Guard gets female chief of brigade

Stark to take charge of support command

October 05, 2002|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Division (Light) can show up anywhere in the world without Lt. Col. Christine A. Stark but they won't be able to fight without her.

Tomorrow, Stark will be installed as the first female brigade commander in the Maryland Guard at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Ruhl Armory in Towson.

Stark will be in charge of the division's support command -- which supplies essentials to the infantry like water, ammunition, food, medical services and communications.

"My job will be to have the soldiers ready to do their mission anywhere, whether it be for homeland defense or deployment overseas," said Stark, 38, of Virginia Beach, Va.

The rigors of army life are nothing new to Stark.

A veteran of more than 21 years of service in the Army and the Guard, Stark recently returned from Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she served in the military police for six months as part of Task Force Eagles, the Army's peacekeeping task force in the Balkans.

While there, Stark was the task force provost marshal, the chief military law enforcement authority in the U.S.-controlled sector. She has also served in Central America and Germany

In addition to being the first female brigade commander in the 29th, she was also the first woman to graduate from the 10th Mountain Division's Air Assault School.

"When I joined, I had no female role models to look up to," Stark said. "Now I am watching that glass ceiling get shattered as qualified women are given more responsibilities. When soldiers look at me, I want them to first see a good officer," she said.

A native of Andover, Mass., Stark holds degrees in elementary education and physical education from Fitchburg State College.

Her husband, Lt. Col. David E. Stark, is assigned to the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va. They have three sons.

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