Women in the Army

Heroes Corner

Colonel Debra M. Lewis


Portrait of COL Debra Lewis

COL Debra Lewis's career is one that has been marked by firsts. She was a member of the first class of women to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She also was the U.S. Military Academy's first female captain of its highly successful intercollegiate equestrian team, the 1980 Academy Equestrian of the Year, and as an alumnus in 2000 competed for West Point at Nationals. And, she was the first female Soldier to command a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District in Iraq, responsible for overseeing the rebuilding efforts in the region. In total, she has commanded three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts.

COL Lewis deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in June 2006 and assumed command of the Gulf Region Division District. As commander and district engineer, she provided engineering and construction management support of deployed forces reconstruction in Baghdad and Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The total Central District represented over 1,400 projects valued at $2.6 billion in Baghdad and Al Anbar Province, two of that country's most active insurgent areas. That work included the construction of schools, primary healthcare centers, fire and police stations, roads, water and sewer treatment plants, electrical generation and distribution networks. She returned from the 13-month deployment in July 2007.

COL Lewis' experience spans more than 26 years. She served on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon where she supported the JCS Chariman's responsibilities for combating terrorism before and after 9/11. Her post-graduate education includes an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Following Harvard, she joined the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point where she taught problem solving and the capstone engineering management course.

She currently serves as the State Inspector General for the Washington National Guard. COL Lewis and her husband LTC (Ret.) Doug Adams have three children.