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Holm Center namesake passes

The first woman to serve as major general in the Air Force, and the Department of Defense, passed away Feb. 15. Retired Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm is credited as the single driving force in achieving parity for military women and making them a viable part of the mainstream military.

The first woman to serve as major general in the Air Force, and the Department of Defense, passed away Feb. 15. Retired Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm is credited as the single driving force in achieving parity for military women and making them a viable part of the mainstream military.

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The namesake of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accession and Citizen Development passed away Feb. 15.

Retired Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm was the first woman to attend Air Command and Staff College, and the first woman to attain the ranks of brigadier general in 1971 and major general in 1973.

During the renaming ceremony in June 2008, then Air University Commander, and now Air Education and Training Command Commander Gen. Stephen Lorenz called the redesignation of the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools, to the Holm Center "especially poignant," and a "big day" for Air University.

"I only met her [Gen. Holm] once when I was a student commander of cadets at the Air Force academy," he said. "She walked up to me, got right in my face and said, 'Lorenz, why should I donate my papers to the academy?' I'll never forget that. I told her it was because she had made history, and the academy wanted to document her career in the Air Force. She donated her papers."

General Lorenz said naming the center after General Holm was a great idea because she pushed the envelope and deserved the recognition.

Unable to attend the ceremony, General Holm sent a videotaped message, and said she was "overwhelmed" by the decision to rename AFOATS after her.

"Within the center are all the organizations responsible for identifying, accessing and grooming officers, and the center is the primary source of new Air Force officers who are coming into the service during what I think is a critical period for the Air Force," she said. "Having my name associated with that organization is incredibly honoring to me."

General Holm retired in June 1975. She enlisted in the Army in 1942, soon after organization of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. After attending Officer Candidate School, she was commissioned a "third officer," the Army's WAAC equivalent of a second lieutenant, in 1943.

During World War II, General Holm was assigned to the Women's Army Corps Training Center at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., where she first commanded a basic training company and then a training regiment. After the war, she commanded the 106th WAC Hospital Company at Newton D. Baker General Hospital, W.Va.

She left military service in 1946 to attend Lewis and Clark College but was recalled to active duty as a company commander during the Berlin crisis in 1948. The following year, she transferred to the Air Force and was assigned as the 7200th Air Force Depot's assistant director of plans and operations at Erding Air Depot, Germany. She later served as war plans officer for the 85th Air Depot Wing during the Berlin airlift.

Following graduation from ACSC in 1953, General Holm went to U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and was then assigned as chief of manpower for the Allied Air Force Southern Europe in Naples, Italy. Her last Air Force assignment was as director of the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council at the Pentagon.

During General Holm's tenure, policies affecting women were updated, women's Air Force strength more than doubled, job and assignment opportunities expanded, and uniforms were modernized.