MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Earlier this month, West Virginia National Guard Lt. Col. Tanya McGonegal took command of the 77th Brigade, becoming the first African American brigade commander in the history of the West Virginia National Guard.

McGonegal succeeds Col. Michaelle Munger, who relinquished her command.

“It’s an honor to be given the opportunity,” McGonegal said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

McGongeal received her commission through the Virginia State Officer Candidate School in 1999 and has served in various leadership positions in the National Guard.

“I was fairly young when I got into the service,” she explained. “I was 23, and I was really looking for something more from myself to become more decisive and to grow and develop as a person.”

McGonegal’s previous titles include serving as the executive officer to the Director of Staff at the National Guard Bureau; military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy; and as Advisor for Preparedness Policy for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy.

McGongeal said in her role, she hopes to serve the National Guard well and be a role model for others.

“We do have about 50% of our population female, and to see others doing and serving sheds a greater opportunity for those who are still trying to figure their way out in life,” she noted.

McGongeal earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.