Baumhover, Alfred H.
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on December 21, 2001 at the National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland.
Alfred H. Baumhover (1921- ) began working towards eradicating screwworm populations with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the early 1950s in Kerrville, Texas. He worked with Edward Fred Knipling and Raymond C. Bushland, two of the founding scientists of the screwworm program. Baumhover was involved in the original tests for the Southeast Screwworm Eradication Program in Florida and later in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Baumhover worked at the Mission, Texas, plant and he discusses the varied research that was performed there.
Baumhover gives an in-depth description of the evolving development of the screwworm program, including the motivations behind the expansion to Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico. He discusses the problems in moving the program to Puerto Rico, and changes that had to be made to accommodate the differences in delivery and breed of fly. Baumhover retired from the program in 1984 but has remained active in some capacity; he gives his opinions on the future of the program including the proposed expansion to South America.
Bruce, Jimmy Carl
Interviewed by Paul T.(Tommy) Stanford on November 5, 2001 at Moore Air Base in Mission, Texas.
Jimmy Carl Bruce has extensive experience in many different areas of screwworm production in several of the plants, including Mission, Texas, as well as Tuxtla Gutierrez, Tampico, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Bruce was involved in the development of feeding systems in Mission, the development of the gel diet in Tampico, Mexico, and packaging and dispersal systems in Guadalajara, Mexico. He helped implement the chilled fly dispersal system developed by Jerry Hoffman. He conducted several strain evaluations, including a faulty strain called V81.
Bruce provides extensive detail on production development, working conditions, employees, and organizational structure. Bruce worked in many of the locations throughout Mexico and Texas with many important screwworm workers, and he experienced many changes implemented throughout several departments.
Charpentier, Henri C.
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on August 30, 2002 in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.
Henri C. Charpentier (1938- ) began working for the Screwworm Eradication Program in 1972 at the plant in Mission, Texas. He developed the boxed method for the bulk shipment of pupae and helped design the Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, plant including site selection and building plans. He describes in detail the construction of the site as well as certain building features specific to the production of the flies. Charpentier provides a detailed description of the water filtration and waste management systems. He talks about how the temperature and humidity are regulated within the plant, and what effect this has on the fly production.
Charpentier gives an extremely detailed explanation of the production process in the plant, including the different stages (egging, knock down, wash up, diet, starting rooms), the machines and procedures used in each stage, and the changes over the years. Charpentier was involved in the development and implementation of many new procedures that increased productivity and safety in the plant. He was also involved in the expansion to Panama and he discusses the hurdles that will be faced when and if the program moves to South America.
Chaudhury, Muhammed F. B.
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on August 29, 2002 in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.
Muhammed F.B. Chaudhury (1937- ) was born in India, educated in Pakistan, and came to the United States with a Fulbright Scholarship to study entomology. He studied insect sterilization through the USDA while in Iowa. His projects included the identification of sex pheromones in the face fly and western corn rootworm beetle. He worked in Kenya at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology on tsetse fly research, including the development of easy-to-use traps.
Chaudhury joined the Screwworm Eradication Program in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, in the 1990s to develop an alternative diet, which came to be known as the paper diet. He describes in detail his process in developing this alternative process and the testing that was involved. He explains the motivation behind the development of the paper diet versus the previous gel diet, and explains the effect the switch has had on plant operations.
De la Garza, Kika
Interviewed by Paul T. (Tommy) Stanford on November 5, 2001 at Moore Air Base in Mission, Texas.
Eligio "Kika" de la Garza (1927- ) served six terms in the state legislature of Texas and 32 years in Congress as a Texas representative. He served the Mission, Texas, area and was involved in securing funding for the Screwworm Eradication Program. He served on the Agricultural Committee in Congress and later became the committee chairman. De la Garza discusses the many groups involved in the Screwworm Eradication Program, including the Southwest Animal Health Research Foundation (SWAHRF) and the Texas Cattlemen's Association. De la Garza discusses the relationship between the United States and Mexico, as well as the involvement with the Libyan government and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in eradicating the screwworm in Libya.
De la Garza was closely associated with the plant in Mission, Texas, because he served the area for such a long duration. His father also worked in the plant for 20 years. De la Garza discusses the involvement of several federal employees in the eradication program, including Chandler James Whitten, Orville Freeman, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He also discusses the differences in the organization of power among U.S and Mexican statesmen.
Graham, Owen Hugh
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on November 8, 2001 at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas.
Owen Hugh Graham (1917- ) was an entomologist who worked for the Screwworm Eradication Program in Menard, Kerrville, and Mission, Texas, as well as Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, where he was the head of the laboratory before his 1984 retirement. Graham served in the Army during World War II in the Fifth Malaria Survey Unit. He worked on the development and implementation of Smear 62 and EQ-335, chemical treatments used to kill screwworm infections, and later coumaphos, a preventative treatment.
In his interview, Graham discusses the development of larger, more centralized USDA laboratories, such as the one in Kerrville, Texas, and how the organization has changed over the years. He discusses the Florida screwworm eradication and how this inspired Texas cattlemen to organize with the Southwest Animal Health Research Foundation (SWAHRF) to develop a program in Texas, and later in Mexico. Graham was involved in the study of screwworm ecology, genetics, and movement.
Hauschild, Edward "Tony"
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on November 9, 2001 at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas.
Edward "Tony" Hauschild (1945- ) worked primarily with the airplane dispersal and transportation of flies throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. He began working for the USDA and the Screwworm Eradication Program in 1976. He arrived in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, in September of 1976 and over the next 22 years he was stationed out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Culiacan, Sinaloa, and Veracruz, Mexico, and enjoyed a second stay in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, from 1984-1998. Hauschild served as a plane technician, a technical representative, a chase pilot, a supervisor, and later the chief of air operations.
In addition to the detailed descriptions of his work duties, the dispersal process, and how the flies were shipped, Hauschild describes the various locations were he worked. Hauschild includes descriptions of Jalapan, Ocozocuautla, Coatzacoalcos, Tehuacan, Tampico, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Isthumus of Tehuantepec, all of which are located in Mexico. Hauschild describes the international expansion of the program. He talks in detail about his appreciation of Mexican culture.
Knipling, Edward Fred
Interviewed by Paul T. (Tommy) Stanford on January 21, 2000 and by Larry Quinn on March 9, 2000 at Knipling's home in Arlington, Virginia.
Edward Fred Knipling (1909-2000) began working for the USDA in 1930. His early work included being stationed at the Menard, Texas, research center with E.W. Laake developing screwworm treatments ("smears") for animal wounds. Knipling developed the sterile insect technique by combining the sterilization research of Hermann Joseph Muller and the research of his colleagues, Roy C. Melvin and Raymond C. Bushland, on artificial production and mass rearing of screwworms. Knipling later worked on parasitoid augmentation technique, virus distribution, insecticide development, and integrated pest management systems on the boll weevil and other pests. Knipling served as the director of entomology research at the USDA before moving to the position of science advisor to the director of the Agricultural Research Service. He received many honors, including the World Food Prize in 1992.
Knipling explains why he decided to become an entomologist. Knipling discusses in detail the research involved in developing and implementing the sterile insect technique. He describes the experiments on the islands of Sanibel, Florida, and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, and how these experiments led to the screwworm eradication on mainland Florida. Knipling discusses how the program spread across the United States and the problems they encountered with sustaining the eradication. He describes the outbreak in 1972 that prompted the expansion of the program to Mexico in order to enforce a "continuous sterile barrier."
Munoz, Santana and Manuel Ortega
Interviewed by Paul T. (Tommy) Stanford on November 5, 2001 at Moore Air Base in Mission, Texas.
Santana Munoz (1936- ) and Manuel Ortega (1935- ) followed similar paths within the Screwworm Eradication Program, transferring from Kerrville, Texas, to Mission, Texas, and from there to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, at the same time. Both men started as workers and advanced to foremen, and later served as supervisors in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. They discuss working conditions at the plants, including the power structure, involvement with the worker's "syndicate" or union, problems with superiors, and their roles within the plant.
Both men were trained in many of the departments and they provide a detailed view of how the plant operated. They also discuss the initial opening of the Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, plant and their experience with moving their families to Chiapas, Mexico.
Welch, John Bertram
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on February 25, 2004 at the National Agricultural Library, Baltsville, Maryland.
John Bertram Welch (1952- ) has been working with screwworm eradication efforts since he became a USDA employee in 1984. Welch has worked in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Costa Rico, College Station, Texas, and Panama City, Panama. Welch has served as a research scientist, a research leader, the technical sub director for the U.S.-Mexico Joint Commission for the Eradication of Screwworm in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, and at the time of this interview was serving as the U.S. director of the U.S.-Mexico Joint Commission.
Welch has been involved in many areas of screwworm research, including the ecology and habitats of screwworms, behavior of larvae in different environments, trapping methods, the development of new screwworm strains, and the increased use of and dependence on satellite technology and sensor imaging for tracking screwworm outbreaks. Welch's most popular experiment was with his dog, Severn Run's Cazador, whom he trained to locate infected animals and screwworm pupae through smell.
Welch discusses both his research and employment history in detail. Another area that is covered in this interview is the role of public education in the eradication program locations. Welch describes various programs that were instituted to ensure that civilians were able to identify screwworms and comply with the necessary control procedures. Severn Run's Cazador and the screwworm program logo, called the "Atomic Fly," were both very important for these efforts and are discussed in detail. Welch describes the coordination between the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in several areas of screwworm eradication. Other topics covered include the functional and organizational structure of the U.S.-Mexico Joint Commission, his duties as the technical sub-director of the Commission, the many available technologies used in the eradication program, and the status of the program in Panama and the possible expansion into South America and the Caribbean.
Wendel, Lloyd Eugene
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on November 6, 2001 at Moore Air Base in Mission, Texas.
Lloyd Eugene Wendel (1945- ) began working as an entomologist for the Screwworm Eradication Program after he completed his Ph.D. His first projects involved the rearing process, improving diet, feeding procedures, and delivery systems. Wendel provides a detailed description of the feeding process and explains the process and purpose of creating new strains of flies.
In addition to explaining his research, Wendel discusses the people with whom he worked and the collaboration among agencies. He stresses how important the cooperation of the ranchers was in identifying the presence of screwworms. He also talks about how altering cultural practices, such as methods of farming and neutering, can improve the rate of eradication of many kinds of pests.
Whitten, Chandler James
Interviewed by Lynn Stewart on December 9, 2001 at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas.
Chandler James Whitten (1939- ) began working at the Mission, Texas, research center in 1974. His primary task was developing strains for use in mass sterile fly releases. Whitten had previous experience with organophosphate resistance. Whitten describes in detail the process of how they conducted genetic analysis of strains, as well as why the development of new strains was important to the project. Whitten's research group worked on the attractant system SWORMLURE and tried to develop a genetic sexing mechanism, which would separate males from female flies and make the sterilization process more effective.
Whitten helped establish a screwworm research lab in Fargo, North Dakota, when the Mission, Texas, plant closed in 1980. He later returned to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, to continue work on developing strains for the extended Central American eradication in Panama. Whitten discusses the important interactions with ranchers.