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Hebron Native Assumes Command of First Army Unit

A Hebron native is now commanding a U.S. Army unit at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

Capt. Laura Esper, a 1996 graduate of Hebron High School, and daughter of Jeff and Lanae McLaughlin of Hebron, assumed command of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, First Army Reserve

Support Command, in an April 10 ceremony in First Army Headquarters at Rock Island Arsenal.

Maj. Gen. Paul Benenati, First Army deputy commanding general for support and First Army Reserve Support Command commander, said the ceremony represented one quality officer replacing another.

“The First Army Support Command is getting another great leader,” Benenati said. “Capt. Esper will use her talent and expertise to take the unit to new heights. She has an exceptional background as a soldier and leader. I’ve got all the confidence in the world that she will continue the great work of this unit.”

Esper thanked the First Army leadership for giving her the responsibility of commanding the detachment.

“I am excited,” she said. “I look forward to serving with you and leading these fine soldiers of the First Army Reserve Support Command. The first sergeant and I are a team, and we will work hard to ensure we have high standards and support all Army programs.”

As commander, Esper will oversee a unit with 78 soldiers, whose mission is to provide trained and ready soldiers to First Army to enable training readiness support.

Esper enlisted in the Army in 1996 and became an officer through a direct commission ten years later.

Her awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device and Bronze hour-glass, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Combat Action Badge.

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