Ohio Air National Guard promotes first woman to rank of brigadier general
Story by Airman 1st Class Amber Mullen, 178th Wing Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/12/2018)
Guard members, family and friends gathered for the promotion ceremony of Col. Rebecca L. O’Connor, the joint director of intelligence for the Ohio National Guard Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ), to the rank of brigadier general on Oct. 12, 2018, at the Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler Armory in Columbus, Ohio.
O’Connor is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Ohio Air National Guard. Her hard work and dedication to serving her country has allowed her to earn the rank of brigadier general and through this, she has become a role model for others.
“Being able to make it to the rank of brigadier general is quite an honor,” O’Connor said. “I had role models as I was going through the military and I hope I can do just as good as they did.” With the promotion, O’Connor will now serve as the Ohio Air National Guard chief of staff at JFHQ. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing and leading the Ohio Air National Guard staff and supporting their subordinate units. Her leadership will ensure the mission readiness of more than 4,700 Airmen throughout the state of Ohio.
O’Connor enlisted in the military in October 1986 as an aircrew life support specialist at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base in Springfield, Ohio. After seven years of enlisted service, she received a commission with the 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron Intelligence Section as an intelligence officer.
In more than 30 years of service, O’Connor has served in numerous positions at the squadron, group, wing and state levels. She served as the commander of the 124th Intelligence Squadron, the commander of the 178th Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group and as the vice commander at the 178th Wing in Springfield, prior to her current assignment.
Throughout her military career, O’Connor said she has faced challenges and obstacles that she was able to overcome through perseverance and having her family as a support system.
“Every so often you come up to a challenge and that challenge is going to push you outside of your comfort zone,” O’Connor said. “That’s also how you grow as an Airman and as a person. Meet those challenges head on.”
Through her hard work, dedication and service to her country, O’Connor embodies the Air Force’s core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Her leadership aids in keeping the Airmen of Ohio National Guard mission ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Mission ready Airmen allow the Ohio National Guard to be “Always Ready, Always There.”
Photos by Airman 1st Class Amber Mullen, 178th Wing Public Affairs