South Dakota Army National Guard graduates first female drill instructor
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On April 10, the South Dakota Army National Guard graduated their first female drill sergeant from the U.S. Army’s Drill Sergeant Academy in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Staff Sgt. Erin Fagnan of Rapid City is the first female from South Dakota to attend and graduate from the academy while serving in the South Dakota Army National Guard, and also graduated on the Commandant’s List – putting her in the top 10 in her class of 107 students.
Fagnan is a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion and serves as a drill instructor for the Recruit Sustainment Program, which helps prepare newly-enlisted recruits for Basic Combat Training.
She has more than 11 years of service with the SDARNG. Fagnan served as a bridge crewmember with the 200th Engineer Company and as a Service Member and Family Support Program Liaison with Joint Force Headquarters. She is also a combat veteran, having deployed with the 200th to Afghanistan from May 2011 – May 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In civilian life, Fagnan is an engineer with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Drinking Water Program in Rapid City, and has been since 2010. She is also the statewide rule manager for the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule, conducts sanitary surveys at water systems, and is South Dakota’s Capacity Development Coordinator.
Fagnan is a native of Aberdeen and attended Northern State University, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in chemistry and environmental science. She also holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Fagnan has also completed the John Maxwell Team Leadership, Coaching, Speaking, and Training Development Program and is a U.S. Army Level I Master Resilience Trainer. With those certifications, Fagnan started her company, Powerfully Equipped, LLC., to promote resiliency through speaking engagements.