Helicopter subject matter expert to sign off after half century of civil service

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public AffairsApril 8, 2024

DEVCOM AvMC's Lindell Whaley, here with Systems Readiness Directorate Deputy Kim Lehman, is recognized for his 50 years of service to Army aviation.
DEVCOM AvMC's Lindell Whaley, here with Systems Readiness Directorate Deputy Kim Lehman, is recognized for his 50 years of service to Army aviation. (Photo Credit: Haley Myers, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 8, 2024) – Lindell Whaley has witnessed a lot of aviation history in his 50 years as a Department of the Army civilian.

From MICOM and AVSCOM -- acronyms from a time gone by – to when Army Aviation came to Redstone Arsenal in the mid-nineties, much has changed.

“Having great and dedicated people to work with has been a constant,” Whaley said.

Whaley looked back on a half century in civil service to his country as he prepared to retire from his role in the Systems Readiness Directorate supporting the Apache Project Office – a position that officially focuses on reliability and maintainability but for someone with Whaley’s experience, has expanded into “a little bit of anything and everything,” he said.

“When I first started, it was punch cards and paper,” Whaley reminisced.

Whaley, a Missouri native, graduated from the University of Missouri in Rolla with a chemical engineering degree. After two decades as an Army Aviation civilian, “not doing anything with chemical engineering,” he said, the Base Realignment and Closure initiative moved the St. Louis-based U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command to Redstone, combining with the U.S. Army Missile Command, to form the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command of today.

During his career, Whaley worked on the platforms that have earned a place in aviation history – Apache, Chinook, Kiowa – and platforms that were ill-fated, such as Comanche. He said that his favorite times were when he was out with the rotorcraft, onsite at industry partners, or on the testing range. But even that has changed dramatically over the years, he said, as information and data can now transmitted instantaneously back to the office. Also, the many trips to conduct meetings have been replaced by Microsoft TEAMS calls.

“You used to have to wait until you got back to a landline to communicate with the office folks,” Whaley said.

His deep breadth of knowledge will not be easily replaced, said Keith Darrow, SRD director.

“Mr. Whaley has provided extraordinary contributions to the Department of Defense. His 50-plus years of dedicated government service reminds me of a biblical quote: ‘Do not grow weary of doing good.’ The impact of his great work can be seen in the improved flight safety, reliability and combat readiness of Army aircraft. He led countless product improvement initiatives with positive impacts upon the AH-64, CH-47, and OH-58 platforms. He also had a major influence on enhancements to contractual requirements that directly impact Army aircraft components and maintainability.
In addition to his technical excellence, he has been an awesome role model and very influential as a mentor within the reliability field. It was an honor to serve with Mr. Whaley – he will be greatly missed.”

As he prepares for retirement, Whaley said that he is looking forward to having more time to play his trumpet and possibly even offering trumpet lessons. He said his wife is on-board with his retiring, as he will no longer have a need for a home office and “she gets her craft room,” Whaley said with a laugh.

He certainly doesn’t plan to be idle. In fact, Whaley is looking to increase his volunteering – with nothing planned quite yet, but the opportunity.

“I look forward to seeing what else I can get into,” Whaley said with a smile.


The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.