Three ARL/SORD Employees Honored with Prestigious DOE Award

February 2018

James S. Wood, Walter W. Schalk, and Ricky G. Lantrip standing in the SORD office holding their award certificates. The three are standing in front of a large panel displaying the NOAA and SORD logos.

Award recipients James S. Wood, Walter W. Schalk, and Ricky G. Lantrip proudly display their certificates

ARL congratulates Ricky Lantrip, Walt Schalk, and James Wood on their receipt of The Secretary’s Appreciation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Viewed as one of DOE’s highest internal recognitions, this award is given to individuals and groups for superlative contributions to the Agency mission. The nomination process for this award is so rigorous that the Secretary of Energy conveys final approval.

Lantrip, Schalk, and Wood work at ARL’s Special Operations & Research Division in Las Vegas, Nevada, an organization renowned for providing atmospheric and meteorological expertise, information, and data to the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)/Nevada Field Office (NFO) for more than 60 years (including predecessor organizations for both SORD and NFO).

Both Ricky Lantrip and James Wood are Meteorological Technicians focused on specialized forecasting, radiosonde releases, consequence assessment, and field work, and they’ve worked for NOAA for over 23 and over 13 years, respectively. Walter Schalk is the Director of ARL/SORD and has been with the Agency for nearly 19 years. He is a scientist specializing in dispersion, consequence assessment, range meteorology, and field experiment collaboration.

The trio earned their award through participation in the Source Physics Experiments (SPE) – Phase I, an effort comprised of seven experiments over a six-year span. Certificates were presented to the honorees by the DOE Headquarters Federal Program Manager for the SPE on January 16, 2018 at a SPE Subject Matter Expert meeting in North Las Vegas, NV.

The Award states, “The Source Physics Experiment team is recognized for significantly advancing the underground nuclear explosion monitoring capabilities of the United States. With the completion of the Pahute Mesa experiments of phase I, the Source Physics Experiment team has increased our theoretical understanding and modeling capabilities, leading to improved methods to detect and identify explosions. We are closer to achieving our overall goal of a physics-based model that can discriminate among explosions, earthquakes, and cavity collapses and accurately determine nuclear explosion yields. Truly a multi-talented and multi-laboratory group, the Source Physics Experiment team persevered through unforeseen adversity and several significant technical and operational challenges to achieve results with great scientific and operational impact. Their efforts are a great credit to themselves, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Department of Energy.”

About the SORD/DOE collaboration: A long-standing Inter-Agency Agreement exists between the two organizations (including predecessor organizations), through which SORD provides preeminent expertise in atmospheric boundary layer science used by DOE to improve information and increase expertise in non-proliferation national security issues. Decision-makers, primarily those at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), depend on information from SORD to protect the atmosphere, human lives, and property.