Enlisted Soldier to Colonel: Woman Rises Through Ranks to Claim - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Enlisted Soldier to Colonel: Woman Rises Through Ranks to Claim Two Military Firsts in North Dakota

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"It almost feels like that was yesterday, and here I am today, 30 years later." 

She's the first woman in the history of the North Dakota Army National Guard to enter as an enlisted soldier -- and get all the way to Colonel.  She's also the first female Chief of Staff for the Army component of the North Dakota Guard.  She's Colonel Giselle "Gigi" Wilz. 

When asked if she considers it strange that, in 2013, we're still talking about women making strides, she says, " you know, I do and I don't."  Explaining, the Colonel says there's just more opportunity now for women to gain needed experience to qualify for higher rank.  "So in a lot of ways, I've been lucky. I've looked at those opportunities coming right when I needed them."

But it's more than luck.  While she comes from a family steeped in military service, much is to be said for tenacity and hard work.  She advises, "don't let people stand by the side and say, 'you can't do it,' and when they do say that, prove them wrong.  Honestly, there are no limits anymore, whether it's military service or anything in life.  Chase your dream."

And for the Colonel, it's not just about her dreams.  "When you get to promote a young soldier or see their success, those are the 'ah-ha' moments.  It becomes not so much about you, but kind of serving the greater good."  And so she has -- for thirty years.

Colonel Wilz served in both Operation Desert Storm and Kosovo. 
 

 

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