Cassie is another military veteran I met through an online community on Facebook. She is no longer in the military and now serves as a Online Strength Training Coach for Women. While she was in the Army she deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Today she is sharing her experience being deployed as a female interrogator.
Rank during deployment:
Staff Sargent (E-6)
Where did you deploy to?
Baqubah Iraq (FOB Warhorse) and Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan
What was you or your team’s mission?
Gather intelligence from detainees through interrogations and source collection.
What was your job?
I was an interrogator.
What cultural differences do you remember between the country you went to and the United States?
Too many to list but some that may be a bit more interesting is their obsession with my blonde hair.
I’d love to hear one or two other difference you noticed:
Having multiple wives.
What landscape differences do you remember between the countries (Iraq and Afghanistan) and the United States?
Night and day …everything was brown in Iraq and extremely hot… Afghanistan was lots of mountains.
Were there any particular foods that you ate while overseas that was different from the United States?
Falaffal, the best homemade bread ever in both countries.
What was the hardest thing you faced with the cultural difference in the countries you were deployed to?
I really never thought it was hard but being late was the norm for most Iraqis.
As a female interrogator, do you remember being treated differently because of your sex, explain?
Yes and no…of course you are treated a bit different. You are a female but it was not a bad thing. I could do interrogations and talk to detainees who wanted nothing to do with my male colleagues.
That is really interesting. I would have thought it would have been the opposite. Did you notice any reason why they were willing to talk to you and not your male colleagues?
Most of the detainees I interrogated loved talking to a female (of course there were a few who hated just the sight of you) but some wrote love poems or just wanted to chat about their kids. For many of them this was the first time they had a candid conversation with a woman who was not in their family.
Now on the other hand if the interrogation required a certain sternness this was likely the first time a woman had talked to the in an authoritarian manner. The whole experience was a culture shock for them.
What challenges did you face?
None that can think of.
Did you have any regular frustrating situations or a frustrating situation you can share about?
Overall being deployed can be frustrating. You work your tail off but don’t always think it will make any difference.
What is the one thing you remember most from your deployment?
Going on raids and my buddies trying to trade me for a goat. Lots of fun times mixed into a very stressful time.
Can you share more about your raids or buddies trying to trade you for a goat? I think people would love to hear about that.
Of course, being one of the few females around it was easy to get picked on (in a fun way). During one of our typical patrols where we worked with locals in town the guys through it would be funny to negotiate a playful deal me as the new wife for three of their goats. You have to break up the seriousness of the daily events with some fun and this is just one if the instances that I clearly remember.
What question do you get when people find out you deployed?
Really? You don’t look like you could interrogate anyone!
Today is Day 15 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories. To see the whole series click here. Yesterday I shared a look inside an Iraq deployment. Tomorrow I will share another deployment from both Iraq and Afghanistan, but this time from a lawyers perspective. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for my weekly email list here!