I live in Denver City and enjoy tending my garden and trying to figure out how to travel and not have to work a full-time job. I have not figured it out yet so I work at Metro State University as an office manager. I grew up in Canon City, CO and joined the CO Army National Guard when I was 17 in 1996. I enlisted as a medic, but was later deployed twice as a Military Police. Yes, I was a pig, oink oink. I deployed to Hungary and Croatia from 1999-2000 and then to Kuwait and Iraq from 2003-2004. I was stationed at Tallil Airbase near the southern city of Nasariyah. Our unit did convoy escorts, patrols and traffic checkpoints. Basically, we drove around endlessly, antagonized and harassed Iraqis, and secured corporate profits, especially for KBR.
When I returned from Iraq I attended the Veterans For Peace convention in Boston with my father, a Navy vet, and met the other Iraq/Iraq-era vets who would found IVAW. Michael Hoffman, Jimmy Massey, Alex Rybov, Tim Goodrich and Dianna Mortenson supported me as I spoke for the first time in public about my experiences in Iraq and the reasons why I was so disgusted with the occupation. At the end of the convention, we announced the formation of Iraq Veterans Against the War. When I returned to Colorado, I started seeking out other vets who had similar feelings and helped to form the first IVAW chapter in Colorado Springs. I worked as IVAW's Executive Director from 2006-2009 and am currently on the Board of Directors.
When I left my job as IVAW's E.D. I got married to the awesome Mr. Jay Ballenberger and spent 7 months in Mexico living on a sailboat, the trusty China Girl, in the Sea of Cortez. The dolphins, blue-footed boobies, and pelicans soothed my soul and our first-mates, the fearless kitty cats Edie and Lola, offerend us endless entertainment. I hope to find more fair winds and following seas in my future. Now I'm back in Colorado Territory and loving the best state in the union.
Branch of Service:
Army National Guard
<p> Deployed with the 220th Military Police unit from the Colorado Army National Guard. Also served as a medic in Det. 5 medical unit, which was way more awesome.</p>
When I returned from Iraq ten years ago, some of my most vivid memories were of pointing my rifle at men and boys while my fellow soldiers burned semi trucks of food and fuel, and of watching the raw grief of a family finding that their young son had been run over and killed by a military convoy.
I remember being frustrated with military...
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