Exclusive - Helen Thorpe Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  08/05/14
  •  | Views: 6,226

Helen Thorpe shares some of the personal histories of the women in her book "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War." (4:22)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK, MY GUESTTONIGHT, AN AUTHOR, HER NEW BOOK

IS CALLED "SOLDIER GIRLS: THEBATTLES OF THREE WOMEN AT HOME

AND AT WAR."

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAMHELEN THORPE.

HELLO.

HOW ARE YOU?

>> I'M GREAT.

HOW ARE YOU?>> Jon: NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> IT'S VERY NICE TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

>> Jon: THANK YOU FOR BEINGHERE.

>> IT'S MY PLEASURE.

>> Jon: WHAT A WONDERFUL BOOK.

"SOLDIER GIRLS."

YOU KNOW, WAR STORIES ARE SODIFFICULT TO TELL BENEATH THE

KIND OF THE, THE TENT POST ORCARICATURED VISION...

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: THAT PEOPLE HAVEFOR IT, TO TELL THE STORY

OF WOMEN AT WAR. SUCH ADIFFERENT PLACE TO GO WITH IT.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: AND IT, THE BOOK FEELSVERY FRESH IN THAT WAY.

>> THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

>> Jon: HOW LONG DID YOU FOLLOWAND HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE WOMEN

THAT YOU FOLLOWED?

>> SO I MET THEM FIRST IN 2010.

AND AT THAT POINT THEY HADALREADY DONE TWO TOURS OF DUTY

AND WERE BACK.

AND I SPOKE TO THEMACTUALLY, FOR FOUR YEARS.

THE WHOLE PROJECTTOOK FOUR YEARS.

SOME THEY WENT THROUGH HOURS AND

HOURS AND HOURS OF INTERVIEWSWITH ME.

>> Jon: VERY REVEALING.>> YEAH.

>> Jon: BY THE WAY, THEIRCOURAGE NOT ONLY TO GO INTO

THOSE WAR ZONES...>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: BUT IN THEWAY THEY DISCUSS THEIR LIVES.

>> I THOUGHT THEY WEREINCREDIBLY BRAVE AND CANDID.

THEY SHARED WITH ME LETTERS ANDE-MAILS AND DIARIES, EVEN

THERAPY NOTES.

WHEN ONE WOMAN, SHE WAS DRIVINGA GUN TRUCK AT THE FRONT OF A

SUPPLY CONVOY IN HERSECOND DEPLOYMENT, REALLY

DIFFERENT FROM THE DESK JOB SHEHAD TRAINED TO DO.

AND SHE DID HIT A ROADSIDE BOMB,AND SHE CAME BACK WITH

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERAND A BRAIN INJURY, SO SHE WAS

SHARING, YOU KNOW, MEDICALRECORDS AND THERAPY NOTES,

STRUGGLING TO OVERCOME THAT.

SO THEY WERE REALLY CANDID,REALLY SHARED A LOT.

>> AND IT WAS INTERESTING, THEIRCHALLENGES WERE DIFFERENT.

>> YEAH.>> Jon: YOU HAD ONE WOMAN WHO

HAD THREE CHILDREN...>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: ANOTHER WHO WASSINGLE...

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: ANOTHER WHO WAS GOING TOBE A GRANDMOTHER.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: I MEAN, IT WAS A, EVENTHOUGH THEY ALL KNEW EACH OTHER,

THEY COME FROM VERYDIFFERENT PLACES.

>> RIGHT. REALLY DIFFERENT LIFESTAGES.

SO I MET THE YOUNGEST OF THETHREE WOMEN FIRST.

HER NAME IN THE BOOK IS MICHELLEFISHER AND...

>> Jon: WHICH IS NOT HER NAME INTHE WORLD...

>> IT'S NOT HER REAL NAME. SHEASKED FOR A PSEUDONYM.

AND ABOUT HALF THE INDIVIDUALS IINTERVIEWED WANTED TO USE

PSEUDONYMS.

SO, I THOUGHT, WHATEVER IT ISGOING TO TAKE TO GET THIS STORY,

IF THEY WANTED TO BE ANONYMOUS,THAT WAS FINE.

I SAID AT THE OUTSET THEY COULDCHOOSE THAT.

AND, I THINK IT HELPED HER BEMORE CANDID ABOUT HER STRUGGLES.

SO SHE... MICHELLE FISHER WAS 18IN THE SPRING OF 2001.

SHE DID NOT THINK OF HERSELF ASA SOLDIER OR SOMEBODY WHO WANTED

TO JOIN THE MILITARY, BUT HERMOM WAS ON AND OFF WELFARE AND

HER DAD WAS IN AND OUT OFPRISON, AND SHE REALLY WANTED TO

FIGURE OUT HOW COULD SHE GO TOCOLLEGE AND HAVE A DIFFERENT

KIND OF LIFE.

SHE DIDN'T WANT TO DO FACTORYWORK, WHICH IS WHAT WAS

AVAILABLE.

AND, SO SHE WALKED INTO THERECRUITING OFFICE FOR THE

NATIONAL GUARD AND SIGNED UPREALLY INTENDING TO BE A

PART-TIME SOLDIER.

SHE HAD JUST VOTED FOR RALPHNADER IN THE PROCEEDING

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

SO SHE DIDN'T FIT THETRADITIONAL PROFILE OF LIKE THE

POLITICAL BELIEFS YOU MIGHTEXPECT FOR SOMEBODY IN THE

MILITARY, BUT SHE THOUGHT, WELL,I CAN DO A PART-TIME COMMITMENT,

ONE WEEKEND A MONTH AND TWOWEEKS IN THE SUMMER, AND THEN

WHEN SHE WAS IN TRAINING, 9/11HAPPENED, AND SHE GOT RIGHT AWAY

THAT HER LIFE WAS GOING TO BEREALLY DIFFERENT.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND THE OTHER WOMAN, YOUKNOW, ONE OF THE WOMEN COMES

FROM A MUCH MORE WHAT YOU WOULDIMAGINE TO BE STANDARD ROUTE...

>> YEAH.>> Jon: A VERY PRO-PATRIOTIC...

>> RIGHT.>> Jon: PRO-MILITARY..

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: YOU KNOW, JOINED ITPARTICULARLY FOR THAT.

>> RIGHT. SO YOU'RE SPEAKING OFDEBBIE HILTON, WHO IS ACTUALLY

30 YEARS OLDER THAN MICHELLE.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> SHE'S HELPED INTEGRATE WOMENINTO THIS GUARD UNIT.

SHE WAS ONE OF THE PIONEERS,FIRST IN. HER DAD HAD BEEN IN

THE ARMY.

SHE KIND OF REPRESENTS THE GOODSOLDIER OR THE PERSON WHO,

YOU KNOW, WANTS TO JOIN THEMILITARY...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>>FEELS SHE BELONGS THERE.

THIS IS A... SHE VIEWS IT AS ACALLING.

SHE THINKS THAT DEPLOYMENTS ARETHE HIGHLIGHT OF HER LIFE.

SHE REALLY, ACTUALLY, AT ONEPOINT SHE FEARS SHE'S GOING TO

BE LEFT BEHIND WHEN HER UNITGOES TO AFGHANISTAN.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> AND FOR DEBBIE, WHO

WANTS TO SERVE, THAT'S REALLYDEVASTATING.

SHE ARGUES HER WAY BACK INTO THEDEPLOYMENT.

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