FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo.–History is being made at Fort Leonard Wood. On Tuesday, the post promoted a woman to commanding general. It’s the first time a woman has held the highest position in Fort Leonard Wood’s 78 year existence.
Major General Donna Martin replaces Major General Kent Savre who retired from the position after serving in it for three years.
On a day without a cloud in the sky, hundreds of soldiers and civilians packed the stands to witness a piece of Fort Leonard Wood history.
“I’m really proud to hand off to Donna Martin and her husband, Chris. They’re absolutely the right couple and Donna is the right leader to take charge here,” says Maj. Gen. Kent.
The baton was passed to a type of person who’s never received it. For the first time ever, a woman will hold the top position at the post.
“There is no place I’d rather be than right here and it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve with you,” says Maj. Gen. Martin.
As the first woman, specifically a woman of color leading Fort Leonard Wood, Major General Donna Martin doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer.
“Any person regardless of gender, regardless of race can hold this position as long as you’re qualified, just work hard,” says Maj. Gen. Donna Martin.
The two star general’s career began in 1988. During her service, she’s accumulated numerous awards and medals including the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
Major General Martin will oversee the training and leadership development of more than 80,000 service members and civilians at Fort Leonard Wood.
“I think that the army picks the best person, the best person who is qualified with the right skills to do the job at that right time,” says Maj. Gen. Martin.
Major General Martin says it’s too soon to tell what kind of changes she will bring to the post, but what will continue is a philosophy of teamwork and inclusion.