Marine nominated to become
first female 3-star general

marine logo

March 27, 1996
Web posted at: 12:15 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

QUANTICO, Virginia (CNN) -- President Clinton Tuesday nominated a woman Marine for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. military.

Marine Corps two-star Gen. Carol Mutter serves as commander of the Marine Corps' Systems Command. She is responsible for research, development, and acquisition of combat ground equipment for the entire Marine Corps.

It's a big assignment, the latest in a 29-year career that has seen her surpass many men, including her husband, now a retired Marine colonel. (111K AIFF sound or 111K WAV sound)


Mutter's new job will be to serve as deputy chief of staff for manpower and reserve affairs, a post in which she will be responsible for all policy and planning for Marine Corps manpower issues.

"It's exciting ... an honor ... a great opportunity ... a privilege," Mutter said Tuesday.

While some critics charge that the Marine Corps is the most resistant to opening jobs to women, Mutter says that she's never felt excluded or discriminated against.

"Anything like that that may have happened was just an individual personality and such a rare basis it's not even worth talking about," she said.

Since more general officers first command combat units, and since women are barred from ground combat, for many, the door to the top remains closed. (115K AIFF sound or 115K WAV sound)

There are 18 women generals or admirals in the U.S. military, and Mutter is the only woman general in the Marines.

"I look forward to the day when we don't have any firsts anymore and we can see this kind of thing as routine," Mutter said.

The Marine Corps is the smallest of the U.S. military services but has the reputation as proudest. Military historians say that if the Congress concurs, the Marines will have a new boast: the highest-ranking woman in modern military history.


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