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Maj. Gen. Nadja West is sworn in as 44th Surgeon General of the Army by Acting Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning. West is also Commander of the US Army Medical Command. (Photo: Army)

Seven years after Army General Ann Dunwoody, became the first woman in U.S. history ever to attain the rank of four-star general, Maj. Gen. Nadja West picked up a third star to become the Army’s first Black female to hold the rank of lieutenant general.

The Senate confirmed Maj. Gen. Nadja West Thursday, December 11 to serve as the new Army surgeon general and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).

With appointment as the 44th Surgeon General, West picked up a third star to become the Army’s first Black female to hold the rank of lieutenant general.

The Army Surgeon General provides advice and assistance to the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff on all health care matters pertaining to the U.S. Army and its military health care system.

West will be responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army. These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards.

She most recently served as the Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon. West’s appointment as Army Surgeon General is effective immediately.

As the MEDCOM commanding general, West will oversee more than 48 medical treatment facilities providing care to nearly 4 million active-duty members of all services, retirees, and their Family members. MEDCOM is composed of three regional health commands, the Medical Research and Materiel Command, and Army Medical Department Center & School.

Career highlights

Lt. Gen. West graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a bachelor of science in engineering and attended the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she earned a Doctorate of Medicine.

She completed an internship and a residency in family practice at the Martin Army Hospital. Dr. West did a second residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and the University of Colorado Medical Center.

Later, she was assigned chief of dermatology service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany, and served as the division surgeon of 1st Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, deploying to Macedonia and Kosovo as the deputy task force surgeon.

She graduated from the National War College, earning a master’s in national security strategy. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Practice.

She has held previous assignments as commanding general, Europe Regional Medical Command; commander of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

West hails from the District of Columbia, and she finished high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Md.

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