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Face of Defense: Officer Becomes First Woman to Command Marine Engineer Battalion

By Marine Corps Cpl. Ryan Young II Marine Expeditionary Force

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Dec. 9, 2015 — Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards made history when she took command of the service’s 8th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Lejeune, Nov. 30.

“My charge now is to serve as a positive example of leadership and professionalism to men and women alike,” Edwards said during the change of command ceremony. “I'm extraordinarily proud to take command of 8th ESB today, and I hope that all Marines and sailors in this battalion recognize that if they work hard and look out for each other they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to.”

Edwards’ new responsibility, as the first female commander of an ESB, will be to provide engineer support to II Marine Expeditionary Force. “Engineer support battalions are very much the life support of an MEF,” she said. “We are a large unit that can be tasked to perform a myriad of engineering tasks across the battlefield.”

Edwards was commissioned as a second lieutenant Aug. 14, 1998, and finished as honor graduate at the Combat Engineer Officer’s Course.

While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Edwards received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a Combat “V” for valor for her actions as a forward arming and refueling point team commander assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, Marine Wing Support Group 37.

Two years ago, Edwards was named one of Business Insider’s 14 Most Impressive Women in the Military. “I've been very lucky to have a breadth of operational experiences, and it was an honor to be recognized,” she said.

This will be Edwards’ second time serving with 8th ESB; she was the battalion executive officer from late 2008 to early 2009.