Cadet Simone Askew has made history at West Point by becoming First Captain of the U.S. Military Academy's Corps of cadets for the next school year, according to an announcement from the U. S. Military on Thursday. The 20-year-old recipient is the first black female to be given the highest leadership position for cadets.

About the recipient

Askew is a Fairfax, Virginia native and an International History major. She is currently responsible for leading 1,502 cadets. When she begins her duties as First Captain on August 14, she will be in charge of more than 4,400 cadets and will be responsible for their overall performance.

She will help them with class schedules and be a liaison between the cadets and administration officials. Askew will have other duties as assigned.

Askew's background and formal training have prepared her for the upcoming appointment. She has a long list of achievements and awards from Fairfax High School where she was president of her class and founder of the Black Student Union. She is a member of the crew team at West Point and has received many awards including the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Military Leadership.

According to Army records, Askew has the highest female Recondo score during Combat Field Training II in her class.

Reactions to assignment

Her family and friends are very proud of her. Nina Askew told NBC News that there is nothing her sister can't do, and her recent honor is a great step not only for women but for African-American women. She said her sister has always worked hard and had an interest in the military at an early age.

Even her elementary school teachers spoke on Simone's behalf. They said she showed a fondness for the military as a third grader. However, at that time it was just the military and no particular branch. As she grew up, she focused on the Army. That's where her love lies today.

Even though it is a great honor for Askew to have gotten the position, it has nothing to do with race or gender. Brig. Gen.

Steven W. Gilland, commandant of cadets, said in a written statement that the selection is all because of her hard work, dedication, and commitment that she has demonstrated over the last three years. He is very confident that the appointment of Askew to this high position was based on her ability, work ethic, and strong determination to excel at whatever she sets out to do. He knows she will provide the Class of 2018 with exceptional leadership at the military school.

West Point was found in 1802, but women were not enrolled until 1976. In 2016, only 20 percent of the cadets were women.

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