Placido Trujillo will be inducted into the WSMR Hall of Fame Sept. 28.
Placido Trujillo, an inventive machinist who retired as Chief of the Building and Grounds Division at White Sands Missile Range, will be inducted into the White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at the range's Museum.
As a machinist Trujillo could mechanically visualize and create precision parts for missile and tracking systems. He was involved in a multitude of key projects, ranging from fashioning an instrumented-rigged nosecone for one of the early experiments with captured V-2 missiles, to playing a major role in the development and construction of test sites that remain in use today.
Trujillo, who died on April 28, 2011, worked at WSMR from 1947 until his retirement in 1978.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1980 by Major General Duard Ball as a means to permanently enshrine those military and civilian employees who made outstanding contributions to the White Sands Missile Range mission. Induction into the White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame is the highest honor White Sands can bestow upon an individual. There will be no luncheon, only the induction ceremony at the museum.
Born July 16, 1924 in Belen, New Mexico, Trujillo served in the United States Army during World War II and after completing a tour of duty in Dutch New Guinea and the Philippines Theater of Operations, was honorably discharged in 1946.
After leaving the Army he received further training as a machinist in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1947 he was placed in a machinist position and was relocated to Las Cruces to begin work at WSMR.
One of his first assignments at WSMR was to work on the V2 Missile Project, under the guidance of Dr. Wernher von Braun. As a young machinist, one of his most memorable moments was during "Operation Paper Clip" where he worked alongside von Braun and other engineers at WSMR, testing and reengineering captured missiles. It was during this time that he fashioned an instrumented nose cone and recommended design improvements changes to the fuel valves for the early test flights of the V2 missile.
Known for his ability to design and create precision machined pieces, he was selected to assist at Cape Canaveral for two different V2 launches and was acknowledged by the United States of America War Office.
Over the years, Placido was involved in many projects as WSMR expanded its technical barriers to become the country's top missile test range. From 1947 to 1967 he worked as a machinist and became the machinist foreman supervising 12 positions. During these years he received personal commendations for many of the projects, including his work performed for the "Wide World" TV show, the 40th Field Artillery Missile Group Modification on Missile, construction of Mobile Telescope T-153 and T-154, modification of 500K Test Stand, work on the Ballistic Camera, construction of the "Arc-Printer", and mechanization of camera mounts.
In 1973, he was promoted to Division Chief of Building and Grounds, managing over 200 employees. His responsibilities included land and wildlife management. He was able to successfully complete his projects early and under budget through the use of the knowledge of his field and a common sense approach in accomplishing these cutting edge projects.
Trujillo was married to Sally Sanchez Trujillo for 65 years. She is also deceased. They are survived by six children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom will be present at the ceremony to accept the honor.
For more information about the ceremony call (575) 678-1134.