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AFTC vice commander bids farewell to Air Force

  • Published
  • By Giancarlo Casem
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

After 28 years of service, Col. Angela Suplisson, the Air Force Test Center Vice Commander, retired following a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base, California, July 12.

The presiding official, Maj. Gen. (Retired) David Harris, shared a few memories and stories of Suplisson. Harris and Suplisson had multiple assignments together, most recently from 2015 to 2018 when they served as AFTC commander and vice commander, respectively.

“She was the valedictorian of her class at Clark High (School in Las Vegas, Nevada), that’s not really surprising to those of us who know her well,” he said. “What’s also not surprising is…she took time to make sure that she had the entire graduating class’ photo taken, which she took herself. That’s quintessential Angie: always looking out for others, always wanting to make the personal connections, and always making sure that those connections stay strong.”

Suplisson is a graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado, in 1991. She then served as an Electronic Warfare and Weapons Test Engineer at Eglin AFB, Florida, where she tested F-15, F-16, and F-5 aircraft. At Eglin, she was selected to attend USAF Test Pilot School in Class 95A, a.k.a. the "Spin Doctors."

After graduating from Test Pilot School, Colonel Suplisson stayed at Edwards AFB and was assigned to the 416th Flight Test Squadron where she performed weapons and avionics flight testing on US and foreign military sales F-16s. She then moved to the 410th Flight Test Squadron at Plant 42, Palmdale, California, where she served as a Flight Test Engineer and Flight Commander for F-117 low observable and weapons testing. An F-117 and F-16 was both present during her retirement ceremony.

In 2000, she was selected to study in France for the Olmsted Scholarship. She was a Distinguished Graduate in the French Basic Course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, in 2001, and was assigned to study in Lyon, France. She graduated with a master’s degree in International Policy and Strategy from the University of Lyon III, France, in 2003. It was during her time in France was when she met her husband, Fabrice.

“Angie has a passion for the Air Force, for everything that flies, and she’s passionate about the history of the Air Force,” he said. “Most of all, where Angie is making her mark in the long blue line, is with the people. Angie has that special connection to the people, she loves the people, she cares for the people, she prays for the people, and know that even if you’re not in the Air Force, she loves you as well and she cares about you.”

Fabrice explained that throughout her career, his wife loved to mentor younger Airmen, and enjoyed spending time to personally help anyone who needed it. Suplisson’s career saw her as the Executive Officer to the Program Executive Officer and an International Program Manager for Canada, Italy and Turkey while assigned to the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office from 2003 to 2006.

In 2007, she would return to the world of Test to serve as the commander of the 846th Test Squadron, 46th Test Group, 46th Test Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. While there, she led 120 people at the Holloman High Speed Test Track in the design, fabrication and testing of sub-, super- and hypersonic rocket sled-borne systems.

After eight years of academic assignments that included USAFA and the Air Force Institute of Technology, she returned to Edwards in 2017.

Suplisson closed out her ceremony by thanking her mentors, colleagues, family and those in attendance. She also encouraged those in attendance to “pay it forward,” a sentiment which she explained played a significant role in her career. It was a theme she wanted to convey in the designing of her retirement challenge coin. She also thanked Harris and current AFTC Commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, for allowing her to finish her career at Edwards.

“I love this base, Edwards Air Force Base is my favorite base in the United States, it’s my favorite people in the world; what we do here is so important, it’s just unbelievable, I don’t think I’ll ever have a job like this again, so this is the best way to end my career,” Suplisson said. “Faith, family and friends; I am abundantly blessed in all three, and you’re all a part of it.”