Command chief bids farewell to Team Edwards

Outgoing command chief awarded by community

From left to right: Amari Simmons, Chief Master Sgt. Todd Simmons, 412th Test Wing command chief, Shannon Simmons, Congressman Steve Knight, and Robyn Lawhon pose for photos on the infield of the JetHawks’ stadium in Lancaster, California, after Chief Simmons was presented with the inaugural Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Military Service Before Self Award July 29. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Ball)


The 412th Test Wing’s command chief master sergeant has been called to another assignment after just 13 months in his position at Edwards.


Chief Master Sgt. Todd Simmons took the position of command chief here in May, 2016, becoming the principal advisor to the 412th TW commander on matters concerning morale, welfare, discipline, training, fitness and effective utilization of the wing's 14,000 military, civilian, contractor personnel and their families.


Now Simmons has been charged with taking a similar role as command chief at Air University, headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Air University is a key component of Air Education and Training Command, and is the Air Force's center for professional military education.


“I had the opportunity to interview for the position with Lt. Gen. (Steven Kwast, Air University commander and president) and was selected a week and a half later,” Simmons said. “I wasn’t expecting it to move this quickly at all, but Air Force needs come first. As the Air Force goes down the road of perfecting, changing and modernizing enlisted and officer professional military education, I am excited to be part of that.”


As he prepares to transition to his new assignment, Simmons said one of his best memories of Edwards is the excitement of becoming a better team.


“Working together can net some amazing results,” he said. “Building a team of folks and inspiring them to do the right thing – and to take those things that mean a lot to them forward – that’s been my biggest goal. From the enlisted Airmen, the officers and civilians, to our spouses and our families, we’ve treated this as a community, as a place that we want to live in and want to make better. And we have made it better. We’ve promoted heritage, we’ve promoted education here, professional military education, pride of family, and we’ve promoted our joint partners by partnering more with our Navy, Marine and coalition partners.


The chief said he had many great memories here and his only disappointment, however slight, was leaving unfinished business.


“I wasn’t here long enough to see my two-year vision and General Schaefer’s vision come to completion, to see the end of things that are going so well,” Simmons said. “It’s not that I wish I had a little longer, but what if I had a little longer?”


He said that if he did have a little longer, he would work on improving quality of life for the families on base.


“I wanted to reopen the movie theater for the community and build a splash pad for free use for the community.”


Simmons said those are two things he would have loved to see to completion in his second year. But, they are being worked on, he added


Simmons also shared some of his thoughts on Edwards and the 412th Test Wing.


“Edwards is a special place. This is truly a jewel of the Air force. Folks that work here at Edwards Air Force Base are absolutely operating at the tip of the spear and the future of the Air Force depends on the work we do here at Edwards. This is the best base the United States Air Force has.


“Hopefully the people who work here hold belief that they have a special mission that will never be repeated anywhere else they go in their Air Force career and that they hold the pride that we’re putting out air power that will last generations.”


“Thank you to all those who served here,” he said. “This will be the highlight of my career, serving at Edwards Air Force Base. I have absolutely enjoyed this job – I’ve enjoyed everything about this place. There’s some sadness to go, but I know I’ll take the things I’ve learned here and apply them to my future responsibilities of educating the Air Force.”

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