[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 145 (Thursday, October 8, 2009)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E2500-E2501]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. ERIC J.J. MASSA

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, October 8, 2009

  Mr. MASSA. Madam Speaker, I rise today to laud the achievements, 
acumen, patriotism and long service to our country by RA Wayne E. 
Meyer, affectionately known as the ``Father of AEGIS.'' His service to 
our Navy and our Nation has been continuous since his enlistment as a 
midshipman recruit in 1943. He is best known as the founding project 
manager of the AEGIS Shipbuilding Project, which began building AEGIS 
cruisers in 1978. AEGIS destroyers are still being constructed today, 
and remain the world's most formidable multi-mission warships. The 
cruisers and destroyers in our fleet today are the direct result of 
Rear Admiral Meyer's leadership and dedication to his country.
  Admiral Meyer's life began far from the sea, in Brunswick, Missouri, 
in 1926. His family plowed the black earth in the ``gumbo'' region near 
the Missouri River, and, like so many other American families of that 
era, survived the Depression only through their determination and their 
indomitable spirit.
  When the Nation went to war in 1941, Wayne Meyer was only 15. He 
continued his schooling, but only days after his 17th birthday, with 
his parent's written permission, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve 
to serve his country. After graduating high school as his class 
president and valedictorian, the Navy called him to active duty as an 
apprentice seaman, and sent him to the University of Kansas' 
engineering school--part of President Roosevelt's ``V-12'' program. 
After an accelerated and exhausting 32 months, Wayne Meyer earned a 
B.S. in electrical engineering. Later that month, in February 1946, he 
was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and sent to 
M.I.T. for further schooling in the nascent fields of radar and sonar. 
His schooling later included atomic weapons training, a further 
graduate degree in electrical engineering, a master's in aeronautics 
and astronautics from M.I.T., the Navy General Line School and 
certification as a Navy Ordnance Engineer.
  His early years in the Navy were marked by extensive sea duty. He was 
ordered to Destroyer Radar Picket USS Goodrich (DDR 831), where he 
served as part of the occupation forces in the Mediterranean, service 
in the Greek civil war, and with part of the force supporting the 
creation of Israel in 1948. He was accepted for transfer to the regular 
Navy that year as well.
  Meyer was next posted in Chinese waters, where his ship, the light 
gun cruiser Springfield (CL 66), was in the mouth of the Huangpu River 
when Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist forces fell to Mao's Red Army in 
March 1949. He returned home to serve on a number of ships on Fleet 
Staffs--twice deploying in the destroyer tender USS Sierra (AD 16). He 
patrolled the Distant Early Warning line (extended) off Newfoundland as 
Executive Officer in the Radar Picket Strickland (DER 333). After a 
return to shore for more schooling, he was ordered to the guided 
missile cruiser Galveston (CLG 3) as Fire Control Officer and 
subsequently Gunnery Officer for her conversion as the first Talos 
cruiser, where he fired more Talos missiles than any other person. By 
the time he finished his sea duty, he'd served on seven ships and 
sailed the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean.

  The next phase of Admiral Meyer's career was leading critical 
programs and facilities in the Navy's material establishment. In 1963 
Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth chose then Commander Meyer to serve in 
the special Navy Task Force for the Surface Guided Missile Systems, 
under command of RADM Eli T. Reich, USN. His work at the Terrier 
missile system desk led to his appointment to lead the engineering 
effort to transition the entire Terrier fleet (30 ships) from analog to 
high speed digital systems. After turning down a destroyer command to 
continue this prelude to advanced weapons system design, he was 
appointed an Ordnance Engineering Duty Officer the same year he was 
selected for captain, 1966. He then served as the Chief Engineer at the 
Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station, Port Hueneme, 
California. From this post he led the in-service engineering of the 
Navy's surface missile systems.
  Ordered back to Washington in 1969, he became the AEGIS Weapons 
System Manager in the Bureau of Ordnance, the most important phase of 
his career. It was here that Meyer's lifetime operational and 
engineering experience was put to the test. It would also require him 
to exercise what many know to be his unparalleled genius--organization 
and communication.
  Meyer's first major challenge was to make AEGIS work. That is--
develop and test a new area air defense system to protect the fleet 
from aircraft and cruise missile attack. By virtue of his ``double-
hat'' as the Director of Surface Missile Systems in NAVSEA, he was also 
charged with keeping the existing fleet of Terrier and Tartar ships 
capable against ever more sophisticated Soviet threats. Those who 
worked for Meyer in those early days knew him as untiring, relentless, 
and driven towards success. They also knew him to be the consummate 
engineer--demanding back-ups for risky technologies and redundancy to 
ensure his system would work under even the most demanding conditions. 
After a number of land-based tests, the AEGIS Weapon System prototype 
was installed in the USS Norton Sound in 1974 for at-sea testing. Two 
more years of development and testing, following Meyer's mantra, 
``build-a-little, test-a-little, learn a lot'' led to ``Super Sunday'' 
in 1977, when AEGIS detected, tracked and engaged two targets 
  With such a powerful new weapon system in development, the Navy 
understood that it could be used for more than just air engagements, 
and in 1976 charged Meyer with developing the AEGIS Combat System. The 
combat system, which included the AEGIS Weapon System, would allow 
simultaneous multi-mission engagements against surface, air, and 
submarine targets, as well as strike capability. With his naval 
engineer's eye toward cautioned, prudent design, Meyer again demanded a 
stepwise approach to development, and thorough land-based testing 
before sending the system to sea.
  With these combat and weapon systems under controlled development, 
Meyer's next major challenge was to ``get AEGIS to Sea.'' Since the 
project began in 1969, the ship to carry AEGIS had been a hotly debated 
issue in the Navy, the Department of Defense, and

[[Page E2501]]

Congress. Meyer knew that he couldn't have his engineers constantly 
focus as the targeted ships changed each year, and thus instituted 
``Superset.'' The ``Superset'' combat system would be the largest 
aggregation of capability under consideration for a single ship. If a 
less capable version were eventually authorized by Congress, ``down-
designing'' would be easier than inserting new combat system features. 
When our democracy finished its great debate on the first ship to carry 
AEGIS, a highly modified version of the USS Spruance hull was the 
result. Christened by Nancy Reagan in 1981, and commissioned in 1983, 
the cruiser USS Ticonderoga was built on time, and slightly under 
budget. It was on the battle line in Lebanon only 9 months after its 
  Today, when our country seems to have difficulties building ships, we 
should remember that we have had great patriots like Admiral Meyer, who 
could lead the most complex of endeavors--and bring them in on cost and 
on schedule.
  But one ship does not a fleet make. Promoted to rear admiral in 1975, 
Meyer's third major challenge was to ``rebuild the Surface Navy''--
transitioning from a Terrier and Tartar cruiser and destroyer fleet to 
an AEGIS cruiser and destroyer fleet. Meyer knew it would be a long 
process, and would require schoolhouses, shore-based logistics, 
facilities for computer program maintenance, training, in-service 
engineering, and a host of other facilities and people to keep the new 
fleet ready. With his partner in the Chief of Naval Operations' Office, 
Vice Admiral James H. Doyle, Jr., he set out to build this supporting 
infrastructure, which keeps the fleet ready today. With 27 cruisers and 
62 destroyers built or under construction, and more in planning, 
Admiral Meyer's vision of rebuilding the surface Navy is now complete.
  After retiring in 1985, Admiral Meyer's restless zeal has kept him 
thoroughly involved in our Nation's defense. He has chaired numerous 
Navy Advisory Boards, the Ballistic Missile Defense Advisory Committee, 
and remains a valuable counselor to those in our Navy as the ``Father 
of AEGIS.''
  He has watched with special pride as his AEGIS fleet has been 
transformed into a critical arm of our Nation's ballistic missile 
defense system. With his guidance and mentorship, the process has again 
been, ``build-a-little, test-a-little, learn a lot,'' with a record of 
success unparalleled among the missile defense programs.
  His accomplishments and contributions to the defense of our Nation 
have been so numerous and far-reaching that the Secretary of the Navy 
named an AEGIS destroyer, DDG 108, the USS Wayne E. Meyer. She is to 
commission this October, an event that will no doubt be attended by 
thousands who have taken part in the ``AEGIS movement.'' In advance of 
that monumental event, I would like to thank Admiral Meyer for his more 
than 65 years of service to our Nation. I stand in awe of his 
achievements, his systems, his fleet, and his commitment to the 
excellence of our Navy.