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.”