LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The first female 19th Airlift Wing Commander at the Little Rock Air Force Base is sending a message to the community that the sky is the limit.

Her path in central Arkansas is soon coming to an end, but not without looking back on her accomplishments and what it’s been like to help pave the way for others to follow.

The past two years at the base have been busy for Col. Angela Ochoa.

She came in 2021, right in the middle of COVID-19 and is preparing to wrap up her time here in a few short months.

“We’re so lucky to have people that are willing to stand up and serve our nation and potentially even give their lives for it,” Col. Ochoa said.

Col. Ochoa is certainly one of those who has stood up and put her life on the line for our country, now standing as the highest person in command at LRAFB.

Col. Ochoa said becoming the first woman to hold the highest position of command at the base hopefully is a motivation to others.

“It doesn’t matter what your gender is, it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, it doesn’t matter where you come from,” she said. “What matters is how hard you work, and what you do.”

Her days for the past two years have been busy, starting early in the morning to get a workout in, then coming into her office for meetings and meeting with community leaders, then of course, getting in the cockpit.

Those busy days also carry stress, as they constantly prepare for contingency at LRAFB.

“We have a lot of different extremist acts that are going on throughout the world and we also have to prepare for tomorrow,” Col. Ochoa said. “That’s a very challenging environment, because the wars we fight today and the wars we’ve fought in the past are not the same as what we need to potentially be ready for in the future.”

As Col. Ochoa prepares for her next mission as a commander at a base in Maryland, she said she is looking back at her memories at LRAFB fondly, and sees our country being in good hands with these particular men and women serving us. She said she is thankful to have played a small role in helping them learn to protect our beloved nation.

“I have full trust and confidence in all of their abilities to continue to lead forward, no matter what the situation is,” she said.

Also worth noting, the airshow at the Little Rock Airforce Base is finally coming back in October after a few years off and the Thunderbirds will be headlining the show.

The two-day event will also include a STEM fair for students.