The Pennsylvania Commission for Women held a Female Veterans Day ceremony yesterday in which two Lebanon County women were among those recognized for their military service and selfless sacrifice to Pennsylvania and the nation.
Dana Boyer and Danielle Watkins were among the sixteen women total recognized, given Lebanon County an unusually high percentage of the overall list. (Needless to say, it helps that Fort Indiantown Gap lies within the County, the nation’s busiest National Guard training site.)
“The 16 women who we honor today represent the patriotism and commitment to country that more than 60,000 Pennsylvania female veterans have demonstrated through their military service,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“Major Dana Boyer enlisted as a private in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1996. In 2004, she commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Quartermaster Corp. She deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon her return home, she was selected to be the commander for the 131st Transportation Company, which she led in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As a result of her deployment to Afghanistan and the loss of three fellow soldiers, Major Boyer is currently organizing to have a Fallen Hero Memorial built at Fort Indiantown Gap, slated to break ground this spring.”
“Chief Warrant Officer 3 Danielle Watkins enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in March 2001 while attending nursing school, and was assigned to the 131st Transportation Company as a tractor trailer driver. In 2003, she deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. Upon graduating from nursing school, Danielle became employed with the Lebanon VA Medical Center and worked on a medical-surgical unit. She was then selected to serve as the nurse case manager on the Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom Team, and was responsible for care coordination and outreach for returning veterans. After nine years of enlisted service, Danielle attended Warrant Officer Candidate School and Army Rotary Wing Aviation School – and went on to become a Blackhawk pilot. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. She continues to serve, and is currently on a military leave of absence from the VA, serving an AGR tour at Fort Indiantown Gap.”