Lt. Gen. Nadja West has been appointed as the Army’s first black Surgeon General. With this appointment comes a promotion to lieutenant general, which makes West the Army’s first black female 3-star general as well as the highest ranking female of any race to graduate from West Point. West, the youngest of 12 adopted children was raised in Washington, D.C.
Falls Church, VA – The Senate confirmed Thursday Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West to serve as the new Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM). This makes West the Army’s first black Surgeon General.
Additionally, with the appointment as the 44th Army Surgeon General, West picks up a third star to become the Army’s first black female to hold the rank of lieutenant general. The promotion to lieutenant general also makes West the highest ranking female of any race to graduate from
West was sworn in as the Army Surgeon general on Friday by acting secretary of the Army Eric Fanning. She most recently served as the Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon.
The Army Surgeon General provides advice and assistance to the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff on all health care matters pertaining to the U.S. Army and its military health care system. West will be responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army. These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards.
Dual-hatted as the MEDCOM commanding general, West oversees more than 48 medical treatment facilities providing care to nearly 4 million active duty members of all services, retirees and their family members. MEDCOM is composed of three regional health commands, the Medical Research and Materiel Command, and Army Medical Department Center & School.
West holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Doctorate of Medicine from George Washington University School of Medicine. She has held previous assignments as Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command; Commander of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.
West hails from the District of Columbia, and she finished high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Md.
While West’s promotion to lieutenant general is already effective, she will “pin” on the rank in a formal ceremony in early 2015.