She will serve in this honorary role in recognition of her trailblazing service as the first woman to be named as the senior enlisted leader of any branch of the Military.

(Arlington, Va., 13 May 2024) – Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (Retired) JoAnne “JO” Bass has accepted the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation’s invitation to serve as an Honorary Board Chair in recognition of her trailblazing achievement as the first woman to serve as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, operates the Military Women’s Memorial which preserves and exhibits the history of women who have served from all the uniformed services. The Foundation has long had pioneer senior flag officers from each of the services as Honorary Board Chairs, including Army General Ann Dunwoody, Air Force General Janet Wolfenbarger, Navy Admiral Michele Howard, Marine Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, and most recently Lieutenant General Nina Armagno of the Space Force. Up until CMSAF Bass, no woman in the history of the U.S. military has become the senior most enlisted leader of their service, making her a unique trailblazer and a role model to hundreds of thousands of women, both in the Air Force and in other branches.

MG (Retired) Jan Edmunds, the current Board Chair for the Foundation said that CMSAF (Ret.) Bass’ support as an Honorary Board Chair will help ensure that America’s past, current, and future women Airmen can see their own unlimited possibilities.

According to Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Phyllis Wilson, President of the Foundation, “The Military Women’s Memorial is ecstatic about having, for the first time, a senior enlisted woman who has advanced to the very top of her service, join our other Honorary Board Chairs.” CW5 Wilson further offered, “We hope women of all branches see CMSAF Bass as the embodiment of unlimited opportunity and possibility in service to the nation. Her example also shines a light on the importance of recognizing those who blazed the trails so that those that follow not only serve, but also recognize their own role in shaping the future for each successive generation of military women.”

CMSAF Bass’ last position before retirement was as the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, responsible for all issues associated with the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization of more than 689,000 Airmen. However, this was but the culmination of a trailblazing career at the squadron, group, wing, and higher-headquarters command levels. She had significant joint service and special operations experience and participated in several operations and exercises as well as deployments in direct support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. When she was selected to be the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, she not only became the first women to hold this position and rank, but she also became the first Asian-Pacific Islander selected to this level in the Air Force. She is a graduate of the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and the Keystone Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course, among others. Of her honorary role, CMSAF (Ret.) Bass said, “It is my honor to hold this position in recognition of the enlisted force across all branches of service. During my 31 years of service, I was driven by a sense of purpose and the desire to make a difference, I look forward to doing the same here by helping ensure military women’s stories of service are captured and celebrated.”

About the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation
The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation maintains and operates the Military Women’s Memorial, the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history, from the American Revolution to the present time. The Foundation is proud to recognize their devoted patriotism and courage as an integral part of our national heritage. The mission of the Military Women’s Memorial is to make the history of women in the military — past, present, and future — come alive as we honor their service. In addition to a myriad of programs on topics of relevance to military women and their service, the Foundation has a recognized research repository, and maintains a vast collection that continues to grow as today’s servicewomen participate in new operations. The Foundation’s research library includes nearly 1,000 books by and about military women, photograph and document archives, personal and military-issue artifacts, memoirs, and oral histories. Additionally, the Military Women’s Memorial hosts the Register, the world’s largest repository of women’s stories, which were submitted by those who served or their families.