Ann E. Dunwoody Reporting for Duty

Ann E. Dunwoody Reporting for Duty

( – Women have played a pivotal role in militaries for as long as wars have been in existence. The exact roles they fulfilled, however, have significantly changed over time in the United States. Most women who served weren’t recognized as full-standing members of the Army, Navy or Air Force throughout the first half of the century.

This eventually changed; President Harry Truman created more equality when he signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act (WASIA) into law on June 12, 1948. The act mandated that female members must have access to the same recognition and support for their efforts as men.

Individual attitudes wouldn’t change for some time, and full integration of women into the military still wouldn’t occur until the 1970s. Yet, this important shift still paved the way for women, including Ann E. Dunwoody, to achieve amazing “firsts.”

Who Is Ann E. Dunwoody?

Ann E. Dunwoody didn’t join the military until nearly 30 years after the signing of the WASIA, in 1974. Nonetheless, she remains one of the most famous women to ever serve even today. Not only was she the first woman to achieve a long list of ranks and awards, but she also remains one of the most shining examples of female excellence in service to date.

Dunwoody began her career as a simple-yet-important supply platoon leader. Within less than a year, she was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps. She dedicated herself to inspiring those around her and proving her ability to succeed, even in the face of occasional pressure or sexism from male detractors.

Her determination alone makes Dunwoody’s story significant and commendable. Still, she wasn’t even close to satisfied or ready to throw in the towel just yet. There were bigger ceilings to break and far more firsts to achieve.

Tenacity and Dedication

General Dunwoody continued to fight her way up the ranks all throughout her career, showcasing exemplary service every step of the way. In 1992, she became the first woman to serve as a battalion commander, overseeing troops within the 82nd Airborne Division. Eight years later, she became the first woman to serve as a General at Fort Bragg.

Her light grew brighter with every year she served.

More Exciting Firsts

By the mid-2000s, Dunwoody had already won the respect and admiration of colleagues and friends alike. In addition to her career, she also served on the Board of Directors for the Army Logistician. She became a strong advocate of distribution-based logistics within the military, believing it imperative for overall success.

But Dunwoody’s final crowning achievements were yet to come. On November 14, 2008, the US Military awarded Dunwoody the opportunity to achieve one final exciting first by promoting her to the rank of four-star General. She was, and is, the only woman to ever achieve such a role in American history to date.

In what would later become one of her most talked-about roles, the General eventually stepped in to become leader of the Army Materiel Command (AMC). There, she managed logistics for countless military installations, equipment and nearly 70,000 employees located all across the globe. She played a pivotal role in ensuring troops had steady access to critical supplies, both on home soil and in foreign war zones.

Dunwoody finally retired from service a few short years later, in 2012.

From her early days as a supply platoon leader to her pivotal role in arranging supplies for the war in Afghanistan, Ann E. Dunwoody broke barriers for both women and the US Military as a whole. Today, many consider her an example of excellence and certainly a woman worth celebrating during Women’s History Month.

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