FARMINGTON — For the first time in its history, a woman will reach the rank of brigadier general in the Utah Army National Guard.
Utah Guard Public Information Officer Illeen Kennedy said Col. Charlene Dalto was to be promoted to brigadier general Saturday at Camp Williams. Dalto, a resident of Farmington, will take over as commander of the Utah Army National Guard’s Land Component. Dalto will replace Brig. General Thomas Fisher, who has led the Land Component outfit since 2016.
Kennedy described the change of command as a “historic occasion,” noting that Dalto will become the first woman to be promoted to brigadier general in the history of the Utah Army National Guard. According to military.com, brigadier general, or a “one-star” general, is one of highest positions someone can reach in the military. In the Army, only major general, lieutenant general and Army chief of staff rank higher.
In her civilian life, Dalto works as a registered nurse for Intermountain Healthcare. She’s commanded the Utah Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment since February 2018. She’s been in the military for 38 years.
Reaching impressive heights seems to be a theme in Dalto’s military career. In her first two decades of service, she served as an enlisted soldier, attaining the second-highest rank there, serving as a master sergeant. After her work as an enlisted soldier, Dalto took a direct commission into the U.S. Army Nurse Corps as a first lieutenant and served 18 years there as an officer. In her nearly four decades of military work, Dalto has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
She deployed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990.
Dalto said she was both “honored and grateful” for the opportunity to serve as the leader of the Land Component group and be promoted to general. The Land Component Command is responsible for six other Army major commands operating in Utah. Dalto will be responsible for all of the training and readiness of those six groups, ensuring they and their subordinate units are prepared to respond to the Utah governor or the president of the United States for any domestic or foreign contingency.
Though the new position will be quite a lift, Dalto brings a wealth of leadership experience and knowledge from her position leading the medical detachment. There, Dalto oversaw all of the Guard’s medical, dental, behavioral health, nursing, administrative, logistical and operations personnel.
“Throughout my military career, I have been privileged to know many great soldiers and be mentored by outstanding leaders,” Dalto said in a statement. “I (plan) to continue that tradition for the soldiers under my command.”