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Ann Dunwoody is the first woman in United States military history to achieve the
rank of four-star general. She is a leader not only in the Army, but also in her personal
life. Ann Dunwoody has reached outstanding achievements while fighting through
adversity. Her goal to climb the ranks to General was not an easy path for her because
of her gender, but she has led the way for many more women to join her in her four-star
rank in the future.
Childhood and Joining the United States Military
In 1953, Ann Dunwoody was born at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Her father was a
career army officer. She spent some of her childhood living in Germany and in Belgium.
When she graduated from high school, Dunwoody attended college at State University
of New York College at Cortland. She did not have plans to join the military like her
father and the four generations of men in her family before her, but changed her mind
after attending an eleven week course for women that were interested in becoming
officers in the Army. She liked the course and realized that the army was a place that
reflected her personal values of family, hard work, and dedication to integrity.
Dunwoody’s very first assignment was as a platoon leader (a platoon is a group
of soldiers that work together as a unit). Her most important assignment was her
service as the Parachute Officer and planner for the Chief of Staff of the Army. In the
1990s, she was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation
Desert Storm. In 2008 she was awarded her fourth star as a general by President
George W. Bush. After 37 years in the Army, Ann Dunwoody officially retired in 2012.
When asked who her own personal hero is, Ann Dunwoody does not hesitate to
answer, “My dad. He is a proud World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veteran,” she said.
Dunwoody explains that her father is not only a great soldier, but also the reason she
wanted to be an officer. Ann Dunwoody describes her father as a true patriot.
An Advocate For Women in the Military
Ann Dunwoody has also been very outspoken about the treatment of women in
the military. There has been news coverage of women being treated poorly, or as if they
are lesser soldiers than men. Ann Dunwoody has explained her position on women in
the military many times. She believes that women are just as capable as men are in
combat, and believes that the Army must continue to make improvements in attitudes
about women soldiers and officers.