Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead: Pioneering Leadership in Maryland’s State Military

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Image Courtesy: NPR

Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, Maryland’s 31st adjutant general, has broken new ground as the first and only Black woman to lead a state military in the United States. Her remarkable journey began when she applied for an ROTC scholarship at Hampton University, supported by her mother’s encouragement. Awarded the scholarship, Birckhead embarked on a military career that would span over three decades.

Her leadership journey was cultivated through Hampton University’s Pirate Battalion, where dedication, discipline, and hard work were instilled. Birckhead’s dedication to excellence led her through various command roles, including being appointed as the task force commander for over 14,000 National Guard members during the U.S. Capitol security mission after the January 6th attack and later leading Maryland’s vaccine equity task force.

Drawing inspiration from retired Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the first African American and woman to command the Maryland National Guard, Birckhead recognizes the significance of her role as a trailblazer. She acknowledges the need for increased diversity in the military ranks and hopes to see more “seconds” and “thirds” instead of “firsts” in leadership positions.

Despite the challenges she’s faced as a Black woman in a predominantly male military culture, Birckhead remains determined to foster change. Her priorities include expanding recruitment efforts, ensuring the well-being of her guard members, and promoting healthy working conditions.

As Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead continues to lead Maryland’s state military, her historic appointment serves as a testament to her dedication, resilience, and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the armed forces.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The NPR

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Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead: Pioneering Leadership in Maryland’s State Military

Image Courtesy: NPR

Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, Maryland’s 31st adjutant general, has broken new ground as the first and only Black woman to lead a state military in the United States. Her remarkable journey began when she applied for an ROTC scholarship at Hampton University, supported by her mother’s encouragement. Awarded the scholarship, Birckhead embarked on a military career that would span over three decades.

Her leadership journey was cultivated through Hampton University’s Pirate Battalion, where dedication, discipline, and hard work were instilled. Birckhead’s dedication to excellence led her through various command roles, including being appointed as the task force commander for over 14,000 National Guard members during the U.S. Capitol security mission after the January 6th attack and later leading Maryland’s vaccine equity task force.

Drawing inspiration from retired Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the first African American and woman to command the Maryland National Guard, Birckhead recognizes the significance of her role as a trailblazer. She acknowledges the need for increased diversity in the military ranks and hopes to see more “seconds” and “thirds” instead of “firsts” in leadership positions.

Despite the challenges she’s faced as a Black woman in a predominantly male military culture, Birckhead remains determined to foster change. Her priorities include expanding recruitment efforts, ensuring the well-being of her guard members, and promoting healthy working conditions.

As Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead continues to lead Maryland’s state military, her historic appointment serves as a testament to her dedication, resilience, and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the armed forces.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The NPR