General Bedke Relinquishes Command of AFFTC at Edwards

9/27/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- After his third assignment at Edwards, the base's highest-ranking officer bids farewell once more as he relinquishes command of the Air Force Flight Test Center on Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke will enter a new chapter in his Air Force career as the commander of Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

When General Bedke took command of the AFFTC in 2004, he said he had one goal in mind for Edwards.

"I want to ensure the Air Force Flight Test Center remains relevant to the Air Force's current operational requirements, while at the same time, remain a cutting-edge force that gives the Air Force opportunities it may not even know about yet," he said.

General Bedke's mission and responsibilities while at Edwards were to develop, test and evaluate manned and unmanned aircraft systems in both experimental and aerospace vehicles.

"General Bedke has led excellent executions of several missions here," said David Bond, AFFTC executive director. "There have been some great accomplishments in the past three years to support the warfighter while he has been in command."

General Bedke has supported the warfighter by ensuring the Airborne Laser program successfully fired all six modules of the megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser for the first time during a ground test.

Some accomplishments made under his command include the first supersonic GBU-32 dropped from an F-22 Raptor and the C-17 Globemaster test team that became the first to fully employ a test strategy called design of experiments.

Not only did General Bedke achieve great accomplishments in experimental testing, he also oversaw the housing construction on Edwards and the renovation of Club Muroc.

"The Air Force doesn't send officers to lead Edwards who are not held to a very high standard, and the general has certainly executed everything he does on this base in an admirable fashion," Mr. Bond said.

General Bedke has also helped build a stronger foundation within the surrounding community by attending meetings with local community members such as the Civilian Military Support Group and the Flight Test Historical Foundation.

"Edwards has a lot of great friends who appreciate our contributions to national defense, and as commander, I have been grateful for their support," General Bedke said.

Mr. Bond said what set the general apart from any other leaders is his ability to communicate.

"I have never seen anyone able to communicate to such a diverse audience like he can," Mr. Bond said. "He can take a topic and talk to the Secretary of the Air Force, general officer, scientist, the enlisted workforce or somebody who has no clue about the Air Force and do it in a way that is very personal and direct. He makes the people he speaks to feel as though they are a part of the issue."

In one of his weekly "What I'm Thinking" e-mails, General Bedke wrote of his love for the Air Force, Edwards and his job.

"Thank you all for the great work you're doing for the Air Force Flight Test Center and for this nation," General Bedke wrote. "None of us are likely to ever have our names in the history books. But all of us will make a difference, and what we do will be part of history. I'm proud to be a part of this Edwards team."

Mr. Bond said commanders of the AFFTC are great leaders, and the general has done just that.

"He is following after a heritage of commanders who have made some significant milestones at Edwards, and the general has stood on their shoulders and took achievements to a higher level," Mr. Bond said.

General Bedke said Edwards is where more aircraft has been tested, more aviation records broken and more important advances in aviation have been made than any place, any time.

He said he appreciates the time he spent here.

"If you love airplanes, and love serving your nation and want to make a difference, well you have arrived," General Bedke said. "Make sure you remind yourselves every day -- especially on those days when you need a little boost -- just how lucky you are that you're doing what you're doing, where you're doing it, with such great people"

General Bedke will relinquish command of the AFFTC to Brig. Gen. David Eichhorn in the Wednesday ceremony.

Source: USAF Edwards AFB Press Release by Airman 1st Class Stacy Sanchez

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