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Women Veterans in general need to be better about saying 'I served too'

Mariel Padilla, General Assignment Reporter at The 19th talked with Christina Schauer about her experience during and after her deployment in Baghdad.

In the article Schauer described the conditions she faced alongside her male counter parts:

For the first couple of weeks, Schauer said, they didn’t have tents. They slept outside their trucks and held up curtains when people needed to shower. It took months to set up tents, flooring, electricity and eventually air-conditioning. During her year in Iraq, Schauer said she faced gunfire, exploding mortars and the constant threat of violence. Whether they were gunners or truck drivers, men and women alike engaged in combat roles — something that became far more commonplace in the conflict.

“I don’t think people think of women serving those types of roles in the military,” said Schauer, who now leads a military and veteran health care program at a community hospital in Dubuque, Iowa. "

In the 20 years since the United States invaded Iraq, over a quarter of a million women have served there, the largest-scale and most visible deployment of women in U.S. history. More than 1,000 women had been injured in combat and 166 killed as of 2017, according to the Service Women’s Action Network. The capture and rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch made headlines early in the war, and women were among the service members named in the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. The United States formally withdrew its combat forces in 2011, but maintains a military presence.

To this day Schauer along with other Women combat Veterans are still trying to confidently claim their accomplishments:

“I feel like when I got out, I didn’t talk about my military service because I felt like I didn’t really do anything,” she said. “I said I just sat around in Iraq for a year and came home, like no big deal. All these other people that did cool things. They deserve recognition, not me.”

“Women veterans in general need to be better about saying, ‘I served too’ and, ‘My experience matters too.’” Schauer said. “And not just downplaying it because we’re women or happy to be wallflowers.”

Read the full article at


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