- Open Access
Reflections on the United States Military 1941-1987
© Mandels; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
- Received: 19 June 2009
- Accepted: 1 September 2009
- Published: 1 September 2009
This article, 'Reflections on the United States Military 1941-1987' written by my grandmother, Mary Mandels, illustrates her passion for life. Her outreach article was considered most appropriate for publication in this forum. Her career activities are outlined in the prior article 'Mary Elizabeth Hickox Mandels, 90, Bioenergy Leader' while her accomplishments were fully recognized, for instance, nationally through the American Chemical Society and through her induction into the Hall of Fame at the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts. As illustrated, along with Dr Elwyn Reese at Natick's Pioneering Research Laboratory, she headed a bioengineering group that is particularly remembered for developing a process for the enzymatic conversion of waste cellulosic biomass into soluble sugars that could be fermented to ethanol for an alternate liquid fuel (gasohol). This technology remains a subject of interest with growing environmental concerns and an oil shortage crisis.
Mary broke the promotional glass ceiling in her own field, all the more remarkable from the perspective that she was born 3 years before women gained the right to vote. Her talents as the family storyteller, enthralling her four siblings while growing up, later reflected her abilities as an outstanding mentor to young scientists. Mary's passions went beyond her career with a love of nature and the outdoors, taking frequent canoe, hiking, skiing, and camping trips. She had a broad fascination for science, foci including her encyclopedic knowledge of plants and wildlife. When not outdoors Mary enjoyed listening to music, from opera to 'Bobby' Dylan, as she called him. Her voracious appetite for books was apparent by the tomes that covered her coffee table. She was never shy to share her political opinions and would send long handwritten letters to politicians who did something to her disapproval. She was strong willed and passionate in everything that she did. In particular was her love of the nation and of the US Army, and this particular article reflects her passion. Mary was an inspiration to all of those who knew her. For me, she was not only my grandmother but also my friend and role model. I will forever miss her wisdom, spirit and passion for life.
- Nuclear Weapon
- Military Establishment
- Civilian Employee
- Defense Contractor
- Civilian Economy
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.