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Oklahoma's first female general gets second star



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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon was honored Thursday as Oklahoma's first female two-star general.

Gov. Brad Henry and Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III, a former Oklahoman, performed the pinning ceremony in the Blue Room of the state Capitol to promote Aragon to the rank of major general.

"This standing-room-only crowd attests to your character and compassion," Henry said.

Aragon is the Air National Guard assistant to Looney, a commander at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Looney said people such as Aragon "are here to make the world better; there is always a place for her."

Aragon, 58, left the Oklahoma Air National Guard in September for the San Antonio assignment.

She grew up in the Dale area of Pottawatomie County. She also had been Oklahoma's first brigadier general in the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

After enlisting in the National Guard in 1979 as an airman, Aragon attended officer candidate school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1981.

She became the first female commander in the Oklahoma Air National Guard when she assumed command of the 137th Services Flight at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.

Before receiving her latest assignment, Aragon was an assistant adjutant general for the headquarters of the Oklahoma Air National Guard under the command of Maj. Gen. Harry M. "Bud" Wyatt III.

Even though she grew up in rural Oklahoma, Aragon said her parents encouraged her to aspire to whatever she wanted to be.

"I love wearing this uniform," she said.

Before joining the military, she received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Among her many awards and decorations, Aragon has received the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Mick Hinton (405) 528-2465

mick.hinton@tulsaworld.com

(C) 2005 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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