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Kenneth Grine

Public Affairs, U.S. Air Force

Lt. Col. Kenneth “Ken” E. Grine was assigned to the Air Force Missile Test Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., as chief, public relations branch, office of information, in November 1957. At the time, news media representatives were barred from entering the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex. He came to this assignment after four years at Headquarters, Air Research and Development Command, later named the Air Force Systems Command, in Baltimore, Md., where he was chief of the public information division. Here he first became involved in the missile program and in 1956 selected the heraldic names for the U.S. Air Force’s Atlas, Thor and Titan missiles.

During his assignment at the Atlantic Missile Range, as the Air Force Missile Test Center was renamed, he was instrumental in “opening” Cape Canaveral to news media. He represented the Department of Defense in supporting news media covering all Army, Navy, Air Force and NASA missile and space launchings and activities on the Atlantic Missile Range. He prepared NASA’s first news media support plans for their initial space-systems launches.

To keep the public aware of DOD and NASA activities at Cape Canaveral he provided news media transportation from Patrick Air Force Base and Cocoa Beach areas to the three press sites on the cape that he designed, supervised and equipped with elevated platforms for better photographic and observation sites; scores of telephones and TV cables, food services and other personal needs. He personally escorted, or arranged escorts for, hundreds of news media representatives to interview key personnel at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral; and he organized and conducted news media tours down the Atlantic Missile Range and to U.S. Air Force stations throughout the United States.

In April 1961, Colonel Grine was honored by the Aviation/Space Writers Association to be the first military public relations person presented the AWA Public Relations Trophy.

Grine’s personal creed for news media relationship was “… to provide total support, guidance, and all possible information within legitimate restrictions measured by the degree of mutual trust between myself and the media representative”.

In May 1961, he was the public affairs member on a committee of the Joint Air Force-NASA Hazards Analysis Board that studied safety and community impact of the “moon-landing program.” The committee recommended the boundaries for NASA’s land acquisition adjacent to Cape Canaveral that is now NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1962, he was employed by the Missile and Space Systems Division of Douglas Aircraft Company, later McDonnell-Douglas, as public relations representative at Cape Canaveral. Douglas was the contractor for the third-stage of the Apollo-V launch vehicle. In 1971, his office was closed with the cancellation of the Apollo program.

He was born on April 12, 1921 in Elrama, Pa., a small town on the Monongahela River 17-miles south of Pittsburgh. He graduated from high school at Elizabeth, Pa., in 1939; and was in his third semester at the California State Teachers College, California, Pennsylvania, when he was called to active duty for WWII as a private in the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Grine and his wife, Barbara “Bobbie,” are retired in Satellite Beach, Fla.