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NGA inducts GEOINT pioneers into Hall of Fame

 May 27, 2015

 Sam Wilson
 NGA Office of Corporate Communication

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Director Robert Cardillo inducted three members into the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame in a ceremony May 27 at the agency’s headquarters in Springfield, Virginia.

The inductees were Constance Babington Smith, Robert Ballew and Geoffrey Langsam. Babington Smith and Ballew were posthumous honorees.

Cardillo presided over the ceremony before an audience of NGA former leaders, alumni and the agency’s workforce.

“Today is a time to reflect and celebrate as we pay tribute to our heritage, and three remarkable people,” said Cardillo. “Each are shining examples for all of us here today of where we come from and why we exist.”

Babington Smith was represented by her great nephew David Babington Smith, who spoke of Babington Smith’s tenacity and dedication to her work in photographic interpretation and also her passion for fashion. Babington Smith was a pioneer in the field of aircraft-based photographic interpretation and a resident of the United Kingdom. She is the first non-U.S. citizen or former employee of NGA or predecessor organizations to be inducted into the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame. Previously known as the NGA Hall of Fame, the name change allows NGA to recognize those who have profoundly affected the geospatial intelligence tradecrafts, whether or not they were directly associated with NGA or predecessor organizations.

In addition to Babington Smith’s remarks, Air Commodore Richard Powell, representing the British embassy, offered his gratitude for her service on behalf of the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom.

“Her contributions have continued to be remembered, and we find ourselves today, almost 70 years on, to be inspired by her actions,” said Powell.

Ballew was represented by his daughter Paula Ballew, who told the audience her father was a modest man and didn’t share much about his highly technical job. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to accept this honor on his behalf.

“Robert Ballew was a renowned technical leader of the highest regard with the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center,” said Cardillo. “He was instrumental in the development of the World Geodetic System 1960 and 1966.”

Langsam, former leader of DIA’s imagery analysis program, led initiatives towards integration of imagery intelligence with military operations, enabling mission planning, target development and precision strike, counter-terrorism activities.

Langsam discussed challenges and accomplishments from his career as a photographic interpreter and intelligence analyst, and offered advice to employees in the audience.

“If you don’t take yourself too seriously, but take the job seriously, this is a business where you can really do some good for your country,” said Langsam.