- AFHF Member Authors
Reflections of a Technocrat-Managing Defense, Air, and Space Programs During the Cold War
by Dr. John McLucas, Larry Benson and Ken Alnwick
Reflections of a Technocrat is an autobiography that ends as a biography. John McLucas died on the first of December 2002, at the age of 82, with all but the last chapter remaining to be started. He had been preparing to do a memoir, on and off, for many years, but only in the late 1990s, as declining health caused him to cut back on other commitments, did he devote a large part of his energies to getting the job done. To help complete this project, he engaged me—Ken Alnwick—a retired Air Force pilot and defense analyst, and my associate, Larry Benson, a recently retired Air Force historian. We are both grateful for the opportunity of getting to know John and his gracious wife, Harriet, as well as to research and help write about the many people, institutions, technical achievements, and national security issues with which he was associated. Chief among his numerous affiliations was the US Air Force. He began his civilian career with the Army Air Forces right after World War II and continued to advance the Air Force mission as a reserve officer, defense contractor, government executive, and valued consultant for the rest of the century. Not long before John died, he and Harriet decided the time had come to move out of their spacious home in Alexandria, Virginia, to a more manageable apartment in The Fairfax, a pleasant retirement community at nearby Fort Belvoir. In anticipation of the move, John decided to donate the bulk of his papers, professional library, and much of his memorabilia to two schools he admired: the Air Force Academy and Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University, with additional papers offered to the Comsat Alumni Association. His files helped shed light on every phase of his career up to and including recent activities as a director at Orbital Sciences Corporation, chairman of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, trustee of the Air Force Historical Foundation, and contributing member of several other public service organizations. The process was not easy. Each dusty box released a flood of memories as we went through the agonizing process of deciding what to keep, what to send to the repositories, what to give away, and what to relegate to recycling bins or the county landfill.