Irene M. Zoppi
Irene M. Zoppi
Zoppi in 2017
|Birth name||Irene Miller Rodríguez|
|Born||August 22, 1966|
Canóvanas, Puerto Rico
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1985-1995 (Active)|
|Unit||3rd Armored Division-Spearhead|
|Commands held||DCG/Director, AREC - U.S. Army South, Ft Sam, San Antonio, TX and Former Deputy Commanding General – Support under the 200th Military Police Command at Fort Meade, Maryland.|
|Battles/wars||Operation Desert Storm|
|Awards||Bronze Star Medal|
Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 oak leaf clusters)
Army Commendation Medal (with 6 oak leaf clusters)
|Other work||Program Director for the National Intelligence University at the National Security Agency.|
Irene M. Zoppi Rodríguez (née Miller Rodríguez; born August 22, 1966), is a U.S. Army officer and academic. She is the first Puerto Rican woman to attain the rank of general in the U.S. Army Reserve. Since February 2019, she has served as a deputy commanding general for United States Army South, as the director of the Army Reserve Engagement Cell for Individual Mobilization Augmentees. Zoppi is an adjunct professor at Strayer University. She has worked as an instructor for the National Intelligence University where she directed the university's academic center within the National Security Agency.
Early life and education
Zoppi was born and raised in the town of Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. Her grandmother and aunts encouraged her to pursue a career. When she was in eighth grade, Zoppi's grandfather pushed her to pursue an education. She attended the University of Puerto Rico, joined the University's ROTC program and began her training in 1985 at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao campus. Zoppi continued her training in the Río Piedras Campus upon her transfer there. Zoppi began as private first class and was assigned to the Military Police Corps at Fort McClellan in Alabama. Her nickname "Ramba", an allusion to the movie character Rambo, comes from this time.
Zoppi completed a B.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Puerto Rico in 1988, after learning to speak five languages, Spanish, English, Italian, French and German. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army after her graduation.
She earned a master's degree in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University in 2000. That same year she earned her Ph.D. in Education Policy, Planning, and Administration from the University of Maryland. In 2012, Zoppi earned a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the Army War College.
Zoppi was first sent overseas to Germany before being deployed to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War as part of Operation Desert Storm. She served with the 3rd Armored Division-Spearhead as a special security officer and worked with the telecommunication centers. Among her duties as a special security officer was obtaining classified information from the internet, interpreting the information, labeling it, and making it available to her superiors. She was stationed in the area known as "The Valley of Death" where the oil fields were burning. This was one of the areas where the Iraqis were trying to flee Kuwait. She described the experience as one of the culture shocks which she was subjected to. Prior culture shocks in her life included the culture of United States and that of Europe (specifically, Germany). Zoppi was present during the liberation of Kuwait and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. She also served in Iraq and Saudi Arabia during her deployment. Zoppi left the active component of the U.S. Army in 1995 as a captain and entered the U.S. Army Reserve.
While serving in the reserves, Zoppi was promoted to major and later to lieutenant colonel. She served as the Battalion Commander for 11th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 104th Division (Leadership Development). She then became the Assistant J2/Chief Intelligence Officer for the National Capital Region Joint Task Force under United States Northern Command. Afterwards, she was the Battalion Commander of the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Technical Intelligence), followed by promotion to colonel and assignment as the Group Commander for the 3100th Strategic Intelligence Group. By 2015, she was serving as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of 1st Mission Support Command, Ft. Buchanan, Puerto Rico. She was one of fifteen Latina colonels in the army reserves. Zoppi then served as the Army Reserve Element Commander and J2 of the 76th Operational Response Command with United States Southern Command.
In September 2017, Zoppi was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. Her promotion came with the appointment as deputy commanding general for the 200th Military Police Command. She is the first Puerto Rican woman promoted to the rank of general in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 2019, Zoppi was named director of the Army Reserve Engagement Cell and a deputy commanding general for United States Army South. In that capacity, she visited Honduras in May to observe reserve medical training there.
As a civilian Zoppi has taught in the public school system of Maryland and also at various universities. She is a former adjunct professor, College of Notre Dame, and former Research Associate at the Maryland Institute of Minority Achievement and Urban Education, University of Maryland. As a Professor in the Business and Education Departments at Strayer University, she was named 2012 Strayer University Faculty of the Year, and was a keynote speaker at the 2013 Latina Style Business Series conference, where she advocated for women to incorporate Latin American culture into their business models and cited the importance of community in Latina culture as an asset for companies. She has worked as an instructor for the National Intelligence University and director of the university's academic center within the National Security Agency.
- 2009 – Listed as one of "Maryland's Top 100 Women" by the Daily Record
- 2012 – Strayer University Faculty of the Year Award
- 2013 – Knowlton Award of the Military Intelligence Corps Association
- 2015 – Latina of Influence Award by the Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine
- Kentucky Colonel, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Military awards and decorations
Among Zoppi's military awards and decorations are the following:
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- Military history of Puerto Rico
- List of Puerto Rican military personnel
- Puerto Rican women in the military
- History of women in Puerto Rico
- "Brig. Gen. Irene Zoppi, Deputy Commanding General – Support". Leadership. US Army Reserve. Retrieved 2021-03-16. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "La mujer que rompe estereotipos". El Tiempo Latino (in español). 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2021-03-17. Unknown parameter
- Sauret, Michel (October 25, 2017). ""Ramba" is first female Puerto Rican general officer in US Army Reserve". US Army. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Irene Zoppi-Rodríguez, Ph.D." 2015 Latinas of Influence. Hispanic Lifestyle. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
- Zoppi, Irene M. (November 4, 2004). "The Relationship of Self-Perceived Leadership Style and Acculturation of Latinas in the U.S. Army" (Ph.D. thesis). University of Maryland. hdl:1903/1979.
- "NSA Instructor named a 2015 Latina of Influence". News & Features. National Security Agency. April 15, 2015.
- "Secretario de Estado felicita a la "Ramba" Puertorriqueña Bri. Gen. Irene Zoppi" [Secretary of State congratulates the Puerto Rican "Ramba" Brig. Gen. Irene Zoppi] (in español). Government of Puerto Rico, Department of State. August 30, 2017.
- Delgado, José A. (August 30, 2017). "Anuncian a primera general boricua en la Reserva del Ejército de EE.UU". El Nuevo Día (in español). Retrieved 2021-03-17. Unknown parameter
- "Zoppi Assigned to U.S. Army South". Signal. AFCEA. February 21, 2019.
- "Army South general visits Honduran hospital, observes training". U.S. Army South Public Affairs. October 15, 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Con intercambio de reconocimentos el MIDE, COE, y Comando Sur EE.UU clausuran ejercicios FAHUM-2019". Mirando los Cuarteles (in español). May 2019. Retrieved 2021-03-17. Unknown parameter
- Reimann, Mariel (October 18, 2013). "La Latinas tienen la chispa necesaria para ser grandes líderes". KSL (in español). Retrieved 2021-03-17. Unknown parameter
- "Academic Center Campus Information". Student Welcome Packet (PDF). National Intelligence University. 2017–2018. p. 45. Search this book on
- "State Department of Education". Maryland Manual On-line. Maryland State Archives. November 20, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-12-06. Unknown parameter
- Haasbroek, Johannes (September 9, 2020). "AACC Board of Trustees gets 1st Hispanic member". Campus Current. Anne Arundel Community College.
- "2009 winners". Daily Record. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
- "Knowlton Award". Military Intelligence Corps Association. Retrieved 2021-03-16. See also list of award recipients.
- "Irene Zoppi Rodriguez, Colonel, US Army Reserve". Lean In . Retrieved 2021-03-16.
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