Wheeler retires after 38 years

Wheeler retires after 38 yearsKeith Wheeler retired after 38 years of service, a milestone honored during a flag-raising ceremony Dec. 22, 2020 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California.

Wheeler began his federal career working as a research assistant for the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1984, he headed to China Lake. In 1985, Wheeler joined the Weapons and Tactics Analysis Center (WEPTAC) as a project leader, where he would spend the next 11 years. His projects included developing fleet air defense and outer air battle tactics with Third Fleet and various tactics for Marine Helicopter Squadron (MHX) 1, as well as developing and evaluating requirements for many of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s portfolio of systems.

He left WEPTAC to join the Warfare Analysis Division, where he said a highlight was having the opportunity to support the development of a new aircraft from requirements to contract award to first flight¾the Joint Strike Fighter.

“I had the honor to join a team of exceptional engineers in the development of the JSF preliminary specification,” he said. “After the award of the JSF contract, I served the JSF Program Office as the air vehicle verification and test lead.

These were exciting years and proved what could be achieved when individuals from other services, commands, and geographic locales work toward a common goal.”

Pictured: Keith Wheeler receives a flag flown in his honor at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. — U.S. Navy Photo by Ryan Smith

Story First Published: 2021-04-09