11/21/2011 - Hulman Field, Ind. --
During a promotion ceremony on October 2, 2011, Colonel Patti Mook made Racer history, as she was the first female to be promoted to the rank of colonel.
Immediately following the promotion ceremony, Brig. Gen. Worthe Holt relinquished command of the 181st Medical Group to newly promoted Col. Mook. She is also the first female colonel to serve as commander of the medical group.
"I feel honored to be selected as the first O-6 female commander," said Col. Mook. "I would like to point out that we have a female first sergeant, Master Sgt. Rhonda Howell, and a female chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tracie Newman. We are definitely the first female leadership team in a group."
Col. Mook stated she is happy to pave the way for other young female enlisted and officer members.
"They inspire me to be my best," noted Col. Mook. "They are the reason I wanted this opportunity."
Col. Mook joined the unit in September 1987, as a direct commission, and credits two commanders as being the most influential in her career.
"I was honored to serve under Brig. Gen. John McGoff for 15 years and General Holt for the last five years," said Col. Mook. "They are both fantastic leaders. If you know either of them at all, you understand why they were selected to be generals."
"The medical group has a history of excellence under both of my previous commanders. I hope to continue that history."
Col. Mook has some advice for today's airman. "Make your military career what you want it to be," said Col. Mook. "Be proud to wear the uniform and honor the uniform that you wear. Always set goals for yourself. Realize that there will be hiccups along the way, but pave your own road.
"The military is an all-volunteer force, why are you volunteering? My office door is always open; not just to the medical group members, but to all 181st IW members."