It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

Synopsis

This inspiring anthology is the first to convey the rich experiences and contributions of women in the American military in their own words--from the Revolutionary War to the present wars in the Middle East.
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Serving with the Union Army during the Civil War as a nurse, scout, spy, and soldier, Harriet Tubman tells what it was like to be the first American woman to lead a raid against an enemy, freeing some 750 slaves. Busting gender stereotypes, Josette Dermody Wingo enlisted as a gunner's mate in the Navy in World War II to teach sailors to fire Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. Marine Barbara Dulinsky recalls serving under fire in Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968 and Brooke King describes the aftermath of her experiences outside the wire with the Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In excerpts from their diaries, letters, oral histories, and pension depositions--as well as from published and unpublished memoirs--generations of women reveal why and how they chose to serve their country, often breaking with social norms, even at great personal peril.

Excerpt

Kayla Williams

When I came home from Iraq and began the longer and more complicated journey back into civilian life, feelings of isolation and alienation often dominated during my interactions with people outside the military. I could pick out military men from across the room: the haircut, posture, set of jaw. Civilians often could, too, and the common phrase would come: Thank you for your service. Out of uniform, this didn’t often happen to me or the other women I served with. Even sporting obvious markers of military affiliation like bumper stickers or unit shirts was more likely to inspire questions about our husbands’ service, rather than our own.

Seeking to understand my new identity after the fundamentally life-altering experience of going to war, it only belatedly dawned on me that I was a veteran and shared something profound with other veterans stretching back through untold generations. Yet even in books, movies, and gatherings of fellow veterans, I still often felt invisible. Erased. My experiences questioned or subtly discounted.

My first book, Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, was partly a response to this marginalization. By telling my story, I wanted to give a richer and more nuanced window into the experiences of women serving in the global war on terror. Women who served in prior eras came up to me after talks to thank me for giving voice to experiences similar to their own:

1. This foreword was prepared in Kayla Williams’s personal capacity; the opinions expressed are her own and do not reflect the view of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.

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