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Governor Beebe's Weekly Column and Radio Address: Arkansas's First Female General


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Another woman in Arkansas has broken a barrier, this time by being named the first female general officer in the Arkansas Army National Guard. Patricia Anslow received this distinction through her recent promotion to the rank of Brigadier General and Assistant Adjutant General. At just 45 years of age, she has dedicated most of her life to military service, to our State and to our nation, and she has broken other barriers along the way.

Anslow graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1989. Women made up only 15 percent of West Point's student body when she graduated, and that ratio has changed little in the two decades since. She then began her service in the active-duty Army, deployed with the 20th Airborne Engineer Brigade during the Persian Gulf War. After four years in the Army, she joined the Arkansas National Guard, where she has served for the past 19 years.

During her military career, Anslow has held a variety of construction positions, as well as facility and combat engineer command and staff designations. She also served as a commander in Iraq. In her new role as assistant adjutant general, she is in charge of overseeing the state's military facilities and training centers.

Since 1994, Anslow has worked for the Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where she currently serves as Chief of the Planning and Environmental Division. Rising to such a position requires having the proper skills and education, which Anslow has accumulated at an impressive rate. She currently holds two Bachelor's degrees - one in Geography and one in Biology - and two Master's degrees - earning them in both Water Resource Planning and Strategic Studies.

Many women in our State and nation have achieved great accomplishments in their careers, from sports to politics and from business executives to military brass. But it takes particular fortitude, stamina, and uncommon focus to reach the pinnacle of disciplines traditionally dominated by men. When it does occur, young women and girls benefit from the inspiration and know that their own ambitions can be set ever higher.

Anslow's education, which focused on science, was largely responsible for her success. For many of our children, this will be the case in their lives, as well. We know that by 2020, three-fourths of the jobs created in Arkansas will be in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. It is vitally important to our economy and to our State's standard of living that we educate our young people in these areas. Not every effort in school will lead to an Arkansan being the first to smash a barrier, but it will make Arkansas the best it can be. It is stories like General Anslow's that illustrate how hard work and perseverance can create leaders and set examples of which all of us can be proud.

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