Treaty Monitoring Center inducts three to its Wall of Honor

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the third year in a row, the Air Force Technical Applications Center inducted three people to its historic Wall of Honor at a ceremony Feb. 7, 2017.

Col. Steven M. Gorski, AFTAC’s commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph, AFTAC’s Command Chief, honored Col. (retired) Alvin L. Pavik, Chief Master Sgt. (retired) James C. Davis, and Joe D. Marshall, all former members of the nuclear treaty monitoring center, with personalized medallions to recognize their significant contributions. Davis and Marshall were in attendance to accept the award; Pavik’s son and daughter accepted on his behalf.

In addition to the medallions, the honorees’ names were engraved on plaques and placed on AFTAC’s Wall of Honor in the center’s main lobby.

The wall was established in 2015, shortly after AFTAC personnel moved into their new $158 million facility, to recognize individuals who profoundly contributed to AFTAC’s global mission, while personifying the Air Force Core Values: integrity, service, excellence.

Selection to the Wall of Honor is no easy feat; AFTAC’s Heritage Committee meticulously reviews dozens of nomination packages of former scientists, analysts, engineers and technicians, while only three per year are considered for induction. The committee looks for nominees who demonstrated great character and whose actions truly discriminated them from thousands of other center employees, both military and civilian.

Dr. Mike Young, AFTAC’s historian, led this year’s selection panel.

“Our lineage can be traced back to 1947, two days before the Air Force was established as a separate service, and the single thing that can be attributed to our success as an organization is without a doubt our people,” said Young. “The contributions of today’s inductees are priceless, and their work absolutely formed the cornerstone of our long range detection mission. AFTAC’s greatest asset has always been its people.”

Pavik, who served 30 years on active duty (19 with AFTAC), was an electrical engineer by trade, but quickly found himself leading Airmen in airborne collection methodology and was pivotal in the treaty monitoring center’s collection efforts during the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

Diane Richie, Pavik’s daughter, was present for the ceremony.

“I can’t begin to say how impressed I am with AFTAC and the honor they have bestowed on my father,” she said. “I wish he could have been here himself because he loves his country and he’s such a patriot. He would have been so proud to hear all the kind remarks that have been made about him and his time with AFTAC.”

Pavik’s son, David, was also in attendance and accepted the award for his father.

“My dad understood the importance of what he did, and how he contributed to the nation’s safety,” he said. “He was also proud of the fact that he knew he and his fellow AFTACers were making a difference with the work they were performing. A ceremony like this shines the spotlight on those who have done so much for the nation, and all the inductees should be incredibly proud of the work they accomplished.”

The medallion presented to each inductee depicts the American Bald Eagle clutching a scroll in one talon and a sword in the other. The scroll symbolizes the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the sword illustrates military strength and might. Above the eagle are the words, “Sapientia Potentia Est,” Latin for “Wisdom is Power.”

On the reverse, an inscription reads, “Let this medallion signify its recipient is a member of an elite and noble group of Airmen who stand in silent vigil for the good of all humankind.”

Marshall and his wife, Gail, attended the ceremony that honored his contributions to long range detection. When asked what his reaction was when he learned he was selected to the Wall of Honor, he said, “Do I really deserve this recognition? I’m so appreciative of the gesture, but I think I was just in the right place at the right time with the right people. It’s always about the people – that’s why I’m standing here today, because of the great men and women I worked with every day.”

Gail echoed her husband’s gratitude.

“One of our favorite parts of being a part of AFTAC was the camaraderie,” she said. “All the wives, all the children … we were all like family to each other. That’s what made AFTAC such a special place to be a part of.”

Dr. Glenn Sjoden, AFTAC’s chief scientist, had nothing but praise for all three inductees.

“For nearly seven decades, AFTAC has employed some of the most scientifically gifted people in federal service,” said Sjoden. “Honoring these three giants in the field of long range detection is just a small way for us to acknowledge their profound impact on us as the Department of Defense’s sole nuclear treaty monitoring center.”