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The Human Factor: The Final Flight of an Aerospace Physiologist

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The doctor at the forefront of Model Based Human Systems Integration reflects on his 20-year-long career and it's impact on the Air Force.

Lt. Col. Matthew Taranto is an Aerospace Physiologist, professor at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and researcher at the forefront of Model-Based Human Systems Integration before recently retiring from the U.S. Air Force.

"I started initially in the Air Force with the desire to be an aviator," Taranto said. "I later realized that there may be more out there than just flying airplanes. So, I took some time to make a calculated pivot in helping aviators do their job better in complex spaces."

Taranto has held a variety of assignments spanning five Air Force commands and numerous physiology missions, including serving as the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Thunderbirds, and TPS aerospace physiologist. He is an Aerospace Medical Association Board Certified Aerospace Physiologist, a Defense Acquisition University Certified Acquisition Level II Science/Technology Management and Engineering Professional and a distinguished graduate of the United States Naval Postgraduate School. 

"I think we've cracked some codes in terms of really bringing some insight into this interface between our operators and the technology we are developing to maintain our competitive edge," said Taranto.

Taranto himself may not admit to his extraordinary career. But, earning three master's degrees and a PhD, to teaching at TPS, and countless research projects; his passion and message to those following in his footsteps goes a long way for the current lines of effort and the future of the aviation career field. In recent years, the Air Force has made significant strides in Human Systems Integration thanks in part to Taranto's research.

"I think if I was to preach one thing to the next generation is to be aggressive," Taranto said. "Look for opportunities to be the change needed in this world."

Upon his retirement, Taranto conducted his fini-flight in a F-16, celebrating his last day flying with the 412th Test Wing and serving as the Chief of Aerospace Physiology at TPS. Taranto's friends and family greeted him upon arrival at Edwards AFB where they all celebrated his 20-year-career. Taranto will now be a part time instructor at TPS, teaching the next generation of aviation enthusiasts to go after their dreams like he did many years ago.

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.