First Lt. Ellen Morrison steps up as the first female to be honored as Commander of a Maine National Guard company on April 30, 2021. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine National Guard

A Bowdoin woman has been named the first female commander of the Maine National Guard’s 251st Engineer Company.

This move comes after the unit only began to include women in combat arms branches in 2016, but women comprise only about 6 percent of its ranks, The Times Record reported.

First Lt. Ellen Morrison of Bowdoin accepted the honor of commanding the Maine National Guard’s 251st Engineer Company in a ceremony on April 30.

According to the Brunswick newspaper, Morrison didn’t feel as though the honor was based on gender inclusion, but rather her dedication and skills as a soldier.

“I like to think of it — it’s more … based on what I’ve done as a soldier not really based on my gender,” Morrison told the Times Record. “I was the most qualified soldier right now to be the commander.”

Morrison will oversee the organization and lead training and combat operations in her role as commander. She told The Times Record that her three major values focused on empathy, leadership and initiative.

The 251st Engineer Company was organized in 1810, carried out its first campaign in the War of 1812 and was federally mustered in 1814. Over the years, it has provided obstacle placement, route and area clearance and general engineering support for combat operations

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.