Missileer Tom Amlie, RIP

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Navy and Air Force missile expert Thomas S. Amlie has died at 85. His fingerprints – he was part of the simple-is-better school that waxes and wanes in the U.S. military — date back to the Eisenhower Administration:

Tom Amlie worked on the Sidewinder project as a young Navy lieutenant, and he later became technical director at China Lake. He says the secret of the missile’s success is simplicity: “In flight, it had seven vacuum tubes and five moving parts. The competition…was complicated almost beyond description.”

Battleland remembers him fondly as a technical guy who worked hard to break down complex engineering concepts for math-challenged reporters:

Amlie: 2 + 2 = 4

Reporter: Huh?

Godspeed, Dr. Amlie