A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been named the first female commandant of cadets at West Point, the Army announced Tuesday.
Brig. Gen. Diana Holland will assume command during a ceremony Jan. 5. She will be the 76th commandant of cadets, succeeding Maj. Gen. John Thomson, who is moving on to command the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
"Diana's operational and command experience will bring a new and diverse perspective to West Point's leadership team," Acting Army Secretary Eric Fanning said in a statement. "She is absolutely the right person for this critical position."
Holland currently is the 10th Mountain Division's deputy commanding general for support. She also is the first woman to serve in that position.
"I am very honored to be named the next commandant of the U.S. Corps of Cadets," she said in a statement. "It's a privilege to be part of the team that trains and develops leaders of character for our Army."
Holland, who has been with the 10th Mountain Division since the summer, is the first woman to serve as a deputy commanding general in one of the Army's light infantry divisions. Now-Maj. Gen. Laura Richardson was the first woman to serve as a deputy commanding general in a combat division; she was selected in 2012 to be part of the leadership team for the 1st Cavalry Division.
Holland, a career engineer officer who graduated from the West Point in 1990, has served in Germany, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Stewart, Georgia. She taught at West Point and attended the Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies.
In 2004, she was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and soon deployed to Iraq. There she served as a plans officer before moving to be the operations officer for the 92nd Engineer Battalion.
After Iraq, Holland served an assignment with U.S. Central Command before returning to Fort Stewart to command the 92nd, nicknamed the Black Diamonds.
Holland led the construction battalion on a yearlong deployment to eastern Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.
Holland deployed to Afghanistan again in 2013, this time as the commander of the 130th Engineer Brigade from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Before moving to the 10th Mountain Division, Holland served as the executive officer to the director of the Army Staff.
In an interview this summer, Holland told Army Times she has seen opportunities for female soldiers expand over the years. This includes the three women who became the first women to earn the prestigious Ranger tab.
"I think [opportunities] are only going to keep expanding," she said. "As long as we're out there, showing the great American public what the opportunities are for men and women, and how they can make a difference, and how the Army can be so rewarding, I think, again, the sky's the limit."