NATO Headquarters Sarajevo welcomes first ever female Commander

  • 10 Jun. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 10 Jun. 2015 15:45

Almost 11 years after its creation, NATO HQ Sarajevo has a woman at its head. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Giselle Wilz has taken office as the 21st Commander and Senior Military Representative of NHQSa.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, passes the flag to U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Giselle Wilz, NATO Headquarters Sarajevo commander, during the transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Butmir in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina June 9, 2015. Wilz is the first female commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo. (Courtesy Photo)

Speaking at the transfer of authority ceremony on 9 June in Sarajevo, General Wilz said: "I am thankful and honored for the opportunity to command NATO Headquarters Sarajevo. I pledge to continue NATO’s ongoing commitment to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the NATO Commander and Senior Military Representative."

General Wilz will command NATO forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and assist the government authorities with meeting requirements for membership in the NATO alliance. The mandate of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo is specifically focused on defence reform.

Being at the forefront is not unusual for General Wilz, who was the first female colonel, chief of staff and general in the North Dakota Army National Guard before becoming Commander of NHQSa. Originally from Richardton, North Dakota, she comes from a family with a strong military background that includes her father and three of her five siblings. Between them, they have more than 165 years of military service.