The Wisconsin Army National Guard named its first woman general. Colonel Joane Mathews was promoted to brigadier general this week.
Mathews is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe and grew up in Minocqua. Mathews followed in the footsteps of her uncles, dad and brother and joined the National Guard in 1997, but credits her lengthy list of accomplishments to her family and co-workers.
“It takes a lot of hard work, but it takes a lot of people to get me to where I am; mostly my family. I couldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my husband and my children, and everybody I’ve worked for and within the military who’s helped me get where I am.”
Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Director Mike Allen said Mathews is a role model for all women and Native Americans.
“We’ve always looked up to people once they leave home here and they get their education and they come back and use it here too, but moving on and bettering themselves is good and the whole tribe is behind her and are very proud of her.”
Mathews holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Administration from the University of North Dakota, a Master’s in Military Management and Strategic Studies. Mathews was also the National Guard’s first woman Army chief of staff, first female brigade commander and first non-medical woman colonel.