In , a male shipmate got into my barracks room and placed a camera in my bathroom and set it to record. I found it only after getting out of the shower. I took the camera to my male chief, whom I had known for only about a month. He assured me that he would get to the bottom of it. By lunchtime, the strange looks from everyone became obvious. Another shipmate told me that everyone in the company office had passed the camera around and saw the video of me naked, getting into and out of the shower. I come from a Hispanic family and am the only woman in my family to have joined the Army.
I was very young and was afraid they would try to talk me out of enlisting.
I was the first female Navy pilot to instruct in the T Pegasus trainer for the advanced maritime prop pipeline. I was also among the first mission commanders and maintenance check pilots. I was among the first female aviation assignment officers. I was the first female naval aviator to be promoted to the rank of one-star and then two-star admiral in the Navy.
Staff Sgt. I am currently Mrs. Texas Galaxy. In , I had orders to be stationed on the U. Fitzgerald, which at the time was stationed in San Diego.
When my ship finally pulled in, I found out I was the first female enlisted sailor to ever be stationed onboard. I have served for 16 years in the National Guard, Reserves and on active duty, and I have become accustomed to being the only person in the room who looks like me. My greatest accomplishment was taking command and deploying over troops into combat and bringing them all home safely to their loved ones. The infantry was facing issues running combat patrols because the local women were hiding intelligence, weapons and high-value targets.
It would have been cultural warfare for the male infantrymen to search these women. My unit treated me no differently because I was a woman. In , I assisted with the integration of women into Ranger School for the first time in history. These efforts helped to change the combat exclusion ban on women in direct ground combat and ushered in the opening of all positions for women in the armed forces. My job was very controversial. I was part of a group of servicewomen attached to the three phases of Ranger School and walked the lanes with the Ranger students.
Three women completed the course, and I personally got to watch one of them ace her leadership patrol and lead the pack like it was second nature. It took about a year for the whole process to end. I was fortunate enough to go to counseling and see a psychologist and was found to have depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD — all stemming from the assault.
I struggled with my self-worth more than I would like to admit.
Many days, I contemplated suicide. Not because I felt like a burden but because the pain I felt every day was nearly unbearable. To this day, I still have nightmares of the assault. But I have found peace, which I have learned is all that matters. The day I re-enlisted, my daughter, Jessica, who was not quite 2, was in attendance and decided that she did not want to sit with my friend.
My commanding officer told me to bring her up, so I did. We re-enlisted together, which was wholly fitting because I had recently gotten divorced, and Jessica was the reason I chose to stay on active duty. After graduating from college in , I really wanted to serve in the military. Unfortunately, this meant I would have to hide that I am a lesbian. At the time, being openly gay in the service was forbidden. There was a woman about my age I was 22 at the time with a very young baby. I asked her how old she was, and she said the infant was about 4 weeks old — meaning she had been born either during or in the days after the hurricane.
I can't imagine having a baby without a doctor, running water or electricity. But there she was, showing me her beautiful baby girl. I served in the Army for nine years as someone else. About two years ago, I was able to start serving openly as a transgender woman. I deployed to Afghanistan for eight months when my first child was only eight months old. My family was stationed in Germany at the time, and because my husband was also active duty, he had to take our daughter to the United States, so our family could care for her.
My mother brought her back to Germany when she was 18 months old. The team has since doubled in size and performs at N. I am very vocal about bringing awareness to the misogyny that is rampant within the military, especially the Marine Corps. I love Marines, but I do not love everything that myself and other Marines have been through.
List of United States Marine Corps acronyms and expressions
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Marine veteran opening Stars & Stripes Brewing Co. in Freeport - Portland Press Herald
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