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AFTC Commander stops in at Arnold AFB to say thanks, farewell

Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, commander, Air Force Test Center, is greeted by Brian Stacy, action officer, and AEDC leadership upon his arrival at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 30, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, commander, Air Force Test Center, is greeted by Brian Stacy, action officer, and AEDC leadership upon his arrival at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 30, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, third from left, commander, Air Force Test Center, pauses for a photo with Arnold Engineering Development Complex leadership during his farewell visit to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 30, 2021. Pictured left to right are: Jason Coker, AEDC vice-director; Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, AEDC commander; Azzano; Senior Master Sgt. Jason Harlan, interim superintendent; Sarah Beth Morgan, Complex support chief; and Ed Tucker, senior technical director. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, third from left, commander, Air Force Test Center, pauses for a photo with Arnold Engineering Development Complex leadership during his farewell visit to Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., June 30, 2021. Pictured left to right are: Jason Coker, AEDC vice-director; Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, AEDC commander; Azzano; Senior Master Sgt. Jason Harlan, interim superintendent; Sarah Beth Morgan, Complex support chief; and Ed Tucker, senior technical director. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- After 31 years of service to the U.S. Air Force, Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, Air Force Test Center commander, retired in July. But before heading into retirement, the AFTC commander made the rounds across the Test Center, with one of those stops being Arnold Air Force Base, the headquarters of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

In an All Call on June 30, Azzano spoke directly to AEDC leadership while other team members watched a livestream or listened in.

AEDC Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty first expressed his gratitude to Azzano for all he’s done to support Arnold.

“It’s been a pleasure having you lead, sir, and I think we’ve done well under your leadership,” Geraghty said.

Azzano also applauded the efforts of Team AEDC, stating that the last year has not been without its challenges, especially in terms of the pandemic.

“It sure is nice to see everyone in here healthy after a really challenging 15 months,” he said. “I know we are feeling a lot better about things now. I just encourage everybody, please continue to be cautious.”

When presenting Dr. William Baker, technical director for the AEDC Test Division, with a commander’s coin to recognize Baker’s retirement after 57 years with AEDC, Azzano mentioned the importance of the work performed by AEDC team members.

“I want to acknowledge the very hard work that people put into, oftentimes, unsung roles operating behind the scenes, doing things for many years and making a difference that we completely don’t understand,” Azzano said.

“It’s not lost on any of you, that if you bring someone in from just about anywhere in DOD, they’ve probably heard of Gen. Arnold and maybe they heard of AEDC. But when they come here and see what you do and [see] the impact that it has to delivering combat capability... Most importantly, you’re accelerating programs early on so that they have a chance of getting to the field. When you see that and the incredible wealth of talent and infrastructure… You realize it’s by no means a certain undertaking, and it takes a lot of skill and a lot of talent and devotion.”

Azzano added that the concept of warfare has changed dramatically, but the U.S. does have an edge.

“The advantage that we have is the diversity of American thought, which has always been our edge. That diversity of American thought, in terms of backgrounds, upbringings, is really the game changer – our innovation, our focus on agility, our focus on taking care of each other.”

In closing, Azzano again noted his appreciation for AEDC and its team members.

“Within our sphere of influence, we’re doing some great things. But we also have to tell our story and keep that going out to the people who operate beyond our sphere, and that’s really what’s going to help in the long term.

“After 31 years it’s tough walking out the door knowing how much we have to do but I am so encouraged. I’m so pleased to visit areas of the Test Center, Arnold especially, and see the devotion, to see the skill, the talent, the determination to not to let an opportunity go wasted. I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all of you for what you’ve done.”