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Linda Coffield

March 2022 – Linda Coffield
U.S. Navy 1970-2018

Born in 1951 in Buffalo, New York (NY), Linda spent her early years in Williamsville, NY. She graduated from Williamsville South High School in 1969 and joined the Navy in 1970. She planned to see the world and to have an adventure – she had no idea what was in store for her. After being sworn into the Navy “WAVES” (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Linda attended Boot Camp in Bainbridge, Maryland, followed by Yeoman “A” School.

After 3 years at Naval Station Bainbridge, she transferred 120 miles down the road to Naval Personnel Command (NPC) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. She quickly became the face of the Navy, driving numerous dignitaries to various foreign embassies to obtain visas for overseas travel. She participated in the distribution of Prisoner of War (POW) bracelets which had the name of service members missing in action in Vietnam. While in D.C., Linda married and started her family, having son Jon at Bethesda and son Chris after her family arrived in San Diego. Linda left the Navy in 1975 to concentrate on her growing family.
After more cross-country adventures, Linda found herself in Tennessee (TN) and decided that 1985 was the time to resume her Naval career. She joined Naval Air Reserve Patrol Squadron VP-67, the “Golden Hawks”, flying onboard P-3 Orion sub hunter aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Millington, TN, where she proudly “took care of her Shipmates”. Although not part of the aircrew, she nonetheless deployed to Japan, Hawaii, South Korea, Alaska, and various other Pacific rim locations. Like most drilling reservists, Linda held a civilian job. Hers was with the Mcdonald’s Hamburger chain in Memphis, TN. Her obvious enthusiasm and work ethic got her noticed; and she was selected to attend the Hamburger University in Chicago, Illinois, where she learned all aspects of restaurant management from marketing to finance to leadership.
After VP-67 decommissioned in March 1994, she enthusiastically acquired order to the Navy Aircraft Carrier support augmentation units at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Millington. She was one of the first women assigned to combat ships and subsequently served onboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67), USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72), and USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69). On LINCOLN, she was one of 14 females. With no designated female berthing, they were given a squadron berthing area and assigned only one female head (bathroom) on the whole ship.
In 1996 she transferred to the Naval Reserve Office of Naval Intelligence at NSA Millington. There, she traveled to NAS Key West, Florida, to assist a joint Navy/Coast Guard drug interdiction group and to NAS Rota Spain to liaison with public works and the Spanish government.

After 5 years of active-duty special assignment work, she reaffiliated with the Reserves and was assigned to the NPC Casualty Assistance branch dealing with families of personnel who were killed in action. In 2012, Linda was promoted to Chief Petty Officer (CPO) and was assigned as the Admin CPO at the NSA Millington SEABEE unit.

She retired from the Naval Reserve in 2006 and accepted a job with the Naval Selection Boards at NSA Millington. In 2018 she fully retired. She is a member of the Military Women Across the Nation (MWAN, formerly WAVES) Memphis Belles Unit 151 where she is a past secretary and current treasurer. She has spent 10 years managing their national supply locker. Along with other local MWAN members, she volunteers with the Veterans Administration (VA) food drive every year, collecting and packing food for Veterans and their families. She also volunteers with the Tipton County Veterans Service Office service projects which build fences, ramps, and porches for local Veterans.

For her exceptional service to our country, Linda was awarded three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, five Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, three National Defense Medals, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with hourglass device.

Chief Coffield was nominated for Veteran of the Month by her good friend Robin Wallace, the May 2021 Veteran of the Month.