Women’s History Month SPOTLIGHT on Black Women Veterans: Lt. General Nadja Y. West

Lt. General Nadja Y. West (Photo credit: U.S. Army Medical Command)

Meet Lt. General Nadja Y. West (born 1961). She is the 44th U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. West is the first black Army Surgeon General and is the first black female active-duty major general and the first black female major general in Army Medicine. West is also the first black female lieutenant general and the highest ranking woman to have graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Becoming Lt. General Nadja Y. West

Early Career Years  & Education:

  • Born in 1961, West was an orphan but was adopted at two years old into a family in the District of Columbia.
  • West graduated high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland
  • In 1982, West obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • West then earned her Doctorate of Medicine from George Washington University School of Medicine in 1988

Military Career:

  • April 19, 2013, West’s historic promotion to be the second black female major general took place.
  • December 11, 2015, the Senate confirmed the nomination of West to be promoted to lieutenant general
  • December 11, 2015, West also became the 44th Army Surgeon General and  the Army’s first black Surgeon General
  • West’s promotion to lieutentant general also made her the Army’s first black woman to hold the rank of lieutenant general and the Army’s highest ranking woman who graduated from the United States Military Academy


  • West completed her Family Medicine internship and residency at Martin Army Hospital.
  • West deployed during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield
  • West finished her residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and University of Colorado Medical Center.
  • West served as Chief, Dermatology Service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany.
  • West also holds a Master of Science in National Security Strategy

Of her military medical career, West says, “If you want to feel inspired about what military medicine does, see how appreciative these men and women are for the care they’ve received. It’s right here. It’s the reason the military health system exists: to take care of brave men and women like them.”

Learn More:



Thank you taking this walk with me through a SPOTLIGHT  HERStory on  Black Women Veterans for Women’s History Month 2019!

Until Next Time….

Write from the Heart,

{Just Being} Candice Maria

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