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Photo: Frances F. Williams

Frances F. Williams, former equal opportunity manager for White Sands Missile Range, has been Selected for induction into the range´s hall of fame. Williams is noted for energizing the missile range´s equal employment opportunity programs. Because of her management and dedication to excellence, not only did equal opportunity programs succeed but her personal commitment helped create an atmosphere which benefitted all employees.

Williams will be the 27th person to by honored by the missile range in its hall of fame. The hall of fame was created in 1980 to honor those White Sands personnel who have made a lasting contribution to the missile range. The induction ceremony and luncheon are scheduled for August 22, 1995 at 11:30 a.m. in the missile range´s Community Club.

Williams came to White Sands in 1952 as an accounting clerk. Over the years, while serving in a number of administrative jobs, she also worked as an equal employment opportunity counselor and Federal Women´s Program manager. In 1969, she developed the first affirmative action plan for women at White Sands.

In 1976 Williams was Selected as the equal employment manager for the range. During her tenure, until 1987, the equal employment opportunity program flourished. The program received outstanding ratings from both the U.S. Army and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

During those 11 years other installations sent their equal employment opportunity staffs to White Sands to observe and learn how to set-up and run such a program. Evidence of its success was the fact that the number of women and minorities in more responsible positions everywhere rose dramatically.

Much of what Williams did was to ensure employees had the opportunity to better themselves if they had the desire. She developed a number of training seminars, career counseling opportunities and emphasized improved education and long-term training.

She worked closely with the civilian personnel office to establish the range´s upward mobility program. As a result, 10 women were initially accepted in the program as electronic technicians. These were the first women to enter the electronic technician field at White Sands.

The work Williams did at White Sands was also recognized by others. In 1974 she was appointed by the governor to the New Mexico Commission for the Status of Women. In 1976 the governor of New Mexico appointed her to the task force on affirmative action. The force assisted local, county and state officials in developing affirmative action plans. For 12 years she also served as the chairperson for the Las Cruces Review Board for Grievances and Discrimination Complaints.

In his endorsement for Williams´ nomination, Senator Pete Domenici said, "She has been a constant and fearless fighter in the area of Civil Rights for all people." Retired major general and former WSMR commander Niles Fulwyler said of Williams that, "She was an eloquent advocate for all minorities at White Sands Missile Range and the surrounding communities as well."

Marilyn Scarbrough, the director of the U.S. Army´s Office of Equal Opportunity, may have summed up the nomination best when she said of Williams, "that equal employment opportunity is closer to a reality for many of us because of her outstanding program leadership and her personal charisma."

Williams ended her career with White Sands when she retired in 1987 after 35 years of service. She and her husband, Ausvel, live in Las Cruces. They have two children.

 
This page was last updated on 4/12/2010 12:23 PM 
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