It’s 2019 and one woman is proving we can achieve whatever we put our minds to by becoming the first female commander of a US army infantry.
Brigadier general Laura Yeager, a former black hawk helicopter pilot, will take on the command of the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry division at the end of this month.
Having previously served in Iraq, Yeager will officially be in charge of more than 10,000 soldiers during a ceremony in Los Alamitos, California, on June 29.
She will take over the responsibility from major general Mark Malanka who is retiring, having received her commission from the US army in 1986 as a second lieutenant from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at California State University Long Beach.
Three years into her service, Yeager completed her helicopter training before serving as UH-60 black hawk helicopter aeromedical evacuation pilot – which is equally as impressive as it sounds.
Eight years in, Yeager stepped down to have her first son, before continuing to serve in the California National Guard.
Her commitment to serve paid off in 2011 when she was deployed to Iraq as the deputy commander in the California Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Yeager’s long and impressive career has seen her serve as a battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment and brigade commander of the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade. Now, she serves as a commander of Joint Task Force North in Fort Bliss, Texas.
Yeager has followed in her dad’s footsteps with her military career, with her father also serving as a helicopter pilot. He served for forty years including two tours in the Vietnam War and a stint as commander in the California Guard.
In 2016, Yeager was promoted to Brigadier General, becoming only the fourth female to take on the role.
At the time, she said, as reported by the MailOnline:
My father has been a tremendous role model to me, both as a parent and as an officer and I have benefited immensely from his mentorship.
He always had high expectations for me but I was given a lot of independence to pursue my own path.
As a female, I have found the military to provide opportunities and benefits unmatched by any profession.
Clearly, females are in the minority within the military, yet in every assignment I have held, my mostly male peers, subordinates and superiors, have supported me, treated me with respect, coached, mentored and advised me.
At the same time, I have been inspired by the incredibly strong and amazing women I have served with and for.
What an incredible woman.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.