Promotion Ceremony for Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody (Washington, D.C.)
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Pentagon Auditorium (Washington, D.C.), Friday, November 14, 2008
Good morning. Thank you all for coming. We invited everyone but the fire marshal. It’s good to be with you this morning and it’s great to see what an incredible turnout there is in recognition of General Dunwoody.
First let me acknowledge the distinguished leaders of the United States Army, civilian and military, who are here today, as well as representatives from the other services. And, of course, a special welcome to the family of Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody, so many of whom wear our nation’s uniform – a tradition of service that spans five generations. As she has been known to say, olive drab runs in her veins.
Today is a very special day as we celebrate General Dunwoody’s promotion to four-star general and to the leadership of Army Materiel Command, one of the largest and most important organizations in the U.S. military.
Her stellar career began when she received her officer’s commission in 1975. It was a time, you may recall, when there were no female cadets at West Point. That change would come in 1976. In fact, what Ann Dunwoody joined was the Women’s Army Corps. The WACs – of World War Two fame – were on the point of being disbanded so women could fully integrate into the Army.
As opportunities for women expanded, individuals like Ann Dunwoody have risen to the challenge and excelled. History will no doubt take note of her achievement in breaking through this final “brass ceiling” to pin on a fourth star. But she would rather be known – and remembered – first and foremost, as a U.S. Army soldier.
General Dunwoody ascends to this post with 33 years of service as a soldier and leader of the highest caliber. She is recognized as one of the foremost military logisticians of her generation. As the deputy at Army Materiel Command, she helped direct a massive procurement, supply, and maintenance effort that supported and sustained the services. General Dunwoody’s record as a proven leader and organizer positions her, and the Army, for success as the AMC confronts the challenges ahead.
Ann, I thank you for taking on such a heavy responsibility at this critical time, and I wish you and the men and women of Army Materiel Command the very best.