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"The Army gave me a career, something that I could not have achieved back home in Pinewood, South Carolina." (Audio interview, 18:08)

   Mary L. Aurtrey
Image of Mary L. Aurtrey
First Sergeant Mary L. Aurtrey [n.d.]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Army; Army
Unit: Installation Support, Company A, 1st Battalion
Service Location: Arlington, Virginia; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort McClellan, Alabama; Fort Benjamin Harrison, Alabama; Germany; Korea; Belgium
Rank: Sergeant Major
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Born in Maryland, Sergeant Major Mary Aurtrey was an eighteen-year-old living in small-town South Carolina, craving travel and adventure, when she made the decision in 1969 to join the Army. In her roles as typist, stenographer, and administrator, her service during the Vietnam and Persian Gulf eras led her around the world--from locations stateside to Korea, Germany, and Belgium--and to support high-ranking officers such as General Alexander Haig. Beyond simply providing her with an education, she cites personal interactions as one of the highlights of her military career; as she explains, serving in the Army taught her to appreciate people, fundamentally changing her outlook on life.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (20 min.)
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 Official Documents
»Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
A memorable female instructor; determination to get through stress of advanced infantry training; serving in Belgium at SHAEF headquarters; transfer back to Washington, DC. (02:16) Experiences while stationed in Germany; managing a military residence of about 250 people; challenges of management; enjoying interaction with people. (01:45) Benefits of military career over the years; encouraging young people to serve; gratitude for her service; working in accounting after her military career ended. (02:23)
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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