Military buildings are typically named after persons deceased who have made significant contributions to an organization, but recently the Hon. John McHugh, secretary of the Army and Springfield resident, granted an exception to that rule.
The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command Headquarters building was dedicated to former Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Operations Research Walter W. Hollis, in a ceremony at the ATEC headquarters Dec. 13. Hollis, whose career spanned more than five decades, is known as the “Grandfather of Test and Evaluation.”
Lt. Gen. William G. Troy, director of the Army Staff, addressed the crowd on behalf of Secretary McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.
“The way you have changed the Army for the better will be remembered as long as this building stands,” Troy said. “When you think about why we name a building after somebody, it’s so all the generations of people who come through here will know about the significant and enduring contribution that person has made.”
Troy also reflected on how Hollis fundamentally changed the way the Army does business for the better because he demanded the rigorous testing executed today on systems like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, the M1 Abrams and the Apache helicopter.
ATEC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco echoed Troy’s remarks by reminding the test and evaluation professionals in attendance that Hollis’ vision was one of the greatest accomplishments for the Army.
“This is the only organization in the Department of Defense that has all three elements of T&E under one command because of Hollis’ vision,” Dellarocco said, referring to the vision Hollis championed to bring operational test, developmental test, and evaluation together under one unified command to harness integrated testing.
“We’re going to take it to a new level. We’ve created interdependency amongst the operational, developmental and evaluation communities and created a new paradigm for integrated testing and distributed testing, and your vision laid that groundwork,” he said.
FOLLOWING THE UNVEILING of the dedication plaque by Hollis, Dellarocco, and ATEC Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Fritzsching, David Hollis addressed the crowd on his father’s behalf. He began his remarks by thanking the Army for recognizing his father’s work.
“It’s an honor for me to represent the Hollis family,” David said. “We only had a vague notion of the work that dad was doing, but along the way we caught glimpses of the real meaning of his work through the many ceremonies recognizing his contributions and accomplishments.”
Before the dedication event, David asked his father to share his favorite stories with him about his time serving the Warfighter. David said his father reflected briefly and noted he couldn’t talk about the best of them, which drew laughter from the large crowd.
“Even so his motivation for public service and devotion to the Army remains vivid in his mind,” David shared.
“The safety, wellbeing and effectiveness of the warfighter always remained his principle motivation.”
A motivation David said manifested itself into determination, inquisitiveness, and a passion for teaching and mentoring new generations of analysts to think, be creative, challenge assumptions, and to do the right thing.
“The Army was his second family,” he said. “We are proud to have shared him with you.”
IN A MEMORANDUM approving the exception despite Hollis not meeting the narrow criteria for dedication as a deceased person, McHugh wrote, “His remarkable career and tireless commitment to providing our Warfighters with the latest and most advanced equipment, soldier support systems and technology set the standard for excellence in selfless service to country.”