Gladys Vandenberg, Air Force Spouse

Military spouses are often the silent and servant leaders on the sidelines, but they are--and have always been--in the fight, too! It is not uncommon for a military spouse to see a hard situation and transform it into a helping one. 

Mrs. Gladys Vandenberg, wife of the second Chief of Staff of the Air Force, is no exception. Living close to Arlington Cemetery, she and General Vandenberg would often walk the hallowed grounds. It was during this time, she noticed Airmen being buried without any family present. Moved to action, she decided to personally attend each service, ensuring that no Airman was ever laid to rest without a member of their Air Force family present. When this became too much for one person, she recruited her friends and fellow Air Force wives, becoming our first Arlington Ladies. Eventually, the Arlington Committee was created within the AFOSC of Washington, D.C. and since 1948, no matter the weather, Arlington Ladies and Gentlemen still serve our Department of the Air Force service members today as they are honorably laid to rest. As good work often does, it inspired others to do the same: the Army established their Arlington Ladies in 1972, the Navy in 1986, and the Coast Guard in 2006.

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