For the first time in the Army’s history, two sisters have attained the rank of general, the service said. It isn’t surprising that Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, 53, and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, 51, have climbed some of the highest ranks in the Army, the women’s brother Rus Lodi told USA Today. The sisters, who he dubbed “leadership junkies,” always amazed the family and have been a “great source of pride” for the family, he said.
The Army isn’t surprised by the sisters’ success either.
“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent the best America has to offer,” Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said, according to USA Today. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”
Although there have been cases where fathers and sons, and even a married couple have become generals, the Army doesn’t believe that there is another group of sisters who have pinned on general’s stars.
“The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” said Lodi, who is now deputy chief of staff for operations in the Army’s Surgeon General’s office.
Barrett was initially interested in joining the Army to help pay for school at Tufts University, and wanted to go on to a career at the State Department. After going through Reserve Officer Training Corps as an undergraduate student, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
But as Barrett advanced as an officer, she realized the Army was a better fit for her.
“When I talk to younger officers, I tell them the reason I joined is not the reason why I stayed,” said Barrett, who is the commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM. “Our democratic experiment, even on its most imperfect day, is worth defending.”
Lodi, who The Washington Post reports was promoted to brigadier general in July, also didn’t expect to stay in the Army for as long as she has.
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