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Two Space & Missile Pioneers selected for 2007

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Air Force Space Command officials have announced the 2007 Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers are retired Gen. Lew Allen Jr. and retired Maj. Gen. Joe H. Engle. They will be honored at an award ceremony and a hall of fame induction luncheon here Aug. 8. 

General Allen, a former Air Force chief of staff, is a West Point graduate who later served as a physicist in the test division of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Among his noteworthy projects was the determination of radiation effects on the photographic film used in orbiting Corona reconnaissance satellites. 

During the 1960s, he performed high-level staff work involving some of the nation's most sensitive classified space projects, and later became director of the National Security Agency. 

In July 1978, General Allen was named the tenth chief of staff of the Air Force. Before retiring from active duty in 1982, he oversaw the approval process for establishment of Space Command, which later became Air Force Space Command.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, General Allen became the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory National Aeronautics and Space Administration center in Pasadena, Calif., and remained in that position until 1990.

General Engle was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Kansas and entered flight school in 1957. He entered the history books June 29, 1965, when he flew the X-15 experimental aircraft to an altitude of 280,600 feet, becoming the youngest person, at age 32, ever to qualify officially as an astronaut, and one of only eight men to qualify for astronaut wings by flying an "airplane" into space.

By the time he retired from Air Force active duty and as an astronaut in November 1986, then Colonel Engle had accumulated 224 hours in space and held the unique distinction of being the only person to have flown two entirely different winged space vehicles: the X-15 and the space shuttle.

Before retiring from the Air National Guard, he achieved the rank of major general. From the 1990s onward, he served as an aerospace-engineering consultant and simulation-evaluation pilot for space shuttle modifications and other advanced, piloted reentry vehicles.

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