Alumna of the Issue: Marla Buckles ’71


When she retired on Oct. 2014, Marla Buckles ‘71 was the chief nurse of United States Air Force hospital, Malcolm Grow Medical Clinic and Surgery Center in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Prior to this job, Buckles held a multitude of positions, including chief consultant of nursing services, medical operations squadron commander, aerospace medicine flight commander, medical services flight commander, nurse manager, charge nurse and clinical nurse.

What did you do as chief nurse of a United States Air Force Hospital?

When I retired, I was the chief nurse at an air force base. I was in charge of about 200 nurses and some medical technicians. I had nurses at Walter Reed Hospital, Fort Belvoir and Andrews Air Force Base. I was responsible for the nursing practice and standards, personnel assignments and career counseling to help nurses determine their career goals.

What was the coolest experience you had during your career?

I was deployed to Germany to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to take care of returning wounded warriors, and that experience was really amazing. [In field medicine], the cure and standards are the same and quality of care is the same, but the environment makes it different. Supporting military people that have made the decision to go to war and defend our country is what makes it different.

How do you think Hockaday prepared you for your job and leadership roles?

I was a boarder at Hockaday so I think, number one, you get the maturity and independence quicker because you are away from home. And when you are living with girls and you are around girls, you learn how to build relationships and deal with different personalities.