Betty Holm was attending Arkansas State University and studying physical education when she learned of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). The corps’ sergeant major informed her that the program would pay her $600 dollars for 6 weeks and provide physical training without any requirements to join the ROTC. Holm played college basketball at the time and was interested in improving her physical skills for it. In June 1978, she signed up and attended the first coed ROTC basic training course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
While taking the training course, Holm said she enjoyed the discipline and camaraderie the course offered. After the course ended, she returned to Arkansas State and joined ROTC. Holm was the first woman to enlist in the Simultaneous Membership Program, which allows cadets to participate in both the National Guard and their college’s ROTC program at the same time. Holm joined the 212th Signal Battalion in the Arkansas National Guard. After graduating from Arkansas State in 1980, she commissioned as a second lieutenant signal officer. She served several short tours of active duty and promoted to captain. During her service, Holm became the first female communications officer in the 39th Infantry Brigade. She remained in the Arkansas National Guard until 1992.
That year, she transferred to the Army Reserve and served at Fort Hood, Texas. In December 2002, Holm mobilized and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. She served with the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, which provided mission command of assigned, attached and operational control units. Holm worked as a commodity management officer until December 2004. When she returned to Fort Hood, she became a multifunctional logistics officer. During the remainder of her active service, Holm served as battalion commander of the Phantom Support Battalion and the sustainment command chief of staff for the 13th Expeditionary Support Command. Her final assignment was as a deputy senior logistician in the III Corps Headquarters in the Mission Support Element.
Holm retired in 2012 as a lieutenant colonel. During her service, Holm received a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star Medal, an Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and an Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with one silver and four oak leaf clusters.
After retiring from the Army, Holm attended Southern New Hampshire University and studied projects and operations management. When she graduated with her master’s in 2013, she became the high school principal of a charter school in Dallas, Texas, for two years. In her retirement, Holm is active with her local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter to support the Veteran families in the Dallas area.
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