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Tue, 06.27.1933

Caldwell McCoy, Engineer born

Dr. Caldwell McCoy

Dr. Caldwell McCoy, Jr. was born on this date in 1933. He was a Black electrical engineer.

He was born in Hartford, CT, graduated from Weaver High School and earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. He received a Master of Science in Mathematics, and a Doctor of Science in Telecommunications from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. From 1956 to 1959, McCoy served in the United States Air Force, where he was a combat flyer with the Strategic Air Command.

After an honorable discharge in 1959, he began 17 years of employment with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.  McCoy had increasingly responsible assignments involving research on state-of-the-art computer equipment for underwater signaling and detection. As a project engineer in Anti-Submarine Warfare, his duties included designing, testing, and evaluating systems for long-range detection and localization of submarines. He spent extensive periods of time on submarines, carrying out these responsibilities.

For his success in developing long-range anti-submarine systems at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, McCoy was awarded the Laboratory's Thomas Edison Fellowship in 1968. During the 1970s, he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy.  As program manager for the National Magnetic Fusion Energy Computer Network, McCoy directed America’s largest computer network devoted to a single problem to analyze the prospect of achieving usable energy from magnetic energy.

In 1976 he was part of the magnetic fusion energy program, first with the Energy Research and Development Administration, then with the Department of Energy. In 1983, he accepted a position with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as Director of the Information Systems Program. With this program, McCoy was responsible for administering a high-performance computing program with total funding of more than $25 million a year involving more than 275 government and contractor employees. During this time, he was selected to become a member of the Senior Executive Service, the highest rank to be achieved by a civil service employee.

He was active in outreach programs to improve the participation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in government programs. He frequently participated in educational activities to stimulate and encourage youth participation in the space program.   Dr. Caldwell McCoy, Jr. died on November 19, 1990.

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Created Equal The Lives and Ideas of Black American Innovators
By James Michael Brodie
Copyright 1993, by Bill Adler Books, Inc.
William Morrow and Co. Inc., New York
ISBN 0-688-11536-5

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