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Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld


Dr. Fred Saalfeld was a leader in science and technology who earned his B.S. in chemistry, physics, and mathematics from Southeast Missouri State University. He continued his education at Iowa State University, where he received his Masters and Doctoral degrees in physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and mathematics in 1961.
He began his career with the Naval and Marine Corps Science and Technology programs as a bench chemist. From 1963 to 1973 he headed the mass spectrometry section, where his research led to the innovative systems for atmospheric monitoring and life support now widely used in nuclear submarines, firefighting gear, spacecraft, and other equipment using recirculated air. His research resulted in more than five hundred publications, reports, and talks.
He rose from bench chemist to Associate Director of Research for the Naval Research Lab (NRL). He then became the Chief Scientist at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in London. After that, Dr. Saalfeld was offered the position of Research Programs Director at NRL. In 1982, he was appointed Director of the ONR Research and in 1985, became NRL’s Associate Director of Research for Material Sciences and Component Technology, directing more than nine hundred scientists and a $90 million program. From 1987 until 1993, Dr. Saalfeld was Director of the Office of Naval Research, responsible for the Navy’s basic research effort and the Navy’s corporate laboratory, NRL.
He rose to the rank of Senior Executive Service Rank Six, the highest civilian ranking attainable in government service. He retired from the government in 2002 and was a private consultant to Pennsylvania State University, the National Defense University, and the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Dr. Saalfeld was a charter member the Senior Executive Service under President Carter. In 1986, President Reagan conferred on him the presidential rank of Meritorious Executive, and in 1989 President Bush conferred on him the Distinguished Executive Rank for the second time. In 1991, he was Federal Executive of the Year.
On his retirement, the Chief of Naval Research established the Fred A. Saalfeld Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science, and Dr. Saalfeld was its first recipient.

DOB: Apr 09, 1935 Joplin, MO DOD: Aug 20, 2020 Springfield, VA Age 85

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