Colonel Eugene Blair Conrad
February 17, 1917 – September 6, 1992
Colonel Conrad entered the Army as a second lieutenant from North Carolina State College October 9, 1940 assigned to the 31st infantry. He was sent to Manila April 21, 1941. He always remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor and his belief that the world had changed forever. He fought in the grueling action that followed in the Philippines, wounded three times before his capture on Bataan April 11, 1942. Over 2000 died in the merciless Bataan Death March. Saying to himself “one foot in front of the other, keep walking” he maintained his will to live.
Colonel Conrad spent over three years as a prisoner of War in Japan. The end of the war found Colonel Conrad at Roko Roshi Japanese prison camp120 miles from Tokyo. There were 326 U.S. officers and 31 enlisted men in this camp.
Colonel Conrad went on to serve 32 years in the Army, spanning World War II, Korea and Vietnam, becoming a pioneer in Army aviation safety. It wasn’t until May of 1961 when he graduated from flight school, starting his career as a dual-rated Army aviator. He relentlessly worked to promote aviation safety and accident prevention. He also increased the stature of Army safety, instituting safety officer career and educational programs and flight safety orientation courses in service schools. He is responsible for the consolidation of all safety responsibilities into one organization. In 1971, before his retirement in 1972, he received the James H. McClellan Aviation Safety Award as the individual making the most outstanding contribution to Army safety. On June 3, 1993 the United States Army Safety Center complex was named in his honor as the Conrad Safety Complex, located at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Colonel Conrad and his wife Wanda are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and his survived by four of his six children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.