Biden awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Air Force legend > Air Force > Article display
ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —
By bestowing the country’s highest civilian honor on Vaught, Biden acknowledged his breaking of conventions that have crumbled gender barriers and helped create new opportunities for U.S. military service members.
“Wilma is one of the most decorated women to have served in the United States military,” Biden said at Thursday’s ceremony. “She joined in the 1950s because she wanted to be a leader. She did that, and more, becoming the first woman to hold nearly every leadership position she’s held in nearly 30 years in uniform.
After his commission as a second lieutenant in January 1957, Vaught continued to break down barriers throughout his Air Force career, paving the way for other service members to strive and reach their full potential. At the time of her retirement, she was one of seven female generals in the entire United States Army.
Among his many early accomplishments are the following:
– First woman to deploy with a Strategic Air Command bomber wing during an operational deployment
– First woman to attend the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (since renamed The Eisenhower School)
– First woman to command a unit that received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award
– First woman to be promoted to brigadier general in the comptroller career field
His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star Medal, among others, recognizing his distinctive achievements during his career. 28 years of military service.