Ohio National Guard News

179th Airlift Wing makes history with first female wing commander in Ohio Air Guard

Story by Airman 1st Class Megan Shepherd, 179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Photos by Airman 1st Class Christi Richter, 179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Allison C. Miller takes command of the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, during an Assumption of Command ceremony Feb. 3, 2018. Miller is the first female in history to command an Ohio Air Guard Unit. (U.S. Air National Guard video by A1C Marc Wilson/Released)


Members of the 179th Airlift Wing stand at attention in balcony shot in hangar.

Members of the 179th Airlift Wing assemble during the assumption of command ceremony for Col. Allison Miller Feb. 3, 2018, at the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio. Miller is the first female commander of an Ohio Air National Guard wing.

An honor guard member holds the flag during the assumption of command ceremony.

Col. Allison Miller stands in front of an American flag.

Col. Allison Miller, commander of the 179th Airlift Wing.

Members of the 179th Airlift Wing stand at attention in balcony shot in hangar.

Leah Jones (left) presents a letter on behalf of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown to Col. Allison Miller.

State Rep. Mark Romanchuk, representing Ohio’s 2nd District, congratulates Col. Allison Miller.

Col. Allison Miller speaks at her assumption of command ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Malkovich (left), the commander of the Ohio Air National Guard, passes the ceremonial guidon to Col. Allison Miller.

Col. Allison Miller (left) shakes hands with Jim Gorman, a charter member of the 179th Airlift Wing and World War II veteran.

179TH PATCHMANSFIELD, Ohio (02/03/18) — The 179th Airlift Wing made history Feb. 3 as Col. Allison Miller became the first female commander of an Ohio Air National Guard wing, taking the reins during an assumption of command ceremony.

Miller said it is an honor to be the first female commander here and she is looking forward to what lies ahead.

I want to do everything I can to help this wing continue the positive impact that they have in the state of Ohio and the Air National Guard,” Miller said.

Miller joins the 179th AW with a breadth of experience. She joined the Alabama Air National Guard in 1996 and was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science, Knoxville, Tennessee in 1997, earning her commission as a distinguished graduate. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as the director of safety for the Air National Guard. She was responsible for managing all ANG ground, flight, weapons and space safety programs for 90 flying and mission support units nationwide, encompassing more than 105,000 members. Miller was the principal advisor to the director, ANG and the ANG Readiness Center commander for all safety issues. Prior to her time at NGB, Miller served as chief of wing safety for the 117th Air Refueling Wing and the chief of scheduling for the 106th Air Refueling Squadron,executing more than 1,900 local flying training hours yearly and completing more than 22,000 training events, ensuring unit members maintained their mission ready status. Miller is a KC-135R instructor pilot and also served as the 117th ARW command post officer and the squadron flying safety officer for the 106th Air Refueling Squadron.

Miller has also supported numerous deployments including operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Inherent Resolve.

She reflected on her military career leading up to taking command of the 179th Airlift Wing and what it all means to her:

  • “A few days really stand out to me,” Miller said. “March 17, 2003, taking off with then-Lt. Col. Barry Hill, now Maj. Gen. Barry Hill, flying to the other side of the world for a war that would happen a few days later, leaving behind two babies at that time, who are now 16 and 17. In that moment I realized what it meant to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

  • She also reflected on Dec. 1, 2006, flying her first fallen Soldier from Germany on his dignified transfer home to the U.S., and how in that moment she realized the value of human life and the value of all human life that has been sacrificed so the United States can remain a free nation.

  • While flying over Pakistan on Sept. 13, 2012, on a mission she was certain would end in a fatal mishap after an aircraft malfunction, she said she realized the great importance of everyday training, and that one’s words and actions are very important in every situation.

  • The events of Oct. 25, 2014, when she sat alongside Afghan military in a German dining facility in the mountains of Afghanistan, with known terrorist threats and planned attacks — at her base and dining facility, she said she realized what it means to have grace and humility and compassion for every life on the planet.

“Today, Feb. 3, 2018, to look at each one of you, you already make me want to be better this afternoon than I was this morning, be better tomorrow than I am today,” Miller said. “I promise you that every decision I make for this wing, will be for the betterment of our future.”

In 2011, Col. Miller transitioned from being a traditional Guard member and a commercial airline pilot to Active Guard Reserve in the Alabama Air National Guard. She is a decorated pilot with a diverse background including 2,300 military flying hours and 3,000 civilian flying hours.

“Col. Miller’s selection as commander is extraordinary, as she becomes the first woman to lead the operations here in the state of Ohio,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, who represents Ohio’s 7th congressional district, during the ceremony.

Leah Jones, a representative from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office, read a statement that said the senator trusts that the unit will be in good hands with Miller, who will serve as a role model for young women across the state.

“Serving the Mansfield community and its surrounding areas, the state of Ohio and the Air National Guard as the commander of the 179th Airlift Wing is a tremendous honor and something I do not take lightly,” Miller said.

The advice she gave for the Airmen under her charge is to seize every opportunity.

“Sometimes we don’t realize we are in the middle of a situation that we can learn from and grow from until we look back on it,” Miller said. “So just look at every opportunity as an opportunity to grow and be better.” | READ COL. MILLER’S BIO

  share on facebook