Welcome! Share your story.

Today we are celebrating the launch of the Lioness website with exciting news. Lioness will be broadcast nationally November 13th at 9pm on the PBS series Independent Lens in honor of Veteran's Day.

So save the date and help us get the word out. And please join our mailing list for the latest news, press and tour plans for Lioness.

We want to hear from you. Share your response to the film, or tell us your story. Are you a female soldier or veteran? Did you perform Lioness duties in Iraq or Afghanistan? What has your experience been like coming home?

Or perhaps you provide healthcare or other support services for female soldiers or veterans - what's going on in your line of work?

And to all of you who have seen the film: Did it change your opinion? Did you learn something new?

Click here or on the Comments link below to tell us your story and share your experiences.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Welcome! Share your story..

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://lionessthefilm.com/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/room11/managed-mt/mt-tb.cgi/1

36 Comments

I served in Iraq during OIF II-III (2004-2005) in Ramadi. I volunteered for Lioness with another soldier, Miranda Mattingly, with HHC 44th Engineers but went out on missions primarily with 1/5 Marines.

Looking back at the entire experience, I would definitely do it again given the opportunity. My one disappointment in the deployment was the unsupportive attitude my unit (which was based in Baghdad) had towards the Lioness program. I truly hope that through this film, Americans will open their eyes to the contributions women have made in modern combat and know that we will continue to be a vital element of the Armed Forces.

I served in OEF VII in Afghanistan. Although it was a totally different war front than Iraq, I think Americans were starting to forget about the Afghan war considering the small number of troops we had over there. My story is different, but so much the same...

I was a Combat Medic and I did things like daily QRF, MEDCAPS, escort missions and even care under fire, amongst many other things. Every single mission I willingly did. I also had the rare opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with the local population and the females they kept hidden under burkas by providing medical care, doing searches and visiting villages and orphanages to win the 'hearts and minds'. The conditions disgusted me and I wish I could go back and help those women. I was one of two female soldiers that went out of the wire on a regular basis and I think the female Soldiers role is vital, especially in a country where a male American soldier cannot even look at a local female let alone search them for explosives. I also think it is very interesting that the fact that we are out there doing what we do alongside our male counterparts is against Army regulation. I think this needs to be reassessed and a few peoples eyes need to be opened.

I am very excited about this film and I cant wait to get it. We are the forgotten war fighters and it is time our voice is heard.

Hello and Welcome Home to all of our Lioness Soldiers who risk their life to safe our Country, my job, and each other. Simply Thank You and God Bless. I have great respect for all who served and is still serving our country. The movie put my heart in a different place, and my eyes opened wider. I am a Benefits Counselor II., I work for the Veterans first out of the Los Angeles, Office with County of Los Angeles Military and Veterans Affairs. I love my job and I am here for all Veterans who need my help with filing a claim for benefits which you truly have earned while serving our country. Please contact me and I will do my very best to assist you. With great respect, simply thank you and your family.

West Los Angeles Office
5730 Uplander Way Suite 100
Culver City, CA. 90230
310)641-0326

Sincerely;

FRANCES M. GOVENS

Hi Nina
Thanks for posting. Are you still in the Army? Will you be going back to Afghanistan?
Meg and Daria

It is important the participation of women in the military, we work hard to prove other that sex do not matter in the career, sometimes we are often seen by males soldier that the only reason we can accomplish anything in the military is because we are females, I was recently told by a Sergeant Major that females leadership does not mean a thing beacuse we see our soldiers as children and we protect them too much. I was part of the lioness team with MAJ Pendry and yes IRAQ change me, I try to be strong and keep living my life, i am currenly station in South Korea, I will never be the same person that I was before.

Hi Patricia
Thanks for writing. We heard about you from Maj. Pendry (now Guttormsen) and others. What was your MOS and which Lioness missions did you do? Who was your battle buddy?

Take care.
Meg and Daria

I was in at school when I first learned of the events of 9/11. Later I walked home from school all I could do was wonder who would do such a thing, later during the week as the whole world learned more of the events I watched with my family drinking a beer with my dad and older brother Damien, we spoke about 9/11 quite often but all I could think about is how the hell could we get back at them. I'm a young American Teenage Girl with a vengeance on my mind, all I could say was I be damned if they think they could come to my country and do this Great Nation. I admit as a young girl GI Jane was one of my favorite movies. I thought to myself going to join the military I didn't care which one just as long as I got in to do my part for my Country in this time of need. So I did I enlisted in the Army which so happens to be a recuriting station right next door to my high school,with everyone being not as optismistic about the situation as I was but the deed was done no turning back now.

I graduated high school that year waited to ship out in October of 2003, Fort Jackson, SC. I got to come home during Christmas leave and got married, returning to basic with a new name and ready to finish the last two weeks of my training, then on to Fort Lee, Va for my AIT as a 92Y (Supply). As I finished up AIT awaiting for my orders couldn''t wait to start my life with my husband, then I got not so good news, I was being shipped to Camp Howze, Korea. Excited to see Korea but I was told that I couldn't bring my spouse with me, that was one of the hardest things I had to do. As time went by it seem to be a little easier being away from home like that for the first time. Then one day I had some of my wisdom teeth pulled so I was on quarters for a few days, as I laid down to rest from the drugs they gave me a knock on the door Battalion Meeting at the top of hill in the gym. Not really knowing what was going on, but a few days before there were rumours going around about our Unit Deploying to Iraq, but our Commander informed us nothing has been brought to her attention and Units in Korea will not Deploy to Iraq, Korea was a Deployment in itself. Well, I finally fell into formation and our Battalion Commander, LTCol Mize, told us that 2nd ID will be Deploying to Iraq and Camp Howze will close down.

Sooner then expected we started training for War. I worked in the S-4 Logistics and so later my NCO would assign me the 249(saw)Gunner for our section. Durning the training my 1st SGT asked ten or so females including myself to the chow hall our CO wanted to speak to us ASAP. I was the last one to arrive to the meeting, she told us that we were asked there for a special reason as she continued to speak she told us that some of you have already voulnteered for what I'm about to explain. She spoke about what was to come in Iraq and how the Army started Operation "Team Lioness" a small group of females to go out on missions with Line Units and Infantry, even Marines, she also continued on explaining that this is new to the military and we would be the second group of females to do this, I'm not sure how much truthful it is. I accepted the mission as well as nine other females or so, we had to go through a little extra training with C Co Infantry but it was fun and exciting.

Our unit arrived in Kuwait. We waited there for what it seemed like forever and finally my Unit was ready for a three day convoy to Ramadi, Iraq. My first mission as a Team Lioness was so exciting and scary not knowing what to expect. My battle buddy PFC Goldbold and myself reported to the TOC, got our information we were to meet up with A Co 217th at 01:00 for road blocks and car searches, the mission was so post to end around lunch time but it went on till dinner time.

Being out side the in such a place of destruction knowing that probably 95% of the population wants you dead was a weird feeling but yet so exciting survival mode kicks in. My battle buddy and I went on so many missions because we were the only team that was not assigned to a unit we rotated with the other teams, but A Co 217th was most of our missions. There so many hostile encounters with the enemy as well as encounters as a 249 gunner. There are a few missions that I would like to write about but its hard at times to. But one mission I will write about tonight: we were only supposed to do a cordon and search which is a nice version of searching houses. We knock and ask if we may search the homes. Well it was a little after dinner time, the sun was starting to go down, we're standing out in the middle of the village getting ready to leave then we started to receive fire as the dirt around my feet was flying around ducking down looking around for cover where to go, couldn't tell where the shots were coming from. Finally a few of the guys ran across the street taking cover behind a little metal shed. At first it did not hit me what was going, every one was already across the street they kept screaming Cooper get your ass over here, finally I ran across but there was not much cover. We had to separate there only five of us on that side of the village, so we split three guys went one way a SGT and myself went another the reason being only two of us because I had a 249, as the SGT and I stayed low against the walls and as fast as possible trying to find the shooter we came to a house that sounded like the shots were coming from, SGT looked at me and whispered heavily Cooper remember your training and stay behind me keep low and most of all do not hesitate to shoot our lives depend on it, I responded with "HOOAH SGT" he kicked the door in and went in first I followed he walked up the stairs as I searched the bottom part of the house waiting to hear all clear I though then I saw the curtain down stairs moving like the wind was blowing, so I looked, never being scared in my life I really was expecting someone to be behind the curtain ready to blow me up or something. Still no answer from the SGT so I started up stairs my breathing was so heavy and loud trying to catch my breath and in that moment I paused and though to my self calm down and steady your breathing Cherish they can probably can hear you coming up the stairs your breathing to heavy so I did sure enough the house was all clear so we vacated the house and met up with soldiers. We ended up staying another couple of hours looking for the shooter but never found him.

The reason I tell the story is so that people know women do just as much in the military maybe not all of them but still we are at War, we put our lives on the line just as much as the males do but yet society is not ready for women in War on the front lines but we are. Every time I came back from a mission alive I Thank God for that but now that I'm home things just haven't since then it feels like, with the exception of my sons birth everything has spiraled down hill. Even then when I came home my father and I seemed to get even closer because we saw things in War and did things in War that you pray that your loved ones will never have to go through. Till this day it is still hard to cope with. I was always such a happy go lucky person everything happens for a reason, but now I catch myself being angry and hating life in general starting drinking more quite eating. But the irony in it all is I would do it again if had to some part of me feel like I have unfinshed business in Iraq as crazzy as that sounds. I just hope that one day this feeling will stop and I can go on with my life. To my fellow Team Lioness I say HOOAH and GOD BLESS!

Thanks a lot for your post Cherish. We heard about you from a newspaper article back in 2005. Great to connect with you now. When did you get back from Iraq? What's your status now? Are you still in the Army?

Take care,
Meg and Daria

Hi, I worked in the Prosthetics Department at the VA Hospital in Reno, NV. Nothing too much to report here. What I can you is that these women vets are much tougher than the men. Women seem to hold together more than these guys. They do not ask for much but for the most part they are not even aware they have VA Services.

Mary
Yes, we have heard that some women veterans are not aware of services available to them at the VA. The Center for Women Veterans at the VA is trying to get the word out, as are others working in this area.

Thanks for posting.
Meg and Daria

Saw the movie last night at a VFW post in Phx, Az. and was blown away! What amazing young women we have serving today. Kudos to the ladies!

I cannot believe the general public would want our female troops under-trained for missions they are called upon to take part in. Nor do I think it fair that they are not given their due in the records of history....things I believe will, and should, change before this war is over.

My love, prayers, and enduring respect to all the "lioness'" on film and off.....your country owes you a debt of gratitude and will, forever after.

Keep the faith, hold your heads up high! You make us proud to be women....you're amazing!

sincerely,
christina Van Male
proud 82nd Airborne mom
of paratrooper
Pfc. Seth Van Male
Mesa, Az.

Thanks Christina for your comment.
Meg and Daria

I just want to say to the brave women in our military to stick together (please), be strong, and carry on with pride.

Our original mission to Iraq in 2004 was to help the Iraqis rebuild their intrastructure. Since 2004 was a complete turn around in the Iraqi's view of Americans from 2003, we were instead given other missions. Our small group was to help give the Marines adequate protection from the insurgents on the Syrian border. We also stuck around after that was accomplished to build items that would make their lives more comfortable - showers, burnouts, etc.

However, being at a forward outpost, EVERYONE is needed for security. It isn't something that you plan on doing, it turned out to be a necessity. Every soldier is needed. And as a female in an all male environment, you want to make sure everyone knows that you are pulling your weight. I remember when our convoy first got to Husaybah, the CO of the Marines said, "Get that female back on that convoy and get her out of here!" Luckily, my LT and Chief said, "That's not a female. That's a Seabee and she is here to help save your men's lives by building bunkers. She stays." Everyone was utilized.

Adrenaline was frequent in Husaybah. I remember when we were ambushed in an alley. Just before it started, myself and another petty officer sitting next to me in the back of the humvee turned and looked at each other as if to say, "Oh F*#%! Here we go." It was all crazy. Explosions, people running, some just standing there watching!?

When walking through town on our way to a work site and pulling security along the way, the hair on the back of your neck stands up...the Iraqi men just look at you and glare. You wonder where the IED's are.

When you get to the job site and the Iraqi police chief realizes you are a female, he turns, pulls his pistol out and starts walking towards you, it's an uneasy feeling. My Chief had to jump in front of him. The Marines talked to him, but he wasn't happy about it. It gave me pleasure to drive the dump truck as close as I could to the Iraqi police still sleeping on their little mattresses on the road.

Being the only female in Husaybah, I was there for the interrogation of the female Iraqis captured who were harboring insurgents and helping to place the IEDs to kill my friends. There was an eight year old little girl in a pink dress. Big brown eyes. So sweet looking. I wanted to kill her.

Being in Iraq has raised many questions for myself. Many doubts. There were so many situations that made me go against my character, against my nature, but I did it. I needed to to survive. One of the dreams that I have frequently is myself running down a dirt road with my weapon, chasing after a haji to shoot him. The next thing I know, I'm back in the U.S. and there are all of these people standing around on the street looking at me and at my weapon. I put it down to my side. They are looking at me like I'm a freak.

Meg and Daria have made a very important film. When I saw the screening at The Tribeca Film Festival last spring, the sold out audience stood and cheered for the Lionesses and for the film makers who gave them the chance to tell their story. As a psychoanalyst I know the importance--the power of putting feelings into words. It can be life saving. One of the many benefits this film provides is the chance for these women to put their feelings into words and to pave the way for other soldiers, men and women to do the same. A necessary, life saving thing. A necessary, life saving film.

Nancy Kaufman LCSW,LP
New York City

I served in the Army from 1976-1996 and was so touched by this film, I created my own web site! Way to go, soldiers. It's not easy, but it is a reward in itself.

B Herren, MSG, USA, Ret
http://www.team-lioness.com

Shannon Morgan is a family member! With her growing up in Arkansas I never got to meet her except at rare family occations. I remember she had a very tough life. Her Mom as she refers to in the movie was quite a lady. Unfortunately, her Mom passed away last month. When I got to see the Lioness recently, I was not surprised by her determination and dedication to our country and her mission. Most of her Uncles were in the military with one of them serving as a Naval Officer through the mid 80's. Remember Shannon in your prayers and she recovers from her experience. She needs all the support and love she can get.

I am nominating her for a Purple Heart, and a Congressional Medal of Honor.. and a spot in history!! Thanks Shannon!

Just watched my copy for the second time through and wanted to say thanks to the film makers for making such a vitally needed film. Want to salute the Lioness team members past and present who are serving with such honor and courage. The women in the film have my deepest respect and I will carry them in my prayers for their ongoing well being. Theirs is a story that all citizens of the United States need to see and understand the historic role these women have played and up to now have not been credited with. Our serving women in all forces are frontline forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, combat comes to them just as readily as it does their male counterparts and they deserve the respect of total training in all aspects as combat soldiers.
With utmost awe and respect for you all,
I am humbled by your stories,
Margaret Flint Suter
veteran, USN

Incredible piece of work! Blew me away! I hold these women in the deepest regard. Their stories go so very deep and I am humbled by their strength, fortitude and bravery. They deserve gratitude and praise for their work in Iraq. Personally, it has nothing to do with whether or not I support the Iraq War. That is very separate for me. What is important here is the very fact that they were there and did what they did as soldiers and as women. Simply awe inspiring!

Liz Kaplan
Vet, USAF

I served 1981-1994, as an Army Medic then nurse.
When I watched this amazing film, I remembered all those soldiers that cried at night in pain.All my memories came flooding back to me and I sat alone, in the dark livingroom, watching these brave women and I wept. I returned to my civilian life as a registered nurse and married and began to raise a family. I forced all my emotions to the back of my mind, because most people expected me to be strong. Afterall, women veterans never really experience combat, right?.....so thank you. You showed me that there are others that share my feelings.
I currently spend my energies working with veterans of every war with The American Legion. I found them to be receptive to truely working with all veterans and respect my service then and now. I have found my work with other veterans quite rewarding.
Thank you again for making this film. God bless those brave women that were not afraid to tell their stories. It helps all of us heal.

Having two daughters that are Iraq vets, none of this is a surprise. However, after seeing the movie I contacted Michelle Wilmot from the Lioness page of Facebook and hired her to be the program manager of our new facility, which is for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Thank you for putting the information out there for the public.

Leslie

I recently attended a screening of Lioness at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City. It was an impactful film that opened my eyes to what these wonderful people have done (without any specialized combat training) for our country. I was appalled at how the male "leaders" in the film disregarded religion, culture and gender (going into the war too) and then acting dissolutioned with their fellow female soldiers. I was floored that they just assumed that the women were receiving the same trainings, talked the same military language, etc (even though women weren't with the men in their own trainings). I believe this is a social justice issue that needs further attention. I hope that the Lioness receive some much deserved recognition, awards, and that this film creates momentum for some positive changes. In Salt Lake, there was panel who directed questions towards the audience members after the film was over, and I shared what I felt regarding how male privilege impacted poor decisions. I seem to be one of only two people in the room who felt this way, and a VA nurse came up to me afterwards to tell me she didn’t see any sexism or oppression, just politics as usual. I noticed that even the veteran women in our audience (who seem to be ingrained to not question things) didn't seem to be in a place to comprehend the bigger picture and wrap thier minds around a word like oppression or sexism. (A couple women vets in the audience that women just lie about sexual harrassment and rape just to get men in trouble and how EEO trainings are making good guys afraid of them).

The one thing I wish to know more about (and wish was covered in perhaps a future film or sequel) is the high rates of sexual assault (and PTSD related to it) that men in the military do towards fellow women soldiers. Unlike civilians, this happens on work time, on military installations, with co-workers, and within an environment that doesn't see women as equals (see politics as usual). I hope that your film helps to open the eyes to many more people (i.e. men in the military/congress), and kudos for taking on a important subject matter like this!

Hello to everyone,

As an ex soldier, I know what it is to be around guys and in a war environment I deploy to Iraq 04-05. I cannot say that I was part of a lioness team, but I was one of the females that convoyed to Iraq and as a female it was hard. The convoys were so long that I decided not to eat or drink much water so I didn't have to go use the restroom. My first duty station was a signal unit and I worked mostly with males and some of them were prior combat arms, meaning they had never worked with females and did not like the fact that females were in the military. Those guys eventually came around to be good friends of mine but they showed me that to change the image everyone had of me as a female in the military I had to be one of the guys, work as hard as they did, do the things they did. Because of that, I know that females do get seen as "we get everything we want because we are females" I'm here to tell you that now days it does not work like that. We as females have accomplish things that nobody ever imagine a female would ever do. I laugh when I hear people saying females don't go up to the combat front, well you don't have to be in front of the shots to be in the combat front, you could be laying in your bed and they tell you that you are going on a convoy or pulling security, guess what now you will be put in the combat front. Was it what you expected maybe no, but now everyone that deploys one way or the other will be an infantry man first, no matter the sex.
To those still in I support you, to those that are civilians now I suggest you to try to forget what happened, what you saw. Think of it as a story, don't think of it with remorse or hate. We have done our part, we are already part of history. Remember, your loved ones need you. Lets be thankfull for what we have in life even if it is little, we still have it.
God Bless all.

Wow, I saw this film in Ann Arbor on Tuesday and I am still blown away. My heart goes out to the soldiers that were featured in the film. I would have loved to meet them. I am a 37 year old female U.S. Army veteran and I had no idea that this was going on. I have really been touched by this film and I can't seem to get my mind off of this. I really admire these women. They are "bad" to the bone. Thank you for this film. I just don't seem to be able to find the words to express how this film has impacted me.

I'm not a veteran but simply a citizen who respects and honors those who serve, and tries to support them through action and advocacy.
I missed the original broadcast of Lioness on POV but was pleased to see it at the GI Film Festival yesterday. It is a wonderful film and the women featured have expanded their service in sharing their experience with the rest of us and contributing to the advocacy of a more honest recognition of the contributions women are making in our armed forces.
Several years ago, after reading a number of excellent first hand accounts and recollections of men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan (Reickhoff, Fick, Buzzell, and others), I wondered, "Where are the women?" I knew they were there, but where was their voice? Only days after having the thought, I walked into my local bookstore to find Band Of Sisters by Kirsten Holmstedt. One can be judgmental of policy-- in fact it is our responsibility--but we should not be judgmental of the dedication and service of those in uniform. There shouldn't be such a disconnect between those who serve and their families, and the rest of the country. It's not some sideshow and we shouldn't just wait till the MSM decides to cover it. And when they do they rarely get it right.
I hope their participation in Lioness has, in turn, helped the women featured in some measure. Thank you, ladies.

I have watched this film four times so far. It has totally touched my heart. These are remarkable women. I commend the makers of this film for getting their story told.

To Shannon Morgan if you read this, I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. What a wonderful woman. May she rest in peace forever.Your Dad is wonderful, too, as is your uncle. God bless them. I would also like you to know that since first seeing the film, I have prayed for you every single day, and will continue to do so. May God hold you in the palm of His hand and grant you peace.

I watched a segment of the Lioness film at the DAV Convention in Denver, CO during the Women Veteran Seminar. I got to tell you, that I cried during that show. The pain that was felt by some of the female soldiers touched close to home for me. Even though I did not fight in a war zone, I certainly grew up in one and now my husband is over in Bagdad as a contractor. I pray that these and other women that were put into these positions find peace and happiness in their lives.

Hi,
As a US Army veteran, I applaud the Lioness team for showing that a women can do it just as well as a man. I was deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004 and was considered one of the first female turret gunners in country, many of the other females were given the safer duty of driver but not me, I could shoot my crew serve weapon with the best of them. I recall one time where my squad had to escort a high ranking Infantry Commander to a location on the other side of Baghdad. He was to ride in our vehicle, I greeted him and began to brief him of the way to secure himself properly in our up armored vehicle (I guess it was his first time), the very first word out of his mouth were "YOUR A GIRL" I told him "YES SIR I AM" he then proceeded to ask why I was a gunner and if I knew what I was doing... I proudly told him that I did know what I was doing and that I probably could shoot better than some of his men... Needless to say he respected me after that and always requested riding in my vehicle... I experienced just as much as the men, if not more. I was a novelty to some or a topic of conversation. Never had I been more proud to serve... It is women like myself and the Lioness team that are truly American heroes, we not only proved ourselves in a hostile situation but we showed the world that a woman can fight like a man...
Sincerely and GOD Bless all who have served, and are serving now.

Lioness Staff,

Thank you for making this program. This film makes us remember that war is not just a man's game anymore. Women are joining and doing their part to help serve. I appreciate you shedding some light on what it's like to be a woman in combat. As the driver of Truck One on a security convoy I will know the dangers all to well. When you talk to civilians on jobs being done and jobs that will be done overseas they always assume women are behind the gates tucked away saftely at all times. i tell them I am a proud Navy Seabee and they ask what ships i have been on. Truth is I have never set foot on an actual ship before.
I have grown tired of correcting folks and sometimes believe they will never understand what I do.

Thank you again for your hope and support,
Hoorah
Sw3 Katy Maxemow Us Navy

I congratulate all women in the military. Especially the ones who go outside the wire on a daily basis. I am in the Army National Guard in Alabama. I missed my first two deployments due to AIT and then a baby.

When I missed my second deployment I was almost kicked out of the military, because it was said that I got pregnant on purpose. It really ruined a lot of the respect I had gained.

I did deploy with a unit not my own in 2007-2008. I was excited, but I had to leave my 6mos baby and 3yr son behind. It was the hardest thing for me to do. My experiences were horrible and not because of the war itself. Deployed female soldiers get worse treatment on post then they do off. I am a paralegal for the military and with that job, it does come with restrictions and secrecy. Suffice it to say, I moved units while in country because of petty jealousies and fighting.

The unit I went into, I couldn't have asked for a better unit. To this day I love them. They were small and tight knit and mostly male. Which in my experience is better. See, our post was a huge post. One of the bigger ones. We had a lot of problems with rapes/ stalkers, etc. I had a stalker and you would think it was a civilian, no, it was a male army soldier. I ended up working 18 hour days so I didn't have to be alone in my room and I never could eat by myself and I was always looking over my shoulder. To this day, I get nervous in large crowds and especially around people I do not know.

I never went out of the wire on trucks. I flew every where I went. My last two weeks there was spent sigh seeing. I have never considered myself a veteran. My ex-husband never lets me live it down either. He was in OIF back in 2003-2005. He was there as an MP and to him I am not really in the military and I didn't do anything in or for the war. The only close call I had was when a dud mortar came in while I was at work and landed two feet from my building. I am also the only female I have seen in AL Army National Guard to wear a 1st CAV combat patch. There might be some out there, but I havent seen one. I take pride in it, but once I tell someone what I did in the war, I always get the same response: "why are you wearing that patch then, you didn't do nothing but sit behind a desk all day."

The hardest thing has to be coming home though. You lose your comrade with male friends because of the SO. I still feel the loss to this day. I don't have many friends because I am a female. Or I do, but only when we are gone for Annual Training. I think of myself as a soldier. Not a girl or boy. To me, a friend is a friend, no matter the sex.

I will be heading back, because of my MOS, within a year and a half. I am excited but dread it all the same.

Thank you to all the women who did what most of us could not do. Your service will one day hopefully stop my daughter from being right where we are.

I was in OIF 1 and 3. The first tour wasn't too bad, I was stationed in Kuwait for the most part supporting 3rd ID when they were coming to Kuwait and going home. My second tour was something to remember. I was dating my husband now during the first tour and then found out I was pregnant when we returned home. When we got back we married and had enough time to have our son. He was three months old when we deployed again but this time to Iraq. I was in a transportation unit. Leaving your first child at 3 months old was one of the hardest things in my life. Most of the time I remember feeling numb. I didn't feel like a mother. I was a solider doing her job with no emotion. I was greatful to have my husband there with me. We lived together. I think that was the only thing that helped both of us.

While I was in Iraq I reenlisted for 3 more years for Fort Drum. We returned home and then we moved to New York. The first day they told us that we were to deploy with our new unit in 4 months. I couldn't do it again. Why did I even have a child if I couldn't be a mother. I had had back pain since basic training falling on ice. They told me to check this out before we deployed again because it had been going on for five years with only physical therapy. Found out that I had 2 bulge disc in my lower back. So they couldn't fix the probably and adviced me that I would be getting out medically. I was pleased but at the same time since I was a little girl I dreamed of being a solider. Wearing the uniform, getting dirty and kicking some butt.

Now that i've been out I found out that I have more medical problems. I miss being in because that was all I knew and wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have been out now for two years and still can't get comfortable in the civilian life. I found that there are alot of others and that i'm not alone. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have served my country. Thanks to everyone that does support us.

My husband and I just finished watching "Lioness" and wanted to thank the women in the film for their bravery and courage. Kudos to you all and God bless you! I served in the US Navy as a Registered Dietitian from 1998-2004, including during OIF/OEF aboard the USNS COMFORT in the Persian Gulf and at National Naval Medical Center caring for several wounded servicepeople. Seeing this film helped my husband to better understand what is going on, as he has never served in the military. I only hope that this is screened in high schools and colleges nation-wide to teach the younger generation that women serve side-by-side with men in combat, regardless of what the current policy is. Thank you also for showing the Women in Military Service for America museum in the movie! It is one of the hidden gems in DC and is definitely a must-see.

Kathleen M. Edelman MPH, RD
CDR, US Public Health Service
US Navy Veteran

I am a veteran and I can remember being in Iraq during April 2004. It was a really tough time of the year for many people. A lot of lives were lost and I have so many memories from that experience. I had friends that had to go into the combat zone of Ramadi and then onto Fallujah. The area that I was stationed in was a hot zone almost the entire time that I was there especially when I first got there. Team lioness was not a mission that I was aware of but I do recall many female soldiers taking on tasks that only the men were suppose to be involved in. The war has really changed over the years and yes, Iraq (I will say) is an experience that I will never forget. Thanks to all women vets and Kudos to the ones that fight on the front line as well, whether it be a 3 day convoy into Iraq or several mortar rounds attacking your FOB.

I found this posting throgh THE GIRLS COME MARCHING HOME. It makes me very happy to know that there are women out there facing the same thing as I am.
In Feb03 I was deployed on the USNS Comfort. It scared the holy crap out of me too. On the ship we were told we may have some casulties, possibly some allied forces. The night of Shock and Aw, our world changed. We had incoming 24/7 for 52 straight days. The most horrific wounds you could ever dream of,then X100. Thanks to the Geneva Convention we also had EPOWs, women, and children. Burns, blast, and gunshot wounds were most common. Being in the ICU, gave me along with the many other AWSOME Navy Corpsman, nurses, and most outstanding doctors, first hand and repeated exposure to the endless helplessness that surrounded us. Children screaming in pain. Crying out for thier parents, though many of them were dead. The Marines that wanted to climb off thier beds and across the p-way to the bastards that did this to them and killed thier friends. EPOW's that we had to save and give every equal medical oppotunity to, then they simply tried to just kill themselves with our treatments. We were spat on, scratched, peed on, sh*t on, and disrespected by them also. At one point a patient was brought into the ICU DOA. How he managed to make it that far down the line was shocking. Still we had to do our job.
When I came home, I felt very different. It wasn't until later that my (then) husband pointed out that I was not myself. Angry, unable to sleep, nightmares, up in the middle of the night to check to locks on windows and doors,and always on guard for my children. Still I did not go for treatment. Not even a post deployment screening. It was only a few months after my return that my time was up. The stoploss was lifted and I was out of there.
As a civilian driving to work down a very busy highway, I thought I was having a heart attack. Turns out it was the first of many panic attacks. It was then that I went to the VA. It is now 6yrs later, I am divorced, my children were taken from me(the judge ruled I was a threat to my kids, because of my PTSD) I can't hold a job, I hate being around people, I am a safety freak, and on my 2nd VA claim. My life is not a life, it is a coping skill. A bad one at that.
Thank you for all you have done to bring this situation to light.

I served as a 88m in 204 along with my comrades. As a female supporting the war fighters and surviving attacks on a daily basis we did an out standing job. I really don't think we as 88m females got any credit or recognition for fighting along with the males.

While I didn't serve in combat I did serve in the US Navy for 12 1/2 years and I witnessed first hand the effects of being marginalized as a female vet. I commend the women who have entered the battle ground and saw what generally the men see. I am thankful that The Lioness team was able to tell their story. Amazing.

I served 20 years in the U.S.Air Force, retiring in '92. I now work as a Veterans Service Officer, helping vets in any way I can. I applaud and envy young women serving now. You all make me extremely proud. Never forget you are a veteran. You earned the same benefits as your male counterparts.

Each year I manage to see a couple [of films] that I can’t get out of my head. This year one of the films was Lioness.

- Melissa Silverstein, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD


Get connected and share your story - join our social networks.

Facebook logo badge

YouTube logo badge


Member of the press? You'll find everything you need in our Press Center.