NORTH TOWANDA TOWNSHIP (AP) - On Saturday, Towanda High School graduate Leslie A. Purser officially became one of fewer than 10 female major generals in the Army Reserve.
The 40 major generals in the Army Reserve, who are two-star generals, are ranked equally to each other.
The only officer who holds a higher rank in the Army Reserve than the major generals is Lt. General Jack C. Stultz, who is chief of the Army Reserve. Stultz, who is a three-star general, reports to Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, Purser said.
Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, left, and Leslie Purser’s husband, Joe Purser, conduct the initial pinning of Leslie Purser’s new two-star rank as major general in a ceremony held on Saturday at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in North Towanda Township.
Stultz conducted Purser's promotion ceremony in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery. Purser's father, Charles Miller, who was a sergeant first class in the Army, and one of her brothers, Jeffrey C. Miller, are buried there.
Stultz said people from the Towanda area should be proud of Purser.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Stultz said that Purser was promoted for her achievements and also because of her potential for even further advancement in the military.
In accepting her promotion, Purser said she was very honored that Stultz had taken the time away from his command of 205,000 soldiers to come to the ceremony.
Purser said her father was an inspiration to her and had taught her the importance of self-reliance. She also said there were teachers and others at the ceremony who had guided her when she was a student in Towanda.
For her, success is not a rank or a position that a person holds, Purser said. Instead, it means "making a difference, making the world a bit better for the future."
She thanked her family for the sacrifices it has made for her.
Her two children, Jennifer and Justin, also are Army officers and will be deployed to Afghanistan in August.
She said the "mother side" of her is scared about their deployment, but the "soldier side" is very proud of them.
"I could not be prouder," she said.
Purser, who has served in the military for 31 years, graduated from Towanda High School in 1975, then from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1980. In 2004, she received a master's degree in strategic studies from the Army War College in Carlisle.
She also is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Army Command and General Staff School.
She serves in the Pentagon as director of intelligence, plans and policy for the Department of the Army.
While in the military, she has served, among other places, in Baghdad, Iraq.