HARTFORD, Wis. – Capt. Alicia Dorsett is no stranger when it comes to making history and breaking barriers in the Wisconsin National Guard.
Not only did she become the state’s first female field artillery officer in 2014, but she is now the first female to command a field artillery battery in the Wisconsin National Guard. Soldiers of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery out of Hartford officially welcomed Dorsett as their commander, replacing Capt. Randy Humphrey, during an August 15 ceremony.
Humphrey served as the commander of Battery A since 2019. During his command, he oversaw the unit as they recovered from a recent deployment and as the unit transferred armory locations from Sussex to Hartford.
“If I could sum up time with this unit in one word, I’d say perseverance,”Capt. Randy Humphrey, outgoing commander, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery
“If I could sum up time with this unit in one word, I’d say perseverance,” Humphrey said to his Soldiers during his final remarks as commander. “You guys have persevered through every phase of adversity that’s faced you.”
Dorsett has served as the logistics officer for the 121st since 2019. During that time, the she and the battalion participated in eight state active duty civil disturbance missions. Her service to her state and nation as well as to her local church and community where she volunteers recently earned her the Wisconsin National Guard’s prestigious 1st Lt. Thomas E. Wortham IV Award, an award given annually in recognition of Soldiers and Airmen who contribute to their communities and excel in their military service.
She said this new position means a lot to her because it tells her that she has the knowledge and skills necessary to be entrusted to command a battery.
Spc. Katelyn Gallun is a high mobility artillery rocket launch system crew member who has been with Battery A since 2018. She said she’s had incredible male leadership throughout her career, but is inspired by the change that Dorsett taking command brings.
“As a female specialist in a combat MOS (military occupational specialty), I am greatly looking forward to having Capt. Dorsett be our first female commander in the 121,” Gallun said. “Our battalion is excited to witness the occupational gender equality that this change of command holds.
“Myself, as well as many other lower enlisted females, are eager to show Capt. Dorsett the skills and knowledge we bring to the 121,” she added. “It will be a positive transition to have a female support system and advocate as a commander. We welcome Capt. Dorsett and look forward to her leadership and guidance through the next years ahead.”
Dorsett encouraged fellow female soldiers to follow in her footsteps and wants them to know that it’s possible for each and every perspective soldier.
“I would advise other female soldiers interested in a career path similar to mine to not let the name ‘combat arms’ scare you,” she said. “When you’re in a field artillery unit, you’re just like every other Soldier, and if you put your mind to something, you can do it. So don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.”
In her first remarks to her new unit, Dorsett said she looked forward to building on Capt. Humphrey’s accomplishments and the storied lineage of the unit as well as future planned training opportunities.
The 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery commander, Lt. Col, Peter Hopke, offered his thoughts on the significance of the day.
“Today, we are not only handing this responsibility off to another officer but we are witnessing a historical moment,” he said. “We are providing an opportunity for the first female battery commander in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. It is a great moment for equality that this opportunity is available to all who pursue it.”