Camp Lejeune female makes history for Marine Corps

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) – Lieutenant Col. Lauren S. Edwards is the new commander of the 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), making history for the Marine Corps.

She is the first female to command an ESB in Marine Corps History, something she says is a calling she’s been drawn to for decades.

“I always wanted to serve and I picked the Marine Corps long ago and hoped it would pick me back,” said Lt. Col. Edwards.

In her military career she deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (later Operation Iraqi
Freedom-1) as a company commander. She also led more than 150 Marines and several vehicles in defensive maneuvers while taking enemy fire.

She now will oversee more than 1000 Marines and sailors.

“They know their mission and they know their business so I think as long as I bring it every day they will as well,” said Edwards.

As for being the first female to take this historical position Edwards says, “After me, it won’t matter who you are whether you’re man or woman, so I just hope I do a great job in serving these fantastic Marines and sailors.”

And for the outgoing commanding officer of the 8th ESB, he feels his battalion is in good hands.

“I think she’s a fine officer and she’s proven herself on merits alone, I don’t really consider sex to be a part of it,” said Lt. Col. David Morris.

Edwards says looking back she never expected to be in this position, but is proud of how far she’s come. ‘

“I don’t know if i’m all grown up yet, but apparently the Marine Corps thinks so and I just hope I can do that well,” said Edwards.

Her decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat “V” device and two stars in lieu of third award. Edwards also has the Combat Action Ribbon.

The role of the 8th ESB is to provide general engineering support to all units with II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The battalion handles missions which require more support than at the natural capability of the 2nd Marine Division and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Edwards is taking over for Lt. Col. David C. Morris on Monday at 10 a.m. at Camp Lejeune.

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