born March 15, 1930, the oldest of two daughters in Scottland, Illinois.
Wilma was named for her father, Willard, and her mother, Margaret.
Wilma's parents had not gone to college, but they worked long hours
to make sure their daughter would have a chance to attend college.
Growing up on a farm helped Wilma appreciate the value of hard,
from the University of Illinois in 1957 and started work in the
corporate world. Wilma wanted to be a manager or supervisor, but
did not see many opportunities in the world of business. She decided
to join the Air Force in the hope that she would be given more opportunities
for career growth. Wilma was not disappointed with her career choice.
The military gave her many opportunities to broaden her education
and she enjoyed working with people who were dedicated and hard
joined the Air Force at a time in history when women in the service
were given more and more opportunities for career growth. In 1967
President Johnson signed a law that permitted service women to be
promoted to the level of generals and admirals. Wilma worked hard
on her job and attended military classes. In 1980 she was the first
woman in her career field to be promoted to Brigadier General. In
1982, she commanded one of the biggest areas in the military. By the
time she retired in 1985, she was one of only three female generals
in the Air Force and one of seven female generals in the United States
Armed Forces all together. During her military career she earned many
medals and awards. She also established the Women in Military Service
for America Memorial. On October 16, 1997, the Women's Memorial, which
stands at the main gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, was dedicated
to honor the courage and bravery of thousands of American women like
Brigadier General Wilma Vaught.