For the first time in the US Army’s 244-year history, two sisters attained the rank of general.
Major General Maria Barrett, 53, and Brigadier General Paula Lodi, 51, became what the Army believes to be the first pair of sister generals.
Both women have impressive resumes: Maj. Gen. Barrett is the Commanding General of NETCOM, while Brig. Gen. Lodi is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Office of the Surgeon General, USA Today reports.
Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi was promoted on July 12 to the one-star rank of brigadier general, joining her older sister, Maj. Gen. Maria Lodi Barrett, who is a two-star general.
“I don’t think either one of us told us back in high school when we were both playing soccer together, that this is where we would be 27, 30 years from now,” Barrett said. “I don’t think either one of us would have told you that this is how the story would end.”
To celebrate the historic moment of sisters serving together as general officers, Barrett presented her sister Lodi with her one-star rank insignia as a tribute to the history of women serving in the Army.
Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said the sisters represent “the best America has to offer,” and that they deserved the titles after their extraordinary journey.
“I can only imagine the pride their family must feel having two distinguished leaders inspiring countless individuals to achieve their full potential based on their own merit. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army,” he added.
The achievement of the sisters has been lauded as a profound milestone for women in the military.
‘For both men and women increasingly normalizing women in leadership positions matters,’ Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Defense Department official, said. ‘The fact that it comes from same family is an incredible accomplishment.’
The Army only began allowing women to serve among its ranks in 1901, when the Army Nursing Corps was first founded.
Before that, it’s said that women have been serving since at least 1775 in an unofficial capacity or in disguise since the Revolutionary war.
The Pentagon and Congress also placed limitation on the role of women in combat, before opening all fields to them in 2015. Ever since, more than a dozen have graduated from the Army’s Ranger School.
Now, more than 16% of the military’s 1.3 million active-duty members are made up by women, with 69 of them accounting for its 417 generals and admirals.