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Test Support Division: Six distinct branches integral to AEDC’s mission

Prior to renovation work, members of Arnold Fire and Emergency Services conduct a training exercise raising a simulated victim out of a cooler. Conducting exercises such as this allows the Arnold Fire and Emergency Services team to have safe, more efficient and effective rescue operations. (AEDC photo)

Prior to renovation work, members of Arnold Fire and Emergency Services conduct a training exercise raising a simulated victim out of a cooler. Conducting exercises such as this allows the Arnold Fire and Emergency Services team to have safe, more efficient and effective rescue operations. (AEDC photo)

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center utilize rowing machines as part of their workout. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center utilize rowing machines as part of their workout. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --

I absolutely enjoy introducing new folks at AEDC to our Test Support Division. I quickly point out we are a blend of 154 professionals that includes cooks, baristas, servers, housekeepers, scientists, engineers, accountants, law enforcement, industrial security specialists, medical technicians, logisticians and all-around great people. We also rely on an extensive suite of contracts to enable and support our AEDC mission to prove the superiority of systems required to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy.

As outlined in our recently-minted 2020 AEDC Strategy, “We believe the demands of the National Defense Strategy require that AEDC apply – with maximum effect – Wing and Squadron-level power to the mission.” That is particularly true in our Test Support Division team. We have six very powerful and distinct branches, or squadrons in a traditional Wing organization, applying their skills to support our very unique and nationally-relevant AEDC mission.

One of our most diverse branches, but intimately involved in the AEDC mission, is our Test and Base Communications Branch, TSDI, led by Brandon Stiles. There are very few wings out in our great Air Force blessed with the capabilities enveloped in our TSDI branch. If you are at a traditional Wing, you are familiar with the cybersecurity, compliance and information technology aspects of a communications squadron, but our TSDI branch also includes the instrumentation, data and controls portfolio that is also a massive mission enabler for AEDC. All of these elements are intertwined to enable test, and Stiles’ team is second to none in doing it.

Another second-to-none team is our Civil Engineer Branch, TSDC, led by John Laviolette. It may not be readily apparent, but Arnold Air Force Base is a civil engineer’s paradise, encompassing every aspect of a traditional Civil Engineer squadron and is deeply integrated into the AEDC mission. Laviolette’s branch is overseeing more than $142 million in construction while also managing utilities infrastructure with more than 29 miles of overhead electrical lines, 27 miles of underground cables, an electrical distribution system that rivals the city of Chattanooga as well as a cooling water system that is “one of a kind” in our Air Force. He also has a great team that manages all of our environmental management and compliance for the base, as well as our privatized housing, real property, and fire and emergency management. It truly is a diverse team that serves as the bedrock for the test mission at Arnold AFB.

Discussing bedrock organizations in our Test Support Division, a significant mission set for AEDC includes our Information Protection and Security Forces Branch, SF-IP, led by Nick Edwards. As part of Edwards’ enterprise, the SF-IP branch oversees industrial security, OPSEC and personnel security for AEDC. This IP area is critically linked to enabling test operations. Additionally, his Security Forces element also provides critical antiterrorism oversight, as well as criminal investigations and plans and programs capabilities for our Wing. Edwards and his team are now in the midst of hiring and onboarding a law enforcement element for Arnold AFB that has never previously existed for the installation.

Talking about firsts, our first rate Medical Aid Station, is another critical Branch in the Test Support Division that is a mission enabler for AEDC. The Medical Aid Station provides medical readiness, preventive health outreach services, and public health support that directly enables the AEDC mission. The TSD-SG team, led by Master Sgt. Josh Suggs, works tirelessly through a network of providers in the community for our active duty military at Arnold AFB. Additionally, his team works through various mutual support agreements to provide care for our veterans.

Not to be outdone, our Logistics Branch, TSD-LG, is led by William Russell who recently joined us from the Air Force Materiel Command staff and Master Sgt. Nate Williams before his arrival. Under their leadership, the Branch has expertly managed all of the support agreements across the base, no small task as this is foundational to how AEDC operates. Additionally, their team, in concert with our Contracting Execution partners, handle the majority of our Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness compliance touchpoints, which has been a big issue for our base and the Air Force. Our Logistics team also supports Arnold AFB with our transportation and fuels requirements enabling the test mission.

And last, but definitely not least, is our Services Branch led by Carrie McGrew. She leads a massively hardworking team that supports the morale, welfare and recreation needs of our Arnold Air Force Base team. They manage some really awesome activities such as the Arnold Lakeside Center, Arnold Golf Course, Fitness Center, Wingo Inn, FamCamp, Recycling Center and Café 100. Additionally, McGrew and her team serve as Base Mortuary Affairs and superbly handle the solemn task of caring for our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines from the region.

Hopefully, this gives you a flavor for how the unique Test Support Division team supports the very important mission of AEDC. It is a team that is proud of what we do – Proud to Be…TSD!