BRIG. GEN. WOODWARD TO TAKE REINS AT 17TH AIR FORCE

Brig. 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. (Official photo)

Brig. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Seventeenth Air Force receives a new commander at 9 a.m. June 28, in a change-of-command ceremony here.

Brig. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward will take charge of the organization, also known as Air Forces Africa for its role as the air component to U.S. Africa Command. Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier, 17 AF's commander since its reactivation in October 2008, retires in a separate ceremony later in the day.

General Woodward comes to 17 AF from 18th Air Force at Scott AFB, Ill., where she served as the vice commander. She has been selected for promotion to major general and will pin on the new rank in July. A graduate of Arizona State University in 1982, she also holds an M.S. in Aviation Science (Embry-Riddle University) and an M.S. in National Security Strategy (National War College). She is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours in various mobility aircraft. She flew and commanded in Operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Allied Force. Her previous command experience includes two refueling squadrons, an operations group and two mobility wings. The general also held staff positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C.

Since taking command of 17 AF in October 2008, General Ladnier has made numerous trips to African nations, building partnerships between the U.S. and African air forces. General Ladnier chose to make 17 AF the capstone of his 33-year Air Force career, which began after commissioning via the Air Force Academy in 1977. In addition to standing up Air Forces Africa, he commanded the first operational C-17 squadron at Charleston AFB, S.C.. He also commanded an airlift group and a refueler wing. General Ladnier also led the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., serving as its commandant. Additionally, the General's career included tours on HQ staffs at Air Mobility Command, the State Department, and the Air Staff at the Pentagon.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 17 AF Public Affairs representatives will be on hand to coordinate interviews with the new commander following the change of command ceremony. For more information, please contact the 17th AF Public Affairs at +49 (0)6371-47-9257, +49 (0)171 777 4131, or +49 (0)1515-286-9898.