Lt. Gen Nadja West was honored February 10, 2016 in an official ceremony formalizing her promotion to three-star general, making her the first African American woman to achieve that rank in the United States Army. She is also the highest-ranking woman of any race to have graduated from West Point. She is now the Surgeon General of the United States Army.
Lieutenant General Nadja West is the first black woman to become a three-star general in the United States Army. She is also the highest ranking woman to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She is being honored in an official ceremony.
An amazing accomplishment
West was awarded a third star for her recent promotion to Army Surgeon General and Commanding General. The Senate confirmed her position in December. She will be advising the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff with health care. She will also oversee the organization and direction of all Army health care systems. There are over 48 medical treatment facilities to oversee, which provide care to almost 4 million people. Her appointment to 44th Surgeon General is effective immediately, but the official ceremony will take place February 9th.
The Surgeon General of the United States Army is the senior-most officer of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD). By policy, the Surgeon General (TSG) serves as Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) as well as head of the AMEDD
An impressive work history
West, the 54-year-old military leader earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from West Point and a Doctorate of Medicine from the George Washington University School of Medicine. She has served at several army hospitals, clinics, and medical missions. Her previous assignment includes: Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command; Commander of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. She was also Deputy Commander for Integration at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Most recently, she served as the Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon. Before becoming Surgeon General, she had already made her mark in the army by becoming Army Medicine’s first black female two-star general. She was historically promoted to major general in 2013. Regarding her new position, she said:
“My parents taught me to work hard and be the best I can be and things will work out. I’m just really honored. If anything at all, I hope I can be an inspiration to anyone or any group that has not seen themselves in certain positions. We all want to see people who look like us doing certain things to give us inspiration. Hopefully, I can inspire someone to be able to say, ‘I can do that.”
She grew up with an uncertain future