News: First female general in the Wyoming Army Guard
Story by Lt. Col. Samuel House
By Lt. Col. Sam House
Wyoming National Guard Public Affairs
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - In 1973 Kathy J. Wright joined the Wyoming Army National Guard to continue playing her musical instruments after college. She was the sixth woman to enlist in the organization. Today, 37 years later, she became the Wyoming Army National Guard’s first female general officer.
“I don’t think that being first is that important, because a lot of times being first is a function of time and place. You just have to be at the right place at the right time and be ready,” Wright said.
Last May, Wright was designated as the Assistant Adjutant General-Army for the Wyoming Army National Guard.
“I am confident Colonel Wright will carry on the excellent work of Brigadier General Oedekoven and that the Wyoming Army National Guard will continue to be prepared to meet whatever may come our way,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, Wyoming’s adjutant general, during that ceremony.
Her promotion was effective Dec. 22, 2010. Her family pinned her general officer rank on her in the Wyoming Military Department’s Joint Force Readiness Center auditorium. More than 200 military members, community leaders, friends and well-wishers listened as Gov. Matt Mead read her the oath of office.
“This rank is loaned to me by the Army for one purpose – in order to take care of soldiers. I was selected by virtue of; the rank gives me the authority to do that higher level of work. It is my obligation to use the rank for the good of the soldiers and families of the National Guard,” Brig. Gen. Wright said.
“I think it is inspiring that females can do what Gen. Wright has done. It is good to know that women have stepped up to take the place that many other gentlemen in the Army have done. It shows that we don’t have any limits now,” said Pfc. Candice Tyson, enlisted services assistant for the Wyoming Army National Guard. Tyson joined the military three years ago and hopes to become a warrant officer.
Brig. Gen. Wright has had an opportunity to be first or near first at a number of things during her military career. She was the first female to go through the non-commissioned officer academy; one of the first three females to graduate from officer candidate school; the first female officer in the 115th Field Artillery Brigade; the first female Plans, Operations and Training Officer in the nation; and, according to her, maybe the first female TAC (Teach, Advise and Council) Officers in the nation.
“A lot of times we make a lot of to-do about people being the first at something,” she said. “My parents always stressed and emphasized to me that you can set your sights on anything that you want, but always do your best. Integrity, honesty, hard work—were all important qualities stressed by my father and my mother. Being first is not as significant as acknowledging you became a role model for others. Being a role model signifies a level of responsibility.”
Brig. Gen. Wright retired as a federal technician earlier in the day. She has worked at the Wyoming Military Department for more than 24 years, filling a number of positions including Deputy Chief of Staff; Director of Plans, Operations and Training; and Director of Human Resources.
Besides serving in the Wyoming National Guard in Cheyenne, Brig. Gen. Wright formerly from Wheatland, and her husband, Mike, have three sons who have all served in the military.