PITTSFIELD -- Jeannine M. Ryder, the daughter of Christine and William Coan of Pittsfield, was recently promoted to the rank of colonel, U.S. Air Force.
Col. Ryder was educated in the Pittsfield Public Schools and graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1987. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Boston College and entered the Air Force in 1991.
While in the Air Force, she has earned a Master of Science degree in human relations, Master of Arts and Science degree in military operations, and a Master of Science degree in strategic studies.
Ryder’s first assignment was to Bitburg Air Force Base in Germany where she was a clinical nurse. Her next assignment was to Offutt AFB in Nebraska where she was a clinical nurse and then the deputy commander for education and training for the 55th Medical Group.
While at Robbins AFB in Georgia, Ryder was the director of education and training and then deputy director of human resources for the 78th Medical Group. She next went to Dover AFB in Delaware where she served as the nurse manager for the Primary Care Team and then as the pediatric flight commander for the 436 Medical Group.
In 2005, she was one of four selected from among the 3,500 Air Force nurses to attend the Air Command and Staff College at Alabama’s Maxwell AFB. She was then asked to serve as an instructor at the Air Command and Staff College and then was appointed the executive officer for the commandant of the college.
While the maternal-child flight commander at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, she was deployed to Afghanistan where she was the executive officer to the deputy commanding general, Combined Air Power Transition Force, Combined Security Transition Command.
While in Afghanistan, she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, one of the highest awards bestowed by the Department of Defense. The medal is awarded in the name of the secretary of defense to members of the Armed Forces who, while serving in a joint activity, distinguish themselves by non-combat outstanding achievement or meritorious service.
Ryder has received other awards and recognitions including the Air Combat Command Nurse of the Year (1997), 78th Medical Group Company Grade Officer of the Year (2000), Company Grade Officer four times at two different bases, and the Afghan Campaign Medal (2008).
Upon her return from Afghanistan, Ryder served as the deputy commander of the 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron at Keesler AFB and then was appointed commander of the 75th Medical Operations Squadron at Hill AFB in Utah. She was then selected to attend the Air War College at Maxwell AFB.
Ryder is presently the director, Strategic Medical Plans Division, Air Force Medical Service Agency at the Defense Health Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Next year she will be deployed to an Air Force base in Southwest Asia where she will serve as the medical squadron commander.
Ryder and her husband, Terry, and three children, Christine, Paige and Terra, reside in Ocean Springs, Miss.