FORT KNOX — For Marcia Anderson, the promotion from brigadier general to major general validates the work of everyone who came before her.
Anderson on Thursday became the first black woman given a second star as a general in the U.S. Army during a ceremony at Fort Knox. It's a day, Anderson said, that black soldiers who fought in the Civil War or the Tuskegee Airmen could never have imagined.
Anderson, who will leave her post as deputy commanding general of the Human Resources Command at Fort Knox on Friday, received the promotion after three decades in the military. She is moving to the office of the chief of the U.S. Army Reserve in Washington, D.C.
Anderson's father, Rudy Mahan of Beloit, Wis., served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, but never got to fulfill his dream of flying bombers. He drove trucks instead. It's something Anderson attributes to the narrow options available to blacks at the time.
When she was a student at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., Anderson signed up for ROTC after being told the "military science" course would fill her science requirement.
"I pretty quickly found out it was much more than a substitute for gym class," Anderson said.