Celebrating Dragon Veterans 2021 – Amy Leupp

At MSUM, we value the dedication, responsibility and leadership veterans bring to our university, both as students and as employees. We proudly honor all veterans who have served our country and recognize a few of our Dragon veterans for their commitment to serve and protect.  

Amy Leupp, Psychology major and Art Therapy minor

Amy Leupp served four years in the U.S. Airforce station in a Combat Comm unit, which required staying under 24-hour deployment notice. As an Airfield Systems Maintenance technician, she maintained mobile airfield equipment, mobile radios and equipment that directed aircraft in inclement weather.

Soon after arriving in her first duty location in Oklahoma City she experienced trauma, leading to a severe injury. As a result, she experienced many physical difficulties during the rest of her service. “I have bulging disks from my tailbone to my neck, one disk ruptured while I was still in the service, and I have degenerative disk disease, nerve damage and arthritis in my spine and hip,” Amy said.

She used a cane to get around and moved out of her position in the maintenance shop into an administrative assistant position while undergoing medical treatment for her injury.

“I have PTSD from the trauma. I know it isn't a happy story, but I imagine not everyone’s story is,” Amy said.

She has some fond memories of her service, including climbing a 30-foot-tall radio tower and repelling down from the top of it.

While serving in the military, Amy accomplished things she could never have imagined. As the only woman in her shop and one of very few females in her squadron, she is proud of her ability to keep up with the men.

“During combat readiness school we learned how to clear a building using airsoft guns, and I was hit so much through my body armor that I had welts all over my arms and legs,” Amy said. “During that time, I was also the only woman to challenge males in hand-to-hand combat.”

Despite the challenges she faced during her service, it did open new doors for her. “I was severely injured at the age of 20 and am a 100 percent disabled veteran. With that comes the opportunity for college, and I love being a Dragon,” she said. Amy would eventually like to obtain a master’s degree in art therapy and establish a program in the VA nationwide that will assist veterans who have experienced trauma.

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