FEMALE BATTALION COMMANDER STANDS OUT AMONG THE RANKS
Reported By RET B.Lambert
Lt. Col. Erin Frazier, commander of the 5-306th Brigade Support Battalion, 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, and native of Norfolk, Va., at her change of command ceremony, March 2020, on Fort Stewart.
Women are an integral part of the military, and Women’s History Month recognizes their contributions.
“Women’s History Month means recognizing those women before us whose shoulders we now stand on,” said Lt. Col. Erin Frazier, commander of the 5-306th Brigade Support Battalion, 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East. “The groundbreaking women who’ve made service possible for all of us, needs to be recognized and remembered today, tomorrow, and always.”
“I was raised by a strong woman and I want to do my part to live up to that legacy and continue to provide honest, strong, caring leadership for the Soldiers that I’m privileged to lead, past, present, and future,” said Frazier.
Frazier, a native of Norfolk, Virginia, joined the Army after graduating college, said she earned an Army ROTC scholarship to help pay for school.
“I was daughter number three to go to college, so by the time it was my turn to go to school, there just wasn’t any money left. I had to find a way to stay in school and earning the ROTC scholarship my sophomore year was the solution to my financial woes.”
Frazier, who is the third child of four, said her parents supported her decision to join the military.
“They were proud of me and relieved that there was a way to finish my degree and serve my country,” she said.
Frazier is an ordnance officer and holds a bachelor’s of science degree in communications, and a master’s degree in public administration. She loves serving her country and continues to serve despite obstacles she has faced during her time in service.
“The biggest obstacle I have faced serving as a female in today’s Army, is the balance of being tough and not being labeled a certain way for holding up the standard,” she said. “Often times as women we are labeled either a “pushover” or the “b” word, there is very little in between.”
Staying true to self is how she overcame those obstacles.
“I let my actions and personality stand on their own,” said Frazier. “Eventually, subordinates, superiors, and peers knew and understood that my toughness was to either make them or the organization better and it was never personal.”
Frazier, who is fast approaching her 20 year time in service anniversary, said her first duty assignment was the most influential in her career.
“My first company command team was all male and they showed me what it meant to be tough and fair,” said Frazier. “Six short months later my entire chain of command was female and they taught me what it meant to be tough, empathetic, kind, and resilient.
“[Retired] Command Sgt. Maj. Vickie Hopson, [retired] Lt. Col. Karen Saravia, and [retired] Chief Warrant Officer 4 Marsha Kelly-Evans, are still impactful women in my life. I count myself blessed to have been molded by such amazing women as a young lieutenant.””
Frazier, who is currently the only female battalion commander serving alongside her male counterparts in the Ready Brigade had this to say about her role in the unit.
“It feels empowering and awesome to stand shoulder to shoulder with my male counterparts and know that I deserve to be here just as much as they do. Being a battalion commander has been my dream since I left company command all those years ago,” she said. “Having it realized has been so amazing. I hope that I can be a good example for those inside my battalion and across the brigade as a strong female leader who cares about the individuals, the organization, and the mission of this unit.”
Though most Service Members choose to retire at the 20 year mark, Frazier, who has been assigned to 11 duty locations, including Fort Stewart, has no plans of doing that anytime soon. She said she will serve until she is no longer having fun.
“So far, being in command has absolutely been the highlight of my career and I’m loving it every day,” said Frazier.