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Two Guard Soldiers Become First Female MLRS Crewmembers

January 25, 2014, 3:27 PM

Two Guard Soldiers Become First Female MLRS Crewmembers
Erika Cotton and Stephanie Kasten

RAPID CITY, SD -

History was made in the South Dakota Army National Guard when two female soldiers enlisted to serve as Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmembers. They became the first women to do so in the state.

Pfc. Erika Cotton, 19, of Volga and Pvt. Stephanie Kasten, 18, of Hazel are both members Battery A, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion in Aberdeen.

Multiple Launch Rocket Systems or MLRS, are highly mobile, automatic systems that fire surface to surface rockets.

The announcement comes after the 2013 rescission of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, which restricted women from joining artillery, armor, infantry and other combat roles.

With the policy change, women can now serve in every position in the SDNG.

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