Life as an United states Female Soldier .>SERGEANT STEPHANIE JAMES, 23


I subscribed to the army in June 2001, once I had been 17. These people were providing to cover a few of my university education. we was not worried about the likelihood of going to war; i recently kept thinking, this will be going to be cool.

Couple of years later, I happened to be a sophomore during the University of Illinois in Urbana, and i acquired a phone call from my platoon sergeant, whom said, “Your product happens to be placed on alert.” That night, we went to start to see the Vagina Monologues at a theater that is local friends from my dorm. I did not state such a thing in regards to the telephone call. On November 11, Veterans Day, I happened to be told I became being implemented. We quit my part-time work at David’s Bridal store and boxed within the clothes in my dorm.

In February, We went along to a base in Kuwait, where you needed to wait in long lines irrespective of where you had been: when you look at the mess hallway, restroom, bath. You had been never ever alone. At evening, we placed on headphones and played Norah Jones to block all of it down.

One of the more essential things I brought from your home ended up being an image of me personally and my mother. I am one or two years old into the image, and I also’m using overalls and a red top. My mother is keeping me personally, and she actually is using a necklace that is beaded. Whenever I had been experiencing homesick, we’d go through the image. In addition had a bright-orange University of Illinois T-shirt that I slept in at night. Just I regretted not packing my flatiron as I got to Kuwait. My locks gets therefore frizzy if it is hot outside — and over here, it had been constantly hot. At long last had my mom mail me one.

When you look at the armed forces, they attempt to make things equal. Primarily, meaning women can be likely to seem like males. You cannot wear earrings. Makeup products cannot be exorbitant. I did not wear any, but i carried ChapStick. As soon as, a buddy delivered me nail enamel. She had written, “There most likely are not several times it is possible to feel just like a woman. For those who have some downtime, have actually a pedicure party.” During off-hours, we watched television. I acquired every person totally hooked on Intercourse as well as the City.

We met another soldier, Sergeant [Ivory L.] Phipps from Chicago. He had been inside the 40s and had held it’s place in Desert Storm. He always had the Bible with him, reading Psalms. We felt relaxed as he had been around.

In the of March 16, 2004, I arrived at a base near Baghdad evening. The overnight, my buddies and I also had been standing beside the washing building at lunchtime. We’d just held it’s place in Iraq about 18 hours. We saw Sergeant Phipps nearby. Then the explosion was heard by me. Whenever a mortar goes down, first you hear a thunkand an additional subsequent — boom.It’s essentially just a shell filled up with items of metal and random stuff. The shrapnel blows up and out, and that means you have actually getting straight down out of trajectory range.

Our squad frontrunner yelled, “Get down!” in which he grabbed me personally. I blacked out. The next thing i recall, I happened to be sitting within the bunker. My heart ended up being beating therefore fast. I really could hear people outside yelling for assistance.

Afterwards, we saw my squad frontrunner Sergeant that is carrying Phipps responsibility limit in the hand. It had been covered in blood.

I had been like, “Oh, my God.” Phipps handed down. Within my amount of time in Iraq, my squad destroyed five individuals.

Absolutely no way around it — female soldiers cope with dilemmas guys do not even think of. We took Depo and so I would not have my duration; i simply did not like to handle it overseas. My locks started falling out in clumps through the stress — coming down in clumps once I’d clean it. We utilized to cry in the phone with my mother. She’d state, “Stephanie, have you got your hands? Your feet? Shut up regarding the locks.” But there have been therefore things that are many could not control in Iraq. Hair ended up being just one single more thing.

I am just learning for exams and considering planning to law school. We have funds from the armed forces for continuing my education, and so I do not have to bother about funds the real means lots of my buddies do. But there are items that i cannot forget. Once I hear a loud sound, we have this chill. You never encounter that variety of fear except during war, also it never ever makes you.


COLUMBIA kasidie, MD


We joined up with the military once I was at senior school. We’d been your ex whom did not squeeze into any cliques. I needed to visit, and I liked the thought of devoid of to select an outfit every single day. I happened to be never ever into getting prettied up and attempting to wow the males.