HALL OF FAME
E-Mail: Museum Director
Major General John G. Shinkle
July 1, 1960 - June 11, 1962
Major General John G. Shinkle, 6th Commander of White
Sands Proving Ground/Missile Range, was born on March 10, 1912 in Boston. He
graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in 1933 with a
commission in Field Artillery.
His service as an Army officer began at the Presidio of
Monterey. After an assignment in Hawaii, Shinkle obtained a detail in the Army
Ordnance corps and served with Ordnance until the end of his career.
Additional training included the two-year course at the
Ordnance School and a year at MIT where he earned a master's degree.
Shinkle first came to White Sands in January 1951 as
the Director of Technical Operations. He served on several joint boards that
planned and executed the programs of the three military services testing at
White Sands. He is credited with playing a key role in arranging the transfer
of US Air Force instrumentation personnel and resources to the newly created
White Sand Proving Ground Integrated Range.
Shinkle stayed in the missile business with subsequent
assignments as executive officer for the Assistant Chief of Ordnance for
Research and Development and as the first commander of the Army Rocket and
Guided Missile Agency at Huntsville, Ala.
Moving back to White Sands as range commander in June
1960, Shinkle assumed responsibility for testing such weapons at the Nike
Zeus, Hawk, Sergeant and Nike Hercules. His leadership laid the groundwork for
expanding the range's off-range test facilities. His close involvement and
guidance were key in preparing White Sands to support the Athena and Pershing
test programs with firings from Utah and other areas in New Mexico.
Another of Shinkle's accomplishments at White Sands was
his support in the establishment of the range's Nuclear Effects Laboratory. He
defended the project before the scrutiny of higher headquarters. At one point,
approval for the facility’s fast burst reactor had been delayed for several
months. Shinkle met with officials and the next day the reactor was approved.
While at White Sands, Shinkle was noted for his
professionalism and involvement in local events. When he left the range in
June 1962, Shinkle was given awards for public service by the state of New
Mexico and the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
Shinkle left White Sands Missile Range for a NATO
assignment in Paris, France. He retired from the Army in August 1963 and
currently lives in Florida.