Gunther Karger, one of the founding members of the Pioneers, shares this message with everyone today:
“On this day, the true meaning of “Pioneer” should be remembered.
Those who pioneered before us creating what we today have.
Those who today carry on what departed pioneers created and move it forward to the next generation.
Those who look beyond today to create a vision for the future and may be called “Futurists”.
It is with these words we should remember the pioneers who created Space, Missile and Range Pioneers and the original MSRP
Asa B. Gibbs, the first commander of the space‐vehicle launching center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Mr. Gibbs, who held the rank of colonel, was a member of the committee that urged the selection of Canaveral, a remote Florida seascape, as a launching site. He was also responsible for restoring the name of Cape Canaveral to the area, which was named by the Spanish in 1564. Mr. Gibbs was the first director of tests at the missile test center. He was program officer for Project Score, the rocket that launched President Eisenhower’s “Peace on Earth” message in 1958, and other vehicles. He retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1963 and began a drive to restore the name of the cape—Cape Kennedy after the assassination of President Kennedy—to its original name Cape Canaveral. Congress restored the name in October, 1973.
Clifford E. Mattox was civilian commanding officer and chief engineer of the Air Force Missile Test Range at Canaveral AFB and director of the missile test range at Patrick AFB from 1952 to 1954. He was founder and president of DBM Research Corp., Cocoa Beach, and a member of the Missile, Space and Range Pioneers, Inc. and the Florida Anthropological Society. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Florida Institute of Technology. It is also believed that Mr. Mattox was part of “Project Paperclip” which was the U.S. Army intelligence operation that brought Verner von Braun and his German rocket team from Germany to the U.S. that eventually gave the U.S. its leadership in space.”