704 TG welcomes new leaders

  • Published
  • By Jill Pickett

The 704th Test Group of Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) has welcomed an influx of new leadership to its ranks.

Serving as the new technical director for the test group is James Keith. Lieutenant Colonels Alex Wolfard, Paul Dolce and John Wisecup each assumed command of a squadron within the test group, the 586th Flight Test Squadron, the 846th Test Squadron and the 746th Test Squadron, respectively. Lt. Col. Roman Underwood assumed command of Detachment 1 of the 586 FLTS. The 704th Test Support Squadron welcomes Jimmy Morgan as its new director.

James Keith, 704 TG Technical Director

Keith last served as the director of the 704 TSS and was presented the opportunity to take on the role as the 704 TG technical director after just a few months. During that time, he met the AEDC wing staff and familiarized himself with wing operations. This helped him learn about the business side of the 704 TG as viewed by the wing, improve the test group’s integration with the wing and gain a different perspective of the test group’s own processes. Prior to his time with the 704 TSS, Keith served as the technical director of the 746 TS.

In his new role, Keith provides tactical and strategic direction to support the test group commander. Functions he provides guidance for include budget management, capability development, personnel management/policy molding, interfacing with legislative representatives, guiding policy and processes, and aligning technical requirements with senior leadership vision.

“The 704th Test Group is such an incredible organization to work for,” Keith said. “The diversity in test missions we own, the agility, responsiveness and affordability we provide to our customers, and the impact we have on the warfighter is amazing. The Test Group employs such a broad spectrum of talent to solve extremely difficult challenges. I love the ‘can do’ ethos of the tester, the pride they take in their work, and the lengths our people go to make their missions a success.

“I am humbled to be in this new role. I am also incredibly excited to work at this level to support and enable the members of the 704th Test Group to carry out their missions. This position will challenge me – I’m looking forward in this opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

“My goals include improving the test group’s effectiveness in the FINPLAN (financial planning) and POM (program objective memorandum) processes, improving our ability to hire, retain and develop a highly technical workforce, and to ensure the 704th Test Group is postured to support next decade’s test challenges.”

Lt. Col. Alex Wolfard, 586 FLTS Commander

Wolfard served as the director of operations for the 416th Flight Test Squadron before becoming commander of the 586 FLTS. With the 416 FLTS, Wolfard supervised flight operations for F-16 Fighting Falcon and T-38 Talon flight test and flight test support. The unit conducted F-16 flight tests for the Air Force, foreign military sales and European participating air forces.

He now commands a squadron of 46 personnel who conduct flight operations for highly specialized T-38 and C-12 Huron aircraft. The unit also provides support to transient flight test activities in the local area and to Detachment 1 of the 586 FLTS at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

“This assignment is amazing,” Wolfard said. “The people are incredible and the mission is fantastic. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Roadrunners (586FLTS). Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a great place to be and me, and my family, are looking forward to our time here.

“My main goal is to continue to provide innovative solutions to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. We’ll do this through safe, effective, efficient flight test. All of this while operating in the contested environment that is COVID-19. In an organization where our business model is to bring customers in or go to them, this is particularly challenging.”

Lt. Col. Paul Dolce, 846 TS Commander

Dolce’s last assignment was also within the 704 TG, as commander of Detachment 1 of the 586 FLTS at WSMR. While there, he led a 12-member detachment that oversaw planning, scheduling and execution for over 35 test programs on the range and served as liaison to the Army for 42 customers across multiple Air Force entities.

His new command, a squadron of more than 120 employees, is responsible for operating the Holloman High-Speed Test Track to provide sled testing to more than 25 customers across the DOD. Testing on the track enables customers to reduce risk prior to flight-testing by subjecting test articles to their representative speeds and environments on the track. Most customers fall into three categories – ejection seat qualification testing, munitions testing and hypersonic testing.

“The diverse workforce of the track and its mission makes it a very fun place to work,” Dolce said. “Nowhere in the test center do you get to watch sleds go down a 10-mile track at such high speeds. Additionally, I am very humbled by the history that has been made here at the Holloman High-Speed Test Track. If it wasn’t for Col. John Paul Stapp and this track, our cars would be without the modern day seat belt.

“My goal is to keep the test track second to none when it comes to rocket sled test and evaluation for the Department of Defense.”

Lt. Col. John Wisecup, 746 TS Commander

Wisecup served as the director of operations for the 846 TS before taking command of the 746 TS. While there, he oversaw day-to-day operations of the Holloman High-Speed Test Track. During his 10 months in that role, the unit completed 53 test missions.

In his new role, he leads a team of more than 100 engineers, program managers, technicians and support personnel. The squadron is responsible for operating the Combined Inertial and GPS Test Facility, including planning, executing and reporting on developmental and operational testing, and providing training support, for DOD and partner navigation and guidance systems. Test capabilities include the largest GPS-jamming fleet within the DOD and several one-of-a-kind testbeds for precise inertial navigation components.

“I am honored and very excited to serve the ‘Bats’ of the 746th Test Squadron,” Wisecup said. “The unit is made up of truly dedicated and extremely talented people. Our schedule is overflowing with important and challenging test work. There’s huge potential for the squadron’s future with DOD technology development and weapon system modernization priorities. I couldn’t ask for a better command job.

“My goal is to ensure that our dedicated, talented test professionals are cared for and recognize the huge impact that their work has on our nation’s defense capabilities. I also want to prepare the 746th to carry on our legacy as the experts in guidance and navigation testing for the DOD’s top development priorities like nuclear weapon modernization, hypersonic weapons and multi-domain command and control.”

Lt. Col. Roman Underwood, 586 FLTS, Det. 1 Commander

Underwood’s last assignment was deputy chief in the Business Operations Division of Air Force Research Laboratory Headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The division’s primary mission was to complete the program objective memorandum budget for AFRL each year, while also serving as the Center of Excellence for contracted services for AFRL.

His new command serves as the sponsor for all Air Force activities at WSMR, ensuring test programs have the resources they need to succeed, such as airspace, targets, communications and data collection.

“I’m very happy to be a part of the 704th and team WSMR,” Underwood said. “This is a good community with an important and exciting mission, testing new technologies for the DOD.

“My goals for the organization are to provide outstanding customer support to the Air Force organizations that need to use White Sands to achieve their objectives. We want everyone to have a positive experience when coming to test here at White Sands. Being a tri-service range means there are a lot of customers from the Army, Navy and Air Force, but we want our customers to get the resources they need, when they need them, and feel like they were the priority that day.”

Jimmy Morgan, 704 TSS Director

Morgan last served as the Plans and Programs flight chief for the 704 TG. He oversaw the strategic planning and requirements development for the test group’s squadrons.

In his new role, he leads an organization which provides logistics, information technology and assurance, and acquisition and program management support for the test group’s units.

“Due to COVID-19, the transition has been challenging,” Morgan said. “Assuming leadership while the majority of my staff is teleworking presents a different set of challenges, but I’m excited to support my team in their mission.

“My goals for the TSS are to provide our squadrons with world-class support, enabling them to focus on mission execution.”