Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton accepted leadership of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Tanker Directorate as the Air Force program executive officer for Tankers in a June 12 ceremony.
She replaces Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, who served as PEO for both the Tanker and Presidential Airlift Recapitalization (PAR) Directorates, and will now continue as the PEO for PAR.
During the ceremony, Richardson reflected upon his time working with the men and women of the Tanker Directorate as a blessing and defining period of his life.
“My wife, Dede, and I will never forget our time as part of this incredible team!” Richardson said. “While I’m proud of what we did, I’m most proud of how we did it as one team.”
Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition), officiated the event, praised the leadership abilities of Richardson and Shipton, and highlighted the importance of the work being done in the directorate.
“Today is an important day,” Bunch said. “The Tanker portfolio is absolutely crucial to the United States Air Force’s ability to do its mission. You hear us talk about anywhere, anytime … you hear about global reach, global power and global vigilance. That isn’t possible without the Tanker fleet. We can’t project power wherever we want, without what you men and women do each and every day. It’s a critical role, and if we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be the world power that we are today.”
Shipton expressed her enthusiasm to lead the organization and pledged to continue to build on the directorate’s success.
“I’m truly excited and humbled to be here,” Shipton said. “I believe this directorate is unique. As an organization, we support and enable almost every airborne mission in the United States Air Force, to include partner nations, and without Tankers our warfighters cannot get to the fight or stay above the fight. You [Tanker team] enable this.”
Shipton received her commission in 1991 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC after graduating from Clemson University. She has served in a wide range of leadership positions throughout the Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office. As PEO, she is now responsible for the planning and execution of all life cycle activities for the Air Force Tanker fleet, including the development, test, production, fielding and support of the KC-46 tanker system, as well as the modification and support of the fielded KC-135 and KC-10 tanker systems.