West Point honors first female 4-star general in history

With International Women’s Day just passed, there’s no better way to celebrate how women have made their mark in society, including the military. One woman, in particular, became an icon after she was given the title of first-ever female 4-star general. She was awarded her four-star officer rank on November 14, 2008, at a promotion ceremony that took place at the Pentagon.

Army Times Source: Army Times

This celebrated woman is Retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody. She has since been given the Thayer award, presented by West Point’s Association of Graduates, on October 10 as a tribute to her achievements in the military. Only military officials whose service is in the national interest and represents the academy’s motto “Duty, Honor, Country” are entitled to this award.

Army Times Source: Army Times

Gen. Dunwoody had an impressive stint in the Army, serving for a total of 38 years. Her role saw her be in charge of the largest global logistics command center in the Army, the Army Materiel Command. Gen. Dunwood retired in 2012, having been the first woman in history to have achieved the four stars on her shoulders.

Army Times Source: Army Times

As it turns out, serving the Army was in Gen. Dunwoody’s blood. She explained in an interview with the Military Logistics Forum that her family tree was made up of four generations of West Pointers.

She spoke of her family history, saying: “I grew up in the Army and came from a family who, since 1862, has defended our nation. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brother, my sister, my niece, and my husband are all veterans of this country’s wars. My father is a veteran of three wars and is one of the 25 million veterans living today who served the nation with such incredible courage.”

Army Times Source: Army Times

Many people were inspired by Gen. Dunwoody and her position as a role model for both young women and her military peers alike. Despite this, she admitted that she hadn’t ever planned to stay in the Army for too long.

She said: “While I joined the Army right out of college, I planned to only stay in the Army to complete my two-year commitment, but it wasn’t too long before I realized that there are no other shoes [boots] I would rather fill than the ones I am wearing right now. As a soldier, you can continually serve. It is a calling to be a soldier and there is a great sense of pride and camaraderie in serving the greatest Army in the world.”

Army Times Source: Army Times

The Army is dominated by men, which could easily be intimidating to a woman trying to achieve a higher ranking – but not to Gen. Dunwoody. In her interview with the Army Times, she said:

“In the military, I had advocates, then there were detractors. They just don’t like you, maybe they think it’s a man’s Army and women don’t belong here. The key is how you deal with people. You don’t stoop to name-calling. You be professional, demonstrate you’re capable and sometimes you convert people. In the military, people want the best leader on the team. They want the best, and we have a profession that’s looking for and rewards that kind of behavior.”

Army Times Source: Army Times

Gen. Dunwoody is an exceptional role model, and we could all learn a thing or two from her achievements! She’s a fantastic example of the successes we can obtain with the right dedication, motivation, and passion. What a woman!

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