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Dr. Deborah C. Kidwell is the Historian for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex.  From its headquarters at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee, the Complex is a wing equivalent organization that encompasses more than 68 aerospace ground test facilities in eight states, including California, Florida, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio and Utah. AEDC’s facilities afford the capabilities to test flight designs and models under a variety of simulated flight conditions including speed, temperature, altitude, pressure and other parameters.  Historian responsibilities include writing annual unit histories and special historical studies, interviewing key leaders and historical figures, overseeing archival records and developing heritage publications and presentations to promote unity and education.

Prior to this assignment Dr. Kidwell was the Command Historian for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Dr. Kidwell completed her PhD in Military History at the University of Kansas in 2006.  Prior to her service as an Air Force Historian, she served as an Associate Professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  CGSC trains Field Grade Officers in the military services and other government professionals for advanced leadership positions.      


Jun 2004 – May 2009, Associate Professor, US Army Command & General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS

May 2009 – Nov 2010, Staff Historian, Edwards AFB, California

Nov 2010 – Jul 2012, Staff Historian, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Arlington, VA

Jul 2012 – Nov 2020, Command Historian, AF Office of Special Investigations, Quantico, VA

Nov 2020 – present, Historian, AEDC, Arnold AFB, TN


1981, Bachelor of Science, Agriculture in Animal Science, Ok St University

1982, Master of Science, Agriculture Education, Oklahoma State University

2001, Master of Arts, History, Oklahoma State University

2006, PhD, History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS


2009, Leadership Training, Edwards Air Force Base, 2009

2010, Modern Archives course, U.S. National Archives, Washington, DC

2011, U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College, correspondence, Maxwell AFB, AL

2014, Museum Orientation Course, National Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, OH

2019, Office of Personnel Management Training “Leading with Impact” Washington, DC


Public War, Private Fight, Combat Studies Institute, 2005.

“Building the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial at the University of Kansas, Journal of the Plains, Autumn, 2007.

 “US Operations,” chapter in Precision and Purpose: Airpower in the Libyan Civil War, Rand Project Air Force, Rand Corporation, 2011.

14 Air Force Annual Unit histories for assigned units

Numerous book reviews, opinion and educational pieces and short articles for Professional Military Publications, Journals and Air Force Publications


2000 O.A. Hilton Memorial Scholarship, Oklahoma State University

2001 Minority Graduate Teaching Fellowship Award, University of Kansas

2001 Leroy Fisher History Paper Award, Oklahoma State University

2002 and 2003, Teaching Fellowship Award, University of Kansas

2004 U.S. Military Academy Academic Fellowship, West Point, NY

2005 Fellowship Award, Jul-Dec

2006 Golden Pen Award, Command and Staff College

2007 Bronze Pen Award, Command and Staff College

2008 Silver Pen Award, Command and Staff College

2009 Leavenworth Lamp Certificate

2009 Civilian Service and Medal

2012 Exemplary Civilian Service Award

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Warren Trest Award for Excellence in Air Force History programs

2020 Exemplary Civilian Service Award