Air Force Gen. Maryanne Miller, the only female four-star officer in the U.S. military, has a word of advice for airmen: character counts.
“I tell our young airmen, you know, you really need to be good at what you do, and you really need to be a good person,” Miller said in an interview that aired Friday on NBC’s TODAY Show. “I spend a lot of time on their heart. You can be a technical expert all day, but when that goes away … who are you? It’s what you have inside.”
Miller, who took charge of Air Mobility Command in September 2018, attributed her focus on connecting as the reason she remains down to earth as she’s progressed in her career.
When asked what it’s like to be the highest ranking female officer in the U.S. military, Miller said she hopes to serve as a model to other young women.
“I view it from the eyes of a young girl looking up at me,” Miller said.
“I want them to see someone who’s convicted to get it right, who really understands what it means to be a great airman and to be a great leader,” Miller added.
Additionally, Miller also spoke to more than 30 new members of the Air Force who were sworn in Friday at the TODAY plaza in New York City.
“Remember humility,” Miller said at the swearing in. “That’s the strength that you have within you.”
Miller, who was commissioned in 1981 after completing ROTC at Ohio State University, reached the rank of general in September 2018. Her command, based out of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, is responsible for providing rapid, global mobility and sustainment for U.S. troops around the world.
During her service as a command pilot, she racked up more than 4,800 flight hours and flew aircraft including the C-141 Starlifter, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the KC-10 Extender.
Prior to leading AMC, Miller served as the chief of Air Force Reserve, and was the commander of Air Force Reserve Command based out of Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.