- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman has become the first female officer in the National Guard to graduate from the U.S. Army infantry officer basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Katrina Simpson, of Londonderry, was one of 10 female lieutenants in a class of 166 to qualify as an infantry officer after completing the intensive, 17-week combat leadership school.

It was the first class to include female officers since Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced last year that all military occupations, including combat positions, would be open to women.

The 28-year-old Simpson is a platoon leader to the New Hampshire Army National Guard’s Milford-based mountain infantry company. She will return to Fort Benning in January for the pre-selection phase of Ranger School, an intense combat leadership course.

When asked what motivates her, Simpson said, “I want my daughter to know that when she is deciding what she wants to do when she grows up that there are no limits and she can be whatever she wants to be.”

She also said her goal as a professional is to work with soldiers who have combat-related PTSD.

“To me, it’s really important to understand where that PTSD comes from and to have that firsthand experience. That’s the population I want to work with,” she said.

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