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Oklahoma woman known for many firsts to be inducted into Hall of Fame

OKLAHOMA CITY – The first member of the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps from Oklahoma will soon receive a posthumous honor.

Helen Loretta Freudenberger was born on Dec. 16, 1915 in Coyle, Oklahoma as the youngest of eight children.

Maj. Helen Loretta Freudenberger joined the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps during World War II to support the Army. She joined on July 9, 1942 and became the first member to join from Oklahoma.

Later in life, she wrote, “Thank God I don’t have to go through it again. But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

Provided by Hall of Fame

She ultimately became the Public Relations Office of the WAAC in the Military District in Washington where she supervised national publicity in magazines like LIFE, LOOK and The Washington Post.

After Victory in Europe Day, her service in The Army Occupation in Germany began. During that time, she gathered and distributed intelligence reports to the command.

“I wish to tell you and make it a matter of official record that I consider you among the most, if not actually the most, helpful assistant that I have ever had in my entire service. The complete unselfishness with which you viewed your duty to me and the Army, and the intelligence with where you followed my interests and the interests of the service approached perfection,” the Inspector General, Col. Leroy Wilson, Infantry, wrote in a letter to  Freudenberger.

Holmes in WAAC uniform at graduation, 1942.
Provided by family

In 1947, her military career ended when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Freudenberger was one of the first patients to be treated with penicillin for tuberculosis, which was still in an experimental phase to determine the appropriate dosage for treatment.

Holmes in WAC uniform in postwar Germany, taken by the renowned photographer, Tita Binz, circa 1947. Provided by family.

After the war, she married Robert Franklin Holmes in Guthrie and had three children.

She became the Mayor of Guthrie from 1978 to 1981, where she lobbied for one of the largest historical renovations of a city in the United States.

Her life of service came to an end in 1997 at the age of 81.

Even after her death, she is receiving a big honor for her sacrifices.

Provided by Hall of Fame

Holmes will be inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Her sons, Ret. LTC. Charles Holmes and Ret. Maj. William Holmes will be accepting the medal on her behalf.

“Mother dedicated her life to her country, her state, her city, her family, and her friends.  She was a true public servant,” Maj. William Holmes, USAF, Ret. told News 4 in an email.

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