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Ann Dunwoody kept her boots on the ground for 38 years — and in them, made tremendous strides for women’s equality in the army.
The goal of #SeeHer Story is to recognize various female trailblazers ranging from the past 100 years to today and celebrate how they’ve helped to shape history and culture.
As this year marks the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, the series hopes to commemorate such an important time for women in history.
The series — which is made up of short vignettes created and narrated by Couric — premiered on Oct. 18 and will air weekly on PEOPLE.com and @PeopleTV social handles.
While Dunwoody never planned to join the Army, she had the military in her blood, coming from three previous generations of West Point graduates.
Her father, grandfather and great grandfather were all career Army men, but Dunwoody thought she might become a coach or a P.E. teacher when she grew up.
Dunwoody changed her mind when she started her junior year at SUNY Cortland and the Army came to campus offering seniors $500 a month if they agreed to serve for two years.
“Five hundred dollars was a lot of money back then… So I raised my hand, I signed up,” she said in the video.
Little did Dunwoody know that her initial two-year commitment would become nearly 40.
She joined the service at a time when “they began the integration of women into the regular Army,” she said.
“So for the first time, women had the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”
Dunwoody stood her ground — she refused to cut her hair to “look like the guys” and even worked her way up to become head of the Army Materiel Command, a Fortune 500-sized unit.
But that was just the beginning of her groundbreaking accomplishments.
In November 2008, Dunwoody rose to become the first-ever female Four-Star General, holding the position until she retired in August 2012.
“I’ve heard from moms and dads who see this promotion as a beacon of hope for their own daughters, and an affirmation that anything is possible through hard work and commitment,” she said in the clip.
#SeeHer Story will also be a regular feature in PEOPLE’s print edition, the weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric, on PeopleTV’s entertainment show PEOPLE Now as well as on PEOPLE Now Weekend.