Meet Gladys West, The Black Woman Who Helped Created GPS, Inducted Into Air


Gladys West is a “hidden figure” just like her sorority sisters Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who inspired the film by the same name.

“This involved planning and executing several highly complex computer algorithms which have to analyze an enormous amount of data,” Ralph Neiman, her supervisor who recommended her for commendation in 1979, said. “You have used your knowledge of computer applications to accomplish this in an efficient and timely manner.”

West was instrumental in creating the navigation systems that we now call GPS (Geographical Positioning System) during her 42 year career working at the naval base in Dahlgren, Virginia. She was a graduate of Virginia State University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Unable to attend the Aug 2018 induction ceremony, Dr. Gladys West was honored at the Pentagon as one of the 2018 Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers for her contributions to the @usairforce space program. Read more about her incredible career:

— AF Space Command (@AFSpace) December 12, 2018

Adrian Long

Adrian Long

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