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The Madison Record

Lt. Col. Klee now owns Dixie Wreaths

MADISON – Marypat Klee is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and owns Dixie Wreaths By Marypat.

After retirement, Klee moved to Wisconsin and worked as Executive Assistant to Midwest Airlines President/CEO. In 2014, she and her sister relocated to the Huntsville area. In 2017, Klee started Dixie Wreaths By Marypat.

“I create unique, one-of-a-kind handmade wreaths, made with premium quality ribbons and accent pieces, Klee said. Wreaths are seasonal (spring, summer, fall) and holiday (Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day) as special decor for both inside and outside the home and/or business.

Dixie Wreaths also has designs oriented for occupation (teacher, military), sports and special occasion (weddings). “We attend craft shows, like Madison Street Festival, and welcome customers to call and visit our home shop. We do numerous special orders in which we create and design wreaths based on the customer’s colors, theme and price point,” Klee said.

For information about Dixie Wreaths, call 414-915-0607 or 256-970-4346, email dixiewreaths@gmail.com, visit Facebook/dixiewreathsbymarypat or purchase at ETSY.com/shop/DixieWreathsShop.

Her Army career started in 1976 as a Direct Commission from Fond du Lac, Wis. Klee was in one of the last classes of Women’s Officer Orientation Class at Women’s Army Corps Center and School, Fort McClellan.

She completed Transportation Officer Basic Class at Fort Eustis, Va. When she graduated, only 38 women were in Army Transportation Corps. In the next 15 years, she and many classmates were the first women (or women officers) in units.

Klee served at Pusan, Korea in 1979-1980 and was first female boss for 70 men — 60 Korean, 10 American. Soon after arriving, a senior NCO told Klee he “had drawn the shortest stick at a party the GIs and Koreans held; he was told to tell me to get on the train out of Pusan in the morning and go back to Seoul. They did not want a female boss.”

“I let him know differently — I was there to stay!”

In 1980, she was one of 300 women assigned as a mass move to Fort Bragg. Women weren’t allowed in XVIII ABN Corps HQ and limited to HHC commands.

“I served on staff and held HHC Commander/Battalion Motor Officer position in 7th Transportation Command (motor vehicle). I was BMO when the first M915 (commercial trucks) rolled out,” Klee said.

Klee served in Karlsruhe, Germany as Organizational Effectiveness Consultant; as one of the first women to receive secondary special in Operations; and in 7th Support Command in Northern Germany’s “British Sector.”

Again, Klee faced opposition because of gender.

She was the first female officer in Europe as president of a Community Women’s Club. The follow-on commander didn’t believe God had made women to be leaders.

In 2006, Klee retired as Lieutenant Colonel. Her highest medal is Legion of Merit. She is a Disabled Veteran.

One of her most memorable achievements was working as Chief, Transportation Branch for Colonel Frank Henderson. Klee’s team planned all transportation — air, sea and land — for largest deployment since D-Day.

“Over 76,000 III Corps combat and combat support military members were brought to Europe,” Klee said. She worked with British military and military/civilian industry with Dutch, Belgium and German representatives.

Following 9-11, Klee was assigned to Fifth Army in San Antonio to oversee all Reserve and National Guard units’ movements west of the Mississippi. She attended movement conferences in Kuwait.

In education, Klee earned degrees at University of Wisconsin and University of the Incarnate Word.

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