First Captain McGinnis on Leading the COCReilly McGinnis, a soccer standout from a small town in Pennsylvania, has joined a small, elite group of women who have earned the rank of first captain at the U.S. Military Academy – just six in the academy’s 218-year history.

“Thinking back as a plebe, I never would have thought this would happen,” McGinnis told MOAA. “Getting to lead in this position is definitely humbling.”

The first captain is the highest position in the cadet chain of command. She’s responsible for the performance of the 4,400-member Corps of Cadets and acts as a liaison between the corps and the administration.

It’s been a whirlwind of a journey for the “firstie,” who learned about the academy only when a recruiter spotted her at a soccer clinic during her high school years. The native of Macungie, Pa. – about a 2½-hour drive from West Point – didn’t know much about the military before stepping onto campus for a tour, but instantly felt that was where she belonged.

“After that visit, I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else,” she said.

McGinnis grew up leading her teammates on the soccer field, so leading comrades during training at the academy was a seamless shift. When an injury sidelined her, McGinnis decided to put all of her energy into more military activities. Full story.

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