Margaret H. Woodward

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Margaret Woodward
Woodward mh4.jpg
Born 1960 (age 55–56)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1982–2014
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 17th Air Force
89th Airlift Wing
Battles/wars Invasion of Panama
Operation Allied Force
Operation Northern Watch
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Enduring Freedom
Iraq War
Operation Odyssey Dawn

Margaret H. Woodward (born 1960) is an American military officer and a major general in the United States Air Force.

As commander of the 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, she was responsible for all US air actions that involved Africa.[1] In March 2011, she commanded the air component of the US contribution to the no-fly zone over Libya, sanctioned by the United Nations, making her the first woman to oversee a U.S. combat air campaign.[2]

She retired on April 1, 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Woodward was born in 1960 and grew up in India and Pakistan, where her father worked for the United States Agency for International Development.[3] She left the region when she was about ten years old.[3]


In 1982, Woodward graduated from the Arizona State University and joined the U.S. Air Force the year after.[1][3] For most of her career she flew aerial refueling aircraft such as the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker,[3] though she also has experience in the Boeing C-40 Clipper, the C-37 military version of the Gulfstream G550, and the T-37 and T-38 trainers.[1] She was involved the U.S. invasion of Panama, Operation Allied Force, Operations Northern and Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and missions during the Iraq War.[1][3]

In 2007, she became commander of the 89th Airlift Wing, which includes responsibility for Air Force One, and in June 2010 became commander of the Seventeenth Air Force, the U.S. Air Force branch of the United States Africa Command.[1][3] As such, she was the operational commander for the U.S. involvement in the 2011 military intervention in Libya, dubbed Operation Odyssey Dawn,[3] before command of the whole operation was transferred to NATO.

After handing over command of Seventeenth Air Force, she was posted Stateside. Her Air Force official profile lists her appointments since as:

  • May 2012 - September 2012, Acting Director, Operational Planning, Policy & Strategy, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  • September 2012 - June 2013, Air Force Chief of Safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
  • June 2013 - mid 2014, Director, Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Retired mid 2014.


Awards and decorations[edit]

COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png US Air Force Command Pilot Badge
Headquarters US Air Force Badge.png Headquarters Air Force Badge
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with a pair of width-2 white stripes on the edges
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Width-44 scarlet ribbon with width-4 ultramarine blue stripe at center, surrounded by width-1 white stripes. Width-1 white stripes are at the edges. Bronze Star Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 crimson ribbon with two width-8 white stripes at distance 4 from the edges.
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Silver oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with silver oak leaf cluster
Combat Readiness Medal
Bronze star
Width=44 scarlet ribbon with a central width-4 golden yellow stripe, flanked by pairs of width-1 scarlet, white, Old Glory blue, and white stripes
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Kosovo Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver and bronze oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Air Force Training Ribbon


List of promotions Woodward has received during her career:[1]

US-O8 insignia.svgMajor General 2011
US-O7 insignia.svgBrigadier General 2008
US-O6 insignia.svgColonel 2002
US-O5 insignia.svgLieutenant Colonel 1998
US-O4 insignia.svgMajor 1994
US-O3 insignia.svgCaptain 1986
US-O2 insignia.svgFirst Lieutenant 1984
US-O1 insignia.svgSecond Lieutenant 1982


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "MAJOR GENERAL MARGARET H. WOODWARD". US Air Force. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Woodward First Woman to Command U.S. Air Attack in Libya 'No-Fly' Mission". Bloomberg. 29 March 2011. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thompson, Mark (April 2011). "Air Boss". Time Magazine (April 18): 28. 

External links[edit]