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Thread: Shield & Sword

  1. #1
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    Shield & Sword

    In the early 1990’s I became a 5th generation soldier and joined my younger brother and my fiancé ( now husband) in the military. It was a bad time to join the military it was really reviled in the popular cultural of that decade . Slurs would be shouted against you ,you could be spit on ....it was .... but I was determined to follow a family tradition . And I would be the first female family member in the military and still to this day the only female member of my family to have been in the military.

    While I was at home yesterday to visit my mom I had time to reminisce briefly with my brother . He mentioned, those were “ hard times, not easy for sure “. It is something my sibling and I can have comradery on that nobody else understands really.

    This will just be a disjointed collection of military memories. And it kind of gives insight into a bit of my personality as military training never leaves you. I remember attending my husband’s medal ceremony recently and they called the room to attention and I immediately shot to attention in my seat automatically. I left the military 16 years ago .

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    We had been on exercise for what seemed forever , in reality it was probably 8 weeks. I hadn’t seen my brother in a month because the two platoons are gone separate ways . Being a section commander for the first time was really wearing a bit thin. I swear they had given me every substandard soldier in our unit to watch me fail.

    Sit rep was in 8 minutes and our hootch hotel was still up. I told my section to get that hootch hotel down and packed away I would be back with our new orders and prepare to move out as we were moving bivouac sites. I come back to find these people still milling around . I start screaming ,” form up on the road form up on the road!” I had slept 12 hours in 2 weeks and my patience was wearing very thin . I tore the hootch hotel right out of the ground and took my place in the platoon .

    I don’t remember getting to the new bivouac site but I am told I walked there . I guess I was sleeping as I walked . In the new site we set up our temporary home . I finally laid down to get some sleep . What seemed like minutes later I could hear my name being screamed out . S....... front and centre!! I automatically yelled out, Warrant! And I sat up. I could feel the tug of my C7’s sling on my wrist. I always slept with my weapon’s sling wound around my wrist a couple times and my hand on the barrel . I jammed my feet into my boots not bothering to tie them and went running through the forest. I reached my CSM. He said someone had come to visit me.

    Apparently, my brother and 2 others from the other platoon had come to visit. He was worried because he hadn’t seen me in so long. I was so beyond tired I couldn’t even recognize or process that it was my brother . Whereupon there was a lot of laughter and I was sent off to sleep.

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    A memory from my basic:

    I had a migraine and had puked approximately 47 times and had to keep going doing what we were doing. We had a hard azz female officer who wasn’t letting anyone out of anything for any reason. I finally lay on the ground as I was so dehydrated I thought I would die. They called an ambulance out. They took me up top shot me full of Demerol and Gravol . They let me sleep two hours and sent me back out.

    We were throwing live grenades. The officer said no way was I throwing grenades as I was stoned out of my face. The MCpl said I had to or I would not pass my basic and he would take responsibility for me.

    I went on to throw grenades and run for 5 miles on a beach to finish out that day.

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    Although I am proud of my service I am not proud of how the military has treated women and people in general. It is MUCH MUCH “ softer “ now. But you could not enter the military and be soft . If you were you were weeded out . I was handed more abuse because I was a woman than I want to remember. Verbal , emotional, physical and yes , even sexual.

    One Recce patrol I was sent out with two 18 year old infantrymen. It was a night navigation that was actually 16 hours long. During which I was mocked and they threatened to steal all my gear and leave me smack in the middle of the woods with squat. I challenged back that they would charged and jailed for abandoning me. They ran through the woods at night hoping to lose me. I fell every few feet because of the pace. At the end of the Recce I was covered in massive bruises that covered my entire body.

    During that nav we fell over a cliff because they were being reckless. I crashed through a tree a branch catching my pants and tearing into my leg and buttock. I landed on one of the guys at the bottom, blood pouring down my leg.

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    We were in a place called S.T. It was in the North during the winter. -55C. It was the coldest I have been in my life . We were snowmobiling on a frozen lake . Those I was with left me. They were laughing. They left me there not knowing in which direction to get back to camp . I could have fallen through light ice ,got lost in the woods and frozen to death ..anything .

    I was trying to get ahold of the sheer terror that gripped me . I was panicking . I had to get a grip on myself or I could’ve died . I followed my instincts and the occasional noise . I made it back to camp after about 30 minutes. They were all laughing. I screamed at them in sheer rage.

    It sobered their mood.

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    Lack of equipment and frostbite.

    Shortage of proper equipment is a perpetual problem for the Forces. I think it is why we are so ingeniously and wear so many hats.

    Winter exercises always a pain. Never enough arctic gear to go around especially if you are not “ average” in size and by average in size they mean ,man size . Never enough mukluks to go around when your mukluks are size 4 . So of course you have to go on a winter shoot with no mukluks. Let’s wear leather combat boots because Lord knows they will be warm . (. Insert sarcasm)

    After six hours of standing outside I can no longer feel my feet . I’m finally back in the warm and my feet thaw and it feels like my feet are on fire and I almost want to scream . “ Don’t be an effin sissy S, you’re fine. “

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    Now , of course not all of it was bad. I loved serving with my brother. I loved serving with my husband.

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    In Arduis Fidelius
    Faithful in Adversity


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