Operation Mend: Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream

The first woman to serve as the 10th Mountain Division’s deputy commanding general couldn’t believe her ears when she learned the news.

When she was just six years old, Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland told her father, a Marine, that she wanted to enlist, inspired by her grandfather’s military service.

Her father warned her that “the Marine Corps makes the smallest person in the platoon carry the heaviest weapon,” but she never wavered in her dream to serve.

Holland’s promotion to brigadier general confirms her spot as the first female officer to hold the role in a light infantry unit.

Since graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1990, Gen. Holland has served in engineering roles throughout her career.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native’s service has included time in places such as Germany, Fort Bragg, N.C., MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and the Pentagon, and she taught history at West Point. She also has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. She has been on post since May.

As she prepares to take on her new role, Holland said she has seen opportunities for female soldiers expand over the years. As an example, she cited the three women who are continuing their quest to earn the coveted Ranger tab.

Though her promotion Wednesday and her new role is trailblazing, Gen. Holland noted someday a woman holding such a role may not be as rare.

“Every day there’s another first, and pretty soon we’re going to be out of firsts, and it’s going to be, as you say, just another officer taking one of these positions.”

Operation Mend: Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream