The first woman to command an Air Force wing died July 22, Air Force officials at the Pentagon announced Wednesday. Retired Maj. Gen. Norma E. Brown was 77.
The Pentagon did not release the cause of Brown’s death, but the San Antonio Express-News listed it as a pulmonary embolism while she was vacationing in Wyoming.
Brown hailed from Madison, Fla., and began her career in 1951 as a second lieutenant. Her first assignment was as chief of military personnel for Flight Service headquarters in Washington.
She spent much of her career in the former Air Force Security Service, now the Air Intelligence Agency, working in personnel assignments.
In December 1974, she was given command of the 6940th Security Wing at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas, marking the first time a woman had led at that level.
During her career, she served in San Antonio, Washington, England, Taiwan, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; St. John’s, Newfoundland; and Illinois, before retiring in 1982.
Brown was promoted to brigadier general in 1977, rising to major general two years later. Her last command was the Chanute Technical Training Center in Rantoul, Ill. Upon retirement, she settled in Leon Springs, Texas.
She earned the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two clusters and the Army Commendation Medal, according to her biography.
In retirement, she became the first woman inducted into the Order of the Sword, the highest honor bestowed by Air Force noncommissioned officers to commissioned officers and civilian leaders who have made significant contributions to the enlisted corps.
Services were held Monday at the Leon Springs Presbyterian Church. A private burial will be held at a later date.