Security viewed from a different perspective

  • Published
  • By Col. Warner Holt, U.S. Army
It is safe to assume that all of us associated with AEDC are focused on doing our part to ensure the Complex and the surrounding communities are secure places to work and live. It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to serve as a government contractor here at AEDC for the past 28 years, knowing that what we do here ultimately supports the warfighter. Our ATA leader, Steve Pearson, frequently reinforces to us that "ATA's vision is to be a trusted partner in delivering best value warfighter support and asset stewardship to AEDC..."

The term warfighter brings to mind different images for each of us. Technically, a warfighter is anyone who serves his or her country in one of the armed services. Warfighter, to some people, may conjure up images of our fighter pilots who deliver ordnance when and where needed. To many, the warfighter we ultimately support here at AEDC is the airman, Marine, sailor or soldier who is serving his or her country in a combat zone in need of some form of fire support. The fire support AEDC is most focused on providing is referred to as Close Air Support (CAS) delivered by the many combat air platforms we test and support here at AEDC.

The "different perspective" referenced in the title of this editorial comes from the fact that I have personally had the unique opportunity to function as a warfighter on-the-ground in a combat zone on two different occasions. Once in Afghanistan as an embedded trainer with the 196th Field Artillery Brigade working as an advisor for an Afghan National Army Infantry Kandak (Battalion), and once as a Field Artillery battalion commander with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Northern Iraq. Our time in Afghanistan afforded me and a few of my close friends the unique opportunity to be American warfighters on the receiving end of the very products we test and improve here at AEDC.

While in Helmand, Afghanistan, our small team of advisors called for and received close air support from various aircraft (including A-10s, F-16s, AC-130s and Predators) on over 25 different occasions. Today, my team and I can attest that there is no sweeter experience than to hear the sound of a tactical aircraft approaching at a high rate of speed to deliver a full measure of well-placed ordnance on an enemy position. This type of precision close air fire support would not be available to our nation's defenders if not for your contribution to the mission here at Arnold Air Force Base.

To you, the ladies and gentlemen who work here at Arnold, please do not ever take for granted the importance of the work that you do here at AEDC and know, from a warfighter's perspective, that what you do here at this great test center does indeed make a difference! On behalf of the warfighters of this great nation who have benefited from close air fire support and military air support in general, thank you for your dedication and hard work.

Please come out to the upcoming Security Fair scheduled April 28-30 to hear more about security from a different perspective.