Nadja West

Nadja West

Nadja West, Army lieutenant general and the 44th U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. She is has broken many glass ceilings: She is the first black Army Surgeon General, was the black female active duty major general, the first black female major general in Army Medicine, and the first Army black female lieutenant general. She is the highest ranking woman to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy and is the recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit. 

“If anything at all, I hope I can be an inspiration to any one 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’.”

"I joined the Army because I come from a military family. I kind of grew up eating, drinking, breathing, living Army. My dad was in — he joined the Army in 1939, when the Army was segregated, and stayed in for 33 years. Nine of my siblings were serving. I'm the youngest, so to me it was just something I couldn't wait to do. I knew I would be serving in some capacity in the military."

"I think I put a lot of pressure on myself for that. I really had a lot of support from people of all races and colors. Most of my mentors were white males. There were a lot of folks that helped me get where I am today. But I would put more pressure on myself because I knew if I were to do something, it would be, 'Here goes another female doing this.' I would never want to fall out of a run, because it would be, females can’t run. I used to say, I’ll drop dead before I fall out. I didn’t want to let my fellow women down. If you look at the jobs that I’ve had, I’ve done very well. I don’t think I’ve been suppressed or not able to take a job based on my qualifications. The fact that I’m sitting here today talking to you shows that, given a fair chance, given an opportunity to compete for various jobs, I’ve been treated very well by my Army." 

Army Times, Wiki, and JNSMA

 

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