From V-2 rocket to moon landing

first_imgHe was a handsome, charismatic, brilliant, onetime member of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and SS paramilitary force. He also was a hero in the United States hailed for helping to land the first man on the moon.During World War II, German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun led a group of engineers in creating the V-2 ballistic missile. The weapon eventually killed 7,000 Allied troops and civilians in London and Antwerp, Belgium, and led to the deaths of 20,000 prisoners in the German forced labor camp where it was manufactured.But von Braun and his colleagues ultimately found a new home. After surrendering to the Americans near the end of the war, the scientists were moved to the United States, where they quickly became a vital part of the U.S. Army’s own ballistic missile program. In 1960, the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came calling. From NASA’s space flight facility in Huntsville, Ala., von Braun and his team took aim at another target: the lunar surface.Author Diane McWhorter’s latest book project, “Moon of Alabama: From Nazi Germany to Tranquility Base, via the Segregated American South,” explores how German scientists from Hitler’s Third Reich helped to create the Saturn V booster rocket that shot the Apollo 11 mission into space. But in addition to relaying history, McWhorter, the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, hopes to capture the sense of irony associated with the United States hosting “technological masters of nihilism” and believers in a master race in the deep South, which was once America’s own “laboratory of genocide.”During a recent talk at the Radcliffe Gymnasium, McWhorter said she hopes in part to offer her readers a nuanced version of the age-old conflict of good versus evil with her latest work, potentially reframing the adage instead as a case of good versus normal, or good versus what is considered normal at the time.Sometimes, she told the crowd, “It’s hard to recognize evil when you are living in it.”McWhorter would know. She was raised just outside of Birmingham, Ala., and was roughly the same age as the four young African-American girls who were killed in the bombing of the city’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. But despite the violence that raged so close to home, she led a protected, privileged life, largely unaware of the tragedies unfolding nearby on a battleground of the Civil Rights era.Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution,” McWhorter said her own past often draws her “to places where terrible things happen.”Her latest research casts light on von Braun’s claims that he was an innocent scientist with dreams of space flight who feared the Nazi regime and was disconnected from the horrors that resulted from his ballistic-missile work.“The basic fact remains that von Braun devised cutting-edge technology intended to help Hitler dominate the globe,” said McWhorter, “and he did so with what he never would deny was total commitment and enthusiasm.”Another twist further highlights the irony. Von Braun, backed by NASA, became a public face for the desegregation movement. The space agency, said McWhorter, “pushed him to become an ambassador for race relations,” and had him urge local leaders, including George Wallace, then governor of Alabama and a staunch defender of segregation, to “do the right thing.”last_img read more

Chilean visit to Fort Hood sets framework for intelligence sharing

first_imgBy Dialogo December 25, 2014 The event was one of several agreed to actions signed into accord during the 2013 U.S./Chile army-to-army staff talks. “This experience has been very enriching,” said Lara. “I, as the professor of the school of intelligence, will be able to take those lessons learned and apply them to different processes to compliment our intelligence structure into day-to-day activities.” The purpose of the visit was to strengthen doctrine and operational capabilities, enhance interoperability between the United States and Chile, encourage intelligence sharing and to strengthen the Chilean army’s ability to counter transnational threats. Army South’s mantra “strength through partnership” was exemplified throughout the exchange according to the participants. “We have a great history with Chile and exchanges like this ensure we continue that relationship well into the future,” said Maj. Miguel Bolivar, Military Intelligence Readiness Command. Army South’s mantra “strength through partnership” was exemplified throughout the exchange according to the participants. “These types of engagements are very beneficial to us because they allow us to enhance our relationships with the members of the U.S. military while also improve our capabilities,” said Chilean Capt. Cristian Lara, an instructor at the Military Intelligence Academy in Santiago, Chile. The UAV presentations focused on the capabilities and limitations of the different platforms, specifically the human interaction needed to ensure success for each UAV mission. The UAV presentations focused on the capabilities and limitations of the different platforms, specifically the human interaction needed to ensure success for each UAV mission. During the visit to Fort Hood, staff members from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division gave the Chilean delegation presentations and demonstrations on various intelligence gathering techniques as well as demonstrations on intelligence gathering platforms such as the RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle, the RQ-7 Shadow UAV and the MQ-1 Grey Eagle UAV. “We wanted to get a better understanding of the U.S. intelligence doctrine and learn from the experiences in the recent conflicts,” said Lara. “We would also like to learn how to apply those lessons learned to our own organic intelligence doctrine.” Specifically, the two-week visit helped to familiarize the Chileans with U.S. Army techniques, tactics, and procedures for intelligence support at the tactical level brigade combat team military intelligence company. Specifically, the two-week visit helped to familiarize the Chileans with U.S. Army techniques, tactics, and procedures for intelligence support at the tactical level brigade combat team military intelligence company. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen doctrine and operational capabilities, enhance interoperability between the United States and Chile, encourage intelligence sharing and to strengthen the Chilean army’s ability to counter transnational threats. During the visit to Fort Hood, staff members from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division gave the Chilean delegation presentations and demonstrations on various intelligence gathering techniques as well as demonstrations on intelligence gathering platforms such as the RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle, the RQ-7 Shadow UAV and the MQ-1 Grey Eagle UAV. “This experience has been very enriching,” said Lara. “I, as the professor of the school of intelligence, will be able to take those lessons learned and apply them to different processes to compliment our intelligence structure into day-to-day activities.” “We wanted to get a better understanding of the U.S. intelligence doctrine and learn from the experiences in the recent conflicts,” said Lara. “We would also like to learn how to apply those lessons learned to our own organic intelligence doctrine.” “These types of engagements are very beneficial to us because they allow us to enhance our relationships with the members of the U.S. military while also improve our capabilities,” said Chilean Capt. Cristian Lara, an instructor at the Military Intelligence Academy in Santiago, Chile. “We have a great history with Chile and exchanges like this ensure we continue that relationship well into the future,” said Maj. Miguel Bolivar, Military Intelligence Readiness Command. The event was one of several agreed to actions signed into accord during the 2013 U.S./Chile army-to-army staff talks. last_img read more