Michigan Native promoted to U.S. Air Force colonel

ARLINGTON, VA (WLNS) – A graduate of Lansing Everett High School and the University of Michigan reached a career milestone Friday.

Tracy Onufer was promoted in Arlington, Virginia to a colonel in the United States Air Force.

For her it’s a dream come true.

“I thought I’d be working with petroleum and plastics, but I just randomly decided to go to the Air Force recruiter one day and he was like, “hey, with your technical background you could get a flying position. So this guy was telling me I could fly for my career so I decided to follow it through and here I am almost 20 years later,” said Col. Tracy Onufer, Air Force.

Those who know her say, the sky’s the limit for Col. Tracy Onufer.

It’s been a quick rise to the top after finishing officer training and navigator school; she acquired her wings in 1998.

Then 13 years later Tracy became the first female commander of the 16th Special Operation Squadron.

At that time, she was only the second women ever to command an operational flying squadron.

On Friday at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial in Arlington, her parents as well as former Lansing City Councilmember Alfreda Schmidt took part in her pinning ceremony.

When asked what advice she would pass along to young women, Col. Onufer had this to say, “As long as you believe in yourself, you put the work into it. And have the mentality that you can do anything, you can do anything, so just put it to it.”

Col. Onufer says she plans to continue to motivate her fellow airmen at the highest level possible, continuing the Air Force legacy.

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