AFTON, Wyo. – To 1st Lt. Alyssa Brenner, a change of command ceremony means a step forward in her career. To the rest of the Wyoming National Guard, it was a historic milestone. As she grasped the guidon in the traditional passing of the colors she became the first female to command an infantry unit in the Wyoming Army National Guard. She is the second female to command a combat arms unit in Wyoming, joining Capt. Leslie Brazil, former commander of Alpha Battery, 2-300th Field Artillery Regiment.
Hailing from Marshfield, Wisconsin, Brenner first enlisted in the Guard when she was in college. After a year, she decided to commission and completed the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course. She’s been with Charlie Company, 1-297th Infantry Regiment in Afton since it officially stood up in July of 2016.
The number of women serving in combat arms has slowly begun to grow. 2015 marked the year when the ban on females in combat arms lifted. The numbers are still small, and the group of women that serve as commanders in combat arms is even smaller, but they continue to grow.
“It’s a cool thing to see,’ Brenner says when she sees her fellow female officers starting to command other units. “To the women who want to do these things, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.”
Brenner currently resides in Golden, Colorado, where she serves as a police officer with the Golden Police Department. She has been a member of the Wyoming Army National Guard for five years.
Brenner received command of the 1-297th on Nov. 5 from the outgoing commander, Capt. Spencer Jones, in the traditional change of command ceremony. The ceremony represents the formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another. After the ceremony, Brenner shared some words of wisdom for her Soldiers.
“What you’re doing with your service is honorable, and the people of this country do appreciate it. It’s worth the sacrifice. It’s an honor to serve with you.” She went on to say, “When things get tough, remember that it’s important what you are doing, and it does matter. Keep pushing.”
She followed with words of wisdom for her fellow leaders.
“Continue to set the example and never ask your soldiers to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do as well.”
In the time that she’s been with the 1-297th, Brenner has developed a trusting relationship with her Solders, which she hopes to continue to foster and build. She is excited for the opportunity to command the unit and feels lucky to be able to.
“I’ve worked with these Soldiers for the past five years. We’ve been through all the training and deployments together. I know them, and they know me. They make the job easy,” Brenner says. “It will be a big challenge, but I’m excited about it.”
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