A Soldier Named Alison K. Speaks out from Iraq

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I couldn't believe my ears. This was by far the most devastating story I'd heard from any soldier here, and yet there she was, telling it to me in an completely calm and amiable voice. I had absolutely no idea how to respond. What do you say when a soldier tells you, without missing a beat, let alone breaking down sobbing as one might expect, that in addition to losing her two best friends and being in the middle of an ugly divorce, she has also been wounded by an Iranian bomb, found out she was pregnant with twins, found out they were dead, and then learned that, by the way, she also had cancer and had better leave her unit and start treatment right away? Nothing I could possibly say would come even close to acknowledging what she'd gone through and, beyond that, the stunning courage she was displaying in dealing with it.

While I stared at her, trying to figure out how to reply, Alison continued: "I definitely want to stay in the Army, but I think after this they probably won't let me. Andt blows that I have to leave my unit early, though. They still have three months to go. But I've been here for a year -- I guess I've done my duty."

I've met some pretty impressive soldiers over here, from Gen. Petraeus to Lt. Col. Peterson, but none of them hold a candle to this one. I hope that if I remember one thing from this summer, it's that this is what service and sacrifice are all about: heroes like Spec. Alison K.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsIraq War

27 Comments
Posted August 27, 2007 at 8:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Alison is like a whole lot of naval/military personnel with whom I have served.  If it weren’t for people like Alison, the United States and the rest of the world would be in far worse shape than they are
today.

And maybe this article about Alison best answers the previous article on patriotism as patriotism is lived and breathed and acted out by our service personnel.

August 27, 9:19 am | [comment link]
2. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Dragon’s teeth.

August 27, 9:41 am | [comment link]
3. Reactionary wrote:

God bless this brave woman, but women do not belong in the military, much less pregnant women.

August 27, 10:59 am | [comment link]
4. Dave B wrote:

I am going to be a little cynical.  If she were pregnant and been there 12 months who’s the daddy?  It just doesn’t pass the smell test.  Spent 10 years active duty and 15 years reserve in medical field.  There would have to be some indication of cancer and a combat support hospital probalby couldn’t do the path exams to prove cancer.  She is brave to be Iraq but still?

August 27, 11:53 am | [comment link]
5. Jennie TCO wrote:

Seminaries, are you listening?  Where is the course work on PTSD?  What if she were coming home to your church or had grown up there?

August 27, 12:14 pm | [comment link]
6. DonGander wrote:

What kind of society puts the nurturers of that society into her kind of positions? I agree with G. K. Chesterton, it is the abuse of women to do so.

Anything else I have to say would rightly be deleted by the elves.

August 27, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
7. evan miller wrote:

I agree with Numbers 3 and 6.  No women in combat theaters, if in the army at all.

August 27, 1:25 pm | [comment link]
8. trooper wrote:

Evan,

Everywhere is part of the combat theater.

And, unless you are a male who has served his country, then I gently suggest that you have no say in the conversation.

August 27, 1:51 pm | [comment link]
9. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

I am a male who has served his country (Vietnam) and I agree with Evan.

August 27, 2:01 pm | [comment link]
10. trooper wrote:

Thanks for your service.  Can you explain your position?

August 27, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
11. DonGander wrote:

“...then I gently suggest that you have no say in the conversation.”

Does that include God as well?

To say that someone has “...no say in the conversation” is illogical.

August 27, 2:25 pm | [comment link]
12. evan miller wrote:

Trooper,
22 years from Pvt. to LTC.

August 27, 2:29 pm | [comment link]
13. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Trooper, I’m with Jeff Thimsen [#9].  I spent five years on active duty (three years at sea) in the post-Vietnam USN. Maybe things are different now, but back then life aboard a warship, even in “peacetime,” was stressful enough without all the complications of having women aboard — males competing for female attention, jealousies, heartaches, pregnancies, etc. My former roommate stayed in and was XO of one of the first ships to have women; he reported that it was not a fun aspect of the experience. A military force exists to win wars and “reengineer” your enemy’s society, not your own.

August 27, 2:56 pm | [comment link]
14. Reactionary wrote:

trooper,

First and foremost, because they introduce sexual tension that can only arise when young people are put in close proximity.  The predictable happened, this soldier became pregnant, and the children died, another sadly predictable event in a combat zone.

The military is an inherently male institution.  Men, generally speaking, build armies, and women, generally speaking, build families.  The two institutions are structured for radically different goals.

August 27, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
15. Larry Morse wrote:

This is a hero? With heroes like this…. LM

August 27, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
16. trooper wrote:

I’m opposed to pregnant women serving in the service.  They should be discharged.  However, whether men or women are capable of controlling their urges, depends on the man or the woman.  In this situation, two soldiers acted wrongly, and should face the consequences.  My point earlier was that there are not enough men enlisting to fill the ranks, so unless you know some young men stepping up… Not to mention that enlisted women are on the whole, better educated when they enlist, score higher on their achievement tests, have less disciplinary problems, etc than there male counterparts. 

And I still say that unless you’ve served, you don’t have a part in the conversation, though I concede that God does.

August 27, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
17. Scotsreb wrote:

Trooper, in the cause of full disclosure, I’m sure that you’ll tell us your service?

August 27, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
18. Wilfred wrote:

There have been a lot of embellished or outright fake stories in the news lately.  Forgive me if I remain a bit skeptical about this one.

25 years ago, I was employed with a woman who would make up the most fantastical lies about her accomplishments, for no apparent reason or motive.  “I worked for the FBI when I was a teenager and caught the real Kennedy assassin, but they had to release him because he confessed before we read him his Miranda rights,” was the sort of thing she would claim.  And every day, there would be a new tale of this sort.  It finally cost her her job.

I’m not saying for sure this is one of those stories, but I’ve been Jayson Blaired too many times.

August 27, 10:29 pm | [comment link]
19. trooper wrote:

scotsreb,

USA, 1985-1990.  7th ID (Light) Ft. Ord, CA.  MOS 98G (Linguist)

August 27, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
20. trooper wrote:

ScotsReb,

Light means I humped it, a lot.  How bout you?

August 27, 11:14 pm | [comment link]
21. trooper wrote:

My husband humped better than me, but I translated better than him.  So, I figure it ended in a draw.  That’s my point.

August 27, 11:18 pm | [comment link]
22. Dave B wrote:

Wiford I agree with you (see post # 4).  There are three reasons.  I work at a level one truama center/medical center.  We had a women whose car was T boned, she died but her baby lived, any explosion that would kill the twins would be devastating to her.  Combat Support Hospitals do not have the diagnostic capabilities to diagnosis cancer, they exist to stabilize and evac. They last reason is that nobody I have ever met who has been in combat thinks that being shot at and having to shot back is cool.  About women in the military.  Ever since Molly Pitcher we have had women in the army.  My mom was award a combat medal as a nurse during World War Two she was 12 miles from the FEBA (forward edge of battle area).  Women served in combat units as men in the civil war.  Women were taken as POW by the Japanese at Corrigador.  The contributions of women to the war effort during WW II is very well documented.  I don’t think you have to have served to comment. I think it is degrading to belittle the service of many brave women.  I served (Desert Sheild/Sesert Storm, Iraq war), my father and mother served (WWII), my brother served (Vietnam) and my son is serving (two deployments so far).  I think I am qualified to comment by the standard set by trooper.

August 28, 5:34 am | [comment link]
23. Wilfred wrote:

If Spec. Alison K’s dramatic experiences are all for real, I am amazed.  We could call her Special K.

August 28, 8:57 am | [comment link]
24. Jennie TCO wrote:

I sincerely hope that when this young lady comes home that she will not be subjected to arguments, spoken or unspoken, about whether or not she should have been in Iraq (for whatever reason).  Do our churches have any idea what to do with someone who has been involved in this kind of carnage?  What kind of “Welcome Home” will she get?  Will she even be able to set foot in a church?  What about all of the others who are home or will be coming home soon?  Are people going to expect them to just get back to “normal”?  PTSD is real and we have/ will have some very wounded folks in our midst.  As for this particular soldier, whatever her veracity and actual circumstances, perhaps we can pray that she will get the help she so obviously needs.

August 28, 12:12 pm | [comment link]
25. Wilfred wrote:

Special K might serve under Capt. Crunch.  Their mission: to interrogate Islamic cereal killers and get them to break fast.

August 28, 10:07 pm | [comment link]
26. Jennie TCO wrote:

Thanks for that, Wilfred!  You just made me laugh.

August 28, 10:31 pm | [comment link]
27. Wesley M wrote:

After looking further into the specialist’s story and hearing from other soldiers in 2-2 ID, I’m all but certain she was making up large parts of what she told me. I would appreciate it if you would remove the link, since spreading the story only denigrates the real sacrifices of 2-2 ID’s soldiers.

Thank you,
Wesley Morgan

August 29, 2:29 am | [comment link]
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