Dating a deployed soldier
SERGEANT STEPHANIE JAMES, 23 URBANA, IL "THERE WERE SO MANY THINGS I COULDN'T CONTROL.LOSING CLUMPS OF HAIR WAS JUST ONE MORE THING." I signed up for the army in June 2001, when I was 17.The fraudster may say they are a single parent and need money for the child, they might say they have medical bills to pay or they are being detained in military prison and need money to get out.Some fraudsters have also said they need to purchase special laptops, international telephones and transport fees to be used by the soldier when they are deployed to Afghanistan, or elsewhere overseas.At bedtime, I'd change into a pretty nightgown I brought from home. After they left, though, I slept with my back to the wall so if somebody reentered the trailer, I could protect myself. The first time I got hit by an improvised explosive device [IED] was at p.m. But I only wore stuff like that inside the trailer. At night, my roommate and I would hang mosquito netting on the door and turn the music up loud — everything from Avril Lavigne to the Dirty Dancing sound track. My mom is holding me, and she's wearing a beaded necklace. When a mortar goes off, first you hear a thunk and a second later — boom. Next thing I remember, I was sitting in the bunker. In the army, it's hard to tell male from female when you're wearing a helmet and combat boots, an M16 swung across your back, and a gas mask on your hip. You tell yourself, "It's fine," so nothing worse happens. Once, a female second lieutenant asked if anybody had a cup.When I was feeling homesick, I'd look at the picture. On the evening of March 16, 2004, I arrived at a base near Baghdad. It's basically just a shell filled with pieces of metal and random stuff. Underneath, some girls still go for Victoria's Secret — I'd see all their pretty pink and blue bras on the lines behind our tent when I'd hang my laundry out. I had no idea where we were, and getting out of the car was as scary as staying in it. When we got back to the base, he said, "Well, maybe not tonight. I went straight to a brigade command sergeant major and told him about the incident. Two guys in the vehicle held up a poncho to give her privacy. In Kuwait, we didn't have showers — we just cleaned ourselves with baby wipes. We had three identical uniforms we rotated through.
As soon as I got to Kuwait, I regretted not packing my flatiron. Mainly, that means women are supposed to look like men. If you have some downtime, have a pedicure party." During off-hours, we watched TV. I met another soldier, Sergeant [Ivory L.] Phipps from Chicago. He was a well-respected man — married, with five daughters. Over dinner, the sergeant started telling me how he'd put my computer near his in the office so he could work closer to me. I spent hours talking with an investigator about what had happened. You'd hear, "Oh, my God, she's got boobs." I'd just go in my office and close the door.
They often say that they have found themselves in a difficult or emergency situation, putting them in a serious financial position.
Once the victim has paid some money once, more requests for money come in.
I mean, I'm going to hang myself with a two-inch string? On the morning of the hearing, a member of Congress came up to me in the hallway. She wanted me to cut some of the vulgarity in my statement, to pretty it up. I told her I was keeping everything or I wasn't speaking at all. These days, even I barely follow the news from Iraq.
She had looked at my testimony and was concerned about certain things I was going to say. Today, I'm the manufacturing manager at a Maryland factory that makes medical components for pacemakers. The headlines are always negative: "Thirty-seven soldiers killed today." And you're like, "I hope it isn't another one of my friends." SPECIALIST ASHLEY PULLEN, 23 EDMONTON, KY "I SLEPT WITH MY BACK TO THE WALL SO I COULD PROTECT MYSELF." I was raised to take care of myself.
A hundred people work under me, and I make $74,000 a year. As a little kid in Kentucky, I'd follow my dad around, learning stuff like how to repair a truck. My husband works part-time at Wal-Mart, and I'm not working at all.