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MHS grad takes command of Air Force squadron

Capt. Nicholas Mercurio/U.S. Air Force

Lt. Col. Nicole Petrucci, commander of 614th Combat Training Squadron, speaks at the new squadron’s activation ceremony in December.


A 1996 graduate of Madera High School has taken command of the 614th Combat Training Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The new squadron will make and maintain changes to training for space missions.

Lt. Col. Nicole Petrucci, of the U.S. Air Force, is responsible for support, training, standardization, evaluation, and integration of all missions for the centers.

“By standing up the 614th CTS, we have recognized a fundamental shift in the space environment and our need to provide advanced training to meet and outpace present and future challenges,” said Col. Michael Manor, 614th Air Operations Center commander and Joint Space Operations Center director.

“We can no longer view space as a unique domain and must therefore study and apply war fighting principals to our everyday operations,” said Manor. “The right person to lead that charge is Lt. Col. Nicole Petrucci. She is a member of an elite cadre of space strategists; she is tough, driven and represents the next generation of space leaders.”

Creating the new squadron involved no cost or changes to military manpower as it consists of personnel previously assigned to the joint center’s Operations Support Division, according to Capt. Nicholas Mercurio, of the 14th Air Force.

Petrucci received her commission from Fresno State University in 2001. She became commander at the squadron’s activation Dec. 16, 2016. Her parents, Thomas and Carol Petrucci of Madera, and her godparents, Paul and Diana Brack of Madera, attended.

“I am honored for the privilege of leading this new unit,” said the commander of the fresh squadron at the ceremony.

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