LaRita (Bly) Aragon
Oklahoma Air National Guard, 1979-2007

Title

LaRita (Bly) Aragon
Oklahoma Air National Guard, 1979-2007

Subject

Aragon (Bly), LaRita
Native American
Air National Guard

Description

LaRita (Bly) Aragon, of Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard in 1979 as a single mother with a master’s degree in education and guidance. She received her commission in 1981 after graduating from the Academy of Military Science in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1989, Aragon became the first woman commander in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. During Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991), she commanded mortuary and field units. As the military mortuary officer after the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Aragon identified bombing victims and notified next-of-kin. In 2003, Aragon became the first woman in the Oklahoma Air National Guard promoted to brigadier general and the first woman commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Of her promotion, Aragon recalled, “I’ve had some people say, ‘Well doesn’t it make you feel bad that you’re going to be promoted to general because you’re a woman?’ I assure them that it’s not because I’m a woman that I’m going to be a general. I had as good a background and more command time and experience than any of the men who were vying for the same position.” She retired in 2007 with the rank of major (two-star) general.

Files

LaRita Bly Aragaon.jpg

Citation

“LaRita (Bly) Aragon
Oklahoma Air National Guard, 1979-2007,” The Military Women's Memorial - Exhibits , accessed November 30, 2021, https://mwm.omeka.net/items/show/15.

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