Meet US Army’s first female African-American major general

December 03, 2019 at 04:00 pm | Success Story, Women

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

December 03, 2019 at 04:00 pm | Success Story, Women

Major General Anderson is the first African-American woman to earn the rank of Major General - Pic Credit: army.mil

Major General Marcia Anderson is the first African American woman to reach the rank of Major General in the history of the U.S. Army.

She was honoured with two stars in the Army in 2011.

At the time of her honour, she was already the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s deputy commanding general. Maj. General Anderson said she is curious, tolerant and strives for excellence.

“I firmly believe that we are never in control of very much,” Anderson said. “The most we can do is have a set of values and beliefs, and adhere to them as closely as possible.”

“Be a lifelong learner. Accept people for who they are. Accept change because it is inevitable,” she added.

“Do not expect to be rewarded just because you show up on time, do what is expected of you and leave at the same time every day, because that is merely C-grade work,” she noted.

Maj. Gen. Marcia M. Anderson, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army
Human Resources Command, delivers remarks at a Promotion and Farewell
ceremony in her honor Sept. 29 at Fort Knox, Ky. Anderson, awarded a
Legion of Merit during the ceremony, is the first-ever female U.S. Army
African-American officer to obtain the rank of major general. (Photo Credit: Sally Harding, Ft Knox VI).
Maj. Gen. Marcia M. Anderson, the first-ever female U.S. Army African-American officer to obtain the rank of major general – Pic Credit: Sally Harding, Ft Knox VI

Anderson reportedly worked a civilian job during the day and did her reserve duty on weekends. She led the Army Human Resources Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky, as the Deputy Commanding General from 2010 to 2011 and subsequently became the senior military advisor to the Chief of the Army Reserves at the Pentagon from 2011 through 2014.

Anderson served in the U.S. Army Reserves, rising through the ranks and in 2008, she was named Brigadier General. Three years later, she became the first African-American woman in US Army history to become a Major General, or a two-star general.

Anderson, a Rutgers Law graduate put her legal skills to work in the military. During the first Iraq War Desert Storm, she was able to assist a JAG unit in New Jersey where she helped the soldiers preparing to deploy to understand wills and powers of attorney.

Commending her, commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley noted: “She has been very much the force behind the integration itself. She has worked diligently on total-force solutions while at the same time not letting the command forget the unique needs of the Reserve Component Soldiers we serve.”

Maj. Gen. Marcia M. Anderson, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army
Human Resources Command, is the first-ever female U.S. Army
African-American officer to obtain the rank of major general. (Photo Credit: Sally Harding, Ft Knox VI).
Pic Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Army

Anderson served the informational needs of the soldiers to ensure that the most relevant information was available to them, HRC commander Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee also noted during her promotion and departure ceremony at the Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Complex.

He went on to laud Anderson for her advocacy in uniting the Active Reserve Components at HRC. “Marcia has assisted in the huge responsibility of moving three separate HRC commands to Fort Knox and combining their efforts into one great command.”

She was the first woman to lead the 10,000 lawyers in the Army and after 37 years of service, Anderson retired from the military in 2016.

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