Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Women At War: Forgotten Female Veterans of Desert Storm"

Around 50,000 female American soldiers deployed to the Persian Gulf War. They found there was no rear line in the Gulf to protect them from the combat situations from which the law barred them. For some, the war continues.
"Women At War: Forgotten Female Veterans of Desert Storm" takes an intimate look at women soldiers’ wartime experiences during 1991's Operation Desert Storm and their heart-breaking battles with Gulf War illnesses since they’ve returned home.

In formal interviews and hometown visits, female soldiers chronicle their experiences during Desert Storm and its aftermath. Hi-8 footage from the Gulf War shot by the women themselves and present day cinema verité footage from Washington, DC and VA hospitals in Miami, FL and Macon, GA enhance the film. Two main characters form the heart of the story. Carol Williams, a Caribbean-American, who served as a Navy corpsman, illuminates the film with her soulful eyes, emotional presence and outraged sense of betrayal. With empathy and scientific rigor Denise Nichols, an Air Force Major with a Master’s in nursing, provides the insight needed to understand Gulf War illnesses.

Other female Gulf War veterans tell stories that move us to laughter and tears. In Saudi Arabia, where women aren’t allowed to drive, Venus Hammack steered a Humvee alone through the desert wearing a costume beard. Today, in Seattle, Julie Mock, coping with multiple sclerosis, faces the challenge of caring for two children born with birth defects linked to wartime exposures.

"Women At War: Voices of Female Gulf War Veterans" reveals the emotional toll that sexual assault and rape have had on female soldiers of 1991's Gulf War. These women returned home only to endure homelessness, bankruptcies, denial of benefits and treatment from the VA.

The war tore families apart—heartbroken mothers returned home to find children who did not know them. And as these veterans became ill, their children were often the ones who had to care for them. These women’s experiences mirror those of many service members coming home today from Iraq and Afghanistan. This film is a tool for action to ensure we fulfill the mission set out by Abraham Lincoln: "… to care for him who shall have borne the battle" -- or in this case "her."

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