Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager Makes History as Becomes the First Woman to Command Army Infantry Division

A brigadier general who led Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq will become the first woman to lead an Army infantry division.

Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager will assume command of the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division in ceremonies later this month at the Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos.

“I think it’s an exciting time for the California National Guard,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma told USA TODAY. “She’s been a battalion commander, a brigade commander and now a division commander. She’s earned it.”

Yeager, taking the reins from retiring Maj. Gen. Mark Malanka, will take charge of a force of more than 10,000 soldiers.

She began active-duty service in 1986 after receiving her commission as a second lieutenant from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at California State University Long Beach. She completed military helicopter training in 1989 and then served as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aeromedical evacuation pilot.

Yeager, who left active duty after eight years when her first son was born, later continued her military career in the California Army National Guard.

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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon