FORT RUCKER, Ala. – On Dec. 9 the last-remaining building on the original 1962 site of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory was dedicated in honor of late USAARL engineer, Joseph L. Haley Jr. The building, numbered 8825, is located on Fort Rucker and will now forever be known as the Joseph L. Haley, Jr. Biodynamics Research Center.
Haley began his career as a master machinist’s mate in the Navy. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Mississippi State University in 1952. He worked at Lockheed Aircraft until 1962 when he joined the Flight Safety Foundation as chief of the Structures Section where he published four reports on personnel restraint systems in Army aircraft. Haley, in 1966, published the Helmet Design Criteria for Improved Crash Protection, which served as the basis for the Army’s Sound Protective Helmet series of flight helmets.
Haley joined the Army Agency for Aviation Safety in 1970 and then transitioned to USAARL in 1974. Haley is recognized as the founder of the Aviation Life Support Equipment Retrieval Program. With the ALSERP, aviation life support equipment and aircraft structures involved in mishaps and accidents are collected and analyzed with the occupant injuries to identify equipment deficiencies and to recommend improvements for equipment design. The program is still active today and USAARL employs professional staff who are on-call 24/7 to support U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center crash investigations that occur anywhere in the world. After his retirement in 1994, Haley continued working part-time as a contractor at the USAARL contributing to aircrew safety through injury biomechanics and crash survival research until his passing in 2001.
The newly titled Joseph L. Haley, Jr. Biodynamics Research Center houses a vertical acceleration tower for conducting spinal injury research for improved crashworthy seating systems. The building also houses other unique research devices, including an 18-inch diameter shock tube and a projectile launcher to perform blunt, blast and accelerative injury research.
The building was dedicated in a ceremony hosted by Col. Mike Tarpey, USAARL commander, who described Haley as “one of the true titans of research in support of Army aviators.”
Dr. John Crowley, USAARL’s Science Program director, commented that, “In the world of Army aviation safety where no man can contribute to every aspect of safety, no man has contributed more than Haley.”
USAARL is a world-class organization of subject matter experts in the fields of operator health and performance in complex systems; the en route care environment; blunt, blast, and accelerative injury and protection; crew survival in rotary-wing aircraft and combat vehicles; and sensory performance, injury, and protection. USAARL engages in innovative research, development, test and evaluation activities to identify research gaps and inform requirements documents that contribute to future vertical lift, medical, aviation, and defense health capabilities. USAARL is a trusted agent for stakeholders, providing evidence-based solutions and operational practices that protect joint force warriors and enhance warfighter performance. USAARL invests in the next generation of scientists and engineers, research technicians, program managers, and administrative professionals by valuing and developing its people, implementing talent management principles, and engaging in educational outreach opportunities.