Texas Tech University

Distinguished Engineer Citations

Distinguished Engineer Photo: James G. Renfro
James G. Renfro

James G. Renfro

Distinguished Engineer



Electrical Engineering – 1959



At Time of Nomination in 1992

James G. Renfro was born on October 30, 1935, in Littlefield, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. In 1971, he completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, and in 1982, he became a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Renfro’s career primarily has been with the Submarine Launched Fleet Ballistic Missile Program. That focus began in 1959 when Mr. Renfro was employed by the Northrop Corporation in Anaheim, California, as an electronics designer of the Submarine Launched Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) test and evaluation equipment and later as the design manager of electrical support equipment for USN POLARIS A1 missiles.

From 1962 to 1964, he served the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. He joined the USN Special Projects Office (SPO) in Washington, D.C., as a missile development engineer. In this position, he was responsible for the design and development of the POLARIS A2 and A3 and POSEIDON C3 missile electronics, hydraulics, and instrumentation systems. In 1965, Mr. Renfro became the special projects office’s technical advisor to the British Polaris Program centered in Bath, England. In 1967, he was promoted to Satellite Section Engineer and Assistant Section Head of the Navigation Branch, where he led in the production of Transit Satellites and the development of the Nova Satellite for the Navy. Renfro became Missile Body Unit Head, Missile Branch, in 1969, responsible for management of the missile body programs of the U.S. and U.K. Polaris A3 and Poseidon C3. He was responsible for the design and development of the new TRIDENT I C4 missile body.

In 1981, Mr. Renfro advanced to the Senior Executive Service and became chief Engineer of the Missile Branch, responsible for all submarine–launched Fleet Ballistic Missiles and their nuclear warheads, including the successful production, design, development and deployment of the TRIDENT II D5 missile system.

Mr. Renfro’s personal achievement awards include both U.S. and U.K. commendations, Civil Service Outstanding Performance ratings, and two Navy Unit Citations. In 1980, he received the Navy’s Superior Civilian Service Medal, and in 1987, President Reagan conferred on him the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service. In 1990, he received from the Secretary of the Navy the Distinguished Service Medal, and in 1991, President Bush conferred on him the rank of Distinguished Executive in the Senior Executive Service, the nation’s highest civil service award.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children, Beth and J. David, and make their home in Springfield, Virginia.

Texas Tech is extremely honored and proud to name James G. Renfro DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER.

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