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Local resident first female combat leader for Guard

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2003

Army National Guard First Sgt. Joan Kivior is the first female to lead troops into a combat zone for Kentucky.

Kivior, who has lived in Frankfort for 20 years, is part of the 1163d Medical Company of Louisville that will be heading to Fort Knox on July 14 to begin training for deployment to either Afghanistan or Uzbekistan. Kivior commutes from Frankfort to Louisville.

The company consists of 50 members of the Kentucky Army National Guard, and will be providing medical support for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Kivior said the members will mostly be medical personnel, consisting of paramedics, doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and a dentist. Operation Enduring Freedom began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

“Operation Enduring Freedom is the ongoing war on terrorism or the fight against terrorism,” she said. “This operation will be going on for a long time and the war in Iraq was the same thing. It was an effort to fight terrorism.”

She has been with the National Guard for 17 years. Past duties include working in a Medivac unit for eight years and being part of the 475th MASH unit that deployed in Desert Storm.

“I was excited but also scared and nervous being in the combat zone,” she said. “It’s not fun and it can be unpredictable.”

Kivior is trained in the skills of an EMT or a paramedic.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.