177th Fighter Wing Milestone - Women Command Both Squadrons in the 177th Maintenance Group

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian Cooper, 177th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group commander
  • 177th Fighter Wing

With Women’s History Month for 2023 nearing a close, I wanted to take an opportunity to recognize two women that are making history in the 177th Maintenance Group. 

With Lt. Col. Jessica Lewis commanding the 177th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Capt. Michele Kapurelos recently taking command of the 177th Maintenance Squadron, this marks the first time in 177th Fighter Wing history that both squadrons in the 177th Maintenance Group are being commanded by women.   It is important to celebrate these two female pioneers.

These leaders have been trailblazing their way through the 177th Maintenance Group since the beginning of their careers.  Both began as enlisted Airmen, Lt. Col. Lewis as an aircraft armament systems specialist and Capt. Kapurelos as a maintenance management analyst, each earning multiple recognitions and accolades for their performance in their respective career fields.  As a result of their merit, Lewis and Kapurelos were competitively selected to be commissioned and each chose to stay close to the flightline by becoming aircraft maintenance officers.

When I sat down to talk about this historic occasion with Lt. Col. Lewis, she said, “It is important to recognize the women that are excelling in the military, but I have always thought of myself as just an Airman that is doing my job."

I couldn’t be more proud to serve with these two amazing commanders.  Not just because they are females excelling in a historically male-dominated career field, but because they are two of the most talented aircraft maintenance officers I have ever served with.  This just proves that if you work hard and be the best at your job, your merit and capability will not go unnoticed.

I look forward to watching these two, and all of the other amazing maintainers, continue to make history.