Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Brigadier General Annette M. Deener
MSA SC 3520-14674

    With over thirty years of military service, Brigadier General Annette M. Deener continues with her current and unique role as a female commanding military officer while living with her family in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  General Deener was born March 6, 1953 in Cumberland, Maryland, where she graduated from Allegany High School in 1971.  General Deener’s first interest in military service took place after her graduation from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College)  in 1975, when her husband encouraged her to join the Army Reserve.  After joining as a reserve member of the 698th Supply Company, Frederick, Maryland, she continued her education, earning both a Master’s of Science Degree from Frostburg University and attending a fifteen-month program with the Maryland Army National Guard Officer Candidate School.1   With her education and training, she earned herself a commission with the Maryland Army National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1978.  The Army National Guard provided Deener with an exclusive opportunity to work alongside ranking male officers at a time when career choices for women were limited to mostly feminized types of professions such as teaching, medical, clerical, or supportive roles.  General Deener embraced her new role as an officer and quickly took a position as a medical corps officer.

    With job posts slowing expanding for women in the Army National Guard, General Deener boldly applied for and was assigned to groundbreaking positions; she seamlessly pioneered new supervisory career roles in the military that women had not previously held.  Her first major assignment as a leading female officer was with the Maryland Military Academy, where she was a training officer and was then promoted to senior training officer.  General Deener attained her promotion through her attendance of officer improvement courses in 1979 and 1982, demonstrating her persistence to remain competitively up to date in her field of administration.  This era of Deener’s career was an enormous step, because she not only gained confidence in her ability to administrate subordinates but also she learned to collaborate with top male officers in her field.

    This positive experience led General Deener to expand on her many attributes as a female military officer while also embarking on raising a family.  Deener’s next position was as a personnel and administrative officer for the Maryland Army National Guard.  This career step provided Deener with an extraordinary opportunity to expand on her many progressive talents while simultaneously earning promotions in her professional career. For the next twenty years, during the 1980’s and 1990’s, General Deener aptly succeeded to directorate level positions in the administrative field, while she also attended two of the Army’s prestigious colleges.  She pursued an impressive career becoming the “Director of Information System Management, the Director of Military Personnel, and the Director of Human Resources, making her the only person in the Maryland Army National Guard’s history to hold three separate directorate level positions.”2   In 1988 and 1998, General Deener completed administrative programs at the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College respectively.  Another notable contribution by General Deener is her participation in the national Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) in 1998. Her participation on the Reserve Component Panel, based on personal military experience, was crucial to helping obtain improved egalitarian opportunities for women in the military services.  With her vast amount of skill and knowledge, Deener became only the second woman in the Maryland Army National Guard to earn the rank of colonel (1998).

    This era of experience and education coincided with General Deener’s extraordinary role as a wife and mother, a fantastic accomplishment next to her career achievements.  She recalled in an interview her children’s thoughts on her career as a female military officer; her son, Matthew replied to a comment against his mother’s wearing of combat boots, “Yeah, she does, but I bet she can outshoot your Dad!”  Deener remembered her daughter Megan’s thoughts as well that once she had wanted to be home-schooled but when she learned that her mother’s routine started with PT at “the crack of dawn…she decided that maybe the public school wasn’t so bad after all.”4   In essence, General Deener found a niche to succeed as a mother, wife, and professional while she simultaneously exposed women’s astute capability in the military to perform proficiently beyond expectation.

    In 2005, General Deener was promoted to the Chief of Staff position with the Maryland Army National Guard.  As the Chief of Staff, “She is the first woman to hold this position, which requires her to manage nearly one thousand full-time and over 5300 traditional part-time members of the Maryland National Guard.”5   She is regarded, among her peers, as an excellent female leader and mentor whereas she always puts forth 100% effort in every duty and responsibility.  General Deener is the recipient of multiple awards and decorations, including her induction to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.  Major General Bruce F. Tuxill, whom she accredits with mentoring her career aspirations, nominated Deener for the Maryland Women Hall of Fame.  She said in an interview, “General Tuxill seeks my counsel…he listens.  For that I am grateful, and I feel that I am a genuine member of the team and that means a lot to me.”6   General Deener works among her military peers as an equal and advocated for women’s equality in other areas of the military; as a female commanding officer, she is a pioneer of women’s professional accomplishment.

Notes:

1. 1st Lt. Wayde Minami, "Press Release Maryland National Guard," Public Affairs Office, paomd@md.ngb.army.mil (Accessed June 8, 2007). Return to text
2. Major General Bruce F. Tuxill, “Nomination for Induction into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.” submitted to Maryland Women's Commission.
           Return to text
3. Andrew Schotz, “Guard Pioneer Honored as a Top Woman,” Herald News, Herald-Mail.com March 15, 2007 (Accessed June 14, 2007). Return to text
4. Schotz, “Guard Pioneer Honored as a Top Woman." Return to text
5. Major General Tuxill, Nomination Letter. Return to text
6. Schotz, “Guard Pioneer Honored as a Top Woman.” Return to text
 



Major Awards and Decorations:

Meritorious Service Medal (4OLC)
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (1OLC)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Maryland Distinguished Service Cross
Maryland National Guard Recruiting Medal
Maryland State Service Medal
Maryland Women's Hall of Fame Inductee 2007


Biography written by Jenette Parish, Summer Intern 2007.

Return to Brig. Gen. Annette M. Denner's Introductory Page
 
 
 
 


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