Janesville71.6°

Fontana woman promoted to general

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Catherine W. Idzerda
June 20, 2009
— Her day job: Registered nurse at Mercy Walworth Hospital and Medical Center in Lake Geneva.

Her job weekends and wartime: Brigadier general in the Wisconsin Air National Guard.


On Friday, Gov. Jim Doyle formally promoted Margaret Bair to brigadier general, a rank shes officially held since March 3.


Bair is the first woman to serve as a general in the Wisconsin National Guard.


Bair is chief of staff for the Wisconsin Air National Guard and serves as commander of the Wisconsin Air National Guard headquarters, according to a news release from the National Guard.


Shes also the principal adviser to the commander of the Air National Guard concerning the administration, training, tactical deployment and supply of state Air National Guard units.


Bair started as a registered nurse in the Air Force. She transferred to the Air Force Reserve in 1981 and joined the Montana Air National Guard in 1986.


In 2000, she became the assistant nurse executive for the Milwaukee-based 128th Medical Squadron of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.


Bair, a native of Olean, N.Y., now lives in Fontana.


Bair was the first woman promoted to general at the state level. Another Wisconsin woman, Brig. Gen. Sharon Vander Zyl of McFarland became the first woman general officer in the U.S. Army National Guard in 1992, when she was appointed special assistant to the chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.


On Friday, Doyle also formally promoted Janesville native John E. McCoy of Stoughton to brigadier general, a rank hes held since Jan. 28.


McCoy, a 1978 Craig High School graduate, joined the Army National Guard in his hometown in 1979.


He worked as a fuels specialist until 1984, when he transferred to the 128th Air Refueling Group of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.


After becoming a second lieutenant in 1986, he held a series of command and staff assignments, eventually becoming commander of Mission Support Group in 2003.


He later became the state director of personnel of the Air National Guard.


Now, McCoy commands the Wisconsin Air National Guard and is responsible to the adjutant general for mission performance.



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