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First woman to command NH Air National Guard dies

Brigadier General Carolyn J. Protzmann receives her one-star rank insignia from her husband James Protzmann and from Major General William N. Reddel, III, the Adjutant General, New Hampshire National Guard, Pease Air National Guard Base, NH, June 4, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)

The first woman to command the New Hampshire Air National Guard died Friday.

Retired Brig. Gen. Carolyn J. Protzmann was 64.

Protzmann was born in Franklin, according to her obituary. She joined the U.S. Air Force in 1978, the year after she finished a business degree from the University of New Hampshire.

After serving in the United States and the United Kingdom, Protzmann left active duty and joined the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 1984.

The guard allowed her to stay part of the military while spending time with her son, Protzmann told a National Guard publication in 2015.

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Over her three decades in the national guard, Protzmann served as a logistics officer and personnel officer, before becoming commander of the Mission Support Group. She spent 10 years as the vice wing commander before becoming Assistant Adjutant General and commander of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

She retired in 2015, at 59, and had been living in South Berwick, Maine.

“The military was my calling and it has been my honor to serve,” Protzmann said in 2015.

A burial service will be held Thursday (March 19) at 2:30 p.m. at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

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© 2020 The New Hampshire Union Leader