Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager will make history when she becomes the first woman to command a U.S. Army Infantry Division later this month.
Yeager, who was once a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot and served in Iraq, will command the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division.
Her active military service began in May 1986 after she received her commission through the ROTC program at California State University Long Beach.
She transitioned to the National Guard in 1995 and served in various roles in the California and Texas National Guard over the years. In 2011, she was deployed to Iraq as deputy commander of the California Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Yeager followed in the footsteps of her father, retired California National Guard Maj. Gen. Robert Brandt, who served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot.
“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,” Yeager told the Defense Department’s news service when she was promoted to brigadier general in 2016. “He always had high expectations for me but I was given a lot of independence to pursue my own path.”
At the time, she was only the fourth female general in California National Guard history.
“As a female, I have found the military to provide opportunities and benefits unmatched by any profession,” Yeager said in the 2016 interview. “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.
Yeager will assume her new position during a ceremony in Los Alamitos, Calif., on June 29.
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