Clapp, who is chair of the Department of Computer & Electronic Engineering Technology at WSU, recently completed a yearlong stint serving as Deputy Director, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Reservist of the military research facility. He is the first reserve officer to serve in that capacity.
Last June, Clapp reported to duty, planning to spend his summer working with the Air Force's Human Effectiveness Directorate. Within weeks he had to request an emergency sabbatical from WSU so he could commit to a full year working at the laboratory.
Serving as deputy director, Clapp worked with a team of 1,200 scientists and engineers developing technology and instrumentation to help pilots better interface with their aircraft and enhance their performance.
"I worked on tasks that were incredible," said Clapp. "I was like a kid in a candy shop." One such project involved the latest innovations for improving night vision goggles for pilots, rather ironic considering Clapp is legally blind.
Clapp, who achieved the rank of colonel, has served in the military for more than 31 years. He received the Legion of Merit medal during a retirement ceremony on April 30.
The citation accompanying the medal commended Clapp for "phenomenal leadership, foresight, knowledge, experience and dedication" that has made "warfighters significantly more effective in fighting terrorism and providing a vision for defeating future threats." He was also recognized for leading a major reorganization of military personnel in record-breaking time.
The Legion of Merit medal is conferred on officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the United States "who shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services."
Bill Clapp, chair, Computer & Electronic Engineering Technology
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