Command Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Erikson has become the first woman to be promoted to state command chief of the Minnesota Air National Guard.

At a change of responsibility ceremony in St. Paul over the weekend, Maj. Gen. Shawn P. Manke, the Minnesota National Guard's adjutant general, elevated Erikson to the senior enlisted position, which includes leading and managing about 2,000 airmen at two separate wings and one headquarters across the state of Minnesota.

"My priorities are to build relationships to improve the resiliency of the force so we may provide this state and nation a ready force," Erikson said at the ceremony. "I will also provide opportunities for development and growth."

Erikson's military career has seen a wide variety of experiences, with six different duty positions in 32 years of service. She began as a jet engine mechanic on C-141 cargo aircraft during a time when that career field was dominated by men. She moved onto administrative roles such as training manager, personnel systems manager and recruiting office supervisor, before serving as senior noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the 148th Medical Group, a role she served in for 10 years.

She deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in that last leadership role.

Reid Forgrave