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Breaking Barriers: Expeditionary wing selects first woman, first Reserve command chief

airman speaks at a service desk window to another person

Chief Master Sgt. Dana Capaldi, command chief for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, speaks with an Airman with the 379th Expeditionary Comptroller Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. (Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire)

people stand in a food service line

Capaldi serves a holiday lunch to Airmen on Christmas Day. Capaldi is the first Reservist and first female command chief in the history of the 379th AEW. (Master Sgt. Paul Gorman)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

Chief Master Sgt. Dana Capaldi was recently named the first Reservist and first female command chief master sergeant for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Capaldi reported for her new assignment on Dec. 28, after being chosen for the wing’s top enlisted position by Brig. Gen. Dan Tulley, the 379th AEW commander.

“It was easy to volunteer for this opportunity,” Capaldi said. “I’ve been in the Air Force for more than 30 years and deployed multiple times. You never know going in how it will be, but I wasn’t apprehensive. Everyone in the wing has been amazing.”

Capaldi’s assignment is set to last for six months. Until now, the wing’s command chief was someone who had been in a permanent-party assignment at Al Udeid for one or two years.

“I was humbled to be chosen,” Capaldi said. “There’s a lot of trust implied because I will be deployed for the rest of (Tulley’s) tour here. My goal is to continue the forward momentum of the wing and adjust any footing that needs to be adjusted rather than altering things just for the sake of doing something while I’m here.”

Capaldi said her experience as an active-duty Airman, Reservist and Air National Guardsman along with her experience working with Army, Navy and Marine entities should help her in her new job. Prior to being selected as the 379th AEW command chief, she was the command chief for the Reserve’s 514th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

“I wasn’t apprehensive about this job because no matter where I’m a command chief, the job is to take care of our enlisted Airmen,” she said. “The only difference I have noticed is here you have more enlisted senior leaders to help get everyone mission ready. The newest experience for me is meeting our coalition partners and getting their perspectives throughout some of the immersion events about the mission I’ve gone to.

“This is not a typical deployment experience, but I’m looking forward to using the experience I’ve gained from having been an active-duty Airman, Guardsman and Reservist.”

Capaldi said she was honored to be the first Reservist and first woman to serve as the 379th AEW’s command chief.

“There always has to be a first,” she said. “And in my case that is being a Reservist and a female command chief of the largest expeditionary wing in the world,” she said. “I never saw myself at the table when I first joined the Air Force, but we’ve grown a lot as a military and continue to grow. The unique experiences of my career allow me to be two firsts in this instance, and what I hope many other Airmen take from this moment is that they have the potential to be at the table in the future. But it is important to know that I’m here for you. No matter who I am in the history of the wing, what matters most is I’m here to help you do the mission.” #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient

(Waltermire is assigned to the 379th AEW public affairs office.)