White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame

Joseph Franczak
Civil Engineering Technician
Served 1952 – 1973
Inducted 1981

E. Joseph Franczak started work at White Sands Missile Range in 1952 as an engineering aide. Over the years he advanced in rank and responsibility and was soon recognized as the range’s authority on instrumentation facilities. At the time of his death on December 6, 1973, Franczak was a civil engineering technician with the National Range Directorate.

During his entire tenure of Federal service, Franczak was noted as a man willing to take on responsibilities which were far in excess of those normally assigned at his rank. Letters of endorsement from his former supervisors for the Hall of Fame nomination attest to this. They are uniform in their praise of Franczak’s expertise and ability to get any job done.

When he died, Franczak had just completed one of his most important tasks at WSMR as project engineer for the range photo processing facility. The project involved the complete stripping and reconstruction of one photo lab and the refurbishing of another. All of the engineering design criteria were based upon his work. He designed the facility so materials and data moved in a rational and simplified manner, so processes were located to cut costs and time, so human errors had little effect, and so quality was emphasized and control easily maintained. As the project evolved everyone relied on Franczak’s input. He, in turn, monitored the operation to ensure the work met the range’s needs.

While involved in many range projects and receiving many awards he was always reluctant about recognition. Whatever his work or the time required, he considered it all just part of the regular working day. Despite this modesty, Franczak has created a niche for himself in the history of White Sands. During his 21 years here, he either designed or helped design and approve 90 percent of the approximately 3,000 National Range instrumentation sites. He is also responsible for naming half of the sites.

Most of the range’s instrumentation sites as well as some of the major resources and permanent buildings are a standing monument to Franczak.