My commander was younger and less experienced than me. He had been chosen because he had rank, and he only had the rank because his family had influence with men in power. - iceowl's day at the beach

Her first salute was from her dad--an Army Reserve veteran of many years, a Master Sergeant. I believe it took a lot of wheedling.

She comes from a big Catholic family that lives in the suburbs around the Twin Cities in Minnesota; not rich people, but most of them well-off professionals. She joined up two years ago, at the same time that she started her master's degree in computer engineering.

She joined R.O.T.C. almost a year after George W. Bush sent troops into Afghanistan; a few months before Iraq began to appear inevitable, but the signs were there. No one expected a female graduate student in engineering to join the Army; no one would have been disappointed if she hadn't.

This summer, instead of starting a cushy engineering job (M.S.'s are running about $55-60K right now), she packed her bags, drove her dog to Minnesota, and headed east to Virginia for Officer Basic Training the weekend after her thesis defense. In a month or so, she'll be joining her unit in Iraq.

That's the Second Lieutenant that I know.