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La. Guard women achieve milestones

By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – This March, during Women’s History Month, the Louisiana National Guard highlights two of its most recent contributors. 

In February 2024, Col. Katrina Lloyd continued to make history when she was honored with a painted portrait at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library Branch’s grand opening of the Central Louisiana African American Culture and Heritage Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. She was one of 13 honorees at the event.

Lloyd was completely shocked, humbled and appreciative upon hearing of her portrait. 

“Witnessing the initial unveiling simply took my breath away,” said Lloyd. “I did not want to get emotional, but I looked over at my 87-year-old mother and 86-year-old aunt with tears rolling down their cheeks, and I held my breath, cognizant of their living through and surviving legal segregation, Jim Crowe, and the civil rights movement. I became overwhelmed and felt the sting of my tears, and I sensed the heaviness yet joy in my soul. I am truly thankful and blessed for this moment.”

Lloyd, an Alexandria, Louisiana native, is currently the LANG state surgeon. Throughout her career, she has been inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit, became the second Black female to achieve the rank of colonel in the LANG, the first female and first African American to not only be the battalion commander of the Louisiana Medical Detachment, Louisiana Medical Detachment administrative officer, and the full-time state surgeon-Army but to hold all three positions simultaneously. Lloyd has also been honored with her own day in Alexandria, Louisiana and received the Nurse Practitioner of Excellence Award in 2019 from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

“I never thought anything I was doing was extraordinary or noteworthy,” she said. “I have always just tried to do my job to the best of my abilities. I still worry if I have done enough, but I am proud and humbled at what I have been able to accomplish, and knowing I will be remembered for my dedication to my craft is incredible.”

This year, Sgt. Shakendra Neal, hailing from Shreveport, Louisiana, became the first female in the LANG to hold the military occupational specialty of cavalry scout.

“When I joined, there were very few females in the cavalry,” said Neal. 

Neal emphasized that the aspect she has found most rewarding about being a cavalry scout is the versatility of the job. Her advice for other females is straightforward: pursue what they want to do.

“If you want it, go get it; it’s within your reach. Don’t let anyone discourage you along the way, and if you fall, pick yourself up and try again,” said Neal.

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