N. Virginian is first black woman to lead West Point’s Corps of Cadets
A Northern Virginian selected to hold the top position in the chain of command for West Point cadets will be the first African American woman to do so at the U.S. Military Academy.
West Point last week announced that Cadet Simone Askew of Fairfax will serve as first captain of the Corps of Cadets during the upcoming academic year. Askew, an international history major at the academy, will assume her duties this month.
“Simone truly exemplifies our values of Duty, Honor, Country,” Brig. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, commandant of cadets, said in a news release. “Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication and commitment to the Corps over the last three years.”
As first captain, Askew will be “responsible for the overall performance” of the West Point cadets, according to the release. She will be an intermediary between the corps and the academy’s administration and will work on a class agenda.
There are more than 4,000 cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. The service academy, on the bluffs above the Hudson River, is about 50 miles north of New York City.
The academy was founded in 1802 and enrolled women for the first time in 1976. Federal data show that 20 percent of cadets at West Point in fall 2016 were women.
Askew, 20, is a member of the Army West Point Crew team and the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society.
Dave Goldfarb, who was her principal at Fairfax High School, said he remembered Askew as a “very dynamic person.” Askew consistently saw value in others, he said, and was well-rounded and well-liked.
“She was always very positive, had great energy,” Goldfarb said. “She excelled at including others. She was very much a collaborative leader.”