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John Luther McLucas (August 22, 1920 – December 1, 2002) was United States Secretary of the Air Force from 1973 to 1975, becoming secretary of the Air Force on July 19, 1973. He had been acting secretary of the Air Force since May 15, 1973, and undersecretary of the Air Force since March 1969. Prior to his appointment as undersecretary, he was president and chief executive officer of MITRE Corporation, of Bedford, Massachusettsmarker, and McLean, Virginiamarker.

McLucas was born in Fayetteville, North Carolinamarker. He attended public schools in McCollmarker and Latta, South Carolinamarker, graduating from Latta High School in 1937. He received a bachelor of science degree from Davidson College in 1941, a master of science degree in physics from Tulane Universitymarker in 1943, and his doctorate in physics from Pennsylvania State Universitymarker in 1950.

During World War II, he served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946. After one year at the Air Force Cambridge Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he enrolled at Pennsylvania State University.

From 1950 to 1957, he was vice president and technical director of Haller, Raymond and Brown Inc., an electronics firm at State College, Pennsylvaniamarker. In 1958 he was made president of HRB-Singer Inc. He joined the Department of Defense in May 1962 and served as Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Tactical Warfare Programs).

Two years later, he was appointed as assistant secretary general for scientific affairs at NATO Headquarters in Paris, France. In 1966 he became president of MITRE Corp., where he remained until his appointment as undersecretary of the Air Force on March 17, 1969.

From 1969 through 1973, McLucas also served as director of the National Reconnaissance Officemarker, working directly for the secretary of defense with support from the Central Intelligence Agency.

In November 1975, President Gerald Ford swore in Dr. McLucas as the eighth administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

McLucas was the author of numerous scientific articles and holds ten U.S. patents. He was the founder or co-founder of several small businesses, and was active in civic affairs in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

He was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1962; and associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1971; and a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1969. He received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1964, and first bronze palm in 1973; and the Air Force Exceptional Service Award in May 1973.

He was a member of the Chief Executives Forum; American Physical Society; Operations Research Society of America; and of several honorary societies, including Sigma Pi Sigma and Sigma Xi. He was also a member member of the Defense Science Board, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, and the Young Presidents Organization.

McLucas died on December 1, 2002.


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