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The 174th Attack Wing Selects First Female Group Commander

New York Air National Guard Lt. Col. Michele L. Kilgore receives the Operation Group flag from Col. Greg Semmel, 174th Attack wing commander, at Hancock Field in Syracuse, N.Y. 7 June 2015.  Kilgore was presented with the ceremonial flag at the Assumption of Command ceremony where she officially took over as the Commander of the 174th Operations Group.  (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

New York Air National Guard Lt. Col. Michele L. Kilgore receives the Operation Group flag from Col. Greg Semmel, 174th Attack wing commander, at Hancock Field in Syracuse, N.Y. 7 June 2015. Kilgore was presented with the ceremonial flag at the Assumption of Command ceremony where she officially took over as the Commander of the 174th Operations Group. (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- New York Air National Guard Lt. Col Michele L. Kilgore, and Lancaster resident, became the first female group commander in the history of the 174th Attack Wing (ATKW) during an assumption of command ceremony Sunday, June 7.

Kilgore assumed command of the 174th Operations Group (OG) at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, which is comprised of 108th Attack Squadron (ATKS), 138th ATKS, 174th Operations Support Squadron (OSS), Detachment 1 and the MQ-9 launch and recovery element (LRE) located at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.

"I am excited to take on the role of Operations Group Commander in these fiscally constrained times, where words like mobilization and sequestration are common themes," said Kilgore. "It's important to find the balance for our airmen working very diverse mission sets within the group."

Kilgore, who had been the Director of Operations for the 174th OSS since 2014, 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.

"Lt. Col. Kilgore brings an extraordinary amount of tactical and joint experience from her career that will be critical as she takes the Operations Group into the future and beyond," said Col. Greg Semmel, 174th wing commander. "I look forward to great things from her, and know that she is exactly the right leader to chart that future for the group."

Kilgore 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.

She 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.

Kilgore's 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.

Her 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.

Kilgore and her husband Col. Robert Kilgore, wing commander for the 107th Airlift Wing, in Niagara Falls have two daughters, Erica and Abigail.