June 19 (UPI) -- The Air Force named Chief MSgt. JoAnne Bass its first female Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force on Friday, its highest-ranked noncommissioned officer.
In her new position, Bass will be the public face of enlisted airmen, and the personal advisor to incoming Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown and Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.
Bass will focus on issues related to the welfare, readiness and morale of enlisted personnel.
Brown, additionally, will be the military's first African-American service chief when he is sworn in, in August.
Bass currently serves as command chief master sergeant of the Second Air Force at Keesler Air Base, Miss., a command which oversees four training wings in 76 locations, supporting 13,000 Air Force personnel and civilians, and 36,000 military trainees per year.
She and Brown "will be responsible for addressing racial disparity in the Air Force," the Air Force said Friday.
"I'm honored and humbled to be selected as the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and follow in the footsteps of some of the best leaders our Air Force has ever known," Bass said in a statement.
"The history of the moment isn't lost on me; I'm just ready to get after it. And I'm extremely grateful for and proud of my family and friends who helped me along the way," Bass said.
Brown said that Bass has the skills and temperament the new job requires, as well as an outlook on leadership similar to his own.
"I could not be more excited to work side-by-side with Chief Bass," Brown said. "She has unique skills that will help us both lead the Total Force and live up to the high expectations of our airmen. She is a proven leader who has performed with distinction at every step of her accomplished career."
Bass, the product of a military family, began her career in 1993.