Simone Askew

Simone Askew

*History has been made at the U.S. Military Academy, as Simone Askew becomes the first black woman to lead the 4,400-member Corps of Cadets, the highest position in the cadet chain of command at West Point.

The 20-year-old international history major from Fairfax, Virginia, assumed captain duties on Monday morning with a 12-mile march of 1,200 new cadets she led in basic training.

“It’s a great step for not only women, but African-American women, because it shows that no matter what your sex, or your race, you can really do anything,” her sister, Nina Askew, told NBC Washington. “There’s nothing that can hold you back.”

Her advice to other young women aspiring to leadership roles is to seek mentorship and make themselves “vessels to be poured into.”

simone Askew

Simone Askew

Pat Locke, one of two black women in the first class of women to graduate from West Point in 1980, told NBC4 that Askew is a terrific role model.

“It’s unbelievable for me that this has happened in my lifetime,” Locke said. “I didn’t think I was going to see it.”