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AEDC Fellow Claude Morse remembered for his contributions

  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs


AEDC Fellow Claude Morse will be remembered for his contributions to Arnold Engineering Development Complex following his passing Nov. 12 at the age of 79.

Morse is credited for his efforts to promote the work performed at AEDC, headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base. He was honored as an AEDC Lifetime Achievement Fellow in 2016. The AEDC Fellows program, established in 1989, recognizes AEDC personnel who have made substantial and exceptionally distinguished contributions to the nation’s aerospace ground testing capability.

For more than 30 years, Morse marketed the capabilities of AEDC to the media, national and international industry, and the local community.

Morse began his career at Arnold Air Force Base in 1972 as an Air Force captain in charge of AEDC public affairs and community relations activities. At the time, Arnold AFB was the sole AEDC unit. He also oversaw the Arnold Research Organization contractor public affairs office until 1975. ARO was the contractor that operated AEDC from 1950 to 1980.

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During this time, Morse worked with local, regional and national news media to increase the visibility of AEDC among the government, civilian and aerospace communities.

He also served on the B-1 Bomber Public Affairs Working Group. In this role, he helped develop strategies and news releases to inform the public about the new bomber.

The B-1 Lancer was deployed in June 1985. AEDC support of the B-1 program dates back to the early 1970s and, by 1972, AEDC was conducting simulated flight tests to help ensure clean separation of stores from the aircraft. Additional store separation, engine and aerodynamic testing on the aircraft would occur at Arnold throughout subsequent years.

In 1989, Morse returned to AEDC Public Affairs as a contractor manager. He worked in this area for three contractors until his retirement in 2009.

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Also in 1989, Morse helped establish the AEDC Fellows program. The first group of AEDC Fellows was inducted that same year. Morse served on the AEDC Fellows committee, which was under the purview of the AEDC History Office and selected the individuals to be honored as AEDC Fellows, until his retirement.

Morse’s involvement with AEDC did not conclude with his retirement. After his retirement, he continued to support Arnold and its interests through his work with the Arnold Community Council. According to the ACC website, the nonprofit organization represents 13 Tennessee and Alabama counties. It was founded in 2000 to support AEDC at Arnold AFB. Currently, the council has more than 350 individual, civic, business, organizational and local government memberships.

Morse is a past president of the ACC and was one of its Committee Chairmen at the time of his death.

The ACC each year sends representatives to Washington, D.C., to meet with elected officials to discuss and encourage support for the work occurring at AEDC.

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The group also took over management of the AEDC Fellows Program from the AEDC History Office due to changes in government rules and regulations in 2016 on awards to non-government employees, meaning Morse had been involved with the program since its inception.

The marketing display program Morse developed to promote AEDC testing capabilities was used at nearly 30 aerospace trade shows and conferences for more than two decades. These displays were designed to appeal to government and industry program managers of military and civilian aerospace programs.

To boost the efficacy of the display, Morse managed the production of technical news articles and releases disseminated to coincide with the dates of the trade shows. These technical releases would also be used in publications produced by the public affairs team, such a Test Highlights, and would even find their way into the first edition of the European research and development magazine Aerospace Testing International that was distributed at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in 2002.

Morse also created a 35mm six-projector, computer-driven slideshow presentations that was used to brief customers and civic groups about AEDC. He updated this presentation after he advocated for the funding of a digital video editing system and production facility. The video system also allowed for the production of marketing videos about testing at AEDC.

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His contributions also include the installation of the video teleconferencing facility at Arnold, designing the Gossick Leadership Center, developing an Air Force Material Command-award-winning website for AEDC, coordinating multiple air shows and overseeing the production of the “Beyond the Speed of Sound” book that details the history of AEDC.

The Memorial Service for our dear friend, Claude Morse, will be held this Saturday, Dec 2nd, in Tullahoma. The Visitation will be from 12 pm to 1 pm. The Service will begin at 1 pm, at Trinity Lutheran Church , 705 Wilson Avenue in Tullahoma.

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