“We have young women who have spent their entire lives in freedom who woke up to oppression because of a decision, an arbitrary date that was set. And now they have to wake up to the reality that their every day will be different from here on out. So I feel like we’re wasting our time if we don’t stand up, and we don’t let these women know that they are not forgotten. That is not what America stands for. We stand for freedom. We stand for fighting for those that stand by our side. And we don’t walk away because someone signed a piece of paper saying that it was time for us to go.”

My name is Mary Bell. I’m a 23-year veteran to the intelligence community and a mother of five children. I spent the last six years working primarily in the Middle East and Afghanistan supporting United States Special Forces operations abroad. I recently retired from the United State Navy as a Senior Enlisted Leader and Arabic linguist specializing in overseas support to multiple government organizations in operational planning, real-time support, and two-way live interpretation.

I completed my degree in humanities in the spring of 2020 in hopes of starting a new career in anti-human trafficking and humanitarian aid abroad. Last year, I began working part-time as a senior analyst for the D. C.-based anti-human trafficking nonprofit, Heyrick Research. Using open-source analysis, I produce intelligence packages for U.S. law enforcement agencies, helping them develop new methods to better target human traffickers.

In the summer of 2021, I began volunteering 80+ hours a week to aid Afghanistan evacuation operations. I acted as the primary flight manifest officer for the UAE’s Humanitarian City for one month before transitioning to sustainment support as the Chief Operations Officer for Team-THEMIS, an organization that provides emergency aid to women and children still on the ground in Afghanistan.

I relocated to Amman, Jordan in October 2021 to begin building relationships in Jordan’s humanitarian aid community in hopes of starting work to fight the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

- Mary Bell