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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Niceville, FL - March 16, 2013

Military Order of the Purple Heart's Chapter 811, Niceville, Florida, set a new milestone as Meredith L. McQuagge, a combat wounded veteran of the Iraq War, was elected as the first female Chapter Commander in the State of Florida

On March 16, 2013, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 811, Niceville, Florida, set a new milestone as Meredith L. McQuagge, a combat wounded veteran of the Iraq War, was elected as the first female Chapter Commander in the State of Florida.

Region IV Commander Bill Everett congratulates Meredith McQuagge

Patriot McQuagge, Age 34, was born in Stamford Texas and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Texas in Denton with a BA in Communications in 2001.  She joined the US Army in March, 2006 and, after basic training and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, she was assigned to Ft. Sill, OK.  From December 2007 to March, 2009, she served in Iraq providing convoy security for vehicles at Tallil Airbase, Southeast of Baghdad, and as a member of a dedicated movement team working with the State Department at Camp Echo, Iraq.  

On July 5, 2008, Patriot McQuagge was wounded when a 105mm rocket exploded nearby, leaving her with shrapnel in her face and neck, the largest less than 1/4 inch from her carotid artery, third degree burns to her neck, damage to her mouth and teeth, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), from which she continues to suffer blinding headaches, vertigo, and memory lapses.  For her military service she was awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal w/ two stars, the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, and a Driver and Mechanic Badge.  She and other members of her platoon also received a Meritorious Honor Award from the Department of State. 
Patriot McQuagge joined the MOPH soon after her separation from the Army in 2009.  Reflecting on her reasons for joining, she said, “Being in combat really changes a person and only those who have been there truly understand what it is like and how after you return, the world is never the same. I enjoy being a part of an organization who strives to see that veterans are recognized for their service and are remembered. I know I was very lucky and what I endured is nothing to the price paid by many and who continue to give every day in ongoing conflicts. I understand that for good works to continue each generation must do its part and this is one way I have chosen to do mine.”  Before her election as Chapter Commander, she served as the Finance Officer and as Senior Vice Commander.
Patriot McQuagge and her husband, also a retired USAF MSGT, now live in Valparaiso, Florida with their two-year old son.  She continues to serve as a member of the IRR (Individual ready Reserve),  works with several veteran service organizations and, until recently. served as a “Key Spouse” for 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base.

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes. 

For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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