Chief of Safety, Commander of Air Force Safety Center changes from Leavitt to Choquette

  • Published
  • By AFSEC Public Affairs
  • Air Force Safety Center

Brig. Gen. Sean M. Choquette became the 16th Department of the Air Force chief of safety and commander of the Air Force Safety Center, during a change of command ceremony at Kirtland Air Force Base, Aug. 4.

Department of the Air Force Director of Staff, Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider, presided as Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt relinquished command after serving as the top safety officer since August 2021.

“Over the past two years, Gen. Leavitt has translated the work done at the Air Force Safety Center to work at the Pentagon,” Schneider said. “She created a process to improve how the Department of the Air Force handles mishaps and turns this team’s actions into meaningful change.”

“She has done phenomenal work with the Air Force Safety Center, putting it on a positive trajectory,” Schneider praised. “She has left big shoes to fill and strong shoulders to stand on as Sean assumes command.”

Leavitt is set to retire in September after more than 30 years of service. During her time in the Air Force, she was not only the Chief of Safety and commander of the Air Force Safety Center but, most notably, the first female fighter pilot. She also served as the first Chairman of the Joint Safety Council, a Department of Defense initiative to have services collaborate to safeguard all those that serve.

In her last speech as commander and chief of safety, Leavitt thanked her team for their service, “First, I want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication over my tenure here at the Air Force Safety Center.”

“As we focused our efforts, our work ensured that the US Air Force and Space Force executed their missions safely by implementing proactive behaviors and fostering a culture that encouraged reporting to prevent mishaps,” she said. “It has really been an honor and pleasure to serve as the chief of safety for the Air Force and Space Force, as well as the commander of the safety center.”

“Today we pass this command over to Brig. Gen. Choquette,” Schneider said. “We are all excited to see Choquette take the reins of the Air Force Safety Center and continue its legacy.”

“Sean brings a breadth of experience, knowledge, and leadership that will help him lead this tremendous organization,” he commended.

Choquette thanked Maj. Gen. Leavitt for her leadership and life of service while praising the safety center’s accomplishments. “I am very excited to be a part of the Air Force Safety Center team.”

“On day one of Army flight school, I was indoctrinated into our strong military safety culture,” he reflected. “The class highlighted the Army’s first aircraft accident at Ft Myer, VA in 1908…and that story remains a pillar today in my belief that safety is a combat multiplier and operational imperative.”

As the chief of safety, Choquette develops, executes and evaluates all Department of the Air Force aviation, occupational, weapons, space and system mishap prevention and nuclear surety programs to preserve combat readiness. He also directs research to promote safety awareness and mishap prevention, oversees mishap investigations, as well as manages and directs all safety and risk management courses for the Air and Space Forces.

More about Choquette and his work, prior to the AFSEC, can be found in his biography.