Libya Operation Inaugurated First Female Air Boss

Operation Odyssey Dawn made Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward the first female commander to lead an air campaign in USAF history. Woodward, who’s been in charge of 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa) at Ramstein AB, Germany, since last June, quickly rose to the challenge of planning operations in Libya. Fresh from Egyptian refugee evacuations at the outbreak of the conflict in Libya, Woodward coordinated allied air strikes and instituted the no-fly zone against Muammar Qaddafi’s air force. Hashing out contingencies “really at the last minute,” as allies joined operations by the hour, it was “almost surreal . . . to have a coalition come together in that way,” said Woodward, reported the National Journal. She is a command pilot with 3,800 hours in KC-135s, C-37s, and C-40s.