Jeanne Holm

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Major General Jeanne Holm (United States Air Force, ret.) joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) in 1942.  According to Bethanne Kelly Patrick, “After attending Officer Candidate School, she was commissioned as a third officer, the WAAC equivalent of a second lieutenant. After serving stateside during World War II, Holm left active duty and finished her college degree. However, during the 1948 Berlin crisis, Holm was recalled to active duty and did not leave again until her 1975 retirement. In 1949, she was transferred to the newly created Air Force. Among her early assignments, she served as war plans officer for the 85th Air Deport Wing in Germany during the Berlin airlift and the early stages of the Korean War.”


Major General Jeanne Holm (United States Air Force, ret.) is the first women from any branch of the military to promote to the rank of two star general.  Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm, the author of the 1982 book Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution; and of In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II.


According to the book description of In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II, Maj. Gen. USAF (Ret.) Jeanne M. Holm has, with the assistance of a dedicated group of former and current servicewomen, written a history of American servicewomen in WW2 that is a credit to their sometimes unacknowledged but heroic performance. To read the richly photographed text, one sees the scope of such service. Not only had this enormous undertaking been thrust upon a largely unprepared military in the wake of Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), with over 2400 casualties, but the armed services had to first scope out the institutional and racial corollaries already in existence since demilitarization after WW1.


For example, only the Army (Army Nurse Corps) was less than reluctant to engage women in any form of service equality. The Navy, Coast Guard and Marines were slow to come on board. Also, for much of WW2 black servicewomen had to serve in segregated units. Nonetheless, as appendices and charts show, women were much more than "Rosie the riveter" in domestic industry. By the end of WW2, over 400,000 women had served in the Armed Forces. The fact that the military relaxed many provisos during and after the war (especially after 1944) reflected the respect women gained in nursing, reserves, air force service, and auxiliary tasks like the American Red Cross, the United Service Organization, the Public Health Service, and the Cadet Nurse Corps.The Army Nurse Corps was in the Philippines when it was taken over by the Japanese.


Many nurses in captivity cared for hundreds of inmates in primitive conditions until they were liberated in 1945. Nurses were at Pearl Harbor, Australia, New Guinea, Iwo Jima, Anzio, China, Burma, and India, as well as England and France after D-Day. Navy nurses were in many of the same locations, many times as prisoners of war. Due to wartime alliance, women were stationed in the Ukraine during attacks by the German Luftwaffe, and were in England during the Blitz and "buzz bombs." A summary of the corps of command shows the depth of commitment. Women served in the Army Nurses Corps; Navy Nurses Corps; Women's Army Corps (WAAC and WAC); WAVES; Marine Corps Women's Reserve; Coast Guard Women's Reserves (SPAR); Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASP); as well as Army dietitians, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Initially hoped to be recruited to help "free a man" for able bodied military service, women in WW2 went with men to all corners of the globe and all theaters of operation, north, south, east, and west. To all those brave recruits, who as military casualties never returned to the United States, this well written book is a memorial to their bravery and heroism.”

In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II
Vandamere Press  More Info

Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution
Jeanne Holm  More Info

According to publisher’s weekly, Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, “Holm has updated this standard work, originally published in 1982, by adding material on the role of military women in the Grenada, Panama and Persian Gulf campaigns, along with a discussion of the bitter ongoing debate over the combat exclusion laws and draft policies relating to women. A retired Air Force major general, she chronicles women's struggle for a proper place in the armed services in the face of the sexist male leadership, which tolerated their presence as nurses and office clerks but did not take them seriously as soldiers until such breakthroughs as the introductions of weapons training in 1975 and the graduation of the first female cadet from West Point in 1980. Holm describes how Operation Desert Storm in 1991 became the catalyst for demands to review in practical terms the role of women in combat. She shines both as scholar and as journalist, and her account of how women have earned the right to be treated as "members of the first team rather than as a protected subclass" is eloquent, inspiring and richly informative. Director of Women in the Air Force (WAF) from 1965 to 1973, Holm was the first woman to attain two-star rank in the U.S. armed forces.”

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