November 15, 2008
Congratulations General Ann E. Dunwoody!
Dunwoody Becomes First Female Four-Star General
Call it breaking the brass ceiling. Ann E. Dunwoody, after 33 years in the Army, ascended Friday to a peak never before reached by a woman in the U.S. military: four-star general.
At an emotional promotion ceremony, Dunwoody looked back on her years in uniform, said it was a credit to the Army—and a great surprise to her—that she would make history in a male-dominated military.
"Thirty-three years after I took the oath as a second lieutenant, I have to tell you this is not exactly how I envisioned my life unfolding," she told a standing-room-only auditorium. "Even as a young kid, all I ever wanted to do was teach physical education and raise a family.
"It was clear to me that my Army experience was just going to be a two-year detour en route to my fitness profession," she added. "So when asked, `Ann, did you ever think you were going to be a general officer, to say nothing about a four-star?' I say, `Not in my wildest dreams.'
"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.' "
Dunwoody hails from a family of military men dating back to the 1800s. Her father, 89-year-old Hal Dunwoody—a decorated veteran of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam—was in the audience, along with the service chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, plus the Joint Chiefs chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen.
Dunwoody, whose husband, Craig Brotchie, served for 26 years in the Air Force, choked up at times during a speech in which she said she only recently realized how much her accomplishment means to others.
"This promotion has taken me back in time like no other event in my entire life," she said. "And I didn't appreciate the enormity of the events until tidal waves of cards, letters, and e-mails started coming my way.
"And I've heard from men and women, from every branch of service, from every region of our country, and every corner of the world. I've heard from moms and dads who see this promotion as a beacon of home for their own daughters and after affirmation that anything is possible through hard work and commitment.
"And I've heard from women veterans of all wars, many who just wanted to say congratulations; some who just wanted to say thanks; and still other who just wanted to say they were so happy this day had finally come."
Later Friday, at Fort Belvoir, Va.—her birthplace—Dunwoody was being sworn in as commander of the Army Materiel Command, responsible for equipping, outfitting and arming all soldiers. Just five months ago, she became the first female deputy commander there.
Dunwoody, 55, has made it clear that she feels no need for special acclaim for her historic achievement.
"The recognition makes her a little bit uncomfortable from the standpoint of the gender aspect—that we're making a big deal (that) she is the first female general officer," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday in announcing that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would attend her promotion ceremony.
When she was nominated by President George W. Bush in June for promotion to four-star rank, Dunwoody issued a statement saying she was humbled.
"I grew up in a family that didn't know what glass ceilings were," she said. "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."
Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in July.
There are 21 female general officers in the Army—all but four at the one-star rank of brigadier. It was not until 1970 that the Army had its first one-star: Anna Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps.
Women now make up about 14 percent of the active-duty Army and are allowed to serve in a wide variety of assignments. They are still excluded from units designed primarily to engage in direct combat, such as infantry and tank units, but their opportunities have expanded over the past two decades.
Dunwoody received her Army commission after graduating from the State University of New York in 1975.
Her first assignment was to Fort Sill, as supply platoon leader in June 1976, and she remained at Sill in various positions until she was sent to quartermaster officer school at Fort Lee, Va., in July 1980.
She later served in Germany and Saudi Arabia.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff College in 1987, she was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where she became the 82nd Airborne Division's first female battalion commander.
She has numerous decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal and Defense Superior Service Medal.
Wild Thing's comment........
Heh heh wouldn't it just really tick off the Taliban if a woman was in charge of their whipping? hahahaha
Posted by Wild Thing at November 15, 2008 03:40 AM
I told you so-we can do it!
Look at Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, the co inventor of COBAL. Us girls can do anything we set our minds up to do. I am so tired of hearing how people can't do this or do that. That "Yes we can!" came from Rosie the Riveter (my grandma was one). We can do anything and I hope my daughters will shatter those ceilings all over the place with what they chose to do. One is a fine actress, the other is a math whiz. I am so lucky!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by: Lynn at November 15, 2008 07:05 AM
As for your last sentence WT, "BEATS ME!" US NAVY rear admirals....?
Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at November 15, 2008 09:10 AM
A spectacular accomplishment!!
Posted by: BobF at November 15, 2008 10:25 AM
Kudos to her, many men haven't achieved what she has. 4 stars and she was barred from combat service, awesome!!!
I have worked alongside a woman heavy equipment mechanic in the Army, post Vietnam, she was as tough as any man. I worked with many women in my career, some were there as tokens, but most excelled and exceeded in every way, one was a mechanical engineer, a good one too, she went on to become a top oil field manager, another lady is a gas turbine and gas compressor controls specialist, many a 27 hour day I've spent with her. Yes they can work and lead with excellence!!! I'm proud of General Dunwoody's accomplishments.
Dunwoody's military awards and decorations include:
* Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
* Defense Superior Service Medal
* Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters
* Defense Meritorious Service Medal
* Meritorious Service Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
* Army Commendation Medal
* Army Achievement Medal
* National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
* Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 campaign stars)
* Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
* Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
* Master Parachutist Badge
* Parachute Rigger Badge
* Army Staff Identification Badge
* Parachutist Badge (Germany)
Posted by: Jack at November 15, 2008 12:11 PM
Congratulations General Dunwoody. She jumps out of planes too, so you know she has to be alright!
Posted by: TomR at November 15, 2008 12:39 PM
Lynn, that is so cool about your grandma, thanks for sharing about that.
Yes you are very lucky. ((hug))
Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2008 12:57 AM
Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2008 12:59 AM
BobF, it sure is, she cried at the service. Like a release of all the years of service flooding her emotions. It was very special.
Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2008 01:01 AM
Jack, WOW, thank you so much.
Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2008 01:02 AM
Tom, BIG smile yesssss I love that she does that.
Posted by: Wild Thing at November 16, 2008 01:04 AM