Myrtle Creek native is first woman to head Special Forces Group Support Battalion
A 1996 South Umpqua High School graduate assumed command of a U.S. Army Special Forces Group Support Battalion in June, becoming the first woman in history to achieve that distinction.
Myrtle Creek native Megan Brogden is humble about her promotion, but she’s liking the job so far.
“It’s fun, it’s always something new, it’s interesting and I’m really enjoying it,” she said.
Megan’s father, Roy Brogden, is one proud papa.
“I figured that maybe we did raise her right,” he said.
A military man himself, Roy was drafted in 1963, and became a private in the combat engineers before switching to the Army Reserves. He spent 32 years in the reserves and worked his way up to command sergeant major.
He said he encouraged all three of his daughters to pursue military careers, but Megan was the only one who did. At first, he said, he didn’t think she was interested either.
“She had a little bit of interest, but she would get mad because I would go to training, and that was during her birthday a lot of the time. But then she got talking to the army recruiter, and he talked about this scholarship and everything, so she decided to do it,” he said.
Brogden was a 4.0 student and three-sport athlete at South Umpqua. She went next to Oregon State University, where she joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). She loved the ROTC so much that she dedicated much of her time to it while in school.
“It was a great group of people working together. I was learning new things. I liked the challenge,” she said.
Throughout her career, her love for military service hasn’t changed.
“I’m still enjoying it almost 17 years later,” she said.
Today, she’s in charge of 500 people who provide an array of support services to Special Forces soldiers throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Those services include communications, food service, supply, transportation, medical, water purification, unmanned aerial reconnaissance and more.
Brogden attended Airborne School in Georgia during her sophomore year of college. She joined the Ranger Challenge and visited Europe as part of a prestigious cadet leadership program. After school, she was trained at Fort Lee, Virginia, then served at Camp Casey in South Korea, near the demilitarized zone separating it from North Korea. She subsequently joined the 82nd Airborne and served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as returning to Korea, where she was company commander of a transportation company.
She served as an aide de camp to a two-star general, also a woman. Then she attended the United States Naval War College, earning her master’s degree in national security and strategic studies. In 2016, she was promoted to lieutenant colonel in a ceremony held at home in Myrtle Creek. On June 9 of this year, she took command of the Group Support Battalion to the 3rd Special Forces Group (informally known as the Nomads) in a ceremony held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In her new role, she oversees seven companies.
Brogden is humble about her promotion.
“I didn’t do anything different. I didn’t go to Ranger School or anything like that. It’s kind of timing a little, for me,” she said.
She said her goal is to continue improving on the battalion’s logistics support to the Special Forces Group, and to “make sure that whatever we do we continue the good reputation that we have now.”
Brogden said there are sacrifices when you choose a military career, but there are also a lot of great experiences including friendships and travel (she’s visited Greece, Italy and Turkey in addition to the countries mentioned above).
While she doesn’t see gender as being particularly relevant to her promotion, Brogden acknowledged she could serve as a role model for other women interested in military service.
Her advice to them is, “I would say definitely go for it if that’s what you’re thinking about doing. It’s been really great for me.”