A Friendly Face in a Familiar Place

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Trevor Saylor
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

Change can be hard for any organization, and a change in leadership can be particularly trying. However, sometimes a team can be fortunate to not only have the best-qualified person for a position, but also a familiar face.

Colonel Gia Wilson-Mackey, the incoming 934th Maintenance Group commander, has spent time at the 934th Airlift Wing previously. She was the 934 MXG deputy commander from 2019-2020 and as a civilian, was assigned as the wing process manager from 2017 to 2020. Her experience at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station was overwhelmingly positive, and she is excited to be back.

“Everyone has been so welcoming,” Wilson-Mackey said. “When I left, I didn’t think I would be afforded the opportunity to return, but it has been incredible.”

Wilson-Mackey is excited to lead the MXG as it works on what she calls the “workhorse” aircraft: The C-130H.

“The C-130H is a versatile platform,” Wilson-Mackey explained. “We can land anywhere, haul people and things, push them out the back, as well as provide a flying platform for our medical teams: Aeromedical Evacuation (AES) and Crisis Care Action Team (CCAT). The C-130 community and its capabilities have been there for our past conflicts and are ready to face the next.”

Maintenance runs deep for Wilson-Mackey. She has been married to her husband, John Mackey, for 33 years, who is a retired Chief Master Sgt. in maintenance. She started her career in maintenance as an enlisted Airman before commissioning. She is incredibly excited to be back in the career field and has no plans to leave it again.

In her spare time, Wilson-Mackey enjoys gardening, scrapbooking and has a passion for genealogy. Time away from work is important, and she understands the value–and difficulty–of balancing life, work, and Reserve commitments.

“I have served in various capacities as a Citizen Airman: Individual Mobilization Augmentee, Traditional Reservist, and Air Reserve Technician; I have spent time on active duty orders for long periods of time. I have deployed. I am a mom of three and married to a retired active duty maintainer chief. This gives me the ability to understand what our folks are going through and provide flexibility to the challenges they may face. As a Citizen Airman, it is important to be able to balance our civilian careers, military commitments and our home life. I know this first hand.”

At the end of the day, her passion for the Air Force Reserve is what comes through as she speaks.

“The reason I joined the Air Force Reserve initially was for the education benefits-I wanted to go to college. The plan was to do 6 years and get out-that was 33 years ago this April. I love the Reserve and am proud to serve as a Citizen Airman.”

The 934 MXG will hold an assumption of command ceremony to honor its new commander, Colonel Gia Wilson-Mackey, on March 5 at 3 p.m., in building 821