Major General Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Public Service Award
LaRita A. "Rita" Aragon
Major General LaRita A. "Rita" Aragon enlisted into the Oklahoma Air National Guard 9 September 1979 as an Airman Basic in the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science, Knoxville, Tennessee, in October 1981. In February 1989 she became the first female commander in the Oklahoma Air National Guard when she assumed command of the 137th Services Flight at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.
She became the first female to hold the rank of Brigadier General in the Oklahoma National Guard and the first female Commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. She served two years as Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs with responsibilities including the five active duty installations in Oklahoma, two Veterans Administration Hospitals, the Muscogee Veterans Administration Regional Center, seven Veterans Homes, and 350,000 Oklahoma veterans.
She is the liaison between the Governor and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and War Veterans Commission. She has begun a program to get all Oklahoma veterans to register with the agency to ensure they get benefits they are entitled to, which also will result in the state getting more money for veterans programs. Aragon's awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.