A 20-year-old international history major from Fairfax, led a 4,400 member Corps of Cadets in to history last Monday, as the first black woman to lead the Long Gray Line at the U.S. Military Academy. She assumed the position of First Captian,which is the highest position in the cadet chain of command at West Point. Her respondsibilities included overall performance of the Corps of Cadets, implementing a class agenda, and acting as a liaison between the cadets and the administration. “It’s humbling, but also exciting as I step into this new opportunity to lead the corps to greatness with my teammates with me,” said Askew right after completing the march.

Women make up about 20 percent of cadets, who are usually commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army upon graduation. The academy created a diversity office in 2014 with the goal of recruiting more women and African-Americans and increasing diversity among department heads and other leaders. Askew also had a few encouraging words for her peers aspiring to excel: “Allow yourself to be a vessel. Throughout my cadet career I’ve just really focused on being poured into, seeking advice, seeking development, leadership mentors wherever I could. Just truly be a vessel and be poured into.”

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