Alabama National Guard names first female General

BG Sheryl Gordon, Commander of the 62nd Troop Command
BG Sheryl Gordon, Commander of the 62nd Troop Command

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- After nearly 30 years, Sheryl Gordon made history.

Sunday, the Eclectic resident became the first female General within the Alabama National Guard and took the reins of the state's largest command.

"You've got 5,000 troops you have to keep up with, both here and abroad," she explained.

Gordon says she's up to the task, bringing years of experience.

The ceremony Sunday morning at Montgomery's Fort Taylor Hardin closed a full circle of sorts.

The Brigadier General started there in 1981, when being a female in the military was even more challenging than today.

"It was very limited. You had nurses, obviously, and then I started out as a personnel officer, because that was a traditional female role back then," she said.

The outgoing commander says Gordon's the right person for the job.

"She is well qualified.  That's what I like about it--knowing that you can hand it off to someone who can take it to the next level," said BG Fred Johnson.

Even though she's now a part of history, the new commander wants to get to work.

"I always think of myself, when I put on this uniform, as a soldier--and as a female secondary," Gordon explained.

Still, younger soldiers say the new General's milestone makes their future even brighter.

"It lets me know--as I'm going down my career path--that whatever I desire, as long as I put in the hard work, I can obtain it," explained SPC Eleanor Smith.

"Most females don't get the opportunity.  Now, the skies the limit.  It's awesome," said PFC April Owings.