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National Women’s History Month: Commander spotlights 22nd Air Force women

National Women’s History Month celebrates the challenges and achievements of women throughout the history of the United States. As Commander of 22nd Air Force, I’m proud to proclaim that we have women filling key roles throughout our organization. Continuing with our observance of National Women’s History Month, I’d like to spotlight some 22nd Air Force warriors from across our direct report units who are serving in leadership roles at all levels.


Senior Airman Keirsten Englund – Senior Airman Englund currently serves as an Air Transportation journeyman in the Air Terminal Operations Center for the 27th Aerial Port Squadron, 934th Airlift Wing, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station, Minnesota. As a member of the ATOC, she plays an integral part in the dissemination, processing and dispatching of all information relating to airlift traffic flow and aerial port operations to each functional area.

Lt. Col. Rosalind Abdulkhalik – Lt. Col. Abdulkhalik currently serves as the commander of the 913th Force Support Squadron, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. As the FSS commander, she is responsible for providing personnel, services, logistics, supply, family support, emergency management, communications and education and training support to a group of approximately 500 Air Force Reserve personnel. The unit also supports the deployment of all group personnel for contingency operations throughout the world.

Master Sgt. Katherine Wheelock – Master Sgt. Wheelock is the engine manager for the 403d Maintenance Group, 403d Wing, Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Wheelock ensures serviceability, maintainability, reliability, and accurate configuration management of critical aircraft hardware and components on 20 C130-J aircraft. Wheelock uses expert level knowledge and experience to individually track 90 technically advanced Rolls-Royce engines, and interfaces with corporate representatives of aircraft manufacturers, system component repair facilities, and technical engineers to achieve problem resolution and product improvement.

Col. Sherry Hemby – Col. Hemby is the commander of the 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. In this role, she leads, trains and equips 180 Airmen in various healthcare specialties. The 94th ASTS provides for the medical readiness of 1,800 Air Force Reserve personnel.

Maj. Nicci Rucker – Maj. Rucker currently serves as the Air Force element officer in charge of the 954th Reserve Support Squadron, United States Transportation Command, Joint Transportation Reserve Unit, Joint Intelligence Directorate, Scott AFB, Illinois. As the OIC, she is responsible for time-dominant intelligence in support of the USTRANSCOM Distribution Operations Center. She also serves as joint senior watch officer, focusing senior leaders on strategic level threats and impacts to global deployment and distribution operations.

Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Canfield – Staff Sgt. Canfield currently serves as a C-130 Hercules loadmaster at the 328th Airlift Squadron, 914th Airlift Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York. As a loadmaster, her primary duties and responsibilities include monitoring the airplane weight and balance computations, completing all necessary pre-and post-flight inspections and ensuring airdrop systems and loads are properly configured through the extraction or airdrop phases of flight. She also maintains the proper restraint on all cargo for flights and monitors the safety and comfort of all passengers onboard.

Lt. Col. Marsha Schuman – Lt. Col. Schuman currently serves as the commander of 911th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania. As the commander, she is responsible for more than 75 Air Force Reserve personnel. Before coming to the 911th AES, Schuman was assigned to the Eglin Air Force Base Regional Hospital. She has been a flight nurse since 1994, a flight instructor since 1999 and a flight examiner since 2011.

Col. Beena N. Maharaj – Col. Maharaj is Commander, 911th Mission Support Group, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania She leads more than 700 Citizen Airmen, civilians, and contractors in six squadrons and five installation support functional areas to provide global capabilities and agile combat support directly to the warfighter. She is responsible for the management, readiness, training, and operations of deployable security forces, cyber/communications, civil engineer, logistics, aerial port, and force support personnel. The Group provides support for tactical airlift missions, ensuring a range of support and services for 1,300 Reserve and civilian personnel.

Col. Sheila “Sam” Marcusen – Col. Marcusen is the Reserve Deputy Command Surgeon for United States Transportation Command and a member of the Air Force Element, 954th Reserve Support Squadron, USTRANSCOM Joint Transportation Reserve Unit, Scott AFB, Illinois. In this role, she provides service, support, and consultation to the command surgeon and deputy command surgeon. She is responsible for the leadership, supervision, and activities of all unit medical personnel supporting peacetime, wartime, and disaster operations. Col. Marcusen provides augmentation support to the USTRANSCOM Surgeon’s patient movement mission, moving over 28,000 patients annually, and collaborates with local, state and National Disaster Medical System representatives to safely move medical evacuees during natural disaster operations.

Chief Master Sgt. Cynthia Underwood – Chief Master Sgt. Underwood currently serves as superintendent of the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. In this role, she serves as the senior advisor to the commander on matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of 126 enlisted personnel. The squadron prepares qualified air transportation Airmen to deploy and perform aerial port operations in support of airlift operations worldwide.


Senior Airman Christina Bernaldez – SrA Bernaldez currently serves as an aerospace medicine services technician at the 413th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, 413th Flight Test Group, Robins AFB, Georgia. In this role, she is responsible for obtaining proper vital signs for monthly physical health assessments, quality control and medical record data entry for all group personnel.


Chief Master Sgt. Josephine Keller – Chief Master Sgt. Keller is the chief enlisted manager for the 403d Aeromedical Staging Squadron, 403d Wing, Keesler AFB, Mississippi. In this role, she works directly for the commander advising and providing assistance on enlisted matters such as training, readiness and career progression. As the unit’s senior enlisted advisor, she collaborates with leadership to identify ways to improve processes and procedures to meet the squadron, wing and Air Force missions.

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Blanchford – Lt. Col. Blanchford is a joint logistics planner for the 953rd Reserve Support Squadron, United States Transportation Command, Norfolk, Virginia. She is part of a unique mission providing ready, rapidly deployable skill sets to form a Joint Task Force in response to a major theater crisis. She provides strategic mobility expertise in the development of contingency and crisis action plans for joint force commanders, accelerating the formation and effectiveness of JTF headquarters with the joint operation planning process and logistics and air mobility planning.

Senior Master Sgt. Shandra Patrick – Senior Master Sgt. Patrick currently serves as the medical administrative superintendent of the 913th Aerospace Medical Squadron, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. In her role, Patrick is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the squadron’s programs and personnel, ensuring its readiness to meet the medical needs of the group’s 500 Air Force Reserve personnel. She also serves as a sexual assault victim advocate in support of the 19th Airlift Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator facilitator.

Maj. Laura Riley – Maj. Riley is the commander of the 413th Force Support Flight, 413th Flight Test Group, Robins AFB, Georgia. In this role, she leads, directs and is responsible to train, equip and maintain the readiness of 21 flight personnel. She is the functional area manager of all 413th FTG policies and programs, and directs the Military Personnel Section and Family Support functions. She ensures quality service is provided to over 700 military members, service retirees and joint service personnel.

Maj. Christina Hopper – Maj. Hopper is a T-38 instructor pilot for the 5th Flight Test Squadron, 71st Operations Group, Vance AFB, Oklahoma. Hopper entered active duty in 1999 and was selected to design and implement a new pilot screening program, ensuring the Air Force a qualified pool of candidates ready for flight training. She graduated Undergraduate Pilot Training in April 2000 and was selected to fly the F-16 becoming one of only two African-American females and 50 total female fighter pilots in the United States Air Force at that time.

Lt. Col. Esther Weightman – Lt. Col. Weightman currently serves at the unit development director for the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson AFB, Colorado. In this role, she provides strategic planning and implementation for a large ASTS that provides medical services for a wing of over 1,300 Air Force Reserve members.

Chief Master Sgt. Cassandra Crayton – Chief Master Sgt. Crayton currently serves as the chief of resources and readiness for the 80th Aerial Port Squadron, 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. In this role, she advises the commander on all matters concerning the deployment preparation and management of more than 250 reserve enlisted members.

Master Sgt. (Ret) Frances Taylor – Ms. Taylor is the assistant chief of fire prevention for the 910th Civil Engineer Fire Department, 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. Taylor became the first female firefighter in the Air Force Reserve after graduating from Air Force firefighting technical school in 1975. She began her career at Youngstown ARS with the then-910th Tactical Fighter Group, and then served 14 years on Active Duty before transitioning back to the Reserve in 1994. Taylor continued service as a Reserve firefighter until her retirement in 2007.

Col. Sharon Johnson – Col. Johnson is the commander of 440th Maintenance Group, 440th Airlift Wing, Pope Field, North Carolina. In this role, she assures readiness of assigned and associated personnel and equipment for deployment to a combat environment, establishes support infrastructure, provides airlift/airdrop capability to combatant commanders through assigned, combat-ready C-130H2 aircraft, professional maintainers and support personnel. The group consists of more than 500 Air Force Reserve and Active Duty personnel integrated to provide superior airlift capability for the nation.

Senior Master Sgt. Bettina Reeves – Senior Master Sgt. Reeves is the program manager for Supply Management Operations Readiness, 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. In this position, she is responsible for all supply management units and functions in the Numbered Air Force, to include training Air Force Reserve personnel and supporting units across 22nd AF.