History will be made at the Montana Army National Guard Armory, 2915 Gabel Road, on Sunday when Maj. Renea Dorvall is formally installed as the first female commander of the 190th Combat Service Support Battalion.
Dorvall’s installation marks the first time that a female has been appointed commander of one of the four deployable Montana Army National Guard battalions.
“Getting assigned as a battalion chief is not only a humbling assignment but an enormous responsibility,” the Plentywood native said.
The significance of being the first woman to hold the post is not lost on Dorvall, but she said anyone who has worked hard enough to reach this level should be proud of their accomplishments.
“If you’re fortunate to get this assignment it’s just as rewarding, regardless of gender,” she said.
To take the post in Billings, Dorvall left her position as executive officer of the 495th CSSB in Kalispell. She returned from a deployment in Afghanistan with the battalion in November 2013.
She will take over for Lt. Col. Geron Wade, who has finished his term at the 190th and has been reassigned to the Joint Force Headquarters in Helena.
Over 600 troops are under the command of the 190th Combat Service Support Battalion — about 350 of them are in Billings. The rest are scattered across Montana in Malta, Glasgow, Harlowton, Dillon, Livingston, Miles City, Culbertson and Sidney.
About 2,800 troops serve in the Montana Army National Guard.
When deployed, a CSSB’s job is to make sure soldiers on the front lines are supplied with food, munitions and supplies to accomplish their mission.
As commander of the 190th CSSB, Dorvall plans to make sure every troop is a cohesive part of the group. “It’s the team that succeeds,” she said.
Getting people ready at a moment’s notice is crucial for a successful mission at home or abroad, and Dorvall’s new job will give her a chance to encourage troops to reach their potential.
“It’s just an opportunity to work with soldiers and empower a team to be trained for their wartime and peacetime missions,” she said.
Dorvall enlisted in 1987 at age 19. She has been part of the guard ever since, except for a five-year break from 1996 until 2001 which she took to be with her children, now 17 and 19 years old. She is married to Rick Dorvall.
It’s been a long path rising up the ranks, but Dorvall believes her perspective helps her be a good leader. “I’ve grown up in the Guard so I understand what it is like to be that enlisted person,” she said.
Like many, Dorvall said she wasn’t quite sure what her future held when she began her career but, the military is willing to invest in people and give them the training they need to succeed.
Serving your military is an honor, she said, “Serve proudly.”