Bruggeman assumes role of IMA to AEDC Commander

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs

Col. Kurt Bruggeman held a deep appreciation for the work going on across Arnold Engineering Development Complex before ever setting foot in any of its offices or test cells.

Prior to beginning his latest post, Bruggeman spent 16 years flying the F-15E Strike Eagle. AEDC has a long history with the F-15E. In years past, AEDC facilities have been used to evaluate the Pratt & Whitney engines serving as powerplants for the F-15E and to conduct store separation testing on models of the aircraft. AEDC testing was also instrumental in the development of the F-15 Eagle from which the F-15E derived.

“Flying Pratt & Whitney engines for the last 16 years operationally and never having a single issue, that’s a testament to not only the design but also the testing and validation of those designs by folks here at Arnold, whether it was in the F-15 airframe itself or in the actual propulsion systems,” Bruggeman said.

He will now have a hand in ensuring others realize the benefits of the work performed at AEDC.

Bruggeman is the new Individual Mobilization Augmentee, or IMA, to the AEDC commander. He began this assignment in early January and will work primarily from the AEDC headquarters at Arnold Air Force Base.

“I’m excited about being involved with Arnold,” he said. “I’m very interested in getting involved and supporting the test mission that goes into developing those future capabilities for the aerospace forces.”

IMAs are reservists assigned to active-duty units to provide specific skill sets that augment mission performance. They additionally bring civilian experiences and provide additional perspectives that may prove valuable in finding solutions to challenges in mission accomplishment.

There are currently eight IMAs at Arnold assigned to support various offices and test divisions. In his role, Bruggeman will directly support AEDC Commander Col. Randel Gordon and impart recommendations to strengthen test execution.

“Where I kind of see myself fitting into AEDC, first and foremost, is being that senior reservist for Col. Gordon to advise him as well as the other commanders on the base on how they could best leverage that experience that resides within their reserve force that is available to them, whether that’s to directly support the test mission itself or whether it’s in administrative capability,” Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2001, earning a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering. He later earned a master’s in mathematics from Texas A&M University. Following his Air Force Academy graduation, Bruggeman went through Air Force flight school. He was assigned to the F-15E, the aircraft he consistently flew throughout the subsequent 16 years.

During his 12 years on active duty, Bruggeman was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and locations within the United Arab Emirates. Afterward, he transitioned to the Air Force Reserve. He spent seven years as a unit-level reservist in North Carolina teaching new pilots and weapons systems officers how to fly the F-15E.

Most recently, Bruggeman served two years on the staff at Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Through his previous experience, Bruggeman said he brings to the table the perspective of someone who has directly benefited from AEDC testing.

“I’ve obviously been a beneficiary of the outstanding work done by all of the individuals at Arnold throughout the whole team, from the government side on both the military and civilian and the service side, as well as on the contractor side,” he said.

And Bruggeman intends to meet as much of this team as possible, as he said he is looking forward to visiting the AEDC geographically separated units during his time with Arnold.

 With AEDC expected to experience an influx of personnel over the next several years, Bruggeman said much of his work will focus on providing support to aid new members of the workforce in meeting administrative requirements to further the test mission.

Along with sharing advice on the best ways to get Air Force Reserve members engaged in advancing the AEDC mission, Bruggeman said another of his goals is to ease the barriers many reservists face, allowing them to more readily contribute.

“That’s probably the biggest one, because there’s a significant amount of administrative burden just to get a reservist actually on-status, and any time they spend using their energy to do that, they’re not actually able to accomplish the mission,” he said. “Whether you’re a pilot or engineering, that’s what you want to do. You want to do pilot and engineering tasks. You don’t want to spend a lot of extra time doing other tasks.”