Air Force Names First Woman as Top Noncommissioned Leader in Military History

Chief Bass
Second Air Force

The U.S. Air Force called its first woman to serve as its highest-ranking noncommissioned officer on Friday.

Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, who served as the command chief for Second Air Force, is about to become the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force and will succeed Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, who is expected to retire on August 14.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force and follow in the footsteps of some of the best leaders our Air Force has ever known,” Bass said in a statement. “The history of the moment isn’t lost on me; I’m just ready to get after it. And I’m extremely grateful for and proud of my family and friends who helped me along the way.”

The Air Force said Bass was the “consensus choice” out of dozens of candidates. She will advise the incoming Air Force chief of staff,  Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, and Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on how to best use the 410,000 enlisted members in the service and will be the go-to person on issues regarding readiness, welfare, and morale.

“She is a proven leader who has performed with distinction at every step of her accomplished career,” Brown said. “I have no doubt that Chief Bass will provide wise counsel as we pursue and implement initiatives to develop and empower airmen at all levels.”

Bass first enlisted in the Air Force in 1993 and served as an operations assistant journeyman while being stationed at the former Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, the Air Force Times reported.

She deployed in support of multiple operations, including Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Air Force Times.

Most recently, since July 2018, Bass has served as the command chief for the Second Air Force while stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi.

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