NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Cheryl Oliver, Gregory Romano
  • As NOAA celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2020, there is renewed interest in expanding Oral Histories as a key component of the agency’s overall Heritage Program. Through Oral Histories, we will capture the theme: Celebrating the People Behind NOAA - 50 Years of   Science, Service and Stewardship.

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Gary Shigenaka

Gary Shigenaka is a third-generation Japanese American born and raised in Lake Forest, Illinois.  During World War II, Gary's father, other relatives, and over 100,000 other Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in internment camps. Following the war, Gary's father and mother moved to Chicago's suburbs, where Gary grew up.  Gary studied oceanography at the University of Washington, graduating in 1976.

Molly Graham Seattle, WA NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
LaToya Myles

LaToya earned her Ph.D. through the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. She conducted research in collaboration with the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory for an interdisciplinary dissertation focusing on atmospheric deposition of pollutants and their impact on ecosystems. Her study had implications for both human and environmental health.

Molly Graham , Knoxville, TN NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
William Stubblefield

Rear Admiral William Stubblefield was born and raised in Medina, Tennessee.  He attended Memphis State University and graduated in 1962 with a major in secondary education and a minor in chemistry.  After graduation, Stubblefield was commissioned in the United States Navy and attended Naval Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island.  He served on a minesweeper and ice breaker at sea, operating all over the globe.

Molly Graham , , Martinsburg, West Virginia NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Elbert W. “Joe” Friday

Dr. Elbert "Joe" Friday, Jr. was born in De Queen, Arkansas, in 1939.  Elbert graduated from high school in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied engineering physics and graduated in 1961.  Upon graduation, Joe received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force and went on to complete his master's and PhD in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.  Friday served for 20 years in the Air Force, including a tour in Vietnam as Weather Detachment Commander.

Molly Graham , , , , , Edmond, OK NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Albert "Skip" Theberge, Jr.

Captain Albert “Skip” Theberge, Jr. was born in 1946 in Coquille, Oregon.  When Skip was three years old, his family moved to Santa Cruz, where he learned to surf and because fascinated with the ocean.  He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a professional degree in geological engineering. Skip also has a master’s degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School.  In 1969, Theberge was commissioned as an ensign in the ESSA Corps, which soon became NOAA Corps. He retired with the rank of captain in 1995, after nearly 27 years of commissioned service.

Molly Graham , , Gainesville, VA NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Doug Whiteley

Doug Whiteley is the Division Chief of the Research to Operations and Project Planning Division (ROPPD). As Chief of ROPPD, Doug oversees pre-formulation and early formulation for new satellite systems as well as the execution of studies for project alternatives, such as foreign partnerships leveraging data and/or instrument exchanges, small-sats, payload hosting, commercial alternatives, and technology maturation to identify specific potential solutions to NESDIS top-level requirements.

Molly Graham Silver Spring, MD NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Samuel P. DeBow Jr.

Rear Admiral Samuel P. DeBow Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1953.  He earned his B.S. degree in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University.  When RADM DeBow graduated in 1976, he became a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps.  Sam earned his M.S. in Hydrographic Sciences from the Naval Postgraduate School, and was also a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  RADM DeBow served almost 30 years as an active-duty officer and is the prior Director of the NOAA Commissioned Corps and the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

Molly Graham Olney, MD NOAA Heritage Program NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Edward Rappaport

Dr. Ed Rappaport was born in 1957 in Southern California. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington.  Ed then received his Ph.D. with an emphasis in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University.  Dr. Rappaport began at NHC as a post-doctoral fellow for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Molly Graham Miami, FL NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
John Ogren

John Ogren was born in 1966 in Blue Island, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was fascinated by the weather from an early age. He grew up listening to his grandfather's stories about the deadly 1967 oak lawn tornado outbreak. In high school, John became really interested in earth science and was "hooked" after a six-week weather unit in science class. Mr. Ogren attended Western Illinois University, where he graduated in 1988 with a degree in geography and a minor in broadcasting and communications.

Molly Graham Boston, MA NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
James McFadden

Dr. James McFadden was born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1934.  He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and graduated with a degree in geology.  In 1960, James was offered a research assistantship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's meteorology program.  He spent five years in Madison and earned his PhD in meteorology.  In 1965, McFadden came to work for the Environmental Science Services Administration's Sea-Air Laboratory, part of the Office of Meteorological Research in Washington, D.C. as a research scientist.

Molly Graham Lakeland, FL NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project

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