September 2019 Elizabeth Ann Krueger Billham, SCDAR State Regent Susannah Smith Elliott Chapter NSDAR
Elizabeth Ann Krueger Billham was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She graduated from Central High School in 1969. In 1973 she enlisted active duty United States Air Force, a Vietnam Era veteran and upon completion of Technical School at Wichita Falls TX, was assigned to George AFB, CA as a Corrosion Control Trainee painting F-4 and F-15 aircraft. In 1976, she was assigned a 12-month overseas remote to Sondestrom AB Greenland to support the North Icecap Distant Early Warning (DEW) Radar sites. In 1977 she received orders to HQ Military Airlift Command to the Procurement Staff Plans and Policies Division at Scott AFB, IL. That assignment inspired Mrs. Billham to cross-train into the procurement career field. In 1978 she was assigned to the 437th Contracting Division at Charleston AFB, SC as a Procurement Specialist. Mrs. Billham left Active Duty Air Force after serving 10 years and enlisted in the USAF Reserves in 1983. She was called back to active duty with DESERT STORM in 1991 until her retirement from USAF Reserves in 1994. Mrs. Billham remained at Charleston AFB as a vital asset to the wing’s civilian workforce. Mrs. Billham retired from Civil Service on 31 October 2010 after completing 37 years of combined Federal Service.
Among her numerous awards and medals earned during her career are:
National Defense Medal
Air Force Reserve Medal
Civil Service Meritorious Service Medal
1982 Military Airlift Contracting Outstanding NCO Award
Air Force Commendation Medal – 1 Device
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Reserve Meritorious Service Medal
Libby Billham, State Regent of South Carolina and a LIFE member, has been active in NSDAR for 47 years after joining as a Junior in 1972, and is a third-generation member of NSDAR. Mrs. Billham is a member of the Susannah Smith Elliott Chapter, Summerville, SC. She is a member of the Tamassee DAR School Board of Trustees. She served as a National Vice Chair for DAR Service to Veterans, NSDAR State Vice Regents Club Chaplain and currently serving as NSDAR State Regents Club Treasurer. Libby has been appointed as NSDAR Property Beautification & Hospitality Vice Chair for the VanBuren Administration. On the state level she served as South Carolina State Vice Regent, State Recording Secretary and State District IV Director. At chapter level, she served as Chapter Regent (twice), Vice Regent, Chaplain, and Recording Secretary. She is an Associate Member of the Nancy Hunter Chapter in Missouri.
Libby is married to Darrell Billham, Senior Master Sergeant (Retired) U.S. Air Force who served his country 33 years as an aircraft Loadmaster. They are members of Grace Lutheran Church in Summerville, SC. They have two children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. Today, Darrell and Libby now spoil their grandchildren and enjoy traveling the world.
My Personal Thoughts about my military service:
I enlisted in the United States Air Force in June 1973, at a time when our servicemen and women were returning from Vietnam, and the Air Force began putting women into male career fields. I saw how our country was treating the men and women with little respect and many times observed or received harsh comments when they saw the uniform. It made me want to serve even more to make a difference. I developed a strong patriotic duty to my country regardless of what the events in the 1970’s did to our military veterans returning from Vietnam. Today, I am extremely passionate for our the wellbeing of servicemen and women, especially our Vietnam Veterans.
Basic Training in 1973 was very different then from what it is today. Women exercised on exercise mats, we marched, took classes to learn about the history of the military, the Air Force, and how to wear and take care of our uniforms. We were taught about customs and courtesies, respect for our subordinates and most important self-discipline. I was one of the first women in the Air Force that was trained in a male career field. It was the beginning of our country changing how it thought about women and what they were really capable of doing. The training our military women go through today is the same as their male comrades. They are one solid unit capable of completion of any given mission, ready at a moments notice. I am so proud to have been a part of the military women’s role as it evolved to what it is today.
I have many memories while serving, but three stand out. One was when I was serving in Greenland and I had the fortunate opportunity to meet in 1975, Colonel Chappie James, one of the last Tuskegee Airmen while he was still on duty. The second memory was my deployment in 1983 to serve as a contingency contracting officer in support of our unit that was keeping watch on Omar Quadafi in Libya who was wanting to invade Sudan at that time. I was there to support our troops in supplies, lodging and transportation. The final memorable event was when I was recalled to Active Duty to support DESERT STORM just prior to our military going into liberate Kuwait. I remember being proud, yet so scared for those in Kuwait. Little did we know what was ahead of us in a few more years that would change all of our lives and our world forever – 9/11.
The best advice I received comes from all the years of training and service: There is no task that cannot be accomplished if we are trusting in God to lead us. Stay true to yourself and be honest, so others have trust in your actions. Be vigilant to what is happening around you and be not afraid to report unacceptable behavior that could harm others. I love my country and would gladly serve if asked to do it all over again.