Why do you work at AEDC?

Lt. Col. Charles Huff, U.S. Air Force retired

Lt. Col. Charles Huff, U.S. Air Force retired

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- I have 2,500 hours in the F-4 Phantom and I came home on my feet because of you and guys like you (total of 5700 hours of flying high performance airplanes up to the F-15).”
Lt. Col. Charles Huff, U.S. Air Force retired

Charley is a college friend from way back when at Eastern Oklahoma A&M. There will be more of his story shortly but for now—why do you work at AEDC?

There are many reasons for choosing a career. Some people do it for money, and I feel sorry for them. Others choose because the way in front of them seems to be the only open way. Still others choose because of peer pressure or even parental pressure. Some choose because they love the line of work on their career path. Then there are the guys like Charley who chose to be of service to this country.

If you work at AEDC you are a part of the greatest test and evaluation capability in the world! I have been to England, Germany, and France and evaluated their T&E capabilities. AEDC wins, hands down! Just as in the military, work at AEDC falls into many categories. In the U.S. Air Force not everybody can be a pilot. In order for a USAF airplane to fly and do its job it has to have maintainers, logistics personnel, clerical personnel, human resource personnel, and many others. Typically, the “point-of-the-spear” (those actually in combat) is about 10 percent of the total force required. So it is at AEDC. Some are test engineers; some are test facility craftsmen; some are boilermakers; some are timekeepers; some are planners; some are electricians; some are IT specialists…you get the picture. It takes all of us to make AEDC work.

Let me fill in a little more of Charley’s 21-year career in the USAF in his own words. The AFROTC Wing at EOA&M took a familiarization visit to Dyess Air Force Base in 1960. Charley was part of the group of cadets who went.

“I remember that trip to Dyess very well,” Charley said. “That trip propelled my interest into flying. I remember a guy named Mike Doyle and I sat outside and watched the B-47s and B-52s lifting off the runway. It must've been some kind of exercise because it lasted about 45 minutes, one right after the other. Mike told me that night that he was going to make the Air Force a career.”

Charley was also motivated that night to make flying his career.

“I flew out of Ubon, Thailand, which was pretty colorful,” he said. “We were at the Eighth Wing and known as the Wolfpack.”

“I had a three-year tour at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base Virginia. I was the program director for operation Ready Eagle. I am sure you know that was the equipage of F-15 Eagles into the European fighter bases. Although it was a year in completion, it appeared to the Russians that we equipped Bitburg and Camp New Amsterdam with Eagles and flew all of the Phantoms out of Europe the same night. It was quite a shock to the Ruskies to see 72 F-15s on the ramp at Bitburg where just the day before, there had been 72 F-4s. I had the opportunity to brief Dr. Kissinger and General Haig.”

“I was the Operations Officer in the F15 at Luke AFB.”

Wow! What a career! Charley chose to put his life on the line daily for you and for me. That still leaves the question of “Why do you work at AEDC?”

Look back at that first quote from Charley.

“I came home on my feet because of you and guys like you.”

You are the guys now. Your work will provide our Air Force, Navy, and Marines with aircraft that guarantee that the U.S. has, not air superiority, but will guarantee that we have air dominance. Because of your work, the most feared words in our adversaries’ vocabularies will be “Cleared for takeoff.”

AEDC contributes to the national defense in many ways that are vitally important. We have done and continue to do work for the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, and the Marines. The ground leg of our nuclear triad (Minuteman III) had every bit of the aero vehicle including the propulsion, except the first stage booster, developed here. Our chambers develop satellite technologies. Our wind tunnels are busy extending the knowledge base for air platforms and missiles. Our engine test cells are at the cutting edge of the next generation of propulsion systems. Our ranges investigate the hypersonic regimes.

The examples are too many to enumerate in this article.

Why do you work at AEDC?

You work here to bring our warriors home on their feet instead of in body bags.

Keep the warriors fit and the spear points sharp!