• Two women make US Army history as first sisters to attain rank of general

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Two women made U.S. Army history in July when they became the first pair of sisters to attain the rank of general.

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    In a first in the 244-year history of the Army, Paula Lodi, 51, was promoted to brigadier general July 12, joining her sister, Maj. Gen. Maria Lodi Barrett, 53, ABC News reported.

    The Army has documented instances where fathers and sons, and even a married couple have been promoted to general.

    Gen. George Casey Jr. and his father, Maj. Gen. George Casey Sr., are an example of father-and-son generals, USA Today reported. Leo Brooks was a brigadier general and his sons, Leo Brooks Jr. (one-star) and Vincent Brooks (four-star) also were generals. Laura Richardson and her husband, James Richardson, were three-star generals.

    Army officials said they believe this is the first time sisters have had been pinned with general's stars, Army Times reported.

    Barrett, a two-star general, is the commanding general of NETCOM, which runs the Army's cyber networks, The Washington Post reported. Lodi -- now a one-star general -- serves as deputy chief of staff for operations at the Office of the Surgeon General, the newspaper reported. To celebrate the moment, Barrett presented the one-star ranking to her younger sister, ABC News reported

    "The fact that both of us would have come from the same family, it almost makes you want to go out and get a lottery ticket,” Barrett told The Washington Post. “Except, this is not a game of chance. It is hard work, it is strong leadership skills, it’s strong technical competency. Then you realize that this is a very tough bar in and of itself for both of us to make it.”

    According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 16 percent of the military's 1.3 million active-duty personnel are women. 

    Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said the sisters "represent the best America has to offer," according to ABC News.

    "I can only imagine the pride their family must feel having two distinguished leaders inspiring countless individuals to achieve their full potential based on their own merit," McCarthy said. "This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army."

    Women have served in the Army -- unofficially -- since the Revolutionary War, according to the U.S. Army Women's Museum. Women were officially accepted into the Army in 1901, when the Army Nursing Corps was established.

    "The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” Lodi told Army Times.

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