SYRACUSE, N.Y. (06/10/2015)(readMedia)-- New York Air National Guard officer and Lancaster, N.Y., resident, Lt. Col. Michele Kilgore became the first female group commander in the history of the 174th Attack Wing during her assumption of command ceremony Sunday, June 7.
Kilgore assumed command of the 174th Operations Group at Hancock Field Air National Guard base in Syracuse, which is comprised of the 108th Attack Squadron, 138th Attack Squadron, 174th Operations Support Squadron, Detachment 1 and the MQ-9 launch and recovery element located at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
Kilgore graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in political science. She also earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from California State University at San Bernardino.
She is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours and has flown combat support missions in various operations to include Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Freedom's Sentinel.
While on active duty, she attended T-37/T-38 flight training school in 1993 and then went on to train as a KC-10A pilot, which she flew until 1997. Following her time in the KC-10A, Kilgore underwent initial qualification training on the C-12J and eventually became an instructor pilot at Osan, Air Base, South Korea.
After being at Osan, she transferred to Luke Air Force Base where she was stationed from 1998-1999. While at Luke AFB, she attended initial F-16 qualification training. Upon graduation, she transferred to Misawa Air Base, Japan, where she served as Chief of Wing Flight Safety from 2000-2002. In 2002 she transferred to Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, WA, where she served as Logistics, Mobility Department Head and then as Department Head, Electronic Attack Weapons School until 2004.
In 2004, Kilgore left active duty and came to the 174th Attack Wing, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York, where she held a number of positions.
Kilgore's military education includes Air War College, Transition Course MQ-9, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School, USAF Aircraft Mishap Investigation Course, USAF Advance Instrument School, USAF Basic Operational Training Course, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, C-12J Evaluator Upgrade Qualification Training, C-12J Initial Qualification Training, KC-10A Pilot Upgrade Qualification Course, C-12F Initial Qualification Course, KC-10A Copilot Initial Qualification Training, and Undergraduate Pilot Training.
Her awards include Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters.
Kilgore and her husband Col. Robert Kilgore, wing commander for the 107th Airlift Wing, in Niagara Falls have two daughters, Erica and Abigail.