General Burckle becomes first woman to command Utah Air National Guard

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SALT LAKE CITY – A change in command marked a historic moment in Utah Saturday as Christine Burckle became the first woman to lead the Utah Air National Guard.

Burckle fought back tears as she accepted the promotion.

“I’m humbled and honored to have this opportunity,” she said.

Burckle was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General and placed in command during a ceremony at the Roland R. Wright Utah Air National Guard Base.

“As the state's first female general, and first female to command Utah Air National Guard, I am just excited to honor the legacy of the female pioneers who preceded me, as well as the incredible talent pool that we have in the National Guard today,” she said.

From the time she was young, Burckle has been breaking glass ceilings.

“My mom grew up on a farm, one of nine," Burckle said. "She never went to college, but she never, ever led me to believe that I couldn't be whatever I wanted to be in this country."

It’s a trait she has passed on to her 13-year-old daughter, Kate.

“She always talks about resilience, even in little things, like, come on, don't give up cleaning your room,” Kate said.

Her resilience was more evident than ever at this historical ceremony. Her husband, George Burckle, says she’s been like this since they met.

“Super proud," George Burckle said. "It’s quite an achievement. Male or female, it’s very difficult to achieve, and there just aren't that many."

She may be the first, but Christine Burckle says she won’t be the last.

“I’m confident as the first female general, I know there will be many more to come behind me,” she said.

Burckle has served in the National Guard for 28 years.