Mother of 13 brings new meaning to 'Army strong'

By Spc. Loni KingstonDecember 9, 2008

Healy Family
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Graduation hug
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Healy Graduation
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Army News Service, Dec. 9, 2008) -- Under normal circumstances, a Soldier graduating from Advanced Individual Training doesn't attract the attention of many people besides friends and family.

Pfc. Siobhan Healy, though, is a 39-year-old mother of 13 children.

Healy not only graduated at the top of her class Friday, the 63B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics Course at the Ordnance Center and School's Edgewood area on Aberdeen Proving Ground -- she also scored 350 points on her physical fitness test.

"I started working out about six months before I went to basic training," she said. "I was afraid that the younger people would outrun me."

A German native, Healy has wanted to join the military since the age of 18, said her husband Christopher Healy, but was unable to serve in the German military due to her gender and her 6-foot-1-inch stature.

At the age of 39, Healy thought that the opportunity to join the military had passed her by until a Maryland Army National Guard recruiter informed her otherwise, she said.

Healy said that although she was excited at the prospect of fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a Soldier, she was a little apprehensive of being deployed and away from her children.

Ultimately, due to her appreciation and her desire to give back to her adoptive country, she decided to go for it.

Healy declined any bonuses because she didn't want to sign up for the money; she did it for her country, she said.

"It was the right thing to do for me," she said.

The 200th Military Police Company, a Maryland National Guard unit in Catonsville, Md., just welcomed Healy, its newest Soldier, to their team.

Healy is not finished in her endeavors, though; She also wishes to become a police officer for the Baltimore City Police Department and is currently earning a degree in criminal justice.

(Spc. Loni Kingston serves with the Maryland National Guard.)