Her job wasn’t hard, but it was where she worked in the field in Japan and Korea that was a challenge for Dadeville resident and United States Marine Corps veteran Miranda Heard.
Heard served as an electrical equipment repair specialist in Okinawa, Japan and Pohang, Korea from 1999 to 2002. She worked in the support field and hotwired generators to provide power for the control position her company was with.
“The environments would be rough because we supported anyone from the infantry to the Marine reconnaissance and wherever they were training or went,” Heard said. “It’s depending on where your duty station is. Depending on where they went, that’s where you went and you would have to set up and run the power.”
Heard joined the Marines when she was 17 after she graduated from Dadeville High School in 1999. Heard turned 18 when she was in boot camp.
“I was interested in being challenged and I wanted to have a cultural experience, but I’ve always been a patriotic person and I wanted to be of service to the country,” Heard said. “Actually the service recruiter sought me out, but I instantly knew it was what I wanted to do.”
Heard wanted to be a field radio operator originally but ended up becoming an electrical equipment repair specialist. She participated in jungle warfare training in Japan and mountain warfare training in Korea.
Heard met her husband Courtney Heard, also a Dadeville native, when they were both serving in Japan.
“We met here but we actually didn’t date until we ran into each other in Okinawa, Japan,” Heard said. “We started dating after we were in the military.”
Heard worked as a combat training instructor in North Carolina from 2002 to 2005. She said she felt purposeful as an instructor.
“You have a very high level of responsibility because you were impacting so many lives and what you did on a daily basis may or may not help save that person’s life in a combat situation,” Heard said. “I really took my last three years in service seriously and loved what I did.”
Heard was named the School of Infantry Marine of the Year in 2002. She was discharged as a staff sergeant.
“I loved my time in service,” Heard said. “It wasn’t a burden to me. It was a blessing.”
After getting out of the Marines, Heard moved back to Dadeville while her husband was deployed. When he came back they decided to stay because she felt a strong sense of giving back to the community.
The Heards have two children; Cameron, 12, and Courtlyn, who is 6 weeks old.
Heard works as a hospice social worker and is a member of the Dadeville American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans Bill Nichols Chapter 13. She wants to help veterans get involved in the local groups.
“I cannot tell you how many elderly patients I had who weren’t receiving any benefits and I worked with (veteran service officer for Coosa and Tallapoosa County’s Department of Veterans Affairs) Nicole Goodman and other programs to qualify so many veterans for resources,” Heard said. “For years they weren’t getting anything and their spouse wasn’t getting anything. They had so many health needs and then filling out some paper work (for the DAV), they were turning around and receiving $2,400 a month that they could have been getting for a long time.”