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British Army welcomes first 2 Star level commander

Major General Sharon Nesmith
Major General Sharon Nesmith. Photo: British Army

The British Army received its first female officer commanding at the 2 Star level as Major General Sharon Nesmith took up the role of General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Army Recruiting and Initial Training Command (ARITC).

The army made the announcement on January 5.

Maj Gen Nesmith, who joined the Army in 1992, is taking leadership of the division-level organization responsible for the recruitment and subsequent training of soldiers and officers throughout the army.

As the second ever female Major General and the only currently serving regular female Major General she has worked her way up through a number of appointments, from commanding 1st Mechanised Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron (215) deploying on Op Telic 10, through to commanding the 1st UK Signal Brigade. She also become the first woman to command a British Army brigade in 2014.

“I am delighted to be taking command of the Army’s recruitment and training. I am proud to be leading the command responsible for developing excellence in our soldiers and officers,” Maj Gen Nesmith commented.

A GOC of ARITC is responsible for recruiting and training the right quantity, quality and composition of regular and reserve officers and soldiers to the British Army. To do this Maj Gen Nesmith will oversee a mixed military, civilian and contractor workforce of more than 6,000 people spread over approximately 130 locations in the UK and overseas. Each year she will manage a budget of over £200m and the training of over 35,000 students over 280 courses.

Major General Sharon Nesmith was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals in 1992. She spent much of her early years at Regimental Duty in Germany, serving in the Electronic Warfare Regiment and 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment, during which time she completed 3 tours in the Balkans.

Major General Nesmith commanded the 1st (United Kingdom) Signal Brigade from August 2014 to July 2016, supporting Headquarters ARRC and the UK JTFHQs. She was then Head of Manning (Army), before being appointed Director Personnel in March 2019. She took up the post General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Army’s Recruiting and Initial Training Command (ARITC) on 1 January 2021, becoming the first female officer to lead a Division-level Command.