NEWS | Sept. 28, 2017

Fort Bliss names first female commander in Joint Task Force history

By Ashley Claster, KFOX14/CBS4

(September 28, 2017) -- A historic change in leadership put women on the map in El Paso and in the military.

Laura Yeager hopes to become a role model for young girls in the Borderland. That’s because she became the first female commander in the history of the Joint Task Force North.

“This is in my blood,” Yeager said in an interview with CBS4.

For Yeager, the military is a family affair.

“My dad, my son, my husband, my nephew, my grandfather,” she said.

Her dad was a major general who served in Vietnam. Her son serves as a military police soldier in the National Guard.

Yeager said that is why she’s focusing on service members and their families in this new leadership role.

"My education, is in psychology and in counseling. So I'm very focused on the families. At the end of the day, we don't get the mission done without the support of our families and the community," Yeager said.

The job is keeping illicit drugs out of America. The Joint Task Force North helps law enforcement in this task.

Yeager said her 31-year military career prepared her well.

She was an aviator, flying helicopters with combat roles now open to women.

Yeager said there is no longer a gender gap. "This is really one of the few career opportunities where I can say I get paid exactly the same as the male that's doing the same job."

She will now serve in a position that will be held by men for decades.

Her advice to women, “be tough, advocate for yourself and know your truth.”

"I think that as women, we are used to juggling a lot of things in our lives. Trying to manage packing school lunches, doing homework with the kids, paying the bills and doing the job. So I think we bring an ability maybe to multitask to a job that maybe sometimes men lack," Yeager said.

She will assume command on Friday at 9 a.m.