General Ann Dunwoody on women and combat roles

dunwoody1General Ann Dunwoody. Photo credit: U.S. Army Materiel Command

Recently two Army officers became the first female graduates of the U.S. Army’s grueling Ranger school. The ripple effect of this achievement might be a permanent change in the status of women in combat roles.

“What these women did was eliminate the excuse that they’re not capable,” says General Ann Dunwoody (US Army, Ret.).

As the first woman to gain the rank of four-star general in the Army, Dunwoody has seen the military slowly open opportunity to women since she joined in the mid-seventies.

Dunwoody was one of the first women allowed to go through Airborne school in 1976. She tells Steve Fast that without that opportunity, her career could have stalled. The status as a graduate of Airborne school gave her the qualifications for greater levels of command.

“It opened doors throughout a long journey,” Dunwoody says. “You earn that badge and it gives you credibility throughout the ranks.”

Prior to her retirement Dunwoody had been in charge of nearly 70,000 troops. The general sees the changed roles of women and gays in the military as steady progress.

“Change is hard,” Dunwoody says. “The most important thing is to leverage all the talent that you have.”

Listen to the interview: General Ann Dunwoody on The Steve Fast Show

Follow Steve Fast on Twitter @SteveFastShow

 

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