10th Mountain Gets First Female Brigadier

Brigadier General Diana Holland
Army Col. Diana Holland becomes the first woman to hold the title of deputy commanding general for support in a light infantry division during her promotion ceremony to brigadier general. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Osama Ayyad)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. — Army Col. Diana Holland, the 10th Mountain Division’s deputy commander for support, was promoted to brigadier general and became the first woman to serve as deputy commanding general in any Army light infantry division during a July 29 ceremony here.

Holland, who has served in that position since her arrival here in May, is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this fall as the division’s deputy commanding general for support, in support of Operation Resolute Support.

Holland previously deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division to Iraq in 2004 and led the 92nd Engineer Battalion and the 130th Engineer Brigade during deployments in Afghanistan.

Because of her qualifications and previous assignments, Holland is well-equipped to be the DCG-S during the division headquarters' upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, said Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum commander.

Accomplished Officer

"The missions we have during our next deployment are right along her DNA," Bannister said during Holland's promotion ceremony.

Holland was among 895 second lieutenants who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1990. It was the 10th class to graduate women and the first to have a female cadet serve as first captain, the highest leadership position in the Corp of Cadets.

Approximately 2,000 of the 7,000 lieutenants who received their commission that year went on to reach the rank of colonel, and only 40 have been selected to become brigadier generals.

"That's a heck of a cut," Bannister said. "It's a little more than competence. It's about the character and about the reputation that you from the 2,000 to that half of a percentage point who become generals."

After postponing her promotion ceremony so family and friends could attend, Holland began her remarks by making sure her audience could hear her, including the few in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who watched the ceremony via teleconference.

Many of her friends and colleagues traveled to attend the ceremony, during which she thanked all for their support.

Recognizing Noncommissioned Officers

Holland also gave special recognition of the noncommissioned officers with whom she has worked throughout her career, recalling the names of every enlisted soldier who was part of her command teams: her platoon sergeant when she was a platoon leader, her first sergeant when she was a company commander, and her command sergeants major as a battalion and brigade commander.

"As a leader in the Army, we are charged with inspiring our soldiers," Holland said. "But I often found myself inspired by them.”

She added, "Our soldiers accomplish amazing things every day and under incredible stress, and, when the going gets tough and the mission seems insurmountable, they raise their hands and say 'send me.'”

Serving with soldiers “is a privilege, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside such great Americans," Holland said.

"It is no wonder that we are, and continue to be, the greatest army in the world," she said.

Previously, 18 of the Army's 308 generals were women. Now Holland has joined their ranks.

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