Pittsville senior is 3rd Wis. woman to enlist for Army Infantry

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PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW)-- In January 2013, the ban preventing women serving in combat was lifted.

But it wasn't until 3.5 years later, in October of 2016, the first female soldiers graduated from the Army's Infantry program in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Only three women from Wisconsin, one in Green Bay and one in Milwaukee have enlisted in the infantry. The third calls central Wisconsin home.

"When I walked in to get my packet from the guy in the army office," Anna Steder recalled, "he said 'what's your job?' I said '11B.' And he looks at me, he's like, 'you're kidding me right?"

11B is Infantryman, the first line of defense in the Army. Pittsville's Anna Steder is just the third woman from Wisconsin to choose that path since the ban on women serving in combat was lifted. She'll head to basic training in Fort Benning in August.

"It seemed really difficult and I always wanted something that will be a challenge for me," Steder said.

"It's not meant to be an easy job within the Army," added Staff Sgt. Michael Borchardt.

Staff Sergeant Borchardt recruited Anna, along with Staff Sergeant Joshua Withers. Borchardt is an Infantryman himself.

"If you think about chess, what's the most important piece of chess? Its the queen," said Staff Sgt. Borchardt. "And that's why we're distinguished as the Queen of Battle. We are what everybody's supposed to follow. Our phrase is, 'The Infantry, follow me.'"

With Steder being among the leading women in Wisconsin, perhaps more will follow the 2019 Pittsville grad.

"There's some males that can't even do it. Well, I know I can," said Steder.

"It's going to take young ladies like Anna to show other females, other women that they can do it," Staff Sgt. Borchardt said.

Anna is enlisted for 3 years and 16 weeks. Her first 9 weeks will be in August in basic training.