Women Are Veterans, Too

At the Memorial Day Parade, Mary Ann Keckler wore a shirt reading, “women are veterans, too.” Petty Officer 3rd Class Keckler served in the Vietnam War from 1959 to 1962 in personnel management. Stationed out of Bainbridge, Maryland, Keckler was an assistant to a JAG officer where she gave briefings during court marshals.

Despite her career in the military, Keckler has found her niche as an advocate of injured soldiers. In 1987, her son, Robert Keckler, was broke his neck in a diving accident while he was with the Air Force. Robert and his crew had just completed a bombing mission over Libya and when they returned to base had to do skydiving exercises. Robert fell and broke his neck. Keckler says that they had no business skydiving after completing such a grueling mission.

Keckler has since dedicated her time advocating for the care of injured U.S. soldiers. She currently volunteers at the James Haley Veterans Hospital trauma center in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Her service is a reminder of two important things: first, that women serve an integral part of the U.S. military. Though women are not allowed in combat or on Navy submarines, they provide crucial support roles in nursing, finance, JAG, and many numerous administrative roles.

Secondly, Keckler shows that one’s service to their country does not end once they’re retired. You can continue to serve your nation and its heroes – as many do – through numerous activities such as how Keckler volunteers her time at Haley Hospital.

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