"I still want to be on the forefront," retired naval officer Rebecca Owens said. "I still want to be walking a path that others can follow, and I still want to inspire."
Owens is doing just that through her current job with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) office in Washington, D.C., where she assists fellow veterans with their disability claims. She says she takes great pride in her role and wouldn't trade it for anything.
She said she always wanted to "do something big" with her life, which led her to pursue a military career and retire after 30 years as a U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. During her tenure, she served in both Persian Gulf wars and earned numerous citations, including a Meritorious Service Medal, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals and five Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Rebecca Owens is just one in a long line of venerable Chickasaw warrior women.
"The Chickasaw warriors are an inspiration," she said. "Their females were fearless. They had so much to protect, and they had so much to lose. Protecting [their elders and children] was something they would lay their lives down for."
The unconquerable spirit is one she inherited from her father, U.S. Air Force Aviation photographer Thomas E. Fear, and passed down to her two children: her daughter, Megan Leigh Gramm, is serving in the USAF, and her son, Derek Miles Campbell, is a U.S. Navy air crewman.