Kayla Williams Gives Insight into Being a Female in the U. S. Army - and in Iraq
March 16, 2006
In celebration of National Women's History Month, Kayla Williams, author and former U.S. soldier who served in Iraq, was the featured convocation speaker on Thursday, March 16.
Williams is the author of 'Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army.' Her book portrays a vivid account of what it was like being a female soldier in the United States Army.
Williams enlisted in 2000 as a linguist and was given the opportunity to learn the Arabic language. In February 2003 she was deployed to Kuwait.
Sharing several excerpts from her book, she gave insight into her experiences as one of the small minority of female soldiers in the United States Army. Only 15% of the army is made up of women. 'The experience made me appreciate women that much more,' said Williams.
When she returned home to the United States on February 8, 2004, Williams found it difficult to immerse herself back into her old lifestyle. 'I just didn't feel like I belonged,' said Williams. 'People around me were focusing on things that to me seemed trivial after what I had witnessed in Iraq.'
Williams wrote her book in an effort to describe her experiences and let everyone see what it was like to be a woman in the U. S. Army and in Iraq. 'The female soldiers I knew were multidimensional human beings, not the stereotypical female soldiers many Americans seem to picture', she said.
Following the convocation, Dr. Carol Canavan, assistant vice president for academic affairs presented the 2006 Jane Weston Chapman Award to Crystal Liptak, a senior history major of Macedonia and Dr. Mary Eicholtz, assistant professor of communication.
The award, named for the first female graduate of Mount Union College, has been a part of Women's History Month at the College since 1997. It is awarded to faculty, staff and students - male or female - for outstanding contributions in promoting coeducation through the dissemination of women's history, addressing women's issues and enhancing the climate for women's participation in Mount Union community life.