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    NAMRU-D joins Dayton Navy Week, honors WWII-era hero

    NAMRU-D joins Dayton Navy Week, honors WWII-era hero

    Photo By Zachary Wilson | Brig. Gen. (ret.) Scott Wuesthoff (right) and Capt. Walter Dalitsch III, Naval...... read more read more



    Story by Zachary Wilson 

    Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton

    Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton (NAMRU-D) participated in the U.S. Navy’s “Navy Week Dayton” with a ceremony July 26 on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, honoring the life and sacrifice of a World War II-era medical researcher who gave his life while conducting aeromedical research in Pensacola, Fla. in 1942.

    The ceremony featured a re-dedication of a plaque honoring the sacrifice of Cdr. Eric Liljencrantz, a flight surgeon who was killed during an aviation accident over Pensacola while conducting acceleration research. Rear Adm. John Spencer, Commander of Submarine Group 10 and senior Naval officer for Navy Week Dayton attended the event as well as U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. (ret.) Scott Wuesthoff, Liljencrantz’ grandson.

    “Aeromedical research in the Navy started as soon as we first took to the air, concentrating initially on fitness to fly,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Walter W. Dalitsch III, NAMRU-D Commanding Officer. “Commander Liljencrantz was an early pioneer in the effects of acceleration in flight, the effects of which we are still researching today – so his legacy lives on.”

    Liljencrantz was born in 1902 in Oakland, Calif., and completed his medical training at Stanford in 1929. According to his biography, he was the first Medical Director of the Pacific Division of the Pan-American Airways and joined the Naval Reserves in 1931. He was called to active duty in 1940 and was testing an accelerometer in a Vought OS2U Kingfisher seaplane when the aircraft crash landed. Just prior to his death he was slated to serve as the director of the proposed Aeromedical Research Laboratory, the predecessor to the Command’s Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory here.

    The opportunity to highlight the legacy and memory of Liljencrantz while the Navy executed the Navy Week Dayton initiative was fortuitous. Spencer, a Fairborn native and lead flag officer for Dayton event, was offered an opportunity to tour the Command and observe the unveiling of the plaque. The Admiral was provided with background information prior to the event and did some preliminary research where he learned about Liljencrantz’ significant impact on aeromedical research and his continuing impact on the aerospace medical community.

    “The Commander was a fascinating person,” Spencer said. “He authored one of the first early papers on what the physical attributes required for pilots. From what I understand, that was foundational for many years, (this was critical) for how we select folks to be pilots. That feels a lot of what (NAMRU-D) does every day.”

    The plaque was originally featured at NAMRU-D’s Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL) at Pensacola Naval Air Station until 2004, at which time it was put into storage due to the effects of Hurricane Ivan. NAMRL’s current Director, Dr. Richard Arnold, was given the plaque recently on as recent visit to Pensacola NAS to retrieve materials associated with the laboratory while it was still active there. NAMRL moved to Wright-Patterson in 2010 as part of a Base Re-alignment and Closure decision to join the Navy’s Environmental Health Effects Laboratory which was already located at Wright-Patterson, subsequently becoming the Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton.

    Wuesthoff, who, like his grandfather, entered the military and immediately began a career devoted to aerospace, was an Air Force pilot who retired in 2009. The General accumulated more than 3,500 flying hours in the KC-135, KC-10, T-37 and C-5 aircraft with experience as a squadron, group and wing commander as well as senior joint positions. He was invited by Dalitsch to participate and addressed the crowd prior to taking part in the unveiling.

    “I’m left with a few questions about Eric,” he said. “Why the fascination with aviation? And I guess it began with the Wright Brothers, World War I, and then the barnstormers, so there was this fascination across the nation. Flying KC-10s out of Southern California, I would fly through Honolulu, and I would fly through Wake, I would fly through Guam, and all over Southeast Asia, and would still see some of those (old) Terminals that were still functional and I would imagine I was walking through my grandfather’s footsteps – it was fascinating to think about.”

    The event also featured a guided tour of the Command’s laboratories – NAMRL and the Environmental Health Effects Laboratory (EHEL) which has been at WPAFB since 1976.

    Navy Week Dayton is a weeklong public outreach event conducted by the Navy’s Office of Civic Engagement. The week aims to raise awareness of the Navy’s mission and presence in the local area while also demonstrating the unique capabilities of the Department of Defense’s seaborne service. Navy Week Dayton is July 26-31 and culminates with a series of performances by the Navy’s aerial demonstration team, The Blue Angels, July 30-31 at the Dayton Air Show.

    NAMRU-D is a major Department of Defense medical research command and the home of the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory and the Environmental Health Effects Laboratory. As a subordinate command to the Naval Medical Research Center, NAMRU-D optimizes the readiness, performance, and survivability of operational forces through environmental health effects, toxicology and aerospace medical research and development.



    Date Taken: 07.28.2022
    Date Posted: 07.28.2022 14:12
    Story ID: 426023
    Location: DAYTON, OH, US

    Web Views: 233
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