Historic First for the 174th Attack Wing
By Senior Airman Duane Morgan, 174th Attack Wing
/ Published April 04, 2016
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Among an audience of family, friends and colleagues Lt. Col. Michele L. Kilgore, was promoted to Colonel during a ceremony held at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Sunday, April 3.
"This is an historic moment," said Col. Michael Smith, the 174th Attack Wing (ATKW) commander. "She is the first female at the 174th ATKW to be promoted to Colonel."
For Kilgore, this is the second time that she has played a part in reaching an historic milestone while being a member of the 174th ATKW. Last year, Kilgore assumed command of the 174th Operations Group and became the first female group commander at the 174th ATKW.
"My Grandfather was in the military, my dad was in the military and just to follow in their footsteps is an honor," said Kilgore "While getting this promotion is really cool, I just hope that for my family, I can be the example of integrity, hard work and dedication that I grew up with."
Kilgore has a long history of service ranging from her time serving as the Deputy Branch Chief, Unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) with National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. to a variety of command positions held while serving with the 174th ATKW.
She graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in political science. She also earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from California State University at San Bernardino.
Kilgore is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours and has flown combat support missions in various operations to include Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Freedom's Sentinel.
Her military education includes Air War College, Transition Course MQ-9, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School, USAF Aircraft Mishap Investigation Course, USAF Advance Instrument School, USAF Basic Operational Training Course, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, C-12J Evaluator Upgrade Qualification Training, C-12J Initial Qualification Training, KC-10A Pilot Upgrade Qualification Course, C-12F Initial Qualification Course, KC-10A Copilot Initial Qualification Training, and Undergraduate Pilot Training.
Kilgore's awards include Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters.
Along with her husband Col. Robert Kilgore, wing commander for the 107th Attack Wing, Kilgore has two daughters, Erica and Abigail.