July 2021 – Rebecca Knox Dickinson
U.S. Navy 1961-1963
Becky Knox was born on April 28, 1943, in Chillicothe, Ohio to Donald and Marjorie Knox. She graduated from Centralia High School in May 1961, was sworn into the Navy in July, then promptly headed for bootcamp in Bainbridge, Maryland. Following her December 1961 graduation from Disbursing Clerk “A” School in Newport, Rhode Island, she moved further north to her first permanent duty station – Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine. Although she did not realize it, her time in Brunswick would shape the rest of her life. She was one of the sailors honored to be chosen to “man the barrels” when President John F. Kennedy made a stopover in Brunswick. More importantly, it was in Brunswick where she met and married the love of her life, Reid Dickinson. Their March 22, 1963, wedding made Becky both a wife and a mother, because her new husband was a single father with custody of his daughter. Given that she was now a mother in the eyes of the military, Becky received her honorable discharge on April 29, 1963. Men, it seemed, could be on active duty as single fathers; however, neither single nor married mothers were allowed in the military.
Although disappointed to leave the Navy that she loved, Becky never looked back. She spent the next 51 years and 5 months supporting her husband in any way that she could. When he retired after 22 years of Naval Service, Becky took a job in the Uniform Shop at the Navy Exchange onboard what is now Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington. She retired from there after 16 years.
Sadly, Becky lost her husband in August 2014. They raised three wonderful daughters, one of whom lives nearby in Atoka. Becky has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Becky is extremely proud of her grandson, Mark Martin, who is now a First Class Petty Officer stationed in Japan and carrying on the family tradition of serving our great nation. Becky is a life member of Military Women Across the Nation (previously WAVES) and a member of Bainbridge Recruit Center Women.
Becky was nominated for Veteran of the Month by her good friend Sheila Byrd.