Major General John A. Barclay was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on August 27, 1909.
His reputation and competence earned him selection as Theater Ordnance Officer in China during World War II. His initiative and skill succeeded in providing and maintaining Ordnance equipment so that battlefield casualties were minimized, which contributed greatly to the United States' success in that theater of operations.
His wartime accomplishments were so prestigious that he was chosen to be Executive Officer at the Ballistic Research Laboratories at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1948 where he led the way to the development of the first computer. Our later heroics in space could not possibly have been realized without this foundation upon which to build.
The Korean Conflict was thrust upon us in 1950, and much work had to be done in research and development to modernize our efforts. The guided missile was being developed and fielded in Army units. Maj. Gen. Barclay brought order and ensured that the Army made rational, intelligent decisions. He was a force that made itself felt when Redstone, Nike Ajax, Lacrosse, Corporal, and Sergeant were the forerunners, laying the groundwork for today's complex weaponry.
He was a driving force in launching EXPLORER I, the free world's first artificial earth satellite in answer to the Soviet Union's SPUTNIK. He later directed the launching of Pioneer IV and the early planning for the SATURN space booster rocket. He oversaw the development and fielding of the PERSHING ballistic missile system and the development of NIKE-ZEUS (the antiballistic missile system). He retired as Deputy Commander of the Ordnance Missile Command in June 1961.