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. Aurtrey served a total of 22 years.
Aurtrey continued in a lifetime of public service, both as the current chaplain for the American Legion Women’s Post #438 and a Systems Accountant at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Center, Indianapolis.