Brig. Gen. Michaelene “Mikey” Kloster, the first female general assigned to lead an Army Reserve unit at Fort Benning, is the guest speaker for a Women’s History Month observance Monday at the Benning Club.
Kloster will highlight the theme, “Celebrating Women’s Right to Vote,” at the 11 a.m. program. She will share her thoughts and insight into the contributions that women have made in the Army.
In March, she was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony at the new Armed Forces Reserve Center in Harmony Church. The promotion came four months after she assumed command of the 98th Training Division, which has four brigades spread throughout 12 eastern states and Puerto Rico. The division’s primary mission is to provide drill sergeants to Army Training Centers across the nation.
The training division moved from Rochester, N.Y., to the post in July 2012 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.
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A citizen soldier, Kloster is a civilian chief of staff for the 99th Regional Support Command, the Army Reserves Northeast Region at Fort Dix, N.J.Throughout her 29-year-career, Kloster said the assignment at Fort Benning is her sixth command, which is unheard of in a normal career for a female.
“Somewhere along the way, they trained me right that I’m a decent commander of troops and this opportunity,” she said during a March interview. “I don’t look at this as I’m a female in this role. I look at this as I’m an officer.”
Kloster, a cancer survivor, didn’t think she would reach the milestone in her career. “I didn’t think today was going to happen because of that,” she said of the cancer treatment. “So I’m excited because the Army is truly recognizing resilience and our ability to survive and roll forward.”
She began her career in June 1984 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Delaware where she earned a commission as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. She also earned a master of science degree in management and a doctorate in business administration from the university.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, the 98th Training Division has supported the war on terror with a 2004 deployment to Iraq to train new army and security forces. Soldiers also have established army training schools at Kirkush Military Training Base, trained Iraqi police, highway patrol, special police commandos and border police.