The Air Force has officially welcomed its first female B-52 squadron commander at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Lt. Col. Vanessa Wilcox took command of the 96th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Operations Group, on April 21.

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead this historic squadron,” Lt. Col Willcox told the Shreveport Times. “I’m proud to serve alongside the men and women of the 96th BS to build upon a legacy left by so many great Airmen over its 105-year tenure. – First to bomb!”

Wilcox is a B-52H Weapon Systems Officer and most recently served as the deputy group commander for the 2nd Mission Support Group and director of operations for the 20th Bomb Squadron.

She has deployed multiple times to the Pacific area of operations.

Wilcox assumed command from outgoing Lt. Col. Christopher Duff.

In previous years, B-52s from the 96th Bomb Squadron have deployed as part of a Bomber Task Force to Guam and, more recently, in support of NATO operations in the Baltics.

Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master's candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.

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