Col. Yolanda Bledsoe relinquished command of the 56th Medical Group Col. Maureen Charles during a change-of-command ceremony held July 18 at Luke Air Force Base.
Charles previously served as the Deputy Director of Congressional and Public Affairs, Office of the AF Surgeon General at Falls Church, Virginia.
Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, presided over the ceremony.
“Maureen, you’re extremely qualified to take this command,” Pleus said. “Your background as a medical operations support squadron commander and as a clinical nurse, and many deployments have put you on a path to success. My challenge to you is to get to know your Airmen. In return they will show you how they play the roll in training the world’s best F-16, and soon to be F-35, pilots.”
Charles completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 1989 at Winona State University in Minnesota. Charles has participated in Medical Humanitarian missions to Ecuador and El Salvador, providing for the health care of more than 15,000 people. In 2010 she was recognized as the Air Force Medical Service Major General Barbara C. Brannon Nursing Leadership award winner.
Prior to her arrival to Luke, in her position as the deputy director, congressional and public affairs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington D.C., she assisted the director, congressional and public affairs in the management of day-to-day operations for the Air Force Surgeon General’s public outreach mission through both congressional and media venues.
Additionally, she orchestrated congressional visits and briefings to educate the defense committee professional staff members about Air Force medical service issues, policies, and programs.
After accepting the unit flag, a symbol of command, Charles addressed her Airmen.
“It’s truly a privilege and an honor to take command of the 56th Medical Group,” Charles said. “I look forward to serving with MDG and becoming a member of your team as we continue the tradition of excellence.”