First woman USAF general dies at 88

Jeanne M. Holm, 88, who opened doors for women in the military as the first female general in the Air Force and the first woman in any military branch to reach the rank of two-star general, died Feb. 15 of cardiovascular disease at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She lived in Edgewater.

From 1965 to 1975, Gen. Holm was the highest-ranking woman in the Air Force, which had been resistant to accepting women in its ranks. Women were not allowed to fly and, except for nurses, were not permitted near the front lines during wartime.

Almost from the moment she was appointed director of a small corps called Women in the Air Force in 1965, Gen. Holm strategically advanced the role of women while fighting tactical battles with an entrenched male power structure.

Using a combination of tact and high-level maneuvering honed by years of duty at the Pentagon, she increased opportunities for women in the Air Force and other branches of the military. She banished outdated uniforms for the women under her command, secured plum overseas assignments that had long been denied and expanded the field of jobs available to women.

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