"Empowering Excellence: Women Leaders in AFTC "

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darius Sostre-Miroir
  • Air Force Test Center

In the aerospace industry, the Air Force Test Center is where innovation and precision are paramount. Within its ranks, women like Katherine Wood and Dr. Margaret (Liz) Walden have forged their paths, leaving indelible marks on the organization's storied legacy, especially pertinent as we celebrate Women's History Month. Their achievements are part of a continuum that includes other notable women in the history of the Air Force Test Center.

As Director of the AFTC Plans and Requirements directorate, Wood reflects on her journey with a sense of pride and accomplishment. "I am proud to have been a member of the KEEP EAGLE spin test team," she recounts, referring to a program that resulted in crucial flight control system improvements. Wood's dedication to her work transcends mere accomplishment; it embodies a commitment to excellence that inspires those around her.

For Walden, chief of the Commander’s Action Group at the AFTC, the path to success has been marked by determination and resilience.

"My initial challenges came from deciding to stay on as Active Duty or separate so I could take care of my priorities," she explains.

Despite facing obstacles, Walden propelled herself forward with unwavering resolve, shaping her into the dynamic leader she is today."

Both women have navigated the intricacies of a male-dominated field with grace and fortitude.

"I have been fortunate that my engineering supervisors and mentors have largely supported me, especially through some difficult times," Wood reflects.

Wood was drawn to Edwards Air Force Base by the innovative work and talented individuals she encountered during a campus visit. Now leading strategic planning, resource allocation, and innovation initiatives, she exemplifies the vital role women play in shaping the Air Force's future.

Walden echoes the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of support and encouragement in overcoming barriers.

Walden was an active-duty Airman from 1992 to 1998, distinguished herself as an Information Management Specialist before transitioning to the paralegal career field. Dr. Walden's commitment to continuous learning culminated in the attainment of her Doctorate of Business Administration in 2019, despite facing numerous personal challenges along the way.

Wood's advocacy for diversity initiatives and mentorship programs has paved the way for future generations of female engineers, while Walden's commitment to integrity and inclusivity serves as a guiding light for her colleagues, fostering a culture of respect and collaboration. As the AFTC looks to the future, both Wood and Walden envision a landscape where women continue to thrive and excel.

"I hope women continue to play an integral role in the success of the AFTC and its test and evaluation mission supporting the warfighter," Wood says.

In the end, their stories serve as a testament to the resilience and determination of women in the military and aerospace industry. Through their unwavering commitment to excellence and inclusivity, Wood and Walden have left an indelible mark on the Air Force Test Center and the broader military community, making their contributions even more poignant as we honor their legacy during Women's History Month.

Womans History Month Graphic.