Retired Colonel, USAF
“Cliff” to the rest of the world and “Roger” to his immediate family, Clifford Roger Silliman died peacefully at his home in Vandenberg Village, Lompoc, California, on January 28, two-and-a-half weeks short of his 98th birthday. He was born in Oneonta, New York, on February 15, 1920, the eldest of three boys, to Clifford W. and Velma Beach Silliman.
Equipped with Bachelor's Degrees in Aeronautical and Civil Engineering, he built a thirty-three-year career in the Army Corps of Engineers, the Air Force, and the aerospace industry, all in managerial and technical fields. He saw action in the military “theatres” of North Africa, where his plane went down in a storm; in Western Europe and in the Balkans. For his war experience, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the European- African- Middle Eastern Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal among others.
Though not originally intending to pursue a military career, after his honorable discharge from the army, he joined the US Air Force, which, in the early fifties, put him in charge of directing the multi-million dollar design and construction of the Far East Air Forces Base on Guam. From 1957 to 1961, he was responsible for the development, construction, testing and acquisition of the ground segment of the hardened Titan ballistic missile system. Colonel Silliman topped his career in the mid-1960s as Chief, Technical Requirements and Standards Office, Space and Missile Systems Organization. The Legion of Merit Award marks his exceptional service.
Cliff's retirement in 1967 did not last long as TRW Systems soon enticed him to join its Product Assurance Staff. The last chapter of his career was with ITT-FEC Western Test Range Division where he was responsible for developing and implementing FEC's total quality-control program.
Until her death in 2002, he and his wife Bernadette lived the good life, traveling extensively to tropical isles in pursuit of the sun and to the Rockies and the Sierras for wilderness hiking. Locally, Cliff was active in the Lompoc Valley Meals-on-Wheels. They were also known for hosting fine dinners. All these stopped when Bernadette passed away and dementia came calling.
Clifford Roger Silliman's survivors include Bernadette's son, Barry Welker (Lynn); his nephews George Sidney Silliman (Rachel); Bruce Silliman (Michiko); David Silliman (Saundra) and his niece Wendy Silliman Creel (Richard).
His final instructions were that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea and that there be no memorial service. In lieu of sympathy cards and flowers, donations may be made to Lompoc Meals-on Wheels.