Woman to lead Harlem Hellfighters

November 15, 2008 5:34:06 PM PST
The first female brigade commander in New York National Guard history will lead the legendary Harlem Hellfighters. Col. Stephanie Dawson is to become the commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade during a ceremony Saturday at the Harlem Armory.

The unit was formed during World War I as an all-black regiment and was among the first brigades to arrive in France. The soldiers of the unit were also among the most decorated veterans of that war.

Dawson is the assistant director of operations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The 52-year-old Queens resident is also a decorated veteran with a Bronze Star for her service in Iraq.

The Harlem Hellfighters lost 1,500 soldiers during World War I.

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