In celebration of the Air Force Space Command’s 30th anniversary, Gen. William L. Shelton, the AFSC commander, inducted the command’s 2012 Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers in an award ceremony and hall of fame induction Sept. 17 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
This year’s inductees are Dr. Hans M. Mark and retired Col. John P. Stapp (posthumously).
Mark, a former Secretary of the Air Force, advocated the establishment of an Air Force major command for space operations, initiated plans for a new military control facility and fostered military orbital missions using the space shuttle.
Stapp directed and personally participated in record-setting rocket-sled and stratospheric balloon experiments to study the “biodynamics” of human spaceflight, thereby earning him the nickname, “Space Surgeon Stapp” in a 1995 issue of Time magazine.
More than 135 family members and guests attended the ceremony as Shelton inducted Mark and Stapp, who was represented by his brother, Wilford Stapp, by presenting the official patch of the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer to each.
“We are so proud of the heritage that has been established by all the inductees in the hall of fame,” said Shelton. “We celebrate the history that’s here and the legacy created by these great men. We stand on your shoulders.”
“Looking back, there really were so many people who started this command … a lot of things could be said about what I was supposed to do, but I’m getting too much credit for this,” Mark said upon his induction.
“He really cared for the Air Force,” said Stapp as he received the award on behalf of his brother. “He found, as many of you have, that the real satisfaction and happiness comes most from helping others.”
A portrait of Mark and Stapp will be hung in the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame here.
The Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who played a significant role in the history of Air Force space and missile programs. The award is designed to educate service members, and the general public about the contributions of significant figures in Air Force space and missile history, generate interest in the study of Air Force space and missile history and encourage Air Force members to appreciate and understand their space and missile heritage.