Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Oral History Interview with Blair M. Dunday

Wisconsin Veterans Museum


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[Interview Begins]

BOWERS HEALEY: All right. Good afternoon. Today is Tuesday, November 29th, 2022. And this is an interview with. Please state your full name.

DUNDAY: Blair Marie Dunday.

BOWERS HEALEY: Thank you. Who served in the United States Army Reserve from approximately 2005 to 2011, is that correct?

DUNDAY: Correct.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. With some periods of active duty to include in Germany and Afghanistan. This interview is being conducted by Ellen Healey, and I'm conducting it in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program. No one else is present for this interview. All right, Blair, would you start off by telling us where you were, where you were born?

DUNDAY: I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And where did you grow up?

DUNDAY: I grew up in both the city of Milwaukee as well as the city of South 00:01:00Milwaukee, and, yeah, Milwaukee and South Milwaukee.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay, good. And would you tell us a little bit about your family, did you have siblings? Where did your parents do. Go ahead.

DUNDAY: Well, I was born to my mom. She was a single mom at the time. At that point, I don't know where my father was, but he moved to Arizona later in my life. But in the early years, I don't know where he was. It was just me and my mom until I was four. And then she married my my dad, or my stepdad.


DUNDAY: Um, and shortly after that, I was blessed with three younger siblings from that point forward. Um, for a while there, after my oldest younger sibling 00:02:00was born in '91 we lived with my grandmother for a while. For a while, about six months. And then she passed away. And we ended up moving into a different apartment at that point and then lived there for many years. I don't even remember how many years. And my, I refer to her as my baby sister when my baby sister was born. And she was born in '96. And I was, I don't want to say primary caregiver because that was my parents, but I was her primary babysitter.


DUNDAY: Um. And--

BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you go to school?


DUNDAY: I went to school--for elementary school--I went to two different elementary schools. From kindergarten to fourth grade, or half of fourth grade, I was at Lakeview Elementary, and then I transferred over to Rawson for the remaining part of fourth grade and fifth grade. And then I went to South Milwaukee Middle School and high school.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And after you, did you graduate from high school?

DUNDAY: I did.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And that's in?

DUNDAY: 2003.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And after you graduated from high school, what did you do after that?

DUNDAY: So right out of high school, I attempted to go to school at UW-Milwaukee. I was initially going for nursing. And I like to say I had my priorities twisted and focused on partying more than my class work. So my second 00:04:00semester, I ended up failing out of UW-M, or out of the program, specifically. And I took some time off and realized at that point, because then my little brother was born in that time frame. And I realized that my life was going in a direction I was not happy with due to my own actions. And I wanted to straighten myself up so I started talking to a recruiter at that point.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Were you living at home at this time?

DUNDAY: Yes, I was living with my mother still.

BOWERS HEALEY: Working at all or not?

DUNDAY: I was working. I did work at the time. I was working at McDonald's from the age of 16, until I want to say, I was, I was pregnant with my daughter. So. 00:05:0020 ish? No, 21. I was 21.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So when you went to see the recruiter, where did you go to see a recruiter?

DUNDAY: The office that that he was at I, I don't think exists anymore. It was off of, of 76th and Cold Spring. There was a strip. There was a recruiting office in that strip mall there.

BOWERS HEALEY: Somewhere in the Milwaukee area?

DUNDAY: Yeah, it was in Milwaukee.

BOWERS HEALEY: And how old were you at the time with it, that you initiated contact with the recruiter?

DUNDAY: I was 19.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And who got you? Why did you think about that? What caused you to think about joining the service?

DUNDAY: Well, in high school, I got involved with, with a bad crowd, and I. I 00:06:00don't like admitting it, but I used to have drug issues, and I, I realized that my life was going in the wrong direction for, you know, in my opinion. And I knew, well, I told myself that I didn't have the discipline to get out of it myself. And so at that point I was like, well, how can I get more discipline? Because at this time I don't feel I have enough. So at that point that's where I look back because I have a lot, my, I have a lot of family members from previous generations that were in the military.


DUNDAY: And I'm like, well, I know that you get discipline by going through the military. So I'm going to go talk to a recruiter and go in and that'll, you 00:07:00know, hopefully give me the discipline I need to straighten up.

BOWERS HEALEY: Had your relatives talked to you about the military or you just knew that they had been in the military?

DUNDAY: I knew my grandfather never really talked about his time in. He was in, like, around the World War II era. One of my uncles was a Vietnam vet, which again, he did not talk about any of his experience, just that he was in. And I did have a couple older cousins that were in. And at that time I only talked to one of them about it. And all he told me is that I was not allowed to join the Marines. And if he found out I was talking to a marine recruiter, he would lie to them so I would not be accepted. [Bowers Healey laughs] So.

BOWERS HEALEY: And did you take that as truth?

DUNDAY: I did. I thought I thought he was being truthful and that that could actually happen. So I'm like, "Okay, all right. Can't do the Marines. Let's 00:08:00let's look at the other branches [laughs]."

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And and how old were you when you went down to see recruiters?

DUNDAY: I was 19.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And when did that occur? If you, when did you first make contact with him?

DUNDAY: I first made contact with the recruiter, it was, I want to say, in January of 2005.


DUNDAY: It was around that time.

BOWERS HEALEY: How much discussion did you have with the recruiters before you actually went to training?

DUNDAY: Actually, so I started talking to the recruiter in January, trying to get more information. And also the recruiter was trying to help me out too, because I was honest with him about my past with the drug use and, you know, my 00:09:00intent to, you know, get away from it. So he worked with me for a couple of months and every week I met with him every week and every week he would give me an at home drug test. And when it finally came out clean, like with no, nothing in my system, that's when he brought me downtown to to the MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Stations], and we did my physical and contract signing and everything on March 5th of 2005. I didn't actually leave for training until July, and it took about 4 hours of negotiating and me writing a letter to the, I think it was the colonel in charge at the time, and I had to write a letter 00:10:00explaining why I wanted to wait that long to go to training because normally they said that I would have to leave within the first couple, you know, couple of weeks after signing, so I had to write that letter to get special permission to leave later.

BOWERS HEALEY: And why did you any particular reason you wanted to leave later?

DUNDAY: My reason for leaving later was, well, I went back to my sister again and my baby brother at the time. And I was their primary babysitter and I didn't want to leave my mom stranded without being able to find someone to take over their care while I was gone.

BOWERS HEALEY: So your mother was working?

DUNDAY: Yes, both my parents were working.


DUNDAY: And, you know, I didn't want to, you know, leave them stranded with no one to take care of the young ones.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. So in July, you went, of 2005, you went on active duty?

DUNDAY: Correct.

BOWERS HEALEY: And at the time that you enlisted, did you enlist just to be in the Reserves or did you know at that time?

DUNDAY: I did enlist for the Reserves, which my reasons for that was also because I wanted to go back to school right away, but I also wanted to be able to help watch my siblings as well when I came back. So that was my--that and I didn't think I could--I have a very close connection with my baby sister, and I didn't feel that I would be able to handle being gone for four years and barely being able to see her. So.

BOWERS HEALEY: So when you enlisted in the Reserves, what was your initial training? What was the length of your initial training?

DUNDAY: See, that's where I'm drawing a blank. I know there was a week where I 00:12:00was in processing before we went to our actual training unit.

BOWERS HEALEY: So just an approximation. Did you think you were signing on for two months or a year or--

DUNDAY: At that point, I knew my training was going to take me to around, what including my skill training, would take me through till December of that year.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And where did you go to your initial training or boot camp?

DUNDAY: For basic training, I went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.


DUNDAY: And then in September, after I graduated, I then did my skill training down in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Tell me your impressions of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood.

DUNDAY: Well, when I first got there, I was terrified. I--



DUNDAY: I was going based off of, like, the old, like, World War II stories that I've heard from many people about how drill sergeants used to be able to get physical and hands on with you. So I was expecting that the drill sergeants would, well, for lack of better terms I can think of at the moment, would pretty much beat the snot out of us. So I was terrified initially, thinking, oh my gosh, I'm going to get, I'm going to get hurt. Which I was very happy to find out they weren't allowed to do that anymore. So--


DUNDAY: ---that that helped. But the the yelling and all that, I understand they're trying to create a stressful environment so you can think under pressure and it becomes second nature. But, initially, when I first got there, I was 00:14:00like, Whoa, okay, why are they, you know, every time they started yelling, I was like, prepping for getting hit. And I'm like, Wait, they're not. Okay.


DUNDAY: Um, but--

BOWERS HEALEY: What was the physical training like in basics? And also did did you have any preparation for the physical training?

DUNDAY: Yes. Well, after I signed the contract, before I left, I was considered a Delayed Entry Personnel, and I would still have to meet with the recruiter once a week, and they would do training with us. Push-ups, sit-ups, runs. So that way before we left, we were able to meet. There was a minimum that you had to meet going into basic training which was like half of what you needed to do to graduate basic training.

BOWERS HEALEY: What were the physical requirements there at basic training in 00:15:00terms of push-ups, sit-ups and runs?

DUNDAY: Oh. I don't remember the--I know we had to do, from my age group and gender at the time, oh, it's actually I remember kind of getting mad at a drill sergeant because I'm like, "Well, what do I have to do to pass it?" And he's like, "Well, considering you're a female and you're this age, these are your requirements," which now at the moment I don't remember what they were.


DUNDAY: But I know we had to do a certain number of push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, and it--

BOWERS HEALEY: Was that something that you did in high school? Were you active physically in high school or not?

DUNDAY: I was, but not with the strength training per say.


DUNDAY: For me, it was more I was swim team. I was on the track team, but the 00:16:00most I ever ran was one mile. Um, and I also did, well, I did marching band and all that. So I mean, I had the leg strength, the leg part I was not worried about. I was more worried about the push-ups and sit-ups going into it because I'm like, "Oh, I'm not very strong with those [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And when you enlisted, if you don't mind, what was your height and your weight?

DUNDAY: I was well, I was 5'4" and I actually was underweight. But I kind of tricked the system. Initially, I was only 115 pounds, but the minimum, well, no, it was less than that. I was 118 pounds. And the minimum for my height, per weight, was 122. So I knew I was cutting it close. And I intentionally refused to use the bathroom in the morning before they did my height and weight.



DUNDAY: Because I'm like, "Nope, nope, I don't want to. I don't want to get disqualified because of my weight." So, as soon as they said they were done, and I asked the doctor that was running the physical, I'm like, "So you already recorded my official height and weight?" And they were like, Yeah. I'm like, "It's not going to change." And he looked at me really confused. And he's like, "No." And I'm like, "Okay, good. I'm going to the bathroom." I ran to the bathroom because I held it for like 3 hours after waking up. And I'm like, Oh. So I finally used it. And then he just he goes, "This is not for the record." He goes, "Now I'm just curious, can you hop back on the scale?" And I'm like, "This is not on record?" And he goes, "No, not on record." So I hopped back on and I was only 118. He goes, "Well, good thing you did that, or I would have had to have failed you."

BOWERS HEALEY: [Laughs] Oh. Okay. Okay, so back to basic training. Tell me more 00:18:00about your impressions of basic training and some of the instructors that you came across.

DUNDAY: Well, my, the main, my main drill sergeant for my platoon, he, I was like, oh, he's got some anger issues, because he he sat down with all of us as a group and we would have like drill sergeant time where they would go over things and talk with us. And that's also when we did like mail call and and that too. So he when he initially sat down, he goes, "Well, I'm going to tell you guys this now." He goes--this was after the first day of basic, when they really were like shark attack, where there'd be multiple drill sergeants just coming in, yelling and you had to, it was very chaotic the first day or day zero, as we referred to it. And, um, well, when we were doing drill sergeant time, he told 00:19:00all of us, he's like, "Look, he goes, I'm going to be honest with you." He goes, "I was told I am not allowed to lay hands on any of you unless it is a safety concern." He goes, "So with that being said, I'm also not supposed to swear at you little fuckers, either [laughs]." And it kind of confused me. I'm like, okay, if you're not supposed to swear at us, why did you just swear at us?

BOWERS HEALEY: Now, were, your initial training, was it mixed with men and women or just for women?

DUNDAY: Yes, it was coed. I did, I was going through coed Basic. Um--

BOWERS HEALEY: How about housing--quarters? Were you in coed or where were you?

DUNDAY: The quarters. We were all in the same building, but the females were on a separate floor and all the doors for the stairwells to go from floor to floor were all alarmed. So if that door opened, an alarm would go off in the drill 00:20:00sergeant's office and it would, like, light up on their little switchboard as to what floor, what door opened and--


DUNDAY: So we were not allowed to mingle in the barracks.

BOWERS HEALEY: And when you did your physical training and your classroom training, was that with men also?

DUNDAY: That was coed, yep, as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what was the breakdown between men, women in your coed? What percentage of women?

DUNDAY: I would say there was, there was a quarter of the trainees were female.


DUNDAY: We had a four-story building and the women had one floor and the males were all into other floors.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. What else do you remember about basic?

DUNDAY: I do remember that's actually where I met a friend of mine. Well, my, I had, at the end of basic training, I, I adopted her as a little sister, you 00:21:00know. And we, we had eight-person bays and there was like four sets of bunk, four bunk beds in the bay And on the sides there were our wall lockers where we kept all of our gear. And I was on the top bunk because I was already used to being on the top bunk because of my siblings. So I was like, "I don't mind. I'll go on the top bunk. I don't care." I do remember one time one of the, one of the women in my bay didn't lock her wall locker and the drill sergeant realized it so we came back from our classes that day and we come back and our our baby was 00:22:00just all of her stuff was all over the floor. They took everything out of the footlocker and just threw it all over the room. And all of us were were like afraid of getting in trouble, so all of us helped her get her stuff put back together, 'cause they're like, "You have 15 minutes to get this all cleaned up." And so all of us are like, "Oh, no, no, no, no. We're not getting in trouble for this" so we all helped her get everything put away.



BOWERS HEALEY: What sort of things did you learn at basic?

DUNDAY: At basic? I learned, well, I learned that I have a lot more endurance than I initially thought I did at that time, because there was a lot of times where it's like I felt like I couldn't keep going, but I somehow managed to still find the strength to keep going. And I got to that point where there were 00:23:00times where I felt like, Oh, I can't do this, I can't do this. And I found a lot of camaraderie, too, with, you know, people that I trained with, including Joanie or, well, I knew her as Cromwell, but, at that time, but including Joanie, which she, for, on graduation day, they have a family day where you get to spend the day after the actual graduation ceremony on the field. You get to go spend time with your families. And she made the comment in the barracks, she goes, "Well, I guess I'm just going to be here cleaning because I don't have her I don't have any family."

BOWERS HEALEY: What state what she from?

DUNDAY: She was from North, North Dakota.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, okay. All right.

DUNDAY: And she had told me that her family had disowned her for joining the 00:24:00military. They were a very strict, very strict religious family. And they didn't like the fact that she signed up for the military, so they disowned her. And when she told me that, I'm like, "No, you have family." And she goes, "Really? Because they've all disowned me." And I'm like, "You got me." I'm like, "You can come with me and my family. You're not going to," I'm like, "No, you're not going to stay here by yourself. You're not going to stay alone here. You're coming with me."


DUNDAY: And so she spent the day with us, and it went really well, and well, that that friendship lasted for years and until she ceased being on this plane of existence with us, um, which I'll get into that later on. If, yeah. And, um, 00:25:00so there was, I got, I created a really strong bond with her at that time, and my mom and my younger siblings all came out to Missouri for my graduation day and it was the first time seeing my brother since I left. And he was only six months old when I Ieft for basic training. And--

BOWERS HEALEY: While you were in basic training, did you get assigned your Military Occupational Specialty [MOS]?

DUNDAY: I actually picked that out when I was at MEPS, um--


DUNDAY: There was another reason it took me so long, because they were trying to tell me that if I--You know, the job I initially wanted, they said I would have had to have left like that next week and I was like, No, I can't do that.

BOWERS HEALEY: What was that job?

DUNDAY: I wanted to be a medic initially.


DUNDAY: But they didn't have any training that they could put me into a slot for that early and wait that long. So I was like, All right, fine. Then I'll pick 00:26:00something else. And I ended up choosing to be an ammunition specialist.


DUNDAY: And so that that was chosen before I left for basic.

BOWERS HEALEY: And when did you graduate from basic, where your parents, or you mom, came out?

DUNDAY: It was in September of 2005. I don't remember the exact date, but I know it was like mid-Septemberish. I remember because I got some really, really bad news that day from my mom. A friend, a friend of mine from like fifth grade on she had passed while I was at basic. And, you know, when we would have the ability to call home, I always wondered why all my friends were really short and wouldn't talk to me about what was going on at home, which I found out on Family Day. My mom told me, "Yeah, I told all your friends that if any of them tells you, they have to deal with me." So they all tried cutting the conversations 00:27:00really short so they wouldn't slip and tell me about our friend passing.



BOWERS HEALEY: And do you know why your friend passed?

DUNDAY: She was murdered.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, my. And, here in Wisconsin?

DUNDAY: Yeah, in, well, in Cudahy, actually, but, yeah, in Wisconsin.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Okay. So how much time between your basic training and when you went to your follow-on training?

DUNDAY: I actually hopped on a bus and got brought to the airport shortly after graduation. And it was, I didn't have a break in between because I was reserves. I was told the active duty got a break in between, but because I was reserves, I was not given one.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So you went directly to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama?



BOWERS HEALEY: Had you ever been in the South before?

DUNDAY: Never [laughs].


DUNDAY: The furthest south I had ever been prior to that was Illinois [laughs].


DUNDAY: So it was a very big culture shock for me initially. Even just going to Missouri [laughs] was a big culture shock for me.

BOWERS HEALEY: When you went to Missouri. You said a big culture shock. Can you think of one or two things that was a culture shock?

DUNDAY: The first, the first thing that stood out to me, in the chow hall, they had civilians working in the chow hall. And that kind of threw me off because they were like, "Yes, ma'am," you know, and, just the "ma'am," and very super polite. And I'm just like, "O-kaay. Why are you being so polite to me? [laughs].


DUNDAY: And I'm like, "You don't have to call me 'ma'am.' It's okay" [laughs].


DUNDAY: And that one server in particular, she's like, "No, ma'am, I need to 00:29:00call you ma'am." I'm like, "Okay." And I just left it alone. And I'm just like, "Okay, this does not happen in Milwaukee."

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay, So you headed to Redstone Arsenal and you got there the same day, I take it, or [inaudible].

DUNDAY: Actually, I was supposed to get there the same day. There was--they overbooked the flight I was supposed to be on to get there. It was myself and one other private from another unit. But still from Fort Leonard Wood, but a different, you know, company. And we were supposed to go there together, you know. And we got to the airport and they're like, "Oh, well, we're sorry, but we've only got room for one of you." And her and I looked at each other and we're like, "We both go, or neither of us go." Like, "We're not leaving the 00:30:00other person behind." So.

BOWERS HEALEY: Were you in uniform at the time or not?

DUNDAY: Yes, At that time they did have us traveling in uniform.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what uniform were you in?

DUNDAY: I was still in the original, the Woodland BDUs [camouflage battle dress uniform].


DUNDAY: And with the polished black boots and [laughs]. And they were like, "Well, we only got space for one of you on this flight." And I remember stepping up and telling the lady at the, at the counter, I'm like, "Well, that's not o--That's not acceptable. We can't separate. We need to stay together." So she's like, "Well, our next flight down to Huntsville isn't going to be till tomorrow." So I was like, "Okay, well then, is there going to be room for both 00:31:00of us on that flight?" She said, "Yeah." So she's like, "Well, what I can do is, you know, the airline can pay for you to spend the night at a hotel and pay for your, you know, food for tonight and tomorrow morning, you know, with vouchers. And then you just take the flight tomorrow to get there." And so we chose that option because neither of us wanted to leave the other person behind. So we spent the night at I think it was the Hilton, actually. Yeah. So we spent the night at the Hilton there at the, um, I want to say that was Atlanta, no, that was St. Louis. And so we, we spent the night there. They had us in a shared room with two beds and spent the night there. We got, you know, we got up in the 00:32:00morning, went to breakfast and, you know, proceeded to the airport. And when we got to Huntsville, we were a day later than everybody else. So when the initial check-in and shakedown happened, where they go through all of our stuff and our seabags to make sure we didn't have anything that was, you know, against the rules or contraband, they had us pour out all of our stuff. And the drill sergeant actually went through all of our stuff. And if there was any contraband, they're like, "Nope," and he would throw it away. Unless it was like a cell phone, which I did have one. But they're like, "That needs to go and get locked up. You're not allowed to have that until you hit a certain phase of your training and then you can have it back at that time."


DUNDAY: Um. And it was, each one of us, they had a separate drill sergeant. Each 00:33:00of us had our own drill sergeant with us. Whereas the other group, it was just a large group of drill sergeants, you know, with an even larger group of recruits. And, at that point, they sent us off. They're like, "Well, you're already late for training. So go drop off your stuff. And then, you know, we're going to have a bus to bring you to your training." So there was that. And then at that point we were in with everyone else and.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And how big of group did you train with? And it was all Army or?

DUNDAY: It was well, the base was a shared base. There were Marine recruits there. And when we were doing the training itself during the day, it was integrated for the, there was three phases to the ammunition specialist training. The first two phases were combined. They were Army and Marine.



DUNDAY: The third phase was branch specific. So

BOWERS HEALEY: And, again, it was coed.

DUNDAY: Correct.

BOWERS HEALEY: All right. What sorts of things did you learn to be an ammo specialist?

DUNDAY: Well, we had to learn the different hazard codes and for the ammunition, for the different munitions. And different hazard codes would dictate, like if they could be stored together or shipped together. And we also were trained like what to do if we needed to, if there was an emergency and we needed to--um, I'm trying to think how they worded it--But pretty much like if we had to rig everything, to destroy what we couldn't get out. So we were taught how to do 00:35:00that at that time as well. And but the first couple of phases was pretty much just going over the call numbers and like the, like the ammo boxes they would have like, for like an M and then a number after it. And that would designate what type of munition it was. And they would go through all of that, the ID and all the specs behind each of the different types of munitions and what the different colors painted on them stood for and--

BOWERS HEALEY: I should have asked you, sometime during either your basic training or your specialty training, did you fire weapons?

DUNDAY: Yes. At well, actually, both at basic training and at the skill tra--at our skill training. More, more in basic we'd go to the range and that's when they taught us how to fire the weapon. They also taught us how to use bayonets, 00:36:00which I've heard they don't do anymore. Um [laughs]

BOWERS HEALEY: What type of--did you fire a rifle, or?

DUNDAY: I did fire, it was a, it was an M16. With three [round burst??] that they trained us to, to fire. They did. At basic, they had like a brief one week section where they would briefly touch on other weapon systems, and you got to try it, but it was just a one time, Okay, here, you can try it just in case you ever have to use it or run into it. You know, how to. But it wasn't very intricate as it was with the M16, with the rifle.

BOWERS HEALEY: All right. And anyone at Redstone Arsenal particularly stand out in terms of friendships that you made or instructors that were there?

DUNDAY: There was. There was one instructor I, well, I'm not going to say his 00:37:00name just because of why he stood out. I'm not going to put his business out like that. But there was one drill sergeant who had a cocaine problem. And there was one time he came out, the whole company was out in formation. And he comes running out of the barracks and he still had white powder on his nose.


DUNDAY: And about halfway through our training, which was like, oh, that was about like a week prior, he came out with the powder on his nose. And that was, that happened like a total of three times. And then he just disappeared. He he was a little erratic, compared to most, you know, drill sergeants come, tend to come off as erratic in the first place. But out of all of them, he was the most 00:38:00erratic out of all of them.


DUNDAY: There was, when we were marching back and forth from like chow and training back to the barracks, there was one cadence we would always call when we were near the Marine Corps barracks, and he kind of, he changed the lyrics a little bit, kind of playing off of one of the Marine cadences, where they're like, where the Marines are like, one, two, three, four United States Marine Corps. I would be, like, what he had us call was, One, two, three, four. We're not the damn Marine [laughs] Corps.


DUNDAY: Which I always had a kick with that. Whenever we were getting close and when I heard him start up that cadence it's like, oh, yes! So and we like, we were louder than ever whenever we were by the Marines yelling out that line, specifically, calling out that part specifically, all of us were like, that was 00:39:00the loudest all of us called out was during that time. There was another one which, another cadence which got pretty gruesome, but there was another cadence we always called out when we went past the Air Force barracks. Mainly, I, my my assumption on that was because the drill sergeants just wanted to mess with the airmen because it was very, it was a very gruesome cadence.


DUNDAY: I did, I had a couple friends at my roommate at AIT, or the Advanced Individual Training, my roommate, her and I [laughs], one thing that I actually kind of miss about sharing, you know, being her roommate was well, she was from California. Altamirano [laughs]. And she, her and I would have speaker awards. 00:40:00We had the same set of speakers and we'd hook them up to our CD players [laughs]. So we would have speaker wars with our music and the people who we shared a wall with they were like, Okay, so which one of you listens to this band or which one of you listens to Rammstein or which one of you listens to reggaeton [laughs] because she would blast her music. And it, initially it agitated me because it's like, okay, I have no idea what they're saying because I didn't speak Spanish. So it kind of irritated me more than anything. So I'm like, "All right, fine, two can play at this game." So I started playing the German music. And blasting that instead like, "Well, I can't understand what yours are saying, so I'm going to play something you can't understand."

BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you get German background?

DUNDAY: When I was an infant, my mom was a bartender and the owners of the bar 00:41:00that she worked at were German immigrants and the wife would watch me while she was working. And because I was a baby they assumed, well, it doesn't matter what language we speak around her. She's only a baby.


DUNDAY: So I picked up German early in, early, early as a kid, and just kind of kept learning it from that point forward. Just.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you also study in high school?

DUNDAY: I did. I start, I started, well, again, started learning it as a, as a young, young child, and then continued on in high school. Well started in middle school, actually, I took German in middle school. It was actually a requirement at the time to take, I had to take three weeks of Spanish, French and German, three weeks of each. And while I got the best grade in German. So I'm like, All 00:42:00right, continuing with German.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. So anything else about Redstone Arsenal?

DUNDAY: I did actually become friends with a male, a male private named, named, it was Private Kelly. And he, ah, him and I were actually really close. Whenever we did have free time, we go hang out at like the rec center. Like, we were never allowed to just be one male, one female. You couldn't be a coed pair. You had to have, like, a battle buddy with you. You could do a coed group if it was--You had to have either two males and a female or two females and a male. But you were not allowed to be one on one, male and female. So we would go hang 00:43:00out and we would normally like just double up and there'd be four of us, like two males, two females, and we go, hang out there, you know, watching movies, listening to music, things like that. Um. And we were really close for a. long time. And then when we went out to the field for our field training, he was one--well, he was around, ahead of me, so he actually left AIT before I did. He left while I was out doing the final field exercise where they had us in tents, and we were pretty much doing, like, it was like a, how about, I don't want to say reenactment, but we were, it was set up as if we were like set up in a FOB or like a Forward Operating Base. You know, you know, in tents and posting guard 00:44:00and things like that and like doing patrols and for the training. And while I was doing that, when my when my group was doing that part, he had graduated. So and I wasn't able to get his his address or anything prior to that. So I was like. "Oh, man, I wish I would have gotten his contact information to keep in contact with him."

BOWERS HEALEY: Were you training with other Reserves or a mix of Reserves and active people?

DUNDAY: We were we we were mixed. At my, at AIT, there were only four of us that were going into the Reserves. And I was the only female that was there training to be in the reserves. Everyone else was all active duty.


DUNDAY: But in my, my, my group there were only four of us that graduated at the same time.


BOWERS HEALEY: So when did you graduate from Redstone Arsenal?

DUNDAY: It was December, I want to say 12th. Yeah, December 12th. And when we when we left AIT, at that point, they're like, they told us, when, on your flight home you need to wear civilian clothing. You're not allowed to wear, you know, your uniform going home, which I questioned. "I'm like, well, why not? You know, we were in uniform on the way here. Why, Why can't we wear your uniform going home?" And he goes, "Well, at this point," you know, the drill sergeant that was talking to us about it before we, you know, the debriefing us before him, was like, well, "due to threats, you know, that have been put out, it's not 00:46:00safe for you to travel in your uniforms anymore. So you need to wear just regular, everyday civilian clothes."


DUNDAY: And I made the mistake of not thinking about Wisconsin weather in December when I was getting ready to leave [laughs]. So I put my, I brought I packed, when I initially left in July, I packed a winter coat because I knew I wouldn't be back till December. So I packed a winter coat, but I put it in my, not in my checked baggage, but I put it in the other baggage that goes in the hold. So, and I ended up wearing just, just a pair of jeans and a tee shirt when I left Alabama, because it was like 60 something degrees out that day. So, I'm like, oh, it's warm, you know, And completely forgetting where I'm going to is not warm. So I got back to Milwaukee [laughs] and I'm in the airport now. I'm 00:47:00like, Okay, it's a little chilly. And when I was getting off the plane to get into the terminal, I, was like, Oh, okay, yeah, I shouldn't have packed my coat. I should have kept, I should have put it on. And at that point, I was walking into the terminal and my family was there in the terminal waiting for me when I walked out. And I my, my baby sister saw me first. Everyone else was kind of focusing on her, which, well, she has Down syndrome. So they were kind of trying to keep her occupied and, you know, not running off. So they were all sitting there and she was the only one facing my direction. So I'm standing there and I see her and we lock eyes and everyone else's back is turned. So I'm sitting here going, Whoa, whoa, hold on. Like no one sees me. And she's just like, "Blair!" 00:48:00And at that point, everyone else turned around and I sat there, everyone came up, gave me a hug. And at that point, I, I started looking around, looking for my friend Christy, even though my mom had already notified me in September what had happened, I still was looking for her because at my going away party before I left, she had told me--none of my friends believed me I could do it, except for her-- and she looked, she goes, "You know what? Don't listen to what they have to say." She goes, "I've known you since, you know, fifth grade. And I know if you put your mind to it, you can do it." She goes, "So don't even listen to them. You can do this and I'll be there to welcome you home when you come back." So I was looking for her and it took me a moment to realize, "Oh, wait. Yeah, she's not here." So I ended up-


BOWERS HEALEY: Did they ever find out who murdered her?

DUNDAY: Oh, yeah, He actually, they, they found the guy who did it. He was actually already in police custody for a different charge when the DNA results came back. So.

BOWERS HEALEY: Someone that she knew or not?

DUNDAY: No, she did not know him. He just followed her on the bus. She was coming home from, from work and he followed her on the bus and [inaudible] when she got off two blocks away from her house, he got off, too. And then--


DUNDAY: Yeah. Did what he did.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So you're back home now? Uh, I don't know what type of reservist you were or what the expectations were. Were you a weekend driller or?

DUNDAY: Yeah, I did. I did drill on the weekends. Every now and then, we'd have an extended drill where we would leave, like, Thursday night, you know, and go to, like, Fort McCoy, up near Sparta, Wisconsin.



DUNDAY: And we'd be at Fort McCoy for an extended weekend that was normally, I want to say those were, normally every six months, because that's when we would do our rifle qualifications and make sure that, you know, we still had our our weapons training and we were still, you know, you know, qual--you know, could still qualify and meet the so many, you know, targets within the timeframe they gave us.

BOWERS HEALEY: And and in addition to your weekend drills and extended drills, were you working or were you--

DUNDAY: I was. I, when I came back, I went back to work at McDonald's again and, um--

BOWERS HEALEY: Living at home?

DUNDAY: Yep. Still living with my mom at that time.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And I take it caring sometimes for your younger siblings or not?

DUNDAY: Yep. When I wasn't at work or--I would take care of my siblings when I could.


BOWERS HEALEY: And where did you drill or what unit did you drill with?

DUNDAY: I was with the 826 Ordnance Company. They drilled out of the Reserve Center on, in Milwaukee as well, on, I want to say, it's like 51st and Silver Spring. Yeah. 51st. But it's on the north side. [Inaudible].

BOWERS HEALEY: So. In addition to your extended weekends and your weekend drills, I understand from your intake form that you also went to Germany.

DUNDAY: Yes, we did have a--well, we refer to it as AT. It's an annual training. Um, they did have an annual training opportunity at, that took place in Germany. And so I signed up for it. So I'm like, Oh yeah, I want to go to Germany. And 00:52:00now, so, then the very first time I was set up for it, and all signed up and everything, and then I found out in April of 2006 that I was pregnant with my first daughter.


DUNDAY: So that took me out of the running. I wasn't able to go on that one. Because, well, being pregnant, they would not allow me to leave the country. So I had to do my annual training, you know, stateside. And I pretty I went in the office and was what did office work for, though, you know, for those three weeks while everyone else went to Germany? Lucky bastards. Sorry [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. That's all right.

DUNDAY: I was very mad about going on that one.


DUNDAY: And then, so the first year they did that. The next year for the annual training, it was down, it took place in Kentucky. It was like, just out of Louisville.


BOWERS HEALEY: And what year would that have been?

DUNDAY: That was the summer. Early summer of 2007.


DUNDAY: And we ended up going down to Kentucky. And we actually worked in an ammo--well, a small little base they had there. But we worked in the ammo supply, or the ASP, Ammo Supply Point, you know, but the ammo area.


DUNDAY: And we would actually put together, 'cause different units in the area, would, that's where the ammo was stored. So they would put in the requests for, okay, well, this is what my unit needs. And we were in charge of going and collecting it and getting it all set up for them to pick up.

BOWERS HEALEY: And did you work with reservists as well as active duty during your Kentucky training or not?


DUNDAY: When we went to Kentucky, most of the workers were actually civilian workers. So but we worked with them. They showed us like, okay, well, this is how the system operates here and gave us a quick rundown that way. And we went through and, you know, we're doing the work and helping them with that and--

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you feel the training and the work experience was worthwhile?

DUNDAY: Oh, yeah. It did help a lot. Because in Kentucky there were a few things that were not cataloged properly, and we found that out the hard way because we went in there like, okay, well, it's supposed to be in here. Why isn't it in here? And so we ended up having to go to a different section and like looking we had to go through and like re-update all the logs they had of what was where, because there was things that they said should have been there that weren't there. So we had to go through and do an inventory and tr-- and log everything 00:55:00that we found in there. And we initially found what was missing. It was in a different area where it wasn't supposed to be, but we found it [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: So you were there for about three weeks?



DUNDAY: Yeah, that was, that was fun [laughs]. There was actually a tornado that hit about five miles away from where we were when we were there [laughs].


DUNDAY: That was frightening because the building they had us in had no basement. So we're all sitting here going, Okay. Where are we supposed to go [laughs]? But they pretty much told us, like, go to the center of the building, away from all the windows and hope that it doesn't take the building.


DUNDAY: Okay [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So then you went back to Wisconsin and continued with your monthly training?


DUNDAY: Yep. With the monthly drills. And then--

BOWERS HEALEY: So tell me a little bit--You mentioned that you were pregnant during, the year before. So how did you work out daycare in the situation?

DUNDAY: Well, at that point, my, my other half, their their father--well, her father at the time, because it was just her. When I was pregnant, he was in between jobs and I'm like, "Well, I'm going to be forced into going on to maternity leave soon. So we'll do it this way. You keep looking. And if you still can't find a job by the time that, you know, the baby's born at that point, then you you can stay at home and be the stay at home parent and take care of her." And I'm like, "If not, you know, if you have a job and while you, if you get paid more than I do, then I'll be the stay at home parent." So it 00:57:00worked out because he was not able to find another job before our daughter was born [laughs]. So he was the stay at home parent. And when I would go for the training and all that, he would stay home with her and take care of her for, you know.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And as far as the Army went, does the Army require you to file a paperwork for being a single parent?

DUNDAY: Yeah. When I first when I first found out I was pregnant and brought the proof, you know, from the doctor to the unit, I actually had a meeting. My first sergeant sit down with me. And there was paperwork. A counseling statement he had to go over with me, and he's like, it was like a family- planning counseling statement. And he was like, "Well, I'm going to tell you this now right out the gate." He goes, um, he goes "This is your one and only time you're going to be 00:58:00able to separate due to this child." He goes, "So, if you do not feel that you can still maintain your obligations as a soldier while, you know, with your child, you know, you have the ability to opt, you know, to opt out and we will have you, like, discharged under a family, you know, a family discharge," or something along those lines. I don't remember exactly how he said that, but he said that was the only time I would get the ability to get a discharge surrounding my daughter and her care, you know, without repercussions. Okay. So and I told them, because at that point I had I was only there for a few months. So I'm like, "Well, I signed up for, I signed up for six years. I'm going to finish my contract. I signed up to do this job. I'm going to do it." So he's 00:59:00like, "Okay." He goes, "Do you have someone to take care of the child, well, you know, during your obligations?" And, you know, I did. So it was, he's like, "Okay," he goes, "Do you want to be separated or do you want to stay?" And I'm like, "I'm staying in." "Okay." Had me sign off and that was the last that was discussed.


DUNDAY: And then so he took care of her while I was doing the trainings. In the following year, after Kentucky, though, we went, I signed up for the Germany training again.


DUNDAY: Which we went to, um, we were at Miesau.

BOWERS HEALEY: Spell that if you can.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And you said you signed up for it. So when you went, did you go with part of your Reserve unit or--



BOWERS HEALEY: --with Reserve units, or [inaudible] or what?

DUNDAY: They only had a certain number of slots available. So what they had to like split us up. I don't even remember where the other part of my unit went for their training, but the people who ended up going to Germany, there was like three separate groups. There are two different time frames for Germany and then another one that went somewhere else. But I don't know where they went.


DUNDAY: And then I was in the second group to Germany and it was limited. So only a certain number of people got to go. And when we got to Germany, we realized, I was the only person in my unit who was fluent in German.


DUNDAY: So I became our unofficial interpreter. Ah, which was kind of fun.


BOWERS HEALEY: Where was Miesau, Germany, in terms of the German country, was it north, south, is it close to a large city?

DUNDAY: That's actually a good question. Well, we flew in to Frankfurt.


DUNDAY: And then we drove by bus to the base, which I fell asleep. So I have no idea how long that was [laughs]. But we were a half-hour train ride away from Ramstein Air Base.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And while you were at Germany, were you on the base? Is Miesau a base?

DUNDAY: Miesau? Yeah. Miesau's a very small base. Um. They do have a ammo supply area there, um, which is where we were working, you know, during the day, during 01:02:00work hours, we would go into the ammo area and--

BOWERS HEALEY: And were you working with other Americans or with Germans or civilians or what?

DUNDAY: It was actually a combination. It was, well, mostly German civilians. But there were other, like active duty personnel that worked in there that oversaw the the civilians, and we worked with them.

BOWERS HEALEY: Active duty German or--

DUNDAY: Oh, sorry, active duty American--


DUNDAY: --army. And they were the over they oversaw and made sure the civilians were doing what they needed to and not doing anything they weren't supposed to.


DUNDAY: Um, I do, I did have, uh, when we were there, it was kind of fun. One of the, one of the gentlemen we worked with, out of, there was like four civilians there, and one of them I kind of, like, I don't know why, but I was like, drawn 01:03:00to him. And we clicked. We were, you know, but he would actually, because the other three barely spoke any English. So it kind of came to--I worked more one on one with the other three because, you know, the, the language barrier. So I worked with the ones who barely spoke English, while he worked with the other soldiers in my unit that didn't know German, because, you know, so, because he was fluent in English. So it was one of those. But during, like, our lunch breaks and stuff, I would sit and hang out with him and the other Germans and sit, and we had designated smoking areas because working with explosives you really don't want flame near them. So there was designated smoking areas where it was safe to smoke and I would sit in the smoking area with them and hang out. 01:04:00And it was, it was kind of fun, because everyone else, because I would sit and talk with them in German, because it, to me, was like, okay, either language I'm fluent in. So whatever. And so I just sit and talk with them, and the other people in my unit were just like, What are they saying? Are they talking about us? No. No, they're not. I would tell you, if they would not be happy if they [laughs] were talking about us in a negative light.


DUNDAY: Um, so we did that and a lot of--when we go out, at the end of the day, we would go off-base and go hang out. We'd go to different places. Sometimes, sometimes we would hop on the train and go to a city that we referred to as K-Town, because most people couldn't pronounce it [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: What was the name of the town, if you remember?

DUNDAY: Kaiserschlauten.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Any idea how to spell?



DUNDAY: Yes [laughs], sounds like I just had to guess on that one, I'm like, Wait. Yeah. And I was the only one who could actually read the train schedules because no one knew what anything else was saying. And there was a lot of abbreviations, so it confused them even more. So I was always the one going, "Okay, we need to take this number train. We have to get off it at this, stop." And [laughs], well, what time is it going to be there? "Well, it says, okay, this time." And we would go from there. And we would go out to different, like, bars. And, you know, there was a dance club in in Kaiserschlauten that was--I 01:06:00don't remember, I think it think it was Nacht Schicht, yeah, Nacht Schicht. And it had like three separate rooms and they had different styles of music in each one of the rooms. And it was, it was like really fun. We ended up going there. And, um, at that point, other people in my unit started making rumors, because there was one person in our unit that, like he, he had a hard time even just kind of grasping the whole English thing. So I was kind of like really close with him because it was like he did not know any German whatsoever. And he's like, "Hey, can you ask them to get this for me?" So they constantly saw me go in and grabbing stuff for him. And rumors started that there was a thing between me and him and it's like, no, I've got someone back home. Thank you. I'm good [laughs].


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So you were in Germany for about three weeks?

DUNDAY: Three weeks. That was, at that point that was the first time I was away from my daughter for more than 24 hours.

BOWERS HEALEY: Right. Did you have communication? I don't know what state the cell phone issue was at that time.

DUNDAY: At that point, cell phones did not do international calls.


DUNDAY: So I had to get international calling cards and use the payphone to call home. But I would still call home every night, and even though I knew my daughter couldn't talk back, I would still have, because I was afraid that me being gone so long, she'd forget me.

BOWERS HEALEY: How old was she at the time?

DUNDAY: Six months.


DUNDAY: So I'm like, I'm like, "Can you put the phone up to her ear? I want to say good night to her [laughs]."


DUNDAY: So, you know, he would hold the phone up to her ear, and every now and then I'd hear her coo and stuff. So I was like, "Oh!"


BOWERS HEALEY: So you went back to Wisconsin, and let me ask you, with your reserve time and whether it be extended weekends or weekends, and I don't know if you were in jobs all of the time, but did you ever have any problems getting, with your employer, accepting you back into the job or you're taking off?

DUNDAY: Not initially. I did have an issue later on, back in 2008, before we got deployed, there were rumors going around that our unit was going to get deployed, but nothing concrete yet. So I was trying to be, you know, considerate and tell my job, like, hey, there's rumors that we might be getting deployed. If I find out anything concrete, I will let you know. And the manager there, at that time I was working for a security company, and at the time the manager that 01:09:00I spoke with, she was like, "Oh, okay, cool." But then I found it oddly suspicious that all of a sudden a week later all these false accusations started coming up at work. Because I was assigned to a school. And working at the school, and yes, I'm a smoker, but working at the school, I knew tobacco products weren't allowed on school property, so I would leave them at home. Every time I walked out the door, they went on top of my TV, so I wouldn't have them on me. I wouldn't even have a lighter, cigarettes, nothing. And my my other half would see me put it on the TV every day before I left. And there were accusations that started popping up that they claimed that I was caught smoking in a bathroom in the school. And I'm like, well, that's interesting because I 01:10:00never had my cigarettes with me. But they started making accusations like that. They tried at one point claiming that I told the principal of the school to to f off. And so they were like, Well, we need to let you go because all the, you know. So at that point, I was job searching again and I had an interview for Sam's Club. And I was like, you know what? I'm going to tell them at the interview because if my possible deployment is an issue, I want to get that out of the way right away. So at the interview, I flat out they, they asked, they're like, "Well, I see you're in the reserves." And I'm like, Yes. They're like, well, you know, I can't remember exactly how they worded it, but they're like, you know--"Is there a chance of you getting deployed?" And I'm like, "Well, 01:11:00there are rumors that my unit will be getting deployed, but nothing is concrete at this time. But if that were to change, I can give you that information as soon as I am aware." So, and I put that out at the interview because I'm like, if this is going to be a problem, I don't want to work here. Which ultimately it wasn't. I ended up getting a job there. So. 'um.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So when did you deploy to Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: We we left January of 2009. We and my dog. We dropped my dog. We left at like four in the morning. And I want to say it was the 15th of January, actually. And Greg and I, we we dropped my oldest off at at her gra--at his 01:12:00mom's house, and, you know, gave her hugs, kisses. I'm trying my hardest not to cry, you know, gave her hugs, kisses and told her, you know, "I love you." You know, "I'll I'll see you again, I'll see you again soon." She's like, "Okay." And, we left. And that night, slash, the following morning brought me to the Reserve Center so I could leave.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you know you were going to be gone for about a year?



DUNDAY: I knew I'd be gone for a year. I--But I was told, you know, I was aware that we would have Internet access. We would just have to pay for it while we were there. So I ended up, we ended up doing, like, video calls and, you know, video chatting back home with Skype and [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. What type of prep work did your unit do prior to January 01:13:0015th, 2009, to get ready for a one-year deployment?

DUNDAY: We did do a lot more extended drills and we also, like, going up to Fort McCoy and doing more weapons training and like tactical training prior to the fact, and like how to operate, like if we were, if we were tasked with doing a vehicle checkpoint, how we would do that, and practicing different scenarios as well as like if we were to be in a convoy, like what we would do for like IED detection, or Improvised Explosive Devices, and how to spot them and what to do if we spotted them, and first aid training. Like they went really big on the, on the first aid and weapons training on us before we left.




BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have to draw any additional gear or did you have sufficient gear to go to Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: They did give us a lot of gear. They did give us some extra gear that we didn't previously have. But we got that when we were, I want to say they gave us that when we landed in--on the way to Afghanistan we, we stopped in Kyrgyzstan and we spent a couple days there before they flew us out to Afghanistan. But when we were in Kyrgyzstan, they had us go through. They issued us some extra gear that we didn't previously have, like like the the gaiters or the like the face scarves, you know, um, the balaclavas or whatever. I can't remember. I call them face scarves. So.

BOWERS HEALEY: So, in Kyrgystan, were you on a military base or?


DUNDAY: Yes, we were on a military base in Kyrgyzstan. It was an air Force base. And we--

BOWERS HEALEY: U.S. Air Force Base, or was that it?

DUNDAY: Yeah, it was it. Well, it was it I, I want to say it was a U.S. base. It might have been a joint operations base, but I know it was Air Force.


DUNDAY: Um. And they did a lot of briefings beforehand about, okay, well, keep an eye out for this, these types of things. They taught us, like, basic phrases in Pashto, which is the the dialect that they speak in Afghanistan. They went over, like, key phrases and words in that, in their language, for us to learn which, to be perfectly honest, by the time we got there, I did not remember any 01:16:00of those phrases.


DUNDAY: I relearned them later from an interpreter [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: So when you got to Afghanistan in January of 2009, where were you stationed in Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: We were in Bagram, Bagram, Afghanistan, which was a, it was an airbase. But, it was a, the, it was a joint base, but the base commanders were Army. So it was like joint Army-Air Force. There were still Marines here and there on the base too, but the command structure was Air Force and Army.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Try to describe Bagram Air Force Base for somebody who has never been there. What does it look like? What's in the background? Sounds, smells.


DUNDAY: Um, when I first thing that caught my attention when I got off the off the plane in Bagram was, um, well, because it was the middle of the night when we flew in, for safety reasons. So they flew us in the middle of the night. So it was very dark. I didn't, couldn't really see anything at that point except the flight line. And when they brought us to our barracks--Well, we went to a tent city first before the barracks before they got us in the barrack, which was pretty much just a bunch of tents set up. You stayed on a cot until they had barracks set up for you, like, living quarters set up for you, which that lasted maybe a week. It wasn't it wasn't that long at all. And then when they brought it, when they told us where our barracks were, I'm looking at it. I'm like, 01:18:00they're giant metal Conex boxes, like, are you kidding me? And they were made out of Conex boxes that were converted into a building. So looking at the outside, I'm sitting here going, We're living in storage boxes! Are you kidding me [laughs]?


DUNDAY: But they had, each one of, like, what you'd see. Like those big metal boxes you see on the bo--on the back of like, semis. It was like that.


DUNDAY: But they had retrofitted it to be, they took off one side and it was two of them back-to-back with, like, a plyboard divider. And each room was sectioned into like four, four little sections. Three were living quarters with bunk beds in them. And the fourth one was your common area. And they were cramped [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: How about restrooms?


DUNDAY: Restrooms? You had to--Well, my barracks room was on the second floor. It was a two-story. So I would have to go halfway because I was right in the middle on the second floor. So I had to go halfway around to the end of the building to go down the stairs. And then the opposite side of the building halfway down was the women's bathroom.


DUNDAY: So it was kind of a trek [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: So your barracks, was or it just a reserve unit or were--

DUNDAY: In our building, it was just us. Like in our big building, um, there were--

BOWERS HEALEY: Was it all people from Wisconsin?

DUNDAY: We actually had some soldiers from other units that got attached to us for the for the deployment itself. Oh, and for the training beforehand. Sorry. They ended up sending us to Fort Hood for awhile before we before we left to go 01:20:00to Kyrgyzstan. We flew out of Milwaukee to Fort Hood, did our training, did training there too, too, and then went to Kyrgyzstan.

BOWERS HEALEY: What kind of training did you do at Fort Hood? Fort Hood.

DUNDAY: We did a lot of like combat simulation training and first aid and weapons training.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. How long were you in Fort Hood?

DUNDAY: I want to say we were there about a month. We did like. Well, it's referred to as mount training. It's like urban ombat, like house to house, building to building-type like clearing buildings. And things like that.

BOWERS HEALEY: And so were you there over Christmas time, do you recall?

DUNDAY: Not at Fort Hood.


DUNDAY: I left after Christmas for, to leave. I did spend Christmas in Afghanistan.



DUNDAY: Along with Thanksgiving and all the other holidays of the year.

BOWERS HEALEY: [Inaudible] the year. Okay.


BOWERS HEALEY: How long were you actually in Afghanistan? More than a year? Or about a year?.

DUNDAY: February. From February to, like, it was early January, because we flew from--once we left Afghanistan, it was, we did a few pit stops along the way, but we ended up flying into into Maine actually on our way back. So, but when we were overseas, I was at religious service and I was sitting here focusing on what was going on in the service. And I heard a familiar voice behind me. And I 01:22:00was like, I know that voice. And I turned around to look, and it was actually my friend from AIT, from training. And it was it was, well, at that time he was a specialist, so it was Specialist Kelly. And so we--.

BOWERS HEALEY: Was he active duty?

DUNDAY: He was active, Yes.


DUNDAY: So we ran into each other out there. And we started hanging out, which started more rumors in my unit, um, which--Afghanistan, there was a lot of rumors going around about me because I didn't I didn't trust the females in my unit. I didn't like, I didn't get along with them. I didn't trust them. So I preferred to hang out with other males so--with male soldiers instead of females. And there were rumors going around that these guys I was hanging out 01:23:00with, that I was sleeping with. And it's like, "No-o." But according to the rumors, I, according to rumors, I apparently slept with 15 people, which I didn't sleep with anybody. But, yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: And how did you handle that?

DUNDAY: I, I just kept ignoring it because I didn't know who was starting them. But I constantly had people, my unit coming up and going, "Oh, so are you and him doing stuff? I heard you're doing stuff with this person, with that, you know, with that guy and this guy. And I'm like, "No, we're just friends. I'm just hanging out with them." And one point I had the wife of one of the guys in my unit actually message me on Skype and go, "Hey, are you, you know, are you 01:24:00Specialist Dunday?" And I'm like, "Yeah, what's going on?" She goes--because I didn't, I recognized her last name, you know, because I knew, like, "Oh, that's that's his wife." So she messaged me, and she's like, "I really need to ask you something. You know, someone had told me that there that you and my husband had a thing going on." And at that point, I was like, I, I didn't feel comfortable with the messaging. Because I'm like, and I even told her this. So I'm like, "Look, can we video chat? Because I want to physically look you in the eye and answer your question." I'm like, I, I'm like, "I don't feel comfortable doing it through messaging because anybody can write anything like, I want you to physically see my face and know, like, I'm not lying to you with this." So I 01:25:00video-chatted with her and told her, you know, told her the truth. Like, No, we're just friends, We've been hanging out. But that's as far as that's gone. She goes, "Has he ever"--and she even asked me--"has he ever tried doing anything?" I'm like, "No." I'm like, "He constantly talks about you and the kids." Like if he's doing something with somebody, I know nothing about it. And, but yeah, it was somebody was spreading it even to the spouse, you know, like I had her come to me and ask me, I'm like, "No." And, so again, when I ran into my friend from training again, of course the rumors started that him and I were a thing. And I'm like, "Oh my God. Whatever." I just kept hanging out with him because I'm, like, you know what? I don't care. Think what you want, because 01:26:00obviously whatever I say is not going to mean anything to you anyway. Whatever. And just let them think whatever they wanted to think at that point.

BOWERS HEALEY: What was your--on a day-to-day basis--what were your duties? What was your mission while you were in Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: So when we were there, I started out working--We had split up into AM and PM. That was day shift, night shift. I started out on day shift, and we would every morning get up, get ready, and we be on get on, we had a little commuter bus that fit, like I want to say, like, we'd do a couple of trips, but it fit like 15 of us in there at, 12 to 15 of us at a time. And we would, you know, one of the guys in our unit would, was our driver. He would drive us from where our barracks was down the main road. And then there was like us, there was 01:27:00a road that kind of hugged the outer line of the base to get around to where the ammo supply point was. And we would take that trip in the morning. He would drop us off, go back, and pick up the next group of people, and we would get there that way. And during the day shift, I would, you know, we would have to, you know, do our morning debriefing, like, okay, so this is what we're looking at for today. You know, we're going to need this many people in this area, you know, this many of you here. And they would divide up like. Okay, well we need this many people here. You're going here, you're going there. There is like, well, in the actual yard itself, there was two, like four different areas that you could be assigned to.

BOWERS HEALEY: So ammo supply. Were you working in buildings or tents or outside?


DUNDAY: We were working outside. It was, there was a main office building, but only the office staff worked in there, which I was not [laughs]. So I was outside and our work sites, they were like lined by, like, very high berms of, like, land, you know, to--so if there were to have been an explosion, it would be contained in that smaller area instead of everything going off. So they had it sectioned off in berms and, but we would, I would usually work in the, in the shipping area and we would, you know, we had the group that would go out into the roads, which is where all the ammo iself was stored and they would go out, collect up what was on the list that they needed to get and bring it to the yard 01:29:00I was in and we would get it all set up on real, it was like a really big pallet, like metal sheet thing. It was an Air Force pallet. It was referred to it [inaudible] it would slide on the bird and we would set the ammo up and, you know, get it ready to get shipped on there and get, you know, netted up, get it all needed. And when things would come in, they would come in on the Air Force pallets, they would get dropped off to us and we had to undo it or set it up and. get everything where it needed to go once all the proper paperwork was completed, which we would do that while we were like setting it up, we would check-off, like, okay, that's there, that's there. And we would do, like, two or three checks before it went out. Just in our yard. And when it would come in, we 01:30:00would have to take an inventory of everything that came in, and get it, get it out and separated. So that way the people who were working in the rows could take it and put it where it needed to go in there.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Was all your work on the base?

DUNDAY: Yeah, I did not. I did not leave the base while I was--


DUNDAY: No. All my job; all my work was done on base. I eventually because of conflicts with other females in my unit, I requested to be moved to nightshift. It was a little more laid back. It wasn't as fast paced that night as it was during the day, because that's when most units would come in and request ammo and say, hey, I need this much of this, this much of that. And it was our job to 01:31:00get it and get it to them. And so it wasn't as busy at night. It was still pretty busy. But for the night shift, I kind of I alternated. Sometimes I was working in the, in the guard shack by the front gate where you go in to get, you know, get to the ammo yards, the front gate. I would work in the guard shack there, and we would have because we shared that area with the Air Force as well. They had their sections where they made different bombs and stuff that went on planes. So, we had one airman and two soldiers in the guard in the guard shack. And--

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you ever pull guard duty, or no?


BOWERS HEALEY: You did. Okay.

DUNDAY: Yes, I was, I started out, when I started working night shift, I, I worked, actually it was around the summertime I shifted over combination because 01:32:00of the other females in my unit. And in the summer, it got really hot [laughs]. And we had to--the most we could do to remove uniform pieces was we could take the long sleeves off and just work in the short sleeves. But we still had to wear the boots and pants. And apparently my body did not handle that well. So I made the mistake. Because on the 4th of July in 2009, I figured, "Oh, it's the 4th of July. One soda won't hurt me." And I had a soda at lunch. And an hour later I ended up collapsing from a combination of heat stroke, dehydration, heat exhaustion. And one of my sergeants, Sergeant Stein, actually, she, you know--I 01:33:00was walking back at, what, this walk from my worksite to the building. Normally you would take like, take like five, ten minutes to walk. That day. It took me an hour. I was having a really hard time. I got to the front gate, which was the halfway point between the two. And by the time I got to the gate, I was like, "Okay, I need to sit. I can't. I can't keep going." So I went and, you know, sat. We had a little gazebo just outside where if you came in with people who weren't on the access roster, they had to sit there. They weren't allowed inside. Unless they were on this roster. So I went there because it was covered. There was shade. So I'm like, okay, I'm just going to go sit there. And I got to the gazebo, sat down. By that point. my platoon sergeant, he was, he had guard duty that day. So he saw me walking through and he saw how slowly I was moving 01:34:00and everything. And he's like, Something's not right. So he came over by me and he's like, "Are you okay?" And I told him, like, "I don't feel good." And I got really sick, started vomiting and everything. And he escorted me into the building and I collapsed halfway from the gate to the building. And he at that point picked me up and carried me in and that's when--

BOWERS HEALEY: What do you estimate the temperature outside was?

DUNDAY: That day it was 120 in the shade.


DUNDAY: And he brought me in. He goes, he told them--I was going in and out of consciousness at that point. But he was explaining to them what was going on. And Sergeant Stein took out the first aid kit and started an I.V. on me right away. And she kept trying to, like, you know, bring me back to consciousness. 01:35:00Every time I started, like, fading out, like, visually, I would go, I'd go like, it would start turning black, she would get my attention and bring me back to. And by the--they had, while she was starting to give me the I.V., a different hi--a different sergeant called the medics. It took them 20 minutes to get there. Because it took about 20 minutes to go all the way around the base to get to that area. And by the time they got there, my, I had already, like, finished off a whole liter of sailine, and it was already dry by the time the medics got there. And I do recall hearing one of the medics tell her, well, ask, "Who gave her the I.V.?" And she was like, "I did." And he goes, "Good, because if you 01:36:00wouldn't have, she'd be dead by now."


DUNDAY: So, I do--

BOWERS HEALEY: Do you know, did other people experience heat exhaustion? Did you hear about that or not?

DUNDAY: There were like one or two, but it wasn't as severe. Um, they caught it earlier than what I caught it with myself, because I kept being like, "Oh, no, it's just the heat. I'm fine, all right?" I just kept pushing through it and refused to say anything. And I, part of it I did to myself, because I didn't speak up that things were starting to feel off. And by the time I did say something, at that point, it was already too late.

BOWERS HEALEY: How long did it take you to recover? How did you feel the next day or?

DUNDAY: Oh, the next, like two, three days I felt just really, I felt like I got hit by a truck.


DUNDAY: They did end up taking me via ambulance to the base hospital. And one of 01:37:00the other soldiers from the unit went with me just so that way he could stay with me and keep me talking and keep me conscious.

BOWERS HEALEY: Had you lost weight while you were in Afghanistan, or about the same?

DUNDAY: Actually, no. I gained I gained weight, but it was due to muscle. I did gain weight at that point.

BOWERS HEALEY: Well, along that line, that this is 120 degrees. While you were in Afghanistan for almost 12 months, what was your physical training like? Did they continue it or suspend it, or--

DUNDAY: We did do, um, it was, they would alternate every morning before we went to our duty station. We would do physical training, or P.T., and we would do P.T. every morning. Well, when I was working night shift, we would do it after our shift and we would, you know, we would alternate like every other day. We would have a run day, which we would do in the morning when it was still fairly 01:38:00cool out. And then we would do like different stretches. And, the on the other days working on like, you know, our, the rest of our muscles. You know, it was run days and the other workout days. We did have the ability to, on our off-time, there was a gym on base, it was like a giant clamshell tent that they had the gym equipment in. So we were allowed to go there on our own. If we didn't want to do the group physical training, then we would have to go to the gym and do it ourselves there. So we had that option, but we still had to alternate running days and strength training days.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. You said you were on the base all of the time while you were in Afghanistan. Did you have any contact with civilians, Afghan civilians?

DUNDAY: We did, actually. There were a few civilians that actually that worked 01:39:00on the base. They would do, like, multiple different jobs, like, you know, one of them was like, oh, well, waste wa--waste water, waste water management. They would come in with, in these trucks, like suction trucks that we we we referred to as the poop truck. We're like, oh, they're here with the poop truck. Where they would go through the different like porta potties throughout the area we worked, and clean those out. And there was other like clean, you know, housekeeping groups that would come through and clean the barracks, bathrooms and, you know, just, you know, like litter to clean up and things like that. They did work in other places. They worked in like all over the base. But the ones I had close contact with was the ones who would clean up the bathrooms and the poop truck workers [laughs]. Initially, I did. Later they assigned me 01:40:00to--'cause there was an event when I was working night shift and it was one of those I didn't feel comfortable working night shift. So they transferred me to a different area where I was working with fuel trucks and the diesel and the J, well, the [JPH??] And working with the fuel trucks and doing security in that area instead. But when I was working night shift, there was one night, we were going through collecting up all the ammunition we needed for a shipment, and I was working with another soldier. I, for the life of me, cannot remember his full name. I just know his initials were J.J. So we, we nicknamed him, Hooks, because his initials were JJ. So his nickname was Hooks. And him and I were 01:41:00loading up one of the trucks with the ammunition we needed for our order. And while we were working, I heard like a real faint, like [makes sound], like a boom-type sound, but it was really far-off-in-the-distance type. It, it almost sounded like the other team hit the inside of one of the metal storage boxes with something. So I was like, okay, whatever. And kept working and it's pitch black and little, like couple seconds after hearing that, I start hearing whistling. And I was like, um, why is there a whistle after the boom? The whistle comes before the, and I'm like, "Shit! Hooks, we need to get out of here!" And so we both start, you know, heading back towards the truck and we, 01:42:00you know, meanwhile the whistling is getting louder. So both him and I were like, from what I could see of him, he looked pretty panicked. I know I was freaking out. So I'm like, okay, "In the truck! Get out of here! Get out of here! Get out here! It's getting louder, we need to move!" Because we were surrounded by explosives, so it's like we need to move. And when we got by the truck, I had just gotten the door open. We were about to, you know, get in and I felt like a shockwave, like a concussion type wave. And I just froze. And I'm like, and like, I remember thinking, okay, this is it, right, as I felt this wave. And, no, I didn't hear anything. There was no boom. So I found out later it was a dud. But I felt the concussion of it hit the ground and I stopped and I'm like, open my eyes. I'm looking looking around. I'm like, "Hey, Hooks." I'm 01:43:00like, "Can you, um, hit me right here in my upper arm please. Right there, just hit me?" And he goes, "No, I can't hit you." And meanwhile we're sitting here going back and forth a little bit about this, because I'm like, "I'm giving you permission. Just hit me!" And he's like, "You're a female! I can't hit you!" So I'm like, "Oh, fine!" That happened for, I want to say, it felt like a lot longer than what it actually was, but it was less than five minutes. But it felt like a while. And I'm like, "Okay. Fine." Put my arm out. And I'm, like, pointing at my hand. I'm like, "All right, pinch me, bite me. Do something that supposed to hurt, please." And he's, like, "Okay." Pinched the top of my hand. I'm like, "Ah! Okay, yep, yep, we're alive. Let's get out of here." And, because I asked you it, I was like, "Did you hear a boom?" He's like, "No." So, yeah, and then as we were, you know, finally, like, got our senses back, like, okay, 01:44:00what just happened? Our--the other team comes flying down the road and they see us just standing there by the truck because we had just got our senses back, like, okay, we still need to get out of here. So we're, you know, about to get in the truck and the sergeant's like, "What the hell are you doing? Get that--We're being attacked! Get out of here!" And right as he was saying that, a rocket landed right in front of his truck and, like, bounced and went up and over. And I can't-- I saw it going up and over and I'm like. "Oh, crap!' I used more colorful words, but got in the truck. When we were going there was a lot of potholes on the roads in the ASP [Ammunition Supply Point]. And I'm driving a PLS [Palletized Load System] which is one of those really big trucks with the 01:45:00diamond cab to it, with the long arm and trailer that attaches to the back. I [hit it??], and it was full of ammunition [laughs] that was not strapped down, because of the circumstances we were rushing to get out, and I was, you know, flooring it to get out as quick as I could. And I hit one of those potholes and the whole truck went airborne for a couple seconds before landing on all the wheels, and kept going. When we got out., the sergeant looked at me and goes, "Look, I'm going to give you mad props for pulling that off and not wrecking the vehicle or losing any ammunition. But don't ever do that again." [laughs] Um, and it--

BOWERS HEALEY: Did that happen about halfway through your tour?

DUNDAY: Yeah, about halfway, yeah. And, at that, there was a total of four rockets that landed in the ASP that day. Um. The one that landed down from us. 01:46:00It. It. That one was a dud. Which was very good, because where it landed there was rocket propellant, which is pretty much just explosive powder that that causes the rocket to go. So, it landed like less than a foot away from a whole pallet of it. If, if it would not have been a dud, I would again, I would not be here. And then the one that landed in front of the truck, it like, just missed and it bounced. And it actually went off further down after bouncing over the truck. And as soon as we got out of the gate and we're going to cover, bless my mother, she called. I had an Afghani cell phone, and my mom got international 01:47:00calling just to be able to call me when I was deployed. So she called right as we got out from this happening. And EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] was, you know, like, the explosive disposal people were just starting to show up when my mom called. And she's like, she goes, "Oh, I was just calling to see how everything's going. I'm like, "Mom, I can't really talk right now. There's something going on that I need to take care of." And she's like, "Your voice is shaking. What's wrong?" And I'm like, at the time I couldn't talk about it. So I'm like, "Mom, I really need to let you go. I'll call you back later." And she's like, she goes, "No, you're--she goes--"Something. Something's. Something's up. What's wrong? What's wrong?" And, I'm like, "You're not going to let this go, are you?" She goes, "No". "Okay, well, I'm going to start with 01:48:00this. Nobody is hurt. Everyone is okay." She goes, "Okay, what happened?" I'm like, "We got attacked." She goes, "Oh, my God! Are you okay?" I'm like, "Mom, I just said I was fine." "Are you sure you're okay?" So at that point, I was already agitated and frustrated. So I got smart with her and I'm like, "No, mom, I'm not okay? I'm in the hospital and I can't breathe on my own." And she goes, "That that's not funny. I'm like, "I just told you, no one got hurt. Everyone's okay. Why are you asking me if I'm okay?" And and she goes, "Well," and at that point, she started talking really fast and asking a lot of questions, and I just couldn't focus on what she was saying. So I'm like, "Mom, I have to go.I have to 01:49:00give a report. I need to call you back later." And I didn't even give her a chance to say anything. And I just hung up on her, which as soon as I got home, I got punched in the arm for that one, for the comment I made to her about being in the hospital.

BOWERS HEALEY: Hmm. Um. Okay. Afghani phones? Is that something a lot of the soldiers had?

DUNDAY: A lot of us--

BOWERS HEALEY: Cell phones?

DUNDAY: --on the unit did have. They were Afghan cell phones and we would pay for minutes, which it got very expensive [laughs]. It was 100 bucks a month just for the Internet. And then depending on how often you were on your phone those minutes would run out really quick.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay [laughs], okay. But they were authorized to have them?

DUNDAY: We were authorized to have them. It's just when we were in the ASP, they 01:50:00were not allowed to stay on us because there were some munitions that were, that could go off from electric charge. So the phones weren't allowed past the front gate. So you had to keep them in either in the main office area or with the, um, with the guard. With the guard shack.

BOWERS HEALEY: But you had your phone with you at that point?

DUNDAY: No, at that point, I got out and I went right to the guard shack. I'm like, give me my phone [laughs]

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, okay. And the ASP, again, is what?

DUNDAY: The ammo supply point.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. You've described it being very hot there in the summer time. Typically, when you left your barracks in the morning, what type of gear did you have on to go to work? Did you have a weapon with you?

DUNDAY: Yes, we did carry our weapons with us everywhere.

BOWERS HEALEY: And a flak jacket?

DUNDAY: When we left to get there, yes, because there were points along the route to get there where the only thing separating you from the outside of the 01:51:00base was a couple layers of, like, fencing and razor wire. Constantino wire, I think it's, if I remember correctly.

BOWERS HEALEY: But the entire base surrounded by fencing, razor wire, or something else?

DUNDAY: Fencing or some other sort of barrier of some sort. Yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: And how large was this base? I initially asked you--if you went from one one end to another, how many miles?

DUNDAY: If you just did a straight shot?

BOWERS HEALEY: Or the perimeter?

DUNDAY: If we were to do the full perimeter, I want to say it would take about--I don't know how many miles it was, but I know from where our barracks were, which was right by the flight line about in the middle of the, approximately middle of the base area, and we go around one side to the other, and it wasn't quite halfway, but that took about 20 minutes to do that. So I'd say it'd probably take about 40, 45 minutes or so to go around, to just circle 01:52:00the entire outside of the base.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And you mentioned flight line in terms of activity. How often would airplanes be coming or going?

DUNDAY: Um. Quite frequently, actually. A lot of the fighter jets would go random points throughout the day. Whenever there was a rocket attack within five, within less than five minutes, those birds were up, and they were, loud! I would if if I was on the phone with somebody back home, I would have to be like, "Wait, a plane, a plane is starting up. Hold on." And I'd have to cover the microphone on the phone itself and, like, try muffling it with my body while covering the microphone.

BOWERS HEALEY: Were the barracks on the flight line?

DUNDAY: They were just off of the flight line.



DUNDAY: Like less, I want to say they were like--so where the flight line was, where our barracks were, it was like, maybe, 100 feet away.


DUNDAY: And I would cover that up. My my sister had told me, she goes, "There were times I had to take the phone and extend my arm all the way out as far as I could, and then I could still hear it clear as day [Bowers Healey laughs], planes going. So, they were very loud. And even if I was right next to someone, even yelling.

BOWERS HEALEY: But in their ears?

DUNDAY: You couldn't hear what the other person was saying. They were too loud.

BOWERS HEALEY: During your year in Afghanistan, did you have any rest and relaxation? Were you ever off the base--

DUNDAY: I did--

BOWERS HEALEY: --or go anywhere else?

DUNDAY: I did spend, um, in, like, June, I went home for for leave. I had, like, a one week, well, week and a half, including travel time, leave where I left, I 01:54:00left Afghanistan and they flew me to, from there to Kuwait. And I had to spend a few days in Kuwait until all the paperwork went through and everything was finalized. And then I flew from Kuwait back to the States with a few stops along the way, but they were just brief little ones. And--

BOWERS HEALEY: Dd the military pay for that or not?

DUNDAY: Yes, I did not pay for that. And then I came home for like a week, well, a couple of days over a week. And then, ah, had to, you know, fly back. When I went back, they had me go from Milwaukee to Atlanta and then from Atlanta back out. Again, a few stops along the way, but flew back to Kuwait and then say 01:55:00there for a couple of days again before everything was all cleared for me to go back to Afghanistan.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. I asked you if you were carrying a weapon. You said, you always carried a weapon while you were on duty. What kind of a weapon?

DUNDAY: I had a M16 the whole time.

BOWERS HEALEY: And while you worked, what did you do with the M16?

DUNDAY: Those were kept in a secured area inside the main off--the office area. That was the only time we were not allowed to have our weapons on us, was inside there. But any other time, outside of being inside the ASP, we had to have it on us.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Chow, I haven't asked you about chow. Morning, noon and night. What was your chow like?

DUNDAY: Um, well, there were three chow halls. Well, four chow halls that I was aware of. Only three I had access [laughs] to most of the time. Um, there was 01:56:00the main--we referred to it as the Air Force chow hall. It was the one closest to the flight line and closest to our--well, our barracks were kind of in the middle of two of them, but that one had better food, um, well, better tasting food. So we tended to go there more often than the other one.

BOWERS HEALEY: And was that for your morning and your evening meal?

DUNDAY: Yes, we would--

BOWERS HEALEY: What did you do at noon?

DUNDAY: For lunch they would--When I was working day shift, they would gather us up and, on the, on the, in the vehicles and drive to one of the other chow halls that was closer to where we worked, which was--okay, at best [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you ever eat Meals Ready to Eat? MREs?


DUNDAY: I, we did here and there. Every now and then they would give us, you know, they would have them available in the office. If you didn't want to go to the chow hall, you could just grab one and do that. I tended to opt for going to the chow hall because there was a better selection [laughs].


DUNDAY: Um, we--

BOWERS HEALEY: How about shopping, and just shopping for personal gear?

DUNDAY: There--what, oh, with the PX, which was the Post Exchange, but the PX there was down the road, down the main road from where our barracks were there was, well the entrance to the Special Forces camp where my buddy from AIT, where he was stationed, and then from that that's also where the the base bazaar was, where there would be, like, locals that had, they came in with, like, their 01:58:00wares. They had, like, bootlegged movies, rugs, like clothing type things, you know, just things like that. And, so, we would--And then if you go down further from there, there was the main PX, which they had, they had a salon there. They had a Dairy Queen [laughs]. It wasn't that good. But they had a Dairy Queen [laughs].


DUNDAY: And then other restaurants, and then, like, the main shopping area where you could get all sorts of stuff, like you could get like food that you could bring into your barracks and keep there if you wanted.

BOWERS HEALEY: How many days a week did you work?

DUNDAY: Uh, we would have one or two days off a week.


DUNDAY: Two days was rare.

BOWERS HEALEY: Were you working 12 hour shifts, or eight?

DUNDAY: We were. We were working 12 hours. Yep.



DUNDAY: So we had AM and PM shift--

BOWERS HEALEY: [Inaudible].

DUNDAY: --which started at, like, I wanted to say, like,8:00. Yeah. [noise] 8:00 to 8:00. Sorry that.

BOWERS HEALEY: In addition to correspondence and cell phones back. What time--type of communication did you have? Did you have newspapers on base?

DUNDAY: Not that I saw. I did not see any newspapers on the base. There were a lot of, like, briefings that were pretty much one of those--I don't know how the higher-ups got their hands on it. But the higher ups would get it and tell us--


DUNDAY: --was pretty much how that worked. Or they had a--if there was like a Fallen Comrade Ceremony, which was pretty much they'd do, like, a small parade if someone was killed in the line of duty. There coffin would be, there would be a procession down to the flight line so they could go on, get on the bird and go 02:00:00home. So those they would, they used to announce over the base intercom, and I think they [inaudible] they got a little--they stopped doing that, and, um, they would only tell you, like, through the higher-ups if that was going on, because after a while they started trying to rocket attack the base while we were having Fallen Comrade Ceremonies.


DUNDAY: And it was, at that point they stopped doing the overhead announcements about 'em. But because of where our barracks were, we still knew they were happening and if we noticed one happening, we had to stand and, you know, give our standard attention and salute when it, when the soldier passed by, to pay your last respects.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. You work with ammo techs and on the base, Bagram Air Base, 02:01:00all the time. Did you have occasion to talk to soldiers, Marines, Navy people, other people who went off base and were out in the field doing their mission?

DUNDAY: Yes. The barracks, actually right next to us, like just to the back of us, they, um, they went out on patrols every day. And I was actually, I became pretty close with a few people in their unit, and, um, so--[sighs]. Yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: What did, What did you learn from them? What was the information that they had or their impression of the conflict in Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: Um, they, they didn't normally like talking about what happened outside, 02:02:00unless, 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, ashared characteristic, 02:03:00I 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 02:04:00he 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.


DUNDAY: And I also hung out with the Special Forces guys a lot because my 02:05:00friend, you know, Kelly, he was in the Special, he was in the Special Forces group, so I hung out there quite a bit with them. And I did make a few other friends in the Special Forces camp area, but I hung out, including one, one soldier from New Zealand, which we nicknamed him Kiwi, because it's the national bird of New Zealand. So. And on their black caps there's a white kiwi bird on it. So we, we always referred to him as Kiwi. And I still to this day talk to him. And I don't talk to Kelly as much as I used to. But that whole time we were there we were hanging out, and there was one time we were hanging out, chit 02:06:00chat--well, we were outside the front of the building and where he worked in the Special Forces camp. And we were standing out front of it just, you know, talking, having a cigarette and the base got attacked again and one of the rockets landed behind the building we were standing in front of and landed on one of the the bee huts or the little house, little plyboard house things that they made, that they had in the S.F. camp area. And while we were sitting there smoking, um, all of a sudden, you know, we hear the boom. We felt the boom from it going off. And we had a whole bunch of stuff raining down on us, which, 02:07:00initially, both of us thought was just dirt. And we're like, okay, you know, whatever. And I wiped my arm off, and it smeared red. And I'm like, "Uh," and I just looked at him. I'm like, "This isn't dirt." And he goes, "Oh, it's just dirt." I'm like, "This is not dirt." And I'm not going to lie. I started freaking out at that point, because I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm wearing somebody!" Which that, yeah, I still struggle with that to this day when it comes to fireworks too, I'll hear it, and, it's I don't respond well to that. But at that point, because I, I was hearing the screams for help and everything behind the building, so I put the cigarette out and both him and I went to run around he back of the building to see what, you know, what was going on. And so 02:08:00at that point we get around the building and he looks at me, he goes, "Go back to your barracks." And I'm like, "What?" He goes, "Go back to your barracks! I'm like, "But they need help. And he goes, "You aren't supposed to be here, remember? I'm like, previously, because of the rumors, the first sergeant told me I wasn't allowed to hang out there anymore because of the rumors that I was sleeping around. So he told me I wasn't allowed to go there, but I went there anyway because I knew him longer than anyone in my unit. So it was one of those like, "No. I'm going to go hang out with my friend." Which, yeah, I wasn't supposed to be there. And, so he's like, "No, go back to your barracks." He goes, "The whole base is going to get shut down, and they're going to have an accountability call." He goes, "You need to get back to your barracks before they do that, and they realize that you were over here." So I go sprinting back 02:09:00to the barracks. Why, and then as I was leaving, he went in back and he helps, tends to the injured. There were a couple losses that day, one of which was a married couple that were both in the same unit there in the Special Forces camp. And the rocket had landed on their bee hut. So, yeah. But he, was helping them as I ran back to the barracks, and as soon as I got back to the barracks, my roommates looked at me, and they're like, "Wow, you're breathing pretty hard." And I'm like, "Yeah, I'm--I'm like, "It's been a rough day. I'm going to go take a shower," and grabbed all my stuff, all my shower stuff and as quick as I could 02:10:00went down to the showers because I wanted to wash that off me and out of my hair. And, so while I was in the shower, they called the alert for accountability and, yeah. So that was. Yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: At the time of that incident, how long had you been in Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: That point, I was already there. That happened, I want to say later on in the year. It was after my leave. So it was--and it was still, it was fairly cool out. So I want to say that was around like Septemberish.


DUNDAY: Give or take. I could be off a little, but Septemberish. And. Yeah, that. Sorry. I kind of lost my train of thought [laughs].


BOWERS HEALEY: Well, we covered a lot about Afghanistan. Anything else that you would like to add about your deployment to Afghanistan?

DUNDAY: Um. I did meet a lot of really, like, cool people that I still talk to this day, I'm still very close with. I don't really talk to many people from my unit any more, since I left because of the rumors. And there was a lot of other drama behind the scenes that was going on. So I really only talked to like two people from my unit and then a few other people that I met while I was over there. There was one local at one point. They were taking a break from cleaning, so they were in the smoke area, or the smoking area, and I don't remember how, but one of the guys was kind of joking around with me and he was like, "Oh, I 02:12:00bet I can do more pull ups than you." And I'm like, I'm like, "Really?" And this is one of the Afghanis. He goes, He goes, "I'm strong. I can do more than you." I'm like, mm, "Okay, let's try. Bet." So we--I kind of hopped up. I started doing pull-ups. I got six of them. I still to this day don't know how I did six of them because I've never been able to do it since or before. But I did. I pulled off six of them while I was there. He only pulled off five. And I kind of felt bad, because the other guys in his cleaning crew were really, really picking on him after that. Like, "You got beat by a girl!" And it's like, "Oh, yeah, I forgot, women aren't viewed very highly out here [laughs]." So, it was like, Oh, oops.

BOWERS HEALEY: Tell me about going home from Afghanistan. Who met you when you 02:13:00went home?

DUNDAY: When I got home, my mom. Well, Greg was there with our daughter. And his mom was there--well, his mom and his mom's boyfriend were there. My mom was there with my siblings and my stepdad. And they were all there waiting for me when I got home at the airport. And when we got--when we left the airport--It was one of those, ah, it was like, okay, "Well, seeing as it's your first day back, what is the one thing that," you know, "where is your," I got to have, choose, where I wanted my first meal back home. So, they were like, "Where do you want to go to eat?" And I'm like, "Well, you know what, I haven't had 02:14:00McDonald's in a long time. Let's go to McDonald's." And they're like, they're all looking at me a little confused, they're like, "You can eat anywhere, like any restaurant, even, like actual restaurants!" I'm like, "I want McDonald's." "Okay, McDonald's it is." So my welcome home dinner was McDonald's.

BOWERS HEALEY: Your daughter, did she recognize you?

DUNDAY: Oh, yes.

BOWERS HEALEY: How old was she?

DUNDAY: She was four when I came home.

BOWERS HEALEY: So you Skyped with her?

DUNDAY: Yeah, we did. That was, well, whenever the Internet wasn't out, that was our nightly routine, to the point where, Greg was telling me, at one point she would look at the timer on the stove at home and when it would hit a certain time, she'd be like, "Daddy, daddy! Computer time! Computer time! See Mama!" And she would run up to, and she knew, like, what time it was. The only times we didn't video chat at night--well, at night for me [laughs]--was if there was 02:15:00like a base-wide blackout where they cut all, you know, communications. We couldn't do cell phones, internet. Like they cut all of it in certain occasions. It was few and far between. But when there was a blackout happening, we didn't. But most nights we did. And I would talk with her over the camera and she remembered me and she gave me a huge hug and it was--Yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: So wow long after you got back before your six year enlistment was up?

DUNDAY: My final drill with the unit was in February of 2011. So we had come back--or not, 2012. Wait, no, it's 2012. I'm sorry. I got the year messed up. So 02:16:002012, February of 2012 was my final drill, because I'm like, Wait. No, I missed a year in there. Because shortly after we came back, I ended up becoming pregnant with my second daughter. And it's kind of funny because there were five, like five, babies, if I remember correctly, born to people in my unit within like a very small timeframe of each other. So we used to kind of joke and say they were our welcome home babies. So there was that after we got back, we got back in January and it was horribly, horribly freezing when we landed in Wisconsin. And we we didn't land at the main airport in Milwaukee. We actually landed at, oh, I can't remember the airport, the base. It's up around, it's up 02:17:00around Fort McCoy, but it's one of the air bases up there. And we landed up there and it was like -10 degrees outside {laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: So after you got back, you were, you did drills for about a year, or just a month?

DUNDAY: We did do drills, yeah, for about a year, because--

BOWERS HEALEY: I don't know if you landed at Camp Douglas or just where?

DUNDAY: Douglas. Yes, that was it. Thank you. I couldn't remember the name of it.


DUNDAY: And so when we finally we went from there to Fort McCoy to do all our debriefing and get all our paperwork sorted out and all that before we went back to just doing the one weekend again.


DUNDAY: And then--

BOWERS HEALEY: Why did you decide to at the end of six years that was, or did, well--

DUNDAY: Um, I, I chose not to re-up. I initially wanted to stay in for 20 years. I wanted to be a lifer, initially, but I chose not to because what, you know, 02:18:00and a, there was a day, it was like, I don't remember the exact day, but in Afghanistan, when I was getting out of the back of one of the trucks because the van had broke down, so we were using one of the trucks--troop carrier trucks-- instead for a while there, and when I was getting out of the back of it, I landed wrong and really hurt my knee really bad. And it was at that time it was an off and on issue. It wasn't a constant at that point. But I, I, when that time came, they were really trying to push me to re-sign my contract to stay and longer. And I chose not to because of my knee. And, I'm like, Well, if my knee gets worse, I can't guarantee that, you know, I'm like, I can't guarantee my 02:19:00knee won't go out or cause problems. I'm like, And if that happens, I'm not the only one at risk anymore. And I'm like, and I don't want that on my conscience. So I just stopped at the end of the six years because I'm like, I didn't want to risk that.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have a job still waiting for you when you got back?

DUNDAY: I did. I went back to Sam's Club, and because of it being a year, I had to redo all my computer learning anyway. So it worked out really good [laughs], 'cause I just spent a couple of weeks doing all the computer work to get retrained, to redo my job again, which it came back to me really quick.


DUNDAY: So. And when I was--after we got back, at one of our extended drills at McCoy, we had a a person in our, in our unit from the Madison platoon, a soldier that committed suicide in September of 2011. And I was one of the three soldiers 02:20:00present when we discovered where he was. So I was pregnant with my daughter. I was like six months pregnant with my younger daughter, and we were up at Fort McCoy. It was a range one. And when you get out of the range, they do a shakedown where they pretty much go through, make sure you don't have any rounds, any live rounds on you or anything like that when you're leaving the range [sighs], like, firing range. And he snuck a round off, off of the range. And nobody knew this at the time. So, I'm, I'm sitting there--and I got yelled at a lot for this-- but I was sitting there having a cigarette, and, um, there was a total of like eight of us in the smoking area. And we were all from, like, 02:21:00all over, all different units in the ba--it was a battalion-wide thing. So there were eight of us sitting there smoking, and, like, I saw him and I recognized that he was one of the one of the guys that joined the unit while we were deployed. I'm like, Oh, that's one of the Mad--in my head--I'm like, oh, that's one of the Madison kids, which, so I'm like, okay. And just watched them going over to the porta potty. So I'm like, umm, no big deal. Nothing out of the ordinary. So he's got his rifle with him. He's going over there and, you know, I'm still just sitting there smoking, you know, just kind of looking around, doing my own thing, and we hear a gunshot go off. Near, well, in the vicinity of the porta potties. As soon as it went off, all eight of us jumped up to our feet. Four of us just kind of, like, started kind of discussing with each other, 02:22:00and the other four kind of scattered. I don't know where they went, but they scattered. The four of us that were still standing there were like, "That was a gunshot!" Because all four of us had been deployed at different times and were like that "That that was a gunshot." And we still, just in case we were wrong, we were like, "That came from the porta potty." So we split up two and two and started from--There was like a line of, I don't even remember how many, but there were a long line of. porta potties in a row. And we started on each end working our way towards the center and each one that was unlocked we would open and check and, you know, move on to the next. If it was locked we would knock on 02:23:00it and ask the person inside like, "Hey, are you okay? Was that you? Did you slam the door?" And, you know, a couple of people were like, "No, I heard that, too. What was that?" We're like, "We're trying to figure that out," and kept going down the line. And [pause] when I reached the one that he was in, you know, I knocked on it. There was no response. So I'm like, okay, maybe I didn't knock loud enough. So I start knocking on it harder. And again, no response. So I turned, looked at the others and I'm like, "I'm not getting a response out of this one." So everybody rushed over to where I was and then one of the one of the guys, another specialist was like, "Well, open it." And I'm like, "It's locked!" And he goes, "Well break into it." I'm like, "I've never broken into a porta potty." So he pulled out his multitool and pulled the blade out and 02:24:00forced, you know, forced the lock to unlock. And as soon as he grabbed the door to open it, I had a clear line of sight and I saw him and he had shot himself with his rifle inside the porta potty. And I saw that it was, the unit was--'cause they would paint the unit number on the rifle, so if something ever happened they could get it back to the unit it belonged to. And, so I noticed it was my unit and I'm like in it, like, I kind of blanked. I froze. And according to them, I lost all color in my face. And the other specialist, Specialist Lynsey, he, he was like, "That's one of your guys." And I just slowly nodded my 02:25:00head up and down. So he's like, "Do you know where your command tent is?" I just shook my head. I couldn't, I couldn't make words happen. So I just nodded again and kind of pointed to how to get there. So he brought me back to the command tent. And initially our first sergeant and commander were--started yelling at him for being there because they're like, "You're not part of our unit. You're not supposed to be in here." And he goes, "I am here to make sure she got here safe and to inform you that I think one of your guys committed suicide. And at that point, the first sergeant, he ran, he followed him back over there and did what he had to do. And they had me in there, and were asking me like, "Well, what happened? What happened?" And I'm just, like, bawl--and, like, at that point I just broke down and I was bawling. And I ended up, they ended up having 02:26:00to send me to Sparta Hospital because I started going into shock and, like, having severe cramps. And they were afraid of something happening to the baby. So they sent me to the hospital instead of just to the base medics. And then, when I came, when--the hospital's like, "Okay, yeah. You're okay, the baby's okay." You know, I apparently got there and to the hospital before any, before, apparently before they, it appeared that anything happened to my daughter. They were like, "The baby's perfectly fine, healthy. I'm not--we're not seeing anything." So once that all calmed down, they brought me back and I ended up telling the MPs what happened. And nobody in the unit told me when the funeral 02:27:00was. Which is another reason why I don't talk to most of them, because it's like--

BOWERS HEALEY: And, I, that's, the person who committed suicide was from your unit or from Madison?

DUNDAY: Well, he was, our unit was split. We had three different platoons. One platoon was out of Milwaukee, one was out of Rockford, Illinois, and the other one was out of Madison.


DUNDAY: But we were all the same unit. Just our platoons were in different places. But he was from the Madison platoon.


DUNDAY: Yeah, he had joined when we were deployed, so I, I mean, I'd seen him, but I didn't really know him.

BOWERS HEALEY: Following that suicide, did the unit take any measures or talk 02:28:00with his fellow platoon personnel.

DUNDAY: They did. They actually, the battalion, because it was a battalion wide drill, the battalion actually had gathered, like recalled, all the soldiers back and had us all meet up in the chow hall and had a meeting with everybody, and told everybody, "Well, we just had an incident. If you're not aware of it at this point--if you're not aware, we did have an incident today where we had a soldier take his life." And told everybody. And at that point, myself and the other witnesses, we were out. We were not in that meeting. They had us off to the side waiting for when the MPs wanted to, you know, to interview us. So we 02:29:00weren't in that, that meeting with the battalion. We were all kind of huddled together outside waiting for the MPs.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And you needed to give a statement to the MPs?


BOWERS HEALEY: Any other follow up to that incident?

DUNDAY: I did ask, like, I asked one of my friends at the time who was in the Madison platoon. I asked him like, "Hey. When you guys find out when the funeral arrangements are, let me know, please." And he said, okay, that he would. And nobody contacted me. Nobody told me anything. I found out about it at the drill following, which was like, at that point it was like two weeks after the funeral, and one of the guys in my unit was like, Yeah, da, da, da, da, da, was 02:30:00talking about it. And I'm like, "Why didn't anybody tell me about this?" I'm like, "I asked to be notified about this." And they're like, "Well, we didn't think you'd want to be there." "I asked to be notified." And, you know my buddy, one of my buddies, he was like, "Well, they told us not to say anything to you because we didn't want to bring back any of the bad memories of what happened. And I'm like, "But I asked you." So. And that was kind of the final straw, where I'm like, "You know what? When I'm done, I'm cutting ties with the unit. I don't care." I'm like, "You guys can't follow one simple request. I--nope, I'm done."


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So when you finally ended your enlistment. Well, let me ask you. During your enlistment, what awards or medals did you receive?

DUNDAY: Myself, personally, or, just the ba--like the marksman, the marksmanship for rifle? Um. The unit as a whole, when we were deployed, we did get the Army accommodation medal [Army Commendatio Medal] with the with with the Valor device for our performance overseas as a unit. We, I don't remember the exact number, but we did, like, dollar amount-wise, we moved. I know it was over $1,000,000,000 worth of munitions. I just don't remember the exact number.



DUNDAY: But we moved, from what they had informed us, that the previous unit that we took over for, which was an active duty base or active duty unit, I mean. They, um, we moved three times the amount of ammunition that they did in their year that they were there. So that was kind of uplifting to know, like this tiny little reserve unit did three [ laughs] times the work of the active duty unit.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And I'm reading from your DD214 indicates that you served in a designated imminent danger pay area--


BOWERS HEALEY: --while you served in Afghanistan.


BOWERS HEALEY: From 2009 to 2010. And also you received a NATO medal--

DUNDAY: Oh, yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: --and a Reserve Medal with [M] Device. That's accurate?




DUNDAY: The NATO medal--I, to be honest, I kind of put that in my keepsake box, and I haven't really looked at it since then. So [laughs] I can't--I forgot about the NATO medal [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Um-hmm. So your total active duty time was what?

DUNDAY: For the deployment was a year.


DUNDAY: There was, like I said, the ac--when we active for the annual trainings, I don't know if that's counted on that specifically, but I think it just shows the deployment on that one.


DUNDAY: I could be wrong, though [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Um, when you got off active, not active duty, when you finished your Reserve enlistment--

DUNDAY: Mm hmm.

BOWERS HEALEY: --did you ever use veteran assistance, education benefits, or not?

DUNDAY: I did go back to school. I started going to school for, to be a sign language interpreter. So I've been using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to help me with 02:34:00that, with schooling. I also--I had to switch schools because MATC canceled the program. So I ended up transferring to UWM. And in both places, I, I spent a lot of time with the, in the military resource centers at both of the schools. And that was like my my second home, and that was like my home on campus [laughs].


DUNDAY: That's where--if I wasn't in class, that's where I was [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: And in the Military [and Veterans] Resource Center, are there other service members there?

DUNDAY: Yeah, that's that area is reserved for service members or their dependents only.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And what did your daughter think about your having served in the military?

DUNDAY: My one daughter, my younger daughter, is, like, "Oh, that's cool!" She 02:35:00doesn't know half of what happened when I was in. Um, for obvious reasons, because of her age, my older daughter, she is, she's, she's proud of it now, because their dad's a veteran as well. He was in the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserves. And so they're proud of us in that way. My older daughter, she was not happy when I came home. She was afraid to go back to grandma's house. Whenever we would drop her off, she would afraid and would, like, desperate [inaudible] and like, "No, don't go!" [laughs].


DUNDAY: But, she she says she's proud of us now [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: How did serving in Afghanistan for a year change your world view 02:36:00of things, if at all?

DUNDAY: Um. It, it kind of helped me, like, with work, you know, seeing the, and talking to the locals that did work on the base, the Afghanis, and I wouldn't say creating friendships, but creating a bond, so to speak, with them, because I mean, they were still just acquaintances. But, you know, after that it really made me sit there and second guess, because initially going in, I kind of stereotyped all of them into one. I kind of lump-summed everybody into, "Oh, well. They're bad." And putting it bluntly, And I realized while there and 02:37:00talking to the Afghanis that were on the base that, you know, not everybody is like that. Those, those, those people, specifically the bad people, so to speak, those were the extremists. That was the Taliban, that wasn't the Afghan people, which it really helped me to realize, like, hey, you can't lump-sum a whole group of people into one thing. Because no matter where you are, there's good and bad people everywhere.

BOWERS HEALEY: You mentioned your daughters are now proud of you and of their father for having done military service. How do you think military service has affected you?

DUNDAY: Um. Good and. Bad. Um. Uh, I do have a lot of, well, I would say, mental 02:38:00health ramifications from the deployment, which I am taking care of, you know, for with the V--you know, with the VA, they're helping me with that. So, but it has helped me a lot. It is, even with all the, with the negatives, it, it did, it was overall very helpful for me, because I have been--it caused me to--like, like, my initial goal was--it caused me to clean up my life and stay clean.


DUNDAY: So that was my initial reason for going in. And it has. And ever since then, it's given me the strength I need to stay clean because I just, you know, pretty much just keep reminding myself, like, I got too much to lose. Like, I didn't go through all this just to revert back to that. So.


BOWERS HEALEY: And you mentioned you've gotten some assistance from the Veterans Administration--


BOWERS HEALEY: --health issues. Can you talk about how frequently or what sort of contact you've had?

DUNDAY: Um, well, I was for a while there doing the primary care, but for reasons that, you know, issues I had with the primary, the two primary care doctors they did give me, I did for primary care. I did leave the VA for that. But I still go through the VA for mental health. And I meet with every, well, it's like every two or three months I meet with the psychiatrist, and sporadically as needed. It used to be weekly. But now I have graduated, so [laughs] to speak, to sporadically meeting with the therapist.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. You mentioned that when you have participated in some 02:40:00schooling at UW-Milwaukee, I believe, that you spend time with the, in the military section? What did you call it?

DUNDAY: Yeah. Um--

BOWERS HEALEY: Military Reserve Center.

DUNDAY: Yeah. They, well, at UWM they refer to it as MAVRC. It's the Military and Veteran Resource Center.

BOWERS HEALEY: In addition to that, do you have any contact with veterans?

DUNDAY: Yes. Well, through there I made a lot of friends with other veterans who in turn, um, because I, I met my friend Kim, who, she is a CEO for a nonprofit organization for LGBTQ vets. And I met her through MAVRC. And, you know, I have 02:41:00gone with her and we've done, like, color guard events at various events around the Milwaukee and Kenosha area. And through, you know, through, you know, through her I've also met other veterans, both, um, in and out--not necessarily like both in and out of the LGBT community--but I've made a lot more contacts with other veterans of all different backgrounds, uh, through working with her as well, in all different areas as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Um, I don't have any other specific questions that I want 02:42:00to ask you, but is there anything else that, um--Well, I do have this. What motivated you to do this interview?

DUNDAY: Um, I grew up in a family of veterans that never talked, and it was one of those, um, my grandfather's now no longer with us, and he never talked about his experience. All we have is just a photo album of when he was in Japan, but, really not much for information behind it. And my thought on it is, I would, I would prefer to do this because you never know when, you know, you never know when it's going to be that time.


DUNDAY: And I would rather the stories of any veteran, I'd rather their stories be out and be heard so more people can understand the things that, you know, 02:43:00both current and former and future veterans face, and hopefully help, you know, harbor more of an environment of like understanding. Like, why, why veterans have a tendency to act certain ways. And things like that.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Thank you. And is there anything else that we haven't discussed that you would like to discuss or mention?

DUNDAY: Not that I can think of [laughs].

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. Well, I do want to thank you on behalf of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum for contributing. And as well as for your service. This will be a valuable part of the Oral History Program. So thank you very much, Blair.

DUNDAY: Thank you as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: You're welcome.

[Interview Ends]