History of Research in Space Biology and Biodynamics
 
 
- PART VI -
 
Administrative Organization and Resources
 
 
 
[95] Needless to say, the reshuffling and expansion of project workloads that has been going on since the start of 1953 has been accompanied by a series of administrative reorganizations within the Aeromedical Field Laboratory. The most important innovation was to split the original organization of the laboratory into two main operating divisions, which was an obvious requirement once Colonel Stapp introduced a program in biodynamics along-side the earlier research in space biology. These two divisions are known today as the Biodynamics Branch and the Space Biology Branch, the one in charge of Project 7850 and the other conducting Projects 7851 and 7857; but the exact names have varied at different times in the past.
 
The present Biodynamics Branch, when first organized in 1953, bore the curious title of Liaison Projects Section. At first this Section was headed directly by Colonel Stapp, with the help chiefly of Master Sergeant James F. Ferguson, who had collaborated with Colonel Stapp at Edwards and who was brought to Holloman by Stapp as soon as possible after his own assignment to the New Mexican installation. The Section was then primarily responsible for Colonel Stapp's work on Biophysics of Abrupt Deceleration, and its title reflected, among other things, the interrelation between that work and related crash and escape studies of the Aero Medical Laboratory at Wright Air Development Center. It was also to assist Wright Field scientists in certain other tests that they intended to conduct at Holloman for their own research tasks; and it contained, at least on paper, a Bio-Acoustics Unit which was supposed to cooperate with Wright Air Development Center in a ten-year program of research on aircraft noise. In practice, however, neither the noise program nor the unit created for that purpose ever became active. Hence the Bio-Acoustics Unit was omitted from the organization charts by September 1955, if not earlier. At the same time, the Liaison Projects Section at a whole received its current name of Biodynamics Branch, with its functions redefined to fit Project 7850 more closely. For about a year during 1954-1955, it also received a distinct branch chief, Major Joseph V. Michalski. The position was then filled once more by Colonel Stapp himself, in addition to his duties as head of the entire laboratory, until the assignment of the present chief, Captain (Doctor) John D. Mosely, in the latter part of 1956.
 
The present Space Biology Branch has had a less varied history. The only change in its title has been to delete the original term "Section" and substitute "Branch." Its functions-starting with cosmic radiation balloon flights and later taking in other research activities of Projects 7851 and 7857--have been easily recognizable from the name of the unit, and its chief since 1953 has been Colonel Simons. There have, of course, been various changes in name and function among the subunits of both major branches, in addition to the rise and fall of the Bio-Acousties Unit mentioned above; but these changes have been of relatively minor importance. Finally, the Aeromedical Field Laboratory has always had one or more units in charge of laboratory services and the like, which are currently centralized in a Laboratory Services Branch. But the existence of the last-named branch, and of its various predecessors, has not affected the basic two-fold division of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory for project work.
 
In its relation to other assigned activities at Holloman, the Aeromedical Field Laboratory in 1953 was placed directly under the Center's 6580th Test Group, and was thus on an equal standing with the 6580th Missile Test Squadron and the 6580th Special Test Squadron (which in turn included the Holloman Balloon Unit). Following the establishment of a Directorate of Laboratories in 1955, the aeromedical organization became one of its major subdivisions, and in 1956 the Aeromedical Field Laboratory was made part of a newly created Directorate of Research and Development. Yet, in practice, Holloman officials have generally recognized the unique role of 'the Aeromedical Field Laboratory, and have given a free hand as far as possible to Colonel Stapp, Colonel Simons, and their associates.21
 
Early in 1957, Major General Leighton I. Davis, Commander of the Air Force Missile Development Center, proposed raising the Laboratory to the status of Directorate of Space Biomedical Sciences. [96] General Davis submitted to higher headquarters a plan that could be initiated "within the present manning resources of the center" but would prepare the way for major expansion as soon as funds and manpower became available. General Davis proposed separate Divisions for Administration; Plans; Services; Biodynamics; and Human Factors Development. The Human Factors Development Division was to be essentially an outgrowth of the current Space Biology Branch, with special emphasis on problems of true space flight including those involved in preparation of a manned satellite. It was also proposed that the new directorate might offer resident training to candidates seeking certification by the Aviation Medicine Board.22
 
The proposal to create a Directorate of Space Biomedical Sciences at Holloman was in line with recommendations made by a number of high-level Air Force planning committees, including the Long-Range Planning Committee for Guided Missiles and Space Vehicles of the Air Research and Development Command, which is usually referred to as the Yates Committee. At the same time, it should be noted that the exact timing of the proposal was probably influenced by the fact that John Paul Stapp had just been promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel, effective April 1957. As head of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory, he was technically subordinate to the Center's Directorate of Research and Development, which was then headed by a lieutenant colonel. However, the new directorate was ultimately rejected at command headquarters. Brigadier General Don R. Ostrander, Deputy Commander for Resources, Air Research and Development Command, explained that the proposal was unacceptable because it entailed an increase in the number of administrative spaces and because it went against the command effort to "consolidate functions."23
 
Despite the unfavorable decision in this instance, the steady expansion in the work of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory inevitably brought with it an increase in both assigned personnel and facilities. Personnel strength has not kept pace with the increase in project work, but has risen gradually from the mere handful present in January 1953 to a total in June 1958 of thirteen officers, eighteen airmen and sixteen civilians.24 All of the officers hold college degrees in some scientific field, and eight of the thirteen (plus one civilian scientist) have the doctor's degree. This last is a fairly remarkable proportion, indicative of a small but exceptionally qualified corps of scientists.
 
New buildings were added in the same period. As of January 1953, there were two in use (Buildings 1201 and 1203, one permanent and the other a converted wartime "temporary" structure), but since then two more permanent structures (Buildings 1200 and 1202) have been added to the aeromedical laboratory complex in the Holloman "North Area" along with a converted wartime barracks to serve as supply warehouse (Building 1240). A fine new warehouse is to be started in the immediate future, but the special medical science laboratory that was to have been included in fiscal year 1959 building plans has been put off for another year. This is especially unfortunate, since the buildings that exist in the present laboratory complex are cramped, one-story, and in some cases rather dingy structures. The one exception is a portion of the more spacious Building 1265, chiefly housing offices of the Center's Directorate of Ballistic Missile Test, which has been made available to staff members of the Space Biology Branch.25
 
A number of specialized test facilities, too, have been created at Holloman either expressly for the Aeromedical Field Laboratory or under the jurisdiction of some other unit but available for biomedical research. Most of these facilities can best be discussed in other monographs related to the particular fields of research for which they are used. The one "test facility" that it is more convenient to describe at this point, because of its use for both biodynamics and space biology research, is the Holloman "zoo" of test animals. This dates back to the period before 1953, but has greatly expanded from that year to the present.
 
Unlike the "zoo" which Colonel Stapp had formerly used for research at Edwards Air Force Base, managed under contract by a private animal trainer, the Holloman facility was always run by trained personnel of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory. The result has been better care for the animals, along with considerable savings for the government. From August 1954 to July 1956, the animals were entrusted to Lieutenant (later Captain) Clinton D. Hughes, a member of the Air Force Veterinary Corps, and Holloman officials were therefore alarmed when, about May 1956, the Defense Department suddenly moved to disband the entire Corps. General Davis, as Center commander, [97] submitted a strongly worded protest to the Surgeon General, United States Air Force, detailing the benefits received at Holloman from Air Force Veterinary Corps members not only in the care of test animals but also in food inspection and similar areas. Colonel. Stapp likewise sounded his protests far and wide; and the messages from Holloman, joined with those from other Air Force installations, have so far helped to prevent disbandment of the Corps.
 
When Captain Hughes left the service, he was replaced by another Air Force Veterinary Corps officer, Lieutenant (later Captain) Donald F. Patterson. In due course, a second veterinary officer, Lieutenant John A. Recht, arrived to help. They were assigned as Chief and Assistant Chief respectively of the Laboratory Services Branch, until February 1958, when Captain James Ellsworth Cook (also a veterinarian) was assigned as branch chief and Lieutenant Patterson became Chief of the Veterinary Services Section of the Branch. However, not one of these officers can be described merely as an animal-keeper. All have assumed a share of regular project work, as have other Air Force veterinarians (including Doctor Mosely) who are assigned directly to the operational branches. Cook, Patterson, and Recht have conducted specific research tasks either wholly or in part, and have assisted their colleagues in scientifically evaluating the results of animal experiments.26
 
The animals themselves have included mice, hamsters, dogs, and cats-small animals of the type used even before 1953 in subgravity and cosmic radiation studies. From 1953 to the present, primarily for work in biodynamics, chimpanzees, hogs, and bears have also come to live at Holloman. Bears were the latest addition, when a group of four arrived in November 1957 amid a wave of unwelcome publicity. They had been purchased from the Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York, whose owner gave out details of the purchase in what was apparently an advertising gesture. The story was readily played up in the national press, since it came just a few weeks after Russian scientists launched a dog-carrying satellite. It thus inspired speculation as to whether the United States Air Force meant to outdo the Russians by launching a bear satellite. This was not, of course, the intention; the bears had been acquired to participate in research programs already underway at Holloman.27
 
A wide variety of animals is required for research at Holloman because no one animal is suited for all test purposes. As Colonel Stapp remarked to a Congressional subcommittee:28
 
You wonder why I use hogs-hogs and chimpanzees? Well, man is somewhere between the hog and the chimpanzee. Some people are more like hogs; others are more like chimpanzees.
 

In over-all proportions and in some details of internal structure the chimpanzee-for example-is actually quite similar to man, but in certain aspects of spinal structure the bear seems a better fit. Bears had the added advantage of being cheaper and more plentiful than chimpanzees. Hogs, of course, are the most plentiful of all, at least among the large animals, and in addition have their points of resemblance to the human body. They are also the most edible, but allegations are only in jest that they are used by the Aeromedical Field Laboratory because they make good barbecue material. If sacrificed during or after a test, hogs are upon occasion presented to different units at Holloman, including the Aeromedical Field Laboratory itself, for use in group picnics, but this is only incidental to their primary research function.29

 
The Holloman "zoo" is really a unique facility within the Air Force. Some other Air Force agencies have collections of small laboratory animals, but the Aeromedical Field Laboratory is the only one with bears, hogs, and chimpanzees. It is also the only one with equipment, accommodations, and technical experience for keeping the larger test animals. Thus, in addition to supplying its own needs, it has often provided animal subjects for experiments performed away from Holloman by other Air Force scientists. Specifically, the Aeromedical Field Laboratory has given chimpanzee support to the Aero Medical Laboratory of Wright Air Development Center for different series of experiments related to high-speed escape from aircraft,30 a field of research in which both laboratories have made significant contributions.
 
Those and other contributions are treated-as already indicated-in separate historical studies, each covering a particular area of research accomplishment at the Aeromedical Field Laboratory. The present history of changes in the Laboratory's mission and organization is, by comparison, a much less significant study. However, administrative problems and policies can both help and hinder a research agency. [98] In the case of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory, Center-level administrative actions have in general been extremely favorable to its research program. The same cannot always be said of command-level and intra-command actions-at least not from the viewpoint of the local organization itself. Yet, despite all such problems, and despite inadequacies of both facilities and personnel, the Aeromedical Field Laboratory has managed to build up a justly admired record of achievements. It has acquired an expert staff of scientists and a broad capability in space biology and related fields that make it one of the key Air Force units, though by no means the only one, currently engaged in preparing man's conquest of space.
 

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