By Jacqueline Y. Tate
Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley
CINCINNATI, OH – In a historic ceremony, Brig. Gen. Margaret W. Burcham became the first woman to be promoted to general officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jan. 27, 2012 in the Corps’ Washington, D.C. headquarters.
“This promotion has given me the opportunity to keep serving for several more years, and to keep doing a job that I’m passionate about,” said Brig. Gen. Margaret W. Burcham, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. “This will also give me a chance to showcase the Corps. As the first female engineer general officer, I am already getting invitations to speak at events. There is so much good that the Corps does, and I will use the opportunities that I’m given to get that word out,” added Burcham.
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Robert Van Antwerp, former chief of engineers, hosted the ceremony, praising Burcham and thanking her for her dedicated service to the Army, and wished her well.
“This is an historic day,” said Van Antwerp to the attendees. “In the future, you will tell people, ‘I was there when we promoted the first woman to general officer in the Corps of Engineers.’”
Burcham’s husband, Jay Burcham, and her son, John Tubesing, pinned on her new rank amidst applause from the audience. The auditorium in the Government Accountability Office Building was a packed house of Corps senior leaders and employees, Burcham’s family members, and friends spanning her entire career from classmates in the U.S. Military Academy to the present.
Last September, Burcham became the first woman selected to command a Corps of Engineers division when she took command of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division located in Cincinnati, OH. The division consists of seven engineer districts that include over 4800 personnel operating in a 17 state region with the responsibility for the federal water resource development throughout the Great Lakes and Ohio River basins.
Burcham received her commission at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1982, and previously served at the Pentagon as the Chief of the Joint Capabilities Division of the Resources, Assessments and Force Management Directorate, and commanded Gulf Region North Engineer District in Iraq and Europe Engineer District.