Jennifer Dolsen is a former U.S. Army multimedia journalist and public affairs soldier with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. She's pursuing a B.A. in mass communication, teaches swim lessons, and is an advocate for water safety.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke
Sometime after I returned from a deployment in Afghanistan in 2010, Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington’s documentary film “Restrepo” was released. Many service members anticipated the documentary, and having gone through a U.S. Army leadership school with many of the film’s enlisted soldiers a year prior and my former mentor being a public affairs liaison to the unit, I was among the curious. A year later in 2011, my unit was tasked to close the door on operations in Iraq. As resources became limited and mail service stopped, Junger’s “War” was passed around and read throughout our offices.
The Oscar-nominated Danish foreign film titled “A War” sweeps the viewer into its story as the opening scene follows a light infantry unit hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in southern Afghanistan.
A year after the Fort Hood community experienced a second active-shooter rampage, it remains difficult to put into words and comprehend why such acts of violence occur in tight-nit military communities. As soldiers, families, and Texas lawmakers gather to honor and pay respect to the three service members killed and 12 wounded in last year’s April 2 mass shooting by Spc. Ivan Lopez — who took his own life after being confronted by military police — there is still no indication that this violent act could have been prevented by identifying early warning signs.
The nonprofit hunger-relief charity, Feeding America, recently released a study that concluded one out of four households with a current military member required assistance from the group’s 196 networks of food banks throughout the United States in 2012.