REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 8, 2022) – Lt. Col. Joe S. Minor relinquished duties as the commander of the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center’s, known as RTC, Aviation Flight Test Directorate, known as AFTD, to Lt. Col. Andrew D. Rieck at a ceremony held July 8 at the AFTD Hangar on Redstone Arsenal.
Minor assumed command of AFTD in August 2019. In addition to leading the more than 400-person directorate, he actively participated in flight tests as an Army Experimental Test Pilot in the Apache and Blackhawk helicopters and the King Air airplane. Minor will be assuming a role with Program Executive Office, or PEO, Aviation later this summer.
“I know for a fact that I’ve been successful because of all those who are around me,” Minor remarked during the event. “The longer I live the more I realized you can’t get a lot done by yourself; life and the Army are team sports and I’ve been very fortunate to have an amazing group of coaches and teammates that surround me.”
The event was hosted by RTC Commander Col. Steven Braddom.
“It was Thucydides, a Greek philosopher, who said ‘A society that separates their warriors from their scholars is destined to have their thinking done by cowards and their fighting done by fools’. The Army works very hard to make sure our leaders are both warriors and scholars and there’s no better example of that than Joe and Andrew”, said Braddom in his comments to the crowd.
Rieck’s previous Army Acquisition assignments include deputy director for Design, Simulation, and Experimentation under the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center, executive officer and Joint Air-to-Ground Missile assistant product manager for PEO Missiles and Space, and test officer in the Fires Test Directorate.
“By now you’ve heard the accolades for Joe and this unique directorate. My personal experience starts 16 months ago when I found out I was taking this command. Joe was one of the first people to reach out to me that day, and he started preparing me because he loves this organization,” Rieck said to those attending. “In every interaction with Joe he ended with two lines: ‘This is the best job you’ll have in the Army, and you’ve got the best team in place’. To my new AFTD teammates: I take this command humbly and I look forward to learning from all of you.”
A native of Seattle, Washington, Rieck graduated and received his commission from Gonzaga University in 2003. He has had two previous commands and numerous staff positions throughout his 18-year military career within the Aviation Branch and Acquisition Corps.
Rieck’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. He is Level III Program Manager Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certified and a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Acquisition Basic Course, Aviation Captain’s Career Course, Aviation Basic Course, Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, and CH-47D Aircraft Qualification Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 5. He is also authorized to wear the Army Senior Aviator Badge.
Rieck is married to the former Haley Austermiller and has a four-year-old son, Joseph, and two-year-old son, Thomas.