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March 9, 2012

Team Edwards member becomes first female active duty weapons chief in AF

This year, Women’s History Month will have special meaning to Christine Beaudion, 412th Maintenance Group Weapons Standardization Section superintendent.

Creating history of her own, she reached an impressive milestone Feb. 29 when Team Edwards promoted her to the rank of chief master sergeant and thereby by becoming the first active duty female weapons chief in the Aircraft Armament Systems career field.

Beaudion’s long-time goal of becoming a chief master sergeant was accomplished nearly 24 years to the day after she began her career in the United States Air Force.

“This is a goal I’ve had for a long time and I am so thankful to everyone who helped me get here,” said Beaudion. “No one gets here without support – Airmen, officers, civilians and, of course, the chiefs. I am extremely thankful for all the support over the years. I’ve truly learned something from everyone.”

Beaudion set her goal to become chief early in her career when she noticed the lack of female leadership on the flightline and specifically in her career field.

“I’ve spent my career doing maintenance on the flightline and in maintenance there were not a lot of female role models,” she said. “In fact, over the years, the Air Force saw more women in nontraditional roles in maintenance and as pilots, but there was never an active duty female weapons chief.”

That lack of female leadership and mentorship motivated Beaudion to one day be in a position where she could serve as a role model to young Airmen and also function as a positive change agent.

“I’ve always approached things with a ‘how can we make it better’ attitude. Whether we’re developing a new weapons system, improving day-to-day processes, or I’m giving advice to young Airmen,” said Beaudion. “I always want to make things better.”

Throughout her 24-year career in the Air Force, Beaudion maintained a track record of excellence and continued “to make things better.” In fact, numerous times she has stepped up and performed duties beyond her rank.

“This is an incredible achievement for Chief Master Sgt. Beaudion,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher McCollor, 412th Test Wing command chief. “This is a direct result of the continuous excellence demonstrated throughout her career. I am confident that we will continue to see great things from her.”

Beaudion’s responsibilities at Edwards include setting standards, developing policies and procedures for weapons loading on eight weapons platforms, and interpreting technical data and directives governing the weapons standardization program.

“Her impact extends so far beyond the scope of Edwards. The weapons systems developed under her supervision and guidance play a critical role in supporting the warfighter and allowing the Air Force to be successful in combat,” said McCollor.

As superintendent of the 412th MXG Weapons Standardization Section, Beaudion works at both the tactical and strategic levels to increase safety, improve effectiveness, and streamline processes for aircraft armament systems. She reports to the Wing Weapons Manager, Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Diaz.

“She is phenomenal at her job, both at the tactical and strategic levels. She really strives to make things better and is incredibly successful in doing so,” said Diaz. “Above all else, she never forgets that she works for the United States Air Force and the critical role she plays in developing technology to support the war fighter. As I get ready to retire, I am fully confident in her ability to step up as Wing Weapons Manager here at Edwards.”

Beaudion attributes her success to the remarkable people she met along the way, including her husband and best friend of 24 years, Patrick.

“I would never be where I am today without Patrick’s continual support. Since we’re both in the same career field, we had the privilege of traveling and learning together throughout our careers,” said Beaudion. “Whether I need a sound board for ideas, a reality check, or time with my best friend; he has always been there for me.”

For Patrick, witnessing his wife and best friend of 24 years accomplish her goal of becoming a chief master sergeant in the Aircraft Armament Systems career field, it was nothing short of pure elation.

“I am incredibly proud of Christine for reaching her goal; I know it hasn’t always been easy. Having the privilege of watching her overcome the adversity she faced along the way, I really can’t put into words how happy and proud I am,” said Patrick. “I know she will continue making great contributions to the Air Force and the Airmen who serve.”

Beaudion began her Air Force career in March of 1988 with the Strategic Air Command at Anderson AFB, Guam. Since then, she has been stationed at locations in Louisiana, Idaho, Florida, South Korea and California.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards, decorations, and achievements. She has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Accommodation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Force Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters. Beaudion also has received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year award in 2001 from the 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command.

Among her numerous achievements, Beaudion received the Noncommissioned Officer Academy’s John Levitow Award in 2001 and the Air Force Flight Test Center’s Lance P. Sijan Award in 2010.




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