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380AEW Article

Female Soldier Promoted to Pinnacle Rank

  • Published
  • By U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher J. Gallagher/U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anna-kay Ellis
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

For the first time in the history of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery branch, a woman was promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 May 5, 2020. 

This soldier is U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Lakeasha Babers, an Air and Missile Defense Systems Tactician, currently assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.  

“Myself, as well as my mentors, are extremely excited about this promotion,” said Babers. “We know there are no limits for females.”

Babers will be heading to the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Fort Bliss, Texas, later in the year to continue her already impressive 25-year career.

“Chief Warrant Officer 5 is achieved by so few and her promotion is indicative of who she is as a soldier and leader,” said Col. Charles Matallana, Commander of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama, Babers always knew she wanted to join the Army. When it came time to decide what job she wanted, her interest was in Air Defense Artillery from the start, so she chose to be an Army Patriot Operator and System Mechanic.

“I liked the technical aspect of Air Defense,” Babers said. “It gave me knowledge and experience I would never have received if I hadn’t joined the Army.”

“My job was to keep everything operational, so we could fight when we needed to fight,” she added.

Over the next ten years, Babers saw herself promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, but then seemed to hit a ceiling.

“I was looking at the career field around me grow, and at that time, the progression was a little slow. I wasn’t certain that I would see sergeant 1st class,” she said.

With that in mind, she decided to join the Warrant Officer Corps.

In October of 2004, Babers went to the Warrant Officer Candidate School and Warrant Officer Basic Course. Upon graduation, she was assigned to 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, beginning a new chapter in her career and life.

“When I first joined the Warrant Officer Corps, there were a few friction points, but I felt I didn’t need to prove myself, and I made my own way,” Babers said. “With the hunger I had to succeed, I was able to grow.”

And that she did. She saw herself performing jobs throughout the career field, from the operational side to the technical.

Acknowledging her diverse experience, Matallana said of Babers, “She is the epitome of what we want and expect of our Warrant Officers. In addition to the technical knowledge and expertise she brings to our unit, her genuine desire to teach and mentor others is what makes her unique. I have no doubt she will continue to lead and contribute to the Air and Missile Defense enterprise with excellence.”

Over time, she created bonds with Chief Warrant Officer 4 Trephya Sumpter and Jody White, both admired and impactful leaders in the Air Defense community.

“They were outstanding female mentors,” said Babers, “and I am excited that with their guidance and support, even now in their retirement, we have broken the barrier,” she added regarding her promotion.

Now, after 15-years as a Warrant Officer, Babers made history. Through her hard work and dedication, she is setting a precedent for others to follow. With no end in sight, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Babers will continue her career, being an example of success through dedication to her profession.

The author, Sgt. Christopher J. Gallagher currently serves as the 108th Air Defense Artillery Public Affairs Noncommissioned Office. This story was localized by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anna-kay Ellis.