NATICK, Mass. – U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, retired employee and Army veteran Peter Stalker was recently inducted into the U.S. Army Quartermaster School’s Parachute Riggers Officer Hall of Fame, becoming its 76th inductee and only the second civilian in its history to receive the distinguished honor.
The first civilian inductee, Gary Thibault, also a long-time Soldier Center employee, now retired, was inducted in 2018.
The award recognizes the enormous contributions that Stalker made to the U.S. Army’s parachute and aerial delivery communities during his more than 50-year career as a civilian employee working at the Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) and ultimately for DEVCOM SC’s Aerial Delivery Directorate (ADD).
Stalker, 89, began his Army service as an active duty, jump-qualified Soldier from 1952-1955 while stationed at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, where he was a member of the U.S. Army Boxing Team. Stalker then served as an Army civilian at Natick from 1965 until his retirement in 2010, during which time he remained on active jump status, ultimately becoming the oldest person in the Army to do so.
Stalker was officially inducted into the Riggers Hall of Fame on February 28, 2022, during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, Virginia, which he could not attend. So ADD’s Military Liaison Officer, Chief Warrant Officer-5 Ismael Ramosbarbosa, accepted the award on Stalker’s behalf, and brought it back to Massachusetts to present to him.
On April 27, Ramosbarbosa, accompanied by a group of Stalker’s former team members and colleagues, visited him at his home in Clinton, Massachusetts, to formally present him with the actual plaque that was subsequently hung on the Riggers wall of fame in the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, along with a certificate version of the award and command coin for him to keep.
“We are here today, with Pete’s family and friends, to recognize his induction into the Riggers Hall of Fame, and the immeasurable contributions he made to the Army’s paratrooper and aerial delivery communities, which rightfully earned him a spot on the Quartermaster’s wall of fame down at Fort Lee,” said Richard Benney, Associate Director of DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Sustainment Directorate, who nominated Stalker while serving as his supervisor in his previous role as ADD’s Director.
“Pete’s career accomplishments are a remarkable testament to his knowledge and experience in the aerial delivery field and underscore his steadfast devotion to the Soldiers he served,” said Benney.
Benney then read from Stalker’s nomination, which included biographical information and descriptions highlighting his major career accomplishments, followed by the text on his official Hall of Fame induction plaque.
“Mr. Stalker made immeasurable contributions to critical, worldwide Aerial Delivery programs during his tenure as the Team Leader of the Aerial Delivery Design & Fabrication Team (ADDFT) from 21 March 2004 – 19 July 2009. Under Mr. Stalker’s leadership and dedication to perfection, the team provided countless prototype systems and components to nearly all aerial delivery science and technology programs for both cargo and personnel parachutes. More importantly, many of Mr. Stalker’s innovations were rapidly fielded to support combat operations in the Central Command Area of Responsibility.
Mr. Stalker’s support of our warfighters deployed to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom is particularly noteworthy. He was requested “by name” to support the theater sustainment support commander (COL Michael Peterman (ret), 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade CDR) for a 30-day deployment to a small base in Afghanistan during Oct-Nov 2007. At the young age of 74, COL Peterman stated during an award ceremony after his return from the Area of Operations that, ‘Mr. Stalker supported the base by completely overhauling the rigging facility for higher throughput and organization, he flew/supported at least 13 LCLA combat airdrop missions, many took on small arms fire, and he worked a minimum of 20 hours per day non-stop, showing up every E1-E3 under my command and demonstrating what a hard work ethic is all about.’
Throughout his long career, Mr. Stalker has been dedicated to the Parachute Rigger community and through his acquired knowledge he has actively transferred this information to younger military personnel, engineers, equipment specialists, and students as part of many Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. Mr. Stalker’s energetic personality, positive attitude, extremely dedicated work ethic and overall knowledge has positively touched many within the Parachute Rigger field by his willingness to transfer knowledge and awareness of this life support career field. Individuals who have worked with Mr. Stalker recognize and appreciate his thoroughness and eye for detail in such a critical field.”
A small, non-exhaustive yet impressive list of projects Stalker was intimately involved in developing, include:
- The “Stalker chute,” known formally as the Low Cost Low Altitude (LCLA) cross parachute, was rapidly fielded as a component system of the Low Cost Aerial Delivery System (LCADS) LCLA Program of Record.
- The Low Cost Container, a polypropylene based low cost A-22 sized container that was rapidly fielded to Afghanistan.
- Support in the materiel selection, design, fabrication, packing and rigging of the High Velocity and Low velocity (HV and LV) LCADS to include rapid fielding initiatives and support to contractor rigging teams.
- The Tree topper program, which included the design and fabrication of a onetime use low weight cluster parachute system which utilized a polymer for the drag producing panels that dissolve in water or high humidity, helping ensure that the system was undetectable from observations.
- The Enhanced Speed Bag System, or ESBS, Container, rapidly fielded to Afghanistan for rapid resupply of ground troops. The system controls payload orientation and descent rate of 100-200lbs of payload from low-flying helicopters.
- Support to the expedited design, development, and fabrication of the “Ironman” Ammunition Pack System for Small Dismounted Teams used in Iraq and Afghanistan to support longer duration suppression. (Machine gun firing via a backpack ammunition dispensing system.)
- The low-cost 10Klb Helicopter Sling Load (HSL) net system.
- The T-10 Modified Improvised Reserve System (MIRPs).
- The Universal Static Line (USL).
- The development of a Drawing package for MC-4 ram-air parachute.
- Significant support to the MC-5 Static line ram-air parachute system development.
- Significant design and development activities to the T-10 parachute systems (A, B, C, and D).
- Significant support to the design and fabrications of the Military Tandem Tethered Bundle.
- Significant support to the Retrorocket program.
- The extraction line development for C-5A and C-17.
- Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES) Line Bag development.
- Developed the design concept for the first steerable parachute prior to the MC-1 program.
- Fabrication and Development of the Technical Data Package for the Container Unitized Bulk Equipment (CUBE) System in support of a direct request from the 101st Sustainment Brigade Commander while stationed in Afghanistan.
- K-Ducks development and fabrication in direct support of numerous Special Operations Command (SOCOM) organizations.
These technologies undoubtedly improved the safety and performance of parachute systems used by thousands of Soldiers involved in airborne and aerial delivery resupply operations during more than half a century and will continue to serve as tangible connections to the extraordinary career, life, and legacy of Peter Stalker.
About DEVCOM Soldier Center: The DEVCOM Soldier Center is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. DEVCOM Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the DEVCOM Soldier Center’s chief areas of focus. The center’s science and engineering expertise are combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance. The center supports the Army as it transforms from being adaptive to driving innovation to support a Multi-Domain Operations Capable Force of 2028 and a MDO Ready Force of 2035. DEVCOM Soldier Center is constantly working to strengthen Soldiers’ performance to increase readiness and support for warfighters who are organized, trained, and equipped for prompt and sustainable ground combat.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers is also an important part of the mission of DEVCOM Soldier Center. The mentoring of students by Army scientists and engineers benefits the students and their communities. It also increases young people's awareness of potential Army job opportunities and helps provide the Army with potential new talent, helping to fuel innovative ideas that benefit the nation's warfighters and the nation as a whole.
DEVCOM Soldier Center is part of DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.