Hidden Courage: My Life as a Female Australian Soldier
A timely memoir of a female Australian soldier's thirty-four-year career from WRAAC School in the late 1970s, to numerous deployments including peacekeeping operations in East Timor to supporting the Global War on Terrorism in Afghanistan.
The changing role and ethos of the Australian Defence Force has created ever-expanding opportunities for female service women. This is one woman's personal account of her rise through the ranks from private soldier to corporal in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals, and later to warrant officer in the Australian Intelligence Corps.
It is also the story of the toll that dedicated service can have on soldiers both physically and mentally. Donna Bourke shares her experience of being unexpectedly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and how she came to accept that her injuries, and her career in the Australian Defence Force, had significantly altered the direction of her life.
Donna confronts the ignominy of the military mind-set – ‘Harden up! Stop being weak! You're better than that! One foot in front of the other!’ – with an unwillingness to remain trapped in a quagmire of toxic emotions.
This inspiring story shows how Donna's courage, strength of mind, tenacity and sense of humour helped her embark on her new life as a civilian. She comes to realise she is more than just a soldier. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, daughter and sister.