Maryjoy LaPenna


Maryjoy LaPenna

Civil Affairs

WPS Team

Born and raised in Queens and Long Island, NY Maryjoy graduated high school and received a 4-year ROTC scholarship to Western New England University in Springfield, Ma and graduated with a degree in Integrated Liberal Studies, concentrating in Criminal Justice, Psychology and Counterterrorism. Her first active-duty assignment was at Ft. Bliss, TX assigned to an armored division and deployed to Afghanistan where she acted in various positions to include Convoy Logistical Patrol commander, Quick Reaction Force OIC, Company Intelligence Support Team OIC and assistant OIC of the Female Engagement Team interacting with local populations improving Upon her return from Afghanistan, she was assigned to a Brigade Support Battalion as an Executive Officer for one year then to Camp Henry, South Korea, as a Movement Control Officer and Current Operations Officer. From there, she decided to leave the active component and concentrate on growing her family.

Maryjoy joined the Army Reserve in 2015 with the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command, was mobilized in support of Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) and the Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Element. In 2019, she took command of the Forward Support Company and successfully supported multiple large-scale exercises within the COVID environment. Maryjoy was mobilized to Fort McCoy, WI in support of Operation Allies Welcome where she spearheaded DoD TF McCoy Female Engagement Teams (FETs) operations, working hand in hand with interagency, multiple civilian agencies, USMC Civil Affairs Detachment and NGOs. Serving as team chief, she conducted engagements with the female population ensuring services were available and improving processes and communication between the multiple civilian and military entities. She assisted DoS with resettlement efforts going from 13,000 refugees down to under a thousand. Upon return from Ft. McCoy, Maryjoy joined the 437th Civil Affairs Battalion serving as the Civil Affairs Planning Chief. She successfully completed the Civil Affairs Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy United States Army Special Warfare Center and School located at Ft. Bragg, NC. She continues to educated and train others within the Civil Affairs community and out about the benefits of using a gender lens and engage the community for best results.