JOHNSTON, Iowa – An Ankeny woman is breaking barriers after becoming the first female enlisted infantry Soldier in the Iowa National Guard.

Pfc. Taylor Patterson, of Ankeny, returned from basic training in Ft. Benning, Georgia last month. She joined in June of 2020 and is with Company C, 168th Infantry, according to a release from the Guard.

While Pfc. Patterson isn’t the first woman to enlist as an 11B infantryman in the Iowa National Guard, none of the others were able to complete the 22-week training.

“There obviously was a lot of guys who didn’t think the females were able to do that, but I am like, I am proving it to you,” said Pfc. Patterson.

She counts her support system at home along with her drill sergeants in infantry school as a major factor in her success.

“The Iowa National Guard needs people who are willing and able to take on the challenge of serving in the infantry; Pfc. Patterson is breaking barriers for others to follow,” said Maj. Gen. Ben Corell, The Adjutant General.

Combat arms positions weren’t open to women prior to 2016 in the U.S. Army.