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Senate posthumously honors 104-year-old Black veteran/community volunteer

OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate paused on Tuesday to honor the late Vivian Corbett “Millie” Bailey, formerly of Tulsa, who recently passed away in Maryland at the age of 104.  Sen. Kevin Matthews prepared a posthumous citation honoring her life, which included her service during WWII in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, later known as the Women’s Army Corps, a career in civil service, and a lifetime of volunteer work for education, health and the military.

“Millie was an extraordinary woman who did not let the social constraints and challenges of segregation stop her from making a tremendous difference in the lives of others through her work and community service,” said Matthews, D-Tulsa. “She broke color barriers in the military and later entered civil service, making important contributions through her work and her volunteerism that earned national attention.”

Bailey was born in Washington, D.C. in 1918, but her mother moved her family back to her hometown of Tulsa after Bailey’s father was deployed in World War I.  She attended segregated schools in Oklahoma, graduating as valedictorian of Booker T. Washington High School.  Bailey entered the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in December 1942 and served until January 1946.  She was one of only two Black women to earn superior rank in her officer’s course. Bailey became second in command of the Women’s Colored Detachment at Fort McClellan, later serving as a commander of the all-female detachment before being selected to attend the Adjutant General School Officers’ Administration Course.  She graduated with outstanding marks and went on to serve for the first time with an unsegregated unit.  At Fort Benning, Bailey was a first lieutenant in charge of 144 women. 

After the war, Bailey worked for the Veterans Administration and later the Social Security Administration.  Her 50 years of volunteer service included being the longest serving member of the Howard County General Hospital Board of Trustees; the Howard County Police Department Citizens Advisory Council; and other positions.  She honored and supported deployed service members through a care package program known as “Bailey’s Bundles,” sending her first care package during the Vietnam War and continuing the program to present day with the help of other volunteers.  She also raised money for in-need elementary schools to fund field trips and other initiatives to enrich the students’ educational experiences.

Among the many prestigious honors received during her life were the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award and a Congressional Achievement Award for her many years of public service.

Bailey will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. May 11 at the Calvary Cemetery, 9101 South Harvard, in Tulsa.


For more information, contact:  Sen. Matthews at 918-955-2283 or