Recognizing achievements is the beginning to our successes

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Nothing gets a commander pumped up faster than having the opportunity to recognize the fantastic work of the team. There's just something special about shaking someone's hand, looking them in the eye, and seeing firsthand the pride they are feeling at the moment. I had the privilege of recognizing two outstanding teams last week and trust me, these moments are the high points in a day "at the office."

First up was our Joint U.S./Germany Free-Jet Icing engine test team, who earned the AEDC Technical Achievement Award for their efforts proving the capability of the Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR725 engine to perform in icing conditions.

Icing tests are nothing new to our team, but this particular engine challenged the team to literally invent and perfect a new test technique. I'm proud to report, that in true Team AEDC fashion, they did just that, and once again we bolstered our test capability portfolio for future tests. THAT's what I'm talking about! This is innovation at it's core, and it's so cool to see this alive and well here. Is this new test capability a big deal? Just ask the families of the victims in an airline accident if they wish the jet had been more thoroughly tested in icing conditions. I've been in icing. It's no fun. Knowing my jet was not going to send me back to terra firma via the nylon let-down as long as we kept the knots up and heaters on was a big relief, and we wouldn't know that unless Team AEDC had proven it years before.

Next in line was APTU Hypersonic Propulsion test team, where we handed out the iron for the AEDC General Lee Gossick Team Excellence Award. These guys took the phrase, "I feel the need, the need for speed!" literally and pumped up the bottles to wring out a new scram jet engine technology demonstrator.

Just a quick dash to Machs 3, 4 and 6 while stuffing a new form of JP-7 down the intakes. It takes a PhD in chemistry to understand what they were doing, so let me just simplify the process down to "don't try this at home." Like their teammates at the ETF, they had to invent some new procedures to get the conditions right, and at the same time, modulate all the inputs to keep the candle lit. Needless to say, it all worked, and we're well on our way to proving a new power plant for the next generation of hypersonic vehicles. That's right, hypersonic. We're just not satisfied with supersonic around here. These guys are barely getting warmed up at Mach 3.

And that's what makes AEDC great...never being satisfied. Another event I had the pleasure of participating in retiring an AEDC legend, Greg Magavero, who leaves after 31 years of service to our nation, and every day of it looking for a better way. In this case, he focused on IT challenges, but his determination is an example for all of us. As I commented on his career, I mentioned one of my favorite quotes about success (sorry, it's a law that old SAAS grads must wedge a quote into every forum!). "There's no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." If we all have something like that said about us when we retire, we will have indeed tasted the sweetest form of success.

Two months into this assignment, and it's coming fast and furious! Every day you are proving my first impressions were right. This is a fantastic organization, with rich traditions, endless drive, and an intellectual powerhouse beyond any I have encountered. What's the next "big deal" for Team AEDC? I can't wait to find out!