Dr. Megan Shutts-Karjola, a Stockton resident and OB-GYN at Mountain West Medical Center, received her promotion to colonel in the Air Force Reserves during a ceremony at Stockton Veterans Memorial Park on Monday morning.
The ceremony was presided over by Congressman Chris Stewart and was attended by Shutts-Karjola’s family and friends, as well as various local officials. Stewart, an Air Force veteran, served for 14 years as a pilot.
During his remarks at the promotion ceremony, Stewart talked about his first time meeting his wing commander, a colonel, while serving as a lieutenant and the intimidation and respect he felt. He said he appreciates the competence and sacrifice it takes to reach the rank in the Air Force.
“I just think it’s worth recognizing here, that this is something kind of cool,” Stewart said. “That achieving this rank, achieving this responsibility and this position of leadership, is not something that everyone who enters the Air Force does.”
In her remarks, Shutts-Karjola thanked all of her family and friends who were able to make it to the ceremony. She said her husband, Stockton Mayor Thomas Karjola, told her there would be a ceremony to recognize reaching the rank of colonel because she owed it to the people who love and support her.
“Until today, I’ve had exactly one promotion ceremony in my military career and that’s because it was part of my graduation,” Shutts-Karjola said. “I much prefer to work quietly and stay under the radar.”
Shutts-Karjola is currently based out of Eglin Air Force Base, where she serves as an individual mobilization augmentee. She said in that role, she was assigned to an active duty unit and would fill in as needed.
While she hasn’t received her new assignment yet, Shutts-Karjola said she’s looking forward to whatever comes next.
“It will be a change,” she said. “It’s generally going to be something medical, obviously, and usually in more of a leadership-type position.”
Shutts-Karjola called the turnout for the ceremony crazy, but said Stockton is a very patriotic town and it was great to be able to see and feel it.
“It’s pretty humbling, I think, but much appreciated,” she said.