Colombia’s First Peace Corps Staff (Part Two)

In April, 1962, Sheldon was joined by his Deputy Director, Ted Banks, who thereby became the first overseas administrator to be transferred by the Peace Corps from one country to another (in his case, from Chile to Colombia.)

On July 25, 1963, Banks was named the first Peace Corps Director in Uruguay. By then, the program in Colombia had become the second largest in the world with 561 Volunteers overseas and in training, and enough additional programs had been negotiated to raise the strength of the effort in Colombia beyond that in the Philippines, which had been first.

A second group of 31 rural community development workers arrived in Colombia on May 18, 1962. On November 12 of the same year, the third group – consisting of 69 urban community development workers all of whom had taken training in the slums of New York – arrived in Bogota. Just before that, on November 4, Associate Director Jesse Robert Moffett joined the Peace Corps Staff in Colombia.

Moffett was born and raised near Dilley, Texas, were he learned Spanish from is playmates, the children of the Mexican farm laborers on his family’s cattle ranch. He served in the Navy as a Radioman First Class from September. 1944, until June, 1946 when he returned to the college career which had been interrupted by the way.

In 1948, he received his degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M. After signing up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a livestock inspector, he was sent to Mexico City with the joint Mexican-American program for the eradication of foot and mouth disease.

In January 1955, he left the government to go back to the family ranch, this time as a partner. “Low cattle prices and extend drought conditions finally drove me off the land again,” he said, and in August, 1955, he went to work as an administrative assistant in the Tucson Warehouse and Transfer Company. Within a few years, he was raised to the position of traffic manager of this large firm based in southern Arizona. “But as time passed,” he said, “to the urge to go back into Foreign Service became irresistible—particularly after the Peace Corps came alone.” Moffett went through the Talent Hunt interviews, and was signed into the Peace Corps on October 9, 1962, less than a month before he was sent to South America.

The rapid expansion of the Colombia programs in 1963 demanded some enlargement of the administrative staff. The next two Associate Directors flew into Bogota one day apart in July—Charles Brady on the 18th and William Babcock on the 19th.

Brady was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and joined the Navy in 1952 when he graduated from high school. His four years of military service was mostly as a Quartermaster Second Class. As a civilian once again, he enrolled at Kansas City Junior College, then in 1959 transferred to State College of Pittsburg in Pittsburg, Kansas. He held a series of jobs after that. While the State College of Pittsburg granted him a master’s degree in administration in 1962, he had done much of his work for it at the Colegio Americano de Guatemala. He joined the staff of the Peace Corps on June 11, 1963, and took off for Colombia six weeks later.

Babcock was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated in history and sociology in 1960 from Springfield College in Massachusetts. That summer he became a world service worker for the YMCA and served as director of a YMCA residence camp near Caracas, Venezuela, and also taught school in Caracas.

Back in the U.S., he enrolled in the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University and spent the next two years earning his Master of Social Work degree.

Babcock joined the staff of the Peace Corps on July 8, 1963, flew off to Bogota three weeks later.

Conference of Latin America Reps in Panama—clockwise from left: Rod Buller, Derek Singer, Rafael Sancho-Bonet, George Coleman, Mike Pybas from DVS in Washington, Latin America Regional Director Jack Vaughn, Sargent Shriver, Frank Appleton, Ed Astle, Dick Hancock, Maggie Beshore from the Latin America regional office and Christopher Sheldon.

 

Research Document: Who’s Who in the Peace Corps Overseas Administration (1963)

The photographs are by Rowland Scherman, Paul Conklin and Jim Walls, first photographers for the agency.

 

 

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