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When Task & Purpose offered me a contributor role in mid 2014, I heeded the encouragement of close confidants to pursue my lifelong passion to write. At the time, I was deployed overseas. I had already published poetry and fiction under the pseudonym Anna Granville, and I wrote for Task & Purpose under the name for about a year before anyone either noticed or cared.
Statistically, the Navy does not have an officer retention problem. Yet everyone knows in reality, many of the best people are leaving. Despite the high volumes of officers who voluntarily resign their commissions as lieutenants, competition is still tight to make lieutenant commander. Aviation and surface warfare easily makes all the department heads that it needs to — although many would argue that this is in part because the Navy brings in even more people than it needs to. Some units have new officers who are given fake jobs at their first assignment because rather than try to retain the people it already has, the Navy just made more ensigns. Even Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Bill Moran expressed awareness and concern in 2015 that the Navy is losing people it should retain, despite maintaining the numbers it needs to.
In preparation for leaving active duty, I recently completed all of my pre-separation training — transition goals, plans, and success, or ‘TGPS’ Capstone — and am now in the process of meeting with different organizations to which I was referred.
American women have served on the front lines of the battlefield since the United States declared itself an independent nation. Women disguised as men served in order to fight on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and Civil War, and as formal members of the military in an increasing number of roles from World War I to Vietnam. Each generation of women that served volunteered to support and defend their country in eras when women working outside the home was uncommon or even frowned upon. Here are some of the stories of women who served from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War, paving the way for others to serve in front-line combat today.
“I really do wonder all the things we don’t hear about the military, if these are the terrible stories we do hear,” my friend said, as she took a sip of her drink. I was catching up with her at a bar in New York in June, telling her about being harassed by one of my superiors. I had recently submitted my letter resigning my commission with an “Are we there yet?” frustration over many months still to go until my separation date. Yet, I still came rushing to my beloved military’s defense.