LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Maj. Kimberly R. Tschepen has become the first woman to lead an Idaho National Guard battalion. The Lewiston Tribune reports that Tschepen assumed command of the 145th Brigade Support Battalion on Jan. 4. The battalion has 500 men and women in Lewiston, Orofino, Kamiah, Moscow, Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint and Post Falls.

Tschepen says she hopes to encourage other females who want to advance in the military. She says she doesn't think her own success was based on her gender but on her merits, experience, qualifications and hard work. She's had two tours in Iraq. Tschepen has an engineering degree from Boise State University.