By Air Force Maj. Vanessa Hillman
U.S. Air Force Space Command
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Aug. 29, 2011 – An Air Force officer recently became the first U.S. Air Force space and missile operator inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame.
Lt. Col. William Burke Hare III, the chief of operations for the Flight Test Execution Directorate at the Missile Defense Agency at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., was selected as one of three inductees out of 60 nominees for the 2011 Space Camp Hall of Fame.
Hare said the honor came as a surprise.
"I am truly humbled that my career accomplishments met the standards of the [Space Camp] Hall of Fame," he said. "I really was shocked I was selected."
According to the Space Camp website, the Space Camp Hall of Fame was established to honor outstanding members of the Space Camp family, including graduates and former employees who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers or friends who have made considerable contributions of personal time, effort or resources to further the goals of the Space Camp programs.
Hare, originally from Atlanta, graduated from Auburn University in 1992 where he received his commission from ROTC Detachment 005. Having studied political science there, he earned his master's degree in space studies from the University of North Dakota.
However, Hare said his interest in the space program started much earlier.
"Since I was very young, 5 or 6 years old, I thought the idea of going into space as an astronaut would be the greatest adventure anyone could have," he said. "I wanted to try it out firsthand and see if space was a line of work for me. My Space Camp and Aviation Challenge experiences set the stage in guiding me toward Air Force space and missiles as the career for me."
Hare attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., in 1984 and 1986 as a camper, and also worked there from 1992 to 1993 in the Aviation Challenge program as a Space Camp counselor.
"My Space Camp and Aviation Challenge experiences reinforced my desire and drive for a career in the Air Force and in Air Force space missions," he said. "I have great memories from my time as a participant and counselor in the programs. They provided inspiration for what the future might hold. Those programs still do to this very day.”
As much as Hare was shocked at his selection, it came as no surprise to his previous leaders.
"Lieutenant Colonel Hare has always been an airman that gave 100 percent to the military space mission and 100 percent to the civilian side in educating all comers on space as a whole," said Air Force Col. William Burton, Hare's former supervisor at Air Force Space Command and the chief of staff of 24th Air Force.
"Burke spearheaded the relationship that AFSPC developed with Space Camp and many civilians and military members alike prospered," Burton said. "This honor is well deserved and should solidify future military-civilian education efforts in the future."
Hare gave words of encouragement to young space enthusiasts who are looking to work in space as a career.
"There is a way," he said. "If you really want to be in the space business, you can get there. You may have to take alternative routes along the way, but if you stay true to your main goals, you will get there. Have faith and never, ever give up."
The Hall of Fame was instituted seven years ago. Its inductees include Dr. Werner von Braun, who is considered the father of manned space flight, as well as Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen and Oscar Holderer, two of the original members of the von Braun rocket team.