UTSA Press Release: "Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield
Apr 10, 2022
Retired USAF colonel publishes stories of 14 veterans and active-duty service members who experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, and misogyny, from the Vietnam era to present, on anniversary of the murder of US Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood.
SAN ANTONIO, April 2022 – Two years have passed since the tragic murder of SPC Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood. Although media attention has faded, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and trauma continue in our armed forces, regardless of new policies. Far too many cases remain unreported because of victims’ fear of reprisal, humiliation, and harassment. Col. Lisa Carrington Firmin (USAF ret.), who currently serves as Military Liaison at The University of Texas at San Antonio and founded UTSA’s Veteran and Military Affairs department, continues the fight with her book Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield. Col. Carrington Firmin was the Air Force’s most senior-ranking Latina officer upon her retirement after 30 years of service.
Vanessa Guillén’s murder triggered repressed memories of the colonel’s own sexual assault during initial training and sexual harassment early in her career, catapulting her on a soul-searching journey to document others’ stories. Her poem “Into the Light,” featured in Stories from the Front, recounts her decision to end her silence. Her book is sure to be widely discussed. The foreword is by retired Maj. Gen. KC McClain, who previously served as Commander of the Department of Defense’s Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.
High Praise: “Lisa Carrington Firmin has exposed an arc of injustice in the military that has transcended time, gender, and ethnicity. Firmin exposes a dark cancer in the American military of sexual harassment and assault. Deftly weaving together heartbreaking stories of over a dozen survivors, including her own, Firmin’s book tells the decades-long struggle of service men and women seeking justice. One will have no doubt after reading these powerful vignettes that disbelief and retaliation are the two hallmarks of the military’s struggle to care for those serving this country. The book should be required reading for all generals and admirals tasked with leading the men and women who serve under them.” – Col. Don Christensen, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President, Protect Our Defenders
Firmin retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2010 after having served as a Commander and leader at various organizations throughout her military career and as an Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. She is a proven leader both in peacetime and in combat and is a highly decorated officer. Read more about Col (Ret) Firmin at http://blueearbooks.com/authors/lisa-carrington-firmin/.
Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal and Resilience on the MST Battlefield will be released by Blue Ear Books (www.blueearbooks.com) on 22 April 2022, the second anniversary of Vanessa Guillén’s murder. For more information, visit http://blueearbooks.com/books/stories-from-the-front/.
Contact Name: Lisa Carrington Firmin, Col, MS, USAF Retired
Phone: (210) 464-3592