Submitted by Tom Pace, Special to the Press-Tribune
Petite in stature, this five-foot six, very trim, blue-eyed blonde with short, cropped hair has the athletic abilities of a seasoned Air Force warrior. That best describes Col. Kristin Goodwin, recently installed as the newest Commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City.
During a “One-on-One” conversation with Col. Goodwin, she shared many candid thoughts and details about what has shaped her life in the military, both personally, and now as the first female commander of a bomb wing in the Air Force.
Smartly dressed in her green flight suit, those haunting blue eyes sparkled, as she recounted her recent promotion to Commander of “The Mighty Deuce.”
Q. What’s the difference between flying a B-2 and now a B-52?
“I’ve had the great honor of flying a lot of planes in the Air Force, and I think each one of those planes is important to our combat capabilities to showcase our air power, beause we are the best Air Force in the world.”
“And so,” she continued, “the B-52 is rich in history, it’s an amazing aircraft, and I say that because as I’ve been flying the B-52, I see how important this plane is, this mission is to our fight today. It is critical that we are ready to fight, because we will get that call, and our warriors here are ready to answer that call when we get it.”
Q. I understand you consider yourself an “Airman” first, not specifically the first female commander of a bomb wing, but let’s face it, this is not your father’s or grandfather’s Air Force, so today the Air Force is more inclusive of all genders, right?
“Absolutely. The military, like many companies in the world, they look for talent and skill sets. And we are promoted in the military based on our capabilities, and the military is no different than that.”
Q. Today’s military is filled with much more political correctness than ever before…how do you feel about that and how do you treat that?
“I think in the military, we always need to maintain order and discipline. We also have to have a culture where people feel safe and secure, but very much to encourage people to speak their minds to come forward with innovative thoughts.”
“Global Strike Command actually has a program called the Force Improvement Program which allows teams and actually takes the Airmen’s inputs, if it’s about job, their environment, procedures, takes the raw data, and gets to leadership.
Q. What do you do during your downtime?
“I have many interests and I think it’s important for anybody to find balance in their life. I am an athlete, and love to get outside…there are so many opportunities in the community of Shreveport-Bossier to get involved with, sporting events or races…
“I’ve done a little of everything, I have done an Iron Man in my past in 2009, that includes running, biking and swimming…so yes, I do all of those things… I’ve also been a skydiver, I love to scuba dive and surf, I love to hike and snow ski as well.”
Q. Where are you from, where were you born?
“I’ve forged great bonds already with the community. This is my home right now. I call America my home, because my father, mom were both in the service and moved around quite a lot. And so, I call this place, Shreveport-Bossier, Barksdale, that’s my home. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I went to high school in Fairfax, Virginia, and so I would claim that more than anything”.
Q. You lead with a velvet glove… you treat them as people, not just a number?
“Oh absolutely, they are people, the most important part of our mission, if you go out on the ramp and look at that amazing plane, and its combat capabilities, it’s merely a static display if you don’t have that people, the warriors that go out and do their mission every single day, they’re important and we need to take care of them.”
Q. Give me a quick snapshot from your heart.
“It’s a huge responsibility, and every single day, I know that it’s a privilege and an honor, and I know that it’s a high expectation in this position, whoever it is, to lead these men and women at Barksdale, and I’m gonna do the best job I can every day.”
Q. Did you ever see yourself becoming a Bomb Wing Commander:
“It was at the age of 10 that I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy and fly planes. My goal was to fly planes….and get the mission done. And, along the way…about the eight-year point in the military, you know it I’m not here just to fly planes, I’m here to because of the people, because I love our Air Force, I want to do my part ever day, to shape future leaders, and to make a difference. And so, that’s why I’m here.”
Tom Pace is Talk of the Town Executive Editor and Radio Host on The Promise 90.7FM.