2018-06-06, COL Eric Rannow, White Sands Test Center

With President Lya Jordan off celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary, Past President Bill Harty called the meeting to order at 12:19 pm. Lyn Ames led the invocation. Past President Bill led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, then invited our pair of Frans (Boldt and Kemp) to lead the group in “Sweet Violets,” a fun play on words that almost everyone got right. Bill led an inspiring rendition of "Happy Birthday" for those Rotarians with a June birthday. He also recognized wedding anniversaries as well as club anniversaries. Special congratulations to Don Niewold, a club member for 45 years. After introducing our guest, a rousing meet and greet ensued.

Announcements & Happy Dollars

Richelle Ponder reminded the club that our “Taste of Las Cruces” fundraiser will be June 7, 6:00 p.m. at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Nineteen restaurants will be there with a variety of silent auction items, including two bikes, stained glass, and the one of a kind “dinner with Trixie.” Patty Groth announced that the club had been invited to join the Tuesday club next week since Gov. Martinez would be their guest speaker. On behalf of Elaine, Blaine had Happy $ that John Hernandez was out of the hospital and that Elaine Szalay was just glad to be here! Greg Fant was happy for his fifth grandchild. Don Niewold was happy for Mark Santiago since the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum was listed as Las Cruces’s top attraction on TripAdvisor.com. Kristi Granados announced that the club was recognized for a “good job done great” with a $100 donation. Larry Candelaria was happy about Col. Rannow and the Army being our program. Although disappointed that she is leaving, Mel Parish was happy for his daughter helping him around the house. Richelle was happy about Patty’s alleged baby (a vicious rumor). Gary was happy for his wife’s third 59th birthday, his wedding anniversary, and having a better attendance record than Russell Allen since they came into the club the same year. Rynni Henderson wrapped up our announcements by inviting everyone to come out to the Sun News Health Expo Saturday June 9 at the Farm & Ranch Museum.

The Program

COL Eric Rannow, commander of the White Sands Test Center presented an informative talk on the work of the Test Center and how it is part of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). He was accompanied by his son August, who was awarded a Rotary Scholarship just a few weeks ago.

After a short video introduction, COL Rannow explained how the Test Center and the work at the Missile Range includes a broad range of activity from sensor development to law enforcement training, to missile testing. They are very proud to sponsor the Bataan Death March memorial walk/ run. WSMR is 100 miles long and 40 miles wide, however utilizing rancher land agreements and Fort Bliss, the testing area can be expanded to 183 miles in length. WSMR is one of two air spaces in the country not controlled by the FAA. Employing over 1300 people, WSMR has an economic spending impact of almost $5 million. These employees live not only in Las Cruces but also in Alamogordo and El Paso.

Approximately 700 people live on Post. The Army also allows Military Retiree’s to live on post if accommodations are available. It is a “gated community.” Although the entire WSMR Post is under the command of General Sanchez, COL Rannow gets to “do the really cool stuff” commanding the Test Center. Their focus is on Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation (RDT&E). With 270 “hot missions” per year, not only does this unit work at WSMR, but they also provide support to Navy testing as well as long range shots into White Sands. Other parts of their mission include stockpile reliability testing, nuclear testing, and the majority of the work (70%) is new weapon system testing. If something might fail, they want it to happen at the test site, not during deployment. A good test seeks to document why the test succeeded or failed.

Several questions were posed throughout the presentation. Inquiring minds were very interested into what determined Highway 70 being closed. This closure is determined by the type of test and whether or not a missile will fly close or over the highway. Their testing is always conditions based, not simply based on a scheduled calendar.

After the Program

Patty Groth reported that $76 was raised for the School project. With the pot at $282, for the second week in a row Kristi Granados had the winning ticket. No Joker, however she pulled the King of hearts. Her envelope draw resulted in the club getting $5 back! Past President Bill closed the meeting with the Four-Way test.

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August Rannow


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it's summer!








Submitted by Greg FantGreg Fant