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Still Serving: Veterans Day 2023

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Marshall Space Flight Center, view of campus from atop test stand building
NASA/Fred Deaton

Chapter 1

Still Serving: Honoring Marshall, Michoud Veterans

Many members of the workforce at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Michoud Assembly Facility served in the U.S. Armed Forces before beginning their NASA careers, and some are still serving in both capacities today.

Get to know some of our Marshall and Michoud veterans.

Tora Henry

Director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Branch of service:  Marine Corps

Dates of service: August 1990 – August 1996

Most memorable event/memory: Being stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for 6 1/2 years. The culture, food, entertainment, and weather were the best. Overseas tours lend to greater camaraderie and long-lasting friendships.

Tory Henry, a Black woman stands in front of Marshall Space Flight Center building 4221 holding her military photo with the American flag in the background.
NASA title: Director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Branch of Service: Marine Corps Dates of Service: August 1990 – August 1996 Why you joined the military: It was an awesome career starter. I love the military structure, and of course the travel and benefits Most memorable event/memory: Being stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for 6 1/2 years. The culture, food, entertainment, and weather were the best. Overseas tours lend to greater camaraderie and long-lasting friendships. What you like best about working at NASA: I love the NASA mission of exploring the unknown in air and space, innovation that benefits humanity, and inspiring the world through discovery. I equally love the ODEO mission of making sure diversity and civil rights policies, programs, and services enable the universe of available talent to contribute inclusively and equitably to NASA.

Jason Perry

Structural Dynamics Engineer

Branch of service: Navy

Dates of service: November 2004 – November 2009

Most memorable event/memory: My most memorable event was being named Sailor of the Day onboard the USS Enterprise. Getting to go up to the ship’s bridge, meet with the captain, and steer the ship was such an honor.

NASA Title: Structural Dynamics Engineer Branch of service: Navy Dates of Service: November 2004 – November 2009 Why you joined the military: I joined the military very soon after 9/11 and during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom because I wanted to contribute. I was also interested in seeing the world outside of Huntsville and expanding my experiences beyond our country and culture. Most memorable event/memory: My most memorable event was being named Sailor of the Day onboard the USS Enterprise. Getting to go up to the ship’s bridge, meet with the captain, and steer the ship was such an honor. How long you’ve been at NASA and what you like best about working here: I have been at NASA since 2015. What I like best about working here is the mission to make lives better and expand knowledge through exploration and science. I’ve always wanted what I do professionally to improve the lives of others and NASA gives me that opportunity.

Sylvester Dorsey

Flight Software Review Team Lead

Branch of service: Navy

Dates of service: August 2001 – May 2005

What you like best about working at NASA: The pride of working at one of the most technologically advanced organizations in the world.

NASA title: Flight Software Review Team Lead Branch of service: Navy Dates of service: August 2001 – May 2005 Why you joined the military: To pay for college. Most memorable event/memory: Being in bootcamp during 9/11 and serving on the USS Abraham Lincoln. What you like best about working here: The pride of working at one of the most technologically advanced organizations in the world.

George Young

Engineer Project Management

Branch of service: Army Corps of Engineers

Dates of service: 1968 – 1970

Most memorable event/memory: Deployment to Vietnam 60 days after birth of my first child, and leaving my parents, wife, and child behind.

An older white man stands in front of a tree holding two plaques.
NASA Title: Engineer Project Management Branch of Service: Army Corps of Engineers Dates of Service: 1968 – 1970 Why you joined the military: I was enrolled in ROTC in college. Most memorable event/memory: Deployment to Vietnam 60 days after birth of my first child, and leaving my parents, wife, and child behind. What you like best about working here. The people at Marshall are friendly, intelligent, committed, honest, respectful, and courageous. The work is challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Our achievements are revered by the American people.

Carolyn Magsby

Deputy Director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Branch of service: Air Force

Dates of service: October 1987 – October 2012

What you like best about working at NASA: What I like best about NASA is the true meaning of its motto, “For the benefit of all.” I see the pride in each of the members I have met and appreciate the welcoming atmosphere. 

Carolyn Magsby stands next to a shadow box full of Medals. She is a Black woman wearing a great suit with a black background.
Carolyn Magsby NASA Title: Deputy Director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Branch of Service: Air Force Dates of Service: October 1987 – October 2012 Why you joined the military: Adventure and travel. Most memorable event/memory: My retirement ceremony – it was the first time my parents and family were able to attend one of my military functions; a ceremony officiated by a four-star general who was from the same county in Mississippi as me. What you like best about working here: What I like best about NASA is the true meaning of its motto, “For the benefit of all.” I see the pride in each of the members I have met and appreciate the welcoming atmosphere.

Rick Basting

IT Project Manager

Branch of service: Air Force

Dates of service: March 1984 – January 2013

What do you like best about working at NASA:  I enjoy being able to support the mission areas as a part of the Office of the Chief Information Officer team and continuing to serve this great country!

A man in a soldier uniform stands in the desert with sheep behind him.
NASA Title: IT Project Manager Branch of Service: Air Force Dates of Service: March 1984 – January 2013 Why you joined the military: My uncle, a 28-year USAF Chief Master Sergeant, inspired me. And I could serve my country and learn a skill beyond my uniformed service. Most memorable event/memory: I deployed to Iraq as a soldier from December of 2004 to January 2006, and again to Iraq and Afghanistan as an airman. The year in Iraq was the most memorable as I experienced the whole allied force in combat and provided command, control, and communications services in northern Iraq. What do you like best about working at NASA: I enjoy being able to support the mission areas as a part of the OCIO team and continuing to serve this great country!
A man stands holding his combat boots in front of an American flag.

Chapter 2

Jason Salter

Information Systems Security Engineer/Officer

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: February 2004 – March 2014

Most memorable event/memory: My most memorable event was receiving the Bronze Star Medal during my second deployment to Iraq, where we worked together with Iraqi Nationals to redevelop an entire city in Baghdad. It was brutal work, but my unit accomplished what I originally thought was going to be impossible.

Gary Humphrey

Supply & Equipment Management Officer

Branch of service: Navy

Dates of service: June 1969 – December 1999

What do you like best about working at NASA:  The feeling of a family unit working together to accomplish extraordinary things.

A white man stands with his arms crossed in front of a green wall.
NASA title: Supply & Equipment Management Officer Branch of Service: Navy Dates of Service: June 1969 – December 1999 Why you joined the military: Family tradition Most memorable event/memory: Serving in Vietnam. What you like best about working here: The feeling of a family unit working together to accomplish extraordinary things.

Beverly Johnson

Budget Analyst

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: September 1996 – April 2000

Most memorable event/memory: My favorite memory is when I was deployed to Bosnia during the Christmas holidays. Santa arrived in a hummer to spread holiday cheer to those of us who worked on Christmas Day.

Beverly Johnson stands in front of an American Flag holding a computer.
NASA Title: Budget Analyst Branch of Service: Army Dates of Service: September 1996 – April 2000 Why you joined the military: It was an opportunity to attend school on a ROTC scholarship and serve my country as a military officer. Most memorable event/memory: There are so many memories. I’m grateful for the friends who have become family and the connections that are still intact to this day. My favorite memory is when I was deployed to Bosnia during the Christmas holidays. Santa arrived in a hummer to spread holiday cheer to those of us who worked on Christmas Day. What you like best about working here: The best part about being here is the opportunity to support the space program and be a part of history.

Luke Bingaman

Payload Operations Director

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: March 2007 – present

What do you like best about working at NASA:  I really enjoy the constant and ever-changing challenges that come with working in the space industry. It’s obvious that what we’re doing is still new enough that we’re developing the concepts and processes for doing things that’ll be used by others in the future. 

Luke Bingaman, a white man, stands with his arms crossed with a military hat in his hand.
Luke Bingaman NASA Title: Payload Operations Director Branch of Service: Army Dates of Service: March 2007 – present Why you joined the military: If not me, then who? Most memorable event/memory: That I’ll share – when transitioning from active duty to the Army National Guard, my squad put together a small “hail and farewell,” which included our platoon leader, the guy taking over the squad, and my guys. They decorated and all signed a styrofoam plate as a going away gift. I still have it. It’s not much, but was a sign of their respect and esteem and that I had tangibly impacted their lives. What you like best about working here: I really enjoy the constant and ever-changing challenges that come with working in the space industry. It’s obvious that what we’re doing is still new enough that we’re developing the concepts and processes for doing things that’ll be used by others in the future.

Joe Casas

Science, Technology & Exploration Small Missions, and DoD Formulation Manager, Partnerships and Formulation Office.

Branch of service:  U.S. Army

Dates of service: February 1968 – January 1971

Most memorable event/memory: On July 20, 1969, while serving in Vietnam, the USA placed the first human on the Moon and returned them to Earth. I share my amazement of this event with many others at this event and with the many people who helped accomplished it. That very evening, the Moon landing inspired me to dedicate my future education, training, and vocation to American public service by contributing in meaningful positive and important ways to the human power of knowledge and opportunities created by the discoveries associated with space science and exploration.

An older white man stands holding his green military hat
Title: Science, Technology & Exploration Small Missions, and DoD Formulation Manager, Partnerships and Formulation Office. Branch of service: U.S. Army Dates of service: February 1968 – January 1971 Why you joined the military: I was drafted in late 1967 and desired to serve our country the best way that I could at the time Most memorable event/memory: On July 20, 1969, while serving in Vietnam, the USA placed the first human on the Moon and returned them to Earth. I share my amazement of this event with many others at this event and with the many people who helped accomplished it. That very evening, “the human Moon landing” mission event inspired me to dedicate my future education, training, and vocation to American public service by contributing in meaningful positive and important ways to the human power of knowledge and opportunities created by the discoveries associated with space science and exploration. What you like best about working at NASA: There are many reasons I feel very blessed for being even a small part of serving and representing our agency as it serves our nation in improving the quality of lives, enhancing knowledge from discovery, enabling dreamers , helping my colleagues when possible and creating innovation opportunities.

Shontovia Harold

Budget Analyst

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: January 1998 to January 2002;  November 2004 to November 2008

Why you joined the military: I joined the Army because of my family history with the Army, which has been one of the best decisions I have made. 

NASA Title: Budget Analyst Branch of service: Army Dates of service: January 1998 to January 2002; November 2004 to November 2008 Why you joined the military: I joined the Army because of my family history with the Army, which has been one of the best decisions I have made. Most memorable event/memory: I have many memories, but training for sharpshooter is my most memorable. What you like best about working here: Working at NASA has been a privilege and an honor. I like the flexibility and the work/life balance.

Chapter 3

Norberto Soto Fuentes

Equal Employment Specialist

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: July 1984 –July 2004

Most memorable event/memory: When my mom attended my college graduation while on active duty.

Austin Decker

Lead Structural Dynamics Engineer

Branch of service: Army National Guard, Air National Guard

Dates of service: 1998 – 2021

What you like best about working at NASA: The opportunity to contribute to human space exploration.

A white man stands in front of a model SLS with his American flag in a wooden box.
NASA Title: Lead Structural Dynamics Engineer Branch of Service: Army National Guard, Air National Guard Dates of Service: 1998 – 2021 Why you joined the military: Desire to help my community Most memorable event/memory: Initial convoy from Kuwait to Balad, Iraq. What you like best about working here: The opportunity to contribute to human space exploration.

Paul Walker

Special Agent, Protective Services Office

Branch of service: Marine Corps

Dates of service: 2003 to 2008

Most memorable event/memory: My most memorable event by far was stepping on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps boot camp.

A white man in a red NASA shirt holds a military ring in front of him.
NASA Title: Special Agent, Protective Services Office Branch of service: Marine Corps Dates of Service: 2003 to 2008 Why you joined the military: I wanted to serve after 9/11, and I believed the service to give me the best opportunities for career growth. Most memorable event/memory: My most memorable event by far was stepping on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps boot camp. What you like best about working here: I love the camaraderie and the mission focus that all elements of the center provide together.

Marty Schaeffer

Marshall Communications Director

Branch of service: Air Force

Dates of service: 1984-1992

Most memorable event/memory: Working inside of Cheyenne Mountain for two years at NORAD-USSPACECOM…. a totally unique experience and duty station.

A woman with short hair stands holding a photo of herself in the military.
NASA Title: Marshall Communications Director Branch of service: Air Force Dates of service: 1984-1992 Why you joined the military: I wanted to travel. Most memorable event/memory: Working inside of Cheyenne Mountain for two years at NORAD-USSPACECOM….a totally unique experience and duty station. How long have you been at NASA, and what do you like best about working here? I’ve been at NASA almost two years. What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to support missions that affect humanity in a noble, positive way.

David Dominguez

Human Landing System Structures and Mechanisms Discipline Lead

Branch of service: USAF

Dates of service: May 2000 – October 2006

Most memorable event/memory: Flying a C-21 (Learjet 35) from Qatar to Washington D.C. over five days with a great crew after our deployment was over.

A man stands in a leather jacket holding a shadow box.
NASA Title: Human Landing System Structures and Mechanisms Discipline Lead Branch of Service: USAF Dates of Service: May 2000 – October 2006 Why you joined the military: To serve and defend the country I believe is the best in the world. Most memorable event/memory: Flying a C-21 (Learjet 35) from Qatar to Washington D.C. over five days with a great crew after our deployment was over What you like best about working at NASA: My favorite part is the people and the personal development and empowerment the agency provides to its people

Jason Marsh

Logistic Management Specialist

Branch of service: Air Force

Dates of service: September 1992 – October 2012

What you like best about working at NASA:  Being part of a team that works well together.

A white man in a blue NASA shirt stands in a warehouse looking building.
NASA title: Logistic Management Specialist Branch of service: Air Force Dates of Service: September 1992 – October 2012 Why did you join the military? To get out of my town and work towards a career. Most memorable event: My retirement ceremony. What do you like best about working at NASA: Being part of a team that works well together.
A white man with no hair stands in front of a NASA sign outdoors with his arms crossed.

Chapter 4

Bill Marks

Deputy Director, Marshall Center Operations

Branch of service: Army

Dates of service: 1989-2016

What you like best about working at NASA:  I joined the NASA Marshall team in December 2019 and have really enjoyed the collaborative and inclusive culture here.  Not only does it seem like everyone gets along, it seems like everyone wants to get along.

Trey Cate  | Marcia Lindstrom | Kevin O’Brien

Trey Cate
Strategic Communications Deputy Manager, NASA’s Space Launch System
Branch of service: Army 
Dates of service: May 1983 – February 2008

Marcia Lindstrom
Strategic Communications Manager, NASA’s Space Launch System
Branch of service: Air Force
Dates of service: December 1991 – July 1996

Kevin O’Brien
Art Director, Space Launch System
Branch of service: Army
Dates of service: June 1986 – March 1992

Kathy Byars

Marshall Center Executive Officer

Branch of service: Air Force and AF Reserves

Dates of service: May 1986 – February 1993; USAFR until 1998

Why you joined the military: My father retired as a colonel from the Air Force after 30-plus years of service flying the F-4 Phantom. Besides the exciting life we had traveling/living all over the world, I caught the service bug very early on.

A woman in a leather bomber jacket holds a photo of herself in the military
NASA title: Marshall Center Executive Officer Branch of Service: Air Force and AF Reserves Dates of Service: May 1986 – Feb 1993; USAFR until 1998 Why you joined the military: My father retired as a colonel from the Air Force after 30-plus years of service flying the F-4 Phantom. Besides the exciting life we had traveling/living all over the world, I caught the service bug very early on. Most memorable event/memory: When my father pinned wings on me when I graduated from pilot training. What you like best about working here: It’s extremely important to me to have a passion for the work I do and to work with a team that shares that passion. NASA’s mission is extraordinary as are the devoted teams that come together every day to ensure mission success.

Terry White

Graphic Artist / Animator

Branch of service: Army National Guard

Dates of service: 1980 to 1986

Why you joined the military: It was an opportunity to be a part of something that would ultimately jumpstart my growth as a young man while providing a new perspective on my goals and aspirations.

Terry White stands with his arms crossed while wearing glasses.
NASA title: Graphic Artist / Animator Branch of service: Army National Guard Dates of service: 1980 to 1986 Why you joined the military: It was an opportunity to be a part of something that would ultimately jumpstart my growth as a young man while providing a new perspective on my goals and aspirations. Most memorable event/memory: One of my most memorable moments was traveling to South Korea in February of 1986 – it was the first time I had ever left the United States. I had an opportunity to see and explore the Korean lifestyle and culture as well as experiencing many of their customs. What you like best about working here: I have always wanted to work in the space industry, and I love what I do.

Craig Betbeze

Strategic Communications Team Lead, Michoud Assembly Facility

Branches of service: U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard

Dates of service: 1988-1997 (USAF); 1998-2015 (USCG)

Most memorable event/memory: My time in service – for both branches – was amazing. I learned a lot from a lot of great people, who I’d be proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with still. Two branches, one mission. My favorite duty was the USCG protection detail for New Orleans, and I had the chance to drive for five different Commandants of the Coast Guard. That was always cool.

Chris Cambre

Emergency Management Specialist, Michoud Assembly Facility

Branch of service: Marine Corps

Dates of service: 2001-2005

What you like best about working at NASA: I like knowing I’m contributing, doing my part for the mission. Also, I grew up in southern Louisiana, so to do what I do in my career field, at home.

A man in a grey suit holds a photo of his wedding day wearing his military uniform in front of an American flag and a NASA flag.
Emergency Management Specialist, Michoud Assembly Facility Branch of Service: Marine Corps Dates of Service: 2001-2005 Why did you join the military? I needed course-correcting in my life; I was in college but didn’t know what I wanted. I needed change, so I decided to enlist, looking for the discipline and experience. What is your most memorable event/memory? I was in Parris Island on 9/11. The intensity changed, almost instantaneously. They started calling guys out of the bay and pretty quickly we realized they were all from the northeast. Then we were all told that the planes were flown into the Twin Towers, and it looked like we’d been attacked. What do you like best about working at NASA? I like knowing I’m contributing, doing my part for the mission. Also, I grew up in southern Louisiana, so to do what I do in my career field, at home.

Dave Howitt

Safety & Health Manager, Michoud Assembly Facility

Branch of service: Air Force

Dates of service: 1982-2005

Most memorable event/memory: There are so many, but I would have to say there were two defining moments. I was chosen as an Air Traffic Control instructor at Keesler AFB. I didn’t have a lot of public speaking experience, but it did a lot for my confidence. The second was being selected for the Inspector General team. They were the best in their field, and to be chosen to work with them was really an honor.

A man wearing a black suit stands with his shadow box full of military medals in front of an American Flag.
Title: Safety & Health Manager, Michoud Assembly Facility Branch of service: Air Force Dates of service: 1982-2005 Why did you join the military? I had an uncle who worked on F-4s. I was 13 or 14, and went to visit him one time. I saw the flightline; I was hooked. It was a big motivator for me. Most memorable event/memory: There are so many, but I would have to say there were two defining moments. I was chosen as an Air Traffic Control instructor at Keesler AFB. I didn’t have a lot of public speaking experience, but it did a lot for my confidence. The second was being selected for the Inspector General team. They were the best in their field, and to be chosen to work with them was really an honor. What do you like best about working at NASA? I like working with the diverse culture, people of all walks of life. Whether it’s janitorial staff or a senior leader at a major contractor – it doesn’t really matter. Working in safety, it’s important to care about people.

Luis Felipe Mora

Modal Test Engineer

Branch of Service: U.S. Army

Dates of Service: 2007-Present

Most memorable event/memory:  My first mission in Iraq, going in a convoy and being able to see Baghdad, the people, and some of the projects our military were working on to help the community and rebuild the area.

Name: Luis Felipe Mora NASA title: Modal Test Engineer Branch of Service: U.S. Army Dates of Service: 2007-Present Why did you join the military? I went to a military school and liked the education and discipline I got as it helped me mature. I joined during times of war and felt it was the right thing to do for this country. Most memorable event/memory? My first mission in Iraq, going in a convoy and being able to see Baghdad, the people, and some of the projects our military were working on to help the community and rebuild the area. What do you like best about working at NASA? I like the work environment and being able to contribute to space exploration.

Thank You To Those Who Serve

Their defense careers have been in a range of services, including the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy, and Reserves. Today, they continue to serve the nation through their work at NASA. As we approach Veterans Day, we pause to acknowledge their military service and hear their stories. 


Thank you to Marshall Space Flight Center portrait photographer Charles Beason.

A worker at Michoud Assembly Facility works on the EUS with an American Flag in the background.