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|Birth name||Claudia Jean Kennedy|
|Born||July 14, 1947|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1969-2000|
|Awards||Legion of Merit (4)|
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (4)
Army Commendation Medal (4)
Claudia Jean Kennedy (born July 14, 1947) is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army. She is the first woman to reach the rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army. She retired in 2000 after 31 years of military service.
Claudia Kennedy was born on July 14, 1947, in Frankfurt, during the American occupation of southern Germany after World War II. She attended Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College), where she became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1969. She was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in June 1969.
On May 21, 1997, Kennedy became the first woman in the U.S. Army to hold a three-star rank. (U.S. Air Force Lt Gen Leslie F. Kenne, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Patricia Tracey, U.S. Coast Guard VADM Vivien Crea and U.S. Marine Corps Lt Gen Carol Mutter held equal ranks in other branches of the military.) She was named Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.
Kennedy is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.
In 1999, General Kennedy made a sexual harassment claim against fellow officer Major General Larry Smith, stemming from an incident in 1996 when she was a major general and he was a brigadier general. Kennedy made the accusation after Smith was slated for promotion to the position of Army deputy Inspector General, the position responsible for investigation of sexual harassment claims. Kennedy claimed that Smith had attempted to grope and kiss her; Smith's appointment to the inspector general's office was later withdrawn. In 2000, an inquiry by the United States Army's inspector general concluded that Lt. Gen. Kennedy was a victim of inappropriate sexual advances from General Smith.
Kennedy's awards include the Legion of Merit (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
Kennedy retired from the military in June 2000 after 31 years. During the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Kennedy was critical of George W. Bush's proposed military policies, especially as they related to the status of women in the armed forces. According to General Kennedy: "If Mr. Bush becomes president, his campaign platform says he will move us back to a much earlier time." In other matters of military policy, Kennedy supported repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In 2002, Democrats actively sought to recruit Gen. Kennedy to challenge U.S. Senator John Warner, a Republican from Virginia. Kennedy passed on the race.
She contributed the piece "Redefining the Warrior Mentality: Women in the Military" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.
Kennedy endorsed Senator John Kerry for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination in September 2003, and served as an advisor to the Kerry campaign. She sometimes was mentioned as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense in a Kerry administration.
She endorsed military veteran candidates Eric Massa and Patrick Murphy in 2006. In 2007 and 2008 she endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama in their respective campaigns for the presidency. She was discussed as a potential vice presidential choice for the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama.
In June 2010, she was appointed as chairwoman of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, a committee which is appointed by the United States Secretary of Defense and which reports to the United States Department of Defense.
Lt Gen Kennedy violated one of the principles of sexual harassment policy by not telling General Smith that she found his actions inappropriate.