Bethel woman makes history in Alaska Army National Guard

A womman in camo gear and helmet holds an assault rifle sitting on a bench
Sgt. Serita Unin, a fireteam leader with Bison Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, Alaska Army National Guard, poses for a photo on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 16, 2021. (Edward Eagerton/Alaska National Guard Public Affairs)

A Bethel woman made history recently by becoming the first infantrywoman in the Alaska National Guard. When Serita Unin, who is Cup’ik, joined the National Guard in 2009, combat arms jobs weren’t open to women.

Unin was a generator mechanic with the National Guard for close to 10 years before she decided to go into the infantry. Her advice to other women who may want a combat job is to do lots of physical training.

“Just image a female carrying the male battle buddy out with their full gear on. It’s super heavy, so physical training is a big deal. So if you are female looking to go, do it, train for it, and the sky’s not the limit,” said Unin.

Unin is now a fireteam leader with Bison Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment in the Alaska Army National Guard. She has no regrets, and hopes other women will follow her lead. 

Johanna Eurich is a contributor for the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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