Kalispell Major to Command One of Montana’s Combat Battalions

Renea Dorvall to be first female to lead one of Montana Army National Guard’s deployable battalions

By Dillon Tabish

One of Montana’s citizen soldiers is achieving a milestone this summer.

Major Renea Dorvall, the executive officer of the 495th Combat Service Support Battalion in Kalispell, is transitioning to commander of the 190th CSSB in Billings. When she formally takes over in July, Dorvall will become the first female commander of one of four deployable Army National Guard battalions in Montana.

“Being a battalion commander, you get an opportunity to lead soldiers at that next level and hopefully provide positive impact in the training and taking care of the soldiers and their families,” Dorvall said.

Dorvall followed her father’s footsteps at the age of 19 and enlisted in Montana’s Army National Guard.

“The National Guard has always been part of my life,” she said. She stepped away in 1996 to raise her young family, which includes two sons, but she never lost her devotion to the service. In 2001, she felt her sons were old enough that she could re-enter and “give back to the guard.”

“I always knew I would come back into the guard,” she said. “When I start something I want to finish it. And I’ve always had a strong opinion of the military and serving. I think it’s important.”

Dorvall joined Kalispell’s battalion as the No. 2 in command and served overseas with the local group during its latest 10-month deployment, which ended last fall.

“I made some very good friends,” she said.

Now she will be transitioning to commander of one of four battalions within the Montana Army National Guard that can be deployed overseas. The 190th CSSB has six company commands totaling 617 soldiers from nine communities, including Billings, Malta, Glasgow and Sidney. The state has roughly 2,700 citizen soldiers.

“It’s a huge responsibility, a challenging responsibility. Being responsible for the training and preparation of over 600 soldiers and their families is not something I take lightly. They will get my best everyday,” she said. “Because of the training the National Guard has given me, that has prepared me for this next assignment.”

The 190th currently has a company that is deployed, the 143th, and the group is scheduled to return in the fall. Dorvall will be formally named commander at a ceremony on July 13 at the Billings Armed Forces Reserve Center. Before she applied for the position, Dorvall said she consulted her husband, Rick, and two sons.

“I sat down with my family and said ‘Here’s an opportunity, what do you think?’” she said. “Without my family’s support, I would not be successful. My family has been very supportive of my military career. They are very proud of being a military family.”