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Naval Academy announces first African American woman brigade commander

Sydney Barber.jpg
Posted at 2:06 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 14:09:17-05

ANNAPOLIS — The Commandant of Midshipmen announced the spring semester midshipman leadership positions, which includes the selection of the Naval Academy’s first African American woman brigade commander.

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber, of Lake Forest, Ill. will be the Brigade Commander, the highest leadership position within the brigade, and is the only "six striper"-- a reference to the collar insignia worn on the midshipman uniform, the rank of midshipman captain.

Barber is a mechanical engineering major and aspires to commission as a Marine Corps ground officer.

“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly special,” said Barber. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”

As a walk-on sprinter and hurdler of the Navy Women’s Varsity Track and Field team, she has lettered all three years of competing and is a USNA record holder for the outdoor 4x400m relay.

She is the co-president of the Navy Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, secretary for the National Society of Black Engineers, and a member of the USNA Gospel Choir and Midshipman Black Studies Club.

Barber served as the 13th company’s executive officer this past Plebe Summer and currently serves as the brigade’s 1st regiment executive officer.