Maj. Smith assumes command of 586th Flight Test Squadron, Detachment 1

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs

Maj. Joshua Smith now leads an Air Force team that annually sponsors hundreds of test missions and evaluation activities at White Sands Missile Range. 

Smith assumed command of the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Detachment 1, during a July 13 change of command ceremony at WSMR.

“I am humbled to be entrusted with the responsibility of serving as the detachment commander, and I am eager to start work here,” he said.

Along with leading the detachment that serves as the liaison for all Air Force programs tested at WSMR, Smith will also serve as deputy for the Air Force at the site, interfacing with Army and Navy leaders to utilize the resources on the tri-service range.

 “My primary goal is to ensure the success of all Air Force programs which require White Sands resources and to continue building a positive relationship with the Army and Navy on range,” he said.

Most of the flight testing coordinated by the 586 FLTS at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, is conducted at WSMR. There, Det. 1 serves as the primary interface between the customer program and WSMR support elements. Members of the detachment work to maintain the relationships necessary to liaise range support and assists test customers by developing operational requirements, scheduling range and airspace, assessing safety risks and coordinating environmental assessments.

The 586 FLTS is a unit of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee.

“The work the detachment accomplishes is critical to the defense of our nation, and I look forward to supporting the detachment and working to help us faithfully and professionally answer the call,” Smith said.

Prior to his latest assignment, Smith served as Sensor Division chief and F-15EX instructor weapons system officer for the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He was responsible for the testing of new sensors on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15 Eagle and A-10 Thunderbolt II, as well as the testing of weapons and sensors on the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Smith said the service of family members played a large part in his decision to join the Air Force.

“My father and grandfather served in the military, and I wanted to follow their example and fly fighters,” he said.

Smith entered the Air Force through the United States Air Force Academy, earning his commission in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from the academy. He also holds a Master of Arts in military arts and sciences from American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia, and earned a Master of Science in flight test engineering from U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He is also a graduate of Squadron Officer School and the Air and Space Basic Course, both at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Other assignments throughout Smith’s career have included F-15E weapons system officer and training officer for the 334th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina; T-38 Talon flight commander and instructor for the 435th Fighter Training Squadron at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; and student experimental flight test weapons system officer for U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB.

He has more than 1,600 flight hours in more than two dozen aircraft.

Smith’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force medal with one oak leaf cluster and Air Force Commendation Medal.

Smith said through his prior experience, he has gained a healthy understanding of Air Force training and testing needs. He added this knowledge will serve him well in his new post.

“I have already worked with scheduling and will be able to continue to bring my previous flying, testing and scheduling experience to bear,” he said. “Additionally, I served under amazing leaders and with great personnel in the Air Force to better know how I can serve in a leadership role.”