59th TES wins international award

  • Published
  • By Minty Knighton
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs
If lions are kings of their domain, then the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron "Lions" are kings of test and evaluation.

The 59th TES Lions, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., won the prestigious 2008 International Test and Evaluation Association Special Achievement Award for extraordinary achievement in test and evaluation.

"The Lions provided our combat air forces with the weapon systems they needed to find, fix, track and destroy fleeting urban and fast moving targets," said Lt. Col. Daniel Holmes, former 59th TES commander. "This capability defeated insurgent hide, hit and run tactics and significantly helped our ground forces bring stability and relative peace to the people of Iraq."

The 59th TES, a unit of the 53rd Wing, has several missions. They plan and execute operational tests for the Air Force's A-10, F-15, F-16 and F-22A aircraft. They determine the effectiveness and suitability of newly acquired weapon systems. They also develop future combat employment techniques and conduct advance program testing in direct support Air Combat Command and the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

According to the award package, the 59th TES was acknowledged for their expedience and professional excellence in testing the Air Force's newest weapons and weapon systems and tactical development, while working with numerous government agencies and intense oversight from Congressional committees and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"Testing new aircraft, weapons and sensor upgrades is normally a three- to five-year process, but we tested and fielded several new systems in a matter of months," said Colonel Holmes. "The 59th TES' people are relentless, dedicated and unstoppable. They are what every American wants their military forces to be."

John Smith, president of ITEA, officially presented the award to Lt. Col. William Tracy, current 59th TES commander in November at the annual ITEA symposium in Atlantic City, N.J. The award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization.
"I am pleased their outstanding efforts have been recognized," said Col. Christopher Monahan, 53rd Test Management Group commander. "Their selection signifies the high standards they set for themselves."

ITEA is a not for profit organization which has gained international acclaim and has been recognizing the accomplishments of test and evaluation communities for over 17 years. The Special Achievement Award is one of eight awards given yearly.

"It's humbling to see our active duty and civilian test engineers, analysts and aircrew successfully handle multiple projects to perfect the lethality and sustainability of our Air Force," said Col. Steve DePalmer, 53rd Wing commander.