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Home » Cristina A. Frisby

"I told the truth and got kicked out, versus lying and staying in." (Audio interview, 24:40)

   Cristina A. Frisby
Collection image
Cristina Frisby at time of military service [n.d.]
War: Cold War; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Navy; Army
Unit: 640th Aviation Support Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division; Army National Guard
Service Location: Annapolis; also: Iraq
Rank: Sergeant
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Like many 18-year-old “plebes,” Sergeant Cristina Frisby was overwhelmed by the challenges of her first year at the Naval Academy. Falling ill and behind in her coursework, she resigned—only to be confronted with an inquiry into her sexual orientation. Leaving the Academy, she felt the agony of being denied her lifelong dream of military service because of who she was, and because of her honesty in speaking about it. Her dedication to military service was so strong that she persevered, joining the California National Guard after the terrorist attacks of September 11, in the hopes that she could be of some help to her country. Deploying to Iraq in 2005, she served as a recovery driver, a tow truck driver who aided disabled vehicles (many of which had been hit by IEDs). Her oral history interview is supplemented by over 300 photographs and a handful of home movies, which offer a fascinating glimpse into her day-to-day life in Iraq.

Multimedia Recordings
»Home Movies: Camp Berstein (5 min.)
»Home Movies: Dirt, Choppers and IED Ahead (1 min.)
»Home Movies: Mountains (0 min.)
»Home Movies: Chow Hall, Fiesty Lizard, Pinkie Pose, Rough Ride and Tikrit (5 min.)
Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
»Audio Interview 
Download: audio (95 min.)
»Photo Album  (302 photos)
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
Incident in which they went out to assist a truck that had been hit by an IED; soldier was killed; always remembering circumstances of that particular mission and fatality. (01:48) Gender didn’t matter in field; respect she earned as one of the best recovery mechanics; despite this, feeling isolated on base. (01:35) Transfer to the “Red Bulls” unit from Minnesota; transportation company; knew she would see action; meeting other gay soldiers; asked to be a recovery driver. (03:34)
Positive reception by her unit; feeling the lack of official support; ending her relationship while deployed. (02:03) Physical and emotional effects of leaving Academy; agony of losing her dream; denied her dream because of her identity. (01:00) Looking into joining the National Guard after 9/11; choosing the California State National Guard because they didn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; wanting to fulfill her lifelong dream and have a positive impact during a time of military need. (02:50)
Frustrations during training; learning how to be a leader; good reception from other soldiers; isolation during training. (04:30) Realizing she was gay at the same time she entered Naval Academy; dealing with the mental, physical, and academic challenges of the Academy; difficult time. (01:11) Filling out paperwork that asked if she was gay; making it through “plebe summer” but then got sick and fell behind in schoolwork; making the decision to resign; being called in and asked if she was gay. (03:37)
Investigation by Navy; had to sign a confession; receiving an honorable discharge. (05:04)  

Home » Cristina A. Frisby
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  October 26, 2011
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