By Spc. Osama Ayyad, 10th Mountain Division JournalistAugust 6, 2015
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 6, 2015) -- For the first time, the 10th Mountain Division (LI) has a female general.
Col. Diana Holland, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commander for support, became the first woman to serve as deputy commanding general in any Army light infantry division, during a promotion ceremony, July 29, at the Commons on post.
Holland, who has fulfilled the role since her arrival in May, is scheduled to deploy as the deputy commanding general for support, or DCG-S, in support Operation Resolute Support to Afghanistan this fall.
No stranger to Southwest Asia, Holland deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division to Iraq in 2004 and led the 92nd Engineer Battalion and the 130th Engineer Brigade during deployments in Afghanistan.
Because of her qualifications and previous assignments, Holland is well-equipped to be the DCG-S during the division headquarters' upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander.
"The missions we have during our next deployment is right along her DNA," Bannister said during Holland's promotion ceremony.
Holland was among 895 second lieutenants who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in 1990. It was the 10th class to graduate women and the first to have a female cadet serve as first captain, the highest leadership position in the Corp of Cadets.
Approximately 2,000 of the 7,000 lieutenants who received their commission that year went on to reach the rank of colonel, and only 40 have been selected to become brigadier generals.
"That's a heck of a cut," Bannister said. "It's a little more than competence. It's about the character and about the reputation that (gets) you from the 2,000 to that half of a percentage point who become generals."
After postponing her promotion ceremony so Family and friends could attend, Holland began her remarks by making sure her audience could hear her, including the few in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who watched the ceremony via teleconference.
Many of her friends and colleagues traveled to attend the ceremony, during which she thanked all of them for their support.
"Success is only possible because of our Families, friends and the incredible officers, civilians, (noncommissioned officers) and Soldiers with whom we serve," Holland said.
Holland gave special recognition of the noncommissioned officers with whom she has worked throughout her career, recalling the names of every enlisted Soldier who was part of her command teams: her platoon sergeant when she was a platoon leader, her first sergeant when she was a company commander, and her command sergeants major as a battalion and brigade commander.
"As a leader in the Army, we are charged with inspiring our Soldiers," Holland said. "But I often found myself inspired by them.
"Our Soldiers accomplish amazing things every day and under incredible stress, and, when the going gets tough and the mission seems insurmountable, they raise their hands and say 'send me.' Every day with them is a privilege, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside such great Americans," she added. "It is no wonder that we are, and continue to be, the greatest army in the world."
Previously, 18 of the Army's 308 generals were women. Now Holland has joined their ranks.