Armed Forces: A Quiet Retirement

ARMED FORCES

Twelve years ago last month, Brigadier General Bernard Schriever went to Inglewood, Calif., to start the Air Force's then-secret Western Development Division, a title roughly as revealing as that of the Manhattan Project, which built the atom bomb. Schriever's mission was to turn the drawing-board concept of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile into lethal reality—and fast. Intelligence estimates showed that the Russians had powerful rocket boosters that might enable them to get a commanding weaponry lead over the U.S.

With the Pentagon's top priority, generous appropriations from Congress and Schriever's skilled midwifery, the project successfully gave birth to a whole...

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