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    US Army promotes first female Medical Service Corps active duty 2-star general

    US Army promotes first female Medical Service Corps active duty 2-star general

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes | FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) Commander Maj. Gen....... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes 

    18th Medical Command

    FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Orders were published, 1-star epaulets were replaced with two stars, “hand-me-down” major general shoulder boards from her sister, Commanding General of U.S. Army Cyber Command Lt. Gen. Maria Barrett, were placed on her Army Service Uniform jacket, and her husband presented her with a beret outfitted with her congressionally confirmed rank.

    After months of anticipation, the day, Feb. 10, 2023, finally arrived as newly promoted U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paula Lodi, the commanding general of 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support), was surrounded by family, friends, mentors, mentees, and Soldiers who impacted her throughout her decades of service, her life, and vice versa, proudly celebrated her successful milestone achievement of being promoted.

    While standing at Historic Palm Circle on Fort Shafter, Hawaii, on Feb. 10, 2023, a strong gust of wind blew through the gazebo as she and U.S. Army Gen. Charles Flynn, the commanding general of United States Army Pacific, ceremoniously reaffirmed her commitment to the Oath of Commissioned Officers.

    “I felt that strong gust of wind as I was reaffirming the oath and that will stay with me,” Lodi remarked as she thanked Flynn and the in-person and virtual audience for celebrating her major milestone.

    “This day is truly about all of you and I wanted to share it with all of you because it truly took a village to get me where I am today,” the Franklin, Massachusetts, native said.

    After expressing his thanks and gratitude for Lodi’s friends and family for their demonstrated support and her husband’s own military legacy, Flynn, who witnessed Lodi’s service since she became a general left no doubt about how he feels about her dedication to the Army and its most valuable resource — people.

    “It’s not surprising to me or to many many people that have been touched by your leadership and your presence that we’re actually going to do this today,” Flynn said. “These days are incredibly special and they only happen once.”

    In what has become a tradition for Flynn when promoting Soldiers, he quoted late U.S. Army Gen. Maxwell Taylor, who served during World War II as the commander of 101st Infantry Division (Air Assault) and in various positions including the chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board for both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon’s terms of office.

    Flynn said he saw the quote, “the badge of rank is a symbol of servitude, servitude to Soldiers,” around the time he was a major and has used it since then.

    The Middletown Rhode Island native charged Lodi and others to honor the gravity of what the badge of two stars represents — “the honor to serve more Soldiers … and that the demands are not less but are far, far greater.

    “For Brig. Gen. Lodi, soon to be Maj. Gen. Lodi, she is at the rank where you’re running the general officer ranks and you are making decisions based on those things that are coming up through the chain of command.

    Lodi graciously accepted the challenge.

    “I am humbled to continue to represent Army Medicine and support senior mission commanders and the warfighter … I do not take this rank and the additional responsibility lightly,” Lodi said.

    The promotion of the wife of Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Henry Vance, and the mother of two daughters, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Mackenzie Vance and Cadet Meredith Vance with the Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was a historic occasion.

    “I cherish every opportunity to establish firsts as an (Army Medicine) officer and as a woman,” Lodi said. “While today it is notable that I become the first female Medical Service Corps active duty 2-star general, even more remarkable is that in doing so, I join two phenomenal leaders and friends, Maj. Gen. Jill Faris, the first female Medical Service Corps major general in the National Guard, and Tracy Smith, the first female Medical Service Corps two star in the Reserves.

    “This is just a testament to the groundbreaking diversity that comes from opportunity in the (Army Medical Department),” Lodi continued.

    While acknowledging she “owed the day to so many” people, the Rutgers University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps alumna focused on Ohana, the Hawaiian word for Family.

    While reflecting on the more than 20 years of friendship with Ed, Norma and Cristine Gayagas, and Doug Tostrud, she revisited an article featuring Ed a few years ago. One quote struck a chord with her and became a symbol of her career. It said his “secret to success is to find something you’re passionate about and stick with it.”

    “That pretty much sums up my career,” Lodi said as she continued to thank attendees who traveled from the continental United States to Hawaii, which was considered a destination promotion amongst members of her circle of friends and Ohana.

    “Every one of you — especially the former aides-de-camp — make a conscious decision once you’re done working for me, whether you ever want anything to do with me again. You all had a choice and you all go to great lengths to stay connected to me and my family and to be here today and so, I simply thank you,” Lodi said.

    “The fact that two of you brought your children, and two of you brought your parents adds a special dimension,” the veteran of multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom said. “It adds a multigenerational aspect to our relationship and our connection with you.”

    Lodi warmly reflected on her parents who lived a life of service and established a pattern for her and her family to follow.

    “As I think about my own parents as educators, community leaders,” the daughter of a decorated World War II veteran said, “they themselves had multigenerational effects on those whose lives they touched.”

    “Where I had previously thought of my life as a sequence of events, and chapters opening and closing,” she said, “I hadn’t given just credit to how much influence matters and how much life is more of a full circle than a straight line.”

    As she reflected on her father, who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for “gallantry in action” while serving as a corporal in Italy during WWII, she remembered how although he “never spoke of his service, his influence and his encouragement” of her goal to join the Army was key.

    Lodi said, “of all the things my mother instilled in us was faith.”

    As her voice slightly trembled, she continued to acknowledge “there is no doubt that raising me, I caused her a lot of sleep loss and generated a lot of prayers.”

    In her late mother’s passing, she was credited by Lodi with “handing the reins over to Henry” who has been by her side in “four jobs in four years, three moves in three years, and two commands” since she was promoted to the rank of brigadier general to fill critical positions for the medical community.

    She ended her remarks by thanking him for his direct influence on their daughter’s lives and budding military careers. She also reemphasized the ceremony was “less about me” and more about the celebration of what was poured into her that made the day possible.



    Date Taken: 02.10.2023
    Date Posted: 02.22.2023 03:52
    Story ID: 438907
    Location: FORT SHAFTER, HI, US
    Hometown: FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: FORT SHAFTER, HI, US
    Hometown: FRANKLIN, MA, US
    Hometown: HONOLULU, HI, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US
    Hometown: WASHINGTON, DC, US

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