Team JSTARS to receive first female wing commander in Georgia Air National Guard history

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Ronald Cole
  • 116th Air Control Wing Public Affairs

The Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing vice wing commander will take command Jan. 12, 2020, earning her the recognition as first female wing commander in the history of the Georgia Air National Guard.

Col. Amy Holbeck will take the reins from Col. Ato Crumbly, the current commander of the 116th Air Control Wing, in a change-of-command ceremony to be held at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Ga, giving her responsibility for more than 1,450 Airmen.

“Col. Holbeck is a combat tested aviator who exemplifies United States Air Force Core Values. She has a proven leadership and command track record,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Grabowski, Georgia Air National Guard commander.

Holbeck attributes much of her success to the support of her family, as well as the trust and mentorship of the leaders she has served with.

“My dad always told me to take full advantage of every opportunity and to always do the best job you can at the job you are doing,” shared Holbeck. “I have taken that advice with me throughout my career, and thank God daily for the opportunities, people and mentors he has put in my life to get me to this point.”

Becoming the first female wing commander in Georgia Air National Guard history was never part of Holbeck’s plan.

“I feel honored to be where I am but I never set out to be the first female wing commander,” said Holbeck. “I have never seen gender as being a hindrance in my career. I believe anyone – regardless of gender, race or religion – can excel and propel themselves anywhere they want to go if they have a solid work ethic and positive attitude.”

Holbeck was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn. and graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1997. She began her Air Force career later that year enlisting on active duty as a guidance and control systems specialist stationed at the 357th Fighter Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
“Though middle Georgia is my home now, I am proud to have my roots in Cleveland,” said Holbeck. “It is a community that instilled in me that faith in God and hard work will carry you anywhere you want to go.”

After commissioning as an officer in 2000, Holbeck was stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. as an air battle manger on the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft with the 93rd Air Control Wing. In 2008 she transitioned from active duty to the 116th ACW as an Air National Guardsman. She has held many leadership positions in the wing and was appointed as the vice wing commander in September 2019.

“From the moment I arrived at Robins and began working beside Georgia Guardsmen, it was a natural fit and felt like I was already one of them,” said Holbeck. “The 116th is family, and the middle Georgia community is a wonderful place to live and work. I am blessed to call this home and be part of a world-class organization.”

Holbeck will lead the 116th ACW and Team JSTARS through a period of transition and concentrate her efforts on opening lines of communication to ease any uncertainty.

“One of my top priorities is to focus on strengthening lines of communication both up and down the chain of command,” added Holbeck. “We are in the beginning stages of an exciting time in our wing’s history with new missions on the horizon, while continuing to provide top notch command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities around the world with our Joint STARS aircraft. Every airman, soldier and civilian is valuable and critical to our success. My hope is to communicate that effectively to bring confidence, hope and encouragement through whatever the future holds. We are in this together.”

Established Oct. 1, 2002 as the Air Force’s first total force initiative wing, Team JSTARS is based at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. It is made up of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th ACW, the Air Combat Command’s 461st ACW, and the active duty Army Intelligence and Security Command’s 138th Military Intelligence Company.