Sioux City, Iowa --
The 185th Air Refueling Wing announced today that Colonel Stephanie Samenus has been selected as the new Vice Wing Commander of the Sioux City, Iowa based Air Guard unit.
As the Vice Wing Commander, Samenus will provide supervision and leadership of nearly 900 personnel. The KC-135 flying unit is tasked with providing manpower, equipment, and operational support with a primary mission of providing worldwide aerial refueling and airlift missions.
Samenus started her military career at the Naval Reserve center in Sioux City, Iowa in 1993 where she worked as a training officer. She is a 1987 graduate of Missouri Western State University where she studied business accounting.
Samenus made the move to the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City in 1998. During her time with the Air Guard she has worked as the Budget Officer, Wing Executive Staff Officer and most recently has been serving as the Mission Support Group Commander.
The Saint Joseph, Missouri native will replace long time unit member Colonel Jim Walker who will be retiring in the coming months. Walker is the last remaining 185th pilot who flew the A-7 Corsair during the 1980’s until the unit’s conversion to the F-16 in 1991.
Just a few years after Samenus became a member of the 185th the unit announced its conversion to the KC-135 mid-air refueling aircraft which the unit has been flying since 2002.
During her tenure with the unit Samenus has also overseen a dramatic shift in the way the Air Guard has been utilized over the past few decades. Air Guard units like the 185th have shifted from being used primarily as a strategic reserve to becoming regular players in U.S. Air Force contingency operations around the globe.