I hope you are wearing the green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. I would like to make a tip O’ the hat to the ladies who have worn the green in service to their country. Today in 1967 the first woman Marine to reported to Vietnam for duty. Master Sergeant Barbara J. Dulinsky began her 18-hour flight to Bien Hoa, 30 miles north of Saigon. MSgt Dulinsky and the other officer and enlisted Women Marines that followed were assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) based in Saigon. Although most worked with the Marine Corps Personnel Section providing administrative support to Marines assigned as far north as the DMZ, two Lieutenant Colonels, Ruth Reinholz and Ruth O’Holleran, served as historians with the Military History Branch, Secretary Joint Staff, MACV.
Our own community has its share of notable ladies who have served. I know of one retired Chief Master Sargent USAF. I’m sure there are others as well. The highest ranking officer in the Oklahoma National Guard is a Major General (two star) and was held not too long ago by Rita Aragon. She started as an enlisted soldier.
Rita Aragon enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard on September 9, 1979 as an Airman Basic in the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron stationed out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (my unit of retirement). She received her commission through the Academy of Military Science (AMS) at Knoxville, Tennessee, in October 1981. She returned to the 219th EIS as an administrative officer. In February 1989, then Captain Aragon became the first female commander in the history of the Oklahoma Air National Guard when she assumed command of the 137th Services Squadron at Will Rogers World Airport Air National Guard Base.
She became the first female to hold the rank of Brigadier General in the history of the United States Air National Guard as the commander and Assistant Adjutant General for the Oklahoma Air National Guard in March 2003. As Assistant Adjutant General for Air, General Aragon reported directly to the Adjutant General of Oklahoma.
While serving as Assistant Adjutant General, General Aragon was appointed to serves as the Air National Guard assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller. She served in that position from 2003 to 2005. In 2006, General Aragon was appointed Air National Guard assistant to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Manpower and Personnel. In that position, General Aragon oversaw policies and plans covering all part of the Air Force’s military and civilian personnel management. After her military career she went on to serve again for Governor Mary Fallin as Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs. I had the privilege of serving with and knowing her for a good part of both of our careers. It was only a few years ago she recognized our Post on behalf of Gov. Fallin and House Representative Roberts with proclamations and flags still on display at the Hut.
Our meeting this week should be special with our Commander Charles (bit O’ the Green) O’Leary showcasing a presentation of his annual trip to Sacaton, AZ honoring the USMC, at the Ira Hayes/Iwo Jima Memorial Parade and Ceremony on the Pima Indian Reservation. He and wife Nancy always bring back a great slide show of the colorful parade.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (Tonight! March 17th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the temperatures hit freezing. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.