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News | Feb. 12, 2019

Virginia welcomes first female infantry officer

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

(Editor’s Note:  The story below is reposted from Va. National Guard news, Issue #3, 2019 Commonwealth's Guardian bi-weekly newsletter Feb. 8, 2019 and features First Lt. Candice Bowen, the Virginia National Guard’s first female infantry officer. The Virginia National Guard recently expanded its presence on Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Virginia, after building its Joint Force Headquarters on center, May 14, 2018.)

FORT BENNING, Ga — On Feb. 1, 2019, 1st Lt. Candice Bowen graduated from the U.S. Army’s Infantry Basic Officer Course and became the Virginia National Guard’s first female infantry officer. She joins a small group of other women who have successfully completed training at Fort Benning to become infantry Soldiers and officers since the career field was opened to women in 2016.


“This isn’t really for me,” Bowen said. “This is important for the people who are coming after me.”

Bowen graduated from IBOLC alongside 187 of her peers at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. During the ceremony, her father, a retired Army sergeant major, pinned a blue infantry cord to her uniform, signifying her new career field.

“My dad has been there with me through this whole journey,” Bowen said, explaining that her father had been there for her first Junior ROTC parade and every military milestone since. Bowen graduated and earned her commission from Penn State. Her dad was there for that, too, rendering the final salute of his active duty military career to his daughter on the day of her commissioning.

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