What life is REALLY like as a 'Marine mom': One woman's story of miscarriage, relationship breakdown and the affair that ended her career
13:18 GMT, 3 April 2012
Tracy Crow was one of the first women to become a 'marine mom' – a woman who, in theory, no longer had to choose between a career and children.
At the age of 20, she was already a wife, mother and weapons-trained Marine who, as a prominent military journalist, would regularly interview top
figures of the establishment.
But in her first memoir entitled Eyes Right: Confessions of a Woman Marine, the now 53-year-old reveals the sacrifices she made in order to achieve her success and the affair with a general that destroyed her career.
All grown up: Tracy Crow's memoir details what is was like to be in the Marines in the 1980's and the sacrifices and choices she made led to her downfall
In the confessional tell-all, Ms Crow explains how on leaving her Virginia high school in 1977 she had believed that the Marine Corps might be able to save her from the nightmare past.
The daughter of an abusive alcoholic father, she enlisted at a time when regulations in the military meant that women could have children and still serve.
In an interview with Mary Akers for online literary journal r.k.v.r.k,
the author explained: 'My generation could have both, and this reinforced the
1980s' mantra, you-can-have-it-all. But we were an anomaly.
'Our commanders, including women who
had chosen career over motherhood, were often hostile, or at the least
baffled about how to treat a pregnant woman in uniform.'
On pledging her allegiance
to the US Marines, she had quickly found herself in an environment in which
vulnerability and personal life had no place and gender inequality along
with harassment was still rife.
True confessions: Tracy Crow's memoir is out now at Barnes & Noble
'Their hostility compelled us to push our physical and emotional limits, and for many of us, certainly for me, the need to prove we still belonged created disastrous life-changing consequences,' she added.
Determined to prove that she had what it took, she prioritised her job as a military journalist in the Public Affairs office over two miscarriages, a stillborn child and the deterioration of her marriage to another officer.
But when her affair with a prominent general was exposed, Ms Crow was forced to reevaluate her life.
In an excerpt on the Huffington Post, Ms Crow recalls the fear of facing court martial for her actions and how she felt as she waited to be interviewed about her liaison.
She writes: 'Except for a few tall evergreens,
the world surrounding Military Police Headquarters appeared as dismal
and gray as the inside of the interrogation room…
'This was the sort of morning that if
at home, as I had been for two weeks already on house arrest, I might
have been in the kitchen chopping carrots, celery, and onions for a cozy
beef stew dinner that night with my husband and daughter.
'As it was, I had no plans for dinner
that night. No plans for the rest of the day since abandoning my
desertion fantasy of a new life in Canada.
'No plans for the day after this one; none for the rest of my life.'