A New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage, Rebecca Nava has played a number of roles within her military family: soldier in combat, one-half of a military couple, mother of a baby daughter, wife of a soldier serving in Iraq and a female combat vet whose younger sister also deployed.
"...as females, [we] did more than look pretty and did more than the job the Army had taught us to do, on a daily basis."
--Specialist Rebecca Nava
What have you been doing since filming ended in August 2007?
I have been enjoying my transition from the Army, and working as a contractor for a logistic company on Fort Hood, Texas.
How do you think your experiences in combat as a woman differ from those of men?
We did more then our jobs on a daily basis, we also went on patrols with them in which we participated in raids and other combat missions, which included TCPs (Traffic Control Points) and Lioness missions. During those Lioness missions we (females) searched the woman and children and tried to hold conversations with them.
What was/is your day-to-day role during active duty?
Maintaining the commander's equipment (keeping track of its location) to include sensitive military equipment, ordering and issuing out equipment and supplies. Now my job is managing property at a higher level as a contractor for ManTech International.
What most surprised you about your time in Iraq?
When we started doing Lioness missions, I never thought I would be doing something of the sort, or doing any type of ground combat work.
What about your experience would you like to communicate to the American public?
That we, as females, did more than look pretty and did more than the job the Army had taught us to do, on a daily basis.
How has your service affected your family?
It made us stronger. It showed my family that woman can do more than a 9-5 job; they can serve our country just as well as the men. I was the first female in my family to join the military!
How has your time away from home affected your relationship with your child?
It has strained my relationship with my loved ones. I never left my child, but when my husband left, he missed out on all the important events in our daughter's life such as her first words, first steps, first birthday and so many others. When he came home after a 15-month tour in Iraq, the baby didn't recognize him, she would cry when he would talk to her or even try to pick her up. But a couple of weeks later, everything was daddy only.
What would your advice be to an 18-year-old woman entering the military?
Be all you can be, as the old army slogan used to say. Enjoy it and travel and never forget what you learned from the beginning and whom you have met through the years.
If you could change one thing about the military, what would it be?
I feel that the Army should have something like a sabbatical for dual military couples, when it comes down to deployments. One parent goes on this tour and then when that one gets back the other one goes, so that at all times someone is with the kids. Or even do a split, one parent goes for half a tour and then comes back and switches with the other parent. Though the Army makes dual military couples and single parents come up with a plan if they have to deploy and have to give up their kids, at times things come up and those [designated] guardians can't take care of the kids any more for one reason or another. Things happen in life that we can't predict. If one parent is with the child at all times they don't have to worry about things like that.
What is your relationship like with your commander?
My relationship with my commander was different than others, due to the fact that I was her "right hand man" when it came down to her property and managing it. We dealt with each other all the time. When I went out with COL Cabrey, it was different in terms of how he laid out the scenario and explained to us what we would be doing, where we where going, and all the vital information we needed to help us complete the mission. With Capt. Pendry (Guttormsen), when we went outside the wire, she would always make sure that we had plenty of water and told us to make sure we had clean underwear on--like how your mother would tell you. She took care of all us, on and off the battlefield.