Air Guard leader will become first female command chief in Springfield

Chief Master Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker. Contributed
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Chief Master Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker. Contributed

An Ohio Air National Guard chief master sergeant will become the first female command chief to lead hundreds of enlisted airmen at the 178th Wing in Springfield.

Chief Master Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker will take over the leadership role in a ceremony today at the Springfield Air National Guard Base, replacing Chief Master Sgt. Scott A. McKenzie, who has served in uniform at the Air Guard site since 1980, according to the wing.

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Bunker will oversee about 900 National Guard airmen and act as the senior enlisted adviser to the wing commander.

Most recently, she was the group superintendent for the 179th Mission Support Group in Mansfield. She has served in different roles with Mansfield-based units for 25 years.

Among her awards, Bunker has received the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Ohio Commendation Medal. She was named the Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year among first sergeants in 2010, according to biographical information.

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The 178th Wing is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unit that supports the National Air and Space Intelligence Center based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Springfield unit also remotely operates the MQ-1B Predator drone on overseas missions, according to its website.

The Springfield base has about 1,200 personnel and an estimated $59 million payroll.

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