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Published: Saturday, August 05, 2017 @ 4:00 AM

Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A Virginia native will be the first African-American woman to serve as West Point’s First Captain, the U.S. Military Academy Public Affairs Office announced Thursday.

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Simone Askew, 20, of Fairfax, will lead a 4,440-member Corps of Cadets, according to the announcement. This is the top leadership role for cadets; she will assume the post on Aug. 13, according to a statement by the Academy.

“It’s a great step for not only women but African-American women, because it shows that no matter what your sex, or your race, you can really do anything,” her sister, Nina Askew, told WRC. “There’s nothing that can hold you back.”

Askew is an international history major and currently leads 1,502 cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II. She first set her sights on the Army when she was in just third grade. She saw midshipmen march into a Navy football game.

“She saw them all in formation and rose up and asked me, ‘What does it take to lead that?’” her mother, Pam Askew told WRC.

“Simone truly exemplifies our values of duty, honor, country. Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication,and commitment to the Corps over the last three years,” said Brig. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, commandant of cadets. “I know Simone and the rest of our incredibly talented leaders within the Class of 2018 will provide exceptional leadership to the Corps of Cadets in the upcoming academic year.” 

Askew was president of her class at Fairfax High School, founder of the Black Student Union and captain of the volleyball team, her family told WRC.. She is currently a member of the Army West Point crew team and the recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Military Leadership, according to the announcement.

She will graduate from West Point in 2018.

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