The California Army National Guard’s (CA ARNG) 49th Military Police Brigade will name its first female commander during an 11 a.m. ceremony on Saturday at the Brigade’s headquarters in Fairfield, Calif. The Brigade is located at 510 Parker Road in Fairfield, directly across from the entrance to Travis Air Force Base.
Col. Kelly Fisher, who recently returned from a combat tour in Afghanistan, will replace outgoing commander Col. William Arruda. Col. Fisher began her military career 28 years ago as an Air Force mental health technician, beginning her service at nearby Travis Air Force Base. Shortly thereafter, she earned her commission through the Army ROTC program at Cal Poly and began her career as a CA ARNG officer, holding several prominent leadership positions across the California National Guard.
“Colonel Arruda has led the Brigade with integrity and excellence,” said Brig. Gen. Donald J. Currier, commander of the California Army National Guard. “I believe he places the Brigade in exceptionally capable hands in entrusting its leadership to Colonel Fisher. She has proven herself as a leader, both overseas and here at home, and her experience as an active-duty MP officer will serve her well as commander. She’s the right officer for this job.”
Col. Arruda served as the Brigade’s deputy commander during its 2009-10 tour in Iraq and assumed duties as the unit’s commander shortly after their return to California. He is currently serving full-time as the commander of the California National Guard’s Counterdrug task force, a position he will retain after relinquishing command of the 49th MP Brigade.
The 49th MP Brigade serves as the headquarters for FEMA Region IX’s Homeland Response Force (HRF). As the HRF for the Western U.S. and territories, 49th personnel ready to support civil authorities in responding to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events. As directed, the 49th’s Soldiers are able to assemble and deploy to the incident site within 4 to 12 hours. Once on scene, HRF personnel will conduct mission command, security, search and extraction, decontamination, and medical triage in order to prevent loss of life and mitigate human suffering.