First Female Nominated To Become 4 Star General

June 25, 2008

(Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody)

It was announced on Monday, that President George Bush has nominated the first woman ever in US Military history to become a 4 Star General. Currently, Lt. General Ann E. Dunwoody is serving as the new deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command, having served in that position since June 17th.

“Lt. General Dunwoody’s leadership, character and career have best prepared her to lead the Army Materiel Command,” said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. “She will bring 33 years of experience to over 56 thousand Soldiers, DA Civilians and their Families in 40 states and 50 countries as she serves as the next commanding general of Army Materiel Command.”

For Lt. General Dunwoody, firsts aren’t anything new. She is the first female deputy of AMC. Also, she was the first woman to hold the last job that she had, as the deputy chief of staff of the Army for G-4 (Logistics) and also the first woman to command the US Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Va. In that position, Lt. General was responsible for ensuring that Army warfighters had the supplies that were necessary, that logisticians had the tools and equipment necessary to deliver those supplies and services to Soldiers around the world.

(Gen. Genjamin Griffin, Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody & CSM Jeffrey Mellinger salute as the national anthem is played by the AMC band during Dunwoody’s welcome ceremony as the AMC deputy commanding general on June 17th)

In the past, women haven’t been nominated to the rank of 4 star General, because law prevented them from serving in combat roles. Historically, that has been the path to reach the higher ranking positions. While the exclusion from combat still applies today, the Army has chosen to cast aside those customary limitations on promotion. Lt. General Dunwoody is one of only two females who are currently 3 Star Generals. The other is Lt. General Kathleen Gainey, who is the director of logistics, as a member of the Joint Staff.

“Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a statement.

Lt. General Ann Dunwoody is a native of New York. She graduated from the State University of New York in 1975 and then received her Army commission. She holds graduate degrees in national resource strategy and logistics management. There is a long tradition of military service in her family, which includes her great grandfather, grandfather, father, brother, sister, neice and husband.

“I am very honored but also very humbled today with this announcement,” Dunwoody said. “I grew up in a family that didn’t know what glass ceilings were. This nomination only reaffirms what I have known to be true about the military throughout my career … that the doors continue to open for men and women in uniform. My focus right now is to be the best deputy I can be.”

If Lt. General Dunwoody’s nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she will tak over as AMC’s commanding general from General Benjamin S. Griffin, who has served in that position since 2004. She would oversee AMC headquarters’ upcoming move to Huntsville, Alabama, from it’s current location at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. That process is expected to be completed by September 2011.

The very first Army female general officers were promoted in June 1970 when Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor promoted both Colonel Anna Mae Hays, who was chief of the Army Nurse Corps and Colonel Elizabeth P. Hoisington, who was then director of the Women’s Army Corps. They were both promoted to brigadier general. Currently there are 57 active duty women and 47 reservists who are Generals in the Armed Forces. Of all active duty forces, roughly 194,000 of them are women, or about 14 %. Since 9/11 more than 193,400 women have been deployed in support of US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s great to see that the military is recognizing women in the service for the valuable contributions that they are able to make, especially during a time when our country is at war on two fronts. I’m looking forward to more women being able to be promoted to 4 Star General, now that Lt. General Dunwoody has set the presidence. I’m sure that she’ll perform her new job the way that she always has … with pride, dedication, and exemplary leadership and will set the standard for those who come after her.


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