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The Lady was a Lieutenant




Vivian Mildred Corbett was born in Washington, D.C. on February 2, 1918. When her father was deployed to serve in WWI, her mother moved the family back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, her home town. Vivian attended segregated schools and was exposed to not only segregation but ugly racism. Those experiences followed her into her adult life. "As a little girl in Oklahoma, I never imagined I would be able to do anything of any real significance," she said.


There has been very little that hasn’t been significant in “Millie” Bailey’s life. A century later, former Army 1st Lt. Vivian Bailey looks back. She commanded an all female, segregated, unit during World War II. She has been working tirelessly to help service members and her community ever since. She lives her life to the fullest. On her 102nd birthday she went skydiving for the first time!

It was in the early days of World War II that she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later named the Woman’s Army Corps). She was commissioned as a first lieutenant and was selected to attend the Adjutant General School Officers’ Administration Course. There were only two Black women in the class and she graduated with outstanding grades and went on to serve for the first time with an unsegregated unit.


When the war ended and she left the service, she married William Bailey. They had no children. They moved to Columbia, Maryland. She enjoyed traveling and has been to fifty countries as of 2013.


Her service really never ended. During the View Nam War, she and a group of friends assembled care packages for deployed service members. She repeated the same for soldiers during Desert Storm. She has been packing boxes and soliciting funds and calling elected officials as part of an effort that has send hundreds of care packages overseas. "We used to send quite a few personal hygiene things, but it became quite clear that the main things that the soldiers wanted [were] snacks," Bailey said.