April 12th ASME EVENT

Rockets for War . . . And Peace:
A History of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force


Burton Dicht,
Director of University Programs, IEEE

Click here for a biographical sketch.

Co-sponsored by ASME New Haven, the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID), and the Yale Student Chapter of ASME


The Cold War, won by the United States, ended in 1991.  Historians can point to several factors that led to that victory, including the Cold War leadership of many US Presidents.  Much less well known, yet every bit as critical to that victory, were the contributions of a dedicated group of US Air Force officers who led the development of the US Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force.  These missiles stood watch during the Cold War and provided the US with an umbrella of protection, ensuring that any attack would result in a devastating response.

The development of these missiles was a great engineering achievement, yet the work was overshadowed by the ongoing space race that developed between the US and the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  This effort, led by the dynamic General Bernard Schriever, involved hundreds of officers, many of them former aviators turned engineers.  With a strong aerospace contractor system, they developed the Atlas and Titan missiles, which became the cornerstone of the US arsenal in the early 1960s and the first rockets to carry astronauts into space.    

This presentation will tell that story.  Starting with Wernher von Braun’s V-2, the first ballistic missile, this presentation will trace the history of ballistic missile development in the US following WWII.  Recounting the early reliance on strategic bombers by the US, the focus turns to the technological advancements and the engineers that made these missiles possible.  The Soviet program will also be examined, including the reasons they gained the early lead and how the US soon gained the advantage.

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Food: Light refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is needed!
If you have any questions, please contact Beth Bennett (ASME) at beth.bennett@yale.edu


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Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID), located on the 1st floor of Becton Center, 15 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT  06511

(Flash Earth)

Parking: Attendees should plan to use metered on-street parking on either Grove Street, Hillhouse Avenue, or Trumbull Street.  It costs $1.50 per hour.

Biographical Sketch

Burton Dicht


Burton Dicht joined IEEE in 2011 and he currently serves as the Director of University Programs.  In this capacity, Mr. Dicht oversees IEEE’s accreditation efforts within ABET, and he is also responsible for the development and implementation of programs for faculty and students that are aimed at improving academic learning and the educational experience. 

Before joining IEEE, Mr. Dicht was the Managing Director of ASME’s Knowledge and Community Sector. Employed at ASME beginning in 1999, Mr. Dicht was responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for ASME’s member-based communities.

Mr. Dicht began his career in the aerospace industry in 1982 and held the position of lead engineer for Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Space Transportation Systems Division.  Mr. Dicht specialized in systems and configuration integration and worked on advanced fighters such as the YF-23A Advanced Tactical Fighter, the F-18E/F Super Hornet, and also the Space Shuttle program.  Mr. Dicht completed NASA’s Summer Employment Training Program in 1980, serving as an engineering intern at the Kennedy Space Center.

Mr. Dicht is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).  Mr. Dicht is a member of IEEE, AIAA, and an ASME Fellow.  Mr. Dicht received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University and an M.A. in History from California State University, Northridge.  Mr. Dicht has authored numerous articles on aerospace history and is a frequent guest speaker on aviation and space topics.  Mr. Dicht serves as a volunteer Exhibit Explainer for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in NYC and as a 2nd Lt. and Aerospace Education Officer for the Phoenix Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.