81st MDSS Super becomes first female Chief in career field

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Dec. 1 marks the highlight of Senior Master Sgt. Margaret Cooper's career:  It is the date she is officially promoted to chief master sergeant. Her promotion is also significant for the Air Force as she becomes the first woman in the medical equipment repair career field to achieve the top enlisted rank.

"It is an honor for me to be selected to serve as a chief master sergeant in the Air Force and to be among some great leaders and mentors in this rank," said Cooper, 81st Medical Support Squadron superintendent. "I stand among the great chiefs that have come before me and being the first female in my career field is consequential. I only hope that I can inspire others to follow in my footsteps."

She will be honored during a formal promotion ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 24 in Keesler Medical Center's Don Wylie Auditorium, with Col. (Dr.) Tom Harrell, Keesler Medical Center commander, serving as presiding officer.

As the 81st MDSS superintendent, she leads and mentors 357 military and civilian health-care professionals who support the 960,000-square-foot medical center.  She advises the squadron commander on matters influencing the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of enlisted personnel. The chief-select also facilitates the management of the medical center's $105 million annual budget and maintains medical equipment and information technology assets valued at over $125 million in support of seven squadrons, five Graduate Medical Education platforms and eight phase II enlisted programs delivering world-class health care to all joint service warfighters, military retirees and their family members along the Gulf Coast.

Since entering the Air Force in May 1993, her background includes biomedical equipment technician, NCO in charge of medical maintenance, technical training instructor and instructor supervisor of the Defense Department Biomedical Equipment Technician School, superintendent of Pacific Air Forces' largest medical equipment repair center and Air Combat Command's largest clinical engineering department. She also has served as Pacific Air Forces' and Air Combat Command's biomedical equipment technician functional manager. 

Prior to her current assignment, Cooper served as clinical engineering superintendent with the 99th MDSS at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. She also has been stationed at locations in Texas, Azores, California and Alaska.