Nellis Base Welcomes 57th Wing's First Woman Commander


LAS VEGAS - Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada welcomed the first woman leader of the 57th Wing when Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt took command in a ceremony, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The move came more than two decades after Leavitt became the Air Force's first female fighter pilot in 1993. She went on to pilot combat missions over Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to taking command of the 57th on Friday, she served as principal military assistant to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Pentagon.

"To be honest, I never thought ... in terms of being the first female commander," she said. "I am just truly humbled to be selected to be the commander of the 57th Wing."

She replaces Brig. Gen. Christopher Short, who will become a senior defense official and attache to the United Kingdom for the Defense Intelligence Agency at the U.S. Embassy in London.

The 57th is the Air Force's largest composite wing. It manages all flying operations at Nellis.

The wing also runs the graduate-level U.S. Air Force Weapons School, oversees the Thunderbirds air demonstration team, and supports the Air Force Warfare Center's test-and-evaluation activities.

Leavitt said she knows the 57th is facing financial constraints, but she hopes to overcome those hurdles. She is set to meet with her commanders, chiefs and first sergeants next week.

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