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Meet the Women of 'Pin-Ups for Vets' 2018

Pin-Ups for Vets, the charity founded by Gina Elise to support America's hospitalized veterans, has just issued the 12th edition of its annual calendar.

Pin-Ups For Vets raises money for veterans' healthcare and donates funds to VA hospitals for medical equipment and program expansion. They also boost morale through the calendar but they also make bedside visits to ill veterans and provide makeovers and clothing to military wives and female veterans.

The women who appear in the 2018 calendar are also military veterans. If you want to see full-size photos, buy a calendar. We're combining their calendar photos with photos of each model taken during her military service. Each woman also details her military service and explains why she chose to participate in Pin-Ups for Vets.

Tess Rutherford - USMC

“Undoubtedly, there are a lot of people living in this world, who are in need of care, time, and attention. But for me, I feel it is my duty...my responsibility to extend a helping hand to my fellow veteran. The one thing that was inculcated in my mind as a recruit in boot-camp is having my fellow veteran's back. When we are in a war zone, we are not only fighting to save the lives of our countrymen and women, we are also fighting to protect fellow military personnel. This is what makes Pin-Ups For Vets ever so special. It gives us vets the opportunity to do what we did while serving. We are able to put a smile on the face of a veteran who has just undergone horrific surgery or lighten up the countenance of one who is on their dying bed. The only thing that changes is we are allowed to be elegant, regal, sophisticated, and beautiful during the process. It brings a great feeling of euphoria to change lives in such a way!”

“My military job was High Frequency Communication; however, my actual work involved training officers. My most memorable time in the military has to be my boot-camp experience. Boot-camp shaped me in unimaginable ways. I entered as a rebellious, immature, and selfish young adult and graduated as an obedient, mature, young woman. Boot-camp is not limited to physical fitness alone. It teaches one about survival, about team camaraderie, about loyalty and to this end I am forever grateful.”

Michelle Rivera - Army

“I wanted to be a part of the calendar because it’s important for me to find ways to give back to other vets, especially those that went before me. I'm a proud 3rd generation Army Veteran. I love what Pin-Ups for Vets does particularly for hospitalized vets, beyond raising money for medical equipment or services, PUFV lifts these vets’ spirits and there’s no dollar amount that can buy that! I also love that female veterans are part of the calendar, giving us an opportunity to show people another side of women veterans. We’re often either left out of the veteran conversation or viewed negatively, so I love that people get to see another (positive) side of us!”

“I was an 88M in the Army. I drove an M915A2 truck and was assigned to a fuel hauling unit. In 2004 I had been in the reserves for 2 years when I was activated and deployed to Iraq. We were there for a year and I’d say hauling fuel tankers around Iraq in 2004-2005 was pretty interesting in and of itself. When people ask this question, it’s hard to pick a story or a moment from my service. I never jumped out of a plane, but I did get to fire a lot of powerful weapons I’d never otherwise touch if not for my military experience. Getting to shoot a .50 caliber machine gun out of the turret of a humvee was pretty cool! I fired an AT4 rocket launcher, threw grenades ... I’d never even fired a handgun prior to entering the Army so all of those experiences were really interesting for me.”

Brendena Kyles - Navy

“I wanted to be a part of an amazing cause, to help out my fellow brother and sisters who have served before me. To know I'll be bringing a smile to someone's face brings me great joy. Who doesn't love pin-ups?”

“I was a Gunners Mate in the USN. My most memorable moment I had in the Navy was on deployment. They called the ships weapons defense team away at 1am. I remember jumping out of my rack scrambling to get my uniform on and running to the armory to get my weapon and ammo. Got all my tactical gear on and get to my weapon station, as I'm getting there it's pitch dark on the flight deck of the ship but we had night vision. I thought it was a drill till I saw 3 small boats mounted with weapons following us in our wake, definitely not a drill. Got sighted in with my 240 just waiting for the call, after a good 30 mins of nervously waiting for the call to shoot. They finally gave up and stopped following us, could not go back to sleep after that adrenaline rush.”

Megan Martine - USMC

“I have followed Gina's amazing work for over 10 years and have always dreamed of being a part of this amazing group and project!”

“I was a 3531 MOS (Motor Vehicle Operator) and did some CLS/UNS work in the latter half of my career. Some of my most memorable moments were motivating young Marines and qualifying Expert Marksman on the range (M16A2) 7 times.”

“It's integral to work as a part of a team in life; but never lose the individuality that made you crucial to the team. Never conform, assault forward."

Allison Paganetti - Army

“I was raised in the presence of two veterans, my grandfathers. It was engrained in me that the truly brave and selfless individuals who provided my freedom should always be respected and never forgotten. I am proud to do my part to shine light on any cause that supports my fellow veterans.”

“I was a Signal Corps officer in the 11th Signal Brigade. My deployment was the most memorable experience of my time in service. It was both horrifying and humbling. No matter how perilous my surrounding, the bonds that were created between my joint teams, comrades, civilian contractors and international counterparts created a sense of trust and security that has not been matched to this day.”

Daphne Bye - USMC

“Being able to be part of something so close to my heart was an honor. I love to support my fellow brothers and sisters past and present.”

“My job was logistics. I was your civilian version of FedEx or ups, I made sure gear and classified equipment was delivered to its final destination. (TMO) My most memorable time was becoming a range coach and being able to teach other Marines how to properly and successfully use their weapons and the fact that I was the only female there was even better for me not only because we are so few in the corps but because most would be shocked to see me there as a coach. I was proud!”

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