Pioneering Baltimorean was nation’s first Black woman to receive an officer’s commission in the Air Force

March 11, 2022 | The Catholic Review


Sandra Williams Ortega was stunned to see two high-ranking ROTC leaders standing on her front porch as she was coming home from classes at Morgan State College in Baltimore.

The news they brought to Ortega’s parents was even more remarkable: Morgan State leaders wanted Ortega to be the candidate the university would put forth to fulfill a promise by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to give a qualified Black woman a direct commission as an officer in the still-young U.S. Air Force.

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