Lt. Col. Joe S. Minor assumed command of the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center's (RTC) Aviation Flight Test Directorate (AFTD) at a ceremony held Friday, August 2.
Minor recently completed the Department of Defense Program Manager's Course. Most recently, he was assistant program manager for the Advanced Aviation Assessment Program Office at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. AFTD's previous commander, Lt. Col. Cornelius Allen, Jr., relinquished command in July and is now headed to Senior Service College at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.RTC Commander Col. John W. Jones presided over the ceremony at the AFTD hangar."Every day, AFTD experimental test pilots and flight test engineers provide the data and expertise to ensure the safety and performance of our Army aviation aircraft and systems," Minor said to the crowd in attendance. "These aircraft and systems are utilized daily across the globe in supporting the interests of the United States of America. The Soldiers performing these missions trust that we have done our jobs well, and we must remember that they are our true customers and the reason our work is vitally important. I greatly look forward to leading this team as it continues this work day in and day out to support our Army aviation warfighters and this great nation."Minor is a native of Grants Pass, Oregon. He is a 2001 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was commissioned as an Army aviator and attended initial flight training and AH-64D qualification at Ft. Rucker.Minor's initial operational assignment was in the Republic of Korea assigned to the gunfighters of 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment where he served as a support platoon leader, AH-64D attack platoon leader, and aviation maintenance company commander. Upon returning to the United States he was selected for the Army Experimental Test Pilot Program, and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology receiving a Master's of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2008, and graduated with class #137 from United States Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River NAS in 2010.His first flight test assignment was at the Aviation Flight Test Directorate of RTC in Huntsville where he served as an AH-64D/E test pilot, and chief of the Integrated Systems Test Division. He then deployed in 2012 with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. While deployed, he served as the brigade experimental test pilot responsible for advising the commander on airworthiness and technology initiatives within the 200+ aircraft brigade while flying over 225 combat hours in the AH-64D and UH-60M aircraft.Upon returning from Afghanistan, Minor served as the chief of the Flight Projects Branch and then associate director for Design and Test, at the Aeroflightdynamics Directorate at Moffett Field, California from 2013-2016. Next, he led the U.S. Army Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) Mitigation Program in the Aviation Development Directorate as program manager during the NATO DVE flight trials in Arizona, Germany and Switzerland. Upon completion of the trials, Minor moved to Ft Eustis, Virginia, and the Advanced Aviation Assessment Program Office in support of the Aviation Integration Directorate and Aviation Missile Command Special Programs.Minor is a Master Army aviator with over 3,000 hours of flight time in over 25 different fixed and rotary wing aircraft, including over 450 hours of experimental flight time. He is rated in the AH-64D/E, UH-60A/L/M, OH-58A/C, TH-67 and C-12 Aircraft.His awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf cluster), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon Master Army Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Combat Action Badge.