192nd makes history with first female vice wing commander

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Meaghan E. M. Selki
  • Joint Force State HQ-PA
The 192nd Fighter Wing welcomes a new vice wing commander at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Col. Kathryn Kahlson is the incoming vice commander and the first female to be promoted to colonel within the 192nd Fighter Wing.

"I'm thrilled to have Col. Kahlson as my new vice. Symbolically, it is great to have a woman in this position, but Col. Kahlson paved the way because of her qualifications and experiences. The 192nd is now a multi-mission wing from F-22 operations and maintenance, to global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, global logistics, expeditionary medical and security forces, and Col. Kahlson brings the breadth and depth of experiences to make us successful as a wing," said Col. Robert J. Grey, 192nd Fighter Wing commander.

Col. David R. Nardi, the former vice wing commander is now the deputy director of Joint Operations at Mullins Armory, Joint Force Headquarters, Virginia National Guard.

"My focus is my service and my leadership... I intend to perform my duties with integrity and professionalism and contribute valuable insight to assist the 192nd Fighter Wing commander in performing our mission," said Kahlson.

The federal and state missions of the 192nd Fighter Wing are to train, equip and deploy Airmen ready to fly, fight and win; to provide continuous imagery analysis and intelligence support; to deliver fighter and bomber mission-capable supplies worldwide; and to respond to state and national emergencies, disasters and disturbances as directed by the governor of Virginia.

Kahlson enlisted in the Virginia Air National Guard over 22 years ago as an airman basic. Her first assignment was as a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) instructor where she served for four years before being commissioned into logistics in 1996. Subsequently, she served in maintenance as the equipment maintenance flight OIC, the operations center commander, and the squadron commander.

In 2013, Kahlson graduated from Air War College in residence with a master's degree in strategic studies. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Most recently, Kahlson was the 192nd FW Inspector General before being selected as the vice wing commander and promoted to colonel.

"Being the first woman promoted to O-6 within the 192nd Fighter Wing is an honor and a thrill beyond belief.  I realize I look to other women what no one looked like to me. I feel strongly about helping women - and men, for that matter - become what they think they never can. After all, I did. It can be done, it needed to be done and I am proud to be the selection. I am confident having a woman O-6 will enrich the 192nd Fighter Wing and make us all better people. I don't feel any extra pressure, I am confident and I'm up for the challenge," said Kahlson.

In her civilian capacity, Kahlson is a fire captain for Chesterfield Fire and Emergency Medical Services and assigned to an engine company. She has worked for CFEMS for 21 years.

"CFEMS has always been supportive of my military career. I think they view military service as enhancement to public service, and [they] have been very excited about my promotion to O-6," said Kahlson.