The unintentional infantryman: Minnesota’s first infantrywoman

“I originally joined to further my education and pursue a law degree,” said Army Spc. Mikayla Homola, an infantry Soldier assigned to Minnesota National Guard’s West Saint Paul-based Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment. As the first female junior enlisted infantry Soldier in Minnesota, Homola began her career by paving the way for future junior enlisted women interested in the field.

Enlisting on Nov. 8, 2022, Spc. Homola had not intended to become an infantry soldier.

“I wanted to be a paralegal or military police officer, something to do with the legal side of the Army,” said Homola when asked why she chose the infantry. “My recruiter told me those jobs weren’t available. I knew I wanted an active job, so the infantry seemed like a good fit even though I wasn’t sure what it meant.”

“Once I swore in, I decided to do some research on what it means to be an Infantryman,” said Homola.

A flight and bus ride later, Homola arrived at Fort Moore, Georgia, on March 8, 2023, sparking her journey to becoming an infantry soldier. Over the first 10 weeks, she endured the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of basic combat training, the first half of her initial training, training that all enlisted Soldiers experience. One week before her graduation, Homola was given the opportunity to change her job if she wanted to.

“I turned that offer down,” said Homola, “because once I start something, I have to finish it.”

By week fifteen, Homola came to discover her love for the Army saying, “The relationships, bonds, blood, sweat, and tears, the cold, hot, and rain, was all worth it because no matter what the obstacle, I knew my peers had my back like I had theirs.”

“It’s the moment I realized, or in a way, fell in love with the infantry,’ said Homola. “It’s when I knew I was in the right job.”

Despite being early in her military career, Homola has her own career plans she would like to pursue.

“My plans moving forward entail putting in an officer candidate school packet to become a [commissioned] officer,” said Homola. “I want to go the route of [criminal investigations] or [legal] once I achieve commissioning.”

Editor’s Note: Army Spc. Mikayla Homola is the Minnesota National Guard’s first enlisted Soldier, holding the 11B military occupational specialty, currently as of 2024 known as “Infantryman.” The Minnesota National Guard’s first qualified Soldier in the Infantry field was Army Lt. Morgan Hovde who became an “Infantry Officer,” known as an 11A, in 2023.

By: Staff Sgt. Kjarra A. Wymore
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs