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Nixon Picks Seamans As Chief of Air Force



Robert C. Seamans Jr. '40 was appointed Secretary of the Air Force for Nixon's administration, Secretary of Defense-designate Melvin Laird announced yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Seamans was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers in June, 1968. When asked at a news conference at M.I.T. yesterday whether he would stay on as a member of the Board, Seamans said he still has "not had a chance to discuss this with President Pusey." He added he "would certainly like to," if he could really carry his "own weight."

Originally a registered Republican, Seamans changed his registration to Democrat so he could vote for his classmate John F. Kennedy '40 in the Congressional primaries. Seamans switched back to a Republican after "it was obvious he no longer needed my help."

Seamans has twice met personally with Laird in addition to having several telephone conversations with him. Seamans has not yet met Nixon or even talked to him.

As Secretary of the Air Force, Seamans will succeed Harold Brown, a nuclear physicist.

Seamans said that the $2 billion Air Force program is a "very well conceived program that involves manned and unmanned launchings." Seamans added "the primary objective in the Air Force is to develop equipment necessary for national security."

Seamans would not comment on the effectiveness of the American bombing of Laotian and North Vietnamese infiltration routes.

Asked about the F-111, Seamans said that "the F-111's record is compatible with any other experimental aircraft which has come along since the war."

Seamans was professor at M.I.T. in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering from 1941 to 1955. In 1955 he joined the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Seamans was appointed associate administrator of NASA in 1960 and was promoted to the number two position of Deputy Administrator in 1965. In March, 1968, Seamans returned to M.I.T. as a visiting professor.

Seamans is married to the former Eugenia A. Merrill and lives in Cambridge. His son Joseph is a junior in Adams House.

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