West Point Taps Black Woman to Lead Corps of Cadets, a First for the Military Academy

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Cadet Simone Askew currently leads 1,502 cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Army

A Virginia woman selected for the top spot in the chain of command for West Point cadets will be the first African-American female to hold the esteemed position at the U.S. military academy.

On Thursday, Aug. 3, West Point announced that Cadet Simone Askew of Fairfax will serve as First Captain of the academy’s Corps of Cadets for the 2017-18 school year. Askew, an international history major, currently leads more than 1,200 Army cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II, according to a press release.

The seasoned cadet is slated to assume her duties later this month on Aug. 14.

“Simone truly exemplifies our values of duty, honor, country,” Brig. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, commandant of cadets, said in a statement. “Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication and commitment to the Corps over the last three years.”

As First Captain, Askew will be responsible for “the overall performance” of approximately 4,400 cadets. She also will be tasked with implementing a class agenda and acting as an intermediary between the corps and West Point’s administration.

Outside of class, Askew has racked up a number of accolades and achievements as well. For starters, she’s a member of the Army West Point Crew Team, an EXCEL Scholar and a graduate of Air Assault School, according to a press release. The Virginia woman also is a recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Military Leadership.

“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,” Gilland said.

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