iPod Audiobook - Love My Rifle More than You - memoirs of a female American soldier in Iraq - BBC Radio - cheops
An unsparing self-portrait of a rebellious patriot, Kayla Williams's story offers an unprecedented and no-holds-barred young woman's perspective into the U.S. Army and the war in Iraq.
"A woman soldier has to toughen herself up" writes Kayla Williams in this fiercely honest account of what it's like to be part of the female 15% of today's Army. "Not just for the enemy, for battle, for death. I mean to toughen herself to spend months awash in a sea of nervy, hyped-up guys..."
By turns irreverent, vulnerable, angry, and humane, Williams describes what it's like for a young woman to be surrounded by an ocean of testosterone, respected for her skills and qualifications, but treated variously as a soldier, a sister, a mother, a bitch, and a slut.
During her five years of service — including a year of deployment to Iraq during and after the invasion — Williams and her female peers navigate both extreme physical danger and emotional minefields. As a specialist in Military Intelligence, fluent in Arabic language skills, Williams finds herself at the forefront of the troops' interaction with local people. Brave and patriotic, with a strong sense of duty to her country and her fellow soldiers, she is unafraid to level complaints and criticism against the inefficiencies and errors of the military — sketching a blunt portrait, inspired by Ayn Rand, of the U.S. Army as "a vast communist institution."
Taking us from Baghdad to Mosul to a remote mountainous outpost on the Syrian border, Williams demonstrates a keen eye for the complexity of the U.S. military's evolving and ultimately deteriorating relations with the Iraqis. Before she leaves the country, she witnesses death up close and sees soldiers cross the line in the handling of prisoners.
Through it all — the violence, boredom, and fear as well as the light-hearted moments of humor, comraderie, and flirtation — Kayla Williams brings home with vivid intensity and empathy what it is like for a woman soldier to serve her country today.
( Kayla Williams was formerly a sergeant in a military intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division )
"Ms. Williams makes it clear that she can take as much of this as the next guy can..." New York Times
One M4B audiobook file containing five episodes of approximately 15 minutes each.
Kayla arrives in Iraq for the first time and finds incompetent officers far scarier than the enemy.
Kayla's linguistic skills are called on when a bomb explodes in a playground in Baghdad.
Being a woman in a predominantly male army is tough, particularly when nobody has anything better to do.
Did they really fly all the way out there to attend briefings and awards ceremonies?
As Kayla's year of service draws to a close, she doubts that anyone will ever really understand what life was like out there.