U.S. Army Operational Testers' Hall of Fame


Col. Edward B. "Jack" Derr



Inducted October 24, 1994

December 27, 1933 - April 7, 1984

Test Officer, HQ, MASSTER
Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1975

Test Division Chief, TCATA
Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1976

Director, Instrumentation Directorate, TCATA
Fort Cavazos, Texas, 1983-1984

"The American soldier will use his ingenuity to make the equipment work.  This does not absolve us if we send him into battle with a piece of junk."

That has been the philosophy of USAOTC since it was known as TCATA, and was said by Col. Edward "Jack" Derr when he was Director of the Instrumentation Directorate.

In August 1975, he was assigned to Headquarters, MASSTER, as a test officer, Combat Test Branch, Combat Directorate.  When Headquarters, MASSTER, reorganized and became TCATA, he became Chief, Test Division A, Combined Arms Test Directorate.

Derr left TCATA for an assignment as Commander, DARCOM Research and Development Field Support Activity, and returned to TCATA in 1983 to assume his last position as Director, Instrumentation Directorate.

Derr is remembered by friends and colleagues of TCATA as one of the most distinguished officers who ever worked for TCATA. He was the ultimate professional soldier who was particularly loyal to the high standards of the Army.

Soldiers and soldiering were his life.

On April 7, 1984, Derr died at the age of 50.  It was in a tribute article that fellow operational test people provided the most poignant recommendation for the induction of Col. Derr into the Operational Testers' Hall of Fame:

"It was his love for soldiers that motivated him to work so hard to see that you (soldiers) were properly equipped.  His love motivated him to work hard to guard against the fielding of defective equipment, and to fight waste in the procurement process."

"Many of us only saw Colonel Derr when he was engaged in the fight for better equipment for soldiers.  It was in this role that he could meaner than a junk yard dog.  Woe to the person that would send an American soldier to battle with less than the best."

"He would not allow me, nor anyone else, to compromise the product, or capability, that the American soldier was due.  A tall order for a tall, tough man."