Fifty years ago in TACOM news -- Feb. 1968: "Dorothy McClendon plays major role for ATAC"

By TACOM Public AffairsFebruary 6, 2018

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(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

(Editor's note: The following article is part of a series of stories from U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command newsletters in 1968. The acronyms "ATAC" and "TACOM" are interchangeable throughout this series. This story ran in the February 1968 issue of "The Detroit Arsenal News.")

In the midst of the efforts of ATAC technical personnel to develop and improve military vehicles and their many components, Dorothy McClendon, micro-biologist in the Materials Division, plays a major role in the ATAC mission.

The Micro-biology Laboratory, which Miss McClendon supervises, is an engineering support laboratory. Miss McClendon and her assistant, Sylvester Allen, seek ways of preserving non-metallic materials against the destructive microbes which are quite common in tropical regions.

She explained it this way: "If a vehicle is stored for a long period of time in a tropical environment, such non-metallic material as the insulation on electrical cables could serve as food for microbes if it were not adequately protected with suitable fungicides. Our job is to help find fungicides that will kill the attacking microbes."

To evaluate the extent to which a vehicle component, such as a spark plug lead or a radiator hose, has been adequately protected, Miss McClendon sprays the part with an assortment of micro-organisms, kept in the laboratory, to see if the material will resist their attack. In addition, the component is tested for performance before and after being exposed to the fungi to measure the effects of the exposure.

A native of Minden, La., Miss McClendon received a BS degree in biology from Tennessee A. and I. State University in 1948. Since then she has taken advanced courses in micro-biology at Purdue, Wayne State University and the University of Detroit.

She came to ATAC in 1950 and worked in the Chemistry Laboratory for one year until there was an opening in micro-biology.

She assumed her present position eight years ago.

In 1964 she was recognized as one of the top ten working women in Detroit; Brig. Gen. John G. Gramzow recommended her for this award.