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

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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.

(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.

The troops were part of a convoy in Kandahar province that came under attack by a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, a spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support said on Monday.

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

Walruses rest on an ice floe off Wrangel Island, part of the Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve in the Arctic Ocean (Itas-TASS/Yuri Smityuk via Getty Images)

In a kind of odd man-versus-nature moment, a Russian navy boat was attacked and sunk by a walrus during an expedition in the Arctic, the Barents Observer reported Monday.

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The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.

Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.

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A former Army soldier was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for stealing weapons from Fort Bliss, along with other charges.

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