Biank (Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives, 2006) analyzes the increasingly important role played by women in the military.
The author, whose first book was developed into the popular TV series Army Wives, follows the military career of four women currently playing a vital role in today’s integrated armed forces: Brig. Gen. Angela Salinas, the Marine’s first Hispanic female general; 2nd Lt. Bergan Flannigan, a military policewoman in Afghanistan; Sgt. Amy Stokley, who drives recruits at Parris Island; and Maj. Candice O’Brien, who struggles through deployment to Afghanistan with a strained marriage and two children back at home. Biank shows forcefully how this commitment to service still runs up against sexism and prejudice. Three of the four served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet nonsensically, by law, women are still prevented from deployment in combat. Women in the armed forces train to the same standards of excellence as their male colleagues who qualify for combat, and they must maintain the same levels of physical fitness and endurance. In Iraq, when Stokley was a driver, her truck came under attack, and one of her passengers died. Flannigan lost her leg to a roadside booby trap when working to train the Afghan National Police. Biank follows the careers of the four individuals over time, as they advance in their chosen spheres. Salinas chose to continue to serve when she was told by a corporate headhunter that she “would not find what you have in the Marines here….You're not going to find loyalty or camaraderie here like you're used to.”
An eye-opening account of a military in transition.