Saturday, November 15, 2008

Historic first: Woman becomes four-star general

Dunwoody breaks 'brass ceiling'

A woman who has served in the U.S. Army for 33 years has become the first female to rise to the rank of four-star general in the history of the U.S. military.

General Ann Dunwoody received the promotion Friday during a ceremony at the Pentagon. She said that although she is the first woman to reach the rank, she knows she will not be the last.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who presided over the ceremony, called Dunwoody a "proven leader."

President George Bush nominated Dunwoody for the post in June, and the decision was approved by the U.S. Senate. In her new role, General Dunwoody will take charge of the Army's Materiel Command, which is responsible for providing arms, equipment and other logistical support for soldiers.

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Shirazi said...


Deb S. said...


Andre said...

You know Deb, I'm kinda torn on this. On the one hand, I'd like to obviously congratuate Gen. Dunwoody for her historic appointment and for her years of work. But the other part of me tends to question how officers are commissioned who haven't actually been directly in combat. Though I haven't served in the military (and I'm not likely to ever do so), if I was to ever serve, I'd rather receive direction from a person who has the in-field experience than a person who is a mere academic.

From this point, another issue to be examined is the prohibition of women actually serving on the front lines. If a woman (or for that matter, a homosexual male) is willing to serve their country, so be it. The restrictions made by an maxed out military should be brought to task.

Deb S. said...

Andre: I can see where you're headed with this. Should the U.S. reconsider laws that restrict women from directly in combat? Probably.

But let me say this. After reviewing Gen. Dunwoody's bio, she seems to have demonstrated exemplary leadership. My guess that during her career, she's had men and women under her command. And she's probably had to deal with a lot of garbage from men just because she's a woman.

Gen. Dunwoody's tours of duty include Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and Uzbekistan. She may not have served directly in combat. However, like many other women, she's put her life on the line serving her country.

She has served as strategic planner for the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA), as well as Executive Officer to the Director, Defense Logistics Agency; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics G-4. In her new role, she will take charge of the Army's Materiel Command, which is responsible for providing arms, equipment and other logistical support for soldiers.

Gen. Dunwoody's leadership skills apparently put her on the path to becoming a four-star general. I don't think she she should be penalized because of current legislation. I do think it's a shame that it has taken the U.S. all these years to finally name a woman four-star general. But, then, that's just an opinion of someone who never has served in the armed forces.

A report by The Associated Press says that Gen. Dunwoody's husband, who served for 26 years in the Air Force, choked up several times during the ceremony for her promotion.

To quote the general: "There is no one more surprised than I — except, of course, my husband. You know what they say, `Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man.' "

I was waiting for someone to weigh in on the combat issue, Andre. I'm glad you did.