I saw this interesting story on Yahoo today, Obama Air Force Nomination Reeks of Politics, by Teri Heisler. It talked about the careers of 3 different female USAF flag officers: Lt Gen(P) Wolfenbarger, Maj Gen Masiello, and Lt Gen(ret) Gabreski. Wolfenbarger made the news because she will become USAF's first female 4-star. Heisler decried the selection because she thinks that the other two officers were more qualified, worthy, of being the first USAF female general.
The 3 generals had very distinct career paths: Wolfenbarger, an Academy grad, is a developmental engineer. Masiello is a contracting officer. And Gabreski is a maintenance officer with significant command and operational experience. Masiello deployed to Iraq once, while Gabreski served a tour in Korea. Wolfenbarger stayed CONUS the whole time, but she did have a GWOT Svc Medal. [Couldn't find where she got it from.] Heisler thought that Masiello and Gabreski are better role models because of their deployments and operational experience for an Air Force at war.
However, I think USAF went with the right choice with Wolfenbarger, both as a female role model and as AFMC Commander. Wolfenbarger is an engineer, which is exactly the raison d'etre of AFMC: to engineer weapons for the USAF. If Gabreski was in the Army, then she would have made 4-star because the Army likes operational experience. But the USAF needs an engineer to manage its technical programs, so Wolfenbarger got the nod.
Moreover, as a female engineer, Wolfenbarger is the right STEM role model. It's somewhat ironic that Heisler, who just wrote about "Women in STEM Careers", turns right back around and decries a female engineer making ranks.
[On the other hand, the current AFMC Commander, Gen Hoffman, a male, was a fighter pilot and an engineer. So when USAF female pilots come of age, we can expect AFMC commanders to stay pilot/engineers. Gabreski was operational, just not the right kind of operational.]