Air Force Gets First Female Fighter Wing Commander

Col. Jeannie Leavitt last week took her place in history as the Air Force’s first-ever female fighter wing commander, announced service officials. Leavitt, an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot with a total of more than 2,500 flying hours, including 300 combat hours, took charge of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., during a June 1 ceremony. She succeeded Col. Patrick Doherty, who led the wing since April 2010. “Colonel Leavitt has an innovative spirit, a talent for teamwork, and this will be essential to lead the 4th FW to new heights,” said Maj. Gen. Lawrence Wells, 9th Air Force commander, who presided over the change-of-command ceremony. Leavitt previously served at the CIA as an Air Force Chief of Staff fellow. “If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of something bigger than yourself, then realize that you have that opportunity now,” Leavitt told the wing’s airmen upon assuming command. According to Seymour Johnson officials, Leavitt was also the Air Force’s first-ever female airman to enter combat training as a fighter pilot and the first female fighter pilot to graduate weapons school. (Seymour Johnson release by SSgt. Chuck Broadway)