A military college in Virginia selected the first woman to fill the role of its highest ranking cadet.
That woman is from right here in Johnstown.
Her name is Kasey Meredith a 2018 graduate of Westmont Hilltop High School now a junior at Virginia Military Institute.
Her parents, William and Shannon Meredith, said they were elated when they heard the news: Kasey was named Regimental Commanding Officer for the 2021-2022 school year.
“(Shannon) goes, ‘Bill, they announced rank!’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ (She said), ‘Kasey made RCO!’ I stood up, and I didn’t sit down again that night until I went to bed. I think it was 3:00 in the morning,” William said laughing.
187 people filled the role of RCO before her and they were all men making Kasey the first woman to assume the notable position.
“It’s really not just because I’m a female. It’s because I’ve done so many things at VMI to be able to check off my list,”
That list includes: being named Color Corporal (last year) and First Battalion Sergeant Major (this year).
Next year, she’s preparing for the new title with new responsibilities.
She’ll oversee 1,700 incoming cadets, according to Bill Wyatt, Director of Communications and Marketing at VMI.
He said Kasey was selected based off her lengthy resume, not her gender.
“We haven’t had a female in this position before, but first and foremost, she’s a VMI cadet,” he said.
“She’s a leader. She’s a citizen solider and somebody that the core of cadets can look up to. So, in that respect, it’s no different than any other year.”
Kasey was even competitive in soccer, track, and swimming in high school, and she was even on the wrestling team.
She said she wants to inspire girls to push themselves, including her little sister.
“A few years back, she was doing an arts and crafts project. She drew me as a cadet for her teacher. I already am showing someone like my little sister that she can do something like a military college,”
She said she’s also letting girls know that not only is military school an option for them but that they can achieve the highest ranks.
Kasey’s parents said she’s equal parts competition and compassion.
“I hope she inspires her sisters. I hope she inspires other young girls from Johnstown. I hope that girls from Johnstown look at her and say, ‘I can do what she’s done,'”