JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --
Note: The captain’s last name was removed for security reasons.
The Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership Award is presented annually to exceptional, selfless women who inspire others. This year, Air Combat Command selected Capt. Rosie, assistant director of operations, 25th Intelligence Squadron, to receive the honor in the officer category.
The award recognizes service members and civilians who have exhibited innovation, commitment and a selfless spirit of service while inspiring others and significantly improving the integration of and opportunities for women in the Air Force.
According to her commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Norton, Rosie embodies all these qualities.
“Great leaders are not defined by their size and/or gender, they are defined by their service, their innovative vision and how they mentor those around them to excel. Rosie embodies every single one of those attributes and more,” Norton said. “Her exceptional leadership has driven the 25th IS to new heights, both downrange in combat and at home as the assistant director of operations, for the most decorated and combat employed unit in 25th Air Force.”
From the youngest Airman analysts to the senior combat aviators, Rosie is always pushing them to be better versions of themselves, both at work and in the community, he said.
“She never ceases to amaze me with how engaged she is at all levels of our organization. The innovative technologies she has helped us embrace are revolutionizing our training operations, saving money, time and manning,” he said. “Rosie is a testament to what leadership looks like and she is a role model for future women who put on our uniform. I have no doubts that her fingerprints will drive success for years to come."
Rosie’s supervisor said she is one of those people you can give a task to and know it will be completed.
"Rosie is a fire-and-forget weapon in our dynamic and fast-paced mission, said Maj. Shaun Lee, director of operations, 25th IS. “Her reputation is built on her ability to get the mission to ‘yes’ while showing genuine individualized care for our greatest assets - our Airmen who are highly deployed in tough operational environments.
“Our mission introduces no shortage of unforeseen challenges, and Rosie's ability to adapt and innovate solutions to the toughest problems in the AOR (area of responsibility) and at home-station is her greatest skill,” he said. “She's a role model to us all."
Rosie, who has served her country for nearly 10 years, was honored, and surprised, by this recent recognition.
"I must say, I was extremely surprised when my commander, Lt. Col. Norton, who is currently deployed, called me on the phone to deliver the great news,” she said. “Needless to say, I am honored to be receiving such a prestigious award.”
While Rosie appreciates being considered a role model for women in the military, her focus is on helping all Airmen excel.
“I first want to say it is a privilege to be leading ISR Airmen working very hard every single day to execute the AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) mission,” she said. “Empowering women to lead our professional men and women is a bonus that comes along with my job. I feel that today, women are seen as equals to their male-counterparts and it is thanks to the women before us, such as Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, that this is indeed the case.”
Rosie also appreciates her professional coworkers, Career Enlisted Aviators.
“Their knowledge, expertise and ingenuity far surpasses that of my own, and it humbles me to have the opportunity to work with them, side by side,” she said. “When I was deployed, I was fortunate enough to lead a team of hard-working men and women who never stopped taking the fight to the enemy.
“Being deployed allowed me to see just how important our CEAs are to our SOF (Special Operations Forces) partners. Ensuring threat warning was delivered to the good guys and providing direct targeting of the bad guys was the name of the game, and the team I had the privilege of leading did just that, and they did it well!”
The honoree, and major select, extends her thanks to all those who have contributed to her success, past and present.
“I'm extremely grateful to have received such an incredible opportunity,” she said. “I want to say ‘thank you’ to the women before us who have paved the way for us women today.”
Rosie also thanks her leadership, family and friends who have always believed in her, and she expressed a special thank you to her wife, Teresa, for her unwavering love and support.
The 25th IS is aligned under the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, 363rd ISR Wing, and is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The squadron provides Special Forces ISR expertise to Air Force Special Operations Command, and strengthens analytical and targeting capabilities of the rest of the Air Force. Many Airmen in the squadron are qualified to serve as combat aircrew on every aircraft type within AFSOC.