I may be a little late, but it's not like her final little five-pointed friend is going anywhere . . . Waaay-high feminist fives go to Ann Dunwoody, who on November 14th became the first woman in the U.S. military to hold the rank of four-star general.
Dunwoody, 55, comes from five generations of military, and though she grew up wanting only to teach physical education and raise a family, her rock-'em-sock-'em roots got the best of her during what she intended to be a two-year detour with the Army. Thirty-three years later, Dunwoody explains her change of mind: "As a soldier, you can continuously 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."
A Virginia native, Dunwoody has, over the course of her career, served in: Fort Sill, OK; Kaiserslautern, Germany; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Drum, NY; Alexandria, VA; and Fort Lee, VA. She deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991, and to Uzbekistan for Operation Enduring Freedom I in 2001.
Dunwoody's military decorations include three Legion of Merit awards, two Distinguished Service Medals and a Defense Superior Service Medal. Among her notable firsts, she was: the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1992; the first woman general officer at Fort Bragg in 2000; and the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee in 2004.
In June, Dunwoody was nominated by President George W. Bush for promotion to four-star rank, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July. The promotion is particularly impressive since, by law, women are excluded from combat jobs, the typical military path to four-star rank.
Present at Dunwoody's pinning ceremony was her 89-year-old father, Harold Dunwoody, a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and highly decorated three-war veteran, and her husband of 18 years, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Craig Brotchie.
"No one is more surprised [by this honor] than I － except, of course, my husband," Dunwoody quipped. "You know what they say: 'Behind every successful woman is an astonished man.'"
Astonishing? To some, maybe. But definitely amazing for us all.