NAS team member gifts wood flag to Air Force

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. – The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges for Arnold Engineering Development Complex, among them communicating with Team AEDC when many members were off base and out of reach of their work email.

During a time when there were so many unknowns, AEDC Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty took to Facebook Live, along with AEDC Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Robert Heckman, to host virtual town halls accessible to members of Team AEDC both on and off base.

Recently one member of Team AEDC showed his gratitude for the communication efforts of the leadership team by gifting to the Air Force an artistic representation of a U.S. flag he made.

“It is a gift of appreciation for keeping us informed during the outbreak when there was more unknown than there is now,” Brandon Champion said, a National Aerospace Solutions (NAS) LLC instrumentation technician at the J-6 Large Rocket Motor Test Facility.

NAS is the Test Operations and Sustainment contractor for AEDC.

Champion crafted the flag from pine and oak, carving stars and the Air Force symbol into the blue field with a rotary tool.

Geraghty and Heckman accepted the gift on behalf of the Air Force.

“What this symbolizes to me is that we have found a footing in a new normal,” Geraghty said. “We’ve figured out a way to fight this enemy, and we’re going to take it to victory.

“It depends on every single one of you – supervisors, workforce, everybody. It’s a gift to you for the work you’ve been putting in and the work we still have ahead of us throughout the COVID pandemic.”

The flag will hang in the Arnold Lakeside Center for the enjoyment of patrons, with a plaque identifying Champion and why it was given.

Geraghty thanked Champion for the gift and sharing his skills with AEDC.

“It’s something we can hang here and everybody will remember, for years to come, the challenging period that we’ve been through,” Geraghty said. “But we’re doing it to take care of our fellow countrymen, to protect the health of the workforce and to get the mission done. I’m impressed with everything that everyone’s been doing.”

Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) Commander Col. Jeffrey Geraghty, center, and AEDC Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Robert Heckman, left, accept on behalf of the Air Force a gift from Brandon Champion, a National Aerospace Solutions instrumentation technician, Aug. 7, 2020, at Arnold Lakeside Center at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. Champion gifted an artistic representation of a U.S. flag he made with wood to recognize the AEDC response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jill Pickett)

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