NEW ORLEANS (Army News Service, July 30, 2012) -- The Louisiana National Guard welcomed its first female general officer during a promotion ceremony, July 27, 2012, at the Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans.

It was Col. Joanne F. Sheridan, the LANG's assistant adjutant general-Army, who was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and was able to pin to her uniform the one-star insignia.

"I'm proud of the fact that I've been able to attain this rank and it's truly an honor to have been selected as a general officer," Sheridan said. "Not many people, much less a female, attain this rank. I'm honored, and I am in awe every day that I'm still standing."

Sheridan began her military career on active duty in February 1984, and was appointed in the Louisiana Army National Guard in October 1988. Sheridan deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008, where she served as the director of the Project Management Office on the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq.

"As I was coming up through the ranks, there weren't many senior female leaders ahead of me," said Sheridan. "So for fellow Guardsmen now to have someone to identify with, they know that those doors are open to them and that the goal is attainable for females in the military."

The National Guard currently has 27 female general officers serving throughout the country in both the Army and Air Force.

"Today is a historic day in the National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. "Joanne has succeeded in all of the leadership roles she has been given ... separating herself from the crowd."

Sheridan and her husband, Mark, reside in New Orleans, La. They have two sons, Patrick, 22, and Daniel, 18.