Born: 1905-06-18. Died: 1970-12-01.
Thomas Power was an accomplished pilot who served as a general during World War II. As chief of staff to General Curtis LeMay, he was one of several top planners of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After World War II, Power served as the commander of the Air Research and Development Command, which developed early missiles. He served as commander of the Strategic Air Command from 1957-1964, when he retired.
By verbal orders of LtGeneral Thomas S. Power, Commander, ARDC, the Western Development Division (WDD), Headquarters ARDC, was established at 409 East Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood, California, under the command of Brigadier General Bernard A. Schriever. Headquarters ARDC General Order Number 42 confirmed LtGeneral Power's verbal orders of 1 July establishing the Western Development Division of Headquarters ARDC. Rocketdyne put on contract for Atlas engines.
Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation selected to perform systems engineering and technical direction functions for Project Atlas. Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation selected to perform systems engineering and technical direction functions for Project Atlas. Following approval by General Power, ARDC Commander, and General E.W. Rawlings, AMC Commander, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Materiel Roger Lewis approved the selection of the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation to perform systems engineering and technical direction functions for Project Atlas under the overall control of the Western Development Division.
The early results of missile configuration studies conducted by Lockheed, the Glenn L. Martin Company, and the newly formed Guided Missile Research Division (GMRD) of Ramo-Wooldridge, supported by other Air Force studies, indicated the numerous advantages of a two-stage missile. Therefore, General Schriever recommended to LtGeneral Thomas S. Power, Commander, ARDC, that a second, or alternate, configuration and staging approach be introduced into the program to take full advantage of more advanced concepts and to stimulate competition.
On the basis of the Hq USAF directive of 18 November, General Thomas S. Power, ARDC Commander, amended the Western Development Division's mission to include responsibility for ICBM initial operation capability (IOC) and for the development of IRBM Number 1 on a priority second only to that of the ICBM program.