Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing Promotes First Female Brigadier General

The Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing promoted their first female brigadier general.

General Tara D. McKennie first enlisted in the Air Force in 1989 as an airman basic and served six years of active duty.

In a historic moment, surrounded by other members of the Alabama National Guard, she became the first female brigadier general in the Alabama Air National Guard.

Governor Kay Ivey hosted the promotion which took place at the Montgomery Regional (Dannelly Field) Air National Guard Base. Also in attendance was Ms. Armestine Graham and Ms. Jessica Hall, two of the first three African American women enlisted into the Alabama Air National Guard.

Having earned a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant through the Army’s Officer Candidate School in 1999, she transferred to the Air National Guard in 2002.

General McKennie previously served as the chief of staff of the Alabama Air National Guard and as the commander of the 187th Medical Group.

She said if it weren’t for those who have been by her side for the last 30 years, she wouldn’t be where she is today.

Not only is she the first female brigadier general in the Alabama Air National Guard, she is also the first African American female brigadier general in the Alabama National Guard.

“Diversity, inclusion, and equity is huge in our country, and not just because of everything that’s going on in the world right now,” McKennie said. “This is where we need to be, always including everyone, hearing everyone’s voices, making an opportunity for everyone, so that they can have a seat at the table and make changes that affect all of us equitably.”

McKennie credited her success to work ethic she learned from her father, and said in this new role she is most excited to partner with the army community and advance the mission of the governor.

“My father used to tell me that you either work hard now or you work hard forever, and that something that I have truly cherished and done my entire life,” McKennie said. “I’m a hard worker. I love hard work. I tell young people to work hard, stay focused, and bring everyone up together as a community because that’s the best way to do it.”

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