By Col. Ginger Wallace, USAF
As I reflect on the past year I spent in Afghanistan, I am so thankful for having both an incredible experience and a partner who supports me. I deployed as part of the Afghanistan/Pakistan Hands (AFPAK Hands) program and worked with Afghans on the implementation of their peace and reintegration program. For me, it was a challenging but rewarding year. For my partner, Kathy, it was a year of uncertainty and worry. We both worked hard to consistently communicate and be there for one other, even though we were thousands of miles apart.
By Keith Thompson
I choose to go by Keith. It isn’t my real name, but a pseudonym I selected to protect my identity. I am a female-to-male transgender Soldier, currently stationed in Afghanistan. At home, I am married to my wife—the most supportive person that I know. Nobody in Afghanistan knows I am trans, and I prefer to keep it that way, for
By JD Hollis
For me, breathing helps. I’ve had to remind myself to breathe since this whole thing started. Before, when the repeal was in its beginning stages, when our command was being briefed on the changes that were coming, I could only grit my teeth and bear it while my staff sergeant made rude comments.
“I swear to God,” he said
Gay, married and deployed: Ijpe and Thom’s story
By Sgt 1st class Ijpe DeKoe
Thom and I met in 1998 while working at the same Boy Scout camp. We briefly dated and then enjoyed a decade of close friendship, the defining characteristic of which was distance. In March 2011, while on vacation in New Orleans, we realized that our relationship went far deeper than any other connection we had experienced separately. We began dating and made plans for him to move to my duty station in Memphis, Tenn. Though we both realized the risks associated with living together off-post, and the restrictions that existed under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT), we were in love and willing to take that chance.
In November of 2006, my unit conducted a mission in a few villages approximately two hours from our Forward Operating Base, FOB Warrior, in Kirkuk, Iraq. Upon arrival, we established a base of fire and began suppressing the enemy position. Our medic leapt from his truck and aided an Iraqi Soldier who had been shot in the bicep.
I clearly remember the first time a siren went off. My platoon and I were eating our MREs in a container yard when we learned that the president had officially declared war on Iraq. SPC “H” took out her Bible and read Psalm 9:1, the prayer for protection.