Col. Sherrie McCandless of the Idaho Air National Guard became the first female fighter wing commander in the state Air Guard’s history, according to a release. She assumed the leadership reins of the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen Field in Boise, succeeding Col. Chris Rood during a ceremony earlier this month, states the wing’s March 14 release. The unit operates A-10 ground-attack airplanes. “We are going to remain trained, focused, and responsive on our current mission here and now,” she said. McCandless comes to the wing after having been the National Guard Bureau’s plans and requirements director since August 2013. She is a combat veteran and a former airlift squadron commander with flying experience in C-38s, C-40s, and F-16s. Brig. Gen. Michael Nolan, commander of the Idaho Air Guard, presided at the March 2 change of command. “Today we find ourselves navigating a bit of rough air, facing a potential divesture of the A-10 mission,” he said while talking about the wing’s future. (Idaho report by Lt. Col. Gary A. Daniel)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.