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First female four-star U.S. Army general nominated

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- America's first female four-star general has been nominated, the Pentagon announced Monday.

President Bush nominated Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to serve as head of the Army's supply arm.

By law women are excluded from combat jobs, the typical path to four-star rank in the military.

"This is an historic occasion for the Department of Defense and I am proud to nominate Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody for a fourth star," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position."

The Senate must approve the nomination.

Dunwoody, a native of New York, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1975 after her graduation from the State University of New York in Cortland. She also holds graduate degrees in national resource strategy and logistics management.

She became the Army's top-ranking woman in 2005 when she received her third star and became deputy chief of staff for Army logistics.

"I am very honored but also very humbled today with this announcement," said Dunwoody. "I grew up in a family that didn't know what glass ceilings were. This nomination only reaffirms what I have known to be true about the military throughout my career ... that the doors continue to open for men and women in uniform."

The Army Material Command handles all material readiness for the Army. During her career, Dunwoody has been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division and the Defense Logistics Agency. She served with the 82nd Airborne in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

She has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, Master Parachutist Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

The first woman to become a general officer in the U.S. armed services was Brig. Gen. Anna Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps, who achieved the rank in 1970 and retired the following year.

Elizabeth Hoisington, the director of the Women's Army Corps, was promoted to brigadier general immediately after Hays. She also retired the following year.

Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm, the first director of Women in the Air Force, was the first woman to wear two stars, attaining the rank in 1973 and retiring two years later. In 1996, Marine Lt. Gen. Carol A. Mutter became the first woman to wear three stars. Mutter retired in 1999.

Currently, there are 57 active-duty women serving as generals or admirals, five of whom are lieutenant generals or vice admirals, the Navy's three-star rank, according to the Pentagon.

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