They call her ‘Sister Sarge’. And Linda McClenahan has lived quite a life.
She grew up in Berkeley, California and graduate from a Catholic High School at the height of the Vietnam war. McClenahan had planned to be a nun, but seeing the fervent anti-war protestors changed that.
“I decided that before I gave my life to God, I wanted to give my service to our country,” she told John Mercure on a recent Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
In 1967 McClenahan went into the Army, specialized in Communication and volunteered to go to Vietnam. While there the young soldier was one of only two women in her specialty of preparing casualty reports and troop movements documents. She excelled at it and was quickly promoted to Sargeant.
By the time she left the service in 1970, McClenahan felt lost and was need of serious soul searching.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God. I just didn’t believe in the God of my childhood. I took some time and it allowed me to rediscover God,” she recounted to Mercure.
She found her calling with the Racine, Wisconsin Dominicans and now runs Post Traumatic Stress retreats for veterans, left through a spiritual lens.
She chuckles thinking about it. “If I ever write a book it will be called From Sargeant to Sister.”
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