Brigadier General (OF-6) Laura Yeager will make history later this month when she becomes the first woman to command a US Army Infantry division. She has been the Commander, Joint Task Force North, USNORTHCOM at Fort Bliss (Texas) since September 2017.
Yeager, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who deployed to Iraq, will assume command of the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division during a ceremony in Los Alamitos, California, on 29 June, according to a news release from the California Guard.
She received her commission from the U.S. Army in 1986 as a second lieutenant from the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at California State University Long Beach. Three years later, Yeager completed military helicopter training and began serving as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter aeromedical evacuation pilot.
Though Yeager left active duty service eight years later when her son was born, she continued her career in the California Army National Guard. In 2011, she deployed to Iraq as the deputy commander of the California Guard’s 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Yeager would later serve as battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment and brigade commander of the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, before assuming her current role as commander of Joint Task Force North in Fort Bliss, Texas.
Outside of her own career trajectory, Yeager is familiar with military leadership. Her father, Retired Major General (OF-7) Robert Brandt, was also a helicopter pilot who served two tours during the Vietnam War and became a top commander in the California National Guard. Brandt retired in 1999 after four decades of service.
When Yeager was promoted to Brigadier General in 2016, she was only the fourth female general in California National Guard history.