Four Women Leaders In Our U.S. Military

In the past, I have written pieces about each of these women, but this video gives you a chance to meet them, to see what they do and have done in their various U.S. Military leadership roles. I think you will find each one of them to be truly impressive individuals and proven leaders.

I remember writing about Admiral Michelle Howard when she was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Admiral in U.S. Navy history on July 1, 2014. She was also appointed the 38th Vice-Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), making her the second-highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy.

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In 2016, Admiral Howard became the commander of naval forces in Europe and Africa. She was in command of those forces when she ordered the Seals to rescue Captain Richard Phillips, the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama that had been taken by Somali pirates. The success of that mission was made famous in the movie Captain Phillips.

That she was recognized for her skills, her intellect, and her leadership capabilities is an important enough reason to respect and praise this very gifted leader. But what really got my attention was her confident yet naturally humble demeanor. Her sailors and Marines are always at the center of her consciousness. It is all about them, not her. She is a true role model of profoundly effective leadership.

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Brigadier General Paula Lodi and Major General Maria Barrett, as well as being leaders in their different commands, are, in fact, sisters. This is an amazing story all by itself. Brig. Gen. Lodi and Maj. Gen. Barrett are the first sisters to reach the rank of General in U.S Army history.

Gen. Lodi is in command of the Regional Health Command Atlantic. She was a graduate of the ROTC program at Rutgers, NJ. Her first assignments were with the 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, and the 4th Infantry Division Fort Hood, Texas. She was engaged with several Medical and Multifunctional Logistics positions including Ambulance Platoon Leader, Battalion S1 and S4, Support Ops Maintenance Officer for Brigade S4, and Company Command.

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Gen. Lodi has also served at the Pentagon as Executive Officer to the Director of the Army Staff. She has held command assignments with the 15th Sustainment Brigade Special Troops Battalion, the 14th Combat Support Hospital, and the 44th Combat Support Hospital. Gen Lodi has served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations for the office of the Surgeon General and U.S. Army Medical Command. She is currently Commanding General for the Regional Health Command, Atlantic. Her awards inlude the Legion of Merits (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (6 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Military Outsanding Volunteer Volunteer Medal.

Brig. Gen. Lodi’s sister, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, currently commands the Cyber Command for the U.S. Army, Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). Prior to her current command position, Maj. Gen. Barrett was Deputy Director of Current Operations of the J-3 United States Cyber Command, Deputy Commanding General for the Joint Force (Headquarters-Cyber with United States Army Cyber Command), and Deputy Commander (Operations) for Cyber National Mission Force.

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Maj. Gen. Barret’s previous command assignments included being Commander of the 160th Signal Brigade, Third United States Army. She has command experiences at the company, battalion, and brigade levels. Listen to what she says about the importance of the cyber components of today’s military preparedness. I think you will see that these sisters not only share in their leadership abilities, but they also have a wonderful sense of humor.

Lt. General Jacqueline Van Ovost, USAF, is the fourth woman you will meet in this video. Lt. Gen. Van Ovost is the current Commander of the Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB, Illinois. She is in charge of Transportation Command’s air mobility mission in support of the Joint Force, allies, and partners, with a fleet of 1,100 aircraft. Her command encompasses the Eighteenth Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, the 618th Air Operations Center, and 7 wings and 2 groups, which provide rapid global mobility from more than 100 locations worldwide. She commands some 107,000 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel and civilians. The Command also includes Air Force One and Air Force Two. In her past experiences, Lt. Gen. Van Ovost flew Air Force 2.

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Listen to what each of these incredible women has to say about their various command responsibilities and where we are today in our capacity to answer whatever threats may present themselves in the modern technological environment. We can be very proud of these women leaders in our U.S. Military and confident that our military is being led by the best and most skilled leaders in the services today.

The Veterans Site honors these four current and past women leaders. We thank them for their dedicated commitment to quality service and professional leadership in our United States Military Services. They are role models for us all.

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