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Female Artillery Soldier Becomes Launcher Chief

Army Cpl. Erica Gunter, a launcher chief in A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla., works with her launcher crew to reload its M270A Multiple Launch Rocket System. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joe Dees)
Army Cpl. Erica Gunter, a launcher chief in A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla., works with her launcher crew to reload its M270A Multiple Launch Rocket System. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joe Dees)

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Army Cpl. Erica Gunter recently made history when she was promoted to corporal and assigned as a multiple launch rocket system launcher chief, a position usually held by a staff sergeant.

Gunter is assigned to A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery here. Other female soldiers have served as noncommissioned officers in the 13M military occupational specialty, but they were reclassified from other military job specialties. Gunter began her 13M career two years ago during the second 13M Advanced Individual Training class open to women.

"It all came as a surprise to me," Gunter said. "It is something I've wanted since even before basic training, since the recruiter offered the MOS and said I would be one of the first females to attend the training. But, I didn't think it was going to happen now."

A Leader of Soldiers

On the morning Gunter graduated from the Warrior Leader Course with honors, she was called back to her unit for a meeting with her battery commander and first sergeant. There she was told of the unit's plans for her, including leading a launcher crew in certifications the following week -- along with a promotion.

"Corporal Gunter was selected for this job because of her ability to meet challenges head-on and produce superb results in all of her endeavors," saidArmy 1st Sgt. Calvin McDuffey, Gunter's first sergeant. "She has been relentless in her desire to achieve excellence, reluctant to accept failure, and [she] possesses a demeanor conducive to leading soldiers in this profession."

Gunter said she was excited to assume her new leadership position, but also nervous since no one in her crew had worked together before.

"I want to be the quality leader these soldiers deserve from day one," she said. "You usually work with a crew for at least a few weeks before certifications, but I knew these were good soldiers who have worked hard."

'Gunter has a Great Career Ahead of Her'

The weekend's studying and a focused career paid off for Gunter and her new crew, as they certified on all required tasks.

"I have always been determined and goal-oriented," Gunter said. "I volunteered for every learning opportunity and always sought out ways to be a better soldier. My leaders were always helpful in guiding me in my career, and this unit has always focused on having an open and approachable culture that will answer whatever questions you have."

Gunter continues to have a full work schedule. The "Deep Attack" Battalion has many training exercises planned, and Gunter has a soldier-of-the-quarter board and a promotion board in the coming weeks.

"Corporal Gunter has a great career ahead of her," McDuffey said. "She is a solid example of what the Total Army soldier should be."

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Army Women in the Military