CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait City (WCCO) — More than 600 men and women with the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division are currently deployed in Kuwait. They have been stationed at Camp Arifjan near Kuwait City since September 2018.
WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman and photojournalist Tom Aviles tell us how women are leading the mission.
“I am the headquarters support company commander, so I command a company of 107 troops in four different countries and we provide support to the division headquarters,” Capt. Maggie Gregg said. “We like to say we support the attack.”
Gregg from Minnetonka, 1st Sgt. Christine Talks from Tracy, and battalion commander Lt. Col Kristen Augé from Two Harbors all have prominent roles in leading Minnesota National Guard troops.
“I’m responsible for a battalion staff,” Augé said. “We’re responsible for the administrative and logistical and training support of our soldiers here on the ground.”
These women in leadership are essential in shaping the environment in Kuwait, and advancing United States interests by promoting security and stability in the Middle East. All say the support of the soldiers they serve with both men and women have helped them reach their highest levels in their military careers.
“As my team grows, and as my soldiers grow, I grow,” Gregg said. “I grow as a result of all the hard work they put in and all the mentorship they give me– leading up– not just leading down.”
All are proud to stand on the shoulders of other Minnesota women who continue to crash through that glass ceiling.
“We have two female general officers in the Minnesota National Guard and that happened at least a few years ago,” Augé said. “And we have another one that’s coming up. She was selected, so it’s really great to see the opportunities for females.”
The female leadership team at Camp Arifjan knows they’ve come a long way, but understands that to keep in front of the mission they must continue to lead by example.
“There have been times when I’ve been met with resistance based on my outward appearance of being a female, however when you let your performance stand and you let integrity and what you know to be right stand true, everything falls into place,” Gregg said.
These women in front of the mission say they prefer people not to focus on their gender, but on what they bring to the table and what they are willing to contribute to the mission.