NASIC opens new FME facility

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center public affairs
The National Air and Space Intelligence Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of a new foreign materiel exploitation facility Oct. 20, 2017.

Foreign materiel exploitation is one of the many intelligence production missions at NASIC. FME analysts exploit air, space and cyberspace-related military systems that helps provide the U.S. with a better understanding of potential adversary capabilities.

“The NASIC of today is built on the vision and dedication of those who have served before us, and we are thankful every day for the legacy that was left for us to build on,” said Col. Sean P. Larkin, NASIC commander.

The $29.5 million, 58,000 square-foot addition will nearly triple the size of the existing Watson Hall facility, and doubles the lab space, enabling NASIC to execute its foreign materiel exploitation mission.
“The new building will allow us to consolidate our team and projects under one roof which will increase overall efficiency,” said Senior Master Sgt. Steven Shoemake, FME superintendent.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner also spoke during the ceremony and shared his impressions of NASIC and the base, touting the grand opening as a victory for Dayton.

Throughout its history, NASIC and its predecessor organizations have provided intelligence on current and projected threats to and from the air and space realms and FME has been a part of that endeavor from the beginning. The heyday of FME began in 1945 with Operation LUSTY, in which Col. Harold E. Watson and his “Whizzers,” consisting of pilots, engineers and maintainers, flew select captured enemy aircraft and materiel home to Wright Field here to be dismantled and studied.

Haynes Hall is named after Lt. Bill Haynes, a Foreign Materiel Exploitation test pilot. Haynes along with other combat pilots, later known as the ‘Watson’s Whizzers’, would fight the enemy in the air and then deliver foreign aircraft equipment to analysts who would determine the enemy capabilities. Haynes died flying a German Fighter over Indiana in 1945.

“Lt. Haynes’ dedication and service has long lived on in the legacy of Watson’s Whizzers and the Foreign Materiel Exploitation Squadron,” Larkin said. “Today, we are honored to dedicate Haynes Hall to his legacy.”