USA SGT Katherine P Singleton, 25, formerly of Pensacola, FL died from non-hostile circumstances, undetermined per certificate of death, and no cause of death is listed on government documents. She was off duty at the time and it appears that she did not die in Iraq though she had been there prior to her death. Katherine had attended Escambia High School and enlisted under the Army’s Delayed Entry Program in 2001. She had received the Good Conduct Medal for service Nov 01-Nov 04 and an Army Commendation Medal for exemplary service during combat operations with the 101st ABN in Iraq Mar 03-May 03. However at the time of her death she was assigned to HHC Training Support Bn, Ft Bragg with an MOS of 15F10. Her father had notified the Pensacola News Journal and local TV stations that she had died but no further information has come out about her. DoD has not published a News Release regarding her death. She is survived by Doryce Blake and Maryon Singleton of Myrtle Grove, FL. She was buried at the Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola.
HER FRIEND’S LAST WORDS AND REQUEST: “I just want to let you know that there is no need to yell “cover up” in this case. The death of Kat P. Singleton was kept private for reasons that are no one’s business, but I assure you she is dead and that the government didn’t hide things from the public. She didn’t die overseas and what happened was very tragic but not for the public eye. She was a brave soldier who said on many occasions that she never regretted enrolling in the army and would go back to Iraq to fight for her country to secure our freedoms over and over again. She was a wonderful person and I am glad that our lives touched. I am sending this article that most of you seem to have over looked so that you may see that she is dead and she is buried. I feel that her father said little to the press because he didn’t want the world to know his family business and I believe also that it is time for you to close this thread and let Kat rest in peace. She will be forever loved and missed deeply and never forgotten.”
“I can’t do this, Mom, I can’t go back there.” -Suzanne Swift
Pfc. Suzanne Swift, US Army, was a Military Police Officer stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. She had already deployed twice to Iraq before getting tasked to go again for the third time in less then four years. In January 2006, Suzanne Swift decided last minute to go Absent without Leave (AWOL) instead of going back to Iraq. According to her mother, Sara Rich, she couldn’t handle another deployment dealing with the daily hour-to-hour sexual harassment that she endured from the majority of her male officers and fellow soldiers. She felt especially isolated in Iraq and feared being attacked, harassed, molested, and raped. She told her mom that most of the other soldiers were sexually harassing her, pressuring her to consent, and making her life miserable for rejecting them. Her mom asked her if she wanted to report the sexual harassment and Suzanne did not. She told her mom that reporting would only make her life even more of a living hell. She says when she did blow the whistle on one of her superiors for sexually harassing her, she was treated like a pariah. Suzanne shared that he was moved to a different unit and promoted. She felt that those who reported were not supported but instead shamed when they brought these matters to the attention of their superiors.
According to Suzanne, Army leadership pressured her into signing a release form waiving her right to the mandatory decompression time of eighteen months between deployments. Suzanne refused to sign the form waiving her rights to decompression time but was told that her life would be ‘hell in a shit hole’ if she refused to sign. She says they screamed in her face and intimidated her. As a result she signed the form and was scheduled to leave for Iraq again in January 2006. The Eugene Police raided her home in March 2006, she was arrested, and she was taken back to Fort Lewis where she would be confined. She was charged with missing movement and AWOL. In December 2006, Suzanne pleaded guilty to both charges and was demoted and sentenced to thirty days in prison. If she met the conditions of the plea agreement, she could remain in the Army and be eligible for a honorable discharge. After she finished her sentence she would be reassigned to a new unit. If she did not agree to the plea, she was facing a year in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Her plea, which came during a summary court martial, helped her avoid a federal conviction. Suzanne chose to leave the Army as soon as she could. She would later be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Suzanne and her mother believe that the intimidation and sexual harassment that female soldiers endure is leading to massive stress and in some cases even death for military women in Iraq. So much stress that Suzanne would choose AWOL and prison time over deploying a third time to fight what she felt was a pointless war in Iraq. Sara Rich is confident that Suzanne saved her own life with her courage. And based on what has happened in the Army in Iraq and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord since 2006, we think she’s right.
“Notice to those who report false claims of rape, harassment, assault, and command rape: you make it difficult for those who experience the real thing. You are just as culpable as those who commit the acts.” –Suzanne Swift Petition