Howard Altman: Gasparilla to honor first female four-star general

Published January 11
Updated January 12

The military’s first female four-star general will serve as the Community Hero for the 2018 Gasparilla Pirate Fest.

The Community Hero is an individual living in the Tampa Bay area who offers courage, strength and self-sacrifice in the service of others, according to event organizers. Ann Dunwoody was the military’s first female four-star general.

She joined the Army in 1974, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975, according to the Army. Her first assignment was as supply platoon leader, 226th Maintenance Company (Forward, Direct Support), 100th Supply and Services Battalion (Direct Support), Fort Sill, Okla. She later served at every level of command.

She earned her fourth star in 2008.

"Ann is a leader who lived our Army values, who always led from the front, who dedicated herself to the profession of arms," said Ray Odierno, at the time an Army four-star general and chief of staff, during Dunwoody’s retirement in August 2012. "In my mind, Ann Dunwoody is the epitome of the Army professional."

"Her true legacy and reward will be the thousands of soldiers and civilians whose lives she has touched through the span of her career," Odierno said then.

Dunwoody last served as commander of the Army Materiel Command, or AMC, one of the largest commands in the Army. The command employs more than 69,000 people across all 50 states and 145 countries.

GASPARILLA GUIDE: Complete coverage of the pirate invasion and festivities in Tampa

"It was Ann’s most recent role, as commander of the AMC, in which she unified global logistics in a way (that has never) been done," Odierno said. "She capitalized AMC’s fundamental logistics functions to maximize the efficiency and services they provided of supply, maintenance, contact support, research and development, base and installation support, and deployment and distribution."

Dunwoody, the fourth generation of her family to serve in the Army, also encountered male supervisors who were not pleased that a woman was climbing with such perseverance.

After retiring, Dunwoody wrote A Higher Standard, which chronicles her life and career. She tells stories of fellow military leaders — men and women — who inspired and mentored her. She does not gloss over the challenges she faced in such a male-dominated institution.

Though a memoir, the book is very much a manual for business leaders. Dunwoody offers a variety of advice, from how to not let people slide to embracing diversity.

"We’re grateful and humbled by General Dunwoody," said president Joe Lupo of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Gasparilla Pirate Fest sponsor, "and what she has accomplished not only in our community, but also in our country."

Dunwoody, in a news release, said, "This is a wonderful partnership between Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and EventFest, Inc. that supports the City of Tampa and the beautiful community that we live in. I’m genuinely thrilled to be part of the team."

The 2018 Gasparilla Pirate Fest is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27, and will feature the historic Gasparilla Invasion, the Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, and the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival presented by Budweiser.


The Pentagon last week announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Spc. Javion Shavonte Sullivan, 24, of Fort Mill, S.C., died Jan. 8 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. Sullivan was assigned to the 16th Signal Company, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. The incident is under investigation.

There have been 2,347 U.S. troop deaths in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; 49 U.S. troop deaths and one civilian Department of Defense employee death in support of the followup, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan; 43 troop deaths and two civilian deaths in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against the Islamic State; one troop death in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning, the fight against Islamic State in Libya; one death classified as other contingency operations in the global war on terrorism; and four deaths in ongoing operations in Africa where, if they have a title, officials will not divulge it.

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman


Also In This Section