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article imageArmy Trailblazer Gwendolyn Bingham Promoted to Brigadier General

By W.V. Fitzgerald     Apr 23, 2011 in World
Fort Lee - In 2005 "Trailblazer" Gwendolyn Bingham became Fort Lee's first female garrison commander. In November of 2010 she once again left her mark when she became the first female commandant of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School at Fort Lee.
In March of 2010 Col. Gwendolyn Bingham was recognized by the U.S. Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee along with 11 others as “a trailblazer who is setting a path for others to follow”. On Friday, April 22 the path became a little longer for those following in her footsteps.
Bingham’s story began 30 years ago when she was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating from college on a ROTC scholarship. At the time she only planned to serve her four-year commitment and then enter the civilian work force. Her path would take her in a far different direction and she now admits that she was bitten by the “Army bug” at a young age saying:
“Quite honestly, I think I was hooked from the moment I walked on a parade field with my dad,”
Her father, Army first sergeant Edward McMillion, (now deceased) helped send Bingham on her path when he pinned the second lieutenant bars on her shoulder at the University of Alabama in 1981 when she was first commissioned.
In 2005 Bingham made history at Fort Lee when she became the installations first female garrison commander. On November 22, 2010 she once again left her mark when she became the 51st commandant and the first female commandant of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School at Fort Lee.
Bingham, originally from Troy, Ala, has spent the past 30 years of her life serving in the U.S. Army. Her career began at Fort Lee and although she has been called away on assignments she considers Fort Lee her home saying at the November ceremony:
“Today, I feel like Dorothy — there simply is no place like home,”
Bingham went on to say:
“It’s really not about me. . . . I don’t really look at it from the historical side, It’s indeed an honor for me to be the first, but I just feel privileged and honored to be a part of a team with all the men and women that have served with me in the past and continue to serve here with me at Fort Lee.”
Although she has held the position for the past six months the promotion to brigadier general makes it official, she is now the first female quartermaster general.
Retired Lt. Gen. David S. Weisman described the turnout as the largest he has ever seen at a promotion ceremony. Among those in attendance where the mayors of Hopewell, Petersburg and Colonial Heights, as well as former Petersburg Mayor Annie M. Mickens and Delegate Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg.
During the ceremony Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers compared Bingham to Lt. Gen. George Patton and Gen. Omar Bradley saying:
“Inside, she has the heart of a lion.”
And
“Don’t tell her it can’t be done.”
Bingham’s children, Phillip and Tava, participated in the ceremony by slipping off her former rank insignia and replacing it with the single star of a brigadier general. After the ceremony Bingham told reporters that she had never planned on becoming a general:
“Only about one percent of the entire Army is the general officer rank. It wasn’t something I had my sights set on.”
Brigadier General Bingham now oversees the training of more than 20,000 military personnel annually in her new role as quartermaster general.
More about Gwendolyn Bingham, Fort Lee, quartermaster general, Brigadier general, Us army
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