Native Son of Redstone and Member of Work Force
August 21, 2009
- Ward Stirling didn't realize until recently that he may be one of a kind. The Redstone worker was born on post.
- In the 30 years Mike Baker has been around as historian we have met maybe less than five people born on the installation who moved away.
- "It's a neat feeling," he said, "to kind of be hanging my hat where I was born and be working here."
Ward Stirling didn't realize until recently that he may be one of a kind. The Redstone worker was born on post.
Stirling was born Sept. 9, 1970 in building 112, which served as the hospital here until Fox Army Hospital opened in 1978. He's a system administrator III for the AMCOM Command Group.
"In the 30 years that Mike (Baker) has been around as historian we have met maybe less than five people born on the installation who moved away," Claus Martel, a historian in the Aviation and Missile Command's Historical Office, said. "I can think of no other person that's working here that's 40 years old (or younger) that was born on Redstone Arsenal."
Not long after Stirling was born, the Army shut down its obstetrics/gynecology ward - which had opened in 1958 -- and referred those services to Huntsville Hospital. Babies were never delivered in the current Fox building, now called Fox Army Health Center.
The historical office staff would like to know if any other current Redstone workers, besides Stirling, were born at building 112.
"Ward is a dying breed," Martel said.
The laid-back, 38-year-old didn't realize his uniqueness until after talking with the historians. Stirling's birth certificate reads that he was born in a U.S. Army hospital, Redstone Arsenal. He thought he was born at Fox until the historians told him the birth was up the road at 112, which is now occupied by the Non-Line of Sight Launch System Project Office.
"It just hit me like yesterday. I just found out I might be one of the only ones that actually was born here that works here," Stirling said. "I actually found out I might be an artifact so it's kind of neat. I'd definitely be interested to find out if anybody else works here that was born here."
He has no memories of Redstone from back then because he only lived here six months. His father, Bill Stirling, was a first lieutenant and captain here from 1967-70 before going to Vietnam. Bill returned to Redstone as a colonel and served as commandant of the then Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School from 1992-93 before retiring in 1994. The Jamaica, N.Y., native worked in Saudi Arabia with Vinnell Corp. from 1994-99. Bill, 65, has worked for Combat Support Associates in Kuwait the past 11 years.
Stirling graduated from high school in Vienna, Va., in 1988. He did miscellaneous jobs before joining the Army in 1991. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1992-94 and in Kaiserslautern, Germany, from 1994-97. He left the Army as an E-4 specialist in May 1997 and returned to Huntsville. Stirling graduated from the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2006 with a bachelor's in management information systems. He began working at Redstone in 2007.
He and his wife, Angela, reside in Harvest with their daughter, Nichole Hornbuckle, 17, and son, Bentley, 9.
"It's a neat feeling," he said, "to kind of be hanging my hat where I was born and be working here."
Editor's note: If you were born at Redstone Arsenal, the AMCOM historians would love to hear from you. Send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know when you were born and where you're working now at Redstone. Also let them know if someone in your family took pictures at the hospital when you were born.