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Chateau Mangaroo Venable promoted to Major in USAF

Mangarro Venablee shakes hands

Chateau Mangaroo Venable promoted to Major in USAF

Mangaroo Venable shakes hands with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

By Derek Joy

     She is the daughter of retired United States Air Force (USAF) Senior Master Sergeant Bedase Mangaroo, a Miami resident who wed Miami native Linda Hill Mangaroo 39 years to the day before Chateau Mangaroo Venable was promoted to the rank of Major in the USAF.

    Yes, Mangaroo Venable is a military brat having been born and raised by military parents.

 “No. My parents didn’t push me towards a career in the Air Force,” said Mangaroo Venable, whose promotion became effective Nov. 1, 2012, a scant 10 days before Veterans Day.

    “A lot of people thought my dad had a lot to do with it. He never pushed me. I liked the Air Force, having grown up around it. It was interesting. The travel, the experiences, the leadership opportunities.”

    Leadership is one of the fundamentals in military life. Military servicemen and women learn to first follow, then lead. They frequently stand on the front lines where wounds, injuries and even death are a constant reality.

    Mangaroo Venable graduated from Florida State University with a double major – Russian and International Affairs – in 1998, then enlisted in the USAF.

    “I wanted to do something different,” said Mangaroo Venable. “I liked the Air Force.  When I told my parents that’s what I wanted to do, they just said, ‘Okay, we support your decision.’ They didn’t try to talk me out of it.

    “I didn’t think I was ready to be an officer. It was a little daunting so I joined the enlisted ranks. After four years on a six-year enlistment, I applied for OTS (Officer Training School).

    “It means officers are put under more scrutiny, more pressure to live up to higher standards. People expect more of me, especially going up the ranks. I just hope I can deliver.”

    Ironically, Mangaroo Venable was given the oath and had her oak leaf clusters pinned on by her childhood idol, Captain Audrey Smith, U. S. Navy, retired, her mother’s childhood friend and high school classmate at Northwestern High School in Miami.

    The ceremony took place at CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) Headquarters at Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

    “I met her (Capt. Smith) when I was in high school. I always admired her and other women who served in the military. I saw her as a successful Black woman in the military. Who better than someone with her career to give me the oath of office as I embark on a higher level of responsibility?”

    Education and travel has been a big part of the rewarding experiences Mangaroo Venable anticipated when she chose a career in the USAF. 

    In addition to her current assignment in military intelligence at Macdill Air Force Base, there have been other stateside assignments, as well as tours of duty in Africa, Germany, where she earned her captain’s bars, and Afghanistan, where Mangaroo Venable had the pleasure of meeting and shaking hands with Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Rod-ham Clinton.

    “They were very proud of me. Proud that I’ve gotten to the next level of my success,” added Mangaroo Venable, who has also earned a graduate degree during her 14-year career.

    Her mother offered a maternal perspective to Mangaroo Venable’s promotion.

    “We went to Germany for her pinning ceremony when she was promoted to Captain,” said Hill Mangaroo. “And were tickled pink, very happy she was promoted to Major. Her dad served 23 years in the Air Force and I was a military wife.” Mangaroo Venable’s parents and younger sister, Tasjknik Mangaroo, live in Orange County, Fla.

    The ceremony, according Mangaroo Venable, was even more rewarding when Brig. General Michael Plehn of CENTCOM, offered his congratulations and encouragement.

    Consequently, Mangaroo Venable would tell aspiring enlistees that the military offers great benefits, educational and leadership opportunities and the opportunity to travel.

    Her most memorable experiences are simple and fulfilling. It was completing basic training in the enlisted ranks “because my dad had done it.” As a commissioned officer, it was the thanks and gratitude extended by the people of Africa who “gave me a bottle of champagne, which is not a customary gift for everybody. They were so thankful for the help we gave them.”


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