic and
Pacific Ocean test sites. In addition, he was responsible for the engineering
testing of the system. This required him to develop a task force organization
that would evaluate the system and its performance.
Eventually, Nike Zeus developed into the Nike X, the
Sentinel, and finally, the Safeguard. At this point the White Sands
organization was transferred to the Special Program organization created at
the Department of Army level and became the Sentinel System Evaluation Agency.
Located at WSMR, the organization grew to almost 600 and became primarily a
system evaluator and watchdog for the System Manager.
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty of 1972 in effect
killed the whole program and left the agency without a mission. While range
officials prepared plans to run a reduction in force of some 400 employees
Goode began to search for other Army users for his organization's expertise.
Goode's efforts paid off at the eleventh hour when the
newly formed US Army Training and Doctrine Command, looking for a source of
talent to staff its newly assigned analytical mission, "bought" the entire
remaining organization and renamed it the TRADOC Systems Analysis Activity.
Because of Goode's work several hundred jobs were saved on the missile range
and local communities felt very little adverse economic impact.
Goode served as Deputy Director for Technical
operations at the new organization from 1974 to 1983. He served as director
from 1983 until his retirement in 1988.
Mr. Goode died in Aug 1993.