“I felt like I had to work three times harder than the men, just to prove that I was worthy to be there.‘
(Update: added video, comments from US Army Spc. Dani Shine)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Army CPS. Dani Shine absolutely had some heroic and life threatening times as she bravely served our country during the Persian Gulf War.
But perhaps her bravest deeds are what she has done since returning home.
Shine moved to Bend at the age of 10 and graduated from Mountain View High School in 1986.
Needing money for college, she decided to enlist in the military and was on active service in the military from 1987 to 1991, building a solid reputation for herself.
“So I got a good conduct medal, an army medal of honor – it was for Saudi Arabia,” Shine said, pointing to his medals. “Basically it was all to be abroad. “
The E-4 Transport Specialist has won the titles of Sniper, Grenade Expert, Fitness and several other awards during her total eight years with the military.
“It was a lesson in humility, I guess – a good experience but… I don’t know… I was just doing my job, like all soldiers do,” said Shine.
But at the time, Shine was not like all the other soldiers.
NewsChannel 21 asked Shien what surprised her about her service.
“As a woman in the military, how difficult it was going to be,” Shine said. “I always felt underrated, maybe – not noticed, so I felt like I had to work three times harder than men, just to prove that I was worth being there.”
Shine was one of the first women to be trained as infantrymen at Fort McClellan.
The military was holding a quiet trial period, looking to see if the women were able to handle infantry training.
“And at the time, I had no idea. I was just going to basic training like everyone else, ”said Shine.
After spending two years in Germany and a year in Fort Lewis, Washington, Shine was deployed to Saudi Arabia, the first woman from central Oregon to be sent there.
Being one of the guys never intimidated Shine.
“I mean, I could shoot anyone. I could outrun anyone, ”Shine said. “I mean, I felt like I was doing my job, and I was doing it really well.”
Carrying supplies and ammunition, its base was often attacked by Sscud missiles.
Shine, while on a humanitarian mission in Kuwait, found himself on a dangerous road covered with bodies and wreckage.
There, she stepped on a landmine which luckily did not explode.
“I was grateful, because I’m here for a reason, I guess,” Shine said. “If I am – if it didn’t happen – then I was so grateful to do it, I guess, because so many people didn’t.”
After returning home, Shine attended the University of Oregon and was a nurse at St. Charles for 12 years.
It took a long time for Shine to deal with his emotions from his time in the military, turn to alcohol, and ultimately seek help in an inpatient facility.
“I think people aren’t meant to see some of the tragedies and horrors that war shows you,” Shine said.
She eventually found solace at the Central Oregon Vet Center, spending time with her service dogs and using the resources of other veterans.
But Shine said there needed to be more women-only services, so women can feel safe opening up about their PTSD and sexual trauma – an issue Shine said many women struggle with. .
“I just think it’s important for all veterans to know that, I mean the sacrifices you make are… I mean… I can’t say enough,” Shine said as she began to say. ‘to choke.
Shine is currently working on a book called “Unsettled Silence”, sharing her military experience and the trauma she faced.
She hopes to become a peer to other female veterinarians, to let them know that the sacrifice they have made for their country and the achievements they have earned can never be taken away from them.
It’s a prospect that Shine worked hard to find himself.
“I really enjoyed my time, with a few bumps,” said Shine, reflecting on his serve. “But for the most part, I don’t think I would change anything. I felt like I was doing my job, my duty. I felt very passionate about it. I have always been very patriotic and I love my country. I would do it again. “
Shine wants to recognize not only all other veterans, but also the families of veterans.
She said families make sacrifices for their serving loved ones, and the toll it costs them can often be overlooked.
For these families, Shine recommends giving time and grace to their loved ones.
She said that each veteran deals with things at their own pace and that a strong support system is very helpful.