The White Sands' Wedding Planner

That's what Col. John Ferrari, commander of the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., felt like this week as he considered the myriad activities going on at his 3,200-square-mile facility, which stretches about 180 miles from the Texas border to just south of Socorro, N.M.

For the past month, the range has hosted 3,800 soldiers engaged in the Army's network integration exercise. This week, it also will support a Navy test based on a missile-firing "ship" located in the middle of the desert.

The range also will host the first test of the multi-national Medium Extended Air Defense System developed by the United States, Italy and Germany. The MEADS team brought in 200 personnel, all of whom have to be fed, which led Ferrari to observe, "this is like hosting a wedding."

And based on my experience in the chow line at White Sands yesterday, it's hard to convey the exact meaning of chicken-fried steak in Italian.

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