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First female Marine will lead an Engineer Support Battalion

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First Marine female takes command of engineer battalion Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards
Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards gives a speech during the 8th Engineer Support Battalion change of command ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 30, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ryan Young/ released)

Story by Cpl. Ryan Young

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards made Marine Corps history when she took command of the service’s 8th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Lejeune, Nov. 30.

“My charge now is to serve as a positive example of leadership and professionalism to men and women alike,” said Edwards. “I’m extraordinarily proud to take command of 8th ESB today, and I hope that all Marines and Sailors in this battalion recognize that if they work hard and look out for each other they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to.”

Edwards’ new responsibility, as the first female commander of an ESB, will be to provide engineer support to II Marine Expeditionary Forces.

“Engineer support battalions are very much the life support of a MEF,” said Edwards. “We are a large unit that can be tasked to perform a myriad of engineering tasks across the battlefield.”

Edwards was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. on Aug. 14, 1998 and finished as honor graduate at the Combat Engineer Officer’s Course.

While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Edwards received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat ‘V’ for her actions as a forward arming and refueling point team commander, Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, Marine Wing Support Group 37.

Two years ago, Edwards was named one of Business Insider’s 14 Most Impressive Women in the Military.

“I’ve been very lucky to have a breadth of operational experiences, and it was an honor to be recognized,” said Edwards.

This will be Edwards second time serving with 8th ESB; she was the battalion executive officer from late 2008 to early 2009.

First Marine female takes command of engineer battalion
Lt. Col. David Morris passes the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards during the 8th Engineer Support Battalion change of command ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 30, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ryan Young/ released)

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