Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing welcomes first female commander

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HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (WMBB) — With the handoff of the command flag on Monday morning, Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn became the first woman to assume command of the Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing.

There was a small, mostly virtual, Change of Command ceremony, due to current coronavirus restrictions.

Schermerhorn accepted command from Brig. Gen. Michael Conley.

“Jocelyn and Jeff, welcome home,” Conley said at the ceremony. “You are now in charge of more than 5400 of America’s greatest assets.”

Conley will continue to lead as the vice commander of the Air Force Space Operations Command in California.

No stranger to the Air Force Special Operations Command, Schermerhorn previously served as the vice commander of the 11th Wing in Maryland and currently serves as a master navigator with more than 3,500 flight hours. She also oversee Hurlburt’s base support, including the Headquarters Air Force Special Ops Command.

“To the men and women of the 1st SOW, I have missed you,” Schermerhorn said. “I have missed your spirit, courage, determination and professionalism; your never-quit, make-it-happen, get-to-yes attitude; the unique traits that define you as air commandos.”

“Hurlburt Field is a special place,” Schermerhorn continued. “It has a legacy of first-there, anytime, any place. It is our responsibility to add to that legacy.”

Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn assumes command as the first female commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field.

At the ceremony, colleagues talk about her leadership and dignity.

“She and I got tangled up one day at a wing standup,” said Lt. Gen. James Slife, who formerly worked with Schermerhorn as a Wing Commander. “It was not my finest moment. She ticked me off and I let it show in front of a room full of people.”

“But the thing that impressed me most about Jocelyn is that she stood her ground against a belligerent, immature wing commander,” Slife continued. “I gained an enormous amount of respect for Col. Schermerhorn on that day.”

The ceremony concluded with the playing of the Air Force song.

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