Brennie E. Hackley Jr.

[ Age 82 ] Holder of 15 patents helped develop antidotes for chemical weapons.

November 12, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Brennie Elias Hackley Jr., an Aberdeen Proving Ground scientist who during his more than 50-year career there became a highly regarded expert on the development of medical antidotes for chemical warfare agents, died Nov. 5 of lung cancer at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The Joppa resident was 82.

He was born and raised in Roanoke, Va., one of 10 children. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1946 from Wilberforce University in Ohio and a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1954. Three years later, he earned a doctorate in chemistry from Delaware.

Dr. Hackley was drafted into the Army and served at Edgewood Arsenal from 1949 to 1950. He remained an active reservist and attained the rank of colonel.

He worked as a research chemist at the Johns Hopkins University before returning to Edgewood as a chemist in the Medicinal Chemistry Branch, Medical Division, of the Army's Chemical Center.

Dr. Hackley was later a research chemist at the Army's Biomedical Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. In 1980, he became chief scientist and scientific adviser to the commander of the Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at APG.

Dr. Hackley, who wrote widely on chemical defense measures, held 15 patents in the field.

His work contributed to the development of antidotes for chemical warfare agents. TMB4, one of the compounds synthesized by Dr. Hackley, became standard Air Force therapy for treating chemical exposures, family members said.

"He was one of the sharpest people I'd ever met. He was extremely dedicated, and his work has taken on wider significance since the 9/11 terrorist attacks," said Col. Brian J. Lukey, commander of the Army's Medical Research Institute.

Last week, the Army's Surgeon General posthumously awarded Dr. Hackley the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service Medal.

Dr. Hackley was a member of the Lions Club and the American Legion. He was a past president of Chapter 28 of the Reserve Officers Association.

Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 29 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Surviving are his wife of 57 years, the former Ethel Battle; two sons, Brennie E. Hackley III of Alexandria, Va., and Michael B. Hackley of Joppa; a daughter, Dr. Michele Hackley Johnson of New Haven, Conn.; two brothers, Calvin E. Hackley of Lanham and Robert E. Hackley of Silver Spring; three sisters, Oglivia H. Abernathy of Silver Spring, Frances M. Hackley and Kathleen H. Petty, both of Washington; and three grandchildren.

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