DVIDS – News – Wisconsin National Guard enlists its first female infantry soldier


MILWAUKEE — A high school student from Platteville faced the American flag and raised her hand to take an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States” during an April 19 ceremony in Milwaukee.

Pvt. Emily Buchholtz will fulfill her oath as an infantry soldier in the Wisconsin National Guard. She is the first female recruit to join the organization as an enlisted infantry soldier.

“I like the thrill,” Buchholtz said when asked why she chose infantry. “I like the challenge, I like having to work hard for everything I do.”

Buchholtz originally wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps, but her father knew National Guard recruiter Platteville and urged her to visit him to find out what the Guard had to offer.

“Sergeant. [1st Class Zach] Mayberry told me about the benefits,” Buchholz said. “I had a better opportunity in [the Guard] to get the job I wanted in the army rather than the job they would give me.

“I think Zach did an amazing job of explaining the differences between the Army National Guard, the Army, and the Marine Corps,” said Bruce Buchholtz, Emily’s father. “He was very diplomatic and presented all the options equally.”

Buchholtz must undergo basic and advanced individual infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga., this fall before he can wear the distinctive infantry blue cord on his right shoulder. When she does, she will join a small but growing group of other female infantry soldiers already serving in the Wisconsin National Guard.

“Put on that cordon bleu at graduation [from infantry basic officer leadership course] was such an incredible sense of accomplishment,” Second Lieutenant Britney Fischer told Buchholtz before taking the enlistment oath.

Fischer became Wisconsin’s first female infantry officer in July 2018. She is a platoon leader of Menomonie’s 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry. She’s learning the ropes of her first assignment, and her rewards and challenges are similar to any new army officer, regardless of branch.

“People are my biggest challenge and my biggest reward,” Fischer said. “Learning the differences of each of my soldiers and what motivates them. I have amazing squad leaders and a really good platoon sergeant.

The Ministry of Defense opened field artillery and combat engineer positions to women in 2015. It followed in 2016 by opening the military occupational specialties (MOS) of infantry, armor and cavalry to women. . Four years later, 31 women in the Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers hold a field artillery MOS and 13 serve as combat engineers.

In recent years, women have risen to positions of command and authority at all levels of the organization and in all branches, including battalion and brigade command. The organization currently has several female general officers, including Brig. Gen. Robyn Blader, the Wisconsin National Guard’s assistant adjutant general for readiness and training, and Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the Wisconsin National Guard’s deputy adjutant general for the Army.

“Wisconsin is integrating women at all levels of the combat arms into our units across the state. Having the ability to enlist a diverse force across all branches provides that competitive advantage in recruiting talent,” said Mathews, who is also a senior officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Harnessing this talent is a critical part of the organization achieving its readiness goals and ensuring its ability to fulfill its state and federal missions.

After completing her training, Buchholtz will join Fischer and two noncommissioned officers as female infantry soldiers in the Wisconsin National Guard.

Buchholtz will join Fischer in the Menomonie unit after completing his training. Company A, 1-128th Infantry is one of the state’s pilot units for integrating women into the combat arms.

“The Menomonie unit is young and has been an open and welcoming unit regarding women in the military,” Fischer said.

(This story appeared online April 30, 2019 on the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs website available at https://dma.wi.gov/DMA/news/2019news/19046)

Date taken: 30.04.2019
Date posted: 05.02.2019 14:03
Story ID: 320099

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