Serving with Takila are Captain Ty Reed, Staff Sgt. Yursala Charles and Captain Katy Simonis. The women Skype in from Iraq to share more of what life is like for women on the front lines.
When Ty first arrived in Iraq, she says she was concerned with her own safety. Now, on her third deployment, Ty says she sees big improvments. "People are out in the market buying food, kids are playing, kids are going to school," Ty says.
For the most part, Yursala says the challenges facing men and women in Iraq are the same, but she says she has to work a little harder because of her stature. "Being 4'11" and I don't weigh as much—I only weigh 94 pounds—so I mostly struggle with carrying all the gear."
After becoming so used to Army life, Takila says it takes some time to adjust to civilian life after a tour. "When we're home after leave, you have to find different ways besides a ponytail for your hair," she says. "We're constantly in combat boots most of the time, and once I'm home, I have to learn how to walk in heels again, and your makeup, jewelry—going from dog tags to actual real jewelry—so you have to get a little dressy."
We've all seen the news reports, but what to do these women really want us to know about life in Iraq? "I'd like America to know that regardless of the political situation back home or any policies that we're experiencing, the men and women in the Armed Forces around the world are serving the country every day trying to do our best and trying to represent the country in a dignified and the best way possible," Katy says. "I know a lot of times the news tends to show the negative stories, but there is great progress being made over here."
Takila agrees. "We are doing great things—providing fresh water, electricity, better homes and better security," she says. "So there's a lot of great things happening while we're over here."