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First Female Chief for the 145th Maintenance Group

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
With the first feeling of Fall lingering in the air, changes came to the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, as Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Phillips promoted and took on the role as 145th Maintenance Group Chief Oct. 13, 2018.

“It’s an honor; I wasn’t sure if it was possible, if I’d be able to do it being a traditionalist, but I’m happy to do it,” stated Phillips.

At 30 years of age, Phillips decided to follow her father’s footsteps and join the North Carolina Air National Guard. While working at Duke Energy, it was apparent changes may be coming and Philips wanted to be prepared for any inevitability.

“I just retired from Duke Energy a few years ago, but I worked on the maintenance side there as well, so it’s a similar field, but still different enough so that when I come here, I have some evident variety,” stated Phillips. ”But there is a difference in the work; at the North Carolina Air National Guard, I get to see the progression, I see the aircraft on the ground, in the air completing a mission, then coming home. When I see that I am filled with satisfaction.”

This isn’t Phillip’s first ‘first’, as she was also the first female crew chief in the North Carolina Air National Guard and the first female in the Maintenance Operations Flight.

“It was challenging; I was balancing being a single-mom with my career and breaking barriers. There is a learning curve with traditionalists versus active duty individuals because we’re only out here a short period. I wondered if we’d have the same clout as the active duty folks,” said Phillips.

Rising to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in less than 23 years is quite an accomplishment and there have been many individuals along the way to help Phillips as she grew and her career evolved.

“I knew I wanted to be chief when I came in; I didn’t join not to go all the way! There are many retired chiefs and over the last couple years, Chief Master Sgt. Danny Lawing, gave me insight on what to do to progress,” said Phillips, “I learned from all of them but it’s important to remember I can learn from new folks too. You can learn something from everybody.”

As the North Carolina Air National Guard still goes through transition with the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, Phillips knows there is plenty of work ahead to see the mission through.

“My goal is to go around and get folks moving,” said Phillips. “I want people to get out of their chairs, get out there and ask others for help, fill your head with knowledge and learn from other people.”