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"When you weren’t at work, you were sleeping." (Audio Interview, 34:32)

   Rosa M. Herrera McNeely
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War: Cold War; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Army; Army
Service Location: Germany; Panama; Texas; England; also:
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
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Lieutenant Colonel Rosa McNeely knows that as a soldier, flexibility is the name of the game: you never know where you might go when you’re in the Army. While her early training was in dental hygiene, she eventually became an ordnance officer, arranging for the transport of supplies to units in Iraq. Though she had served nearly thirty years in the Army prior to her deployment, her time in the Middle East was full of new challenges, such as learning to sleep despite the constant threat of mortar attacks.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (52 min.)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Enlisting in the Women’s Army Corps; all-female environment during basic training with mostly female teachers; hearing about sexist remarks made toward women in the military during the 1970s; fortunate not to experience any sexism herself; did not face ethnic prejudice though she was Mexican-born. (04:57) First deployment to the Middle East in 2003 for only three months; second deployment in 2004 in Iraq for 13 months; commanded a forward support battalion; main tasks of her unit; little interaction with Iraqi locals; never served in combat, though she was part of a convoy that was shot at. (08:35) Stress of knowing mortar attacks could come at any time; her trailer providing almost no protection from attacks; learning to live through attacks; being able to sleep even though the camp might be mortared; routinely working 20 hours a day; taking the time to go to church even though they worked Saturdays and Sundays. (02:55)
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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