51 % The Women's Perspective
4:41 am
Fri July 20, 2007

Women and the Military Part II

Albany, NY – With more and more women enlisting in the military, it's not so unusual to meet a female war veteran. But it hasn't always been that way. Women who wanted to fight used to go to extreme lengths to defend their country. One of them is Deborah Samson Gannet, who defended the colonies in the Revolutionary War. 51%'s Selma Kaplan has her story.

Women may be more of a fixture in the military than they were in Deborah Samson Gannet's day...but they still face challenges. Maricela Guzman served as an information technician in the U.S. Navy from 1998 to 2003. In addition to serving her country, she also suffered sexual abuse while in the Navy. Independent producer Sarah Olson spoke to Guzman about her experiences.

When we think of the war in Iraq, we our minds go straight to those stationed over seas. But what about the spouses they leave behind? It's estimated that there are 93-thousand Marine Corps wives and husbands - all of which are holding down the fort until their loved one returns home. Some struggle to raise their children as a single parent, others settle into military life on the bases... and all are trying to prepare themselves if there's an unexpected knock on the door. 51%'s Katie Britton recently spoke with Michelle Keener, the author of Shared Courage: A Marine Wife's Story of Strength & Service , whose security crumbled when she and her husband made a fateful decision between being stationed in Hawaii or 29 Palms, California.

The war in the Middle East isn't just dangerous for soldiers. Nearly 200 journalists have died covering the first 5 years of the war in Iraq. Some reporters have been held in military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo. Others have been kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents. Italian correspondent Giuliana Sgrena was taken hostage while working on a story about the destruction of Fallujah. After a month of captivity, she was freed in March 2005, only to be shot and almost killed by U.S. soldiers. Nicola Caliperi, an Italian diplomat who negotiated Sgrena's release, was killed protecting her as U.S. troops opened fire on their car. Radio producer Lynn Feinerman recorded Sgrena's story for a series on women journalists in the cross-hairs.