JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
Col. Catherine M. Jumper, former Director of Air Operations on the Virginia National Guard joint staff, was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony Nov. 6, 2022, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. She succeeds Brig. Gen. Toni M. Lord as the Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, and Lord is retiring after 39 years of service.
Family, friends, fellow service members and distinguished guests from the 192nd Wing and Joint Force Headquarters-Virginia attended the ceremony. Her father, retired Gen. John P. Jumper, the 17th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, served as the presiding official for the ceremony.
“This is a proud day for the Jumper family,” Gen. Jumper said. “I will say that one characteristic of Cathy is that everything she touches, she always makes better. People ask me, ‘to what do you contribute to your success?’ The first thing is luck and timing - none of us who have been successful have done that without being in the right place at the right time. But the other is family support. In Cathy’s case, [her husband and sons] know and understand that being part time in the Virginia Air National Guard is more like being full time. And, when things need to get done, you just do what it takes to get them done. That’s the way Cathy’s always looked at things. But, you don’t do that without a lot of family support at home."
The stars pinned onto newly promoted Brig. Gen. Jumper hold a long legacy. Passed on to her from her father, the stars were given to him by Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command. Dougherty received those stars from Gen. Ira C. Eaker who was the “architect of the bombing campaign” over Germany in World War II. Eaker received the stars from General of the Air Force Henry “Hap” Arnold, commander of Army Air Forces in victory over Germany and Japan in World War II.
“I am confident in the capabilities and expertise of Col. Cathy Jumper as our new Air Component Commander. She has my highest degree of confidence, and I know she will tackle tomorrow's challenge head on and continue Brig. Gen. Lord’s efforts to shape the organization and prepare for a bright future,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, in the news release announcing Brig. Gen. Jumper's selection to succeed Lord.
Brig. Gen. Jumper earned her commission as a distinguished graduate of the University of Virginia’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1995. She then graduated from the Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. She served two active-duty assignments with the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, where she served in various positions including Munitions Flight commander, 1st Equipment Maintenance Squadron and Sortie Generation Flight commander, and 94th Fighter Squadron.
Jumper served in the active component until 2005 when she joined the Air Force Reserve and was assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force’s Office of Congressional Liaison, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
In 2012, Jumper transferred to Air Combat Command Headquarters at JBLE as the Mobilization Augmentee to the Chief, F-15/F-16 Weapon System Team, where she led the largest fighter modernization and sustainment program for F-15 and F-16 aircraft. In October 2015, Jumper joined the VaANG and served as the commander of the 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 192nd Maintenance Group, and 192nd Wing vice commander.
“Leadership matters, and when done right it can change people’s lives,” Brig. Gen. Jumper said, remarking on the positive impact her close friends and coworkers had on her career. “One of the most important life lessons my parents taught me was to choose my friends wisely. Because your friends influence your choices, determine your character and shape the person you will become. Looking out at all of you, I am proud of the friends that I’ve chosen along my path. And I’m grateful for the role that each one of you has played in helping to get me here today. Thank you.”
Lord retired from the USAF after 39 years of service in both active duty and the National Guard. Her retirement ceremony preceded Brig. Gen. Jumper’s promotion at the same location. Lord holds experience as a commissioned officer and enlisted member in both the Army and Air components. She commanded the 192nd Support Squadron and 192nd Mission Support Group, and she also served as the director of staff for the Virginia Air National Guard Headquarters.