White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame

John Bayer
Test Conductor
Served 1955 – 2000
Inducted 2000

John Bayer was born in 1934 in Philadelphia. He attended high school there and graduated in 1952. In 1954 he enlisted in the Army and attended radar and Corporal Guided Missile Schools before being shipped to White Sands in 1955.

According to Paul Arthur, Deputy to the Commander of the White Sands Test Center, “recognition as a gifted young electronics technician came early for Mr. Bayer by being assigned primary responsibility, as a young soldier for the operation, maintenance and repair of the Corporal Missile System Doppler Ground Station during testing at White Sands.”

Bayer was released from the Army in May 1957 and went to work for White Sands the same month. He continued his work on the Corporal system until 1960 when he moved to the Sergeant missile system.

During his six years with Sergeant, Bayer developed the support instrumentation necessary to collect data during tests. This included supporting the first off-range launch of a ballistic missile (a Sergeant) into White Sands.

In 1966 Bayer moved to the Pershing missile system. Because of his outstanding performance he was selected to establish a Pershing test team to conduct government tests anywhere at anytime. From 1970 to 1975, Bayer was the government test conductor in charge of every Pershing test firing from McGregor Range on Fort Bliss; Fort Wingate, New Mexico; Green River, Utah; and Blanding, Utah.

In 1978 Bayer moved to become a member of the Patriot test team. In 1980, according Arthur, “Bayer planned, coordinated and conducted the most complex test ever completed at WSMR when he conducted the heavy load air defense test of Patriot involving five Patriot batteries, a battalion command and control station, 54 fighter aircraft (friendly and threat), two stand-off jammer aircraft and 100 simulated threat aircraft.”

Arthur says Major General Street, the Patriot Project Manager, was so impressed with Bayer’s efforts, he asked that Bayer be in charge of every test activity for Patriot whether it was contractor, government or operational testing.

In 1989, Bayer retired from civil service and went to work for Raytheon at White Sands. With Raytheon he became an expert in another missile system, the Stinger. He trained a Stinger firing team and then successfully completed the developmental test firings and fly-to-buy firing series from 1992 to 1997.

In addition, Bayer continued work with the Patriot project. The 1990s presented new challenges to Patriot with the Gulf War and the introduction of the PAC 3 capability.

His work on these programs with Raytheon netted him the “Army Contractor Tester of the Year” award for 1997 from the American Defense Preparedness Association.

Bayer retired from Raytheon in January 2000. He and his wife Eppie live in El Paso.