Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: Maj Gen Margaret Woodward

The Air & Space Conference attracts top military leaders, including the commanders of every USAF command.

Photo courtesy of
But Major General Margaret H. Woodward isn’t just the Commander of 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa (based out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany). During Operation Odyssey Dawn, Gen Woodward coordinated the air component of the U.S. contribution to the no-fly zone over Libya, in an effort to halt pressures from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Such a role has now etched her forever into the history books as the first woman to receive such a senior combat role.

Gen Woodward coordinated the air campaign from March 19 to April 4, after which NATO took over.

Woodward’s Air Force career, which began in 1983, includes a variety of operational and staff positions, including command at the squadron, group and wing levels. She flew and commanded in operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. She has more than 3,8000 hours as a pilot, having been involved in wars in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her current command serves as the Air Component for U.S. Africa Command and has responsibility for all Air Force activities in the Africa theater spanning 53 countries, 11 million square miles and more than 900 million people.

Prior to her current assignment, General Woodward was Vice Commander, 18th Air Force, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. She has also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Director of Protocol and military assistant, and she was the Deputy Director for Colonel Matters, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C.

Woodward was born in 1960 and grew up in India and Pakistan, where her father worked for the United States Agency for International Development.

Check back later this week for more highlights of this year’s conference!

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