A Racer legacy: Saylor retires from 181st IW

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dianne Pirog
  • 181st Intelligence Wing

HULMAN FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind. (April 24, 2022) -- In 2019, U.S. Air Force Col. Tamala A. Saylor made history by becoming the Indiana National Guard’s first woman wing commander. On April 23, 2022, she became the first woman wing commander to retire from the Indiana Air National Guard.

Surrounded by family, friends, retirees, and current military members of the 181st Intelligence Wing, 122nd Fighter Wing and Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Saylor said her last words as a military member and her first words as a retiree.

“I’m going to stand here for a second and take it all in,” said Saylor. “To stand here right now and see everyone in the hangar is truly humbling.”

Saylor started her career as an enlisted member in 1983 with the 122nd FW then commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1997. Later, she transferred to the 181st Fighter Wing – the predecessor to the 181st IW.

Even early in her career, Saylor served in a number of high-impact roles. For example, she served as the administrative assistant to the chief of staff of the Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland while she was enlisted.

Stories of the positive impact of Saylor’s leadership were shared by guest speakers as they told the audience what she meant to them and the military as a whole.

“It’s been a real honor working with her,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Holmes, who served as the vice commander of the 181st IW under Saylor. “She created an open command climate where everyone felt welcome.”

Saylor was recognized by numerous people who worked alongside her throughout her career. By the end of the ceremony, she was presented with multiple awards and gifts.

Indeed, the size of the audience and the myriad of gifts presented highlighted the years of service Saylor dedicated to the state of Indiana and the Air Force.

In retirement, Saylor said she looks forward to spending her time with her husband, Johnny Saylor, and spoiling her grandchildren. Still, she closed her final remarks with parting well-wishes to her former colleagues.

“The past 39 years of my life have flown by, and I wouldn’t change a minute of it,” said Saylor. “I hope you all have as much joy and satisfaction in your military careers as I have had.”