Sisters Attain Rank of Army General in Historic Military First

Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett poses with Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi during then Col. Lodi's promotion ceremony at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA on 12 July 2019. SOURCE: US Army
U.S. Army

Two women are believed to be the first sisters to attain the rank of general at the same time while serving in the United States Army, reports said.

Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and younger sister Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent “the best America has to offer,” adding, “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.”

However, although the Army believes the sisters to be the first, women sometimes change their last names after getting married, and the Army would have to investigate every female general and their siblings to determine if they were sisters or not.

“But since there haven’t been that many women generals, it’s a safe bet that they’re the first,” an Army spokesperson said.

Both sisters, who are very close in age, grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts, and played soccer on the same team in high school.

According to a CNN report:

Maj. Gen. Barrett is the Commanding General of NETCOM. She graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and was commissioned through the Army ROTC program as a Second Lieutenant in 1988. Her younger sister, Brig. Gen. Lodi, was promoted in July and is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Office of the Surgeon General. She is a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Naval War College and has master’s degrees in public administration, military arts and science, and national security and strategic studies.

“When I talk to younger officers, I tell them the reason I joined is not the reason why I stayed,” said Maj. Gen. Barrett. “Our democratic experiment, even on its most imperfect day, is worth defending.”

Brig. Gen. Lodi praised the army for its support of women in the military. “The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” she commented.

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