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Nadja Yudith West (née Grammer; March 20, 1961)[3] was a United States Army lieutenant general and the 44th U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. West was the first black Army Surgeon General, and was the first black female active-duty major general and the first black female major general in Army Medicine.[4][5] West is also the first Army black female lieutenant general.[6] She is the highest ranking woman to have graduated from the United States Military Academy.

Nadja Y. West
Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West (2).jpg
Born (1961-03-20) March 20, 1961 (age 58)
Washington D.C., United States
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1982 – 2019
RankArmy-USA-OF-08.svg Lieutenant general
Commands heldMcDonald Army Community Hospital
Womack Army Medical Center
Europe Regional Medical Command[1]
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (3)
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (3)[2]

Early life and educationEdit

West was an orphan but was adopted at two years old into a family in the District of Columbia with two other adopted children.[7] She graduated high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland.[8] In 1982, West obtained a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point,[9] and a Doctorate of Medicine from George Washington University School of Medicine in 1988.[10]


West's historic promotion to be the second black female major general took place on April 19, 2013. Of her promotion, West said, "I never really thought about that part. My parents taught me to work hard and be the best I can be and things will work out. I’m just really honored. If anything at all, I hope I can be an inspiration to any one or any group that has not seen themselves in certain positions. We all want to see people who look like us doing certain things to give us inspiration. Hopefully, I can inspire someone to be able to say, 'I can do that.'"[5]

She has claimed an early, positive influence was seeing a black, female character (Uhura) on the bridge of Star Trek's USS Enterprise (NCC-1701).[11]

On December 11, 2015, the Senate confirmed the nomination of West to be promoted to lieutenant general[12] and she became the 44th Army Surgeon General. This made West the Army's first black Surgeon General, as well as the Army's first black woman to hold the rank of lieutenant general and the Army's highest ranking woman who graduated from the United States Military Academy.[13][14] Lt. Gen. West was promoted on February 9, 2016, and formally assumed command of MEDCOM on February 10, 2016.[6][15]

West completed her Family Medicine internship and residency at Martin Army Hospital. She deployed during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield while assigned there. West finished her residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and University of Colorado Medical Center. She was Chief, Dermatology Service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany.[4] West obtained a Master of Science in National Security Strategy. Of her military medical career, West says, "If you want to feel inspired about what military medicine does, see how appreciative these men and women are for the care they’ve received. It’s right here. It’s the reason the military health system exists: to take care of brave men and women like them."[9]

West's previous command positions include Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command; Commander, Womack Army Medical Center; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. West was Joint Staff Surgeon, Joint Staff, Washington.

West is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Physicians. .

Awards and recognitionsEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Maj. Gen. Nadja Y. West Joint Chiefs of Staff Article View". Joint Chiefs of Staff. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "General Officer Management Office". GOMO. Retrieved 16 December 2015.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b "Maj. Gen. Nadja West was the first African American female Major General of the Army's active component and Army Medicine's first African-American female two-star general". U.S. Army. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b JNSMA. "Army Medicine's First African American Female Two-Star General &#124 JSNMA". JNSMA. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b Estrada, Sheryl. "First Black Woman Promoted to Three-Star Army General". DiversityInc. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  7. ^ Bash, Dana. "How a 3-star general overcame self-doubt". CNN. Retrieved 2017-06-18.
  8. ^ "West sworn in as Army surgeon general". ARNEWS/MEDCOM. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b Hubing, Kristin. "Major Medical | Medicine + Health". Medicine + Health. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Dr. Nadja West, MD - Bethesda, MD - Family Medicine & Dermatology | Healthgrades". Health Grades. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  11. ^ The Army's first black, female 3-star was inspired to serve by her father — and Star Trek, Meghann Myers,, 2017-02-27
  12. ^ Tolleson, Maria. "Maj. Gen. Nadja West confirmed as 44th Army Surgeon General | The United States Army". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Lt. Gen. Nadja West Confirmed by Senate as First Black Army Surgeon General". GOOD BLACK NEWS.
  14. ^ "Lt. Gen. Nadja West Confirmed by Senate as First Black Army Surgeon General". EURweb.
  15. ^ U.S. Army Medical Command. "DVIDS - Video - U.S. Army Medical Command Assumption of Command". DVIDS. Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  16. ^ [2][dead link]
Military offices
Preceded by
Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho
Surgeon General of the United States Army
December 11, 2015 – August 2019
Succeeded by
Maj. Gen. R. Scott Dingle