Greetings, y’all, from Temecula, California!
From my perspective of having served in the Army for 22 years, when I think of an Army Infantry Division Commander, I immediately think about Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, BG Teddy Roosevelt Jr., who, even with arthritis, led troops on D-Day onto Utah Beach. I think of leaders like General Gordon Sullivan and LTG Thomas Rhame, both of my Division Commanders in the 4th Infantry Division. I think of General Dan K. McNeil with whom I first served as a young Airborne Lieutenant in Vicenza, Italy, later in the 2d Infantry Division where he was the Assistant Division Commander, and back at Ft. Bragg where he was the Commander of the 82d Airborne Division. I think of tough leaders who led from the front and had proven themselves up the ranks and earned the respect and regard of their respective Divisions.
But, something is changing in the US Army, and some would say it is for the better. Call me a troglodyte, but I would beg to differ.
As reported by Military.com:
“The U.S. Army National Guard has selected the first female officer to command an infantry division, marking another milestone for women serving in combat units.
Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager will assume command of the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division during a June 29 ceremony at the Joint Forces Training Base at Los Alamitos, California, according to a National Guard news release. Yeager, who currently commands Joint Task Force North, U.S. Northern Command, at Fort Bliss, Texas, has served more than three decades in the Army. Yeager will take command from Maj. Gen. Mark Malanka, who is retiring, according to the release.
The 40th Infantry Division was formed in 1917 and participated in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. More recently, 40th ID soldiers have deployed to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous other locations around the globe, the release states. In March, the division headquarters returned to U.S. soil after completing a train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan, according to the release.
Yeager began her active-duty military service in May 1986, receiving her commission as a second lieutenant from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at California State University Long Beach, the release states.
She completed military helicopter training in 1989 and served as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aeromedical evacuation pilot. She left active duty after eight years when her son was born but later continued her military career in the California Army National Guard, the release adds.
In 2011, Yeager deployed to Iraq as the deputy commander of the California Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), according to the release. She has also served as commander of 3rd Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, and the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.”
I do wish to congratulate BG Yeager on this achievement. Just for the record, a Combat Aviation Brigade is composed of the various rotary wing assets that support a maneuver Division, being UH-60 Blackhawks, AH-64 Apaches, and CH-47 Chinooks.
My only concern with this appointment of BG Yeager to command an Infantry Division is whether the decision is about political correctness and expediency, or true qualifications? I think any of the former, and perhaps current, military members reading this missive would question whether or not any aeromedical evac pilot is best served to lead an Infantry Division. If one were an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot perhaps so, knowing that those platforms support ground combat maneuver operations.
I will borrow a saying from a Civil War Calvary commander in the CSA named Nathan Bedford Forrest. Of course, progressive socialists heads are gonna spin. Forrest once quipped, “war is about fighting, and fighting is about killing.” An Army Combat Infantry Division is all about one thing: closing with, and destroying the enemy with fire and maneuver. And it has been the standard to have those who have that experience to lead Infantry Divisions. Yes, sure, an Armor General Officer could command a mechanized infantry Division, after all, Mech Infantry units have Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks. Heck, there are times when ground maneuver folks chafe at an artilleryman being selected to command ground maneuver formations. However, as a former artilleryman, we were very well-trained in ground maneuver tactics because we were on the ground providing accurate and precision fire support to infantry and armor units.
In my career, I saw several Combat Aviation Brigade commanders go on the be the Chiefs of Staff for Infantry Divisions, and even Assistant Division Commanders, but not command an Infantry Division.
Now, there are those who will refer to me as a Neanderthal, and not very sophisticated, and modern. They will tell me that the “old stereotypes” no longer apply. They will say that a female can do any job in the military. After all, they would say, this is just a managerial position. I beg to differ. First of all, as the NBA season winds down, the WNBA season is beginning. Our US Women Soccer team is about to begin the FIFA World Cup, for women. Last week I watched the NCAA outdoor track and field championships from Austin, Texas, women did not compete in events against men. As of yet, I do not think we have had any mixed UFC fights. So, if the old stereotypes apply to sports — we’ve never seen women compete against men in downhill skiing, or even ping-pong — why do they all of a sudden apply to our military, our national security?
Let’s be honest: we still have separate physical training evaluation standards for men and women in our Army, along with different weight and body fat standards. So, we admit there are differences, but yet we do not want to accept them?
The article just stated that the 40th Infantry Division headquarters just returned from a train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan. I know a little about that having served two and a half years there from 2005-2007 in Kandahar as a civilian/military adviser. I just gotta tell you, it will be really challenging for BG Yaeger to do any training, advising, and mentoring of an Afghanistan Army Infantry Division Commander, who probably has been fighting all of his life, in close combat. Yeah, I know, doggone those Afghan Army combat leaders, they are also a bunch of troglodytes.
I know, the leftist detractors will tell me about the females who have graduated US Army Ranger school. I was never given a slot to attend. But, I must ask, if they still have the king of the pit one on one hand to hand combat training, do they pit the females against a male? Gotta tell ya, in combat, there is no mercy rule, certainly no rules of fairness.
The bottom line we must ask ourselves is are we developing an Army to deploy, fight, and win? Or are we looking for ways to make the Army conform to civilian, well, progressive socialist ideological agendas? I mean we incarcerate the ones who face and kill the enemy, while we release the deserters and traitors.
Well, I suppose if the Army is to have its first female Infantry Division Commander, California is the right place for it to happen.
Airborne, All the Way! Air Assault! Army Strong!
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During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.