At Casemate, we have had the unique opportunity to publish stories about the courage and accomplishments of women in the military.
On International Women’s Day, we are honored to share the experiences of the following three women and their incredible sacrifices in war.
Jess Goodell enlisted in the Marines immediately after graduating from high school in 2001, and in 2004, she volunteered to serve in the Marine Corps’ first officially declared Mortuary Affairs unit in Iraq. Her platoon was tasked with recovering and processing the remains of fallen soldiers.
As Jess described it, “Our platoon was to the Marines what the Marines are to much of America. We did things that had to be done but that no one wanted to know about.”
Her book Shade it Black: Death and After in Iraq describes her job retrieving and examining the remains of fellow soldiers lost in combat, and the psychological intricacy of coping with their fates, as well as her own.
Jess’ memoir describes the difficulties faced by these Marines when they transitioned to civilian life and how PTSD effects female veterans differently.
I think PTSD is expressed differently by females than by males. Whereas males may become aggressive, or drink to excess, females (or at least I) tend to detach myself from social situations and become withdrawn from relationships. I found myself in abusive relationships that I stayed in. I have always been a hard worker yet I stopped working for myself and became a servant for others.
You can learn more about Jess and her experience in this video produced by Open Road Media:
AnnaMaria Cardinalli has had an unusually varied career in both the performing arts and service to her country. A classical/flamenco guitarist and operatic singer, she became an international recording artist while still a teenager. She was accepted into the doctoral program in Theology at Notre Dame, and at age 24 became the youngest person awarded a Ph.D. from the university. After September 11, 2001, she responded to a call from the FBI for individuals with advanced degrees and cultural/religious expertise, which led to service in Iraq under the auspices of Joint Special Forces Command.
In 2010 the author became the subject of a veritable media firestorm when a report she penned for the U.S. Army’s first “Human Terrain Team” to be embedded with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan was released to the public by Wikileaks. Her report had analyzed Pashtun sexual practices, unveiling a generations-old pattern of abuse and discrimination that she believed perpetuated a cycle of violence. Aside from concerns for human rights and child abuse, her findings had implications for how to deal with the ongoing threat of terror.
Unfortunately, her report, and AnnaMaria herself, came under attack in some quarters, as the findings depicted in her official report were often misinterpreted or distorted. In Crossing the Wire: One Woman’s Journey into the Hidden Dangers of the Afghan War, her personal story, she reveals the exact journey that led her to the controversy.
U.S. Army Captain Kimberly N. Hampton was living her dream: flying armed helicopters in combat and commanding D Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry, the armed reconnaissance aviation squadron of the 82nd Airborne Division. An all-American girl from a small southern mill town, Kimberly was a top scholar, student body president, ROTC battalion commander, and highly ranked college tennis player. In 1998 she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. Then, driven by determination and ambition, Kimberly rapidly rose through the ranks in the almost all-male bastion of military aviation to command a combat aviation troop.
On January 2, 2004, Captain Hampton was flying an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter above Fallujah, Iraq, in support of a raid on an illicit weapons marketplace, searching for an illusive sniper on the rooftops of the city. A little past noon her helicopter was wracked by an explosion. A heat-seeking surface-to-air missile had gone into the exhaust and knocked off the helicopter’s tail boom. The helicopter crashed, killing Kimberly.
In Kimberly’s Flight: The Story of Captain Kimberly Hampton, America’s First Woman Combat Pilot Killed in Battle, Ann Hampton, Kimberly’s mother, alongside journalist Anna Simon, tell the story of Kimberly’s exemplary life through nearly fifty interviews and Kimberly’s own e-mails to family and friends.