WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 4, 2013) -- For the first time in the 236-year-old history of the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, or JAG, a woman has been selected as the service's top lawyer. She will lead the nearly 2,000 full-time judge advocates and civilian attorneys who provide legal services to the Army.
In a ceremony Sept. 4, 2013, at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino's shoulder boards where switched out from those of a one-star general to those of a three-star lieutenant general. Her husband, mother and two daughters did the honors. Moments later, she raised her right hand and was sworn in as the 39th Army Judge Advocate General by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno.
Odierno opened the ceremony by telling the standing-room-only audience that he's known Darpino for 12 years and that she had served as his staff judge advocate at the 4th Infantry Division.
"It was during that time I got to understand who Flora Darpino is," Odierno said. "She is a brilliant, dedicated, tough judge advocate general who understands the law, understands how to support commanders, understands how to use her responsibility in interpreting the law to ensure we can do our job in the right way ... that's all you can ever ask of your judge advocate general. She has incredible judgment, she gives incredible advice and she will do it at the right time, so I'm very pleased."
Following her promotion and swearing in, Darpino thanked the senior leadership, peers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers who guided her through the Army and made her a better Soldier.
"When I came into the Army and throughout all that time, there's been demonstrated commitment that if I worked hard, and I gave it my very, very best, no opportunity would be withheld from me," the 26-year veteran said. "That's been a commitment of my Army ... an incredible institution. We are brothers and sisters. And, instead of your peers wanting to tear you down in a competitive meritocracy, they have continued to make me better and help me on my path; so thank you my buddies."
The Army JAG Corps was founded by George Washington, July 29, 1775. The corps was initially composed of Army officers who were lawyers and could provide legal services to the Army at all levels of command. Today, the corps consists of judge advocates, legal administrators, paralegal non commissioned officers, along with junior enlisted personnel and civilian employees.