Soldier accomplishes historic first for La. National Guard - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Soldier accomplishes historic first for La. National Guard

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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) First African-American female promoted to rank of command sergeant major.

Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica LaBeaud of the 199th Brigade Support Battalion, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team has become the first African-American female promoted to rank of command sergeant major in the Louisiana National Guard.

After serving 32 years in the military, LaBeaud was also the first-ever female to earn this rank in the 256th. LaBeaud was promoted in a ceremony at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, Dec. 3.

LaBeaud personally thanked numerous family, friends and colleagues for helping her achieve this accomplishment.

"I still have a whole lot to do, and I promise I'm going to make everyone proud," LaBeaud said. "All the barriers they talk about, whether its race or gender, it's not about that – it's about working hard and going after it."

Lt. Col. Jason Mahfouz, battalion commander of the 199th BSB, said the recent reversal of the policy that prohibited women from serving on the front lines in combat units made the appointment very fitting. 

"I am proud the BSB has this distinction. I know she'll inspire young enlisted females to rise to the rank and responsibility," said Mahfouz. "It will open up a lot of opportunities for young Soldiers because it illustrates that all Soldiers have unlimited opportunities if they work hard to achieve their goals."

"It's a new beginning by having LaBeaud serve in the 256th. She's a go-getter – a Soldier's person," said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Sapp, senior enlisted advisor for the 256th IBCT. "She loves to communicate with Soldiers and never forgets where she came from. She brings something different to the table." 

"I'm so proud of her. She's been an inspiration to me my entire life," Melanique LaBeaud commented on her mother's promotion. 

Veronica said she is glad to be an example for the young female Soldiers.

"If they set their goals high, it's attainable. They just have to work hard, and there is no reason they can't make it," said Veronica. "It wasn't easy, but I made it. You just have to really want it and if you do, you can achieve it.

LaBeaud graduated from Southern University in New Orleans with a bachelor of science in computer information systems. She has held four different military occupational specialties and served as first sergeant for two different units: Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 139th Regional Support Group, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

LaBeaud has worked full-time for the LANG for 23 years and is currently the data processing installation systems administrator.

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