Meet SPC Danielle Wheeler (still a private in the photos, but I assume the article is correct about her current rank). She is with the 4/3 BCT in Iraq. We talked to her commanding officer, COL Tom James, and found that 4/3 is enjoying impressive progress. SPC Wheeler is one of the soldiers making that happen.
She's also a poet, who writes honestly about the difficulty of being a female soldier at war.
Not a Tear
That’s not a tear; I’m not starting to cry.
I just got a bit of dust in my eye.
No, my eyes aren’t red and they’re not watery.
Maybe you shouldn’t try to calm me so softly.
It wasn’t tears that made your shoulder wet.
It’s getting really hot; that water is sweat.
My nose isn’t running. I’m not trembling.
That’s not why I’m shaking and sniffling.
OK, maybe I’m a little unhappy.
I just feel guilty when I look at you sadly.
I try telling myself I’m as tough as a guy.
That’s why I hate to be seen when I cry.
If you want to do something, just hold me close.
Wrap me up tight and don’t let me go.
No, I won’t get attached while we’re rocking in place.
I’m not melting at your touch, I just feel really safe.
I’m not falling in love wrapped up in your arms,
While I’m falling asleep to the beat of your heart.
Feel a little vulnerable now that you’ve seen me cry.
But at the same time, I know it’s all right.
There is more at the link, including an ode to Iraqi women. Many is the American who would profit from understanding what she is trying to say about their conditions, and our hopes of raising them up to something better than they have ever known. (See also the recent VFF guest post by Kate Norley.)