The naval rank of captain is equivalent to that of colonel in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Promotion to this level is rare, with only 2% of officers achieving the rank in the military services.
News of Mahoney’s success looks forward to the celebration of VWIL’s 25th anniversary during the 2020–21 academic year. The first class of cadets joined VWIL in August 1995, and more than 460 students have completed the program — still the nation’s only all-women corps of cadets — thus far.
“I get goosebumps thinking about when I told my dad that I had been selected for captain. He teared up and said he needed a minute. I feel immense gratitude for those along the way who challenged me, pushed me, and, of course, sometimes pulled me along.”
A third generation Navy sailor and granddaughter of a Pearl Harbor survivor, Mahoney commissioned as ensign in the Navy two days before she graduated from Mary Baldwin in 2000. First assigned the position of electrical officer on the USS Leyte Gulf, she has deployed three times between 2001 and 2005, twice to the Arabian Gulf and once to Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. She now lives in Arlington with her husband, Commander Paul Mahoney, and their four children.
“Being a VWIL cadet put me on the road for success no matter where I was headed. Certainly a lot of the structure provided a great foundation for the military, but the leadership, resilience to adversity, and confidence the corps gave me ensured I was ready for anything.”