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Women's History Month Highlight: Col. Andrea Themely

Women's History Month

Col. Andrea Themely, 80th Flying Training Wing commander, is responsible for training the next generation of fighter pilots while strengthening relationships with our NATO partners. As the first female commander of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, she commands about 1,500 active duty personnel, contractor and civilians from 14 different NATO nations. (Courtesy Photo)

Please describe your current job in Wichita Falls/Sheppard Air Force Base.

I am the wing commander of the 80th Flying Training Wing at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program and I am lucky enough to command a unit of about 1,500 active duty personnel, contractors, and civilians from 14 different NATO nations. Our job is to train the next generation of fighter pilots while strengthening relationships with our NATO partners. 


What is your most proud accomplishment in life so far?

My original Air Force goal was just to fly fighters because I loved airplanes and wanted to serve my country. I never imagined I would be privileged enough to be a wing commander, or embark on any of the other experiences that I have had, like working on Capitol Hill or writing congressional testimonies for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I am thankful for what I have been able to achieve in my career, but I am definitely proudest of my two sons. Seeing them grow, mature, learn and transition into young men has no doubt been the most rewarding experience of my life.

 

How would you define success?

Success is training, motivating, and leading the next generation of Airmen, children or any followers who will replace you. My job here at the 80th FTW is equal parts leading this organization and mentoring those who will one day be wing commanders themselves. Until and unless we inspire and motivate the next generation, we cannot claim true success.


What are you most important daily habits?

My vice wing commander, command chief, and I all subscribe to the “2-10-5-7 philosophy”, which is two hours of alone time, 10 hours of work, five hours of family time, and seven hours of sleep. Although the practice sounds great, the five hours of family time seems to be a lot of laundry, cooking, and chores! But the two hours I spend each morning working out have been the best daily habit I have. It gives me energy for the rest of the day, keeps me alert and focused and excites me for the rest of the day.


What can we do as military members to be a positive influence in our community?

We are so blessed to be in a city where the people love the Air Force and its Airmen. Getting out and meeting these fine people while learning about their culture as well as teaching them about ours is so important. I’m also a big proponent of volunteering because so many people --even in our city -- don’t have the means that we do here in the military. My family and I love our local Zumba classes, our off-base church, and local friends. We enjoy the time we spend with them.