WASHINGTON -- Friday's appointment of Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost to be the second female leader of one the Pentagon's 11 combatant commands, multi-service organizations that lead U.S. military operations all over the globe, was made by Washington.
Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary, applauded Van Ovost’s remarkable rise to the top of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base. She was a "legendary leader", a pilot by training, and an integral part of the August airlift that brought thousands of refugees from Kabul to their homes. As commander of the Air Force Air Mobility Command, she was instrumental in orchestrating the airlift.
Austin, a former Army general, stated that "We need every Jackie Van Ovost" he could get. She likes to say that young women can't see what they don't see. So General Van Ovost understands the importance of breaking down barriers.
He stated that Jackie Van Ovost is the best person to lead TransCom.
Transportation Command oversees all aspects of military global transport, including the movement and handling of personnel and cargo by sea and land. The 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, operates VIP aircraft for government travel, including Air Force One to the President.
Van Ovost is a 1988 Air Force Academy graduate and was previously vice director of Joint Staff at Pentagon. She took over Transportation Command from Army Gen. Stephen Lyons who is retiring. Army Gen. Lori Robinson (now retired) is the only woman to have led a U.S. combatant command. She took over U.S. Northern Command in 2016. On Oct. 29, Army Gen. Laura Richardson will take over U.S. Southern Command, succeeding Navy Adm. Craig Faller.