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Manchester High School
437 West Nimisila Road
Akron, OH 44319
(330) 882-3291

  Amy Spraitzer - MHS Class of 1983
  Weapons Systems Test Engineer, The Pentagon
 

Ever wonder about the cutting-edge weapons technology used by the United States Department of Defense? Each system requires extensive testing, and Amy is at the forefront of those operations. She was at work in The Pentagon on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, so she knows first-hand the importance of our country's military preparation. Here, Amy details her journey from Manchester to Washington.

Marital status:

Single

Location history:

I've been in the Washington, D.C. area since college graduation in 1989. I've lived in Gaithersburg and Bethesda, MD, then on to Laurel, MD, and now I'm currently living in Alexandria, VA.working my way around the beltway.

Education after MHS:

After high school I attended The University of Akron where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I got my Master of Science in Engineering Sciences from the George Washington University in 1994. And just recently (May 2006) I earned my Doctor of Science degree in Engineering Management from GWU.

Your Occupation history:

During my junior year at Akron U, I started working for the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, MD under their cooperative education program. After graduation, I continued working full time for the Navy as a naval architect. I worked in the Ship Structural Integrity division doing research and development for submarines and surface ships. I did research on composite hulls, shock testing and some computer design. Working in a research lab is a good place to begin a career. It taught me respect for the advanced technologies and military robustness. Early in 1996, I accepted a temporary position at the Naval Sea Systems Command (Navy headquarters) and became the deputy assistant program manager for Combat Systems. While I was there I got to work on a Foreign Comparative test program. This was a joint effort with the German and Australian navies to utilize the modular 5" gun system.

The contacts I made while at NAVSEA took me next to a temporary 9-month deployment in late 1998 working for the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation at the Pentagon. I became a permanent employee of the Department of Defense five years later. In this position, I currently oversee the live fire test and evaluation of several large military platforms and missile acquisition programs before they are fully deployed into the field. It is the mission of this office to be unbiased observers and to report the effectiveness and suitability of the contractor and program office test results directly to Congress. What makes this job interesting is that there is interaction with all of the Services . . . and working in the live-fire division, I get to "blow stuff up." The programs I oversee include the new USMC expeditionary fighting vehicle, USA rocket launchers, artillery and armor, and many USAF and USN missiles. In all, I have nearly twenty programs to manage and report on.

Interesting things you've done since high school:

Aside from all the traveling I've done over the years, probably the most interesting event that has happened to me, is surviving the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon. I was at the office in the 7th corridor, just around the corner from where the airplane crashed that day. Most of my co-workers were gathered around the television watching the CNN coverage of the World Trade Center attacks when an explosion occurred. I remember my ears popping from the overpressure, and then someone opened the door to the hallway and said it was filled with smoke. It wasn't obvious what had happened until I had passed by the inner courtyard and could see the black smoke filling the sky . . . it looked exactly like the same smoke I had just seen on TV. Outside the Pentagon there was no panic, just professional military and civilian employees staring in disbelief.

The Pentagon is currently undergoing renovations, as it has been for several years, and because of this, there were minimal occupants in the section where the plane went down. As a point of reference, my office is now in the rebuilt section of the Pentagon where the airplane crashed and the memorials have risen.

Travel highlights:

One advantage to being a Federal employee is the travel potential. My job has taken me all around the nation to witness testing, and also to Australia. Another advantage is the vacation time I accumulate. With it I've been scuba diving in the Philippines, Belize, Barbados, Aruba, Cozumel, and Hawaii. I also enjoy cruising throughout the Caribbean and Central America and look forward to visiting Alaska next year.

Current Hobbies / Activities:

I own a small craft and sewing business and am a member of the American Sewing Guild. Along with scuba diving, I also enjoy boating and bowling.

Which H.S. reunions have you attended?

I attended our 10 year high school reunion, but was sad that we didn't have a 20 year reunion . . . I'm looking forward to our 25 year reunion, though!!?

Do you still have family living in Manchester? And how often do you return?

I still have family in the Manchester/Akron area and visit Ohio several times a year.

Old friends can contact Amy by email at: Crafty454@hotmail.com .

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