By jgilber3, United States Army
17, that was my age when I joined the Army National Guard. I joined to carry on a legacy of tradition and honor, respect, and selfless service. Selfless service does not mean my woman part were “for grabs” (or free). I signed up to serve this nation in a time of need. I’m now nearly 22 years old and this is my story.
First, let me say I’m speaking about the individuals whom did the crime. It’s not there branch of service that did the crime, it’s the individuals and the fault/blame is for the individuals who did the heinous crime. Now, here is about the first one in South Carolina. Yes I have several incidents . The perpetrator was a Junior NCO. We were training to a deployment to Iraq/ Afghanistan. Never did I think that such a thing would happen in training to deploy. We were about to conduct our afternoon PT. The command of the unit I was in at that time thought everyone was mature enough to do PT on there own. We warmed up as a unit and then was dismissed to run around the building until the commander told us to stop. Well once around the building it got “darker”. The perpetrator came up behind me and took advantage of me. It was by a tree and everyone was running and not paying attention. My bestest battle buddy was off at some detail. That doesn’t mean it was her fault, it was/is the perpetrators fault. I reported it to my command. They offered to separate me from my perpetrator and did so. I sought out the help of the Chaplin and also services through the hospital. My personal courage to take care of myself in a self help way wasn’t enough though. I was on lock down several time. My perpetrator got to wonder around, not in the same area as me, but in a much larger scale area. Eventually I was discharged under a medical discharge.
Unfortunately I had a perpetrator come after me again. This time it was during my transition from soldier to permanently wounded warrior (aka permanent veteran) that a Air force NCO raped me in Nebraska. I had gone out on pass. I was told by said NCO that we would meet my friends for a party. This NCO took me on to the base. He then took me to a hotel and told me that if I didn’t “follow orders” I would be dead. So out of fear I “followed” him and at this point started thinking of a plan to escape. He forced me in to the elevator and tried to “make out” with me. Once off the elevator he forced me in to the hotel room. This said Air Force NCO ripped my cloths off and put himself inside of me and all along telling me if I told I would be dead. At the time I was very scared but maintained composure until I reached a safe spot. Once I got back to my transitional housing I told a friend there. That friend referred me to the SARC. But again the NCO was not put away for this. I was told I needed “mental health” services. I have a hearing loss,PTSD from MST and several obgyn problems. I can never join the service again.
Often people think once your discharged you are never a warrior again and that there is never help. That’s not true there is always help and once a warrior always a warrior (excluding the perpetrators in our life). Now, with that said here is my version of the wounded warriors creed. Use this to help you drive on and continue to strive for the services and rights you deserve. Here it’s titled Army Permanently Wounded Warrior (to include those whom are permanently DAV’s)
Creed By: jgilber3. The following is it. ” I am a permanently wounded warrior. I am a member of a team. I served the people of the United States and still live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am still disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in many tasks. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself although it may require extra help or assistance. I am still an expert and I am still a professional. I stand ready to volunteer, help, and assist any soldier or warrior of the United States of America on state side or through care packages. I have served my time as a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am a permanently wounded warrior.” Permanently wounded warrior does not mean we are crazy or a bitch. This creed I made my own version of to help carry on the legacy of our fallen victims. Those of us alive are not only permanently wounded warriors but we are also SURVIVORS. Doesn’t matter how many time done we are all survivors!
Cathy, United States Army
I grew up a normal teenager doing normal stuff that my family wanted me to do. I worked on our farm that we had when I was little. My dad was a retired marine, my mom was a stay at home mom. My dad worked at truck driving we stayed on the farm and milk cows and feed the animals and grew crops. We did not grow up rich or well to do but we tried to act like we was a normal family. My mom and dad had problems of there own and my mom decided to move away and she took us and we moved to Tennessee where my mom’s family was at and filed for divorce from my dad it wasn’t until later that I found out why we moved off the farm in the middle of the night. My mom and dad always fought and my dad beat the hell out of my mother all the time and when he got through he beat on my older brother . I thought after my mother left him the abuse would stop well we moved from mother to father and my father abuse all of us kids and the abuse was emotional and physical abuse then my father didn’t want me so he sent me off to job corp he altered my age so they would accept me well they did i was grateful in a way I was away from him I went to school there and I got jobs there and i got my degree from there. While there I got gang raped by five boys and they went to jail.
I later went on with my life came home back to Mississippi where my mom lived to live with her new boyfriend and he had come to pick me up from the bus station. I lived with them and went to school and I got a job. Soon after I met my first husband and got married at 17 and then I ended up having a baby later and then another then I got a legal separated from my husband and I went into the military cause my brothers did and I was tired of everyone telling me I could not or would not make it so i made it. I did what I accomplished to do I have three beautiful children and I had the military shortly after I got out of AIT.
I went home and I got a call from my new unit I was assigned to and they said I needed to report to Camp Shelby for training I was going to Iraq. Again I had to say bye to my family and my kids. I wrote letters to them in case I died over there they would have something to remember me by. I waited two weeks and we got deployed over there on 04OCT05. I had to go over to another fob I had to go for medical for pre cancer and I got off the helicopter a normal day I went put my stuff up and went around the post and then I took a shower and went to the tent I was assigned to. I didn’t feel well so I went to sleep. I remember a man coming in to do head count then I went off to sleep again then I remember later getting woken up again this time the guy said that the chaplain needed to see me I had gotten a red cross message he told me I need to hurry up and get up and follow him. I did not know any different so I followed him he said that the man was in the tent here is a flash light look inside he is here. I did not think nothing of it so I took the flashlight over my head and open the door and I turned around to tell him there was nobody there he pushed me in and I stumbled over something on the floor he had me face down tied my hands with something I don’t remember what and then he turned me over on my back and he stuffed his shirt in my mouth and continued to take my clothes off and he took his off and then he told me not to move or scream cause his friend was over in the other tent and would come over and have his way then they would kill me. I was struck with fear and all i could do was lay there and cry then it felt like forever the last thing I heard him say was did i like anal sex and then I blacked out cause when I came to he was getting his clothes on and then he pulled my clothes up what was still attached and let me back to my tent he told me while he walked me back to my tent that if I came out my tent that he would come in and kill me or rape me again.
The next morning I reported it was investigate for two weeks so back to my unit they where talking crap about me and they took my gun away from me and I lost my rank not even knowing it and then they finally court martial the guy that done this to me and he didn’t get charged with the rape but he got charged with kidnapping me all he got was three years and all the evidence they needed was there.
He did not get justice for what he did to me and I have trouble everyday of my life now since that has happen I got married and I got a blended family and I got lots of troubles cause I’m still going to the VA for this and I have been in a program to and I’m still uneasy and even with my family have troubles with everyday life but I hope to let everyone know that I’m trying to fight this but it is hard just day by day.