N. Vir­ginian is first black woman to lead West Point’s Corps of Cadets

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY SARAH LARIMER sarah.larimer@wash­post.com

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.”

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