Another Military Anniversary: The K-Bar Knife


Red, Yellow, and White Tulips reaching for the sky
Tulips are my favorite spring flowers. I love looking at them when it’s very sunny out and they are spread out to catch some rays.

Spring is still trying to kick winter out.  We were sunny and gloriously warm yesterday and sunny today, but windy and cold.  But I’ve been able to do some tulip sight-seeing.  I think they’re probably only a couple days away from passing the torch to the next batch of flowers.

This week has another anniversary: The KA-Bar, which is a military knife.   This is like an all-purpose knife.  When you look at the link, skip over the first picture, which is a bit disturbing.

When I was in Desert Storm, I was one of the few in my unit to be issued one, or one that was like a KA-Bar.  The knife came with a whetstone, which it needed.  It dulled cutting through air!

I worked on fuel point, filling up the convoys that came in, and issued POL–Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant (it’s been so many years that I had to think about what stood for).

Knives are useful things.  I used to have a Swiss Army knife like MacGyver (the 1990s version, not this remake, which has none of the charm or fun).  I was surprised at how many uses I had for it.  Of course now it’s hard to carry a knife anywhere, even it’s small and for everyday use.  People are so afraid that someone will do something something bad with it.  In Washington, DC, we have to go through metal detectors to get into the museums, and bags are subject to searches.

Things have changed a lot from when a knife was just a tool we used every day.

Silence Drips into Color


A woman soldier facing away from the camera holds a rifle.
The scariest thing in Desert Storm was when the gas alarm sounded and we evacuated to a foxhole. Did not know anything. Could not see anything.

Private First Class Anita Johnson’s greatest fear is dying,   After a gas alarm is called, she hides in a bunker, listening to the unknown and waiting for IT to happen.  Normalcy may be her only sanity.

A flash fiction story available from your favorite booksellers.

First Lady of Desert Storm


First Lady Barbara Bush passed away tonight.

She was the First Lady of the United States during Desert Storm.

Rest in peace.

First Night


Dog tags resting against a military uniform
Arriving the first time in-country is a profound experience for every soldier. We’re leaping into it blind and we don’t know what we’re going to get.

Fear is something Private Carolyn Mendez can’t admit to. Yet, as she arrives in Saudi Arabia, for Desert Storm, deploying to war, it’s all she can think about. All she has is herself, and even that is scary.

A flash fiction military story available from your favorite booksellers

 

Women at War: Stories & Poems


Dog tags against a brown background
This is a collection of stories and poems reflecting my military experience.  There are poems written during Desert Storm.

Desert Storm war veteran Linda Maye Adams shows the diversity of what war is like for the women who deploy in this collection of short stories and poetry. The stories run from “First Night,” and “Between Black and White,” because war seldom ends when the war does.

The poems include:

  • A Woman Goes to War
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Only Questions
  • Little One
  • The Lonely Sounds of War
  • No Safe Places
  • Just Like Me
  • That Wish

Flash fiction stories and poetry collection available from your favorite booksellers.

Military Books


The voices of women veterans are not well-represented generally.  While I prefer to do it in other kinds of fiction, here are some historical stories about the experience, and even some poetry.  The pages to the first three are still coming.

 

Dog tags against a brown background
This is a collection of stories and poems reflecting my military experience.  There are poems written during Desert Storm.
A woman walking in the distance, forest surrounding her.
Coming home from war for the soldier is a strange experience.  The world no longer matches up.
Cover for First Night
Arriving the first time in-country is a profound experience for every soldier.  We’re leaping into it blind and we don’t know what we’re going to get.
Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier Goes to War
When I came back from Desert Storm, everyone asked me “What was it like?” It took 25 years to figure out how to answer it.
Cover for Red, White & True
I was just starting to understand that I needed to put more of my experience into these. This was painful story because it was about a friendship that died during Desert Storm.
Washington Monument at sunset
I wrote this a year after the jet crashed into the Pentagon. I’m still amazed I could write about it then, because I don’t think I could do it now.

Red, White, and True: Stories from Veterans and Families, World War II to Present


Cover for Red, White & True
I was just starting to understand that I needed to put more of my experience into these. This was painful story because it was about a friendship that died during Desert Storm.

Even as we celebrate the return of our military from wars in the Middle East, we are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles that await veterans on the home front. Red, White, and True offers readers a collection of voices that reflect the experiences of those touched by war-from the children of veterans who encounter them in their fathers’ recollections of past wars to the young men and women who fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The diversity of perspectives collected in this volume validates the experiences of our veterans and their families, describing their shared struggles and triumphs while honoring the fact that each person’s military experience is different.

Leila Levinson’s powerful essay recounts her father’s experience freeing a POW camp during World War II. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder provides a chilling account of being a new second lieutenant in Vietnam. Army combat veteran Brooke King recounts the anguish of raising her young children by day while trying to distinguish between her horrific memories of IED explosions in Baghdad and terrifying dreams by night.

These individual stories of pain and struggle, along with twenty-nine others, illustrate the inescapable damage that war rends in the fabric of society and celebrate our dauntless attempts to repair these holes with compassion and courage.

Available from your favorite booksellers.

Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier Goes to War


Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier Goes to War
When I came back from Desert Storm, everyone asked me “What was it like?” It took 25 years to figure out how to answer it.

On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Within twenty-four hours, he controlled the entire country. Five days later, the United States was deploying soldiers and had named the military operation Desert Shield. This would be the largest deployment of women at the time. Over 40,000 women went to war. It was so new that people questioned whether women should be there, and what would happen to the families they left behind.

Linda Maye Adams was one of those soldiers. Soldier, Storyteller is a rare inside look at war from a woman’s perspective.

Her memoir answers the question: “What was it like?”

Available from all your favorite booksellers.

Time Traveling to the Past


The Desert Storm Memorial was looking for photos from in theater (which means in Saudi Arabia in my case) for a pair of videos they’re doing.  I was digging around and found some from after the war.

In January 1991, the mail clerk passed me a flyer she’d received advertising a Desert Storm Writing Contest.  If I won first prize, I’d go to Washingon, DC to receive the award from BarbaCover for Women at War: Stories & Poemsra Bush.  The contest was for fiction and poetry.

I instantly knew what story I wanted to write, though I expected it to get rejected.  It was on a friendship that had just self-destructed because of the war.  It was a very dark story, born out of the stress of war.

I also wrote several others, and a bunch of poems.  The poems hold up pretty well, so they’re in my book Women at War: Stories and Poems.

And then I forgot about it.

We all came back and started back to normal things again.

One day, I found a transmittal stuffed in the training box and it was an announcement that the story had picked up an honorable mention.  Cool.

Maybe about a week later, I was on CQ (Charge of Quarters; two soldiers man the desk overnight).  It was a 24 hour duty, so my brain was always fried in the morning because I needed to bed.

And suddenly everybody was freaking out.  They didn’t tell me why, but kept telling me I had to be in formation this morning.  I was pretty sure it had something to do with the contest.  But I let everyone think it was a surprise.

Me standing in front of formation with an officer to the left and the soldier with the guidon on the right.

The officer is giving me a plaque.Another view of the officer giving me the plaqueMe in front of the formationA closer shot of me being given the plaqueMe in front of the formation, trying very hard not to smile.

An officer came to present a plaque and a savings bond.  I was chuffed.  I was the only lower enlisted who had placed.  Everyone else had been officers or more senior non-commissioned officers.

I was told at the time DOD would be publishing all of them in a book, but as far as I know that didn’t happen.

The story was called “A Loss of Innocence,” and it was the start of my writing veering into some pretty dark fiction.  And I couldn’t see it myself until my writing group pointed it out.  I also reviewed a book by Phil Clay that was getting a lot of press.  He was five years out of Afghanistan and had written a series of short stories.  They were so dark that I looked at them and didn’t want to be writing like that.

So I had to do a conscious shift to not go dark.  It was hard in the beginning because I would get these ideas and as I thought about them, I knew they would go dark very easily.  So I passed on a lot of story ideas.

Eventually, I was able to shift myself out of it, and then I was able to write my book, Soldier, Storyteller, which is available in the Rabbit Bundle Remembering Warriors.  Check out the list of writers.  I’m chuffed again to be published next to these big name writers!

The proceeds go to charity.  The book is available for preorder, but will be available January 1.  Start the new year donating to charity and getting books!

 

Remembering Warriors cover

The Voice of Women Veterans


The Washington Post published the Five Myths about Female Veterans today, and unfortunately, all of the are true.

When I came home from Desert Storm, I was hungry for something that explained how I was feeling.  China Beach had just been cancelled and gone into reruns.  I devoured it.

I also read and reread A Piece of My Heart, which is a book of stories of women veterans from the Vietnam War.  It was just about the time when the Vietnam vets started telling their stories, so there were a lot of books coming out.  I read all of them, because, other than Pieces of My Heart, there wasn’t anything representing the voice of the women.

I even went to the Veterans of Foreign Wars down in Tacoma, Washington.  I walked in and there was a bar with a bunch of old men sitting at it.  I might as well have been asking directions.

That’s still a mixed bag for the women.  Some have great success at their local organizations.  Others come in and are told to apply for the Women’s Auxiliary.

I’m also on a Facebook page for Desert Storm Combat Women.  Many of them report going to the Veteran’s Administration, and their civilian male spouse is addressed as if he is the veteran.  Or they have to prove they are a veteran while the male veteran standing next to them does not.

We have a local grocery store in Washington, DC that gives veteran parking. For the overseas people, it’s not a disabled slot or has any legal requirements; it’s merely something that a store does as courtesy, like the slots for pregnant women.  Two women have come out to find nasty grams on their windshields.  I park there myself, so I’m expecting one day for someone to do the same to me.

There’ll be an article in the Washington Post on something like PTSD, disabilities, or problems with the VA, and the reporter gravitates to all the men, unless it’s about a woman’s issue.

As a writer, I’ve submitted to a lot of veteran anthology calls. I was often the only woman veteran.  Usually they got a wife or daughter talking about a family member, but even there wasn’t many women’s voices represented.

Obviously, the women need to speak up more, but at the same time, it gets old hearing the same stories again and again.

Just remember that there were 40,000 women in Desert Storm.


Cover for Women at War: Stories & Poems

Desert Storm war veteran Linda Maye Adams shows the diversity of what war is like for the women who deploy in this collection of short stories and poetry.  The stories run from “First Night,” and “Between Black and White,” because war seldom ends when the war does.  The poems include

“A Woman Goes to War,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Only Questions,” “Little One,” “The Lonely Sounds of War,” “No Safe Places,” “Just Like Me,” and “That Wish.”

 

 

 

Soldier, Storyteller: A Woman Soldier Goes to War

On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.  Within twenty-four hours, he controlled the entire country.  Five days later, the United States was deploying soldiers and had named the military operation Desert Shield.

This would be the largest deployment of women at the time.  Over 40,000 women went to war.  It was so new that people questioned whether women should be there, and what would happen to the families they left behind.

Linda Maye Adams was one of those soldiers.  Soldier, Storyteller is a rare inside look at war from a woman’s perspective.

Her memoir answers the question: “What was it like?”

Cover for Red, White & True

Even as we celebrate the return of our military from wars in the Middle East, we are becoming increasingly aware of the struggles that await veterans on the home front. Red, White, and True offers readers a collection of voices that reflect the experiences of those touched by war-from the children of veterans who encounter them in their fathers’ recollections of past wars to the young men and women who fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The diversity of perspectives collected in this volume validates the experiences of our veterans and their families, describing their shared struggles and triumphs while honoring the fact that each person’s military experience is different.

Leila Levinson’s powerful essay recounts her father’s experience freeing a POW camp during World War II. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder provides a chilling account of being a new second lieutenant in Vietnam. Army combat veteran Brooke King recounts the anguish of raising her young children by day while trying to distinguish between her horrific memories of IED explosions in Baghdad and terrifying dreams by night.

These individual stories of pain and struggle, along with twenty-nine others, illustrate the inescapable damage that war rends in the fabric of society and celebrate our dauntless attempts to repair these holes with compassion and courage.