National Air Guard Selects First Female Wing Command Chief

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- The South Dakota National Air Guard celebrated a new milestone today, as they sworn in their first 114th Fighter Wing’s first female Wing Command Chief to ever hold the title in the guard’s history. Her accomplishments are not only making her family proud, but they’re also inspiring other women.

“The 114th Wing Command Chief,” says Zona Hornstra, as she tells the media her title.

It’s a new position and title that Zona Hornstra is still getting used to.

“Still a little fuzzy, but I’m definitely ready for the challenge and to do my best for the airmen of the wing,” says Hornstra.

The title is more than just an honor to her; Hornstra is the first woman wing command chief in the history of the South Dakota Air National Guard. However, Hornstra says she knows this opportunity was made possible by those who came before her.

“All the women that have served our nation, who have paved the way for me to be able to take on this type of position,” says Hornstra.

And she hopes that she too can inspire others to reach for their dreams and those that surround her, know she will.

“They are going to be watching her very closely, in a good way, but they can say I can do that and hopefully their dreams will align with that,” says Outgoing Wing Command Chief Michael Clauson.

One person that has been watching Hornstra, since she was a little girl is Ashley Eickman. She says she aspires to work hard like Hornstra.

“Feel inspired to go the path that they are going and to do well because women are as equal as men in the military,” says 114th Medical Technician Eickman.

So, as one wing command chief’s time comes to an end.

“She will do extremely well in this position, I’m happy that she is my replacement,” says Clauson.

Another starts her time.

“It is very rewarding to think that I have made it to the highest enlisted rank and to serve the wing in this capacity,” says Hornstra.

Hornstra has served for over 20 years and she says she looks forward to working with all the airmen. As command chief, she is the commander’s key enlisted advocate and advisor on operational effectiveness, organization and equipping of enlisted airmen.