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Vietnam veteran laid to rest at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 9:04 PM CDT
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NEWTON, Miss. (WTOK) - Friday was a day of honoring and celebrating the life and service of Mary Ellen Eckles.

“She was always working with our VFW Post and helping us do things all the time. It’s a shame we lost her because she was a wonderful person,” Richard Lancaster of VFW Post 12124 said.

Eckles was a Vietnam veteran. She enlisted in the U.S. Army in September of 1966. Back then, if you were a female that saw combat, you were more than likely a nurse.

Although Eckles wasn’t a nurse, she definitely saw combat. She was even shot down while in a helicopter. Her longtime friend, Marilyn Frasier, says Eckles immediately jumped into action and began rendering aid to other soldiers.

After the military, Eckles became a dual member of the VFW and the Auxiliary.

“She served honorably in the army. She was a spec force. She was an admin person, which is odd they ended up in combat. It’s especially odd because we are talking 1966-68,” 12124 VFW Auxiliary President Linda Seefeld said.

She was instrumental in promoting and honoring everyone that’s served.

“She did some really great things for our VFW Post. She was a worker. She was always busy and always helping,” Lancaster said.

During a special celebration honoring Vietnam Veterans in 2015, Eckles was excited and honored. She told Newscenter 11 that she felt appreciated and was excited to lead the parade into the event that day.

Mary Ellen Eckles received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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