Magazine article Newsweek

Back from the Lion's Den

Magazine article Newsweek

Back from the Lion's Den

Article excerpt

Byline: Jesse Ellison

In the new PBS documentary "Lioness," Specialist Shannon Morgan, a brawny, tattooed Army vet, conveys the anguish of post-traumatic stress disorder in one simple line. In the woods of her native Arkansas, she sits with a rifle in one hand. On the brink of tears, sounding half like a warrior and half like a lonely young girl, she recounts the fire fight in Iraq that probably should've killed her. "I really wish," she says, "I had lost my mind."

Morgan never expected to fire a weapon. She enlisted as a mechanic, but once in country she was tapped to join a new program that deployed female support soldiers--dubbed "Lionesses"--on missions with all-male combat units. The idea was to provide a sort of cultural buffer, calming Iraqi women during searches, handing out candy to kids. But in the war's chaotic early years, the Lionesses were often pressed into more active combat roles. For the first time in U. …

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