So get this. Major General Maggie Woodward (Major General!!!) ruled the skies over Libya from her base in Germany, making her accomplishments another first for women in combat. How cool is that? Pretty cool, if you ask me. Anyway, I'll give you the summary of the article from Time magazine. Here goes.
Here's the mission, named Operation Odyssey Dawn: destroy as much of Gaddafi's (ruler of Libya) military and combat equipment as possible, specifically airplanes and jets and fighters. In order to do this (from Germany, I might add), Woodward "flashed orders to pilots and skippers from the Great Plains to the Dolomites. She scrambled U.S. warplanes from Italy's Aviano air base and ordered them to attack targets deep inside Libya. She dispatched secret orders to Marine amphibious ships in the Mediterranean, instructing their chopper crews when and where to stage for pilot search and rescue. She ordered electronic-countermeasures aircraft to broadcast radio messages encouraging Gaddafi's troops to mutiny. She sent B-2 bombers from their base in Missouri to destroy Libyan aircraft on the ground near Misratah. A week later, she dialed up a pair of B-1 bombers from South Dakota- which overcame a thick blanket of new snow, glare ice, and freezing fog-- to attack nearly 100 targets scattered across the North African desert."
This was the first time the "Reagan-era" B-1s had ever struck overseas targets from their U.S. base. This was also the first time in U.S. history that a woman commanded a military air campaign. Talk. About. Amazing. As a once wanna-be pilot, I was totally pumped about this article. Women rule the world! Okay, maybe not really, but I like the sound of that. Oh, and did I mention that she also stopped Gaddafi's tanks from entering a rebel-held city? Well, she did. Took her 12 hours to do it, but she did it, baby, with F-15Es to boot. She's probably my new hero, if I ever had one before. I hope to hear more about her, and I'll probably Google her, too. She's one of a kind, that's for sure. I'll leave you with her official bio from http://www.af.mil/:
Maj. 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.
General Woodward entered the Air Force in 1983 as a graduate of Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. Her career includes a variety of operational and staff positions, including command at the squadron, group and wing levels. She flew and commanded in operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The general served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Director of Protocol and military assistant, and she was the Deputy Director for Colonel Matters, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C. Prior to her current assignment, General Woodward was Vice Commander, 18th Air Force, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
General Woodward is a command pilot with more than 3,800 hours in the C-40, KC-135, C-37, T-38 and T-37.
Yeah. She's that awesome.