Laura Yeager to become Army's 1st female infantry division commander

Laura Yeager to become Army's 1st female infantry division commander
© Joint Task Force North

Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager is set to make history this month when she becomes the first woman ever to command a U.S. Army Infantry Division.

Yeager, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot, will command the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division, the Orange County Register reported Friday. She will take over on June 29 for Maj. Gen. Mark Malanka, who is retiring.

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Yeager became a second lieutenant in the Army in 1986 and completed military helicopter training three years later. She then began her service as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aeromedical evacuation pilot.

In 2011, she deployed to Iraq as the deputy commander of the Cal Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, where she served as battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment and brigade commander of the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, according to the paper.

Yeager was promoted to brigadier general in 2016, becoming 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," she said at the time.

"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."