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El Paso native Major General Heidi Brown retires from Army

Major General Heidi Brown was able to come back to her hometown on her last day of service, and she shared her story with the newest generation of El Paso women leaders. Credit: CBS4

An El Paso native who paved the way for women in the military retired from the Army on Friday.

Major General Heidi Brown was able to come back to her hometown on her last day of service, and she shared her story with the newest generation of El Paso women leaders.

Brown has served in the Army for 35 years, having most recently served at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

On Friday night, she will take off her uniform for the very last time.

She's come full circle-- she started in El Paso, and now she's ending it here.

"It's very humbling. I certainly never thought that I would be at my rank and being in the Army for as long as I've been in," Brown said.

Brown shared words of wisdom with those at the Women in Business conference on Friday, telling many stories from her time in the Army.

Brown says it's all about having passion-- something that led her to add so many firsts to her resume. She was the first El Paso woman to attend and graduate from West Point. She was also the first woman to lead and command a brigade during war, paving the way for today's young female soldiers.

"Don't let someone else tell you you can't do something because it's never been done by fill in the blank, a man or woman or whatever," she said.

Brown tells CBS4 there's one particular place in El Paso that she credits for her motivation to succeed. In light of all her accomplishments in the Army, she stopped to remember the place that started it all.

"There's a lot of high schools in El Paso, but in my heart, there's only one and that's Austin. And I'm glad to be a Panther," she said.

As for what's next for Brown-- she plans on settling into civilian life with her wife and family in Virginia.

She also plans on writing a book called “From Bliss to Baghdad,” telling the story of the soldiers in her brigade that lost their lives on the battlefield.

She says she wants to donate the proceeds of her books to their families.

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