Ex-POW Shoshana Johnson: Harassment Over Star Status Forced Her to Quit Army

Johnson was living in a family unit on the base with her daughter, Janelle, but the accusation was that her daughter was actually living with Johnson's parents, meaning Johnson should have been assigned to single-soldier quarters.

She was cleared when an investigation determined that Janelle was living with her, but, she wrote, "The experience was hurtful and is still hard for me to understand."

The accusations against Johnson and the other POWs escalated to the point where they were at times blamed for their capture, for getting lost and being accused of not fighting back. "We had brought shame to the Army and to the unit in many of their eyes," she wrote.

Johnson was released from captivity in April 2003, and by August, she applied for a medical discharge from the Army.

After getting out of uniform, Johnson was frequently booked as a speaker but about a year later, the invitations began to peter out. And with time on her hands, Johnson became depressed, suffered through crying jags, at times afraid to go outside. She saw a therapist but it wasn't enough for her to deal with the emotions.

"These feelings of sadness have continued for years and I still struggle to understand why I am alive when so many good people aren't," she wrote.

"Finally, in the spring of 2008, I checked myself into a psych ward for a few days."

She keeps in touch with the four men who were captured with her, as well as Lynch, who was held separately from her, she said.

She returned to school and earned an associates degree and took up culinary arts classes. The former Army cook now hopes, she wrote, to be a "kick-ass baker."

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