Overpaid, Oversexed And Over The Military: A Review Of ‘War Virgin’

Community
Laura Westley in Iraq.
Photo from War Virgin website.

The saying “overpaid, oversexed, and over here” may have been true about American GIs during World War II, but today’s military presents itself much differently. Wartime regulations all but forbid sex in combat zones.


Still, amorous couples always find a way around the regulations. Just ask Laura Westley, Iraq War veteran and creator of the live comedy show “War Virgin: Make Love At War,” now adapted for publication as “War Virgin: My Journey of Repression, Temptation and Liberation.” Think of it as “M*A*S*H” for millennials.  

Westley’s “War Virgin” underscores one of the great ironies of combat in the Middle East — that the US military’s prudish regulations towards sex, porn, and alcohol comically mirror those of the enemy.

Growing up, her overbearing father tells a teenage Westley she’ll “lose her sparkle” if she has sex, leading her on a hilarious campaign of shaming peers throughout her teenage years as she tries to spot her classmates’ “sparkles.”

After being accepted to West Point, she falls in with a religious mentoring group which teaches young female cadets — many of whom would soon be leading platoons in Iraq and Afghanistan — to be deferential to their future husbands, and above all, chaste.

The baffling logic isn’t lost on Westley.

Photo from War Virgin website.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Soon after Westley graduates from West Point, she finds herself not just a virgin to war, but a virgin at war during “the invasion liberation of Iraq” in 2003. Most Post-9/11 Veterans are all too familiar with General Order Number One, the catch-all regulation forbidding sex, alcohol — even sniffing canned air. In Westley’s account, that regulation ironically made sex just that much more countercultural.

Westley’s (pseudonymous) supervisor keeps her working late to combat his own loneliness, then tries to cop a feel one night. Her brigade commander — a colonel in the style Apocalypse Now’s Bill Kilgore and who mercifully never pinned on his star — hands a Pepperidge Farm sausage to a junior enlisted soldier, coyly asking if she’d “like a bite of his sausage” while riding in the back of a Black Hawk helicopter during a mission which would later net him a valor award. And, yes, Westley tells us that same brigade commander is later shocked to find women reporting sexual harassment throughout the brigade.

Westley manages not to lose her sparkle despite skinny dipping in Saddam Hussein’s pools and taking the phrase comrade-in-arms just a little too literally. She returns from Iraq to finally have sex; but after waiting 24 years (and about 240 pages), the result is anticlimactic for Westley, and therefore the reader.

Ten years later, Westley — since married and later divorced — makes peace with her estranged and abusive father shortly before his death. War Virgin becomes her coping mechanism.

Her prose and humor keep the military’s ironic puritanism on display. Though the book lacks the song-and-dance routines of its live-action counterpart, Westley’s quips and one-liners make “War Virgin,” for lack of a better word, “sparkle.”

Laura Westley’s self-published War Virgin: Make Love At War is available through Amazon.

The U.S. military does not need Iraqi permission to fly close air support and casualty evacuation missions for U.S. troops in combat, a top spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS clarified on Tuesday.

Army Col. James Rawlinson clarified that the Iraqis do not need to approve missions in emergency circumstances after Task & Purpose reported on Monday that the U.S. military needed permission to fly CAS missions for troops in a fight.

Read More Show Less
Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

It all began with a medical check.

Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.

It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.

Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.

Read More Show Less
The Armed Forces Service Medal has a green, blue and yellow ribbon and a bronze medal featuring a torch like that held by the Statue of Liberty. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."

The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.

There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.

Read More Show Less
(Facebook/Naval Air Station)

Americans' mighty military may have met its match when it comes to erecting barriers to keep out intruders.

An alligator in Florida recently had zero trouble flopping over a chain-link fence to get onto a naval air base. Motorist Christina Stewart pulled over to film it, and local television station WJAX posted it on Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Retired Lt. Col. Wallace Ward, USMA Class of 1958, marches back with the Class of 2023. (U.S. Army/Brandon O'Connor)

Wallace Ward graduated from West Point in 1958. More than 60 years later, at age 87, he's still kicking ass and joining new academy plebes for the annual March Back.

Read More Show Less