|August 24, 2000
H. Cushman, Lt. General, USA (Ret)
From: H.A. "Red" Boucher, Former
Lt. Governor of Alaska (1971-75)
Subject: Nomination of David R. Hughes
as Distinguished Graduate, USMA
I wish to heartily endorse the nomination
of David R Hughes as a Distinguished Graduate of West Point.
I have known Dave Hughes since 1981, when
I, as the recent past Lieutenant Governor of Alaska and past Mayor of
Fairbanks, was searching for ways the new computer and communications technologies
could be used to benefit remote Alaska, where I have lived and worked since
I retired from the Navy in 1957. I served from 1938 to 1957.
During WWII I served as a Chief Aerographers Mate aboard the aircraft carrier
USS Enterprise, the most decorated ship in naval history.
Alaska, the largest state in the Union,
is a fifth the size of the continental US. Many of the States communities
(over 300) are small native villages that are isolated from the urban areas
of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau and are not connected by roads or highways.
Communication, for education, health, government, and business is difficult
I joined the first commercial modem dial
up service in the world, The Source, in 1981, and soon discovered Dave
Hughes, who already was famous on that system.
We hit it off immediately, for Hughes was
advanced technically, but fully understood and promoted the need to reach
the most remote and disadvantaged communities in the world with the new
tools. Like myself, he was a driver, who got things done. He was, and still
is, a great help to me in finding the hardware, software, communications
links - and now wireless data radios - and equally importantly, how best
to apply these tools in difficult places. He has helped me, over the past
20 years, in my quest of connecting up the most remote Eskimo villages
in Alaska to the rest of the world. Not only does he have a complete understanding
of the technical aspect of information technology, he also has an excellent
grasp of the social and cultural applications of the technology.
His work in helping underdeveloped nations and communities is greatly respected
at both the national and international levels.
In 1982, Dave Hughes pioneered the first
'distance learning' course in the world online, via The Source. It was
at the formal College level, from Colorado Technical University in Colorado
Springs. I became one of his online students, from Alaska, so that I could
learn how this technology could be used for the education of Alaskans,
no matter where they were.
This was such a landmark event, The Source,
a national corporation owned by the Readers Digest, featured that course,
Professor Dave Hughes, and I, the remote student, in its Sourceworld Publication.
It attracted lots of favorable press, in Alaska as well as the Lower 48.
It was a groundbreaking educational initiative.
In the early 80's, I flew Dave to Anchorage
where he met key University and communications Company officials, and inspired
them with his vision of a connected future. At the same time he learned
from them how the larger institutions could become part of the overall
communications fabric of Alaska. Later I flew to Colorado Springs to get
to know this man and absorb his progressive ideas even more.
While I was running for public office -
the Alaskan State Legislature in 1984 - I received a great deal of help
from Dave in articulating my case to Alaskans why the new telecommunications
and computer technologies could help our State. I won a seat in the Legislature,
using my growing computer skills to help get the job done, and became the
Chairman of the Alaska's Legislatures first Telecommunications Subcommittee.
The committee initiated legislation, and saw passed into law, legislation
that formed the Telecommunication Information Council. During the
period when the legislation was being drafted David Hughes was of immeasurable
help in assisting my committee in drafting the law's language.
The TIC committee, chaired by the Governor
of Alaska and consisting of all of the Department Heads in Alaska State
government, has since it's inception in 1987, established telecommunication
policy for the state of Alaska.
Following my retirement from the Alaska
State House in 1990, I saw, as Dave had already seen, the future value
of new forms of wireless communication, that could enable the remote native
villages of Alaska to be connected to the world of information. We held
numerous consultations while I was forming the company 'Alaska Wireless'.
David always was able to give me timely and sound advice, while understanding
the broad implications of what we were both trying to do. Some
of the issues involving wireless echo clear back to Congress and the Federal
Communications Commission. Dave assisted me greatly in preparing myself
to appear before the Senate Telecommunications Sub Committee, when they
met in Anchorage. At the request of my good friend Alaskan Senator Ted
Stevens, I was able to deliver Hughes message on what Congress and the
FCC should be doing differently in their laws and rules to make wireless
more available to remote Americans.
Hughes helped me showcase one of the most
striking examples of the power of wireless, before an influential gathering
of Washington insiders at his 'Emerging Wireless Technologies' conference
at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. in May of 1998. I
was able to show government officers from the FCC, Department of Commerce,
White House, NSF, and other agencies, how the wireless devices that Dave
champions, were deployed in severe Arctic weather condition in Toksook
Bay, Alaska a tiny Eskimo village on the Bering Sea. This has resulted
in this remotest of Alaska communities being connected to the world of
information known as the worldwide web. With Dave's help Project
Toksook has been featured in numerous publications including the Outlook
section of the Washington Post on August 8, 1998.
Most recently, Dave is once again helping
Alaska, by agreeing, to undertake the support of Alaskan Environmental
and Biological Scientists at the University of Alaska to better collect
data from some of the most severe weather places on the globe. At 72 years
of age Dave will be traveling, into the Alaskan field on power boats, ATVs,
snowmobiles, snowshoes, and his own footgear to both deploy advanced data
radios and satellite systems- and more importantly - teach everyone in
Alaska how to do it for themselves, and their communities.
I will continue to follow his technical
lead, and will publicize his efforts on my weekly statewide television
show "Alaska On-Line
Dave Hughes is an outstanding representative
of the kind of men West Point produces, and he definitely should be recognized
as a Distinguished Graduate!
H.A. 'Red' Boucher
Lieutenant Governor of Alaska (1971-75)