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1st Black woman named US Naval Academy student brigade commander

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber will be the first Black woman to hold the top student leadership role at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Credit: U.S. Naval Academy
Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Black woman will lead fellow students at the U.S. Naval Academy for the first time, taking the top student leadership role of brigade commander, the academy said in a statement Monday.

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber will be the commander for the spring semester, according to the news release.

Brigade commander is the highest leadership position within the student body. The semester-long position is selected through an application and interview process by senior leadership and the commandant’s staff.

“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly  special,” said Barber in a statement from the academy. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”

Barber, of Lake Forest, Illinois, is a mechanical engineering major and aspires to commission as a Marine Corps ground officer, according to the release.

Barber will be the 16th woman selected for brigade commander in the 44 years women have been attending the academy. The first female brigade commander was then-Midshipman Juliane Gallina, who served in the position in 1991.

The release said the commandant of midshipmen announced new student leadership positions Friday.

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