The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


May 09, 2012

Name: Genevieve Chase
Returned from: Afghanistan 
Milblog: Army Girl

When people ask me about my deployment experience, I tell them that I learned a lot. The hardest part of my deployment was the forced relationships and coexistence with people who were once complete strangers -- people that I might not otherwise have ever associated with. Rolling outside the wire wasn't hard, it was an adrenaline rush; the interpersonal dynamics and working relationships were what nearly undid me.

War, and all of its experiential offerings, made me more of who I am. It forced me to go within and find the strongest and most real parts of myself and pull those to the surface of my being, beyond the lies and programming that I had believed about who I was. In some cases, it answered some mysteries. Could I hold my own? Would I remember what to do if the shit ever hit the fan? If faced with direct contact, would I freeze? run? or fight? Would I be able to bring all of my battle buddies back? Those were the questions I tortured myself with then.

In essence, I confronted some of my personal mental dragons. It's hard to articulate beyond that, but I suspect that many of you get it. I just felt like sharing.


Army Girl was a frequent (and the first) contributor to The Sandbox during her 2006 deployment. Her posts include OUR TIME, COMBAT, A FEW CHOICE WORDS, and GENERATION KILL.


Army Girl,

Although we were in different wars (I was a marine 03 in Vietnam; AF JAG in DESERT STORM) you very elegantly expressed some of my thoughts concerning combat. Memories of incidents which occurred 44 years ago still haunt me. But you well expressed my mental dragons. I am so very thankful to be here today. Thank you for sharing.


Got it!


Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I've just ordered Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America and started looking through them both last night. I could never have imagined the horrors of the things our brothers and sisters experienced during the Vietnam era. I do hope that you'll visit my blog and stick with me.


Thank you. :) Simple post but means a lot to me, too.

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