SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Last Saturday, Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann was sworn in as the newest commander of the New Hampshire Air National Guard in a ceremony at the National Guard base at Pease International Tradeport.
Protzmann, a resident of South Berwick, is the first woman to hold the position.
“I am always a humble public servant,” Protzmann said on Wednesday afternoon. “I have a responsibility to the public for what I do, for what they pay me to do.”
Protzmann was born and raised in New Hampshire. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire and joined the Air Force in 1979 for five years, where she traveled and lived in Illinois and Michigan and held a number of positions, including logistics officer and cross maintenance adviser.
In 1984, Protzmann joined the Air National Guard. She quickly made her way through the ranks, holding several positions, including one position she called “mayor of the base,” which she held for 17 years. In 2001 she was appointed as the vice wing commander for the 157th Air Refueling Wing.
In 2003 and 2004 she was deployed as a part of this position, which she described as a liaison and adviser role. While in deployment she played a role in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and traveled to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emerites and Uzbekistan, among other countries.
Protzmann held her role in the 157th until her appointment as Commander. With her appointment within the Air National Guard, Protzmann will also serve as New Hampshire’s Deputy Adjutant General.
In her role as commander, Protzmann will serve as strategist for the future of the Air National Guard, in and out of combat and inside or outside the state. As Deputy Adjutant General, Protzmann will deal directly with state-focused National Guard issues, including whether New Hampshire’s methods for processing state emergencies or completing state missions, like handling the aftermath of a natural disaster, are viable and the most efficient and how those methods can be completed more effectively in the future.
“The most rewarding part of my career has been leading and commanding an amazing group of people and really feeling like I was able to not only make a difference in their lives, but also make a difference in their families’ lives,” said Protzmann. “To enhance their abilities, to support them, to provide them with the training they need, to give them the resources, to make them resilient, to help grow the airmen to their potential.”
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.