A longtime member of the 181st Intelligence Wing has made history as the first woman appointed as a wing commander in the Indiana Air National Guard.

Col. Tamala A. Saylor was installed as wing commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing during a recent change of command ceremony at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base in Terre Haute.

Saylor has been with the 181st for all but two of the last 22 years and replaces outgoing wing commander Col. Christopher Alderdice, who assumed command in February 2017.

Saylor said being the first woman to lead a wing in Indiana is a great honor, according to news release from the 181st.

“Having this opportunity as the first female wing commander in Indiana, specifically, here at the 181st, is an honor, a privilege and exciting,” Saylor said.

Saylor has held multiple positions both within the Indiana Air National Guard and at a national level throughout her career. Her previous duty assignment was chief of staff at the Air National Guard Readiness Center in Washington, D.C.

Saylor started her military career at the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, Fort Wayne, as an enlisted member in June 1983 and attained the rank of Master Sergeant in August 1992.

She earned her commission as a Second Lieutenant in February 1997 from the Academy of Military Science and transferred to the 181st Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, Terre Haute.

Since earning her commission she has served as the 181st Intelligence Wing’s budget officer, comptroller, comptroller flight commander, mission support flight commander, director of personnel, and vice wing commander.

She has also been recognized with a number of awards throughout her career, including: Meritorious Service Medal with two devices, Air Force Commendation Medal with three devices, Army Commendation Medal with one device, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one device, National Defense Service Medal with one device, Global War on Terrorism, and Air Force Longevity Service Award with six devices, as well as numerous Indiana National Guard awards.

As the new wing commander, Saylor highlights that every airman plays a key in the mission success.

“One of the things I want to accomplish as wing commander is making sure that every airman here at the 181st understands that they’re a key component to what happens here,” Saylor said in a news release. “Every role is vital to us being able to accomplish the mission.”

Looking ahead, Saylor said its important the wing stays on the cutting edge.

“We constantly need to evolve and keep up with the times,” Saylor said. “I look forward to being a part of that, and getting to be out here with the great ‘Racers’ and propelling us into the future.”

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