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Grace Mehl

Date of birth: 23-Jul-56
Home of record: Smithtown New York

Grace Mehl was one of the group of five women, including Michelle J. Howard, Maureen Farren, Ann O'Connor, and Kathleen A. McGrath, chosen to be the first female combatant commanders in the United States Navy. In December of 1998, Captain McGrath became the first woman to command a United States Navy warship when became commander of the frigate U.S.S. Jarrett. Only a few months later, Commander Mehl assumed command of the U.S.S. Gunston Hall.


Bronze Star

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Awarded for actions during the Operation Allied Force

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal to Commander Grace Mehl, United States Navy, for meritorious achievement in connection with operations against the enemy while serving as Commanding Officer, U.S.S. GUNSTON HALL (LSD-44) from April to June 1999. Commander Mehl maintained the highest level of readiness during combat operations in the Adriatic and short-notice movement to the Aegean Sea. Ever vigilant and ready to respond to surface and air threats that existed in the Adriatic during hostilities, she commanded the Amphibious Readiness Group primary control ship for every ship-to-shore movement in support of Operations ALLIED FORCE and JOINT Guardian, and Joint Task Forces NOBIL ANVIL and SHINING HOPE. Commander Mehl coordinated all landing craft movement and cargo, sequencing to guarantee the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) (Special Operations Capable) requirements arrived at the right place at the right time. She was the catalyst behind a flawless amphibious landing that delivered the combat power of the entire 26th MEU ashore in only 34 hours, facilitating the Unit's initial operational capability for peacekeeping operations in a total of 42 hours from first craft touchdown. Commander Mehl's distinctive accomplishments during combat operations, untiring initiative and complete dedication to duty reflected great credit upon herself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: April - June 1999

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Company: Commanding Officer

Division: U.S.S. Gunston Hall (LSD-44)