Ralphie takes command of 605th TES

  • Published
  • By Deb Henley, 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs
  • 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron

Lt. Col. Brad “Ralphie” Short took command of the 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron from Lt. Col. Leslie “Nilla” Woll during a change of command ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 14.

photo of US Air Force Airmen in front of US flag

Official photo of Colonel James Fields II, Hurlburt Field, Florida on June 16, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Shelton Keel)

Col. James Fields II, 505th Test and Training Group commander, presided over the ceremony. He commended Woll for her leadership and successes, giving Short the opportunity to build on that momentum into the future.

“Under Nilla’s leadership, the squadron’s shift towards a ‘mission-under-test’ mindset has been a game-changer. By focusing on the battle management and tactical execution of long-range kill chains, we have been able to assess better the operational effectiveness of our C2ISR [command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] systems in realistic combat environments,” said Fields.

“As the guidon is handed to Ralphie, I am filled with confidence for the future of the 605th TES. Under his leadership, the squadron is well-positioned to ensure that our C2ISR capabilities are integrated and remain at the forefront of modern warfare,” said Fields.

Before relinquishing command, Woll delivered her farewell speech to the squadron, thanking her mentors, family, and squadron personnel.

“The dedication and expertise of the 605th TES team over these past two years has been nothing short of extraordinary. Their commitment to rigorous testing and evaluation has directly impacted the warfighter’s ability to execute the mission well and to be prepared to win, should we have to fight,” said Woll.  “I am continually impressed by our team of Airmen, civilians, and contractors. Their ability to adapt to changes and overcome challenges, of which the squadron has had many of both recently, is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to the mission.”

photo of USAF Airman in front of U.S. flag

Official Photo Lt. Col. Leslie Woll

Woll continued, “Over the past two years, the 605th TES has made significant strides in advancing the capabilities of the C2ISR enterprise. Our O&TEs [operational test and evaluation] have provided critical insights that have shaped the development of new systems and technologies while ensuring the integration of legacy systems.”

“Leading the 605th TES, a geographically diverse squadron with half of the squadron personnel located at Hurlburt Field, as well as three detachments at Tinker, Robins, and Beale Air Force Bases, and an operating location at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, has been an immense privilege. The collective efforts in OT&E for all of the Department of the Air Force’s C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] systems, including E-3 AWACS/E-7 Wedgetail, Tactical Operations Center-Light, Common Mission Control Center, and the Air Operations Center, have strengthened the C2ISR enterprise across the Air Force, ensuring our warfighters have access to the integrated capabilities they need for mission success,” said Woll.

Woll’s next assignment will be a student at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

The change of command is a military tradition, formally transferring a unit’s authority and responsibility from one commander to another.

photo of uniformed U.S. Air Force Airmen standing in front of a U.S. flag

Lieutenant Colonel William B. Short, 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Addressing the squadron for the first time in command, Short began, “It is an honor to take command of the 605th TES, the Air Force’s only operational test squadron for C2ISR systems and their associated capabilities. Your dedication to conducting comprehensive and unbiased operational test and evaluation, and tactics development is inspiring. I am humbled to lead the elite team of the 605th TES, who are at the forefront of testing, evaluating, integrating, and ensuring the combat readiness and effectiveness of complex systems, hardware, and software.”

The change of command is a military tradition, formally transferring a unit’s authority and responsibility from one commander to another. This is physically represented by the passing of the guidon, which is a flag with the squadron’s name. After receiving the guidon, Raphie provided his words of reception and outlook for the future.

Short continued, “The future of the 605th TES is bright. We are committed to evolving relationships with test community teammates to establish more combined test force-like structures and to proactively keep pace with the modernization efforts of the C2ISR enterprise. Your expertise in integrating TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures] across the C2ISR enterprise results in significant and realistic operational outcomes for the warfighter.”

“The 605th TES is poised to lead the way in how the U.S. Air Force conducts OT&E, as the squadron orients to a ‘mission-under-test’ mindset vs. a ‘system-under-test’ approach. Specifically, the 605th TES will use the battle management and tactical execution of long-range kill chains for air, surface, and ground targets to drive integration in the squadron and across the test enterprise,” said Short.