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Army Surgeon General Nadja West Featured in CNN Badass Web Series

Nadja West Hero SOCIAL

By Debbie Gregory.

Army Surgeon General Nadja West has recently been featured in a new web series by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.

West and the other “Badass Women of Washington”  have broken glass ceilings across our nation’s capital. West has distinguished herself by collecting an impressive array of “firsts.”

In 2013, West was the first black female major general of the Army’s active component, and was Army Medicine’s first African-American female two-star general. In 2015, she became the first black surgeon general. And in 2016, West became the first African-American female lieutenant general and the highest-ranking woman to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

At the age of two, West was adopted by a military family, her father having served as a logistics warrant officer. He and his journalist-activist wife had already adopted 11 children, with West becoming the youngest of their 12.

According to West, an early, positive influence on her life was seeing the black, female character Lt. Nyota Uhura on the bridge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. Uhura was one of the first characters of African descent to be featured in a non-menial role on an American television series.

West has always felt gratitude towards her biological mother for making a decision that although tough, was in her child’s best interest.

“My mom decided that she couldn’t take care of me or didn’t want to take care of me,” West said. “I’m just very thankful that she decided to give me a chance at life because you could have had other options.”

Besides West, nine of her siblings went on to serve in the U.S. Army.  In 1978, West applied to the U.S. Military Academy at the encouragement of one of her brothers; she was one of the 126 women accepted into the Academy’s third class that allowed women.

Breaking barriers at the Academy certainly came with its own set of challenges. When she arrived, there was just one all-male class left, but she said for some, the goal was to “run all the women out before they graduated.” And although she had some reservations about her decision to attend, being pushed to drop out only served to strengthen her resolve to succeed.

After West graduated from West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, she attended medical school at George Washington University.

Her Army medical service included deployments in the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

West is a role model, especially to her own daughter and her son, who is now following in his mother’s footsteps as a plebe at West Point.

To see the feature on West and the other “Badass Women of Washington” visit http://www.cnn.com/specials/politics/badass-women-of-washington .

Navy Decommissions the USS Enterprise

121008-N-NL401-013 STRAIT OF BAB AL MANDEB (Oct. 8, 2012) The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transits the Strait of Bab Al Mendeb. Enterprise is returning from a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, where the ship conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Meshel/Released)

By Debbie Gregory.

After 55 years of service, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, has been decommissioned.

Known as “Big E,” the warship has played a role in major world events from the 1962 Cuban missile crisis to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The USS Enterprise has spent the past several years being defueled and dismantled at Newport News Shipbuilding, the shipyard where it was built and refueled.

The decommissioning ceremony, a long-honored naval tradition, retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial services, including lowering the ship’s commissioning pennant.

Capt. Todd Beltz, commanding officer of the Enterprise, addressed the ship’s company, former commanding officers and distinguished visitors and spoke of where the true spirit of the Big E comes from.

“For all that Enterprise represents to this nation, it’s the people that bring this ship to life,” said Beltz. “So as I stand in this ship that we all care so much about, I feel it’s appropriate to underscore the contributions of the thousands of Sailors and individuals that kept this ship alive and made its reputation. We are ‘The Big E.’”

The ship was christened Sep. 24, 1960, by Mrs. Bertha Irene Franke, wife of former Secretary of the Navy William B. Franke. It has an active veterans’ group dedicated to preserving its history, which includes launching the first aircraft strikes in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on the U.S.

Enterprise was the eighth naval vessel to carry the name, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

The Navy has said a future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier also will be called Enterprise. Sailors from the carrier’s final crew built a time capsule from parts of the ship and allowed former sailors to fill it with notes and mementos. The time capsule will be opened by the commanding officer of the next Enterprise.

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