Making History in Idaho
While, in my opinion, Idaho made bad history in passing a law allowing students and others to “take your gun to school” (Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed the gun bill into law on Wednesday), the same state is making good history — or its Air National Guard is.
You see, Col. Sherrie McCandless has become the first woman selected to be a wing commander in Idaho National Guard history.
She assumed command of the 124th Fighter Wing in a ceremony at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, on March 2.
Col. Sherrie L. McCandless (right) assumes command of the 124th Fighter Wing, Idaho Air National Guard from Col. Christopher D. Rood, given by Brig. Gen. Michael Nolan at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. (Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur)
A little background on Col. McCandless:
McCandless just completed service as the director, plans and requirements, at the National Guard Bureau. She is a former airlift squadron commander, a command pilot with flying experience in the T-38 Talon, F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-40 Clipper and C-38 aircraft, an air liaison officer and a combat veteran. She has served as the executive officer to the chief of the Air National Guard, as aide-de-camp to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, and as a congressional liaison officer.
McCandless becomes the fifteenth wing commander of the 124th Fighter Wing.
Referring to the 14 male wing commanders before her, McCandless said, “Any time you are moving into a position of leadership like this, you are always standing on the shoulders of those commanders that stood before you.”
Col. Sherrie L. McCandless addressing Airmen of the 124th Fighter Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, at a ceremony March 2, 2014, where she assumed command from Col. Christopher D. Rood at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. (Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur)
A military spouse herself, McCandless thanked her husband, Lt. Col. Chris Sheppard, of the District of Columbia Air National Guard who is commander of the 121st Operations Support Squadron:
I’m extremely proud of his deployment record to Iraq twice and to Afghanistan.I’m not only a deployer myself, but I’m also a spouse. I wait and worry just as other spouses do for their spouse to come home from combat.
I pledge my personal best to you all. I intend to uphold the promise of ‘first class or not at all.’
Please read about the many other women in the military who have been pioneers in military aviation in the past and who continue to break barriers to be the first women in so many military roles and positions, here and here.
Source: U.S. Air Force News
Lead image from DOD’s Women’s History Month 2014 (does not depict Col.McCandless)