Former Marine Whose Leg Was Amputated Poses as 1940s-Style Pin-Up for Calendar to Benefit Veterans

Annika Hutsler appears as Miss November in the annual Pin-Ups for Vets calendar, which raises funds to support military members who are hospitalized or deployed overseas

Annika Hutsler Pin-Ups for Vets calendar
Photo: Shane Karns

Former military members have transformed into glamorous models once again for the 17th annual Pin-Ups for Vets calendar, which raises funds for fellow veterans across the U.S.

Among the 13 women posing as 1940s-style pin-up models in the 2023 annual calendar is Annika Hutsler, a 26-year-old Marine veteran who elected to have her right leg amputated below the knee in 2019 after the discovery of an intramuscular arteriovenous vascular tumor in her foot.

"I was in awe," Hutsler told Fox News of seeing her photo for the Miss November page of the calendar. "I model, so I've seen what I look like on-camera. But with the hair, makeup and dresses, I looked like someone from that era."

"I just remembered walking in [on set] and seeing all the dresses ready. The music from that era was playing," she added of the photo shoot. "It was just a really fun experience to get dolled up in that way."

Hutsler told the outlet that her grandfather, who served in both the Vietnam and Korean Wars, had an emotional reaction to seeing his granddaughter dressed in attire women worn when he was young.

"He saw the photos and awestruck would be the best word to describe his reaction," she said. "It just reminded him of back when he was overseas."

Hutsler said she was proud to be able to contribute to the 2023 edition of the Pin-Ups for Vets calendar, a project that has helped purchase $100,000 worth of rehabilitation equipment for veteran and military hospitals.

"If you look back at the history of what pinups were, it's women feeling like they were part of the war effort," she explained to Fox News. "It's coming back around now because everybody on the calendar is a veteran. And this is our way to pay tribute to those women who participated in the war effort before us. Not only are these calendars good for morale, but [founder Gina Elise] is demonstrating the importance of giving back to those who are trying to find their way in the civilian world now."

It's certainly not the first time Hutsler has been an inspiration in the veteran community.

In an interview with Semper Fi & America's Fund, she opened up about the decision to have her foot amputated after experiencing multiple infections and other painful setbacks in the months that followed her tumor diagnosis. Though she saw many doctors hoping to save her foot, she ultimately decided to go through with an amputation below the knee to preserve her quality of life.

Since then, Hutsler has competed in the Warriors Games, the 2019 Marine Corps Trials, and the 2020 Marine Corps Trials. She also has her sights on participating in the 2026 Paralympics as a snowboarder, she told the organization, whose mission is to care for critically wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and military families.

Hutsler has shared many moments from her journey on social media.

"I have progressed so much from the girl that had goals just to learn to run and snowboard again," she wrote in a recent post.

"Life is hard," she added. "But that just makes you tough. And you've always come out on top of all the things you never thought you could."

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