White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame

Gabriel Brillante
Public Affairs Officer
Served 1953 – 1974
Inducted 1980

Mr. Gabriel J. Brillante first joined the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office in August 1953. From that time until his 1974 retirement, he held all the positions within the Office, including chief of Command Information, chief of Public Affairs, Historian and Information Officer. He was the founder, and later curator, of “Missile Park.” He was instrumental in implementing much of the Range’s off- range public relations program, as well as improving it and developing it into what is considered one of the Army’s best long-range public relations endeavors. The project included explanations to the public of the necessity for missile flights over populated areas.

One of Mr. Brillante’s most singular achievements was his role in commissioning interpreters to explain the over-flight program to Navajo Indians in their own language. The results of this intensive public relations campaign were wholehearted support and cooperation from the communities affected, as well as from others. During this time Mr. Brillante was responsible for a number of steps taken to inform travelers of roadblocks on US Highway 70 and why they were necessary for national defense testing.

The off-range public relations program, called “Project Understanding,” was considered so outstanding that in 1968 WSMR was selected as one of the Department of the Army entries in the Silver Anvil competition. This competition, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America, is regarded as the most prestigious recognition of public service and affairs efforts in the United States.

In addition, he was the initiator of one of DARCOM’s most effective Command Information programs, including the use of closed-circuit television at the Range for Troop Information presentations, and the “Dial-the-News” feature that allows WSMR personnel to dial and receive the latest news via telephone.

Mr. Brillante was the recipient of the TECOM “Special Award for Excellence in Improving Communications and Services” in connection with his work in the field of employee communications. He always believed in a well-informed workforce and directed much of his attention and efforts to this area of work.