News>Arnold Community Council dinner a huge success
(Left to right) – Retired Air Force Col. Craig Wolfenbarger (from left), Mrs. Allen, Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger and Master Sgt. George Allen, one of AEDC’s annual award winners, pose for a quick photo during the social. General Wolfenbarger, Gen. Arnie Bunch, commander of Air Force Test Center, and Col. Raymond Toth, AEDC commander, met and talked with many of the ACC members before the official program started. (Photo by Jackie Cowan)
Air Force Materiel Command Commander Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, speaks to a large crowd during the ACC Annual Dinner on Friday night. The general also toured Arnold Engineering Development Complex earlier in the day. (Photo by Jackie Cowan)
Before the social at the ACC event, Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of Air Force Materiel command, talks with two U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC cadets, Jennifer Jones (left) and Kelly Burns (right). (Photo by Jackie Cowan)
10/19/2012 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Arnold Community Council's (ACC) annual dinner Friday night was one of the largest on record as almost 300 attendees turned out to hear guest speaker Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger.
Wolfenbarger is the commander of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) and the first female four-star in the Air Force.
"I came to say thank you to the ACC," she said. "Thank you for your support of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex, its mission and all of the support you provide throughout the year... the welcome baskets for the incoming military folks, the AEDC Veteran's Picnic, the Honor Flight, gifts for military award winners and the AEDC Children's Christmas Party."
The general briefly spoke about her background and said her father was the one who initially got her interested in attending the Air Force Academy.
"My dad was in the Air Force," she said. "He is the one who told me the Air Force Academy was accepting female cadets."
Wolfenbarger applied and became part of the first graduating class to include women in 1980.
During her career Wolfenbarger worked with programs for bombers, fighters and cargo planes such as the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the F-22 and the C-17 to name a few. She also had three different assignments at the Pentagon.
Wolfenbarger said she was thrilled when she learned she'd be the new commander of AFMC.
"I felt, humbled, honored, and ready to serve as the AFMC commander. It [AFMC] is the command I grew up in. I was very excited to be selected."
One of the immediate challenges facing her as the new AFMC commander was the command's transition from 12 centers to five. As part of the reorganization, AEDC became a complex instead of a center and now reports to the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif.
"Secretary Gates [former Secretary of Defense] provided the mandate to make the changes, and there is a good business case for this - reduced resources are the primary reason," said Wolfenbarger. "In the end, it is all about providing the best support to the warfighter and having a single test center, single test mission and single test commander helps us do that."
The general said the new organization allows for the standardizing of processes, sharing best practices and the opportunity to do what is best for the Air Force.
"I thank the members of ACC for embracing this change, and I applaud your efforts and your outstanding citizenship," Wolfenbarger said.
In closing, Wolfenbarger said, "I see a bright future for the complex [AEDC], AFTC and AFMC."
Outgoing ACC President Temple Bowling said he and the ACC believe the changes brought about by the command's reorganization will help AEDC.
"The ACC whole heartily supported the standup of the new Air Force Test Center (AFTC) by AFMC headquartered at Edwards AFB," Bowling said. "We are working diligently to support strong relationships with our community counterparts at both Edwards and Eglin so that we may develop strategies that will benefit and protect the Test Center and its assets."
For his part, ACC Incoming President Steve Cope encouraged every member of ACC to help the group support the base by participating in the annual trip to Washington, D.C., held each spring.
"Our goal is to support AEDC by visiting Congress and the Pentagon and present proposed ideas that make it easier to do business at AEDC," Cope said. "We are beginning to get traction, but we need your help as we continue to make strides. You CAN make a difference!"
The ACC also sponsors a legislative orientation each spring for state elected officials to raise awareness of AEDC and the importance of its mission.
Every person who attended the ACC event receives a complimentary one-year membership, invitations to monthly meetings and a copy of the base newspaper.