Belinda Dancil, Army (2016)

Belinda Dancil joined the Army as a Food Service Specialist in 2005 and served until 2011. Born in Long Branch, NJ, transplanted to Lake Waccamaw, NC for high school, trained at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX, and relocated to New England for college, Dancil provides a unique perspective on American regional differences. Her interview discusses issues related to race, gender, and mental health in the civilian and military worlds. After a relatively pleasant post in Germany, Dancil was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for 15 months where she witnessed a robust insurgency and heavy fighting. Her interview identifies the dangers for non-combat service personnel.  Dancil views the military as a truly color blind institution in which “everyone was green,” whereas profound sexism narrowed women’s opportunities and put them in danger.