Patricia Salazar Davis
Patty is a current resident of Forest Park and served in the U.S. Marine Reserves. Her date of birth is May 5, 1983. It was not common in Patty’s family for women to be educated and she wanted to attend college, so during high school at age 16, she spoke with an on-campus Marine recruiter and signed a contract to join when she was 18 years old. Shortly after graduation, Patty headed to Paris Island, SC for female-only Boot Camp Training, Weapons Training, and Specialty School. Female-only boot camp training was and still is unique to the Marines. In Specialty School, Patty was trained as a Close Air Support Operator, responsible for communication between ground and air when food, medicine, or medivac procedures were needed. During her boot camp training, the Twin Towers fell, making her confident and ready to be deployed to the Persian Gulf. At age 19 and after only one semester of college, in January 2003, Patty was deployed to Kuwait at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom where she put her specialty training to work as part of the air wing. Patty’s unit was an initial start-up operation to prepare for combat that commenced in March, 2003. In combat, attacks did not come in rounds or waves, but were heard over computers not visually seeing but hearing gruesome descriptions where Patty was to communicate coordinates to send life-saving assistance. As a woman deployed into combat and during training, Patty’s judgments were often undermined by male counterparts. After six months in Kuwait, Patty returned to college after only one month of being home. She graduated from college with a double major in Criminal Justice and Spanish and fulfilled her reservist duties until October, 2008. Patty has eloquently spoken out on issues related to females in the Marines, PTSD, and the complexities of acclimating back into civilian society after combat. Her full interview raises awareness of these timely issues that were not openly addressed in earlier decades. Patty is proud of her service and still communicates with the women she trained with in boot camp via social media. Patty is married to Raphael Davis, a U.S. Army veteran.
Desire for Education
WOMEN’S TRAINING IN THE MARINES
“We’re one of the only branches that doesn’t train together.”
“Boot camp is actually three months long for the Marine Corps. …when you finish, that feeling, I can honestly tell you I have never felt that again! You just feel you are on top of everything.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a cook, in the band, and whatever you job is going to be, you have to go through weapons training
SPECIALTY SCHOOL TRAINING AND COMBAT DEPLOYMENT
PATRICIA RECOUNTS HER TIME DURING COMBAT...
“I was a close air support operator 72/42, which is basically the middleman between the air and the ground. So any time that the ground troops needed help…We would just let them know the coordinates of where they were so it was a little bit stressful simply because you give them one wrong coordinate and it can just be disastrous.”
“And I think it was very stressful because firing came in rounds or in waves...You could hear what the pilot’s going through, you could hear him calling …you could see everything coming through the computer… even though we weren’t visually seeing it, you can picture it because of how gruesome all of the descriptions were for everything…it was just, it was just horrible.”
Journaling While Deployed
Returning to College Life
WOMEN IN COMBAT AND FINAL REFLECTIONS
"Her advice to others considering military service is to.....
Full Interview - Transcript
Interviewing, research, writing and design by Nancy Cavaretta