By: Sandra Thompson
It has been a long held misconception that we are the “Limestone County Veterans Museum” or even the “Athens Veterans Museum.” We are, in fact, the “Alabama Veterans Museum,” which means that we honor veterans not only from our own community but statewide and beyond. In this segment, we travel to Calhoun County, Alabama, to meet MA1 Mandy McCormick Leonard!
Mandy was born on July 2, 1997 at Ft. Oglethorpe, GA, and grew up in Alexandria, Alabama. After graduating high school in 2015, she decided to join the Navy. Mandy says she chose the Navy because she loves the honor and tradition that the Navy holds. “I love how diverse it is and how many locations we have worldwide.” She likes it so much, she re-enlisted just three years into her contract. Mandy says, “I always wanted to serve in the military; I feel as an American it was my way to give back to a country that I love. I love serving and I love the job that I do. I plan on making a career out of the Navy. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
Mandy chose the Master at Arms career field because of all of the opportunities within the field. The Master at Arms’ rating is the Navy’s military police force. Master-at-Arms ensures the Navy’s regulations are enforced. They provide the United States Navy with security specialists who perform force protection, anti-terrorism, physical security, and law enforcement duties on land and at sea. All training and experience can directly transfer to homeland security or other government and civilian law enforcement agencies. As a Master at Arms, Mandy’s duties have included Law Enforcement, Antiterrorism / Force Protection, Harbor Patrol, Small Arms Marksman Instructor to Crew, Weapons Instructor, and so many more.
Mandy’s first assignment was at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, from 2015-2018. She then went to Naval Support Facility Redzikowo, Poland in January 2019, she will continue to serve there until January 2021.
Some of Mandy’s best memories include the training, the travel, and especially the people you meet, they are the most important. She has formed friendships and lasting bonds with people from all over the world, if not for the Navy she never would have met these individuals. Her closest friends are first generation Americans; one is from Ireland and the other family is from the Philippines. “Meeting people with different backgrounds and cultures really opens your mind, and it has made me better at connecting with those from places all over the world.”
Mandy is married and her husband is active duty as well. She has an amazing stepson, Liam, who is 5 years old, and “right now he loves crystals, finding treasures, and going on ‘adventures.’” She comes from a huge Southern family that all still live in Alabama. She has 7 siblings ranging from 28 years old to 9 years old. She has nine nieces and nephews and counting. “Family events are never boring, I look forward to visiting them every chance I get.”
Thank you for your service!
By: Sandra Thompson
Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum