Meet Col. Fields, first female commander of the Hoosier Wing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Morris
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

On this Women's Equality Day, Grissom highlights Col. Summer Fields, who recently became the first female commander of the 434th Air Refueling Wing.  

Originally pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, her career interests shifted during her college years. Inspired by her father, who served as an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War, she took flying lessons between her freshman and sophomore years and eventually went on to commission into the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1997.  

Breaking through gender barriers at undergraduate pilot training, she embraced her role as one of few female pilots in the military at that time, contributing to the ongoing evolution of diversity within the aviation community. With the percentage of female pilots currently hovering around 10%, her achievements are representative of the progress still being made. 

“I want our folks to recognize diversity simply means bringing all of who we are to the table,” said Fields. “Whether it's our gender, our political views, our upbringing – that's the beauty of incorporating a wider diversity of folks, because everybody has a different story.”  

Having taken command of the Hoosier Wing in June, Fields' ascent to the position demonstrates her adaptability throughout her career as well as her dedication to Airmen across the Air Force.  Previously serving as the wing's deputy commander, she acknowledges the importance of building upon the foundation laid by the wing’s previous 38 commanders, while also shaping the future of the wing for when she transitions back to her deputy position.  

“Lt. Gen. Healy has put forth his TASKORD and its two strategic priorities are ‘Ready Now’ and ‘Transforming for the Future’,” said Fields when discussing her priorities as commander. “So my goal is to enable our Airmen to accomplish that task, whether it’s by training or continuing to get off-station for annual tour.”  

As she not only continues the legacy of those who preceded her but also shapes the future of the 434 ARW, she remains focused on paving the way for a more inclusive force here at Grissom.  

“I want to continue fostering the familial atmosphere that’s been created and sustained here,” remarked Fields. “And how we do that is by embracing our Airmen for who they are entirely, embracing the whole Airman concept.”