APG opens U.S. Army bicentennial time capsule

APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor taps the lid off the U.S. Army Bicentennial Time Capsule that was sealed Oct. 16, 1975, as APG historians Susan Thompson and Jeff Smart look on during a ceremony near the Fallen Star Memorial Oct. 16, 2017. | U.S. Army Photo by Sean Kief, APG Garrison

Community views items sealed and dedicated in 1975

With the fanfare befitting a 42-year wait, Aberdeen Proving Ground leadership led the opening of a time capsule that was sealed and dedicated in 1975 during a ceremony near the Fallen Star Memorial Oct. 16, 2017. APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor led the ceremony and hailed then post commander Col. Alvin D. Ungerleider who led the 1975 endeavor.

Noting that the U.S. Army Bicentennial Time Capsule was sealed and dedicated Oct. 16 of that year to honor the nation’s bicentennial and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of APG, Taylor added that in 1975 the Vietnam War was ending and Gerald Ford was the President of the United States.

He called the career of Ungerleider, who later retired a brigadier general, “extraordinary.”

Ungerleider served the Normandy invasion on Omaha Beach. He was wounded twice but went on to serve in France and Germany, earning him the Bronze Star Medal. In 1978 while at APG he received awards for establishing Equal Opportunity programs on the installation and President Bill Clinton hailed him during the 50th anniversary of Normandy in 1994. Ungerleider passed away Feb. 13, 2011 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

“A truly remarkable Soldier,” Taylor said as he called for a round of applause to welcome Ungerleider’s survivors, his wife Ruth, sons, Neil and Dan and daughter-in-law to the ceremony.

APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor looks over the contents from the Bicentennial Time Capsule with Ruth Ungerleider and her sons, Neil and Dan, the family of the late Brig. Gen. Alvin D. Ungerleider, who was the APG commander when the capsule was sealed and dedicated in 1975. | U.S. Army Photo by Sean Kief, APG Garrison

“You are a great Army family and we thank you for coming,” Taylor said.

Taylor removed the heavy lid on the time capsule before turning the program over to historians Susan Thompson of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Jeff Smart of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

The contents of the capsule, all of which were sealed in plastic, included:

  • A U.S. Army Human Engineering Laboratory report dated May 10, 1951
  • A Joint Military Packaging Training Center report dated Sept. 15, 1975, with unit crest
  • A Chemical Corps insignia from Col. Kenneth L. Stahl signed by Adjutant Maj. Robert Bailey Jr.
  • A Congress of the United States letter to Col. Ungeleider dated Sept. 10, 1975
  • A Diamond Jubilee (50th Anniversary) photo from the Harford Democrat [newspaper]
  • A capsule scale drawing from the Engineering Planning Directorate
  • A microfilm collection from the Army Test and Evaluation Command
  • A letter from the Historical Trust Committee
  • A local newspaper
  • An APG brochure
  • An Ordnance Center and School brochure
  • A Ballistics Research Laboratory container

Smart said the contents of the time capsule “represented a period of time for the organizations and the people who worked here.”

“As a historian, I would take all that information and have a pretty good look at APG during that time,” he said. He added that while some information may seem obsolete, it places in perspective the amount of time that has passed since the time capsule was sealed.

“I’m certain there is value in all of it,” he said.

Ruth Ungerleider said she was charmed by the proceedings.

“It means so very much to me because I lived through it,” she said. “All the memories came tumbling back and I was enjoying it.”

She said she appreciated Taylor’s appreciation of her late husband’s intent with the time capsule and its contents,

“Especially because he understood [the time capsule] was put there because [Ungerleider] thought it was important,” she said.

“It’s great to be back after all this time,” said Dan Ungerleider, adding that the event brought back cherished childhood memories of life at APG.

“I was 10 years old at the time,” he said. “These are my roots.”

Items to be interred in the new APG Centennial time capsule, which will be dedicated and sealed during the APG Centennial Gala set for Friday, Oct. 20, were displayed during the ceremony.

The Centennial time capsule will be opened Thursday, Oct. 20, 2067.

By Yvonne Johnson, APG News