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Ratliff Blazes Trail As Battalion Commander

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FORT BRAGG — Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division has its first African-American female battalion commander.

Lt. Col. Valerie Ratliff took charge Thursday of the 782nd Main Support Battalion -- the largest battalion in the division.

The 42-year-old comes from a military family and has been in the Army for 18 years. She says the Army Chief of Staff wants to exemplify the new "Army of One" slogan, and she feels privileged to be chosen as a leader.

"In respect, I've done well in the military," she says. "I prayed, if chosen, to command, it would be God's will, and this is where he has placed me. I'm just humbled."

Ratliff says she hopes to be a role model for all females in her battalion.

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