U.S. Army’s First Black Woman Lieutenant General , Nadja Y. West.

Nadja Y. West on Feb. 9 made her mark in history, becoming the U.S. Army’s first Black woman to hold the rank of lieutenant general and the highest-ranking woman of any race to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

West was appointed lieutenant general just a couple months after she became the first African American to assume the role of Army surgeon general.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley hosted the swearing-in ceremony at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia, during which Lieutenant General West’s children pinned on their mother’s third star.

“She has performed brilliantly in the two months she’s been the surgeon general and I can personally attest to that,” Milley told the audience, according to the St. Louis American.

As surgeon general, West is responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Army secretary and chief of staff on all matters to pertaining to military health care.

“West will be responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army,” according to an article on the Army website. “These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards.”

West will also serve as MEDCOM’s commanding general, overseeing more than 48 medical treatment facilities that provide care to nearly 4 million active-duty members of all services, retirees and their family members.

West, who was raised in a Washington, D.C. orphanage as the youngest of 12 adoptive brothers and sisters, thanked her siblings and reflected on how close they were growing up.

“My family was a really good team. There was a group who was all the same age and were friends in the orphanage, so they hung together and looked out for each other … that was a good environment to grow up,” she said, according to the St. Louis American. “I think the message that sends is that there’s no limit what you can do; what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it. No matter what your beginnings are, you can aspire to be anything you want.”

The lieutenant general finished high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Md., before going on to graduate from West Point with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1982. She furthered her studies at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., where she earned a doctorate of medicine.

West flew to Fort Sam Houston, Texas on Feb. 10 to formally assume the helm of U.S. Army Medical Command.