An Airman's Story: Major General Jeanne M. Holm

Major General Jeanne Marjorie Holm was born on June 23, 1921, in Portland Oregon. She loved to ski (both water and snow) and would remain active in both sports throughout her life  She also worked as a professional silversmith prior to her enlistment.

On May 14, 1942, Congress approved the creation of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and by July, Major General Holm had enlisted.  She completed Officers Candidate School in 1943.

During WWII, Major General Holm was assigned to the Women's Army Training Center where she first commanded a basic training company and then a training regiment. After the war, she commanded the 106th WAC Hospital company.  She briefly left active duty to complete her education at Lewis and Clark College but returned to active duty in 1948 to command a Woman's Auxilary Corps company at Fort Lee.

In 1949 she was transferred to the US Air Force and was sent to the Erding Air Depot in Germany where she served first as the Assistant Director of Plans and Operations before being assigned to the 85th Air Depot Wing as the War Plans Officer.

Major General Holm, in 1952, became the first woman to attend and graduate from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, and afterward, she served as the Chief of Manpower in Allied Air Forces South Europe.

In 1961, she returned to USAF headquarters in Washington DC and was assigned to be the congressional staff officer for the Director of Manpower and Organization. She would become the Director of Women in the Air Force in the office of the Deputy Chief of staff Personnel in 1965 and through this role, modernized women's roles in the Air Force and opened up new career paths for women. Major General Holm had her appointment extended twice and would become the longest-serving Director in Air Force history.

She became the first woman to achieve the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force on July 16, 1971, and on June 1, 1973, became the first woman to achieve the rank of Major General in the entire US Military.

After her retirement in 1975, she began consulting for the Defense Manpower Commission and worked as the special assistant to Gerald Ford's Office of Women's Programs.  She helped create a detailed plan for President Ford's presidential campaign which would examine the US Code to find and correct any unnecessary sex-based language.  Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter would win the election.

During her retirement she would write two books, "Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution" and "In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II" she would also consult Linda Witt on her book "A Defense Weapon Known to Be of Value: Servicewomen of the Korean War Era".  

Major General Jeanne M. Holm died on February 15, 2010, and rests in Arlington Cemetery.