In March 2005, Blair Dunday enlisted under the Army's Delayed Entry Program (DEP), knowing that the Army would train her as an 89B (ammunition specialist). She delayed entry until July 2005 as she cared for her younger siblings and began her six-year enlistment. Dunday attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, with immediate follow-on training at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. After training, she returned home and began reserve duty with the 826th Ordnance Company, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with extended training weekends at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. In January 2010, Dunday’s unit deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, for a one-year tour of duty. Dunday experienced rocket attacks on the base, one of which came close but was a dud and another resulting in the death of soldiers near where she was standing. She served in a designated imminent danger pay area in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In the following audio clip, she relates her experience as a bisexual, and a gay soldier who she served with:
DUNDAY [02:02:02 to 02:04:55]: They didn't normally like talking about what happened outside, unless, um, unless it went well. And that's normally how I could tell if it went well or not, because I'd be like, "Oh, so how'd your mission go?" And if their response was like, I don't want to talk about it, it normally didn't go well. So at that point I would just leave it alone and like, okay. Um, I would, um, they would, they, some of them took pictures while they were out, and I got to see pictures of some of the the little villages outside of the base through pictures they took. Um, and I did have one friend who is the medic for their unit. He--him and I got pretty close because of a shared, um, a shared characteristic, I guess you could say, between the two of us. Because at the time, while I served, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was still in place, and he was gay. And I myself, I'm bisexual. And so we kind of shared that mutual, having to hide type, because we couldn't openly talk about our, you know, romantic interests or anything with other people. Otherwise we could, otherwise we would get kicked out and get a dishonorable. So we had to be very secretive about that. But him and I kind of bonded over that. And so him and I were able to talk about things like that with each other without having to worry about, you know, other people, like, throwing a fit and us getting kicked out. Um. And it all happened he slipped one day when he was talking to his significant other back home. I had heard the voice on the other line. I heard it was, you know, a deeper voice and, he, you know, he's like, "I love you, too." And I just kind of looked at him, like, wait, what? And he's just, like, "You didn't hear that." And I'm like, "Hear what?" And he goes, "Wait, are you being serious or? I just kind of gave him a look like, really? And he's like, he goes, "So you heard it, but you didn't hear it." I'm like, I heard it, but officially, I didn't hear it. He was okay, you know. So, we bonded over that and kind of hung out because, and it was nice because it was like the one person I knew I was safe to be myself around and not have to hide certain aspects of myself.
The full interview is available here for your listening, click on the image: