AFNWC honors 'Order of the Nucleus' recipients

  • Published
  • By John Cochran
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander, inducted a new class of five "Order of the Nucleus" recipients Jan. 24 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

The "Order of the Nucleus" is an AFNWC award presented to those who are supporting and have supported the nuclear enterprise with great distinction.

A profile of each honoree appears below.

Maj. Gen. Terrence A. "Terry" Feehan is vice commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Feehan assists the commander in managing the research, design, development, acquisition and sustainment of space and missile systems, launch, command and control, and operational satellite systems. SMC is the nation's center of technical expertise for military space acquisition, with more than 5,000 employees nationwide and an annual budget of $10 billion. Feehan was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1984. He has previously commanded at the squadron, group, wing and numbered air force levels, and has served as an engineer, acquisition program manager and inspector general. He also held assignments at the major command and headquarters Air Force levels, and he was a Secretary of Defense Fellow.

Dr. Carolyne Hart has retired from an illustrious career at Sandia National Laboratories. Much of her career at Sandia was devoted to work connected with the reliability, safety and security of the nuclear weapons stockpile. She served with distinction for more than 33 years in positions of increasing responsibility, from member of the technical staff to program director for several nuclear weapons programs, and from there to vice president and chief engineer for nuclear weapons with responsibility for leadership and management of nuclear weapon engineering and production activities. Her responsibilities also included leadership and management of engineering activities that provide advanced technologies and systems for missile defense, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, homeland security, energy security, and critical infrastructure assurance. As a member of Sandia's management team, she led many of the Labs' key research and development activities. She was also accountable for the development of high performance electronic systems for nuclear weapons. She earned a B.A. in mathematics and biological sciences at Howard Payne University, and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Gabriel Herrera has supported the Kirtland Underground Munitions Maintenance and Storage Complex for more than 20 years. He was involved in construction of the facility and participated in the historic Initial Nuclear Surety Inspection in June 1991. During the 18 INSIs, NSIs and DNSIs he has participated in, Herrera has been recognized 13 times as a "Professional Performer" or as a member of an Outstanding Team. He has served as the KUMMSC facility manager for 13 years. As such, he ensures the day-to-day readiness of the unique systems that support the critical mission of the 898th Munitions Squadron, and has been instrumental in a number of facility improvements and cost savings. In 2011, he developed a plan to remove unneeded storage cell dividers, realizing an additional 3,600 square feet of storage space and avoiding $550,000 in projected contractor costs. In 1997, he developed a plan to take over overhead hoist maintenance management responsibilities from base civil engineering, again avoiding $126,000 annually in contracted maintenance. As a result, Herrera and his team are recognized experts in the nuclear enterprise for hoist maintenance, and have been requested by name on several occasions to assist U.S. Air Forces in Europe in this area.

Bill Patterson is a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War. In 1958, he received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and was hired by Sandia National Laboratories, where he worked for 37 years. While at Sandia, he earned his Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1965. He was one of the original researchers in the Sandia earth-penetration program, and is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable people in the United States on the design and testing of earth-penetrating projectiles. His experience in earth-penetration science research and development includes extensive testing of full-scale earth penetrators in various geological formations, lead mechanical engineering on the Pershing II W86 program; lead project engineer on earth-penetrator weapons studies; lead project engineer on Air Force W61 Phase II and manager of all Air Force B61 bombs. Using his knowledge of penetration mechanics and weapon design, Bill successfully led the program to modify the B61-11 gravity weapon into an earth-penetration weapon without any changes to the physics package, resulting in one of the shortest design-to-fielding timelines in the history of nuclear weapons. After retiring from Sandia in 1996, he became a senior mentor for the Sandia weapon intern program, teaching the next generation of weaponeers earth-penetrator technology. He has worked with all the Air Force Fellows in the intern program and has consulted with the AFNWC on earth-penetrator technologies. He is also a guest lecturer at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency on earth-penetrator technology. He served on the National Academy of Science effects of nuclear earth-penetrator weapon and other weapons committee in 2004-2005. He was awarded the U.S. Air Force exemplary civilian service medal for his contributions to the nuclear enterprise, the National Nuclear Security Agency's Defense Programs Award of Excellence for the weapon intern program, and the Silver Sandia Laboratories President's Quality Award for the weapon intern program.

David Seely has led Kirtland Federal Credit Union in Albuquerque as president and CEO since 1990. KFCU has more than $630 million in assets, serves more than 38,000 members, and has been recognized with several significant awards from organizations such as the U.S. Air Force, Quality New Mexico, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and the Raddon Financial Group. His industry and community activities include serving as chairman of the C.U. Anytime and C.U. ATM Services, and on the boards of Kirtland Partnership Committee, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Association for Commerce and Industry and as the president of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Sol. He is the past chairman of the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards selection committee and past chairman and former board member of Quality New Mexico, Albuquerque Economic Forum and Roadrunner Food Bank. Seely also served on the University of New Mexico presidential search committee in late 2011.

He is a charter member of the Kirtland AFB Wingman program and has been an honorary commander of multiple units in the past 12 years. Additionally, he was a member of the Air Education and Training Command commander's civic action group from 2005-2011, and now serves as a member of the Air Force Materiel Command civilian liaison program. Seely was honored in 2008 by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce with the Congressman Steve Schiff Kirtland Air Force Base Advocacy Award, and was recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Utah and holds a Master of Business Administration in Management from Amber University in Dallas, Texas.