Beverly White, David Gregory
Major General Anderson is the first African-American woman to earn the rank of Major General in the 237-year history of the U.S. Army. On Thursday she came to Southern California to speak about women's equality. Beverly White reports from Los Alamitos for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2012.
Last September, Gen. Marcia Anderson became the first black woman with two stars in the Army or Army Reserve, and says despite 237 years with no female Major Generals, equality abounds in the military.
"Currently, and I'm very proud of this fact, women serve in 93 percent of all army occupations, and women comprise 13.5 percent of the active army," Anderson said.
Anderson spoke in advance of Women's Equality Day on Aug. 26, which was founded by the late politician and feminist icon Bella Abzug.
"She was the first Jewish woman to be elected to the House of Representatives," Anderson said. "One of her famous quotes is, ‘Women belong in the house. The House of Representatives.’”
Soldiers from Los Alamitos and Riverside soaked it all in.
"You clearly can feel the energy she brings to the table. She's been doing this for a little while, but she's not tired of it," said CSM Robert Roberson, of the 79th Support Command.
"For being a lower-enlisted, there are very few in the room, it was very motivational. I thought it was awe-inspiring. It was just wonderful to hear somebody speak and to know that I can get to that level," said Sgt. Andrea Melgoza of the U.S. Army.
Anderson says she also values the relationships born of 33 years of service.
"We truly try to support people. I have found that my military family sometimes has come through, when my own family didn't quite understand what I was going through," Anderson said.