Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Major General Margaret Woodward

I can learn a little about Major General Margaret Woodward just from her title, but let’s dig in and see if there’s anything else to learn about her that is relavant to whether or not she is influential.

  • “Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward is Commander, 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The command serves as the Air Component for U.S. Africa Command and has responsibility for all Air Force activities in the Africa theater spanning 53 countries, 11 million square miles and more than 900 million people.” – That’s from the Air Force’s website bio on her and I thought it gave an accurate picture of what her job entails.
  • She was in charge of the air portion of the combat in Libya, a mission in which only one aircraft was lost and that was due to equipment failure.

Is she influential? I think so. She sits in a place of great power in the military. And with great power almost always comes influence. She has influence and power over all of the U.S. Air Force operations in Africa. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention, she was the first woman ever to command a combat operation for the Air Force and she did it so well (regardless of your feelings on the Libyan invasion, she accomplished the mission she was sent to do) that it has potential to open the door for other women in the military who want to do such things. All this from a woman who people speculate was probably never meant to see combat – after all, the Africa position is mainly concerned with peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. But they did see combat and she handled it quite well. I am confident that as long as she continues to serve her current position (and anything higher) that she will be quite influential.


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