So initially I went over [to Iraq], I couldn’t believe I got picked to do it, but myself and an infantry guy, they’re the guys who do the damage, like knock down doors and stuff. So he and I went over as ADVON [ADVanced EchelON-advance party] way before the rest of the Stryker brigade and then we came back with intelligence on how they use their Strykers [armored combat vehicles], how best to use trajectory with mortars, what the other guys did—Al Qaeda at the time—their strategies, their TTPs—tactics, techniques, and procedures—how to defeat them. So between the infantry guy and myself, which I operated more in a—we both went out into raids and stuff, but it was good to have both sides of it. So he played the blue force which blue force means friendly, and I was red force so I was the enemy. And so, I was looking at the enemy and he was looking at us and we would talk and it was pretty neat. And so I brought that back to now Major General Shields. He was our command at the time, Colonel Shields. And we figured out how best to deploy all our assets because it’s billions of dollars in assets that we were bringing over and then, once you got there, how to up-armor them, what kind of armor to put on. And so I thought that was very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that to anyone because it just slips my mind because after that I was over there for almost two years straight because of the surge. We got stuck there.
Christina O’Hara was born in 1980 and grew up in Shrewsbury, MA. She attended Notre Dame Academy, West Point, and East Tennessee State University Medical School. She describes her experiences at West Point followed by intelligence training and deployments in Iraq. Currently she is a medical doctor specializing in occupational medicine at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Christina’s father and two brothers also served in the military and she explains her familiarity with military culture from a young age. Often she was the only woman on missions in Iraq and she shares her views on men and women serving together in the military.