In 1996 Dorothy Mackey wrote an Op-ed piece, “Violence from comrades a fact of life for military women.” ABC News 20/ 20 did a segment on rape in the military. By November four women came forward at Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland, about a pattern of rape by drill sergeants. In 1997 the military finds three black drill sergeants to scapegoat. They were sent to prison and this left the commanding generals and colonels untouched to retire quietly. The Army appointed a panel to investigate sexual harassment. One of the panelists was the sergeant Major of the Army, Eugene McKinney. On hearing his nomination, former associates and one officer came forward with charges of sexual coercion and misconduct. In 1998 he was acquitted of all charges after women spoke (of how they were being stigmatized, their careers stopped, and their characters questioned. A Congressional panel studied military investigative practices. In 1998, the Court of Appeals ruled against Dorothy Mackay. She had been outspoken on media and highly visible. There is an old Arabic saying “When the hen crows cut off her head.”“This court finds that Col. Milam and Lt. Col. Elmore were acting in the scope of their duties” in 1991-1992 when Capt. Mackey alleged they harassed, intimidated and assaulted her. A legislative remedy was asked for and she appealed to the Supreme Court. Of course the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 1999, as it always has under the feres doctrine. Her case was cited to block the suit of one of the Aberdeen survivors as well!
Two flights of steps bordered either side of the Hill from Hell. I didn’t know who constructed them or when, but it was sometime before I was born. Maybe even before Daddy was born. In one stretch, the steps were made of large semiflat stones. In another, wood. In a third, slate. All of them were in terrible disrepair, but it was still easier to climb them than to try to walk up the dirt road itself, especially since Stacy and I were weighed down with our backpacks, slices of pie in Tupperware containers, bottles of Pepsi, and a bunch of cassette tapes. We stopped halfway up to catch our breath. I really didn’t need to, but I could tell Stacy was not used to trudging up hills.