Skip to comments.Left armless, female Iraq veteran doesn't dwell on what she has lost
Posted on 12/01/2008 6:58:51 AM PST by Dysart
SAN ANTONIO Mary Dague hears the catty whispers sometimes. "So ugly," the strangers say when they think she cant hear.
The 24-year-old has bright green eyes, a quick smile, and on the days she gets her husbands help, perfectly applied mascara and blush.
But all the gawkers really see are her arms, each amputated above the elbow.
What they dont suppose with no fatigues or standard-issue Army T-shirt to clue them in is that this chatty young woman, who likes to wear a little black dress to fancy parties as much as the next girl, is an Army sergeant whose arms were blown off as she dismantled a bomb in Iraq. She was awarded a Purple Heart.
In uniform, shes often recognized as a wounded veteran and thanked for her service. Out of uniform, she pretends not to hear the careless whispers.
"At first, it kind of hurts, and then, it makes you sad," she said.
Sad not for herself, but for those she sees wasting their youth and opportunities.
"Im 24, and I feel like Ive lived a full, happy life already," she said.
Its a life forever marred by an accident that has made even the simplest task a struggle, and rehabilitation is slow. But shes eagerly looking beyond it, to the day she gets a sophisticated prosthetic arm, and beyond that, to a time when shes self-sufficient.
(Excerpt) Read more at star-telegram.com ...
Sgt. Mary Dagues husband, Jared Tillery, brushes her teeth. AP/ERIC GAY
Sgt. Dague eats breakfast with the help of a therapist at her home in suburban San Antonio. She still needs practice with a hook arm before she can be fitted with a prosthetic arm and hand. Dague can feed herself, but avoids doing so in public. AP/ERIC GAY
Can’t imagine why women are anywhere near the front lines or are put in such dangerous situations . . . absolutely no need for her or any other woman to go through that . . . disgusting . . . the poor thing is a victim of our politically correct, mind engineering, new military . . . I feel awful for her and her family.
I’ll probably take a lot of flack for this, but I will not budge.
God bless her and her husband. She just put my titchy little problems into perspective.
Hardly. From the article:
But ask her whether she has any regrets about volunteering to be a bomb tech, and there is no hesitation. "I love that job," she said, swaying her damaged arms. "I miss it. I miss it terribly."
“”I love that job,” she said, swaying her damaged arms. “I miss it. I miss it terribly.” “
I agree . . . she paid a huge price for our putting her in harm’s way . . . she’s undoubtedly one tough soldier . . . I don’t doubt her patriotism one bit. My prayers go out to her and her family.
This has nothing to do with being politically correct, but in what is right. Both male and female have volunteered for the skills that they are in; and are quite competent in what they do. Can all women do it—nope; but then neither can many men.
And what is your response to males being killed or maimed?
God bless her and all America’s warriors. Our little problems pale by comparison.
My hat is off to her.
No flak from me but I disagree. I would be on your side if she had been drafted, but she volunteered. God Bless her.
She must have a sense of humor about it.
What exactly does it say on the front of her t-shirt in the first picture? Something about “...Stumpy.”
I wish her and her husband the best. They are brave people.
Reason # 12, 975 to despise the entire human race. :-(
I am glad that she's getting prosthetic arms (sometimes the stumps left are too short to allow artificial arms/legs) and I hope she does well with them.
She reminds me of Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives-I watched that Saturday, and once again I went through 3 handkerchiefs.
Look at what her T shirt says-she has a great sense of humor.
We owe our vets a debt that we can never really repay.
God bless her,,,
Is a culture that cowers behind the skirts of daughters, wives, and mothers, worthy of survival? As R. A. Heinlein pointed out in his speech to a graduating class at Annapolis, Women and Children First, a civilized order protects its future. Our willingness to risk those emblems of hope is a damning indictment on America.
“And what is your response to males being killed or maimed?”
Not happy with either, but it’s hard for me to see why it’s necessary to put women in harm’s way when we don’t have to. And we don’t have to.
No flak here.
The issues are totally separate.
You can still argue against the policy, while acknowledging that Dague is a superhero with bravo to spare. She is someone that I would have my daughter ~ or for that matter my son ~ look up to as a model of virtue and courage.
God bless her for protecting our freedom.
You are a dope.
No one is forcing you or yours to enlist so don’t disparage those who do.
“the poor thing is a victim of our politically correct”
The flack you will get from me is for how you see this brave young woman. The rolls of women in combat is a welcome debate, your view of her is contemptible. Brave women have stood with their male counterparts in all our wars, though not to the extent they presently do, and many have paid a terrible price. I doubt many would respond well to your attitude.
I think I've read everything RAH wrote.
If I recall correctly, his female protagonists didn't exactly stay at home baking cookies for their men.
OTOH, a great deal of what he promoted is just not practical for a viable society. There doesn't seem to be much room for children in RAH's worlds. Or in his private life, for that matter.
“Is a culture that cowers behind the skirts of daughters, wives, and mothers, worthy of survival? As R. A. Heinlein pointed out in his speech to a graduating class at Annapolis, Women and Children First, a civilized order protects its future. Our willingness to risk those emblems of hope is a damning indictment on America.”
An excellent observation.
“You are a dope.
No one is forcing you or yours to enlist so dont disparage those who do.”
I have to jump in and defend laweeks here. First, let me say that I don’t agree with his opinion that women should not be allowed in dangerous situations. Some women are very good at performing these types of duties, and this is what many of them want to do. However, I don’t think he was disparaging her at all, he just doesn’t agree with the policy that allows her to be placed in dangerous or combat type situations.
A few weeks ago we were in Target and I saw a young woman in shorts with an artificial leg. I wanted to ask, but I didn’t. It could have been from anything, I suppose. Though I hate to think that it might have been a war wound, and I didn’t thank her for her service.
There is a huge difference between volunteering and being ordered into danger.
She volunteered to join the military and again to go into this most dangerous line of work.
I can pretty well guarantee that the military doesn’t routinely order women into the most dangerous roles.
Somehow, this wording doesn't ring true to me.
I can hear people using the terms sad, horrifying, disgusting, etc. Somehow "ugly" doesn't seem to fit.
I suspect most people feel sad for her, more than anything else. Most people don't know how to react to a sudden sight like this.
“Both male and female have volunteered for the skills that they are in; and are quite competent in what they do. Can all women do itnope; but then neither can many men.”
We had females in my unit in Germany, and yeah there were a few drama queens who whined about every little thing, but the majority were dedicated professionals who didn’t mind getting dirty doing some tough jobs.
“Cant imagine why women are anywhere near the front lines or are put in such dangerous situations”
Recently there was a TV program on PBS about a group of female soldiers called Team Lioness. It was an hour and a half long and clearly explained why our soldiers have been put in harm’s way. The program was called “Independent Lens”. It is worth seeing.
In brief, the women are needed to search the Iraqi women - and our men CANNOT do that. To learn more, you can search by “Team Lioness”. I hope you will.
“I can pretty well guarantee that the military doesnt routinely order women into the most dangerous roles.”
Definitely agree with you, my main point was in defending poster #2. I thought he was being unfairly blamed for disparaging the injured soldier when he actually honored her service. He was really just questioning the policy that allows women to be put in danger.
Funny you should mention SD; I met a girl from that area during my travels not too long ago who was in Special Operations, Major/Recently promoted Colonel, don’t recall. Anyway, she enthusiastically jumped out of planes (and she couldn’t fathom why this did not appeal to me lol) and served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. Communications oriented activities was all I ever learned. She was fond of telling me she’d have to kill me if I kept plying her for detailed info about her missions...pretty sure she meant it. She had my full respect, I can tell you that. It goes without saying but the young lady from this article has my complete admiration, which is why I posted the story. I don’t like seeing disabled Vets of any sex but know that despite preconceived notions we may hold, many Military women are made of seriously steely stuff.
Wounded Warrior Ping!
I guess I would have done something different.
I would have up and asked - my “OIF Veteran” baseball cap identifies me - and if she told me yes it was from wartime, I would have told her, “Welcome home, sister”.
Thanks for the visual. She does indeed look sweet, insomuch as you’re not on the business end of her military issued firearm. ;)
“the poor thing is a victim of our politically correct, mind engineering, new military”
And by the way, a lot of women don’t feel the need to hide behind a man and be defended. And we aren’t PC, feminazis or dykes either. And I don’t guess it occurs to some that women just might actually WANT to fight for their country.
She volunteered to fight for her country- and she made a great sacrifice in doing so. She is not to be pitied or belittled in any way. We should salute her and we owe her our Thanks for her service and any care she may need to adapt to her new life. She is a soldier, as she wanted to be. What she did is not “disgusting” she served her country with honor, and so now we should honor her service.
Oh you would be surprised how stupid some people are- my hubby was blown up by a mine in Vietnam and he lost an arm. I have heard some pretty aweful things said about it behind his back over the years. Some people are so shallow that they can’t handle any sort of disfiguration in another person and will either react in pity- which pi$$es him off to the max; or they will make rude comments.
I have a feeling she will make it just fine- she has the right attitude. I admire her- not sure I could handle it so well if it were me.
With all due respect, I hope your husband realizes that most people, definitely including myself, don’t know the proper way to respond to someone in such a situation. Awkward responses are likely to be ignorance, not malice.
Perhaps you can can help. Is it better to ignore the obvious? Ask about it?
That’s too bad. I hope your husband realizes at least some of the objectionable comments are awkwardly worded remarks by people who don’t know how to express their admiration and respect.
It’s better to ignore the obvious until you get to know the person well enough to ask- usually by then it will have come up in conversation anyway. Hubby doesn’t even mind if strangers ask, as long as they don’t do it in a rude way. I have no problem with people being uncomfortable from not knowing how to act and neither does he- but there is no excuse to be rude as some people really are. Some people forget a person with a disability of any kind is a person first- just address the person not the disability.
Well, I must agree that unfortunately some people are jerks. Please express to your husband my respect and appreciation for his sacrifice.
I wish I knew how to post this picture of a note a wounded Navy Seal put on the door to his hospital room. It explains the mindset so much better than words from anyone else.
I hope everyone will follow this link to read his sign, and if someone knows how to post this I hope they will.
OOPs, Seal = SEAL before I get corrected- sorry I do know better.
I understand your chivalry, laweeks. There is one thing you haven’t taken into consideration, however.
When threatened, the female of the species is the most dangerous, for she will fight to the death to protect her young. (there are a few exceptions here and there, but they get quickly eliminated from the gene pool)
“When threatened, the female of the species is the most dangerous, for she will fight to the death to protect her young.”
And a man won’t? Kind of “sexist,” isn’t it? Just like saying a man wouldn’t have children because he can’t stand the pain . . . Can’t imagine what kind of a man (or woman) would not fight to the death to protect his young.
Unless there are no men to put into harm’s way, women should never be put there . . . never . . . I have too much respect for women to want them to be fodder for an enemy . . . remember what happened to Jessica Lynch . . . once the feminists found out what the savages did to her in captivity, they dropped her like a hot potato.
I’m from the old school . . . women are very special . . . no need to have them in combat at all or any where near combat . . . I feel so sorry for her . . . she’s a heroine . . . but the military thinking that put her into a demolition disarmament unit should rethink their thinking.
You and I are not actually disagreeing. I would much prefer my man to protect me from danger, and I am sure he would, as many men have done for their wives and children in all the eons past.
But, when all else is lost, do not underestimate the female of the species to fight to her death to protect her young.
Your point, that she shouldn’t have to, is what has enabled women and children to survive this far.
But, we are living in a falling empire. Unfortunately for my grandchildren.