Yes I am a veteran of the USMC! I joined the Marine Corp for the most astonishing reason: I liked the uniform. I could never put myself in the Army or the Navy! The Air Force had a 2 year waiting list, and I needed to do something with my life ASAP. Turns out I really enjoyed bootcamp! Yeah really! It was structured, organized, and safe from abuse. I was 19 and it was the first time in my life I felt sure I could do something. We worked together as a team rather than against each other as my home life had been.
After bootcamp and schooling I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. I was so excited. I checked in on my 20th birthday. I went to work in the legal department even though I was not trained in legal. My job was to take notes during “office hours”. Office hours is a military version of court. Most cases were do to being busted on a piss test.
Now I was just a Private and didn’t have much to say. Horrible things began to happen as my Staff Sargeant started to molest me nearly daily. Sometimes many times in a day.
Why mention this with Adaptive Sports?!? Because the abuse went on for months. Because my husband at that time was physically abusing me and abusing me emotionally. This mistreatment caused me to suffer from PTSD. Not all wounds are visible! My wounds damaged me on the inside! The stress, anxiety, depression forced me to be isolated and in serious pain for many, many years. Last summer was my first experience with Adaptive Sports and even though I was terrified I did the activities and had a great time. I had the privilege of being interviewed today by a woman from the Associated Press along with my friend Deb who is here for the first time.
With a grateful heart and many thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that make this week possible. I hope through the interview that many will realize that women are veterans too! I served during peace time, but it was not peaceful in my world. At least now my wounds are being acknowledged and there is help through the VA and programs like adaptive sports!