COL Robert Lipinski
National Range Director, 1985 – 1989
WSMR Deputy Commander, 1989 – 1990
President, White Sands Pioneer Group, 1996 – 1999
Board Member, White Sands Historical Foundation
Bob Lipinski was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1939. He grew up there and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1961. Upon graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps.
He came to White Sands as the Director of the National Range in Dec. 1985. His assignment to the missile range was no fluke as he actively sought the job based on his past experiences in weapons development and testing jobs. In fact, he came to New Mexico from Yuma Proving Ground which he commanded for two years.
For almost four years he was director of the organization that oversees the missile testing on the sprawling test range. He was in charge of 1,350 military, civilian and contractor personnel and a $60-million operation. According to his nomination, he was adept at managing programs, money and people. And he did it very well. Later he said his approach was to practice “common sense and good timing.”
After his tenure as National Range director, Lipinski served as WSMR’s deputy commander from mid-1989 until his retirement in September 1990. As deputy, he went from a job involving technical operations to one involving VIPs, families, community issues and quality of life for employees and families. It is a job often described as being the commanding generals alter ego – a trusted aide who knows exactly what the boss wants done.
After his retirement, Lipinski went to work for a succession of three range support contractors using his experience to tailor support to meet White Sands test requirements. Also, he took on the role as adjunct professor for the Florida Institute of Technology on the WSMR campus for teaching general management and mathematics courses. From 1992 to 1994, he served as president of the Association of the United State Army and, from 1996 to 1999, he was president of the White Sands Pioneer Group, an organization of hundreds of past and current employees interested in preserving the history of the range.
Most recently he spent 16 years on the board of directors for the White Sands Historical Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the missile range’s museum. He served in various positions, including secretary and chairman of the brick committee for the museum’s plaza where hundreds of honor bricks are laid out to pay tribute to individuals and organizations.
Lipinski and his wife Mary Jo have two adult children.