Press Releases

Sen. Warner Invites West Point Cadet Simone Askew to State of the Union

Simone Askew is the first African-American woman to lead the Corps of Cadets at West Point

Jan 29 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) announced that he will be inviting Cadet Simone Askew, the First Captain of West Point, as his guest to President Trump’s State of the Union, which is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, January 30th at 9 PM. At 21 years old, Cadet Askew made history by becoming the first African-American woman to hold the highest student position at the United States Military Academy at West Point, overseeing roughly 4,400 cadets. This role was previously held by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and four-star Army generals who currently command forces in South Korea and Afghanistan.

“At West Point, you learn that discipline goes beyond staying the course and working hard to earn your place. It involves doing what you can to give back to all those who have helped you succeed along the way,” said Cadet Askew. “While I have been humbled by the support, I can’t ignore the sacrifices made by so many others before me. I want to thank Senator Warner for inviting me as his guest, knowing that I stand on the shoulders of all those women who helped pave the way for me to be where I am today.”

“Cadet Askew has earned her place at the top among the students at West Point, showing a remarkable dedication to her studies and a deep commitment to service. Cadet Askew shows what is possible when smart, talented young women are given the opportunity to lead,” said Sen. Warner. “It is an honor to help showcase her journey, which may one day inspire the next generation of women to break new barriers.”

After a federal law was passed in 1975 allowing women to be admitted to military academies, the first co-ed class graduated West Point in 1980. Now, according to statistics on West Point’s website, 15 percent of the Corps of Cadets are women. Cadet Askew is only the fifth woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Cadet Simone Askew grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, before moving to Fairfax County, Virginia, where she attended Lanier Middle School and then Fairfax High School. After receiving a recommendation from Sen. Warner, Cadet Askew was accepted and enrolled as a student at West Point where she is studying international history and hopes to pursue a career in military intelligence when she graduates in May 2018 as a second lieutenant. Askew was also one of 32 American students awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to continue her studies at the University of Oxford in England.