Home News First woman takes command of Marine Ground Combat Arms Unit

First woman takes command of Marine Ground Combat Arms Unit

Left: Then Major Michelle Macander being recognized for her outstanding service as a Faculty Advisor at the Expeditionary Warfare School in 2017. Right: Then U.S. Marine Major Michelle Macander, Commanding Officer, Combat Engineer Instruction Company, Marine Corps Engineer School, Camp Lejeune, addresses guests during Master Sergeant Leroy Pianka’s retirement ceremony on Camp Johnson N.C., May 10, 2013.

The first female combat arms unit commander took charge earlier this month, taking the reins of the 1st Marine Division 1st Combat Engineer Battalion.

Lieutenant Colonel Michelle I. Macander took over the 1st Combat Engineers on June 22, during a historic change-of-command ceremony that was the first of its kind in Marine Corps history.

“It is a privilege to carry on the legacy of this storied battalion, and continue to provide support to the largest and most decorated Division in the Marine Corps. I’m honored to be a part of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion team,” Macander said.

According to NBC Los Angeles, Macander is a New York native that has served nearly twenty years and participated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to her time in the Persian Gulf, she also deployed to Afghanistan and served as a faculty advisor at the Expeditionary Warfare School.

June has been a historic month for the Marines in terms of female achievement- mere days after Macander took over 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, a female Marine became the second woman to finish the Infantry Officers Course, securing her a billet and pathway to become a ground intelligence officer.

Retired Marine Corps Colonel Jane Siegel told NBC-LA that Macander’s new position is a historic first, and a win for women everywhere.

“I see this as a great step, a giant step for womankind,” Siegel said.

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