The first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was sworn in on Tuesday, the latest milestone for American women who now are allowed to serve all military combat roles.
Brigadier General Diana Holland, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, assumed the leadership post after being honored in packed ceremony at the academy.
She is the first woman to hold that job in the U.S. Military Academy’s 214-year history. She succeeds Maj. Gen. John C. Thompson III, who left last month to become commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
"I'm very grateful for this opportunity," said Holland. "First to be part of a winning team that demonstrates continuous excellence and contributes to our nation in such significant ways in times of peace and in conflict, second the opportunity to work with incredibly talented, young men and women such as those that you find here."
Holland assumes the historic leadership position a month after the U.S. military struck down gender barriers in the armed forces, announcing it would accept women in all combat jobs previously open only to men, from leading infantry soldiers into battle to serving as Navy SEALS.
The landmark decision means women can for the first time compete for the military's most elite units, including the Navy SEALS.
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