Photo via: U.S. Army
The United States Military Academy at West Point has never appointed an African American woman to serve as First Captain -until now.
Cadet Simone Askew of Fairfax, Virginia was recently selected as First Captain of West Point's Corps of Cadets for the 2017-2018 academic year. This makes her the first African American woman to hold the position, also known as the academy's highest leadership role.
The 20-year-old has a great track record of both excellence and leadership as she was president of her high school class, founder of its Black Student Union, and a recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Military Leadership. She currently serves as a Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II, where she leads 1,502 cadets.
"Simone truly exemplifies our values of duty, honor, country. Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication and commitment to the Corps over the last three years," said commandant of cadets, Brigadier General Steven W. Gilland in a written statement.
"I know Simone and the rest of our incredibly talented leaders within the Class of 2018 will provide exceptional leadership to the Corps of Cadets in the upcoming academic year."
In her new role, Askew will serve as the chain of command for about 4,400 cadets, develop class agendas, and be accountable for cadets' overall performance. This is quite a feat, as West Point didn't accept women until 174 years after its founding in 1802.
"It's a great step for not only women, but African American women, because it shows that no matter what your sex, or your race, you can really do anything," her sister, Nina Askew, told NBC Washington. "There's nothing that can hold you back."
Indeed! Congratulations, Simone! Keep blazing your own trail.