Col. Angela Ochoa took the helm of the 19th Airlift Wing during a change of command ceremony, June 25, becoming the first woman to assume command of Little Rock Air Force Base.
Ochoa, who most recently served as the vice commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, took command of the wing from Col. John Schutte during a ceremony presided over by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Bibb Jr., 18th Air Force commander.
“John, I saw very clearly during our last visit how wonderful and strong your influence is with our Airmen and families–we have needed your leadership during this last year and you have set this wing up for success,” Bibb said. “Angela, with your proven skill and ability I have every confidence your Airmen will reach new heights.”
Ochoa returns to LRAFB having previously served in a variety of positions at the “Home of Herk Nation” including the chief of safety for the 314th Airlift Wing and commander of the 61st Airlift Squadron.
Entering the Air Force in 2001 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Ochoa is a command pilot having flown more 2,800 hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Resolute Support and Operation Freedom Sentinel.
As installation commander, she is now responsible for organizing, training, and equipping the personnel who operate, maintain and sustain more than 62 C-130 aircraft, enabling support for combat, contingency and humanitarian requirements around the world. She is also accountable for ensuring the readiness and well-being of more than 10,000 personnel and families at LRAFB.
In her first address to the wing, Ochoa thanked the men and women of the 19th AW for their tireless efforts over the last 16 months.
“These last 16 months have tried not only this base, not only our nation, but the entire world as we have fought through a global pandemic,” Ochoa said. In spite of this, “Herk Nation has been constantly on the go, supporting the warfighter needs and accelerating change.”
Ochoa offered her expectations as she assumed command, and said the wing “will not be resting on its heels for the next fight.”
Schutte leaves LRAFB to become the deputy chief of staff at U.S. European Command, which is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, as well as portions of Asia and the Middle East, and the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.