PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
In keeping with its annual tradition, the commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center inducted three former members of the nuclear treaty monitoring center onto its famed “Wall of Honor” May 26.
Col. Katharine G. Barber recognized retired Senior Master Sergeants Mike Clark and Tony DeMarco and Ms. Eunice Harris at a ceremony held in the Doyle M. Northrup Auditorium here as dozens of current, former and retired members of AFTAC witnessed the induction.
Barber and her command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Amy Long, presented each inductee with an engraved medallion that depicts an American Bald Eagle clutching a scroll in one talon and a sword in the other. The scroll symbolizes the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the sword illustrates military strength and might. Above the eagle are the words, “Sapientia Potentia Est,” Latin for “Wisdom is Power.”
In addition to the medallion, the honorees’ names were engraved on plaques that now hang on the Wall of Honor in the center’s main lobby.
Selection to the wall is stringent and rigorous. The AFTAC Heritage Committee meticulously reviews dozens of nomination packages of former scientists, analysts, engineers and technicians to judge their contributions and impact on the center’s historic long-range detection mission. Only three per year are considered for induction. The committee looks for nominees who demonstrated great character and whose actions truly discriminated them from thousands of other center employees, both military and civilian.
Dr. Mike Young, AFTAC’s historian, led this year’s selection panel.
“Our lineage can be traced back to 1947, two days before the Air Force was established as a separate service, and the single thing that can be attributed to our success as an organization is without a doubt our people,” said Young. “The contributions of today’s inductees are priceless, and their work absolutely formed the cornerstone of our long range detection mission. AFTAC’s greatest asset has always been its people. It definitely gives our more junior personnel an opportunity to learn about the giants upon whose shoulders we stand today.”
Clark, who joined the Air Force in 1969, spent nearly his entire 25 years in the Air Force assigned to AFTAC’s various overseas and stateside detachments. He was also a technical training instructor and authored training manuals. After retirement, he became the lead analyst for the Group of Scientific Experts Technical Test 3, the planning group that helped develop the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.
DeMarco was also a career-AFTACer, serving 23 years with the organization from 1966 to 1989. He was an expert in operating the electromagnetic pulse technique – the “Q” technique – in the Atomic Energy Detection System. When the “Q” capabilities were eliminated in favor of more advanced satellite methods, DeMarco played a key role in the rapid development of the new “J” technique and ultimately became AFTAC’s most experience EMP systems expert.
Harris, a 31-year government civilian, served as the secretary and closest confidant to AFTAC’s first senior scientist, Walt Singlevich, for nearly 20 years. She handled numerous responsibilities and managed countless classified and time-sensitive national-level reports to ensure Singlevich had the tools and resources needed to make critical decisions for senior decision makers. In essence, she was an office manager, administrative assistant, primary communicator and invaluable gatekeeper in managing AFTAC’s senior scientist’s daily workload.
“My mom just loved AFTAC,” said Mike Harris, Eunice’s son. “She was involved in everything from the alumni association to morale events to spouses groups to holiday parties – you name it. She adored being part of such a great organization.”
Mike, along with his sister Tina Colon, accepted the posthumous award for their mother.
“If my mother had been here today to receive this honor, she would be grinning ear to ear,” said Tina. “She ran our household much like how she took care of Mr. Singlevich – a tight ship, but with a lot of love. We are so appreciative of AFTAC for recognizing her in such a special way. We’re all very proud!”
The Wall of Honor was established in 2015 to recognize individuals who “profoundly contributed to AFTAC’s global mission, while personifying the Air Force Core Values of integrity, service and excellence,” and since its inception, the center has inducted 30 people to the wall.
Addressing the audience but directing her comments to the three inductees, the leader of the treaty monitoring center had nothing but praise for their significant contributions to AFTAC’s continued success.
“It is such a privilege for me to recognize the lifetime achievements of today’s honorees,” said Barber. “You are innovators, trainers, developers, instructors, creators, and trailblazers who used your expertise to make tough calls and provide crucial data to our national decision-makers, all the way up to the President of the United States, and in doing so, you kept us safe. I cannot wait to see the legends we are creating today join your names on our wall to forever commemorate your historic contributions. I salute Mike, Tony and Eunice and thank their families and friends for joining us in celebrating their profound impact.”