Author Backstory: Merline Lovelace
Readers know Merline Lovelace as a USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 100 books with over 12 million copies in print, but did you know she received a Bronze Star for serving in Vietnam and commanded an Air Force base?
As a military brat, Merline joined the Air Force upon graduating from college. She met and married her husband, Al, while they were stationed in Taiwan and, when he received orders to go to Vietnam, she immediately volunteered to ship out, too, making them one of the rare married couples to share a war zone. Al saw rocket fire daily in Danang, near the DMZ, while Merline served with the 377th Wing at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, just outside Saigon and was there for the North Vietnam army’s Easter Offensive in 1972. She and Al received Bronze Stars for their service in Vietnam and Merline was assigned to the Pentagon when she returned stateside—first as a deputy military assistant to a presidential appointee, and then working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her next assignment was as wing/base commander of Eglin Air Force Base, in the Florida Panhandle, where Merline was responsible for more than 21,000 servicemen and servicewomen. In that role she had to deal with everything from aircraft crashes, murders and drug busts to tornados and hurricanes as well as deploying 800 of her troops to Desert Shield/Desert Storm during the Gulf War. Merline retired at the rank of colonel and is proud to have helped kick down some barriers for the women in uniform—eliminating mandatory discharge for pregnancy, enrolling female cadets at the academy and putting women in aircraft cockpits and missile silos.
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