Keeping in lockstep with the Pentagon’s direction to open all positions, including combat roles, to women, Nellis Air Force Base will also break the gender barrier this year in its command leadership.
Base officials confirmed Tuesday that Colonel Jeannie M. Leavitt will join the ranks of the base’s top brass by taking the reins of the 57th Wing, becoming the highest-ranking female officer to command at Nellis.
Selected for the rank of Brigadier General, she will command the wing, which manages all flying operations at the base, including Red Flag and Green Flag air combat training exercises. The 57th Wing also runs the graduate-level U.S. Air Force Weapons School, oversees the world-renowned Thunderbirds air demonstration team and supports the Air Force Warfare Center’s test-and-evaluation activities.
Leavitt, who became the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot in 1993, currently serves as Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s principal military assistant at the Pentagon. She is an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot whose flight hours include 300 in combat, mostly over Afghanistan and Iraq but also in Operation Southern Watch, where she helped thwart an Iraqi surface-to-air threat against a United Kingdom aircraft in 1996.
Her selection for brigadier general was announced Jan. 21 by the Pentagon along with promotions that affect the two-year rotation in leadership at Nellis.
Keith Rogers’ original article can be viewed here.