NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard welcomed its first female general officer during a promotion ceremony at the Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans, July 27.
Col. Joanne F. Sheridan, the LANG's assistant adjutant general-Army, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and "pinned" the one-star insignia on her uniform.
"I'm proud of the fact that I've been able to attain this rank. It's truly an honor to be selected as a general officer," said Sheridan.
"As I was coming up through the ranks, there weren't many senior female leaders ahead of me," said Sheridan. "So for fellow Guardsmen now to have someone to identify with … they know that those doors are open to them and that the goal is attainable for females in the military."
Sheridan, a resident of New Orleans, graduated from Leesville High School in Leesville and attended Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and her commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Sheridan's military education includes the Adjutant General Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms Staff Services School, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College where she received her Master of Strategic Studies degree.
"Today is a historic day in the National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. "Joanne has succeeded in all of the leadership roles she has been given … separating herself from the crowd."
Sheridan began her military career on active duty in February 1984 and was appointed in the Louisiana Army National Guard in October 1988. She has served numerous positions as the Assistant S-1, Headquarters Detachment Commander, and S-1 in the 61st Troop Command; the Education Services Officer, Deputy Director of Military Personnel, Deputy Director of Information Management, Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Personnel – J1, and Vice Chief of the Joint Staff in the Joint Force Headquarters-Louisiana; Commander, 415th Military Intelligence Battalion and Commander, 199th Regiment (Regional Training Institute).
Sheridan deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008 where she served as the Director of the Project Management Office on the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq.
"I'm proud of the fact that I've been able to attain this rank and it's truly an honor to have been selected as a general officer. Not many people, much less a female, attain this rank. I'm honored, and I am in awe every day that I'm still standing," added Sheridan with a laugh.
The National Guard currently has 27 female general officers serving throughout the country in both the Army and Air Force.
Sheridan and her husband, Mark, reside in New Orleans, Louisiana. They have two sons, Patrick, 22, and Daniel, 18.