Camp Victory, Iraq – Summer 2003

Eighteen years ago, I spent about seven months at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq (most living in a rat-infested tent).  I flew from Kuwait where I had spent five months (and convoyed back to Kuwait when it was finally my time to go).  I had a fairly cushy Army experience, but it was still a big culture-shock to me. When I […]

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FEAR AND LOATHING IN KUWAIT

I arrived in Kuwait on January 28th, 2003.  I lived at Al Jaber Airbase until mid-June.  My initial overall feeling was excitement, at seeing my boyfriend again and to be involved in a unique and exciting experience.  My boyfriend had deployed in November.  I was so naive and had no idea what was really happening.  Did I think this was […]

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Private Benjamin

Nineteen years ago a somewhat bratty former figure skater and former sorority girl left for Army basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  She signed up for the Army a few short weeks before September 11, 2001 and was worried her loan repayment plan may turn into a little more than she bargained for.  She was excited though to take […]

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Growing up after graduation

A friend once directed me to a TED talk given by Wes Moore called “How to talk to veterans about war.”  I highly recommend you take a listen.  It made me think maybe there are some of you interested in hearing a little more about how I went from sorority girl to soldier.  If you know someone who was in the military, it is always an interesting and unique story that starts with the question “why did you join?”  It’s also a nice way to show a veteran that you are interested and thankful for their service. At the risk of aging myself, I will tell you my story.  I graduated college August 11, 2001.  8/11 may be less famous than 9/11, but I remember it well. My cap said “thanks mom” and both my brothers, mom and nieces and nephews made the out of state trek to see me get my diploma. What I could have told you that day about Iraq was what I learned when I was in middle school while my oldest brother was serving in the Navy during the (first) Gulf War.  What I knew about Afghanistan was even less.  I hope (but doubt) I could have found either of these countries on a map.   At the time of my college graduation, I had been stuffing envelopes with folders of resumes and cover letters inside to all the big magazines in New York City.  Yes there was Internet back at […]

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