Minnesota Air National Guard names first woman as state command chief

Saturday, Command Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Erickson became the 14th state command chief of the Minnesota Air National Guard and the first woman in the role.

"You must continue to grow the organization and sharpen the spear, so our airmen are prepared for the next mission," Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, the Minnesota National Guard’s adjutant general, said during the ceremony. "I challenge you to foster a climate that continually looks for ways to raise the bar and rise to the challenge while taking care of our most precious resource, our airmen," he added.

In her role, Erickson is the most senior enlisted member of the Minnesota Air National Guard, the reserve force said, and she’s responsible for the leadership and management of around 2,000 airmen in two separate wings and the state headquarters.

"My priorities are to build relationships to improve the resiliency of the force so we may provide this state and nation a ready force," Erickson said. "I will also provide opportunities for development and growth."

In her 32 years of service, Erickson has held six very different duty positions. She started as a jet engine mechanic on the C-141 cargo aircraft, a traditionally male-dominated career field at a time when women made up only around 5% of the U.S. Air Force. She then worked in administrative roles as a training manager, personnel systems manager and 148th Recruiting Office supervisor. Additionally, she was the senior noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the 148th Medical Group for 10 years, during which time she was deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Erickson also holds three Community College of the Air Force associate’s degrees in aircraft maintenance technology, human resources and personnel administration, and health care management.