Sgt. Erin Fagnan paves the way for women drill instructors in the SD National Guard

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a first for South Dakota’s Army National Guard: one of its newest drill sergeants is paving the way for women.

“You shouldn’t let other people’s expectations define what you’re able to do in your life,” Sgt. Erin Fagnan said.

With hard work and perseverance, Sgt. Erin Fagnan is climbing the ranks and she hopes other South Dakota women will follow.

“If you have a goal to become a drill sergeant or whatever is with your life whether you’re male or female, you have to understand that in order to achieve that goal, you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone. And you might be the only one doing it,” Sgt. Fangan said.

Sgt. Fagnan is an Aberdeen native. She attended college at Northern State University for her undergrad. Then, went onto the School of Mines for her Masters engineering.

Becoming a drill instructor was an 11 year process.

Sgt. Fagnan graduated from Drill Sergeant Academy on April 10th. She graduated with honors placing her the top 10 out of 107 in her class.

“There’s been a lot of life in those 11 years. It’s not hard in the sense that somebody stopped me, that’s not the case. It’s because of all the life experience that you have to live in order to get to this spot,” Sgt. Fagnan said.

Drill Sgt. Paul Hoffman has known Sgt. Fagnan for seven years, as a mentor and now, a fellow drill sergeant.

“She can utilize all those years out of the military and everything she’s done in the civilian sector to bring to the table, to these young men and women that join these ranks and yeah, she’d going to do great things,” Sgt. Hoffman said.

While Sgt. Fagnan is paving the way for women, she thanks those who supported her along the way.

“Anybody that’s gone before me and has served along side of me, wouldn’t have been possible without them,” Sgt. Fagnan said.

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