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2018 Annual Guide: Bourne

Virginia Doonan Bourne

Col. Virginia Doonan. Photo by Paige Biviano

A day in the life of: Col. Virginia Doonan, commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base

By Haley Cote

There’s no such thing as a typical day for Col. Virginia Doonan. As commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, she oversees nearly 1,300 service members working both domestically and abroad. Whether it’s fighting the war on terror in the Middle East, aiding in hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and her native Houston, Texas, or responding in the wake of a snowstorm on Cape Cod, Doonan and her teams’ missions are vast and ever changing. Doonan also serves as a member of the Joint Oversight Group for Joint Base Cape Cod, managing day-to-day operational support with the other military commands of JBCC, including the Air Force and Coast Guard, and working with Upper Cape town managers.

Doonan has a lot riding on her shoulders. But while it’s certainly not a low-stress job, Doonan says being wing commander is exciting—and utterly gratifying. “It’s one of the best jobs you can have,” she says. “Every single day we do work in our intelligence facilities that’s vitally important; we save lives, and we protect people.”

Col. Doonan’s career in service began when she enlisted in the Air Force in 1986, but her desire to serve was sparked earlier. “Growing up in Texas,” she recalls, “my family would go to San Antonio for weekend vacations. San Antonio is the gateway to the Air Force; all enlisted people go through basic training in San Antonio at Lackland. One weekend when I was about 12, my family went [to Lackland], and I saw a bunch of women in uniform. It never dawned on me before then that women were in the military. I thought it was a neat idea, and I told my parents that I wanted to be in the Air Force.”

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