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Vivian C. "Millie" Bailey
Birth name Vivian Mildred Corbett
Born February 3, 1918(1918-02-03) (age 103)
Place of birth Washington, D.C., U.S.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943–1946
Rank First lieutenant
Unit Women's Army Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Other work Civil servant, volunteer

Vivian C. "Millie" Bailey (born February 3, 1918) is an American World War II veteran, civil servant, and volunteer. She is a fundraiser for education, health, and military service personnel. Bailey was one of the first African American officers in the Women's Army Corps and served as a commander of the Women's Colored Detachment. Bailey was a division director in the Social Security Administration.

Early life and education[]

Vivian Mildred Corbett was born in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1918.[1][2] Her mother moved the children back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, after Bailey's father was deployed for World War I. She attended segregated schools.[3] She knew noted African-American historian John Hope Franklin from her upbringing in Tulsa.[4]

Career[]

Bailey was one of the first African American women pilots and one of only two black women to earn superior rank at her officer's course.[5] She received her commission as a first lieutenant in Fort Des Moines Provisional Army Officer Training School and served in the Women's Army Corps from 1943 to 1946.[3][6] Bailey became second in command of the Women's Colored Detachment at Fort McClellan.[4] She later served as a commander of the all-female detachment before being selected to attend the Adjutant General School Officers' Administration Course. As one of only two Black women in the class, she graduated with outstanding marks and went on to serve for the first time with an unsegregated unit.[7] Speaking of her experiences, Bailey shared she did not experience gender discrimination but that the troops were racially segregated. The first time she went off post alone at Fort McClellan, a white woman spat at her and said, "Look at that black bitch." Bailey pretended to not notice, citing fears of lynching. In contrast, Bailey also shared that her commanding general, a white man, treated her with kindness while she was at a training camp in San Antonio.[6] At Fort Benning, Bailey was a first lieutenant in charge of 144 women.[3] After leaving the U.S. Army, Bailey moved to Chicago and worked for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. In 1970, she transferred to the Social Security office in Baltimore as a division director and retired in 1975.[3][4]

Bailey is an active community volunteer and fundraiser for education, health, and the military. Since 1966, Bailey has collected, packed, and shipped CARE packages for U.S. Military service members.[8] From 1982 to 1993, Bailey served on the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission and was involved with the approval of the first Magnetic resonance imaging and CT scanners in the state. She left the commission to join the Howard County General Hospital board of trustees where she served for 23 years before stepping down in 2015.[9] Bailey is a member of the Howard County Police Citizens Advisory Council.[9] Since 1999, she has advocated and fundraised for Running Brook Elementary School.[3][9] Bailey often raises over $10,000 annually for the students.[10] On October 22, 2020, the Vivian C. "Millie" Bailey Neighborhood Square on Lake Kittamaqundi was dedicated in her honor.[10]

Personal life[]

Bailey married William Bailey after leaving the U.S. Army. They had no children. In 1970, they moved to Columbia, Maryland, where Bailey still lives. She enjoys traveling and has been to fifty countries as of 2013.[4] For her 100th birthday wish, Bailey expressed a desire for true equality for future generations.[11] In 2020, she went skydiving for her 102nd birthday.[5]

References[]

  1. Howard County Veterans Foundation-Grondbreaking Ceremony-Saturday July 29, 2019 @ 9:00 AM-Vivian C. "Millie" Bailey Neighborhood Square
  2. Janene Holzberg, For Millie Bailey, a life of giving, Baltimore Sun, February 7, 2010, accessed November 8, 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Saenz, Arlette (May 27, 2015). "Meet the 97-Year-Old Who Was Surprised by Obama on Her 'Field Trip' to the White House" (in en). https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/meet-97-year-surprised-obama-field-trip-white/story?id=31339457. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Thomas, Martha (November 9, 2013). "Living to give" (in en-US). https://hermindmagazine.com/living-to-give/. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Maryland Park Dedicated to 102-Year-Old WWII Vet Who Went Skydiving" (in en-US). https://www.nbcwashington.com/community/maryland-park-dedicated-to-102-year-old-wwii-vet-who-went-skydiving/2451184/. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hurley, Caroline (June 6, 2018). "Women's Army Corps veteran remembers a general's kindness". https://www.stripes.com/news/us/women-s-army-corps-veteran-remembers-a-general-s-kindness-1.531439. 
  7. Lange, Katie (November 9, 2020). "WWII Vet Still Breaking the Mold at 102" (in en-US). https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Features/Story/Article/2409714/wwii-vet-still-breaking-the-mold-at-102/.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. Patti, John (June 29, 2019). "101-Year-Old Howard County Community Leader To Be Honored" (in en). https://www.wbal.com/article/397248/3/101-year-old-howard-county-community-leader-to-be-honored. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Myers, Jill (2015). "Vivian "Millie" Bailey Retires from HCGH Board of Trustees" (in en). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/howard_county_general_hospital/news/news_release/archive/article_122.html. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Simmons, Melody (October 21, 2020). "Park dedicated to 102-year-old veteran Millie Bailey in Columbia opens this week". https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/10/21/columbia-park-dedicated-veteran-opens.html. 
  11. Cairns, Kathleen (February 5, 2018). "WWII Veteran celebrates 100th birthday with one birthday wish". https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/wwii-veteran-celebrates-100th-birthday-has-one-birthday-wish. 

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