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I fought 20 fight missions for my nation. For this reason Congress must cross a invoice named after me

‘Thanks to your service.’ A phrase meant to convey gratitude to the lower than 1% of Individuals who raised their hand to defend the Structure towards all enemies. However what concerning the greater than 300 girls who served in Cultural Help Groups (CST)? Sadly, girls fight veterans will not be prolonged the identical recognition as their male counterparts. I do know as a result of I served as a CST and have routinely skilled full disregard for my service.

Service members will be stripped of rank, pay, and even honor – however how we performed ourselves on the battlefield encompasses a lot of our private identification. I’ve been devastated by the whole denial of parts of my service and actions I took on the battlefield. I’ve been instructed, ‘girls aren’t allowed in fight,’ – like what I skilled didn’t actually occur.

Nevertheless it did occur. I did serve in fight, and I’m not alone. Navy entitlements are frequently denied to me, and a whole lot like me, as a result of we’re girls. It’s time to assist my sisters in arms and restore the identification that has been stripped from us. 


Ladies who served in CSTs, like me, answered the decision to serve on the tip of the spear of the International Conflict on Terror. Working below U.S. Military Particular Operations Command (USASOC), we fought alongside our army’s elite operators in the course of the peak of the Afghan warfare, and we grew to become an integral a part of Particular Operations and intelligence gathering. CSTs help each Village-Stability Operations and Direct Motion operations, the place we might interact with the ladies and youngsters extra successfully than the all-male groups of SEALs, Particular Forces and different authorities businesses.

Whereas primarily an intelligence-serving function, we ceaselessly engaged in firefights alongside our male counterparts. Regularly, we grew to become extra concerned in Direct Motion (DA) operations – the form of door-kicking Hollywood motion scenes our minds envision. I cherished each second of it. As a CST operator, I led DA operations and engaged in 20 fight missions. I misplaced pricey associates alongside the best way.

Nonetheless, upon our return dwelling, we began experiencing disparate remedy. Our operator brothers, with whom we fought side-by-side, acquired swift consideration and recognition. In the meantime, my fellow CSTs and I struggled to persuade VA clinicians of our combat-related accidents.


I did what the Military taught me to do. I saved my mouth shut and grimaced by way of the ache. Any occasion of complaining might danger my subsequent mission, and that will imply letting down my brothers and sisters – a cardinal sin for a soldier in wartime. CSTs undergo the identical distinctive situations as the remainder of the Particular Operations (SOF) group, together with invisible wounds like Traumatic Mind Accidents (TBI) and Publish Traumatic Stress (PTS).

The Particular Operations ethos doesn’t allow giving up or settling for “adequate” – that’s the reason I endured by way of adversity. I turned to my SOF brothers and sisters to get the job carried out. I introduced this challenge to the Particular Operations Affiliation of America, understanding they lived by the identical ethos. Collectively, we have now labored with members of Congress to introduce the Jax Act.

The invoice is bipartisan laws with an all-veteran solid – launched by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, and co-sponsored by Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, D-PA, Jason Crow, D-CO, and Jen Kiggans, R-VA. On Thursday, 23 March, the invoice was launched, however that is solely the start of the journey to make the Jax Act regulation. It should nonetheless be shepherded by way of the remainder of the Home and Senate. 

The CST program formally ended August 31, 2021 – the day the USA left Afghanistan in ruins. That day is symbolic for a lot of within the SOF group – signifying the top of the warfare that demanded our greatest years and the perfect our our bodies needed to provide.

Our struggles got here dwelling with us. For CSTs, we vied for a similar recognition as our SOF brothers to no avail. I’d not commerce something for my days in uniform. They made me who I’m as we speak – a fighter.

As we mirror and atone for many years of warfare, we ask you to help our efforts. Please contact your native consultant and help the passage of the JAX ACT.

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