Guest Author: Donna Zephrine, The Use of Force

I am fortunate to be able to post more work by guest author Donna Zephrine. Donna is an Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Many of her writings reflect her experiences in the military and as a veteran.

The Use of Force

The use of force there are many meaning of the use of force some examples.  A recruiter in basic training trying to complete a hundred pushups.  A man changing a tire in a rainstorm.  Someone trying to change a tire in a rainstorm.  Someone trying to physically restrain someone else or in law enforcement.  Someone trying to complete physically and mentally task.   My recollection in the military I remember one of the sergeant in my platoon section he was aware of my learning disability but he was not aware how best I learn.  Some of the tools I did not understand to put a name with certain tools and remember the names of them.  He thought I should know the tools better.  So after we concluded working from the tool room.  He made me bring my tool box from the motor pool all the way back to my living quarters in the tent he told me this would let me know my tools better by bringing them with me.  We were working the graveyard shift because during the day it was nearly 100 degrees. We couldn’t not work during the day because of the danger of overheating and dehydration. Even at night it was still hot, but at least it was bearable compared to during the day.

I had been doing maintenance work with the rest of the mechanics. It became apparent that I didn’t know all the tools as well as my peers. My Sgt. told me that the way I would learn the tools was to carry them around with me. In my eyes this felt like a punishment because I knew it would be physically exhausting.

I remember the first time I lifted it I was shocked by its weight. I didn’t have much upper body strength and all I could think about was the long distance I had to go. It seemed like it would take forever for me to carry this large box all the way to the tents. I felt singled out and as if everyone was talking behind my back while a carried this box in front of everyone. As I would walk all the tools would clatter and make lots of noise which made it nearly impossible to hide what I was doing. Other soldiers even complained about the noise I created by walking with it, but I couldn’t help it. I would be coming into the tent around 1 am and the loud noises would wake up the other soldiers. It was embarrassing for me but I couldn’t help it, I had to carry this box as my Sgt commanded. I hated carrying that box. I felt a large responsibility to keep track of all the tools and carry it everywhere. I already had to carry my gun and all my other equipment, and the tools was an additional stressor for me. I carried that box for a few weeks. I never felt like it helped me learn the tools as it was intended to but it taught me something about myself. It taught me that I was resilient enough to go up against a trying, and difficult force.


The tool box first of all was heavy for me to carry and I hated bringing it back and forth from my living tent to the vehicle to bring to motor pool.

About Frances Wiedenhoeft

After a lifetime in nursing, anesthesia and the Army I now write, blog, attend school for journalism and massage, and watch my 3 grandchildren. I am a veteran of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan and try to serve other vets such as myself, and to work for peace.
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