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Kristin Goodwin
A portrait photograph of a white woman in a blue US Air Force uniform; she is smiling while facing and looking into the camera.
US Air Force photo (2016)
Born Pittsburgh, PA, US
Spouse(s) Kelly Fisher
Children Two daughters
Military career
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1993–present (29.1 years)
Rank Brigadier general
Commands held
Awards Air Medal

Kristin Elizabeth Goodwin is a brigadier general in the United States Air Force (USAF). A transport pilot after graduating the U.S. Air Force Academy, she moved on to bombers before assuming commands. She served as the USAF Academy's commandant of cadets, a post from which she was removed due to a USAF Inspector General investigation. As of August 2020, she was the chief of staff of the United States Space Force's Space Operations Command.

Personal life

Kristin Elizabeth Goodwin[1] was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[2] Her father was active-duty US Coast Guard (who retired after 30 years), and her mother was a retiree from the US Air Force Reserve. As a Coast Guard brat who moved frequently, she claimed Fairfax, Virginia as her home town because she attended high school there.[3]

Openly gay,[4] as of March 2019 Goodwin was married to her wife Kelly Goodwin (née Fisher)[5]—a professional cyclist and former firefighter. They have two daughters (born in 2011/2012 and 2013/2014).[6] An athlete, the general has competed in five marathons, as well as Ironman Triathlons and the Bataan Memorial Death March.[3]


Cadet Goodwin (c. 1993)

Goodwin received her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy in 1993. In 2001, she received her Master of Arts in business and organizational management from George Washington University.[7]

Military career


On 2 June 1993, Goodwin was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force; from August 1993 through January 1994, her first assignment was as the Assistant Deputy Executive Officer or Professional Military Studies at her alma mater, the Air Force Academy. She then underwent flight training for the Cessna T-37 Tweet, Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk, and Lockheed C-130 Hercules at Laughlin and Little Rock Air Force Bases from January 1994 – August 1995.[7]

An EC-130H in 2010

That August, then-First Lieutenant Goodwin was assigned to the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base as the commander of a Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call. In February 1998, now a captain, she became an EC-130 instructor and the Operations Executive Officer of Davis–Monthan's 355th Operations Group. From July 1999 through June 2001, Captain Goodwin worked in the Pentagon offices of the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (General Hugh Shelton) as part of the Air Force Intern Program.[7]

A B-2 at Whiteman

Goodwin was stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base from June 2001 – July 2006. For her first year, Goodwin's duties with the 394th Combat Training Squadron included training on the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and flying the Northrop T-38 Talon. From June 2002 through November 2004, Goodwin was a flight commander with the 325th Bomb Squadron, flying T-38s and acting as mission commander on B-2 sorties. November 2004 – December 2005 saw then-Major Goodwin teaching B-2 pilots and still flying T-38s with the 509th Operations Support Squadron (509 OSS); through July 2006 she added to her plate: Chief of Combat Plans for the 509th Bomb Wing.[7]

As of November 2018, Goodwin was rated as a command pilot, having over 2900 flight hours in the T-37, T-1, C-130, EC-130, B-2, T-38, and B-52.[7] Her B-2 aviator call sign is "Duchess".[8]


Major Goodwin returned to the Pentagon in July 2006 to work under the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General T. Michael Moseley. A year later, she was hand-picked to transfer to Camp H. M. Smith and work as the deputy director of the United States Pacific Command's Commander's Action Group under Admiral Timothy J. Keating. Come August 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Goodwin returned to Whiteman as the director of operations for the 393rd Bomb Squadron while evaluating B-2 pilots. After eleven months, she was elevated to commander of the 509 OSS.[7]

Col Goodwin, CC, 2 BW (2016)

From June 2011 – June 2012, Goodwin served as the executive officer to the Air Combat Command commander, General Gilmary M. Hostage III, after which she was a Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow from June 2012 – June 2013. Colonel Goodwin was then reassigned to Whiteman as the vice commander of the 509th Bomb Wing from June 2013 – August 2014, before becoming commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing (2 BW) at Barksdale Air Force Base for 22 months.[7] While heading the 2 BW as its first female commander,[9] Goodwin oversaw the first reintroduction of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress to combat in ten years, as well as helped plan Operation Odyssey Dawn's first night of shock and awe operations. After Leaving Louisiana in May 2016, Goodwin was the senior military assistant to Secretaries of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Lisa Disbrow.[7]

Academy commandant

Comdt. Goodwin in February 2019

The Air Force announced on 21 March 2017 that Colonel Goodwin was to be the next commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy (also commander of the 34th Training Wing).[9] Michael L. Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation lauded the installation of an openly-homosexual leader at the academy.[10] In contrast, Kayla Moore of the Foundation for Moral Law decried the selection in her letter to United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, claiming that Goodwin "does not set a proper moral example" in accordance with Moore's Christian interpretations of marriage and human sexuality.[11] Goodwin arrived in Colorado in May 2017; she was still serving as commandant on 2 June 2018 when she received her first star upon promotion to brigadier general.[7]

As commandant, Goodwin was credited with instituting new cadet discipline policies,[12] but was reported to have a "stormy relationship with subordinates and colleagues". Anonymous officers at the academy told The Gazette that "Goodwin was a caustic leader who treated those under her roughly and was easily riled."[13]

After the graduation of the academy's 2019 class on 30 May,[13] Goodwin was expected to transfer to the Pentagon, work as director of current operations under Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Stephen W. Wilson, and be replaced as commandant by Brig Gen Michele Edmondson.[12] In April 2019, however, Goodwin was relieved of her command by Lieutenant General Jay B. Silveria "pending the results of an [unspecified] ongoing investigation"[13] by the Inspector General of the Air Force (IGAF),[14] NPR was told by unnamed officials that "there were 'climate and leadership issues' at the academy."[15]

On 21 November 2019, the IGAF released its investigative report, substantiating claims that Goodwin blamed others for her failures, failed to engender an acceptable workplace environment, traveled on government time for personal purposes to the tune of US$5,300 ($5,300 in 2022), made inappropriate charges to a cadet's government credit card while TDY to the Captain Marvel premiere, and more. In response, Goodwin's civilian attorney announced that the general would pursue redress for Silveria's decision in accordance with Article 138 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as it was based on hearsay and therefore "[w]e assess his actions were arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of his discretion as superintendent." Goodwin also maintains that she endured homophobic "bigotry, bias and discrimination".[16]

According to Goodwin's official Air Force biography, she was the chief of staff of the Joint Force Space Component Command at Peterson Air Force Base from May to August 2019 before becoming director of the North American Aerospace Defense Command & United States Northern Command Transformation Office at Peterson. After one year, Goodwin remained at Peterson and became the chief of staff for the United States Space Force's Space Operations Command in August 2020.[17]

Awards and decorations

Awards and decorations
Legion of Merit ribbon.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Defense Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Force Commendation ribbon.svg Air Force Achievement Medal ribbon.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (USMC and USN frame).svg Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg"V" device, brass.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Organizational Excellence ribbon.svg
Combat Readiness Medal ribbon.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon.svg Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal ribbon.svgNuclear Deterrence Operations 'N' Device.pngBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg NATO Medal ribbon (Non-Article 5).svg

As of July 2019, Goodwin was a recipient of two Legion of Merits, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, an Air Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal, four Air Force Achievement Medals, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (with "V" device), an Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, four Combat Readiness Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, four Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medals (with N device), and a NATO Medal.[18]


  1. "Firsties" (in en). 1993 Polaris. Colorado Springs, Colorado: United States Air Force Academy. 1993. p. 475. Retrieved 2021-03-02. 
  2. Pace, Tom (2014-08-27). "'1-on-1' with Col. Kristin Goodwin, Cmdr. 2nd Bomb Wing, BAFB" (in en). 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "New Commandant of Cadets Reports for Duty: Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin Says Leadership Development, Innovation Will Be Her Focus" (in en). United States Air Force Academy. 2017-05-19. 
  4. Preston, Terrel S. (2015-09-18). "Reflecting on the Repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Four Years Later" (in en). 
  5. "Richard Clarence Stephan" (in en). Effingham Daily News. CNHI. 2019-03-15. 
  6. Christie, Judy (2016-04-30). "For love of family and country: 'We're very blessed by a strong community'" (in en). The Times. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 "Brigadier General Kristin E. Goodwin" (in en). United States Air Force. November 2018. 
  8. Roeder, Tom (2019-05-06). "Methodical rise preceded spectacular fall for Air Force Academy commandant Kristin Goodwin" (in en). The Gazette. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Panzino, Charlsy (2017-03-21). "Bomber pilot picked to be the Air Force Academy's commandant of cadets" (in en). Air Force Times. ISSN 0002-2403. 
  10. Zubeck, Pam (2017-03-20). "New female AFA commandant moving here soon, with her wife" (in en). Colorado Springs Independent. Colorado Springs, Colorado. 
  11. Garrison, Greg (2017-04-03). "Roy Moore's wife issues statement opposing lesbian Air Force Academy commandant" (in en). 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dickstein, Corey (2019-04-29). "Air Force Academy removes commandant of cadets from job amid investigation" (in en). Stars and Stripes. Washington, D.C.: Defense Media Activity. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Roeder, Tom (2019-04-30). "Air Force Academy removes commandant of cadets amid investigation" (in en). The Gazette. 
  14. "Ousted Air Force Academy commandant under investigation, superintendent confirms" (in en). Colorado Springs, Colorado: KKTV. 2019-04-29. 
  15. Gonzales, Richard (2019-04-29). "Air Force Academy Abruptly Removes Its Commandant Of Cadets" (in en). NPR. 
  16. Losey, Stephen (2019-11-21). "IG found former academy commandant misused travel, had poor command climate; she will seek redress for firing" (in en). Air Force Times. Michael Reinstein. ISSN 0002-2403. 
  17. "Brigadier General Kristin E. Goodwin" (in en). United States Air Force. September 2020. 
  18. "Brigadier General Kristin E. Goodwin" (in en). United States Air Force. July 2019. 

External links