By Kessel Run Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., (Feb. 06, 2024) – Airmen - serving both in and out of uniform - have the privilege and duty to share stories of their Air Force careers.

That’s exactly the message Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., shared with Kessel Runners and others stationed at Hanscom during her visit here, Jan. 16, 2024.

Van Ovost's career in public service is inspirational. Her lessons in leadership, passion, and perseverance are commendable for anyone, regardless of whether they attain the rank of general in their lifetime.

“Public service is foundational to this nation,” Van Ovost said. “It gives you the opportunity to do things you never thought you would.”

In her current position, Van Ovost is one of only three women to have led a combatant command - a privilege and responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.

“You can’t aspire to be what you can’t see,” she said.

She said the Air Force was the first service within the Department of Defense to adjust their restrictions on women in combat positions, allowing them more job opportunities. The Air Force created a two-year step out program, pushed for paternity leave, and implemented changes to the recovery timeline for women to return to physical training standards after having a child.

“Those necessary changes were made because we saw a dip in retention at the 8- to 12-year mark and we didn’t want to lose our female service members,” said Van Ovost.

During her hour-long discussion, Van Ovost also emphasized Kessel Run’s innovation in software development, which gives USTRANSCOM leaders the capabilities to see and use real-time data to make decisions required to move equipment and personnel around the globe. Innovation in any service involves collaboration, problem-solving, and adaptability.

“There is nothing more compelling than seeing a successful you out there,” she said “You all have a great story – so tell it.”

Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
Digital Directorate
HBB, Kessel Run
Public Affairs