A career Quartermaster, LTC Megan A. Brogden assumed her new position as a battalion commander of the 3rd SFG(A) Support Battalion.
Her change of command ceremony marked a milestone for the Army’s Special Operations Command. Brogden is the first woman to assume command of a battalion within any of the Army’s seven Special Forces groups. While it is a first in terms of gender diverseness, the matter of her gender has little to do with whether she’ll be successful in her latest assignment. And it shouldn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of determining her fitness to command.
“It was a very humbling moment,” she said after the ceremony on Fort Bragg’s Meadows Field. “It’s such a great organization.”
Brogden is quick to downplay talk of herself as a GI-Jane type of groundbreaking role model, instead focusing on her opportunity to excel in her career field that she’s been in since entering the service in 2000 from a ROTC scholarship.
“I don’t necessarily see it as much of a milestone,” she said. “I didn’t go to Ranger school or selection. It’s a lot about timing.”
Officials have called Brogden’s assuming command a historic moment for 3rd Group and the rest of the Special Forces Regiment. But during the change of command, leaders made clear that she was chosen for her expertise and leadership, not because she is a woman.
And other than the fact that she’s the first woman, her command of a support battalion in an operational Special Forces group should matter very little. As long as her troops do their job to support the line battalions, her tenure will be a success. Being SF qualified or a man isn’t a precursor to success as a support battalion commander.
The biggest thing she and her troops need to do is perform the three basics and develop a mindset of supporting the line battalions while deployed, in training and while at their home station. The 3rd SFG(A) Support Battalion mission is to provide rapidly deployable logistical, medical, administrative, communication, chemical, all-source intelligence support to the 3rd SFG(A).
One of the biggest complaints the A-teams had in my time in Special Forces was that the Support Battalion personnel other than the communications companies were more self-supporting than focused on taking care of the teams, which is their reason for being in the first place.
In a classic UW (Unconventional Warfare) scenario, the Group’s Support Battalion would help set up an SFOB (Special Forces Operating Base) in an austere environment and form the core of Group’s support staff for a Joint Special Operations Task Force. Until the operation would mature into a Theater Level type venture, the Group’s Support Battalion would be the lifeline for the Operational Detachments for supply and Combat Service and Support. The Group Support Battalion and its commander will be responsible for setting up tailored capability packages to support SF units that may be involved in Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief missions as well.
Brogden served two tours with a Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan and Kuwait and should have ample experience in helping run service and support for Special Operations Forces.
And that’s how she’ll ultimately be judged. No one cares if she’s tabbed out, can clear a building of bad guys, can shoot the eyes out of a gnat at 100 meters or can carry a ruck 20-miles in five hours or less, that isn’t her job. While some people may watch her with more of a jaundiced eye because of her gender, it shouldn’t matter at all, but we have seen this type of thing before. However, her job is to ensure that the guys who do those things have everything they require from the Combat Service and Support personnel.
From reading about her experience and her assignments LTC Brogden is more than qualified to do the job and it sounds like the Army put the right person in the position, regardless of her gender. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I could care less that she’s a woman and it would have zero concerns with that if I am either on an A-Team or commanding one in 3rd Group.
She is authorized to wear the Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Rigger Badge, and the German Parachutist Wings. So, she has the requisite background to know what type of support will be needed to support the line battalions. That is all that is required and no more of the support staff. The A-teams are the bread and butter of the Special Forces Groups. They need the support of the support personnel. Go back to the SOF Truths and #6 is “Most Special Operations Require Non-SOF Support.”
And as long as LTC Brogden does that, she’ll be successful in her newest assignment. I congratulate her on the command and can say that I wish her all the best. Take care of the troops. That is all. I don’t care that she’s woman. No one else should either.
Photos courtesy Fayetteville Observer, US Army