During Black History Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Marcia Anderson, the Army’s first African American female major general.
Once a shy child, Marcia Anderson never imagined that her future military career would mold her into a confident, bold woman. While registering for classes at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, she found the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.
“The rest, of course, is history,” she said in an interview.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Creighton University, Anderson graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1984. Afterward, she received a master’s degree in strategic studies in 2003 from the U.S. Army War College. When she promoted to colonel, Anderson was surprised to learn that her father, who never mentioned that he had even served, had also served in the Army during the Korean War.
In 2011, Anderson became the first African American woman to achieve the rank of major general. At this time, she worked as a senior military advisor to the chief of the Army Reserve at the Pentagon. Her work dealt with the congressional budget and appropriations process as well as matters pertaining to the Department of Defense. Anderson then served as deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC). During her time at HRC, she moved three separate HRC commands to Fort Knox, Kentucky, combining their efforts into one large command. Some of her military awards and decorations include a Distinguished Service Medal, a Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, a Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and an Army Commendation Medal.
In an interview, Anderson stressed the importance of valuing curiosity and education while always striving for excellence.
“Be a lifelong learner,” she said. “Accept people for who they are. Accept change because it is inevitable. Do not expect to be rewarded just because you show up on time, do what is expected of you and leave at the same time every day – because that is merely C-grade work.”
After 37 years of service, Anderson officially retired from the military in 2016. She continued to work as a clerk of the court for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Currently, Anderson also lives with her husband, Amos, near Madison, Wisconsin.
Thank you for your service!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Elizabeth Jefimova
Editors: Jacob Reis and Katherine Berman
Fact checker: Jordan Gossett
Graphic artist: Katie Rahill