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Female A-10 pilot takes command of fighter squadron

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFPN) -- During a change of command ceremony July 19, Lt. Col. Martha McSally took command of the 354th Fighter Squadron, the only operational A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter squadron here.

In doing so, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Harvard graduate became the first woman to command an Air Force fighter squadron.

“There is no doubt in my mind that (Colonel McSally is) the perfect officer to take this command at this time,” said Col. Steven Ruehl, 355th Operations Group commander, during the ceremony. “(She has) three attributes that I look for in a commander: commitment, integrity and experience. (Her) commitment is without a doubt the highest level of what I've seen.”

Colonel McSalley said she looks forward to the challenges ahead of her, but she also looks forward to “the day when there are no questions in dealing with our gender and serving -- a time when we are just fighting side-by-side, and it's not a precedent."

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