Sandy Mitten: Our Woman of Valor

Last Friday, one of our family travelled to our Nation’s Capital to receive an award.

As a retired Naval Officer, I am one of several veterans we have in our MLC family. We all tease each other about the branch of the military we served in but that is in jest and we all deeply respect the service to our great Nation.

On Saturday, June 12th at the Military Women’s Memorial at the entrance to the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, United States Coast Guard Port Security Chief Petty Officer Sandy Mitten, was honored as a “Woman of Valor” and presented with a specially designed brooch.

The brooch features a hand-painted enamel “forget-me-not” flower with purple petals. Purple is a composite of all the military branch colors and symbolizes joint service. At its center, the white pearl represents not only the power of women, but also loyalty and integrity. The gold-plated center star and letter “V” on the tips of the leaves represent valor.

Chief Petty Officer Sandy Mitten was the first Coast Guard woman to serve overseas in a combat role. Her combat service was with the newly formed Port Security Units (PSUs). Sandy was a reservist who earned the nickname “Grandma Gunner” in the Persian Gulf after she manned the aft .50-caliber machine gun while on a PSU Raider boat during a routine patrol and she was also lovingly called “Gulf War Granny.” Sandy was one of ten women who received the “Woman of Valor” award yesterday. After that ceremony, Chief Petty Officer Mitten and her daughter were escorted by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Phyllis Wilson, President of the Women’s Memorial to a new display in the museum where Sandy’s Coast Guard utility uniform is on display and where she was presented with a special award as a “Woman of Significance.”

Below is a video of the “Women of Valor” Brooch presentation. You can see Sandy get her award at the 01:00:22 time mark in the Video.

When we heard about the upcoming presentation and realized that none of us could be there to share this incredibly special moment with Sandy and her daughter, one of our Congregation members arranged for a dear friend, a retired Full Colonel to represent us. His email reporting on the event and the program are attached below.

Please join me in congratulating our very own Sandy Mitten on this outstanding life achievement.


Yours in Christ,

Troy Borema

MLC Council President