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Thomas takes command of 717th Test Squadron

Writer: Bradley Hicks

During the lead-up to him taking command of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex 717th Test Squadron, Lt. Col. Joshua Thomas came across an article published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the first simulated flight test of an engine at AEDC.

This spurred Thomas to reflect upon how long AEDC has played a role in national defense, which in turn prompted him to issue a challenge to the men and women now in his charge.

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“That’s been 70 years, over 70 years at this point, that we have been doing test for the warfighter,” Thomas said. “We aren’t the pointy end of the spear in test. We don’t drop warheads on foreheads, but what we do is we support. We are a critical support function for the warfighter.

“If we don’t do our job here properly then our men and women who go fight the war, who do that mission, may not make it there. They may make it there and they may fail at the mission, or they may not make it home. So it is important for us to continue that center of excellence that we have here at AEDC. That’s my challenge to you all, and that’s a challenge to myself. I want to see us continue that excellence as we are in this great power competition. If we falter then we may end up failing.”

Thomas assumed command of the 717 TS during a Change of Command ceremony June 27, 2024, at Arnold Air Force Base, headquarters of AEDC.

 Lt. Col. Joshua Thomas, right center, takes the guidon from Arnold Engineering Development Complex 804th Test Group Commander Col. Jason Vap, left, to assume command of the AEDC 717th Test Squadron during a Change of Command ceremony June 27, 2024, at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., headquarters of AEDC. Also pictured is outgoing 717 TS commander Lt. Col. Ryne Roady, right. (U.S. Air Force photo by Keith Thornburgh)

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