I was in the Army Reserves from 2006-2007. A short stint, I know, it was not what I had planned. I knew from a young age that I wanted to serve my country, that was all I wanted to do with my life. When 9/11 happened, I swore an oath that as soon as I could I would avenge the deaths of those who were killed.
Finally joined April 2006, at the end of my junior year of high school, with the Army taking me in at the ripe age of 17. MOS - 92A, an automated logistical specialist, working with Apaches.
06.06.06...yep that's right, I started Basic on 666, great omen if you believe in superstition. I wish I would have waited, I wish I would have done a lot of things differently. It has taken me a very long time to admit that what happened through Basic to 2015 was MST, but now that I have seen past the fog and accepted what happened to me, it has made me stronger.
I can't say that it was my young age of 17 or what, I was/felt targeted from day 1. Both from my Drill Sergeants and the male soldiers in my platoon. It was sexual innuendos, slandering, threats against my life, they even denied me my letters from home that I knew I had received, but they withheld from me. Flash forward to June 2007, and I'm trying to leave for AIT waiting to catch a ride to the airport, and all of a sudden I'm told to go home. I find out that I'm some how discharged with no explanation...While this is happening, I'm dating a guy in Air Force. Fast forward to the drunk nights, him putting me down for no longer serving, being a worthless piece of ...the hitting begins and the cheating, and on top of that trying to cope with the abuse from him my cousin, whom I trusted gets me drunk and rapes me. It takes me getting accepted into Texas A&M to escape all of it and a dark place of contemplating suicide to make me realize how bad it was.
I have come a long way from where I was, I couldn't call myself a veteran for a long time , but with the help of therapy once a week and taking daily medication to help regulate my anxiety and depression, and to other female veterans sharing their stories and giving support, it has been a lifesaver. Just remember that you are a warrior, you have survived this and you will overcome.
Jacqueline Swann U.S. Army Veteran