‘We’ve made a lot of progress’: First active duty woman promoted to 2-star general in Medical Service Corps

She says women have made lots of progress — but there's more work to do.
Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 10:05 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 5, 2023 at 11:14 AM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Army just promoted its first female active duty 2-star general in the Medical Service Corps.

Major General Paula Lodi is commander of the 18th Theater Medical Command at Fort Shafter and is one of only 35 female active duty army generals. She oversees about 200 soldiers who can rapidly deploy anywhere across the Indo Pacific to provide medical support and work with allies on global health issues. HNN Sunrise Weekends anchor Annalisa Burgos asked her how far women have come in the military as we mark Women’s History Month.

“The promotion is just such a privilege. It’s such an honor. It’s so humbling. And it’s just remarkable. I said this when I was promoted to Brigadier General, it’s just a remarkable testament to the fact that the military does create those opportunities, and does create the space for really anyone to achieve whatever they set their mind to,” Lodi said. “Are there barriers, real or perceived? Sure. Is it a smooth, perfect pathway? No. Is there challenge and adversity along the way, of course. But that’s with anything, that really is with anything. And so when I talk to young, particularly young female soldiers, or officers, leaders that are trying to make their way in the Army, I just encourage them to be authentic. I really encourage them to be themselves and not try to fit any imaginary mold that the military would have you believe you should fit. It is a male, predominantly male organization in the military. And I think sometimes we find ourselves trying to neutralize the aspects of natural aspects of being a woman. And I think that when folks lead authentically according to their true self there’s there’s no limit to their success.”

When asked how far the military has come to addressing sexual assault and violence in our military, Lodi said, “I think we’ve come a long way. I think we continue to get better. I think some of the most recent initiatives that the Army in particular has taken, there’s a lot of progress there, with the way we handle cases that come to light and creating the space for people to feel open, and able to bring issues forward to their leadership. So I think we’ve made a lot of progress there.”

“I think communication, just communication and making sure our leaders in the field, have the right skills and are empowered to really be the leader that our soldiers need to see sense and understand. Where there are problems in the formation and how to reconcile those. I’ve got a lot of experience as a commander, I’ve been very privileged and fortunate to be able to command at at multiple levels, and so having the awesome responsibility of being able to guide the culture and climate of a formation and to have that direct interaction with soldiers and be that advocate for soldiers and be in a position to both help soldiers who believe that they’ve been victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and then have the awesome responsibility to hold folks accountable if that, in fact, is is what has happened.”