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Interview with Jeanne M. Holm [1/23/2003]

Mary-Jo Binker:

I am the Director of the Oral History Program with the Women's Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and I'm interviewing Major General Jeanne M. Holm, United States Air Force retired, and today is January 23rd, 2003. And General Holm, I'm going to begin this morning by asking you a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I grew up in Portland, Oregon. I was born and raised there, and lived there until I entered the military in 1942.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And tell me a little bit about that time before you went into the military, about your education and your -- the kind of job you had before you went into the military.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I was in a family where my mother was widowed with three very, very small children in the middle of a depression. So it was a very difficult period, and went from one school to another and moved a lot until my mother remarried when I was about 15.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And then we had a more stable kind of home life. And I went to high school there in Portland, Oregon. And then after I graduated from high school, I had already studied silversmithing and metal work. So I became a silversmith for a while until the war started.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Doing jewelry and that sort of thing?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Jewelry but mostly large pieces like trays, and coffee, and tea sets, and dishes, and things like that, candy dishes and that kind of --

Mary-Jo Binker:

You were working for a company then?

Jeanne M. Holm:

No, working for a private individual who was the only woman silversmith in the United States.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I was one of her three assistants.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And then why did you decide to join the military?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, there was 1940 -- '42, and the war had started in December 1941.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Both my brothers were in the Navy, and I joined the first service that came along to accept women, which was the Army --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and I joined to serve my country essentially.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And what did your family and friends think? This was a relatively new phenomenon, they had just started the women --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, it was brand new.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

We were the very first. Never occurred to me to ask anyone. But my mother and my grandmother were very enthusiastic for it, as a matter of fact, had they been young enough, they would have loved to have done it themselves.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So tell me a little bit about your early military training, and what your boot camp experience was like.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, of course in the Army it was basic training. Boot camp is Navy, right?

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Okay. Well, I went to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, initially. My first time out of the northwest, I might add. Went to Fort Des Moines, Iowa for basic training. And that was a new training center that they had opened in the summer of 1942 for -- to train women who were joining the women's Army auxiliary corp. And training was -- I -- it seemed to me basic training was about two or -- two months. And from there I went to motor transport school. There were only three options that you were given as a woman at that time, unless you were a nurse, of course. That was you could either be a clerk typist, and I had no interest in learning to type. You could either be a cook or baker. And I didn't want -- I didn't visualize myself spending my military service behind a stove, but I did know how to drive trucks. So I opted for motor transport school, went to motor transport school, graduated and was in the motor pool at the time that I was selected for OCS, Officer Candidate School.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Of course. And how were you selected to go to Officer Candidate School? What was that --

Jeanne M. Holm:

It was very fortuitous, as a matter of fact, because the first -- the first 10 classes of officer candidates all had to be college graduates, and I had no college. And they -- until the tenth class came along, they did not accept women who were not college graduates. But I applied, I think at the encouragement of -- encouraging attitude of the woman, new woman officer, who was assigned to our company. She said, "I think you should go to Officer Candidate School." So I applied and was selected for the first class of enlisted women to go to Officer Candidate School.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now in terms of being in officer training and candidate school, and having -- having been an enlisted woman before, was there a transition that you had to make?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Not a very significant one, because it was -- it was such a short period. I had only been in the service since July. Actually, called to active duty in August, and by the time I graduated from officer candidate school, it was January 1943. So the period of transition was not all that difficult, but certainly that was -- that was something that the military was very strict about in those days. It was a distinct dividing line in those days, that is much -- since then has pretty much disappeared.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But there was a very distinct caste system in the military at that time, that was an outgrowth of the military system that they had grown up with. And it was a spin-off essentially of the military systems used in Europe for many years.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

There was a distinct caste system that has since almost disappeared.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Did any of your enlisted friends treat you differently because --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, they weren't friends any more. Really you distance yourself from your enlisted friends, besides, you were to busy going to school.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And the day I graduated from Officer Candidate School, I got orders to go to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia, to open a brand new WAAC training center. About 20 of us left our OCS class, and went to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, brand new 2nd lieutenants. Of course in those days in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps we were called 3rd officers WAAC rather, but we called ourselves lieutenants.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

We went down there to open up a brand new training center, and did. And it became the largest training center in the Women's Army Corps in World War II. It was huge. We trained tens of thousands of WAAC's there.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And what was your part in that experience? What part of the training were you responsible for?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, first of all we organized the training itself from scratch. We even made our own training aids, our own charts. And then we organized the classes. And then as -- the officers were divided up into groups of four to set up basic training companies.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And any -- the one who knew infantry training the best was made the company commander. Well, I had known military drill even before I came into the military.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so immediately I was made the company commander, and I was the youngest woman in the WAAC at the time. I just -- the age -- minimum age limit was 21, and I passed my 21st birthday the month after the law was passed to organize the WAAC's.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you just really --

Jeanne M. Holm:

I was called junior all the time I was in the Army. You know, for years -- for years you're always the youngest one around, and suddenly you're the oldest one.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And that's a transition.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Well, yes. Now tell me how did you happen to know military drill before you went into the Army.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, the -- even before the -- the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was preparing for war. We really felt -- we really felt that we were going to be going to war. And the women were look -- searching for ways that they could serve. And throughout the country there were a number of women's ambulance corps that were being organized. And one of them was the Oregon Women's Ambulance Corps. And so I joined this and learned infantry drill. We had uniforms. We taught first aid. We learned how to drive trucks. I taught a course, actually, in motor transport. I taught a course in the theory of the internal combustion engine. Just a kid. And any rate, we got deeply involved in motor transport, and driving in convoys, driving trucks. And we had Army men who came to help train us, plus the Portland Fire Department also very helpful for our first aid classes, and all that kind of thing. So I was -- when the time came to enter the Army, I was really ready.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And very prepared.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, boy. Was there ever a moment in your first few months in the Army where you looked around and you said, "What am I doing here?"

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. My first night in the barracks. Now in those days at Fort Des Moines, that was an old cavalry base, they had just taken the horses out, as a matter of fact.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

They turned the stables into dormitory -- huge dormitories for the enlisted women's basic training. These buildings had been built right after the civil war. So they put latrines -- bathrooms in them. And here we were in these huge rooms with bunks side by side. 200 women in one room, and I'm laying there, and I'm looking up at the ceiling that was huge, way up there. And I'm laying in my little bunk in the middle of the night, asking myself, my God, what have I done? But the next day, of course, when they -- when the reveille was blown on the bugle, and we were all bounced, and the little Texas gal says, all right, everybody hit the deck, we were all up, and so gung ho, you cannot believe it. We were so turned on by this experience. Here we were in the Army about ready to start our training. And we were just so gung ho it was unbelievable.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Did you have a sense that you were living history?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes we did. Yes, we did. We felt like pioneers, we really did. And which is very interesting when I look back on it, I realize we knew we were breaking new ground. And of course --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- Oveta Culp Hobby, who was the Director of WAAC's at the time, came down and spoke to us. And she was a goddess. And she told us that we were making history, and this was very moving.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, certainly, certainly. So after basic you went down to Fort Oglethorpe and trained WAAC's, and you pretty much did that through the rest of the war then?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes, I did. First as a company commander. And I trained about 14 -- sequence of 14 basic training companies.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

We had a huge training center. We trained thousands and thousands of women.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

In the latter part of it I was a regimental commander with 18 basic training companies. I was probably 22 or 23 years old at that point. It was an exciting, exciting and inspiring experience that set -- set well for me for the rest of my military career, and my life, really.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Must have made you a really good judge of character, too, because you're seeing all these women coming through and evaluating them and --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I guess but essentially we learned leadership and commanders -- when we had command experience that we could not have gotten in any other way.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's a tremendous of responsibility for someone ___+ --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- but we never questioned our ability to do it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And it's amazing to me how well run this organization was, you know, and how women could pull together and organize this thing, and do it and do it so well --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It was commanded by a woman lieutenant colonel. She replaced a male full colonel, of course, because we could not be full colonels unless you were the director of the program. But all the men that were on the base that opened it originally, and helped get us started, had long since left.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And we were there on our own. It was a fabulous program.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now where were you when the war ended, where were you stationed?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, because the war was phasing down, and the women did not have permanent status, the nurses did, but the women who were in the WAAC, and what we call WAVES, the women Marines, did not have permanent status by law.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The law only allowed for them to stay -- us to stay in during the war and six months after the duration of the war.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And that was written into the law.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So that we all knew that when the war ended, we were going to be leaving also. As the program began to phase down, they stopped recruiting.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And as soon as the war ended, or looked like it was going to end, they stopped women's recruiting entirely.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So the training centers that had opened up all across the country, I mean six WAAC training centers --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- all of them began to close. I was the last one to leave Fort Oglethorpe. I turned in the records.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow.

Jeanne M. Holm:

By that time I was a captain.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Senior captain.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And so you said to yourself, well, that part of my life is over --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- and now I'm going to go back to a civilian life?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, actually, it didn't end that quickly. They reassigned us to other assignments. I went to command a WAAC company at a hospital --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- in West Virginia, which was a very short assignment of about six months. Then VJ day came, and the war actually ended. And then the -- everyone was saying, well, there's no point in staying, it's time to go home.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So there was a mass exodus of men and women from the armed forces at that time.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Okay. And you went back to Oregon?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. What they did was put us on inactive status. They didn't discharge us.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I went back to Portland, Oregon to get an education. I had no college education at all. We could not have afforded it when I was growing up, so I went to college on the GI Bill of Rights --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- for two and a half years. They also gave me credit for my military service. And until things began to tighten up again, and the military was needed once more, particularly with the -- the USSR making moves in Europe, and the far east, it looked as though we were going to go to war again. We really thought World War III was in the offing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So this was in the late 1940's.

Jeanne M. Holm:

1940's, yeah. This was about 1947 when this was going on. And at that time I was still going to college. I was working at Timberline Lodge Oregon to help finance my skiing is one reason.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Lift ticket.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yeah. But it was very clear we thought that we were headed for war again.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And the military was trying to expand again. It was recalling reservists, and congress decided it was time to give women permanent status in the armed forces, which they did in 1948.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And how did that affect you?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I really wasn't interested in coming back to active duty, because I was enjoying college very much. But I got a notification that the integration act had passed, and a little card that I could fill out, if you're interested, return this three-by-five card. Now this communication came from the Army. The three-by-five card gave me the option of -- or place to express my desire to be in either the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the brand new Air Force, and in the regular or the reserve. And you can check any block on this three-by-five card, which by that time of course it was only a penny to mail.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I mailed -- I checked a box, and mailed it in, and forgotten which -- I had forgot which box I had checked, because I wasn't really serious about it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I always had a feeling I should keep options open. I enjoyed the military, and this was an option that I could keep open. So I checked the box and mailed the card. Then at the end of summer school, I got this notification from the Army saying, would you please go to Fort Lewis and process for your application for the military, permanent military. I thought, well, it's between classes, I was flat broke. So I drove up in my little car that I had bought from my grandmother, drove to Fort Lewis, Washington, I had to sleep in the car because I didn't have enough money to stay in a motel --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and went to Fort Lewis and ran into a bunch of old friends from my WAAC days, who had already returned to active duty. And I got very nostalgic --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Of course.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and I managed to spend the night in the BOQ, listening to TAPS, and tattoo, which is a beautiful bugle call, and I thought I just love this. I knew what I had to do the next morning.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I got up the next morning and applied for the reserve and to be called to active duty, but I didn't have the nerve to tell my friends and my family that I had done this. Went back and do all my processing for regular appointment, went back to college, started classes and failed to tell anyone what I was going to do, what I wanted to do, until the orders came, oh, they need me. I've been called.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, my goodness.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I drove -- got in my little car, sleeping in the car, back to Fort Lee, Virginia, where they had opened a brand new training center for the WAC, completely forgetting that I had -- the box I had checked was for the Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I arrived at Fort Lee, Virginia. And the -- the commander of the training center just happened to have been my mentor who had suggested I go to OCS back in 1942. She was a lieutenant colonel. And she said, "I have a company just for you, that we're just activating, we've been looking for you." And so I came back to active duty in the WAC's with an assignment as a company commander at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And then how did you make that transition then into the Air Force?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, when the regular appointments came out for the Army, my name was not on their list. And so the commander of the training center called me and said, "Did you apply for regular?" I said, "Well, yes, I did." She said, "Well, you're not on the list yet, and there's only one more list coming out, we hope you're on that." The third list came out and I was not on that one either. And so she called the director WAC in Washington in the Pentagon, who was then Mary Hallaren. And Mary Hallaren called back and said, "I just checked, she is on the Air Force list and they won't release her."

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I went to Washington, and drove up to Washington, and asked them if I could get an overseas assignment from the Air Force, and they said, "Fine." So that's how I ended up being in the Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Just by checking that little box and forgetting about it.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So then you went to Europe in 1949. That must have been an interesting time to be in Europe.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes, it was.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Post war, cold war era --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes, it was.

Mary-Jo Binker:

What was it like?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, of course this was during the occupation.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And I went to -- flew over to Europe with a group of Air Force officers. I knew nothing about the Air Force. And I met these nice Air Force officers who were on this plane. And they -- we talked about where they were going. They were all going to this little base called Erding Air Force Base, a depot in Germany. When I got off the plane, I went to the headquarters to ask -- headquarters USAF Air Force over there about an assignment. They said, "Where would you like to go?" Well, I'd never been asked that before. So I said, "Well, how about Erding?" So they said, "Fine." So they said, "There's a seat --" a DC-3 that we call them gooney birds, " -- and they're taking off from the airport out here tomorrow morning, get on it. So I -- the next day I got up at the air base, got on this gooney bird and flew down to Erding Air Depot, and that was the start of my Air Force career.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow.

Jeanne M. Holm:

They had no idea what to do with me. I just arrived there as a captain, and a fairly senior captain at that point.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh. Now were you -- so you were one of the few Air Force -- female Air Force officers.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's correct. There were about five women officers who -- we call us -- we called women in the Air Force in those days WAF. There were about five WAF officers there. I was the senior one. I was the senior captain. But there were also about three or four nurses there who were in the medical facility.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Then there was a detachment of enlisted women there of about 100 women who were assigned, and all these women were assigned to various places throughout the base.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And when I arrived fresh out of the Army, they had no idea what to do with me. I had not even been in the Army Air Corps, whereas the rest -- most of these women had served in the Army Air Corps.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you were really fresh and new to the whole thing.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. And I didn't even know the terminology within the Air Force, so I was really a neophyte. But they were very nice. They said, "well, do you have any idea what you'd like to do?" Here again, I've not been asked these kinds of questions before.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And I was being interviewed by a lieutenant colonel in headquarters in the base. And this was a depot, the largest and the only -- actually the only Air Force depot in Europe, which serviced all the US Air Force activities in Europe, in terms of supplies and maintenance, aircraft maintenance, and all of this. Huge facility. So they said, "Would you like to go in supply or maintenance, we'd be happy to train you?" Well, that sounds interesting. Said also we have a job -- a war plans officer job, would you be interested in that? Oh, that sounds interesting. Yes, I'd like that. That's the way -- that's how I became a war plans officer.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now, tell me a little bit about being a war plans officer in occupied Germany at the height of the cold war? Now, that you can't have a more --

Jeanne M. Holm:

It was still -- it was never cold war yet. This was during the occupation, and the Berlin airlift was on. And at this point in time of course we were beginning to think that we might go to war, because the Russians -- the USSR was making moves against the U.S. forces in Berlin. And they had closed off the City of Berlin. And the only way into the Berlin at that point was by air. And the U.S. Air Force and our -- what became our NATO allies, the British and the French also were flying in the Berlin airlift, but it was mostly U.S. Air Force. And we provided most of the supplies that -- from Erding Air Depot. It went into Berlin and serviced and maintained all the aircraft that were flying in the Berlin airlift. Well, this was a very exciting time. And Germany itself was a rubble. Erding Air Depot was right outside of Munich. The City of Munich was 98 percent rubble. All of the cities of any magnitude in Germany were destroyed, Austria as well. A few of the cities were still standing, but most of them were destroyed. Also when the SS troops were evacuating areas, they destroyed all the bridges on the autobahns. So it just shut everything down. There were no airlines. There were no airports. The only thing running were the trains, and the trucks that were provided by the occupation forces. And Germany was just destroyed, barely eking out an existence. And we were there at that time. And the black market was rife. It was rife with all kinds of illegal operations, but it was the only -- only economy that was really working.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now, as a military person, were you allowed to barter on the black market?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. Well, not -- we were allowed to barter with the things that we were able to buy, mainly cigarettes, coffee, those kinds of things. The medium of exchange essentially was cigarettes, and candy bars, but cigarettes mostly. We had what we called funny money. It was occupation currency. We were not allowed to use American money. We had to use these scrip, it was called, money. And initially we were not even allowed to use German money. But the Germans were just now going into a new -- a new currency system from the Reichsmarks to the Deutschmark. And so there was a lot of growing pains at this point. And of course the Air Force itself was going through growing pains.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Which was -- for me was very fortunate because I -- (Break in the audio)

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and the Air Force itself was going through a very confused period, having just broken away from the Army. And many of the ways they were doing things were Army ways of doing things, but they didn't like that. And they were trying to establish their own identity --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- their own organizational concepts.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And this was all in the process at the time I arrived there. And so I was on the -- really on the bottom floor of the new organization of the United States Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you really grew up with the organization then?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. And in addition to being war plans officer, I was always -- also doing manpower officer, doing manpower officer work, working with manpower documents.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now tell me a little bit about what the war plans involved, and then we'll move on to manpower and what that involved.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, that was kind of Mickey Mouse, really, because the truth of the matter was that the Air Force at the local levels didn't really know much about war planning.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The Army had usually done base defense planning, the Air Force was flying airplanes, they thought in terms of airplanes, rather than in terms of base defense, and that kind of things.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, they didn't quite know how to cope with this yet. And so when I was offered this job, the job entailed my going to an office that was right inside -- I had -- to get to it I had to go through the wing commander's office.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The wing commander's office had a bookcase that had to be pulled back, a secret bookcase, that I had to pull back. I had to go there before he got to work in the morning, go in, and only his secretary, and the executive officer knew why I was there. I would go in, pull this bookcase back, and I had this huge set of keys to this great big vault door. It was not -- it was not a combination lock, it was keys. And so I would open this huge vault, go in there, close that, and the door, and then the bookcase would close. And there was a light over my door, when I worked in there, a set of lights. The red light was -- meant that the commander's officer was closed, and I could not leave. And when the green light was on, I could go and come as I pleased. So I would go into this little office, little bitty office with a large set of files and a big safe, for which I had the combination and one window, and large desk and a table where I can draw maps, and work with these war plans. And very little had actually been done on these war plans before. And so I just dove into them, and got copies -- got out copies of the top -- and I was cleared for top secret. So I had all these -- all these top secret documents were in my office, in my -- my big safe. So I would get these top secrets documents out that came from our higher headquarters in Wiesbaden, and from the local Army headquarters. And I would go through those and pick out those portions that were assigned -- made assignments to this depo, and this wing, to accomplish in the event of war. I pulled those out, the material out of those and inserted them in the Erding document war plans. And then I would go visit the various organizations on the base, and tell them what -- show them their portion of this war plan, the things that they were to do in the event that the USSR decided to attack us.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And that was an ever present reality for you.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It was daily. I got out -- (Break in the audio.)

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and drove all around all the local roads to find if we were attacked. You see, this depot was the closest base to the Russian lines. So we were the most vulnerable, and certainly the most important target for them.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

There were fighter bases there, but they were on the other side of Munich. We were between the fighter bases, and the border with the USSR. But when all this was set up, we didn't know that the USSR was going to become a threat.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you were really right --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Right in the middle of it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- in the middle of it.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And it wasn't until the Berlin airlift that we really realized that we could go to war again, and that's when things began to heat up. And so I was at the very beginning of the planning for this -- this possible war effort with the USSR.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now you mentioned, too, that you were also doing manpower work.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And what did that involve?

Jeanne M. Holm:

It involved dealing with the reorganization of the base.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The Air Force was coming out with a new manpower organizational concept. Here again, I was in the beginning of this. They arrived, these new regulations on how to set up an Air Force base and Air Force wing, and it was brand new. And so I was able to take these documents, and work with those, and put them into effect in our wing. We changed the name of the wing from the 82nd Air Depot Wing, to the 85th Air Depot Wing, and all the organizations had to have their names changed. All new manning documents. And so that was kind of an additional duty as well at that time. By this time, of course, we began getting more people. It was a very small staff up to that point. We got -- a major came in, who was the intelligence officer who worked with me -- began working with me on these plans and so forth. So it got to be much more sophisticated very shortly.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now you were in Europe, keeping one eye out on -- for the Russians, when the Korean war broke out in 1950, did that have any effect on you or your colleagues?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Huge effect, a huge effect. That was -- it was all part of a pattern that was going on, that we were finally becoming very aware of, even down in this little base in southern Europe. The new deputy commander who came in was very cognizant of this, and I worked with him. He became my mentor. And I worked with him on plans for the -- all of Europe, where we would open new bases for the Air Force. Why I was involved in this is kind of a mystery to me other than the fact that he liked me, and I'd been working with the war plans for our base. So I became involved in setting up -- helping to set up the plans for new bases in south -- in north Africa, in France, and all over Europe, and the foundation of NATO. I got -- I was privileged to be involved in all that kind of thing as a captain, and then I was promoted to major during that time. And the plans to move Erding Air Depot to Châteaurouc-Déols, France, all of these things were taking place. And so, yes, it was a massive effort, and we began getting a lot more people in and a lot more assignments, operational assignments. By this time the Berlin airlift had -- was over.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But it was very clear what was happening. (Break in the audio.)

Mary-Jo Binker:

So then you came home, then, eventually from Europe, and then you went on to the air command in Staff College.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And can you tell me a little bit about that? That was very unique at the time.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I was the Guinea pig.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

There were very few women who had come into the Air Force at the time of integration. Most of the women who had been in the Army in world war II stayed in the Army. A few opted for Air Force and a few Navy women, as well. We had the option, at that point of the integration act, of going to any service that we wished to. The Air Force was -- was the brand new service, and the numbers of women they got from the Army were very small, and the number of officers. And certainly there were very -- I was still the youngest woman around --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and a senior captain. And I had had an assignment in a very unusual field. I had a war plans operations, and what we called Air Force specialty code, which was not allowed for a woman they decided. So they decided I shouldn't have that any longer and took it away from me, gave me an administrative Air Force specialty, which I was totally unqualified for. But they also at the time I served with -- my records surfaced, they decided someone -- some woman should be the first woman to go to the Air Command Staff College in what they called the field officer course. Here again, this was a new, new concept that was being formed as well. So I was selected because I was very young, and I was a captain, whereas most of the women who had been integrated as officers into the Air Force, and the Army as well, were much older. And they were given artificial ranks above captain. But here I was a very senior captain in my own right. I had a good record, and I had a very unique background at this point. So I can only assume that was probably why they decided I was the appropriate one to be the Guinea pig, and I was up for reassignment, because my tour was ending. So I was privileged to have the opportunity to be the first woman to go to this course at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And what kinds of things did you learn?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I arrived there probably needing to know more than anybody else there, because the rest -- there were 500 students, I was the only woman. And they were -- most of them were majors and lieutenant colonels. I was a junior officer. I knew nothing about the Air Force except for what I had learned at Erding. And so I had an awful lot to learn. I knew nothing about how to operate in a staff. I learned about staff, and command, and how to do staff studies, and all of those kinds of things that I had never done before. So it was a real awakening for me, and to learn about the Air Force. I used to say I always thought that SAC was a paper bag. Well, SAC was the Strategic Air Command in the United States Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Pretty important.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, yes. And most of the people in the course were, of course, were also pilots. So I was really -- I was really unique in that class. They were great to me. There were some who were not, but for the most part they were really, really very nice, and I had acquired a lot of new friends, and a lot of international friends. It was an international course. There were a lot of Italians there, Turks that were representatives of all of what became our NATO nations there.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I acquired of lot of friends there that I would never have had otherwise. Koreans, there were a number of Koreans there, Pakistani. Many of them became long time lifelong friends.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Because it would be an experience to go through that.

Jeanne M. Holm:

One of the Italians -- one of the Italians became the chief of staff of the Italian Air Force. And one of the Koreans became the chief of the Korean Air Force. So this was really a wonderful group of people.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow. And so when you finished there, you went, I understand, to the Pentagon?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And worked for the Director of Women of the Air Force?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes, yes. And that would have been a good assignment, too. Now your --

Mary-Jo Binker:

You're put in tour, you've done some command work, and now you're really going to the staff --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Be in the pentagon.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's the head chef, as we used to call it then. And I was really looking forward to that. But the Directer of WAF, who had been in that job for about two years. She had replaced the previous director. She had been in the Navy by the way, the current director I went to work for had -- was a former Navy officer who had been called in to be the Director of WAF. She'd been there about a year, maybe two years. It's a very small staff. And I was brought in as an administrative officer, which of course I was not interested in at all. So I looked at the WAF -- there was such a small office, there were only about three other officers in the office. There were other things that interested me a lot more. And so I immediately began looking at the WAF program as such, and evaluating it, and looking at the gains and losses, the recruiting figures, and the problems that were associated with recruiting for the Korean war now that was going on.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The women's programs at that time were building very -- trying to build very rapidly in response to the demands of the Korean war. And the Air Force was committed to a large expansion of Air Force women. And that expansion far exceeded their ability to recruit. And nobody really had discovered this, other than the fact that they were not meeting their quotas. And I began examining the gains and the losses and shortfalls in recruiting, and determining what strength that would have eventually built to, and had to tell the Director of the Women in the Air Force she was never going to meet this program, with the gains -- with the lack of recruiting that -- they had projected about a threefold or fourfold increase in the WAF program. It was not materializing at all. And so I had to look at all these data and advise her that they were not going to meet their program. This was not good news.

Mary-Jo Binker:

I'll bet it wasn't.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well --

Mary-Jo Binker:

What did she say?

Jeanne M. Holm:

She was stunned.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Ah.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And they had been establishing WAF squadrons all over the country, and overseas, that they were not going to be able to fill. They had procured tens of thousands of uniforms that they -- that would rot on the shelves. They had programmed school entrances into Air Force -- Air Force was integrated. Women were integrated in the Air Force schools. They were not in their training programs as the WAC's were. So the women were integrated into Air Force schools, and they had quotas for them that couldn't be filled, and so it was throwing the whole program into chaos. This was not good news. They had to fall back and say we can't do this. And it was a crushing blow to them really. But it sort of established myself as the ___ programming officer there in that office, and it was very challenging to keep up with all this.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, yes, definitely. And then so you did that for how many years?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Four years.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And then went back and finished your college degree?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. Meanwhile I had been going to night school to acquire enough credits at my own college to get my degree. I'd been going to the University of Maryland courses while I was at Erding, and University of Maryland courses while I was at the Pentagon. One of them was right here in the library of Congress building, and until I had enough credits that I was sending back to my college in Portland, Lewis & Clark College. And they would accept these credits and advise me and what more I needed. And then when I had enough for a final semester, that turned out to be just the right time for my -- end of my four-year tour in the Pentagon, and I had applied for Operation Bootstrap. Went back to -- and by this time, as you know, I was a major, went back to Portland, Oregon, to my very small college in Portland, and got my degree. And by that time I already had my follow-on assignment, I knew from there I was going to Italy.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And then in Italy you were involved again with NATO and manpower and working with the NATO countries --

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's correct.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- to get those bases and people up. And when you came back from Italy, then you had a very interesting assignment working for General Benjamin Davis.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And being a legislative officer. Now that must have been quite a bit different.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, yes. Benjamin Davis was the Director of Air Force Manpower and Organization in the Pentagon.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Fortunately my earlier four years had taught me a lot about how the Pentagon works, which is very helpful when you go to a staff job in the Pentagon, just to know the language --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and how it works, and how the staff papers, and that sort of thing. That was very helpful. When I went to the Pentagon to work for B.O. Davis, general Davis was, as you probably know, was the senior Air Force black officer. He was a marvelous man to work for, absolutely brilliant, and a fine person to work for. And this was a rather unique assignment, though, because I went there as -- to be the legislative officer, which meant I would write his speeches. I would prepare all his -- prepare him for the hearings, get him -- have him briefed on the subjects that we were going to talk, and line up back-up witnesses and so forth. And then we would go over to the committees, and he would testify. And he and I -- I would sit behind him. I would come in with him, bring him his book, lay it out for him. Here I was a Lieutenant Colonel by now. And so he would testify. And he rarely ever called any of his back-up witnesses and -- but this was a fascinating experience.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And it prepared me for future assignments of my own when I would have to testify before congress. It was a wonderful experience.

Mary-Jo Binker:

The two of you, though, must have been a little bit of an odd couple. I mean, he would come in and he's obviously west -- you know, very distinguished person, but it was still a rarity in those days, we're talking the '60s maybe to --

Jeanne M. Holm:

We're taking 1964. No, '63.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yeah. So it would have been a rarity to see a black person at that level of command --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And certainly a rarity to see a woman as his -- as his top aide. That would have been very unusual, too.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, it was, yes. And General Davis, he was the Commander of the Tuskegee Airmen --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and the unit was -- that was -- that was the most decorated unit, air unit, in the war, World War II. He had ribbons that went all the way. He was magnificent, tall, handsome, impressive, very impressive. West Pointer. It was -- it was wonderful to walk in with this man, because you could be so proud to be in his company --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- but it was sort of an odd couple, I'm sure, to the members of the committee and particularly the chairman of the committee. Most of the committee chairman in those days were white southern boys, who had their own prejudices. And those prejudices were still very much in evidence in those days.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So this -- this general, three star -- two star at the time, became a four star. This two star general walking in black with an assistant, who was this little WAF lieutenant colonel, had to have caused a certain amount of discussion among the committee members, I suspect.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Well, sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But never phased us. We played it straight. But I really enjoyed working with him, and he and I never talked about this. We knew though --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- we both knew that this was -- this was an interesting aspect of our service. Could not have been nicer to me --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- gentlemanly and more supportive of me and my career.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh. Now from there, then, you became Director of Women of the Air Force.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Women in the Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you in effect took your former boss's job.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

That must have been something, the first day you walked in and realized --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, of course, you have to realize, too, that in those days, because of the way the law was written in 1948, each of the women's components, or services, whatever you want to call them, had an authorization for only one full colonel --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- that's the Chief of the Nurse Corps, the Chief of the Medical Specialists Corps, the Chief of the WAC, Director of WAC, the Director of the Women Marines, and the women in the Navy. There was -- they were the only captains, Navy captain and colonels in the Armed Forces. So we were unique, and we had a unique status, as well. Then those positions only became available once every four years. The term of service as a full colonel was for four years. When you finished that assignment, or if you had to retire before that, you reverted back to a junior grade. You could not hold that rank except when you occupied that slot. So it was clear to me the only way I was ever going to be a full colonel would be to -- selected for that position.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That position was only coming up every four years, and then you would have to be selected. Before that I was always -- you see, the Air Force used an integrated promotion system. Women in the Air Force were not selected on separate women's promotion's list. We were the only service, at that time, where women were actually integrated into the promotion list of the service. Which meant that all this time I was competing with men --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- as well as women --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- for promotion --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- to the higher ranks.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I -- when I was promoted to lieutenant colonel, this was a -- this was a real important thing for me, and this happened when I was in Naples, when I was selected to be a lieutenant colonel, it was very important --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and I was selected with my male contemporaries.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Now when I -- while I was in the Pentagon in manpower, I could go nowhere in rank from there.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- unless I was selected to be the Director of WAF. And I knew when that was coming up. We all knew when that was coming up, and there were only about 13 women lieutenant colonels in the WAF at the time. So they set up a board, a separate board, to select from among the eligible women lieutenant colonels to be the director. And I was fortunately selected to be the director, knowing full well that that would be -- that was it for me.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And of course the previous four years that I had spent in that office was tremendously helpful, because I knew the program, and I knew the issues very well --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- so when I went in there, I was prepared for that job.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And you came in at a time, too, that with the emerging women's movement, that culturally it was a sea change in the culture. How did that help you in your work or did it help you?

Jeanne M. Holm:

You're so right. It was -- so many things that happen in our lives have to do with timing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

This was timing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I was -- this was the time for me -- me to be a full colonel if I was going to be one, and head of that program, and here was the women's movement developing in civilian life right at this time. I think it was Betty Freudian's book that came out in 1994, I was selected to be the Director of WAF in November 1965.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Book came out in 1964.

Jeanne M. Holm:

'64.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And then --

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's right, '64.

Mary-Jo Binker:

'64 and then --

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's right. I was selected in 1965 to be the Director of Women in the Air Force --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- just as these issues were really hitting the fan in civilian life. It was tremendously helpful, because it was setting a stage, it was making people more conscious of the issues -- MS. ITURRIOZ: Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- of women and equity, which was what it was all about. It was about equity. And it was about overturning traditional notions of people's roles, and where -- what women could do in our society, and what women should do in our society. These things now were all being examined by -- by professional groups of men and women, what were women's true roles in society. And the military, of course, was considered a male profession.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Still is. This was a very unusual role for women, but it fit this period of evaluation, and we had something to offer that the women in civilian life were looking for. We had equal pay for equal work. We had access to the schools to enhance careers that were not -- that had no comparable role or opportunity for women in civilian life. We had things that civilian life did not offer in terms of woman's equity up to a point --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- when you got to that ceiling, but that ceiling was as lieutenant colonel --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- is not exactly a failure in life.

Mary-Jo Binker:

No.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Being a lieutenant colonel in the military is a very prestigious assignment, and you can say you've been a success, if you've achieved that rank.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, women were making that rank, and commander in the Navy.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, so we did have something to offer this discussion as well. Because we -- we knew, and particularly in the Air Force, we had the opportunity of being integrated and competing in an integrated system. There were also some disadvantages to it, but nonetheless, we had the experience in dealing with that system.

Mary-Jo Binker:

When you were -- when you were the director, what were your priorities, and what were some of the challenges that you faced in being a Director of Women in the Air Force?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, it's -- it's a -- it was a unique position. You could roam in any area you wanted to roam in which you wanted to roam, because there were so much -- whatever women did touched on almost everything that the military did. Uniforms, housing, personnel policies, all of the assignments, training --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Training.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It ran the gamut. In this tiny office you dealt with all the issues that the Air Force dealt, with the exception of flying, and that was closed.

Mary-Jo Binker:

That was one that was --

Jeanne M. Holm:

That was one that was closed by law. Not totally closed. When they wrote the law in 1948, they said women may not be assigned to aircraft engaged in combat missions. It did not say could not be assigned to aircraft, it did not say they could not fly. And, in fact, the Air Force thought if we did go to World War III, women probably would be flying. And it didn't get to that point, but the law was written so that it was possible, as long as they were not flying in combat -- aircraft engaged in combat missions. So it's still the wording was very loose.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh. Were there women at that time be trained as pilots?

Jeanne M. Holm:

No, no, the Air Force interpreted that to mean women would not be trained as pilots. Only -- the reason that we could not use limited duty pilots, any pilot should be able to fly anything the Air Force needs them to fly. So that was the rational used to keep women from flying anything. There were larger numbers of noncombat aircraft in the Air Force than there were combat aircraft.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But they had enough pilots, male pilots, and the Air Force saw no need to go that route.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you had some legal barriers, but weren't there also challenges within the organization within and with --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. The -- during the 1950's and early '60s, most -- most career fields had been closed to enlisted women, almost all of them. They were limited essentially to the -- what we considered the women's jobs, clerical, administration, medical technicians, dental technicians. The women were concentrated in all of those. In fact, the women who had been in the unusual fields, like -- like service on what we would call airline stewardesses on Air Force transports, were taken out of those jobs. They were taken out of control tower operating jobs, which they had done very well. But the general -- General LeMays, and the other chiefs of staff of the Air Force, and the personnel chief, had decided this was a waste of these women, they shouldn't be in those kinds of fields, they should be where they serve -- where they serve better than men. That was the euphonism. Those jobs that women do better than men, well, we all know what those are. So there were literally women who had been trained in those jobs were literally taken out of them in the early '60s. And there was a lot of morale problems with that. Women who had been in those fields deeply resented that, but that didn't bother the Air Force at the time. So we had -- I feel that women should be in any field that they can perform under any circumstances. And so I set about trying to open as many fields as I could, and using whatever -- whatever gimmick it took to open up more fields to women. Also, because the numbers of women were so small, there were only about 5,000, less -- they were authorized at two percent of the force but they were less than one percent of the force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I wanted them to open up more base assignments to women, but they were limited to a certain number of bases, mostly in the United States where they could live in WAF dormitories, and be supervised by the woman officer and NCO. Very few bases overseas, Erding was one, another was in Wiesbaden. There were none in Japan where they had been before. They had been pulled out of almost all overseas assignments except a few in Europe. I thought that was wrong. That we should -- there was no reason why they shouldn't be able to serve at any base where there was a requirement for their skills.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So that was a constant effort on my part to find means by which to do that. I also had to tackle the uniforms. Uniforms were in a dreadful state. And they just had not had enough attention. So I had the uniform redesigned. I got rid of those old stocks of uniforms that had been compiled in the '50s when they started this buildup for the Korean war, was still on the shelves.

Mary-Jo Binker:

In the mid '60s?

Jeanne M. Holm:

In the mid '60, rotting, literally rotting on the shelves. So I managed to convince the Air Force to get rid of those old uniforms, just give them to Salvation Army, or whomever, just get rid of them, and put in a whole new uniform system, and made it possible for women to buy them in exchanges, and places like that, where they had men's uniforms in exchanges but not women's. These kinds of silly things. So the -- and the list -- my -- what I called my do list, was endless, absolutely endless.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh, uh-huh. What about your counterparts in the other services, the other women directors? What was it like working with them, and were they supportive in the kinds of things that you were trying to do?

Jeanne M. Holm:

On some issues, yes, most issues, yes. Others no. I wanted to change policies. The enlisted women particularly were -- had tremendous turnover. But I kept saying the turnover is generated by our policies, it's not just endemic to women. It's created by our policies. Can you believe that in the middle of the Korean -- here we are in the war in Vietnam, we're drafting men, we were letting women out because they got married if they wanted out. And, of course, we forced any woman out who got pregnant or married a man with children. Oh, yes. Now, he may have had -- been without a wife for years, but if he had a child, and he married an Air Force woman, she was discharged, not him. Those kinds of things did not make sense. So those are the kinds of policies, subjects, I had to tackle. I insisted that -- that it made no sense at all for us to continue to allow women to get out when they got married. They should at least fulfill their commitments that they had signed on for, just like the men are required to. My counterparts in some of the services did not agree. The nurses all agreed, because they were -- the losses of nurses were horrendous as well. They were getting out as well. They got orders to go to south east Asia, and were married, they could get out. You see? So the nurses were having heavy losses as well, and they could not afford it. Nursing was a critical skill in all the armed forces at that time. So they welcomed my efforts to change that policy. So I got the Air Force and the Marine Corps also, they were interested in doing it. So the Marine Corps Women Director, she and I worked very closely together. And I set about getting the policies changed having to do with women getting married -- getting married and getting out.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And as I said, I had the support of the nurse corps, and the medical specialists corps as well. So the direct -- there were nine of us, nine of these women so called components, the nurse corps, the medical specialists corps, the WAF's, the WAVES, the women Marines and WAC. So there were nine of us all the same rank. And we -- sometimes we agreed, sometimes we didn't. But on policy issues, I decided to plow my own course. And if they would not agree, then I would go my own way. We had -- and we had a confrontation on that. I had a confrontation with my counterparts in the Navy and the Army over this. Not the Marine Corps. The Navy and the Army.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And was the issue over marriage --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Many things.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Sex education. I felt we needed better sex education. Too many women were getting pregnant. We needed -- we had no decent sex education program. They had the same program that the men had and had to do with contraceptives. So I organized a sex education program, where we instituted that, we reduced pregnancy losses by half. But that -- that's one -- another thing that I tackled. I tackled everything that came down -- came on my list. Oh, also the problem of women married to civilians. Women with civilian husbands who are not entitled to declare their husbands as dependents, which was based on a decision made by the controller general of the United States. We tackled that one. And finally -- and I tried to get the Air Force to change it, they would not. Finally I had to give up, and I was -- oh, also I was around visiting -- all the bases that had women, I went out and visited. Talked to the enlisted women, met with them, told them what was going on in the -- what I had in mind, and talked to them about their problems to get feedback from them as to what their concerns were --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Very important.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, yeah.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Not just the officers, but the enlisted women particularly, and the things that concerned them came out loud and clear. And one of them had to do with dependent husbands, why -- why they could not -- if they married a civilian, why they could not have family housing with their husbands. And also if they -- if they were married to a military man, the women could not get quarter's allowance, the husband could but not family allowance. So they could -- unless -- it was just a mish mash of terrible policies. Well, I finally -- I would go around talking to the woman, and they would raise these questions, and I would say, that's one, that dependent one I cannot resolve. The only way that's ever going to be resolved is in the courts, and until some woman takes it to court, it's not going to be resolved.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And that is actually what happened then.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Absolutely. A young woman by the name of Frontiero, who was down at Maxwell Air Force Base, had a civilian husband. She went to court. And so I provided her -- her lawyers with all the information I had on my files to support her case on that subject.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And she won. And the person who argued it before the Supreme Court was Justice -- Justice Goldberg --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Ginsburg.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Ginsburg, excuse me.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And that was while she was with the ACLU. She argued it before the supreme court and won it. And that became a landmark decision for women.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And I wanted to ask you, too, you were also involved in the 1967 legislation that lifted the grades for ceilings to --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So that was another thing that you were very involved in.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I tried not to be too active in it because it -- those things were self-serving.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The implication of -- this is the law in 1948 that set up grade restrictions that said you could not serve above the grade of lieutenant colonel or commander unless you occupied a director's position. You could not be promoted to full colonel in your own right --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- or captain in the Navy in your own right. And certainly you could not be promoted to captain, to general or admiral.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so the most -- the most difficult part was getting promoted to colonel in the -- the service of a captain in the Navy. There was a move afoot within the defense advisory committee on women in the services, which by the way was very helpful in all these policy issues.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

They were always there for us.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

They were -- they had wanted to remove these restrictions years earlier and the directors of the women programs said we're so new, we are -- our permanent status in the military is so new, we think it's not time to raise this issue yet. But by 19 -- the 1960's it was time, because now we had a lot of women who were lieutenant colonels, who were not able to be promoted to full colonel, and maybe commanders in the same boat. That was basically the issue.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So demographically you had a pool of people who were ready.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. And who were forced to get out.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

We also had former directors of women's components who had had to step back to lieutenant colonel and commander after serving as colonels and captains --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- before they were eligible to retire --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- which was just patently wrong. Well, of course the DACOWITS was up in arms about this. They fought that for several years before I became director, they were interested in that subject. When I came in, I just got involved with the DACOWITS efforts in this. And they were enormously helpful because they kept bringing it up to the Department of Defense, which I could not do. They were the conduit to the Department of Defense.

Mary-Jo Binker:

They being the group of primarily civilian women --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Civilian women who -- who were advisers to the Secretary of Defense. They served three-year terms. They were active in their civilian communities. Many of them were very heavily committed to political campaigns. They were of both parties. This was not a party thing. But they had a lot of party connections. They were wired into members of Congress. They could easily go over there and talk to the staff and talk to members of congress. So they were our conduit in this. They pulled out all the stops. And they went to the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense continually put us -- put them off by attaching this legislation to another piece of legislation that was on -- on officer promotions.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It was very, very controversial. Never -- for three or four years it never went anywhere.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so the DACOWITS finally convinced them that they should pull this section out of this other piece of legislation and let it stand on its own, which they finally did. And I was involved in providing information, when I was asked to testify as a witness, or go over as a back-up witness, of course I would go but I could not -- I could not go out and lobby for this legislation --

Mary-Jo Binker:

No.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- as a member of the military --

Mary-Jo Binker:

No.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- but the DACOWITS did it for us. And sometimes they would take us along.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

On one occasion, the Director WAC and I went over to the White House and talked to the secretary -- actually the administrative assistant to President Johnson, who had just happened to be a reserve colonel and lieutenant colonel in the Army. And the President Johnson, who wanted to promote her to full colonel, and was told he couldn't. Well, of course that didn't set very well.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So the Director of WAC and I went over and briefed this lady on the circumstances and what was going on in the Pentagon and so forth. That got the attention of President -- of the White House, and President Johnson, and that's -- that helped a lot.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so the word was out we had -- they had to do something.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But it never occurred to those who went over and testified that there would ever be a woman who would qualify in her own right to be a general or an admiral. That was -- that was made patently clear, that -- in the testimony on capital hill, captains, colonels, yes, generals, admirals, except to head up a woman's program, no. That was made very clear throughout.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So there was still sort of an implied glass ceiling.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, of course.

Mary-Jo Binker:

I mean, if you take out the -- you remove the legal barrier but there's still that --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- that kind of --

Jeanne M. Holm:

They would never --

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- space.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, but they knew a woman could never qualify for that.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh. Did you know that? I mean --

Jeanne M. Holm:

I never thought about it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

You knew --

Jeanne M. Holm:

I frankly never thought about it. It never occurred to me ever that I would be -- benefit from this legislation. I was already so senior that I couldn't even be promoted to permanent full colonel under this new law.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh. So you really thought that lieutenant colonel would probably be the end of the line for you --

Jeanne M. Holm:

No, I thought colonel would be the end of the line, that would be it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And you'd retire as a colonel and that would be it.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's right. And then finally after a few years, the Army bit the bullet and actually promoted the women. And they were the Chief of the Nurse Corps and Chief of the WAC's.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And they were made generals.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Brigadier Generals.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And the Air Force still did nothing, and I just assumed it wasn't going to happen anyway. So I put -- I was -- decided it was time to go. I had been in that job for many -- more years than I should have, and I felt maybe I shot my wad, it was time to go.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now you were still Director --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- of WAF, so you had served your four years --

Jeanne M. Holm:

More than four years.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And so you just thought well --

Jeanne M. Holm:

It's important to know when it's time to go, don't hang around. So I put in my retirement papers.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh. And then --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Then -- well, a general whom I had admired for many years, and who had been very helpful to me when he was at the personnel center and other -- other jobs, became the Chief of Air Force Personnel. And I was thrilled, because he and I had had great rapport. When I was trying to get women into -- to go to Vietnam, he was the commander of the personal center. And he's the man that opened that door for me down there. And that was tough fight, but he was always there for me. And he was known as the alligator in the Air Force. I mean he was a man that was not popular. General Robert Dixon. And anybody whoever knew Robert Dixon in the United States Air Force would agree with what I just said. He was the alligator because he used to eat staff officers for breakfast. He was really tough, but he and I had a rapport.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And he was always there for me. When I found out he was going to be the Chief of Personnel, that just thrilled me. And right after he came in -- oh, he called me from -- he was the vice commander over at Vietnam at the time. And he -- I had made a number of visits to Vietnam after the women were there and before and so forth. And I had seen him in Vietnam. I flew over with the Secretary of the Air Force, which was a nice way to travel.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, yeah.

Jeanne M. Holm:

At any rate, while I was having lunch with him one day, he invited me to come over and lunch with him, General Dixon did. He was a three star at this point. He invited me to come over to have lunch with him in his quarters. So I went over and we were sitting there talking. And I said to him, I know who is going to be the new Chief of Personnel, and he said, "yeah, who?" I said, "You." And I was, you know, joking. I was joke -- it was a joke, you know, but it was also a private prayer of mine. I said but -- he -- he looked at me as if to say -- because I was traveling with the secretary, you see, he thought maybe I knew something. It was an interesting moment. And then at any rate I went back to the Pentagon, and I was in my office one day, and I heard he'd been selected. And then I got this phone call from Saigon, and it was Bob Dixon, and he said, "Has anybody jumped out of the windows over there yet?" And I said, "Not yet, general." And he arrived, and, of course, I went and paid my respects to him. And after a few days he said, "I hear you're retiring." And I said, "Well, yes, I put in my papers, and I'm two weeks from retiring." He said, "Well, you know, you've been trying to get a lot of things changed." And he said, "I need you. I wish you wouldn't retire." He said, "If you retire, I'm going to have to end up --" I meaning General Dixon, "I'm going to have to be the Director of WAF." He said, "I wish you'd stick around." So he said, "Would you go tell the secretary, and chief, and see if it's okay if you withdraw?" Once you put in your papers, you're not supposed to be able to withdraw them, which meant I had to go eat crow in front of the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Air Force, which I did. I went to see the chief and said, "General Dixon is here, and I'd like to work for him. And so I'd like to withdraw my papers." They said, "Okay." And I told the Secretary of the Air Force, and he said, "That's great."

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you stayed.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I stayed, got promoted.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So when -- what happened then when you became a general? I mean you --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, it didn't happen that way. I was, you know, promotions boards meet, and they consider everybody who's eligible. And there's also this give and take with mentors and all that kind of thing. And general -- I firmly believe General Dixon went to bat for me as my mentor, and was the one who was responsible for my selection for brigadier.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now in terms of becoming a Brigadier General, did you become a Brigadier after most of your cohorts would have made general, or were you still right on time?

Jeanne M. Holm:

You mean my male cohorts?

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yeah, your male cohorts.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes, yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you were --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Male cohorts were already generals, those who were going to be promoted --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- were already generals, yeah.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you were still a little bit behind the --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, yes, because I was not -- I could not even -- was not even a permanent full colonel --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- which you usually have to be to be selected to be a brigadier. So you have to make a little special dispensation there for me.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

You know, it's fascinating for years you're the youngest person around --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- all of a sudden you're the oldest. And that's what was happening to me.

Mary-Jo Binker:

That's right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I'd come up against this age thing because I was sitting there not being -- I could not even be considered for promotion for many years, and then when finally the selection process did open up, I was not selected, because I needed a mentor. I think that's the -- that was what really did it. And so General Dixon, I believe, opened that door. And then -- and, of course, it made my job so much easier.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I could do things that I couldn't do before.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right. Like speak to people on a -- on a base of equality.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Now you're a general just like they're a general.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, yes. But it just -- it's just that people listen differently.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. People -- people listen differently. They were -- there was greater deference. And it was very interesting to see this transition. Now I'd always been treated very gracefully. And I always appreciated the way I was treated within the air staff. And with great -- certain amount of deference. But when the chips were down, I could -- I had limited weight I could throw. I was still just a colonel and only an adviser. And unless my boss was willing to go to bat for a policy I wanted changed, it wasn't going to be changed. Dixon changed that immediately. He called the personnel staff people, who were opposed to many of the changes I wanted, called them on the carpet and told them to change those policies. One policy after another, like the one with minor children. That was --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That was -- that was the first one that really -- when he called me in and said, "I wish you wouldn't retire. Think about it really." Then we had a meeting right after that on the issue of women with minor children that I had been fighting for years, that had made no sense. Men were staying with minor children. Men would adopt children and not be discharged, no matter how I expressed it, I could not get that policy changed. Well, he called this meeting of these people who had been the roadblock on this, and the personnel right in his own staff, and personnel policy people. And had them -- he said, "I want to know about this." And he -- and before they could get the briefing, he said, "I know what you're going to tell me. You sat there --" they didn't even invite me to the meeting, by the way, he had to invite me to the meeting. So I'm sitting next to his desk, and here's this -- here's this full colonel with two generals in tow getting ready to give this briefing with their charts. And he said, "Colonel, before you first turn that first chart, I'm going -- I think I can tell you what you're going to tell me." He had been reading our inter-office correspondence, he knew my position on all this. He said -- and he went down it one point by point after another, exactly what they were going to tell him. And he said, "Now is that -- is that about sum it up?" And the colonel said, "Well, yes, sir, but, ah, ah, if we -- if we go this route, what are we going to do about women with their own children?" He didn't say pregnancy yet. Well, what are going to do about women with their own children, meaning pregnancies. Colonel, do you really want to open that can of worms now or you want to quit while you're ahead? And so -- oh, no, then the other -- the two generals are sitting there kind of squirming, oh, no, no, that's fine. I'll change the policy. And so he pulled up -- pulled up his charts that he hadn't had the chance to turn, and they all left, and as I went out the door, the last -- being the junior person present, as I went out the door, he looked at me and he said, "Colonel, is that enough action for you?" And I said, "Yes, sir." And so that's when I agreed to stay.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, the interesting thing is they -- they dragged their feet on changing the policy because the other services didn't want them to do it, you see? They said, "If you do it, we'll have to do it," and they didn't want to. So they were dragging their feet and got the Director of WAC and the Director of Women in the Navy to argue against it as well. Well, that really -- the fan really blew off on that one. A woman -- Air Force woman sued in court -- an Air Force woman who had a child of her own, who had had it out staying with her parents, formally adopted by her parents, she wanted -- she was going overseas and she wanted to take her child with her, and they wouldn't let her. If she took the child, they'd discharge her. And I think her name was Susan Struck. She sued -- took it to court, General Dixon was livid when he found out he was being sued over this subject -- this policy that he had told them to change and they hadn't changed it, but it was too late. And so it looked like the courts forced us to change out policies. General Dixon was furious that it looked like the court made us change our policies when he had told them to do it. Well, that's when the house of cards began to fall down. And things --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- were very exiting.

Mary-Jo Binker:

I'll bet. I'll bet. And now you've -- you've --

Jeanne M. Holm:

I'd been in that job for four or five years at that point --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right. And you finally began to see --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Really see the light of day.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And see that change is really happening.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yeah.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow. Now what happened when you got a second star, when you moved up to major general?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, that was a shocker. When I was promoted to Brigadier, that really hit the publicity fan. I mean it's amazing how much -- how much interest there was in the press with this. A major, major press conference over this. All the press there. When I got promoted to two stars, the lid blew off. I mean it was really incredible how much interest there was in this because I was the first woman ever to be promoted to two stars. And so it was pretty fantastic. I got -- I -- I can't tell you how many very thoughtful letters I had gotten when I was a promoted to Brigadier. There weren't as -- when I got promoted to two stars, there was a little different element to this, because there were a lot of my own contemporaries who were one stars who were not selected.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But I did get some very nice letters, but I knew that this was different, very different.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But I must say the Air Force could not have been nicer, my counterparts could not have been nicer, but that was different.

Mary-Jo Binker:

In the sense that maybe the first one --

Jeanne M. Holm:

They were glad. They were kind of glad. A lot of them were upset that the Army had done it and we hadn't.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh. Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And I was well known throughout the Air Force --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- having been a director all these years, and had gotten a lot of publicity, and traveled all over the Air Force, I was well known. And there was a lot -- there were a lot of people who were unhappy, men, who were unhappy that the Army had done that and the Air Force hadn't promoted me.

Mary-Jo Binker:

To be --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Two stars was interesting. And here again, Dixon was the mentor on this. He said, "She can do any job," and he told people that. Then I went on to another job as Director of the Air Force personnel __.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And just --

Jeanne M. Holm:

That was a two star job.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And doing that looking across the whole Air Force --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I'd already done that starting with the Director of Women in the Air Force.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

No. This had to do with the various boards that report directly to the secretary of the Air Force, discharge boards, the decorations board. And I went out -- I also got the Air Force to establish its own parole board for prisoners, and all those kinds of things. It was not the most -- it was not nearly as challenging a job as that one as the Director of Women in the Air Force, but it had a lot more prestige, because of the rank it carried, of course.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right. And then why did you choose to retire?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Had to --

Mary-Jo Binker:

You had to --

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- by law.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you had reached --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- the age ceiling?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes. Well, I had already passed it. And they had -- they had to have a special waiver for me to stay on to finish my tour as a two star, because I'd already passed the age ceiling for a permanent colonel.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

You see?

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh, I see. So still basing it on that?

Jeanne M. Holm:

They had to. That's the way it's written into the law, you see.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so I had to sign an agreement to stay on for two years after I was promoted to two stars. So I fulfilled that obligation and then it was time. I knew it was time to go. (Break in the audio.)

Jeanne M. Holm:

I think in 1942 I thought I might be lucky to get to be a buck sergeant.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So now having come up through the ranks, really starting from an enlisted person ending up as a two star general, you have had this career, what are you going to do for an encore? What do you do for an encore?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, I worked for the president of the United States.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you just moved across the river from the Pentagon.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, sort of. Actually, I left active duty planning to do a lot of boating. I had -- I bought myself a bigger boat, and I had planned to do -- go boating. And I was thinking about writing a book, but it was not -- had not really gotten into it seriously yet. I had a lot of files that I had kept on my women's program.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But I really was interested in just having some fun. And I ski. I love to ski. And I had a condo in Vale, and I wanted to do more skiing and more boating. Then I got a call -- actually I was picking up my new boat, and I got a call from the White House. White House operators, I discovered, can find you anywhere, no matter who you are. And I got a call from the White House, and to -- they wanted to talk to me. Well, I said, "I'm going to be taking this boat up the inland waterway, I won't be available for a couple of weeks." I really was not interested in going to work full time, but that did get my attention of course.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So when I get back, I called them and went over to see them. And they told me they wanted me to be special assistant to the president for women, and would I consider that. So I said, "well, yes, I'd consider it." And the person I -- who interviewed me after that was the -- was the Chief of Staff to President Ford, that happened to be Dick Cheney. And Rumsfeld had just gone over to the Secretary of Defense.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Rumsfeld had been in the White House as Chief of Staff for President Ford, and he went over to the Pentagon as Secretary of Defense, and Dick Cheney at that point was in the White House was the Chief of Staff. So I sat down and had a nice chat with him, and then I was invited to talk to the president. And I -- it was a moment one cannot forget. First of all, Gerald Ford is a very likeable person. So he -- I went into the oval office. He got up from behind his desk, and he came over and he shook my hand and said, "Jeanne, it was nice of you to come." Well, I was hooked. Yeah. And so I went to work there and until -- got involved in all of the women's programs, and legislation involving women, and prepared actually the -- probably the most -- thing I'm most proud of is that I got the president -- I prepared an initiative for the president to sign to the attorney general to start -- first of all, the president was very proud of his support of the Equal Rights Amendment. And I thought, well, if we agree with Equal Rights Amendment, which we did, then why should we not start looking at all the laws now to see which laws would have to be changed when -- when the ERA was ratified. We assumed it was going to be ratified. So I prepared an initiative for the president to sign to go over to the Attorney General of the United States instructing him to start a review of all federal statutes and to identify those that treat men and women differently and to prepare and to study whether or not those laws should be changed with or without the ERA. And of course having spent so many years in the Pentagon, I probably knew better than most people how to staff papers. Before I even put it to the president, I went over to the justice department and talked to the people over there who would be dealing with it. And they bought off on it. And they even made some suggestive changes for them, it would be coming to the attorney general. So I knew I was on firm ground when I did that. So I staffed it around the White House, which is a rather easy simple process, quick, a very quick process compared to the Pentagon.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The Pentagon can take you weeks or months to staff an important subject.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But the White House things happen very quickly.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Once I had the buyoff from the attorney general's office on it, I was home free. And so I presented it to the president, and he bought off on it and signed it, and went over to the justice department, and they started that review. Well of course shortly thereafter we lost the election.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That was kind of -- of a crushing below we had -- (Break in the audio.)

Jeanne M. Holm:

So many things and so many irons in the fire.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And had I had gotten all involved in the election. I had been to the convention in Kansas City, and was out campaigning for the president. I got deeply involved in politics in this process but -- and I was enjoying it. But I was worried about that legislation, too. And when new administration came in, the Carter administration, fortunately they looked at it and liked it. Now they didn't want to admit it was mine, or President Ford's I should say. They wanted to claim it as their own, which I didn't care. I don't care who gets credit for it as long as it's the right thing to do.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so they liked it and proceeded with it. And when the Reagan administration came in, that was in process. Well, the Reagan administration didn't partic -- administrations do this. When they change parties, they look with a jaundiced eye on any initiatives from previous administrations. If they like it, they'll claim it as their own. Generally that's the way it works. This was "Lauren Powell" at this point, after it had -- even the Carter administration really had gotten into it. Until my dear friend "Sara McLean" --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes, of course.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- nailed President Reagan on it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Really.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yeah. She and I were very good friends. We were in OCS together in 1942.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And she had been very supportive of me all the time I was the Director of Women in the Air Force, too. We'd become very good friends. She served on the defense advisory committee with Women in the Services as well. Very outspoken member of that committee. She began asking President Reagan about this study. She didn't have the title exactly right, but that didn't matter anyway. She began nailing him on it. Well, the moment she raised the question, that starts wheels to turning in the White House. Any time a question is on national television, somebody has to address it. Well, they did, and found this study. That's my interpretation of how it got started again. And so the Reagan administration picked it up and worked on it as well. And so these laws began to change and see --

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you really had a significant impact?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I felt so. I was a very -- I will never know how much impact that that had, but I know it started a ball rolling that was a very important ball to roll.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Really and truly. Really and truly. And then you lost your job when the election --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. We all went home. We had a big -- being a skier, I was up in Vale over the Christmas holidays, and the Fords were all up there, and we had a big party at the home that the Fords were staying, and we all sort of stood around and had a drink for old time's sake --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sake.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and, you know, cried in our beers, so to speak.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And you said to yourself, well, now I'll go and ski and boat.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, no, by -- well, yes, I did.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Well --

Jeanne M. Holm:

But within weeks I got a phone call from a publisher for Presidio Press out in California, they'd like to talk to me about writing a book about women in the armed forces, so that was my third life --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- taking shape. And so they sent an editor to talk to me. And we discussed the possibility of writing a book on women in the military. And it was -- I knew in my own mind I knew more about the subject than anyone else, and probably had more credentials than anyone else.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And this was a publisher that specialized in military books, and they didn't have one on women in the military, and they thought it was time to have one, and someone had said, well, Jeanne Holm is the person to do it, so that's why they sent this editor to speak to me, and so I agreed to do it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And how long did it take you to write the book?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I signed -- would you believe I signed a contract to do it in six months? I thought this was a piece of cake.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And how long did it take?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Three and a half years before I finally came up -- finished the basic manuscript.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Far more difficult job than I ever thought it would be.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And why was that?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Writing books is not the same as writing staff papers. Writing books is a different thing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes, it is.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so I had to learn that kind of writing. And I had difficulty at first. I thought it would be easy. It was not at all. Besides I thought I knew more than I did.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I knew a lot about the Air Force, but I did not know much about the other services. Although I thought I did because I was also on the DACOWITS at this point --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So when I left the White House I was asked by the personnel office -- one of the things they do is, well, put all the friends on boards --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- committees and things, that are -- where there are still vacancies.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so I -- the personnel office said, "Is there any board or committee you'd like to serve on?" I said, "Yes, I'd like to serve on the DACOWITS," Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services," because I knew them, worked for them --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- had for years. So sure, I got on the DACOWITS at that point. So that -- I was also doing that which made it possible for me get material directly from the Department of Defense --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- in support of my work to write the book.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So this all dovetailed as well.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And back to the subject of the book, though, I had to do an enormous amount of research to reconstruct the things that had happened in the '50s and the '60s especially, that had just -- were just kind of lost in all the files, very little had been written on the subject at all up to that point. Memoirs and things like that had been written. And there was an outstanding book on the WAAC and World War II by Amanda Treadwell --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- which was a gem, this thick. (Break in the audio. Audio seems to repeat.)

Jeanne M. Holm:

She began asking President Reagan about this study. She didn't have the title exactly right, but that didn't matter anyway. She began nailing him on it. Well, the moment she raised the question, that starts wheels to turning in the White House. Any time a question is on national television, somebody has to address it. Well, they did, and found this study. That's my interpretation of how it got started again. And so the Reagan administration picked it up and worked on it as well. And so these laws began to change and see --

Mary-Jo Binker:

So you really had a significant impact?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I felt so. I was a very -- I will never know how much impact that that had, but I know it started a ball rolling that was a very important ball to roll.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Really and truly. Really and truly. And then you lost your job when the election --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Oh, yes. We all went home. We had a big -- being a skier, I was up in Vale over the Christmas holidays, and the Fords were all up there, and we had a big party at the home that the Fords were staying, and we all sort of stood around and had a drink for old time's sake --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sake.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and, you know, cried in our beers, so to speak.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And you said to yourself, well, now I'll go and ski and boat.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, no, by -- well, yes, I did.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Well --

Jeanne M. Holm:

But within weeks, I got a phone call from a publisher for Presidio Press out in California, they'd like to talk to me about writing a book about women in the armed forces, so that was my third life --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- taking shape. And so they sent an editor to talk to me. And we discussed the possibility of writing a book on women in the military. And it was -- I knew in my own mind I knew more about the subject than anyone else, and probably had more credentials than anyone else.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And this was a publisher that specialized in military books, and they didn't have one on women in the military, and they thought it was time to have one, and someone had said, well, Jeanne Holm is the person to do it, so that's why they sent this editor to speak to me, and so I agreed to do it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And how long did it take you to write the book?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I signed -- would you believe I signed a contract to do it in six months? I thought this was a piece of cake.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And how long did it take?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Three and a half years before I finally came up -- finished the basic manuscript.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Wow.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Far more difficult job than I ever thought it would be.

Mary-Jo Binker:

And why was that?

Jeanne M. Holm:

Writing books is not the same as writing staff papers. Writing books is a different thing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes, it is.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so I had to learn that kind of writing. And I had difficulty at first. I thought it would be easy. It was not at all. Besides I thought I knew more than I did.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I knew a lot about the Air Force, but I did not know much about the other services. Although I thought I did because I was also on the DACOWITS at this point --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Sure.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- by the way. So when I left the White House, I was asked by the personnel office -- one of the things they do is, well, put all the friends on boards --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- committees and things, that are -- where there are still vacancies.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so I -- the personnel office said, "Is there any board or committee you'd like to serve on? I said, "Yes, I'd like to serve on the DACOWITS," Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services," because I knew them, worked for them --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- had for years. So sure, I got on the DACOWITS at that point. So that -- I was also doing that, which made it possible for me get material directly from the Department of Defense --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- in support of my work to write the book.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So this all dovetailed as well.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And back to the subject of the book, though, I had to do an enormous amount of research to reconstruct the things that had happened in the '50s and the '60s especially, that had just -- were just kind of lost in all the files. Very little had been written on the subject at all up to that point. Memoirs and things like that had been written. And there was an outstanding book on the WAAC and World War II by Amanda Treadwell --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- which was a gem, this thick. (Break in the audio. Audio continues on.)

Jeanne M. Holm:

I could not have done it without that book. But also the WAC director was -- this history was being written, the history of the WAC was being written, and the woman doing that was a very good friend of mine from my WAAC days --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And she laid open all the WAC files. I had friends in the Navy and the Marine Corps that did the same thing, same thing with the nurse corps --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and then ___ being a member of the DACOWITS also gave me entrée. So it did facilitate my getting what information was available --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- which as I say was very sparse, and a lot of it dusty and old and worn out.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So I had to reconstruct the story that had never been done before on all the services including the Coast Guard.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The four services, Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Coast Guard, to bring it together as one composite story and try to tell a coherent story about -- and the nurse corps as well, you see?

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And try to make this a coherent story of all these variety of components of women --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- that had come in by different roots --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- into the military, and their stories are different.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And their status was changing.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

This was -- with the integration act, their status changed. And now with the situation of the military programs expanding when Reagan came in, President Reagan came in, he wanted to expand the armed forces for the first time in a long time.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So that there was a massive recruit -- new recruiting effort that was going on, new issues coming up, the question of the draft came up --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- during this period. All these subjects were hitting the fan again, and there was very little information available. But the four -- the people who were brought into the Pentagon at that time were making statements about women in the armed force that were off the wall. Were just wrong. And so I was taking them to task for this. And at the end of my book some of the things that were being said --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And "Lawrence Corral" was one of those people --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Oh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes, he was making statements he had not moved into the Pentagon yet, but he going to be the new Chief of Manpower in the Pentagon, and he was making off the wall statements about military women, which was just wrong. I knew were wrong. Well, I had to take him to task at the end of my book. My book closed off in 1982. So the Reagan administration does not come off very well at the end of that book in 1982.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, they did their own studies about this point and realized that they were off base. I'll never forget at a -- at a -- some kind of conference that I was at, and Lawrence Corub was speaking. And he __ by this time I had met him and so forth, and he had changed his mind and was saying some very good things. And I was able to include that -- the book went into several printings, and I was able to include them in my preface when I rewrote the preface to the book --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- to give him credit for having changed his mind on those things. But that was small reward.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But at this meeting in front of all these women, he said, "Oh, General Holm's book is the best there is on this subject," you know, and he waves to me. We're even now.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

He was great. He and I became very good friends.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yeah.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And then when I -- things was moving so fast --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- with the war in the Persian Gulf.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The whole thing changed --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And the book was out of date almost overnight. By 1986 the book was already out of date.

Mary-Jo Binker:

So four years after the initial --

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes.

Mary-Jo Binker:

-- publishing it was already out of date.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Yes, because the Reagan administration had discovered they had to use more women as well, and they thought they wouldn't have to. But all of a sudden they had increased the recruitment of women. The Carter administration had expanded the use of women. Then the Reagan administration had thought they would stop that, but they realized they had to do it as well, so they did. And so the whole thing began to unfold differently than they had thought it would. Then the war in the Persian Gulf came, and women were more integrated into all the armed forces by this time. The WAC had been disbanded.

Mary-Jo Binker:

That's right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

They no longer used the term WAVES.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Women in -- there was no longer a Director of WAF. The -- all these women specialty components, like the WAC, WAVES, Women Marines and the WAF were -- had been absorbed totally now into the -- no longer -- none of the other services were allowed to have separate women's promotions lists. And so what had happened was that the women were suddenly more integrated. They got rid of -- rid of any kind of special women's policies where they could. And so gradually these things were equalizing over time, and women were fitting in better all the time. And then came the war in the Persian Gulf, and the women were so integrated into the units, they were being deployed before anybody knew it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh, uh-huh. Really.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Including women with children.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes, yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

By this time, of course, the policies against women having children had also had to be changed, courts changed that.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And so it was a different world now. And women were so fully integrated into the units, that they couldn't pull them out.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh, uh-huh. That's right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

So it was a different world. Also that raised the issue of women in combat --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Women flying combat aircraft, women serving on combat ships.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That issue hit the fan after -- as a result of the war in the Persian Gulf. Well, this meant a new book __ either a new book or an update. So I launched into an update of my book that came out in 1992 --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- with a new cover and four new chapters, that dealt all the way up through the early days of the Clinton administration.

Mary-Jo Binker:

You've lived through a lot of history. I mean you really -- you lived it, you've watched it unfold. How would you describe the future of women in the military?

Jeanne M. Holm:

I would say normalcy. The goal has always been reaching a state of some kind of normalcy.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Accepting the fact that there -- as in civilian life there are jobs that women are not going to be going into in any large numbers if at all. It's just the way -- the structures of the job or whatever. I have no idea if it will ever be useful to have women in infantry, for example. I don't know. Probably not in our time. I don't know that it's ever going to be in the cards, but there will always be some differences, but it's basically difference because people are different.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But there is a cultural difference as well. Now how those will change over time, I'm not sure. But when I was working with these subjects, I thought I was able to see into the future better than most people, because I was working with it. And I predicted many things that would happen that did happen. I predicted that women would be serving on Navy ships and combat ships. That women would some day be flying combat -- flying in the Air Force and flying combat aircraft. But I never visualized we would be as far along as we are today. I find it exciting. When I pick up -- I'm mentioned to you earlier that -- that they never visualized that a woman would ever be a general in her own right.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Now I can't tell you how much my promotion to one star and two star had to do with the desire to promote Jeanne Holm because they liked me, or whether it was time. But it did break the barrier.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And many women were promoted to generals and admirals after that. But when I pick up the resume of a woman now who is a three star general or admiral, and read what they have done, what their careers are, the kinds of backgrounds they have, I am awed. They could hold their own with anyone.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The women who are coming along in the military today have the careers that are comparable to anybody. With some exception. Most people are never going to be infantry who come into the military, but one percent maybe, 10 percent never. Highest ever was seven percent. That's a red herring --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- because they are in so many jobs and doing so many things. The general who retired from the Army recently, the three star general --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Claudia Kennedy.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Claudia Kennedy, who was a chief -- the Chief of Intelligence for the United States Army --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- Retired Air Force two star general was the Chief of Air Force maintenance.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

You know, it's Chief of Maintenance in the United States Air Force, those are the kinds of things that are coming along in the military today. You look at the enlisted women in the military today, the kinds of jobs they're doing aboard ships.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And in the military, all the military services and the Coast Guard --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- commanding ships --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Those are the kinds of things we hardly dreamed of years ago.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Now women are making it on -- as much on their own as they can, but they're also being helped along by guys who believe.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

The skipper of a ship will say -- skipper of the Eisenhower, when he took aboard the largest number of women who had been aboard a combat ship said, "My ship is better with a mixed crew."

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Eisenhower discovered that in World War II --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- general officers and commanding officers during World War II discovered that when they had women in their units, even though they were kind of classified as WAACs, let's say, he knew it was a better organization with the women around.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It just is. It's more normal.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

That's true. When women first -- I fought the battle of women in ROTC --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

My counterparts were all against that, by the way.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

I fought the battle for women in ROTC, and when the first women entered the ROTC, it was against the wishes of the commandant of the Air Force. Air command staff -- air university. He did not want women in the ROTC. And all the reasons he could state that women should never be in ROTC held no water at all.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

But finally when they agreed to test it at a couple of colleges, it went so well you'd have thought they'd invented it.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

It helped ROTC at a time when men were burning their draft cards --

Mary-Jo Binker:

That's right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and avoiding ROTC --

Mary-Jo Binker:

That's right.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- men were -- and they were burning ROTC buildings and things like that. All of a sudden it gave Air Force ROTC a different -- a different sense --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Yes.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- on campus and they knew it. Then the Army wanted to do it --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and the Navy wanted to do it --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- and did.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And it worked better. It was a more normal environment. In some instances there were more women in the ROTC than there were men.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

And the same thing is happening in high school.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Young people are learning about the military.

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Whether they join the military or not --

Mary-Jo Binker:

Uh-huh.

Jeanne M. Holm:

-- they learn about the military and the life of patriotism comes with that. It's all part of the person's education.

Mary-Jo Binker:

It's true. It's true. Well, I want to thank you for doing this interview with me today, General, it's been very informative and really a pleasure to talk to you.

Jeanne M. Holm:

Well, thank you. It's been a joy really. (End of audio.)

 
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