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Mililani woman makes Air Force history as top enlisted leader

  • COURTESY U.S. AIR FORCE
                                Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne S. Bass.

    COURTESY U.S. AIR FORCE

    Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne S. Bass.

WASHINGTON >> Making history for the second time this month, the Air Force on Friday became the first military service to pick a woman as its top enlisted leader.

The selection of Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne S. Bass, whose hometown is Mililani, as chief master sergeant of the Air Force comes less than two weeks after the Senate confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff. Brown, who will take over in August, will be the first African American to lead a U.S. military service.

The military has historically promoted relatively few women to senior positions. None has ever served as a service chief or served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In her new role, Bass will be the senior enlisted adviser to Brown and to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on matters relating to the welfare and use of the service’s enlisted airmen.

Bass has been serving as Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 2nd Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. She joined the Air Force in 1993.

“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 was quoted by the Air Force as saying. “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.”

According to her official bio, Bass was raised as an Army dependent, living in several overseas and U.S. locations prior to entering the Air Force in 1993. “Throughout her career, she has held a variety of leadership positions serving at the squadron, group, wing and major command levels. She has significant joint service and special operations experience and has participated in several operations and exercises as well as deployments in direct support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom,” the Air Force said.

Her prior postings have included stints at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg, N.C.; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Goodfellow AFB, Texas, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

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