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Col. Briggs reflects on leading the Test System Sustainment Division

Col. Raymond Briggs, right, speaks to Gregg Adams regarding the new machinery and equipment recently purchased for the Model and Machine Shop at Arnold Air Force Base. Briggs, chief of the Test Systems Sustainment Division at Arnold AFB, will be retiring from the Air Force this month. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

Col. Raymond Briggs, right, speaks to Gregg Adams regarding the new machinery and equipment recently purchased for the Model and Machine Shop at Arnold Air Force Base. Briggs, chief of the Test Systems Sustainment Division at Arnold AFB, will be retiring from the Air Force this month. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

Col. Raymond Briggs, chief of the Test Systems Sustainment Division at Arnold AFB, works in his office at Arnold Air Force Base. Briggs will be retiring from the Air Force and his position at Arnold. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

Col. Raymond Briggs, chief of the Test Systems Sustainment Division at Arnold AFB, works in his office at Arnold Air Force Base. Briggs will be retiring from the Air Force and his position at Arnold. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

Col. Raymond Briggs, chief of the Arnold Air Force Base Test Systems Sustainment branch, makes remarks at the May 18 acceptance and naming ceremony for the new crane, a Grove GMK5200-1 Hydraulic All Terrain Mobile Crane, purchased to perform routine maintenance of the test facilities at Arnold. The crane was named Windy (pronounced wīn-dē), after retired crane supervisor Windy Cunningham. Briggs mentioned after holding a naming contest for two weeks and receiving 110 entries, a committee determined that Windy was the best fit in honor of Cunningham, who trained several crane operators during his time at Arnold. Cunningham retired from his position after 40 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

Col. Raymond Briggs, chief of the Arnold Air Force Base Test Systems Sustainment branch, makes remarks at the May 18 acceptance and naming ceremony for the new crane, a Grove GMK5200-1 Hydraulic All Terrain Mobile Crane, purchased to perform routine maintenance of the test facilities at Arnold. The crane was named Windy (pronounced wīn-dē), after retired crane supervisor Windy Cunningham. Briggs mentioned after holding a naming contest for two weeks and receiving 110 entries, a committee determined that Windy was the best fit in honor of Cunningham, who trained several crane operators during his time at Arnold. Cunningham retired from his position after 40 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Deidre Ortiz)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Col. Raymond Briggs, chief of the Test System Sustainment (TSS) Division at Arnold Air Force Base, is retiring from the Air Force in May and will be leaving his position with AEDC.

Briggs came on board at Arnold as chief of TSS in July 2016, and in reflecting on his time here, said the job has been a fulfilling one.
“In this role I have led sustainment and capital improvements, primarily at Arnold, but also in setting the policy and direction for all of AEDC,” he said.

The Sustainment Division at Arnold AFB is divided into two different branches or areas of focus.

“One of those is Asset Management,” Briggs said. “In the Asset Management Branch, managers have ownership over the equipment, and the operators are then the ones who use it. The second branch is Capital Improvements, which entails the large repairs and maintenance projects that are multi-year and millions of dollars.”

His biggest career highlight while at Arnold has been the establishment of a Sustainment Roadmap.

“AEDC didn’t really have a clear vision regarding its sustainment, and I’ve been able to develop that and we will be rolling this vision out across AEDC,” Briggs said. “The roadmap covers sustainment strategy for all Arnold, including its geographically-separated units.”

According to Briggs, his transfer to Arnold in 2016 couldn’t have happened at a better time.

“The timing of my arrival here was one of growth and investment, so we have resources coming in,” he said. “I was lucky in that we were able to make some long overdue improvements to the infrastructure.”
Many of the improvements have fallen under the Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, which started in 2017.

Another goal while at Arnold has been to transform the Model and Machine Shop into a state-of-the-art facility.

“We created a deliberate plan for recapitalization of machinery at the Model Shop; something that had been needed for 25 years” he said. “Now we’ve been able to provide the Shop with the funding it needs, and the shop managers are able to determine how it’s used. It’s led to a big improvement in morale. Our craft folks recognize their value and now they know that leadership also recognizes it.”

Briggs, who had previously served as an aircraft maintenance officer, said that his work at Arnold has given him the opportunity to experience the industrial maintenance realm of the Air Force.

“Arnold is a unique place, and it’s that uniqueness, sheer wonder and incredible facilities and people here, that has really been the most enjoyable,” he said.

Briggs added he feels he’s departing TSS at a high point, as the recent restructuring of the Division will enable further growth.

“I’m happy with the restructuring of Test System Sustainment for the long haul,” he said. “Now that there’s an Air Force Deputy position, it gives a good growth path and makes TSS look like all the other divisions.”

The plan once Briggs retires is to relocate to Minnesota, where his wife’s family resides, and spend more time with his children.

“Overall, I’ve had a good Air Force career and feel I have made impacts on the Air Force. But I’m looking forward to spending more time with my kids while I have the opportunity.”