CMSgt JoAnne Bass to become first woman to serve as chief master sergeant of the Air Force

Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the current command chief for Second Air Force, has been selected to be the next chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

Bass will become the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, the service said Friday. She will be the first woman to serve as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer in any of the United States military services, though a woman previously served as the chief enlisted advisor for the National Guard Bureau.

She will succeed current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright, who is scheduled to retire Aug. 14.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force and follow in the footsteps of some of the best leaders our Air Force has ever known,” Bass said in the release. “The history of the moment isn’t lost on me; I’m just ready to get after it. And I’m extremely grateful for and proud of my family and friends who helped me along the way.”

The Air Force’s next chief of staff, Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, said he picked her because she has the right skills, temperament and experience, and because her leadership style matches his. Brown will also officially become chief of staff in August. The Air Force said Bass was the “consensus choice” out of more than a dozen finalists from across the service.

“I could not be more excited to work side-by-side with Chief Bass,” Brown said in a release. “She has unique skills that will help us both lead the total force and live up to the high expectations of our airmen.”

“She is a proven leader who has performed with distinction at every step of her accomplished career,” Brown continued. “I have no doubt that Chief Bass will provide wise counsel as we pursue and implement initiatives to develop and empower airmen at all levels.

Bass will advise Brown and Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on the welfare, morale, readiness, progression and how best to use the service’s more than 410,000 active, guard and reserve enlisted airmen.

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